Talking to Myself

It’s easy for me to admit now. I don’t relate well to others.(sigh) Some of it’s by design, some by default.

I have varying viewpoints on subject matter that don’t correlate with the standard norms and social conventions. It is indeed a double edged sword.

Over time, I was forced to stop my inner conflict and come to terms with this. As the days continued to drift on by, it became a pill that was easier to swallow. Because I don’t relate well, I see things differently. I experience life and what it has to offer on a different wavelength. And I can’t turn it off.

The down side to this way of life is obvious. It’s an isolationist lifestyle. Conversations with others outside my circle are attempted surface conversations only. I don’t have a large and wide option of friends. The friends I do have, however, are treasured relationships but I can count them all on one hand.

In actuality, I wouldn’t have that any other way. Simplicity and trust is essential to my complex universe.

Additional downsides include sometimes being forced to bite my tongue and keeping my opinions to myself. Watching the experiences of others from a distance or (in regards to social media) reading the experiences and dialogue of others and doing my best to not butt in (and boy have I come across a doozie or two recently). Allowing people to slowly approach but keeping them at arms length.

I’ve had to recreate solid ground to stand upon, so I had something I could stand for. Viewing trust as a reward as opposed to something that’s just given away willy nilly without taking all possible variables into consideration.

Well, Jere. That sounds really, really sad. 

The upside to this life style, outweighs all possible negatives. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to concern myself with impressing anyone. I can be honest. For instance, I never have to consider the costs, stress and preparation of hosting a dinner party with wine, or mixed drinks, fancy appetizers and matching dinnerware to impress others around me. You come to my place to eat, we listen the 1979 Star Trek the Motion Picture LP, or Led Zeppelin while playing Risk or some dice related table top game, Phase Ten or Chess, eating pizza and chips, or Chinese Food, waiting for the brownies to finish cooking all the while sipping strong coffee. Then, it’s outside to sit on the porch and chat about things.

I can be myself without fear of reprisal or condemnation. I’m not forced to wear a multitude of hats and disguises for varying occasions depending on who I’ll be around, or where I’ll be. I can talk the way I want to talk. I don’t need to blend in, be fake, fight for attention, lie, or ever have to worry about personal hypocrisy. In fact, when I encounter hypocrisy, lairs and fakery, I want nothing more than to lash out and speak my piece.

Yet, I don’t. If someone wishes for me to intervene and speak my mind on their behalf, all they have to do is ask.

I don’t care about people’s personal opinions of me and it’s so freeing. I know who I am. I don’t need verification from outsiders. If someone doesn’t like me, it’s probably because they were force fed some negative bullshit about me, or who I am, and if that be the case I scoff with a resounding Ha!!

Or… perhaps I did give them a true blue reason to speak ill will of me or talk about me in some negative way and if that be true, then it’s something I’ll have to accept. Either way… I don’t care about the negative anymore.

I digress.

In order to accomplish my goals, I’ve had to adopt this way of life. I’ve had to be honest and say no. I’ve had to ignore from time to time. I’ve had to disappoint. To bottom line it all, I’ve had to be true to me. As a wise man once told me, “You, are the only one who will always look out for you. No one else can take care of you, but you.”

Being myself has bitten me in the bum on more than one occasion, but those days are in the past and I no longer dwell. As of this moment, it’s time to focus on the future. At any and all cost. Especially in this day and age.

Living life as a part time hermit is a tricky one. It’s a never ending battle.

“Do I want to do this, that, or the other thing? I know what I have to do. What do I focus on today?”

“OK… let’s find a way to squeeze it all in.”

That’s the most rewarding thing (in my opinion) about calling the shots and being true to myself. Having long periods of time where I’m all alone and devoid of company. I get to do what I want (within reason), when I can, without ever shirking responsibilities. I can find time to manage it all without burning out. I can binge watch a few shows, play a game, chill out with my kiddo, hang out with Nancy, doodle, help others as needed, chat with my buddies, write, work the jobby job and complete my chores and never once feel as though I missed out on anything.

I’ll be honest though… it’s not always easy. Like I said, it’s a huge pill to swallow. I was always afraid of missing out on something.

