We never knew our way around this place
Content to navigate blindly
The lost leading the lost
I tripped you up and picked you up
You tripped me up and picked me up
Love kept us going,
Invested efforts in the wrong direction
Never knew our way
Method to My Madness 🙂
*Inspired by Day 5 of Writers Digest PAD Challenge
So, around midnight, I started thinking, what can I do for day five? As we know, this is what my brain does at bedtime.
Slowly, a bundle of words emerged:
We never knew our way around this place, but we were content to navigate blindly, more like the lost leading the lost. I tripped you up and helped you up, you tripped me up and helped me up. Love kept us going, or pride. Invested an effort in the wrong direction. We never knew our way.
Well, not that bundle of words. It was more like a destruction of words:
sms aka whatevertheyaint 11/17
Where did you go, you know, the person? Not the one we see but the you inside.
Where did you go? You let them strip you of your joy, your energy, your light.
Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
Feeling some sort of way that I can’t define. Is it depression? Frustration? Inertia? My writer’s brain says “caged” but that’s a bit dramatic. It’s a long story that I suppose my conscience has nudged me about before. Something has been trying to tell me something for years.
So when do you say, enough is enough? When do you just…free fall? Is there anything besides concrete down there when I jump?
The abridged version of this story is that the current circumstances aren’t working, at all. However, being the overly cautious thinker I am, I’m reluctant to just open a window and plummet. It seems impractical to starve while happy, and yet it’s crazy to make money while sacrificing one’s self, family, and sanity. Tis the world we live in. We learn to become collages.
I eventually retired from retail in 2012 due to health issues and a couple of surgeries, one of which didn’t go well. Now, because of more life changes, I find myself at yet another crossroad.
True, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being fully present when it comes to family. And in hindsight, things happened that I don’t know if I could’ve dealt with while working full-time–serious illnesses, the death of my father, marital separation.
It baffles me that I got more writing done while working thirty to forty hours, with two small children, than I do without a binding schedule and with kids old enough to occupy themselves. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow, I’ve also missed the security of steady paychecks. I’m saying this to say that happiness doesn’t come from circumstance. Happiness is a state of mind, period. But we have to figure out who we are, what we want, and how we’ll balance our true callings with the titles society places upon us.
Who are you? Where did you go? Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.
In definition of “inner calling” how would you define yourself?
In terms of societal titles, name at least three that describe you.
If you’re not being true to yourself, what’s the reason?
Map out a way to get back to the real you 😉
In definition of inner calling, I’d define myself as: a writer, an empath, a peacemaker
In terms of societal titles, I’d describe myself as: a mother, an estranged spouse, an introvert who knows how to play it off when necessary
I’m not true to myself because: I’m not a fan of failure, abstract ideas, or what-ifs
And yes, I’m mapping out a way of getting back to the real me 🙂
There’s something she didn’t give you
Whatever it was it wasn’t enough
She wasn’t scarred enough,
Didn’t understand your demons
She didn’t laugh enough, live
But what she provided was stability,
Loyalty, all the boring words one looks for
Beyond adventure and fun
Yet, she failed. In a sense, you failed each other
You sought solace in dark places,
Hell and shot glasses
She swept broken pieces,
Only to hurt herself in the end
And you’ll never honestly say,
This is why you couldn’t save me
And she’ll never really know
What you needed saving from
sms aka whatevertheyaint
The following exercise is inspired by a writing prompt from, Flash 52: 52 Writing Prompts for a Year of Writing by Jamie DeBree
Richard pours tea and we raise our cups in a celebratory manner. This is our quintet—well, sextet considering Richard. Basically, it’s a group of stressed out writers looking to profit more than gas money from words.
“How’s it going? Any new ideas, progress?” Richard asks.
Sheila’s hand shoots up first. “I don’t know how I did it,” she beams, “but this week, I managed 50k in between the twins’ naps.”
Another hand goes up. 10K. 6K. More cheers and tea.
That’s me; it’s my turn. I clutch my yellow notebook to my chest. The notepad is as blank as when I opened it to its first college-ruled page, two weeks ago. How would they know if I did 50K or zero? It isn’t as though we inspect each other’s drafts, at least not during the first part of the month.
“I’m still outlining,” I say, which is neither truth nor lie.
An uncomfortable silence ensues. And then a collective murmur of well, that’s a start.
Sheila’s eyes scan the group. “I’ve been hiding something,” she says.
Let me guess, she isn’t human? She hired a ghostwriter? She hasn’t typed one alphabet but instead fibbed to make herself feel better?
As if sensing my skepticism, she plops a copy of her manuscript onto the table and then retrieves a small, plastic bag from her purse.
Are those…poppy seeds? No, poppy seeds are smaller. And darker.
“Okay, I know certain things improve brain function, and that’s why we drink tea and meet twice a month and share our thoughts. But these babies,” she continues, grabbing a handful of the seeds and dropping them into a cup, “are like…bees to flowers, bubbles to baths, syrup to waffles. This is brain food!”
Within minutes of sipping from a teacup, she’s reciting passages of Spoon River Anthology.
