In Which I Blog About the Impending Launch of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and Say THANK YOU

Good Evening fellow denizens of this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. I’ve been posting over on the Endworld site all week and I figured that Random Musings deserved a little love. So? Here I am. This isn’t going to be a long post, and honestly? It’s likely not going to be as frantic as many of the others I’ve written. The fact is that I’m too tired to consider life, the universe and everything tonight. I’ll save that for when I’m NOT in the middle of a book launch. Yep. You read that right. The long awaited sequel to ENDWORLD – A Novel is HERE. Shocking, huh?

Well? Technically it won’t be here until Saturday morning, the 27th but you CAN pre-order the ebook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks et al RIGHT NOW. I’d be remiss in my duties as a shameless, self-promoting, now TWO TIME Indie Novelist if I didn’t write something over here, as well as on the Endworld site so… Yep. Here you go!

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is now available for pre-order on the following ebook platforms:

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD will eventually be available in print on Amazon, as well (6X9, trade edition paperback, 452 pages) for $15.99 EACH. I should have the proof of it in my hands tomorrow and as soon as I look at it, and verify that it looks good I’ll go live with it. I’m hoping for Saturday so keep your fingers crossed. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as it’s available!

Additionally, if anyone that’s new to the world of the Madchronicler and his alter ego, Frank Marsh (oh sh*t! That’s me!) wants to start reading The Endworld Series, now is the time to do it! Book One, ENDWORLD – A Novel IS available in print, on Amazon (6X9, trade edition paperback, 426 pages) for $15.99 EACH. You can link it HERE. Or, if you prefer an ebook, you can get it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $0.99 EACH right now! You support is, as always, and remains more appreciated than you know!

Speaking of support and appreciation, I’ve popped over here tonight to say THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone that has pre-ordered, liked, shared, commented, Retweeted et al since I announced the first pre-orders this past Monday night. My heart is sufficiently warmed by the response I’ve seen from both old readers that have been patiently waiting for CHILDREN for six years, and new ones that are discovering The Endworld Series for the first time. The thing is, self-publishing? It’s a bit of a chore. And I’m not a huge fan of self-promotion, despite how it looks at times like this. Honestly? All I want is to tell a story. The same one that’s been plaguing my mind for a couple of decades. And the fact that so many of you, reading this right now want to hear it? That’s amazing. And I am beyond fortunate. In truth? I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. To create art AND be able to entertain? That’s the dream, man. It’s always been my dream. And I’m getting to live it right now. So booyakasha to all of you. A thousand times over. MAD respect. Please excuse me while I go mist up in the corner.

That said? I guess I’m done for the moment. Not done writing. Oh no. Far from it. I have many words left to write, and a lot more story… Stories to tell. Tales from Endworld, other Skews, maybe even from the farthest ends of the known universe. Who knows? God willing I’ll have the time to write everything. It always killed me that Chaucer never got to finish THE CANTERBURY TALES on his terms. My will alone should be enough to keep me alive and kicking, long enough to write everything I need to. ‘Cause writing isn’t a choice, all. It’s an imperative. We all have one or more and this one is mine.

So… ONE MORE DAY. One more day until CHILDREN is out there. For better OR worse. I won’t know for a bit. But I gave it my all, I did it for YOU, and I am proud of the finished product. If you read it, please review it! And if you like it, tell your friends about it! And one last time before it launches? THANK YOU.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face.

F.

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On the Road to 100, What I’ve Learned and What I Still Have to Learn on This Side of the Proverbial Wormhole of Existence

Wow. I wonder if that wins the award for my longest title ever. Survey says? Not even close. Thank you Richard Dawson! Please, don’t kiss me. Wait. What? Richard Dawson is dead? Oh my God. He died in 2012 (thanks Wikipedia; mind the gap). Figures. I haven’t even thought of him since I wrote about him, so long ago in Random Musings Version 1.0. I guess him kissing me is not a concern any longer, huh? Cool. Insert sigh of relief HERE. Now I can focus on the business at hand. Which is…