Being who I am, has always conflicted with what I believed others thought I should be, or what I should be doing with my life. But at some point over the years, I stopped caring about that. At one point along the journey I snapped, had a nice long drawn out conversation with myself and realized I was allowing too many people to live in my head and it was time to clear out the clutter. The only one who belongs in my mind is me.

Talking to myself has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Luckily, most of my internal dialogue is akin to chatting with a close friend. I know and understand my good friends for the most part and what we discuss, and I know myself, so having these little chats while I’m alone is comfortable.

“Jere, are you sure you’re not just slowly losing your marbles?”

“To be honest, I’ve never been more sure. But thanks for asking.”

I was invited to attend a function not too long ago and early on I was approached by an attendee. I was told outright through small talk with a total stranger, if I didn’t watch a specific news network, on a certain channel, I was crazy and I needed to start watching it. The rest of our uncomfortable conversation was me trying to look impressed and not bored wishing she’d leave me alone and find someone else in the room who might relate to her.

Crazy? Really? If that’s normal I don’t want sanity. I’d prefer to “lose my marbles” as it were.

“Hey! Did you catch the college game the other night?”

“Sorry. I couldn’t even tell you who played (shrug). Thanks for asking though.”

“Wow, you’re really missing out.”

I guess I’ll just have to miss out. No offense.

“Please tell me you watched the music award show last night.”

“Oh, man, sorry. I don’t watch that stuff. I don’t even know who’s popular.”

“Everyone watches it and listens to it.”

Not everyone. 

I was always running into a hurdle I couldn’t jump. Because I don’t relate to a lot of people, I don’t talk a lot. I have to force my mouth to wait a moment as I compose my thoughts before I speak them. Sometimes I have to be strategic with my conversations, especially with people I barely know.

Therefore, I enjoy talking to myself. We hash things out while washing the dishes, or cooking dinner. Shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. I don’t have these conversations out in public. Only within the walls of my home.

Five years ago, I realized Joseph Everett was that other side of me. He was me in a conjured form I still to this day can’t rectify in my mind.

I didn’t know it at the time while interacting with the old man, that it was just me arguing with myself. Figuring it all out took many trips to the “refuge” and many messes. Many situations and multiple events.

A little violence. Another devastating storm. Anger. More food. Sleeping on the ceiling and chopping trees at the end of Joe’s parking lot. Creating a duck on red paper with uncooked macaroni and glue.

Witnessing a raging inferno from afar, the flames licking the ash filled clouds above. The cleaving of continents. Mountains collapsing into the sea and tidal waves racing across the land.

Yeah… Joe’s thinking was pretty far out there. I think I spent a month visiting Mr. and Mrs. Everett. I was never sure with each time, what to expect.

>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like (if you like it), share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fear of the Unknown

Not only have I written some books of various lengths (currently in editing phases. They’re getting there. You want to talk about a ton of work, commitment, patience and time… holy moly), I’ve also spent a number of years in research as well. Sometimes deep, down the rabbit hole research. Everyday I try to learn something new, or investigate a subject I didn’t know or understand; or something to which I was never exposed.

In my universe, research is essential. Research, to me, is just as important as breathing, eating and sleeping. I need it. It’s required to survive.

Not the research and learning that’s projected through the television. No. I don’t pay attention to any of that. Or reading the first major news article from a popular network that pops up on the social media feed, so I can say I’m informed. Thanks… but I’ll pass.

I’m back to reading books. Old books. Back to the library and the dark corners of the Web. Spending time away from mainstream media. Digging for the roots and the heart of the matter and not being satisfied with what’s shown on the surface. I enjoy origin stories, the mythical, following bread crumbs and delving deep into what most of the population would consider a colossal waste of time and absolutely absurd. I live in it. I thrive on the archaic, mysterious, controversial, conspiratorial, ancient, and the days of early recorded history.

Not an expert by any means. Not even close. Only engaged and interested. I will never profess to be an expert in ANYTHING.

Just the opposite. I feel thankful, blessed, lucky, and I eat humble pie three square meals a day. Research is a part of who I am and what I like.

