On the Past, the Now and the Soon-To-Be

Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about the past. Where I was. How it pertains to where I am. And just where the f*ck I’m going. 2022 has proven to be a taxing, and quite unexpected year, and not in the greatest of ways: A year filled with challenges and limit testing. Not all bad of course. Some good. But many of the trials have been less-than-savory. I won’t delve into the particulars at this time. If you know me outside of this Blog, you are aware of them, and if you really don’t know and want to know more? Reach out “offline” as we say in Business Development. Or “slip into my DMs” as we say in the Social Mediaverse. God, that sounds even more off-color when I type it out, and slightly pervy when it’s an invitation. Apologies if anyone is offended.

This little piece of Mental Flatulence is not about what’s going on in my life, and the lives of those I care about on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence in 2022. As I said in the first sentence of Paragraph Uno, it’s about the past. My past. How it is affecting my “now” and how it might affect my “soon-to-be.” And maybe what is on my mind this beautiful April day under an endless deep, blue sky (with just a hint of cloudiness on the horizon) applies to you, as well. We’ve all got a past, right? And some of us think about it more than others. Hell, some of us live in it. I try not to. I’ve always endeavored to focus on my present but every so often, something triggers a memory. One memory leads to another, and the next thing you know your old buddy the Madchronicler is halfway down the rabbit hole without a rope to grab onto or a parachute attached to his back. Falling. And the only way to slow that fall is to write about it. Enter? Blog post.

In roughly two weeks my oldest minion is auditioning for a musical at her school. “Annie JR.” She’s 12 years young going on 16 some days, as you’d expect from an almost full-fledged teenager. This is not her first audition. She’s been in a number of productions to date–“Moana JR” last fall and “Aladdin JR” before that to name a few–but this particular audition holds special significance for her given that she is entering 8th Grade and at her school? Every 8th Grader, regardless of skill level gets a part. Or so she tells me.

Don’t get me wrong: The kid has skills. Mad ones. A voice. The ability to be dramatic (like all pre-and-full teens sure, but better… or worse depending on your perspective) and act. The ability to dance. She’s honestly the complete package and I’m not just saying that because I’m her father. She’s a bit shy but who isn’t at that age? I was, and I know that eventually, she’ll come out of it. But despite what she considers a guarantee, she’s nervous. She has her heart set on playing Miss Hannigan and for those of you unfamiliar with “Annie?” Take a moment and Google, Bing or Safari/”search up” (as my kids say) Carol Burnett Annie. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, I understand the need to keep a child motivated. But I further understand the requirement to set achievable expectations with them, and while I firmly believe she has what it takes to not only win the part of Miss Hannigan but knock it out of the park, there are… Considerations. Competition to be specific. And she has some. There are a number of girls in her class that are also blessed with mad skill, not to mention boys, and I wouldn’t put it past her school to introduce a Mister Hannigan versus a Miss. This is, after all 2022. I’ve been working with her… Keeping her level and assisting her in whatever limited capacity I can to keep improving/keep getting better. And while I’ve been doing this–and here’s where I get to the part where I tell you why I’m writing this Blog post–I’ve also been remembering my own time “in the theater.” God, I hope that doesn’t sound conceited because when I wrote it, I heard Mister Howell from “Gilligan’s Island” in my head (I was going for Danny Kaye from the “Choreography” number in “White Christmas”).

I won’t delve too deeply into the particulars of my experiences as a member of The Royal Masque, Barricade Productions and the short-lived Ogontz Theater Company (abbreviated OTC; yep! I came up with that one) because A) I hate to come across sounding conceited and like a braggart–Mister Howell I am not–and B) I don’t want to make anyone associated with those fine companies of talented actors and actresses, many of whom who have gone onto great things embarrassed that I’m referencing them. But… As Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin once said in “Spider-Man” and recently said again in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Ya’ know, I’m something of a scientist myself.” Replace “scientist” with “actor/singer” and you’ll get where I’m coming from. And over the decades since my last, utterly forgettable appearance as a member of the chorus in “They’re Playing Our Song” (save for an unauthorized and substance-induced, staged bar fight on closing night that got me and a handful of others forbidden from ever acting in a Penn State then-Ogontz, now-Abington production again; ah to be 19 again, sarcasm fully intended), I’ve dabbled with the idea of getting back into it. I even went so far as to schedule an audition with The Swarthmore Players a few years back to be in their spring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” But I never went. Life interfered, as life seemingly always does and I cancelled. Yet the itch… the desire has never gone away and to be honest with y’all? I don’t think it ever will.