Drum roll PLEASE…

Blog Entry Number 100! Yay! We made it! You, me, Pinky Lee, Rizzo, Kenickie and everyone else that has had or will have a featured role in blog entries past/this blog entry. It’s been a long and winding road to get to this point, and I can think of a number of people to thank. Even Dennis Rodman who–fun fact–was the featured topic of one of my lesser read pieces of Mental Flatulence, “In Which I Abruptly Break from Writing CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD to Discuss a Topic of International Importance.” I tried to look up the stats on that one and couldn’t, but if I remember correctly, it was around 10. Yes, 10. No, not 10 visitors. 10 views. And two or three of them were likely me. It just goes to show how relevant Dennis Rodman was back in 2016, huh? I honestly don’t think it’s changed much in the intervening time since. If anything, he’s even less relevant now. I could argue the same about myself but… ah sh*t. I digress. Crap, when do I ever not?

Since I’m a bit of a stat guy, here’s a couple. Mind you, these are the stats for Random Musings 2.0. I am unable to view my pre-2.0 stats, i.e. my 1.0 stats though for the record, those blog entries/pieces of Mental Flatulence WERE imported to this site, shortly after I made the change and hence would count toward my total views, vistors etc..  So? Ah, screw it. Let’s just count ’em all together. I can’t imagine that 1.0 got a ton of traffic pre-Wordpress anyway.

Random Musings Version 1.0 and 2.0, since 2012:

Views: 6,353
Visitors: 4,313
Best [Daily] Views Ever: November 3, 2016; 546 (“Remembering the Mayor of Maple Street”)
Most Popular Day: Tuesday; 45% of all views
Most Popular Time: 7PM; 29% of all views
Total WordPress Followers: 75

Survey says? Not uber-impressive by any standard though it warms my heart, to this day to see how much interest “Remembering the Mayor of Maple Street” had early on and has had in the time since. That one came from the heart, guys and gals. The best I could do to eulogize, in my own way, a giant among men. Thank you for reading it. And thank you for reading… well sh*t, everything I’ve written on here. Even the one about Dennis Rodman. All 10 of you. Views. Not visitors. God Bless.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this previously but it bears repeating herein: Writing, for me, was never about fame. It wasn’t about fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory. If that came with it great. But it’s just… it’s simple, really. It’s something I like to do. I always have and hopefully always will. Writing was always about speaking my mind and saying what I needed to say when I was afraid to say it aloud. About telling a story. Whether people agreed with me or not, and more than a few of you disagreed with me over the years. The one about Charlie Brown growing up and the one about “Dora the Explorer: A J. J. Abrams Film” were especially polarizing. Thanks for never being afraid to call me out. Booyakasha. Respect.

People over the years have asked me “why?” Why write? Why keep at it when you have no way of knowing for sure whether you’ll ever achieve anything more than a localized, social media-driven following, along with a semi-fervent Endworld fan base in, of all places, Central America? The answer to that question is relatively simple, and it’s been the same, every time someone has asked me it. Why? In the immortal words of Jane’s Addiction, “Just Because.” Just because. Because if I can speak to one person… if I can write something that affects a single soul on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence then in my eyes? I’ve done my job. I’ve succeeded. Sure, I’d love to be the guy or girl that gets to write for a living, but maybe… just maybe that’s not in the cards for me, AKA El Autoro, AKA your old buddy the Madchronicler. And if it’s not? If this blog, and my completed two novels in The Endworld Series—along with the barely started third—are my legacy then so be it. Fates be kind. I hope y’all have enjoyed the ride ‘cause I sure as sh*t have.

All that said, I hope to continue this ride with you for many, many years to come. Honestly? There was a part of me that considered ending Random Musings with this blog entry. I even discussed it with someone I recently re-connected with a few weeks ago. Their question? “Why?” Why stop? What point save for a symbolic one would stopping serve? I couldn’t answer them then, but I can now. Why? What point? In short: None. Like Miley Cyrus I can’t and won’t stop because these trite, long-form brain farts that I classed up with the phrase Mental Flatulence many, many moons ago when I, my friends and family all lived in and around J-Town, Oz and/or State Pen and no one lived anyplace else are as much a part of me as Endworld is.