It’s the ongoing journey which I need in life. I need to educate myself.

Without that time spent in self education, and investigating the topics I desire and feel I need to investigate, I’d go completely insane.

It didn’t happen all at once and over night. The urge to explore was progressive and slow at first. An idea would pop into my mind (from out of nowhere), and as a result, I’d spend days researching it to absolute death or until I had my fill and felt satisfied. Some researching adventures have led me places where I scratch my head. Why did I feel compelled to look into this? What was the catalyst? Why am I invested and interested in this material? Then, unable to answer my own question(s), I’d carry on as though it never happened and move onto the next. A consistent psychological conundrum.

The problem with research (my opinion only), is everyone has differing opinions or levels of expertise. What may sound plausible from one author, is contradicted by another. What might have made sense in one book, is seemingly nullified just as quickly in a different book.

“I’m right and they’re wrong.”

“No, I’m right, and you’re wrong.”

“No, both of you are wrong, I’m right. End of story.”

“None of you are right and everything is speculative and mostly guesswork.”

Some authors are on the same page. Many believe the same thing(s) while declaring themselves experts, which is nice. But because of all the confusion and varying ideas and nothing being absolute and concrete, despite some random scattered similarities, I decided instead to whittle my research down to only working with common denominators. I focused on grand unifiers exclusively and was then able to eliminate the congestion and confusion I was creating for myself.

My research topics are neither here nor there at the moment. I won’t spend any time in the here and now discussing what I’ve studied, or explored, or what truly interests me. I believe my musings today are centered around, fear. For myself, fear is, and was, the ultimate enemy.

Deep inside my brain, was a locked door. I’d peek through the keyhole from time to time, ponder opening the door… then back down, and retreat. I think I was scared of what I’d find.

We all experience that. Determined to look into something, move forward on instinct, question the what if scenario, then run away from it at full speed because we’re so content with our life and the way things are. “I don’t want anything to jeopardize my current thinking, or come across a wedge that becomes a hindrance to my way of life.”

I was scared to death to follow my subconscious urges because I knew it was about to take me to something. Although I didn’t know what that was. All I knew, is it was something. I was terrified to go beyond what’s perceived as normal and tear down a wall I constructed around my mind and heart. A tall, thick barrier mostly built from a need for immediate protection.

My gut would say, “You need to look into this, for some reason,” and my mind generated an argument instead.

Why? Why go there? What will you possibly gain from it? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Close up the laptop, crash in the bed, zone back out to the programming and re-read that sci-fi magazine you like so much. Tomorrow’s a brand new day. You’re thinking crazy thoughts, you fool.

I’d fight the urges and give in to the fear. I didn’t want to explore and waste my precious valuable time. I didn’t want to go beyond my current level of knowledge. I was so Hell bent on surviving life, I couldn’t consider anything else. I just needed to make it through the day and sleep the night as best I could, while battling away the nightmares and vivid dreams that didn’t make any sense.

Then start it all over again.

What possible good will come from breaking that routine? I have to work full time. Have to abide by the schedule. Have to maintain normalcy. Have to stay structured and robotic. Have to keep my dignity. Have to prove something.

Hold on… what do you have to prove? Think about it for a moment. What could possibly be holding you back from perusing something that interests you? What are you actually afraid of?

Your interests are moot right now. What you want is irrelevant. What you need is paramount. You need to be afraid of what you want and desire.

I believed at the time maintaining what I currently had took precedence over anything else. I was walking on eggshells, sprinkled across thin ice, surrounded by twitchy landmines, tip toeing through my fragile paradigm as though my life depended on it, and deviating from that in any way—could cause a schism and possibly destroy everything I’ve retained. Fear was in control.

I fought the fear left and right, tooth and nail. I came to conclusions which told me I needed to live life, as it was designed around me. Since everything happens for a reason, the transpiring events are what I needed to embrace and nothing else. This is how life is supposed to be, despite the conflicting thoughts on the matter.

Stay inside your box and stop thinking outside it. This is where you’re safe. Maintain the wall around you, and you can’t get hurt.