Which places me in an all-too-familiar pickle. Not just with “the theater,” but with other instances that I have been faced with in the past ranging from school to writing. If my past is any indication–and it is, else I would not be writing these words right now–I always… get close. I pull a Prometheus and fly just close enough to the Sun to touch it before the wax upon my wings melts and I plummet back to the Earth and my… say it with me guys and gals, my once-and-still “mundane, routine existence.” As Catherine sings in “Pippin,” “I’m your average, ordinary kind of woman.” Replace “woman” with either “man” or “the Madchronicler” and you’ll smell what I’m cooking. God. That didn’t sound right either, did it?

Do not get me wrong. I would not trade my life for anything. Not my family or friends, not my job or… sh*t, anything. But I can’t help but feel–as the day creeps closer toward afternoon, the end of my lunch break and 80 degrees for the first time this year–that there has to be more. It’s blatantly obvious to me at the ripe old age of 46 pushing 47 that I’m not achieving, and honestly never have achieved whatever potential God instilled me with. My skills? Never fully utilized. Hidden behind responsibility and a steady paycheck. Is it too late for me to… I don’t know, become what I was supposed to become? Or is this my destiny: To exist as an average, ordinary member of the societal hive mind and pass on my once-dreams to my children in the hopes that they will achieve their potential in the days, weeks, months and years to come? And would that be so bad? To teach them as I was taught, and sit as a proud member of the audience watching them? After all, I’m a few years shy of a half a century–God it pains me to write that–on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Isn’t the future theirs?

Perhaps this is a mid-life crisis. Or perhaps I’ve simply had too much time lately to think and… I’ll say it: Regret. Regret never following through on my dreams. Regret settling (man I hate that word). I can’t shake the thought that in some universe, perhaps closely adjacent to this one I did write the next great American novel and made it into Oprah’s Book Club. In another one? I am the bearded, suit-jacket-with-the-patches-on-the-elbows wearing college professor that I envisioned myself becoming. And in another? Jesus Christ. No, literally Jesus Christ, starring in a touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Well, maybe not Jesus. His range is too high. And not Judas–same problem. But Pilate? Herod? Perhaps either/or. Whether these alternate realities on other sides of the proverbial wormhole of existence exist or not I will likely never know in anything more than a fictional, musing (random musings, perhaps?) capacity. There is only here. Now. And what I do with this life in this universe. And really? What remains is a decision. My decision.

Everyone still tells me that I have the power to become whatever I want to be. But how truthful is that? In life, we the people make choices. And with those choices? Rewards. But also risks. I’ve shied away from the latter in my recent past because there is no margin for error any longer. When I was 19 it was easy to get fashnookered (AKA f*cked up) and stage a bar fight in an amateur production of a little known musical from the 1970s. I like most 19 year old’s gave zero f*cks about anything. But now? I have kids that need me, family and friends that count on me and clients that I support. Not to mention creditors that I answer to but who doesn’t? Sometimes, adulting sucks. But throwing caution to the proverbial wind does not come naturally anymore. One slip and I may find myself without a roof over my head, water to drink or food in my belly. And I would not wish that upon anyone, least of all my minions. So? As T. S. Eliot wrote and Prufrock intoned, “how should I presume?”