Many of you reading this right now know me. You know that I’ve always been a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. I guess you could… you can argue that I further wear my words on my sleeve. Sleeves. Plural. Because I’ve written a lot. A veritable sh*t ton of material, honestly, not all of which you’ve seen and not all of which will see the light of day before I shuffle off this mortal coil many, many moons from now God willing. And at it’s core everything that I’ve ever written has been a reflection of some aspect of me. The person I was. The person I am. The person I want to be. The ideal I dream of. The hero I wish I was in the case of William MacNuff. So? If you tuned out a long time ago like 75% of The Walking Dead’s audience (not me, though; I remain invested and Godd*mn! Aren’t the Whispererers, specifically Beta bada**?) and just popped back over to see what I’ve been up to for 99, now 100 blog posts you should probably look away. Look away NOW. Because this isn’t the end. It’s an end, but not the end. Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 3.0? Perhaps. To go along with Frank Marsh Version 3.0. Survey says? Sure! Why the f*ck not?

Yeah. I guess a reboot of sorts is in order, isn’t it? I think I’ll stay here, though: I’ve kind of gotten used to this URL (though I have to figure out how to get that 2.0 out of it and replace it with a 3.0). Random Musings Version 3.0, otherwise known as yet another attempt by me, one of a number of sh*theads living on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence (the world is still full of them, ya’ know; sh*theads, not wormholes) to make sense of an oft times screwed up universe in his… in my own, occasionally self-reflective way. Because let’s face it, everyone: The universe is inherently f*cked up. It doesn’t matter which side of the wormhole you live on, or what you believe or whether you’ve been reading my ramblings for the last seven to 10 years or you just started reading now. The bottom line is that it’s virtually impossible to make sense out of chaos. Senselessness. And yet despite how it appears on the surface at it’s core, I have always believed and will always believe that there is an underlying beauty to the universe on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Call it God if you want. A representation of the infinite in any number of spiritual creeds. The All as they call it in Endworld. It’s there. It’s something. There is order beneath the madness and that, friends? That’s what I sought out many, many years ago when I started writing and it’s still what I’m looking for now, at 43 plus years old. Maybe this is the way I find it. Maybe you get to find it with me. Who knows? If you find it before me, though, please let me know. A simple phone call, text message, PM or email will suffice. I really appreciate it.

Which sadly (sad for me; you might be thanking the almighty right now and if you are, it’s cool) brings me to the end of Blog Entry Number 100 which, if I look back over the road that got me here, is really exactly what it should be. No fanfare. More a whisper than a scream. More retrospection and reflection. A little bullsh*t. A touch of Richard Dawson and Dennis Rodman, a sprinkle of Miley Cyrus and a well-remembered, and always loved Mayor of Maple Street. A sh*thead here and a sh*thead there, a wormhole, an alternate reality or two, some stuff about Endworld and me, the former El Autoro turned Madchronicler ruminating on life, the universe and everything because if I don’t write it and do it internally, my brain will explode. Being known as the guy who thought too hard and blew up his brain? Not the kind of fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory that I’m looking for.

One thing I did want to do before calling it quits on my first 100 blog entries, though, was look back on the first one. Yeah, that one. From Random Musings Version 1.0. The one that started this big a** boulder rolling. The title was “I guess in a way, you always end up right back where you started.” Back then, I was 33 years old. I was toiling away at a little company called Advanced Fluid Systems in Royersford, PA. I was married and a homeowner with two “furry children named Pandora and Roxy” and I was anticipating the arrival of my first, human child. Nicole and I had decided to name her Cara Angelina Marsh. Cara for “beloved” (in Italian) and “friend” (in Irish), and Angelina for it’s Italian meaning—“angel”—and Nicole’s then-94 year old grandmother. “Beloved Angel.” It wasn’t much of a composition—nothing monumental—but looking back on it now—after so much “life, man, life”—I see what it was. What it did. It was a beginning. The first concrete thing I had written in a very, very long time. The rewritten ENDWORLD – A NOVEL evolved from it. CHILDREN, as well. The soon-to-be rewritten HEAVEN. A handful of short stories and other, started but not completed novels and novellas. And now 99 others pieces of Mental Flatulence. Not only was it a beginning. Looking back now, I think that it was THE beginning. And that, guys and gals? That makes me smile. ‘Cause here I am now, 10 years later, after so much has changed and I’m still doing it. Exactly what I always wanted to do. A little bit for me but mainly? For you. Always you.