That lasted about a month. A month of internal dispute. Thirty days of second guessing and overwhelming confidence issues. A month of shutting down. A never ending avalanche of negative energy. I couldn’t figure out my feelings and my desperate need to go outside the box, so within it I remained. Better to be safe than sorry.

I had become adjusted to the battle, fighting not only external forces but forces deep inside, and the end result of all that warfare was the essence of “self” continuing to slip away.

I feared myself. I was scared to death.

Have you ever had a fear you felt couldn’t be conquered? It’s debilitating isn’t it? Mind numbing. Fear has the ability to shatter everything and morph the psyche into a vessel for madness, confusion and terror.

My terror was hashed out in the dream world. The waking world made no sense to me. My feelings, emotions and thoughts were in constant battle with my mind and spirit, and the only way I could process it all, was by experiencing the situations conjured up in the realm of dreams. My conscious mind was smothered. My subconscious took control when it was demanded. And for some strange reason, it all centered and originated from something that was trapped in the box beside me.

The dreams slowly opened the cryptic door I had kept sealed for so long. Although, before I allowed it to swing wide, at the time I was devoid of a key.

Joseph Everett was the keeper of that key, but I didn’t know it. He kept it hidden from me and the next time we met, boy oh boy was I pissed off. I could have ripped that cocky old man’s head clean from his shoulders.

*****

The church-like building was surrounded by the thick woods of central Maine and could be found located far off the beaten path, away from all main roads, out in the middle of nowhere. I reentered Joe’s “refuge” and stormed into the wide open room as if I owned the place. I could smell the lobster right away as I shoved open the double doors, and a hint of cinnamon lingered in the background. The mean old woman baked another apple pie.

Keeping her back to me, Jessica entered the kitchen and dragged her wheeled cart along behind her. I’d only see her for that one brief moment. That was okay and more than acceptable as far as I was concerned.

Shelby walked beside me as I approached Joe’s table at the far end of the room. The broken glass had been replaced and new quotes were etched on each individual window in black lettering, but this time I couldn’t make them out. The words were fuzzy and seemed as if they were made of crackling black static.

Joe sat at the center of the table, wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the Star Trek insignia over his heart, and beside his mug of tea sat a plate full of lobster debris. A thin napkin dangled from his collar and the white material was stained with streaks of melted butter.

He placed the tip of a knife into the warm center of the freshly made dessert, and pulled the blade through the middle. His eyes opened wide as I grabbed the edge of the heavy table and grunting against it’s weight flipped it upside down with every bit of pent up rage I could muster.

With cat like reflexes, he snatched the pie from the surface, stood up as though his seat was on fire, and held it over his head as we both watched the table’s contents crash to the carpet. Shelby barked once, I stuffed both my hands in my pockets and all the old bastard could muster was, “Well. It’s good to see you too.”

>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like (if you like it), share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

Light Story Entrance Pattern Riddle Fear Lamp

Ax to Grind

“Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.”

Carl Sandburg

“The air is crisp. Autumn’s coming. The colors of dying leaves. The four winds blow to each and every corner. In my ear, they’re whispering. A devil before me. The demon behind. I’m circled by the angel’s wings. The past is dark. A future darker. Tired of everything.

Back to sleep.

Tired of limbo, tired of sleeping, tired of a tired mind. Tired of trying. So unsatisfying. Tired of the uphill climb. Yet in the background stirring, a hint of madness, the thing that’s sought to find. To break up the dreary, and bring life to the weary, seek a new ax to grind.

Time to fight.

Complacency easy. Once content with a old dream. Dying for the thing that hides. The illusion’s a veil. Dark shadows prevail, while screaming from the mountainside.

The battle is won. Life is the spoils. Yet the war is so hard to fight. Take up the blade. Swing with the fury. Transform the dark to light. Merciful morning, please grace me your presence, help me combat through the night. The wicked oppression. Depressive obsession. Agony’s delight.

And know in your heart, within those deepest parts, there must be better days. Look to the skies and all that’s despised, then see through the cloudy haze. 

Just a phase.