Sadly? My aforementioned decision is not forthcoming right now, as much as I might want it to be. And my past is little more than a distraction. I have chosen and choose not to live in it. I chose and choose to focus on my now and if, perchance, an opportunity presents itself in my “soon-to-be” to become more than the guy writing this piece of Mental Flatulence in the waning moments of his lunch break (damn… this only took an hour?)? Well, I guess I’ll simply have to cross that bridge when I come to it. But I can’t help but feel–as the morning segues slowly into the afternoon and I measure out the time left between now and when I have to go pick up my minions at school with coffee spoons–as if my time is running out. Godd*mn that sounds bleak. What can I say? This Blog is supposed to be filled with “the sometimes insightful, but many times inane observations of a self-proclaimed Sh*thead living on one side of the proverbial wormhole of existence.” You may agree with me, and you may not. But despite the bleakness inherent in the words I just wrote? Somehow… some way I feel better.

Thanks as always for tuning in, my oft-times casual readers. We’re a long way from Denis Rodman and a thunderstorm this afternoon. Booyakasha. Respect.


On Balance.

Today, I did something that I have rarely, if ever done, not only at my current job, but in most jobs I have worked in over the long and winding course of my life. I took a sick day. While that may seem inconsequential to many of you reading this right now, it is pretty monumental for me. I’ve always been the person that worked through the pain. Even when my head was splitting or I could barely sit up, or I was rocking a fever of 103 I “mowed through.” Because that is how I was raised. I watched my mother suffer through cancer and treatment and never miss a day. I watched her fiance and my pseudo-stepfather do the same until it got to be too much for him and he was forced to throttle back. Mom survived. Larry didn’t. But the lessons I learned from them stuck with me, and remain with me now.

But today? Today was different. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from your old buddy The Madchronicler. I know. July of last year to be exact. That seems… Kind of shocking given my history. While I’ve never been the most consistent writer, I’ve never let it go for so long. I’ve never gone this long without updating you on my own, subjective life, universe and everything, or interjecting an opinion or five into the interwebs via this platform. Yes, the last six months have been a bit of a whirlwind. Where I envisioned myself last July in February of 2022 did not come to pass for a number of reasons. Were I to update you on all that has happened and all that is currently happening we’d be here all day or night depending on when and even where you are reading these words and to be honest? There are things I either cannot talk about yet or am unwilling to talk about. So? I won’t. What I will say is that I’m good. And also not so good. It honestly all depends on the day. But I’m here. And I plan to be here for a while so if you were hoping I was gone forever I am sorry to disappoint.

Also? The Minions are great. They’re keeping me busy but that’s what you get with a 12 and a nine year old. I embrace it. And the network of loving friends and family that has surrounded me for as long as I can remember is good, too. It’s even grown a bit, but I’ll avoid that topic for now, as well. Those people… You have kept me smiling and for that? I say “wus.” Booyakasha. And respect.

But pleasantries aside, back to today. Today, a pesky cold and a hectic schedule finally caught up with me and I concluded that it was time to take a break. So? Six hours of PTO (I did work a bit; sorry to disappoint) and a couple of naps later, I’m feeling better. Still not at 100% but I didn’t just “vedge” and nap all day. I did a lot of thinking, as well–thinking that was not accosted by my nine to five gig as a Business Development Consultant for once. And that thinking is the clearest thinking. And a lot of it centered on and around balance. I’ve written, or at least I think I’ve written about balance in the past. Light and dark. Yin and Yang. Good versus evil. And how in all of the above cases one needs the other to exist in balance. My life in many ways has been a case study of all of the above. I tried to do good but ended up causing pain. I walked away from things because their inclusion in my life threw my balance off. Finances and a life, a relationship with another person and one with myself or my children. And there have been moments in my life when I got there. Yet more often than not those moments quickly passed. And it’s taken me until tonight to realize one, singular, indisputable fact.

Balance as I always envisioned it cannot and should not exist. Don’t run me off WordPress yet. Give me a chance to explain.

