Where everybody knows your name

Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You
You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

Years ago, when my daughter was about nine, I stumbled upon a little pub. It was Sunday evening and I was taking her back to my ex after her weekend visit with me. I had noticed it on the way there so on my way back I thought I would step in and have a beer or two. I had for years loved craft brews so I thought maybe… just maybe they would have something good.

Turns out this little place has about 150 different beers, about a dozen or so on tap. Just my luck huh. Annnnd… It also happened to be the open mic. Beer and live acoustic music. Double luck!

I don’t really remember specifics about that night but I do remember I had planned to only stay for a couple of beers… maybe an hour or so. I stayed past midnight listening to those really terrible, amateur open mic-ers but despite the fact that they may have been terrible, I thought they were amazing and courageous and cool and most importantly… having fun making music.

You see 17 years earlier I had been a music major but a lack of discipline, a loss of my scholarship and a general apathetic attitude found me leaving the department and music altogether. There were a number of reasons but mostly it just didn’t feel right anymore. It was work… hard work. I didn’t like trying so hard at music. It wasn’t fun anymore.

But this! This ‘open mic’ thing. This looked fun. It felt right. This I could do.

0_o

If I knew how to play an instrument, could actually sing worth a damn, wasn’t terrified outta my gourd to get up on that little stage in front of all two dozen of the people who weren’t really paying attention. Continue reading

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first time running in a couple of years

Writing 101, Day 12: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon
Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.

I normally don’t go running. Those days are probably long past me. Running days that is. Because it seems like the past few times I’ve attempted to run, the next few days see my body hurting in ways that don’t feel good… at all.

But I wanted to get some kind of workout done today so I could keep up the momentum I’ve had going from the past couple of weeks. It was kinda late to go on a run but there’s no way I could have gotten on my bike since the sun was well under the horizon and the faintest of light was slipping away.

So with barely any light left in the day, I put on my running shoes and headed out.

Despite being mid-June on the Gulf Coast Plains, it was surprisingly nice outside. Of course the sun was down but it seems this time of year, even at night the humidity can be suffocating. But not tonight. There was actually a little bit of a breeze and the mosquitoes seemed to be taking a break from their usual game of “let’s see if we can carry someone off in less than 30 seconds”.

So as I hobbled down the road, my muscles began to warm up a little and after a minute I stretch. Then run, then stretch, then run and stretch. After several minutes I begin to tell myself my hamstrings won’t snap like dry rotted rubber bands.

I was still a few hundred yards from the running trail that is away from the streets when some asshole came tearing through the neighborhood at about 40 miles an hour. (for my non U.S. friends I believe that is about 60km per hour) This, in a residential area where one should, at the fastest, drive 20 miles per hour (or about 30 km per hour)

“Fucking asshole!”
Man, one day someone’s going to get run over on this street, I thought to myself.

Continue reading

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memories from childhood

“Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs: Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.”

Our assignment from yesterday above. My attempt below. I guess I pulled off little to no adverbs in this post but it seems like this may have veered  a little off the assignment’s intended course.

***

I went out to lunch today. It hasn’t been a normal occurrence the past few weeks. No, instead I eat at my desk and continuously put my brain through all kinds of calisthenics, trying to learn the intricacies and nuances of the job that our senior payroll clerk left a month ago.

Today, though, I decided to leave the office for an hour of respite. And where did I go? I decided I was going to sit. I decided I was going to take myself away from the grind if not for just 40 minutes. I decided to sit my big ass in a chair, at a table, with silverware and treat myself to some barbecue.

It’s strange isn’t it, how the smell of something so familiar can still take you back to a far off place. As I walk in to the restaurant synapses begin triggering and firing, chemicals and tiny electrical impulses flaring to create a view of my grandfather behind his grill basting a brisket and slow cooking chicken.

BCGs vietnam

by photobucket user Wayne Auld

In the military we called them BCG’s (birth control glasses). You know the type.. those black, plastic rimmed glasses that always popup during television features. There will be the requisite veteran from Vietnam holding a 3×5 black and white photo of himself, shirtless, youthful, strong, vibrant holding an M-16 against the backdrop of the jungle with those quirky glasses that are now so popular with young 20-something hipsters.

That’s what he wore. BCGs and despite Continue reading

wishful thinking for a future daughter

Writing 101, Day Six: A Character-Building Experience Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

I don’t think I pulled this off as well as I could have but time constraints.

***

It’s been years since my daughter would be here on the weekends. The result of the divorce from her mother left me only seeing her on weekends and Wednesdays and now that she is half way through college and the workload is consistently getting harder I am relegated to the occasional text and phone call.

Certainly I could call but I want to leaver her be. I don’t want to be like her mother, reinforcing apron strings instead of cutting them. I’d rather let the girl go out on her own without the shadow of a helicopter over her.

But I ache for my little girl. I do miss her.

So when I met Caroline, the 11 year old daughter of a friend at church, I quickly felt a paternal attraction to her because Continue reading