All of you. And You? Yeah, you. You too.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. And thank you. Always.

Frank Marsh

A Quick Hit on a Cold Night in March 2019

So I have this little tradition that I keep to when I finish writing something big. Not just one of these, little pieces of Mental Flatulence. By “big” I mean a novel, and by a novel I mean the two… yes, TWO that I’ve now completed in my 43 plus year existence on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. For those that haven’t seen my social media feed, guess what? CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is done. Edited. E-Formatted. All that I have left to do now is format it for print and wait on my cover. For anyone that’s interested in the final specs, it clocked in at 397 pages total. That’s a bit shorter than ENDWORLD – A NOVEL, which came in at 442. That number will obviously change when the final, print formatting is done but it’s a good gauge of how much went into this. Almost six years of writing—with extended spells of not writing a word because of, as Beast Boy says in “Teen Titans GO,” “life, man… life.” When I first started writing it, I was an impressionable, 37 year old, first time novelist. Now? I’m still impressionable. But I’ve lived a lot of “life, man… life” in the years since I wrote “I’ve been here before.” No need to rehash the specifics of my life, lived herein. I’ve done that enough, haven’t I?

Some of you may know this and some of you may not, but when I start writing something—whether it’s an Endworld book or one of my many, aborted other attempts at writing—I create a playlist on my Spotify. There are a whopping three, related to this at the moment and they are, aptly titled If ENDWORLD Had A Soundtrack, If CHILDREN Had A Soundtrack and If HEAVEN Had A Soundtrack. All are publicly viewable and able to be listened to if you so desire. If you want to check them out, drop me a line and I’ll shoot you the link(s). I think they’re pretty good. A bit on the dark side. Nary a Taylor Swift song on any of them, though I think… yep. “Love The Way You Lie” by Rhianna is on there. They skew mainly 90s and 00s Alt Rock and Classic Rock, with a little classical thrown in. So? If you love you some Social Distortion and Metallica, alongside Billy Joel and Bonnie Raitt, then your musical tastes are as eclectic and fucked up as mine and OMG, DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS!?

Seriously, though, music has been and remains one of my biggest sources of inspiration. That, and real life. The people I know and have known; the ones I’ve loved and sadly lost. My kids. Even my work from time to time. These playlists are exhausted over the time that I am writing the book or story they are related to. I think I’ve listened to If CHILDREN 100 or more times, all the way through. It was constantly on in the background while I was writing and occasionally, it bled over onto the pages like “life, man… life.” There’s a Pink Floyd reference in CHILDREN. A Beatles reference, too. They’re veiled—getting the rights to anything like that is a pain—but they’re there. Anywhos, my tradition? I listen to the soundtrack, most representative of the book or story I just finished writing one more time. Today? I’m listening to If CHILDREN and once it’s done? It’ll be retired forever.

It’s amazing to me how much music can reflect your life. Or rather, the music you listen to. A friend once told me that “God speaks to you through the radio” and gosh darnit, she was right! Take now. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” by Elton John just came on. Apropos? You bet. The playlists start out small—maybe 25 or so songs—but over the course of writing and living they grow, and blossom. Songs are added, and others are removed. Today, If CHILDREN has… 102 songs total on it. Everything from “My Immortal” by Evanescence to “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” by Otis Redding. And those are just the last two that played before Sir Elton! There’s instrumental—Beethoven’s “Pathetique” is on all three playlists—and electronica—“Derezzed” by Daft Punk makes ENDWORLD and CHILDREN, but not HEAVEN and to tell you why would venture into spoiler territory so I’m going to STOP before I go there.