Bob Dylan once wrote that “chaos is a friend of mine.” I jokingly adopted that adage when I was younger. Hell, the surname Madchronicler is a derivative of it. Little did I know however that as I got older, my once-self mocking characterization would become canon and an every day part of my life. Now, at 46 years young/old I am faced with things that I was only faced with in passing before. Life and death. Mortality. The prospect of financial f*ck-ups. Hurting others and being hurt. And I have realized that chaos is not and never was a friend of mine. Chaos f*cking sucks and should be exiled from this universe on one proverbial side of the wormhole forever.

But? It cannot be. And will not be because chaos, like so many other things needs to exist in balance with its much less annoying counterpart, peace. Chaos has been and will always be a part of life. The key is not elimination, but willing incorporation and that’s the lesson I have learned and felt the need to write about tonight. I’ve tried for so many years to get to a point of “balance” as I referenced above–you remember; that which cannot and should not exist–that I didn’t realize what I was really striving for was peace. But peace alone is… Kind of impossible. The way to achieve true balance is to accept that chaos is a real and inescapable part of life, and not run from it, but figure out a way to cope with it. That person who “did you dirty?” Rather than hold a grudge against and maybe even hate them, figure out a way to work with them toward a common end goal. You don’t have to like or love them, but if a civil relationship breeds a good result? Do it. That’s balance. Not everyone may agree with me on that and that’s fine. You don’t have to take my advice. But anger breeds and enhances chaos. And there may come a day when you are happy you decided to work toward a common goal with them, rather than tell them to piss off. The same can be applied to many things too, not just interpersonal relationships. Just my $0.02 folks. Take it for what it’s worth.

Today on my sick day I redefined what balance is for myself and who knows? Maybe for you. That wasn’t my goal but if I did? I’m glad. Today I realized that true balance can only be achieved by accepting chaos not as a friend, but as a shadow when the sun is in the east, and peace as the same when the sun is in the west. I understand and accept that I will always have good and bad, light and dark moments. I will cause pain, but I will also cause joy. Sometimes I’ll get it wrong and others? I’ll be right on the ol’ money. I guess that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the “Gray” Jedi in Star Wars lore, or the True Neutral characters in Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe it’s why I’m a political centrist. Who knows? But I feel better and more ready for what comes next because of it. As for what that is…?

I’m not entirely sure, but I know that part of it starts, or maybe ends with “the sea has no memory.”

Winky emoticon. Smiley face.


Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood…

One of my greatest joys when I was younger was sitting out on my porch in “J-Town” as a thunderstorm rolled through. There’s nothing quite like a thunderstorm in Summertime at the end of a long, hot and humid day. I’ve described the experience at length before. I even wrote a blog post about it, many moons ago when I lived in Broomall, and everyone lived everyplace else. That time? Past. Like the once-oppressive heat that marked today, as rolls of thunder and distant lightning echo through my new home in Swarthmore and I endeavor, for the first time since finishing HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD, to write.

A lot has changed for me since that late, Friday night in April. It is now mid-July. I won’t dive into the particulars of all that has happened. Needless to say my life is, in many ways renewed. It was long overdue. To anyone that has suffered because of it, I apologize. You know who you are. But I needed a fresh start. I needed to refocus on a path… MY path forward. I spent many years putting the needs of the many before my own and in the process of doing that? I lost myself. I had to rediscover who I am. Have I? Yes. Does that mean I know my way forward? Sadly, I’m still working on it. But I’m close now.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both.” You know that one, right? “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. It’s always been a favorite poem of mine, right up there with pretty much anything T. S. Eliot wrote. For many years, there was only one road forward for me. Yet that road? It officially ended a few weeks ago. So here I am, once again looking at two, and only two possible ways forward. Down one? Continued stability and normalcy. And down the other? The road NOT taken. A riskier path. And the latter, while intriguing, scares the living bejesus out of me. It’s been a bit since I took a risk. So the question is: Do I? Do I take the road less traveled and if I do, will it make all the difference as it did for Frost?