“Amazing!” Richard says.
“I’ve retained four plays, three anthologies, every word of Ethan Frome and created my draft in two weeks—all with the help of these Z seeds.”
Suddenly, I’m reminded of a time I came home sporting a nose ring and red hair. Ma took one look and admonished, “If the entire class jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
Would I? Am I seriously considering Sheila’s claim?
I imagine four to five completed novels a year, a new car, a full-tank of gas instead of the fumes I’ve driven on the majority of the day. Surely similar thoughts are running through the other’s mind.
Would you be silly enough to do it, too?
And so it begins…
Shonte Sanders aka Whatevertheyaint
* I didn’t follow the premise to a fault, but I did keep the basics as far as setting and characters. The original prompt calls for a man in his thirties, a folding table in a huge parking lot, an electric kettle, a teapot and teacups, and five women approaching. Feel free to continue to add to this piece by sharing (300 words or less) in the comments section. Ready? Let’s Go! Have fun 🙂
this is a comfortable life,
the repeating of words
did you brush your teeth?
please pick up your shoes
the toilet’s still broken
please, pick up your shoes!
tasks and outcomes
faucet still leaking
more piles to pick up
it’s fine, really
we take on titles
our names irrelevant
with each metamorphosis
this is a satisfying life,
the repeating of words
why don’t you buy a wallet?
please fix the gazebo
the wipers are broken
seriously! pick up your shoes
brake-fluid still leaking
more hats to pile on
we take on roles
our names irrelevant
with each version
SmS aka Whatevertheyaint 9-2016
I wonder sometimes if she sees their pain …all of our pain. What kind of job it must be to hand out the poison that ruins every other patron. Is she a home-wrecker? A murderer? An abuser? She’s just doing her job. We are the ones so willing to walk through her doors & waste away an entire paycheck on that sweet nectar that rots our minds. The housewife with her Sunday wine. The college kids with their vodka & Redbull. The awkward first-timer perusing the wares. The homeless man counting his pennies for some gin. Everyone has their story, why they’re here. Why they can’t look her in the eye. I’d like to blame her for all the misery. ‘Why do you do this to me?’ when I really want to ask ‘Why do i do this to myself?’ That must be one of the worst jobs in the world. To see the best of people with the worst of intentions go in & out – in & out – day after day, week after week … until one day they don’t show up anymore. Jail, rehab, death? Where did they go? What path did you lead them down? – the drunks, with their pursed lips & dry hands. The ones who are too weak or too strong to make it through their days. How many families have you ruined? How many hearts have you broken? Jaws have you broken? Cars wrecked? Thank you for your services, liquor store lady. You are the kindest of doctors. The sweetest of anesthesia. The warmest of fires & the Queen of the Drunks.
I have shared several of his poems and essays on the blog–BROKEN DOLL, GIVERS VS TAKERS, INCOMPLETE; we’ve collaborated on a few projects, or at least tried (FREESTYLE); and now, Mr. Robinson, aka The Writerly Genius, has finally granted an interview.
I do agree with that statement, because of personal experiences and scientific research. Artists are often stereotyped as weirdos, and I think some of that perceived weirdness derives from the creativity we hung onto and expanded throughout our lives. We do not quite fit into the box of what is considered “normal” due to our natural born talent.I draw, paint, write short stories, and dabble in poetry. Those things require me to think differently than the average person. I think all artists think differently than the average person, which can lead to us being misunderstood. In many cases, I just experience the world in a way that others do not. When I look at real life landscapes, I see them as two dimensional like they were on a canvas. At random times, lines and stanzas just pop into my mind.
Usually when students tell me they cannot write poems, short stories, or plays, I reassure them that they have the ability, and they just need to tap into it. Generally, they are afraid that it will not be good enough, so I explain to them that “good” is relative. Some may like it; some may not, so write something that you will enjoy. My mother was very supportive of my artistic side, so I would encourage my younger self the same way she did.
I believe we are all born with creativity. When left to their own devices, kids come up with some creative – sometimes crazy – stuff. I think some of us are more developed in specific areas than others, also. My mom said I started drawing at age 3. I remember being in Headstart at age 5 and drawing my own cartoon characters on the back of the pages they gave us to color. I think schools, adults, and the need to fit-in kills the creativity.
In my formative years, I was more of an artist. I did not think of myself as a writer at all. I still don’t. Looking back, I realize that I used to tell short stories to entertain my cousins. It was usually silly stuff, but it fit my age. I really enjoyed drawing, and it garnered lots of support, so it was much more of a factor for most of my life. I only started writing within the last fifteen years after I stopped drawing and painting. It started with blogging. I had a way of getting my point across in story form and that eventually morphed into writing short stories. My ex-wife was a poet, so I kind of started messing around with poetry because of her.
The similarities between the two are that I am trying to tell a story. The differences are – besides the obvious- I have to find just the right way to tell my story in a single image while drawing versus writing where I paint the picture with as many or as few words as I like.
I would write a novel. For years now, it has felt like something I was destined to do. It is hard to explain. It just feels like the next step.
In one word. Writing is _____________