The point is that the final listen-through? It’s equal parts cathartic and soul cleansing. I find myself, reluctantly or not reliving a lot of what I went through from start to finish over the course of writing it. Love. Action and adventure. Parenthood. Loss. You name it, and it’s there. Memories. Like snapshots in a Viewmaster. Fading Polaroids of moments in time, captured forever. Nothing more. The Why or the How of something that happened to me? It’s no longer significant. I’ve cried my tears. Shit, I cried when I posted the final specs on CHILDREN earlier today and teared up again when I started reading and replying to people’s responses. It’s the end of an era in my life! I’ll still cry more in the days, months and years to come, but the ones that I’ve shed before this? They’re gone now. This house… this vessel? It’s clean. FINALLY. There is only the NOW. Ever-present and more significant than ever. My friend? I missed you. Now lets go fuck some shit up, turn the universe on its ear and be spectacular.

That said, this isn’t going to be a long blog post. I just got done doing my taxes and between that and work my brain is basically oatmeal. But I wanted to write something. Needed to. Because now that CHILDREN is done and HEAVEN is underway… the circumstances of my life are different. And life inspires. And while CHILDREN is a much different book than ENDWORLD, I can almost guarantee that HEAVEN will be something else entirely. Still, there are a few people I want to thank and sadly, I only get one dedication per book (that’s the unwritten, writer’s law, folks; sorry). Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way. The dedication at the beginning of CHILDREN has been written for a long, long time and I’ll reveal it to you at the end of this composition. But in the interim:

To the musical artists that inspired me to create three Spotify playlists and write now TWO novels (holy crap: I’m still in shock): From Evanescence to Otis Redding, Beethoven to Daft Punk, Soundgarden, Shinedown, Drowning Pool, Adele and Dire Straits and everyone in between, thank you. Thank you for writing music that inspired and continues to inspire people daily.

To the people that inspired me, both present and past, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. You know who you are. The O’Briens and Wetherhills. The surnameless Mercs and Explorators. Vogelsongs. MacIntyres. Refields. McClanes. Markinsons and… you get the point. Sadly, I cannot promise that you all made it out of CHILDREN intact, nor can I assure you that you will survive HEAVEN. Seriously, though, I tried to save as many of you as I could but… yeah. I failed. What I can promise you is that you served or continue to serve the story well and that regardless of your fate, you are and always will be, forever, a part of Endworld, another universe on another side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. To quote House Greyjoy: “What is dead may never die!” Even when the pages have yellowed and turned to dust.

To Nicole Marsh, who was there for Book One, and a good portion of Book Two. To not thank her for being my sounding board and live-in critic would be careless of me. Regardless of where we are now, her support throughout much of the writing process—which is oft times a very, lonely place—cannot go unrecognized. It was always nice to come back from that place that we writers go and see her there. Funny story, folks: In ENDWORLD – A NOVEL, there is a character, named Nicole who pops up briefly at a very specific point. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment but if you read it, you likely remember it. Nicole always gave me a ream of shit for her “cameo appearance” in ENDWORLD. As I explained to her then and I’ll explain to you now, The Endworld Series was always more than just a trilogy of books. Sure, they’re a self-contained story. William MacNuff’s story. From onset to the end which is, sadly, coming soon but there’s more to it than just that. There’s so, SO much more to write once I’m done William’s story. Will I? I leave that up to the whim of fate. And if I’m meant to, I will. But that character features prominently in another story. God willing, you’ll all get to read it one day. One novel at a time, though.

To the universe for consistently making my life interesting. You’ve got a sick sense of humor dude/dudette, but I love you. Thanks for always managing to put a smile on my face, even if it’s a nervous one.

And last, but certainly not least to my children, Cara and Natalie. You two? You’re my everything. I honestly don’t tell you that enough and I should. Daily. The love I feel for you… well? It transcends anything else I’ve ever felt in my life. I may never achieve anything beyond what I already have from this day forth but the fact that you two exist? I am blessed. Barring anything else, you two are and will remain my legacy. Which is why, when it came time to consider and decide upon the dedication to CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD there was, honestly, no alternative.

To Cara and Natalie, my beloved children of this world.

Je’taime.