Many have told me, as I sit here writing in silence, my only accompaniment the sound of the storm, raging outside that I am still young, even now as I balance on the precipice of 46 years, on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Yet I do not feel it. I feel far detached from that dreaming child that sat upon his mother’s porch in “J-Town” watching a thunderstorm roll past. In truth? I feel old. Despite a renewed sense of self there remains the feeling that I’m past the halfway point of my life less extraordinary and a desire to DO. Now. To live while I still can. That is the allure of the road less traveled. The well-trodden path? Easier. A slow downslope into peace, but without fulfillment. Excitement. And despite the occasional ache in my bones I still crave it. So what do I do? How do I proceed?

I know that I am being vague and that is intentional. For it feels too soon to start speaking of what lies down each path. There remains a step for me to take before I can reveal all. The final step in my so-called renewal. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I? I took BLANK, and that has made all the difference.” Which one do I choose? I know where I am. I know where I want to get to. But do I endeavor to “cash in” on a few, long held dreams before doing so? Or do I stay here. Live. Exist. Maybe write another book or two. Has the time… MY time for dreaming passed me by? Does there come a point where we really are too far along for dreams… A point where our reality is what it is and we need to accept it as such? I wish I knew. All my life I have questioned. Is it time to stop asking and just… Be?

So is the state of your old buddy the Madchronicler’s mind this evening, friends. The storm that was raging outside has passed. There are more storms in the forecast for later tonight. Let them come. Let them renew me as they did when I was a child and make me feel alive, and in amazement at the majesty of nature’s fury. My porch now? Nothing like my mother’s, but big and covered enough to allow me to sit. I think I will. Sit, and consider. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood?” I’ll let you know when I decide which one to follow. I’ll let you know if it made all the difference.


On Beginnings and Endings

A coy observer of the title of this blog post will remember that back in November of 2018, I wrote a piece I called “On Endings and Beginnings.” This is an intentional juxtaposition of that title, and it is in no way, shape or form related to that little piece of Mental Flatulence. Quite the contrary: This is a rumination on writing, not life though some will claim that for many, writing IS life and vice versa. Never for me, though. Life is my daily, 9-5 gig. It’s spending time with my friends and family. It’s paying my bills, cleaning my house et cetera et cetera. Writing is a luxury. A desire? Yes. Oft times an obsession. It’s my pre and post-9-5 gig. It’s spending time with the characters in my head. It’s not money driven though there IS house cleaning involved. Editing they… Sh*t, I call it, and even though I have arguably the greatest editor I could ask for (booyakasha, Amy. RESPECT), I still have to clean up my own mess before I hand it off to her. Et cetera et cetera. So let’s talk about writing. Specifically? The ENDWORLD Series. A bit about how it started, and more about how it’s going to end. Not THE end (no spoilers; I promise). But the inevitable conclusion of what has, in many ways been the longest constant in my 45+ year existence on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence.

A casual observer will likely note that this post belongs over on the ENDWORLD site, linkable HERE if you are so inclined to check it out. Argument made. But this FEELS like a Random Musings post and not a book-related one. Anyone who knows me knows the story of how ENDWORLD came to be. It was originally written as a fictional autobiography… A reflection of my life at that time which drew upon three main inspirations: The Terminator movies, The Wonder Years and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Many, if not most of you reading this also know that what it once was is not what it is now. It grew… It evolved. It still retains remnants of what it once was but at it’s core, it is now so much more. It’s a rumination on spirituality. Love. Loss. Dreams and ideals… Goals not achieved because of selflessness. And most importantly? Sacrifice, and its importance because as Spock once said, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” William MacNuff, formerly Roland MacNuff is my tragic hero. He is me, but not as I am. He is me as I always HOPED I would be. That is what The ENDWORLD Series was, and remains now, a few years shy of 30 since I initially started writing it.

This year? I will finally finish the process that has been an ever-present part of my life for almost three decades. Yes, this year. I know this now. Not because I want to finish it… I don’t. As is the case with almost everything in my life I hate endings. I find it God awful hard to say goodbye. But I will finish it because I have to. I am beholden to MY better angels, and the people that care about me and that I care for to be done with it, once and forever all. Forever more. So this will be the year. Get your red pen ready Amy. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.

The knowledge that the end is only a couple hundred pages away makes me sad. There’s an emptiness on the other side of it that I simply do not want to face. Yet I have known for years… Decades really, that the key to unlocking all the other stories that have formed in my mind is to finish the first one. THIS one. So with a heavy heart and a reasonable, albeit not crippling amount of fear I commit to, and surrender myself to the inevitable. It’s true that the end has been written for some time. Don’t worry. I promised no spoilers and there won’t be. It’s also true that I’m not entirely convinced that everyone that has graciously bought, read and enjoyed the first two books will like said ending. But that is a chance I need to take. Because as I have said before, authors don’t write books. They are merely a conduit. A storyteller. Books write themselves. That was one of the first lessons I learned as a wannabee novelist 26 years ago now. But I hope… Nay pray that you understand it, and the rationale behind it when you have the final manuscript in your hands. Some of the greatest tales ever told have a questionable ending. Sad. Confusing. Aggravating even. To defy your instincts as a writer and “play to your base” is how some authors roll. But not me. I’ve spent too much of my life going with the flow. I can’t sell out on this. My apologies in advance. Remember: If you hate it… If it scars you, I’ll offer you a refund. That’s about as close to a money back guarantee is your ol’ buddy the Madchronicler can offer.

So? Let’s mark this moment for posterity. A bit earlier, over dinner I finished a read through of the first, and only 131 pages of the HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD manuscript. It is rough. Yet I did not clean my house. I did not break out my own red pen and edit it or make any wholesale changes. There will be time for that when the first draft is completed. I am picking up the story exactly where I left off. On page 125 (confused? Remember: The ending is written, and now you know it’s six pages long which, again, is NOT a spoiler). William MacNuff and a handful of his brethren are in a bit of a pickle, and it’ll be interesting to see how they get out of it. Even I’m a bit curious. You may be reading this right now and asking yourself why I’m blogging and not… noveling? Authoring? Writing. A little known fact about the original HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD: I paused at roughly the halfway point for around six months. I was bracing myself for the eminent race to completion. True to form, I’m doing it… I DID it again. Not stalling. Committing. Resolving to complete the story that I so desperately want to keep telling. But everything has an end, and The ENDWORLD Series is no different.

I’ll leave y’all with this as a “thank you,” not just for reading THIS blog post, but for reading all of my musings and stories over the years. Mind you that this is relatively unedited (albeit redacted to avoid spoilers per my earlier vow), and only a small sampling of what is to come. But if you haven’t read CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD? I’d look away now. These words could change but… well? Here it is. The beginning of HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD. Book Three of The ENDWORLD Series. By Frank Marsh.

PROLOGUE – Forward

Time present, and time passed are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present all time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility (T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton).

The sea has no memory.  

I’m not sure where I heard that before. Some pre-Administration author or poet wrote it. Someone whose name was lost along with so much of what existed before. I stand here, my tarnished boots in the sand, staring out over the endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon before me beneath a gray, late Fall or early Winter sky. Not a dreaming python, and not deadly if you provoke it. But peaceful the way it undulates hypnotically before me. Somehow… someway I understand, and I close my eyes and feel the way the chilling, sea breeze blows against my cheeks and whips my long, mostly white hair out behind me.  

The sea has no memory, I whisper to myself, and feel a moment’s respite from the nagging pain of hunger in my gut and the way my mind drifts like a fallen leaf, or a piece of wood upon the water. I open my eyes. It is hard. More difficult than it ever has been before because I am tired. So tired. Time has passed. I am unsure of how much as time has no meaning here. A day… a week… a month, year, decade, century or millennia is infinite. Forever. Everything else dies but time? It marches ever onward like a dutiful humachine, it’s only purpose to taunt us… it’s only meaning to give a vague, sense of structure to the All. In the end? Laughable. “Only to die, as all must in time, the demise of a fool to fact.”  