I think that’s as good a place as any to end, don’t you? “Welcome To The Machine” by Pink Floyd just ended and now? Silence. If CHILDREN Had A Soundtrack is over and hereafter retired. On to If HEAVEN and just for shits and giggles, I shuffled it. Song number one? “When We Were Young” by Adele. Apropos? You bet. Thanks universe. You have always been and remain a fickle and unpredictable companion.

Winky emoticon guys and gals. Smiley face. And holy crap: This was blog entry number 99! Coming soon: Entry number 100! I still have no idea what it’ll be about but stay tuned. And I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

F.

On Saturday Morning Dance Class, Clarity of Purpose and Shameless Plugs

Ah, Saturday morning. Depending on which Saturday it is, I’m either at dance class with my minions or chilling in my sun room, watching Sportscenter. As is, this Saturday falls into the dance class category and here I am, sitting in my customary, corner spot on the bench, closest to the front window of the studio. Generally, when I’m not actively writing a novel, I spend the two hours that I’m here reading. Lately, it’s been the Nate Temple, supernatural thriller novels by Shayne Silvers which–shameless plug for Mister Silvers–are awesome. So, if you’re looking for a good read, and the supernatural is your thing, check him and them out. Then, come back and read CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD in a few months when I publish it! End shameless plug.

Saturday morning dance class has evolved a lot over the years. Three studios and almost eight years after Cara started, I’m exactly where I’ve been for the last six plus. From the Top in Newtown Square, PA. And here’s another shameless plug: If you’re considering introducing your kid or kids, boy or girl to dance and you live in the vicinity of Newtown Square, PA, come to From the Top. Miss Sheila and her team of phenomenal teachers don’t just teach kids how to dance. They teach children how to become teens and, later, adults. They teach responsibility and discipline. They’re one of the greatest things to ever happen to my minions and… There you go. End shameless plug. I now return you to your regular piece of Mental Flatulence, already in progress.

What’s on my mind this morning? Why have I opted to write instead of read? In truth, a lot. And honestly not all stuff I can write about right now. My mind is a veritable hodgepodge of ideas and emotions at present and all I can do is just sit back, and enjoy the fact that for the first time in a very long time, I feel alive. Everything around me–from the map of Michigan I have hanging on the wall of my cubicle at work to the three or four, distinct conversations that are transpiring around me as I write this–has taken on a deeper hue. Is life great? Meh. It’s good. It’s evolving. And that’s part of the reason for this new clarity that I’m experiencing right now. Gone are my Saturday morning Tweetstorms about Crumba and #ThingsIThinkIThink from my customary spot on the bench in Miss Sheila’s lobby. Now, when I Tweet, it’s usually a Retweet of something my buddy Austen posted, or something the #WritingCommunity stated. BTW, since I have now renamed this “On Saturday Morning Dance Class, Clarity of Purpose and Shameless Plugs” here’s another of the latter: Austen McGee. He’s an emerging, short story writer and he’s good. REAL good. Check him, and his award nominated work out on Twitter @AustenMcGee. My personal favorite is “How To Influence Friends and Make People” but there’s more… A LOT more to read so do it. Please. End plug.

I guess I’ve always been inspired by a little chaos. Not a lot. A lot turns me into a veritable wreck, cowering in the corner in fetal position until such time as someone I care about, and occasionally a stranger comes along and tells me to get the f*ck up. And I always do. Sometimes it takes a bit but I’ve never… Stayed down? Conceded? I don’t believe in giving up and neither should you. As Rocky Balboa–a regular fixture in these writings anymore–said once upon a time, “It’s not about how hard you get hit. It’s about about how often you get hit, and get back up.” The only thing that’ll ever TKO my a** is mortality and even then, when that moment finally comes I have every intention of fighting until the bitter end. Because I believe in…

Wait for it…

Mind the gap…

The Dream. The end result of the path I’ve been on on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence for 43 plus years. For the first time in a long time I can see the path again. MY path. We all have one. It’s a combination of what we need to do to survive–our oft times mundane, routine existence–and our dreams. Mine hasn’t changed. It’s been a bit since I last wrote of it and when I did, the only people that read these little pieces of Mental Flatulence we’re my friends and immediate family. So I feel like I can recap it… Frame it here for everyone to read. Hopefully see. And maybe draw inspiration from.