Remelius Vincent really knew his shit, sarcasm fully intended.  

* * * 

You know who I am. You know my name. You know where I’ve been, the things I’ve done, all I’ve lost and what I’ve gained if you’ve followed me this far. For the unindoctrinated, my name is William MacNuff, and I have been many things in my life. But what am I at this juncture, as I sit here once again by candlelight, writing these words in shaky longhand on a faded and yellowing piece of paper? I wish I knew the answer to that question. Perhaps you can assist me with it as I endeavor to tell, and likely finish my story because although there are relatively few constants in this place save for time, or the lack thereof (depending on your perspective) one thing is undeniably true…  

This is the end. My beautiful friends? The end.  

Jim Morrison really knew his shit too, no sarcasm whatsoever intended.  

Goodnight and sweet dreams all. Time to go. There’s novelling/authoring/writing to do.


Midnight Musings For My Minions

There are days these days when I try, and fail to remember what life was like BEFORE. Before COVID. Before separation/divorce. Before Single Dadhood. Before mortgages and bills. William MacNuff, the protagonist in my ENDWORLD series said once upon a time that “I have been here before.” Well? So have I. I maintain enough recollection of my own, personal history that I remember the late 1990s. My “Dark and Twisty” period as I sometimes refer to it. But remembering those days? It’s honestly easier than remembering 2017. Or even February 2020. Is this normal? Survey says: I have no idea. But it’s the truth. And I pride myself on speaking it. I always have, and I always will.

We’ve all been through Hell folks. Our subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence has gone through quite a transition since 365 days ago. And we’ve got a ways to go. We’re far from “in the clear” yet, and while there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, it doesn’t seem to be getting closer. I know. Maybe I’m giving into skepticism. Me, the eternal optimist taking a hard left turn into the throes of our President Elect’s “Dark Winter?” Who’d have thunk it? But here I am. Here WE are, and as hard as I try to figure out a way back… A way to break the doldrum that I’ve been ensconced in for far too long, I simply can’t. So helplessly? I find myself thinking about the past. A life… MY life lived. I look at the angelic, sleeping faces of my daughters as I kiss them goodnight. I retire to my room and I sit. I mull an idea or two. A sales strategy for work tomorrow. Eventually? I will go to sleep. In sleep? Dreams. Vivid, but likely unremembered. Before I know it my alarm will bark at me and it will be morning. Second verse, same as the first. But before that?

I know the way out. No, not THAT one. Geez, guys and gals, I may be a bit depressed but I’m not there. And if YOU are? Please: Come back. Let’s live… Together, and keep on living until such time as our bodies naturally tell us it’s time to move on. A life less extraordinary, nay boring is preferable to the alternative. But where is… WHAT is my purpose? Me, your 45 year old Madchronicler/El Autoro, who once envisioned himself the guy that would pen the next, great American Novel. Now? Now I see myself for what I am. Normal. And if that’s it then that’s okay. Whether I write another word after this or not (I probably will but who knows?) I still have things to pass on. Wisdom? Perhaps. But I need to stop trying so damn hard and just let sh*t take it’s natural course. And right now? That course has me wanting to write about my minions. TO them. A few helpful hints for a more productive life. Yes, that’s a thing. It was in the late 1990s and it is now. I guess it always HAS been. So on that note?

1. Never sell yourself short or underestimate what you can accomplish. In less than 48 hours you will see, for the first time in the history of this great country, a female Vice President. The glass ceiling has been shattered. Not just by Kamala Harris but by all those who came before her. RBG and Hillary Clinton. Sonia Sotomayor and Geraldine Ferraro. Your path to greatness is clearer than it ever has been before. Take it. Work hard. Compromise if needed but hold true to your resolve. Follow it with determination and become the best you that you can be. No goal is too far-fetched. Be spectacular. And know that I will always be here, supporting you and cheering you on.

2. Be you. Don’t be what others expect or want you to be. Rainbows and unicorns? Own that sh*t. Dance in the rain. Sing as loud as you can and if someone tells you that you shouldn’t? Sing louder. Let the beauty of this universe fill you up and if you think you can’t take anymore? Trust me. You can. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the ugliness because it will endeavor to do so. For every stark and disturbing scene of a mob, storming a Capitol or every word, spoken out of hate in a public forum there is a beach, golden at sunset or a mountaintop, above which tens of thousands of stars vault from horizon to horizon. Embrace the awe of someone speaking from their heart over the dissapointment of someone spreading hate. You will be better because of it. I promise.

3. Love hard, but do not allow it to distract you from you. If someone asks you to compromise your plan for theirs, don’t. Always put yourself first. Until the day arrives when you have children of your own. And then? Place their welfare before yours. Make sure they eat before you and if times are tough? Always keep a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, lights overhead and the water running, even if you have to work two jobs. Make sure they always have a book by their bedside. Novel? Comic? Whatever. If they can’t sleep don’t let them turn on their TV. Task them to read until their eyes get heavy and promise them that eventually, they will sleep. And when they have a nightmare… When they arrive by your bedside in tears hug them regardless of their age, and invite them to sleep beside you because you are their solitude. Oh! And if they ask you to brush their hair, don’t ask questions. Do it, because there will come a day when they won’t… There will come a day when they won’t need you quite as much. Enjoy it… Embrace it while you can.

4. Know the difference between dreams and reality and strive to strike a balance between the two. Never stop fantasizing about where you want to go and who you want to be, but understand that not everyone is lucky enough to get there. Approach your dreams with a healthy, but not crippling sense of skepticism and have a Plan B. Get good at something else. While money isn’t everything it is, sadly something that we all need to survive and support. Learn how to balance a checkbook, even if your “checkbook” is a blank sheet of paper on your desk. Your Mom-Mom Minnie used to say “eat to live, but don’t live to eat.” Splurge only when you’ve paid your bills and have a bit left over, even if “splurging” is little more than a cheese steak, cheese fries and a Hawaiian Punch. Trust me: You’ll still appreciate the Hell out of it and savor every bite or sip.

5. Never give up hope. There will be times of depression… Doldrum. Moments when you think you are stuck, and your inclination will be to just STOP. Climb under a blanket, put on a news program, or a TV show/movie and just sit quietly, unmovable. Your phone will ring, or beep with notifications and you’ll absently look at it and say “no. I’m not going to answer that.” These moments? They are okay. Normal. Not everyone can be an eternal optimist all the time. The weight of the world will bear down upon your shoulders and many times, the solution will be beyond your control. But trust in your strength and resolve… Let these moments run their course. Eventually? You will get back up. You’ll formulate a plan and follow it because it’s in your genes to do so. Marshes never surrender. We get hit, but we get back up. We’re stubborn like that. And if you ever need help, a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to, don’t hesitate. Call. You don’t have to do it all yourself. You are and always will be loved and supported because if nothing else, YOU are my purpose. YOU are my Magnum Opus.

There are days these days when I try, and fail to remember what life was like BEFORE. Before COVID. Before separation/divorce. Before Single Dadhood. Before mortgages and bills. And while remembering my “Dark and Twisty” period may be easier these days than remembering 2017, or even February 2020, I know that one day soon, this doldrum… this “Dark Winter” that I… Sh*t, that we are living in will pass. We may never be the same as we were before. But do we want that? Really. Who we were before COVID has been laid stark and in clear relief because of it and so many other factors (that’s a whole other blog post). Divided. Devisive. Is this what we want for our children? Survey says: No. It is not. They need to be the beneficiaries of the lessons we have learned on both a micro and macro scale. Our shared purpose is to make the universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence better for them. Not ENDWORLD, but a world without end. Limitless. Spectacular.

Goodnight all. Sleep calls. And in sleep? Dreams. Maybe this time I’ll remember them come the morning.