In it–when I close my eyes and envision it–I’m on a beach. I live there. And I’m looking out over the beach and the water before me from the back deck of my house. Distant but moving closer to my left is a squall line, and lightning is visible in the clouds within and behind it. I look at my watch and instinctively time it out. Five minutes away. Maybe less. Closer to me, near the shoreline are two children–one boy and one girl–and they’re picking at the Horseshoe Crab that just washed ashore. It’s still alive, and I shout to them to “put the crab back in the water–pick it up by it’s tail so you don’t get pinched. And get inside! There’s a storm coming.” They look up at me, nod, pick up the crab by it’s tail and do as I asked. Assuming they will follow instructions I turn from the beach, and reenter my house so as to turn off anything electric, including my computer, upon which I’m writing a long-overdue sequel to my original, trilogy of books. Once done, I return to the deck and see that the kids have vanished, and the storm has arrived. Wind-driven rain lashes against the windows of my house forcibly and lightning strikes the area surrounding me sporadically. Thunder booms hollowly and the once docile sea is being whipped into a frenzy. I feel a moment’s apprehension at the disappearance of the children but I know that they are safe. Likely sheltering behind a dune or beneath a pier somewhere near.

I watch as the storm exhausts itself and fizzles within 10 minutes of when it began. I follow it through the sky, up-beach, the curtain of water falling from it obscuring the land in that direction. I can see the sun peaking out from the clouds above and over the water and a barely visible rainbow forms in it’s wake. I hear shouting from down-beach and I turn in that direction. I see the kids running toward me, soaked, but safe and excited. I see that one of them carries something in their hands. As they gain the deck and run up, the girl runs over to me to show me what she carries. It is a flat, disc-shaped piece of glass that must have formed when one of the lightning strikes hit the beach. I congratulate her… Them on their find and invite them inside as I simultaneously hear the front door to the house open, and a voice calls out my name and says “I’m home!” I turn in that direction as the children run past me, my heart leaping as boot falls echo on the hardwood floor, moving closer and closer until finally they round the corner into the room I am in and…

I smile. Fade to Black. End vision. Dream. Whatever you want to call it. I’ve always speculated a bit on what happens next. I won’t do so herein because it’s honestly in flux. Always has been. I think that what happens next is, for lack of a better description, to be determined and a product of time. The WHEN of the outcome I just wrote about is dependent on a lot of factors. But it’s there. MY end result. And guys and gals? We all have one.

So if you’re struggling to find your path, friends and occasional readers, understand that it’s okay. It’s acceptable to question where you’re going. But the answer is right in front of you. You’ll see it one day. When your mind is clear. My only suggestion is that when that day comes if it hasn’t yet, don’t be afraid. No matter how hard it seems or how daunting the task or tasks before you, believe that it’s right. Find strength within yourself and without to do what you need to do to make it happen. I’m not there yet. I’ve still got a ways to go but clarity of purpose has returned to my life. One day, I’m going to be that guy, in the beach house, watching his… Likely grandchildren now play on the beach and hide from the storm. I’m a lot grayer than I was when I originally wrote of it and I’ll likely be even grayer when it finally happens but will I get there? Yes. I will. And when that day comes I’ll be happy, the days of mindlessly ruminating on Crumba and #ThingsIThinkIThing in 140 characters or less from my customary corner spot on the bench by the window in Miss Sheila’s lobby long behind me. Gone. But never forgotten.

And with that? Post number 98 between Random Musings 1.0 and 2.0 is done. It’s only taken me… about 10 years to get here. Ten years, two novels, three jobs, two homes, two children, a lot of fish, three cats, one dog and one marriage later and I’m still going. I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and I’ve thanked a lot of people. Today? A shout out to everyone and every place that I mentioned within this composition. Booyakasha. Respect.

Only one more post to go before I hit 100 and that one needs to be a big one. I’m not sure what it’ll be about yet. Heck, I’m not even sure what 99 is going to be about yet but when I figure it out? I promise that you will be the first to know.

Winky emoticon, friends, family and readers. Smiley face. I now return you to your regular lives and respective paths, already in progress.

F.