Look in the mirror, the image much clearer, time again to change the mind. Let the soul go to flight. Bury the pride. Find some new ax to grind. Though some paths lead to nowhere, more dead ends and despair, and some paths too hard to find. With the blade in my hand, I can reclaim my stand. Consciousness redesigned.

Though unrefined.”

JSM

>>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like (if you like it), share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

ax

Clue

“Fear can be controlled. To live in fear, is to be out of control.” JSM

When I first began this journey of self discovery, I had no clue where it would take me, what I’d find along the way, or where it might eventually lead. To this day, I still don’t know where it’s going and I’m more than fine with that. I can’t believe in destiny or fate. Nothing is ever written in stone. I can’t foresee the future nor will I attempt to try. All I have to work with is the present, and because of this fact, I soldier on and continue the journey regardless of where it may possibly go.

My life philosophies are mine and mine alone and as far as I’m concerned, easy: Do the right thing. Mind my own business. Be there for those who have been there for me. Listen to those I respect. Respect opinions. Do good towards others and perhaps good will come back full circle. Try to project a positive attitude. Ignore the hate and seek the light. You know… all that mushy gushy stuff. That karma stuff. Despite the horrors of the world and humanity’s hate, I try to abide by a decent moral code of conduct, and thus far, it’s seemed to work well in my favor; albeit in increments and spurts. If nothing else, it’s made the journey easier to travel. I’ve had my moments aplenty of lashing out at the beginning, but over time, my inner light seemed to push away the dark. I’d like to think through adapting these seemingly simple personal philosophies, the positive events happening around my universe today are a direct result of my actions.

I was consumed with spite and malice at the genesis of the New Life. I couldn’t see beyond the darkness behind my own eyelids. Each and every waking moment was a new struggle to find something that resembled normalcy.

Nothing was normal and my life had been a lie. Everything was askew and off balance and I hated everyone and everything around me. Well… almost everything and everyone.

Everyone but my kids, my immediate family, the mutt, and the few friends I knew I could count on. That was it. The rest of the world could rot in the abyss for all I cared.

I despised those who managed to find fortune and glory by barely lifting a finger. I hated others I knew who attained success by trampling on the backs of others. I screamed in my mind at those who found life easy. I loathed the ones who hurt me and laughed about my pain like cackling witches circled around a steaming cauldron. I lived in a shroud of darkness.

I may not be perfect, far from it, I’ll never claim to be, but I’ve always considered myself one of the good guys. I hated the transformation from good to evil. The feelings of unfairness and the reasons why bad things always seem to happen to the good ones. Why? It doesn’t make sense!! Why are the decent folks always punished?!

WHY??

Too many why’s. Always more questions than answers. The answers were always there, but I was oblivious to the clues, and at the time the path was so splintered I couldn’t see the right trail to follow. Therefore, in the darkness I remained. I had no choice at the time. I had to undergo incredible pain in order to eventually understand my situation.

Sometimes pain is a bittersweet reality.

My pain has always been self induced. I’ll admit that. I’d place a flashing neon sign in front of me and advertise “plenty of vacancy” for the ones I despised, for the sole purpose of allowing them to live rent free in my head so I could dwell and fester in their presence. I enjoyed placing blame on others to distract myself, from myself. However, it was the lack of control of my emotions that pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t control the situation, therefore my hate took precedence. I hated what I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand anything, therefore out came the hate.

When my hate had reached a point of no return, family reared back on the reigns and provided safe harbor. My mind was broken. My spirit seemingly shattered beyond repair. Life seemed pointless and the burden too heavy too carry. I tried for the longest time to lift it, but found myself falling to my knees, gasping for air under the crushing weight.

Unbeknownst to me, my family had gone behind my back and set me up with a place to reside, until the day came when I could manage life on my own. I had a small space to set up shop. Both of my children had a bed to sleep upon, and my family went out of their way to transform their home into a place to accommodate me and my broken life. They rearranged their entire existence for mine. To this day, there is nothing I can do to repay that debt. Nothing.

In essence… they probably saved my sanity and my life.

We don’t talk about those days. Those moments are unspoken between us.

The kids still attended their schools, though the drive was much further than I was accustomed. My family worked their forty hour grind, and I still worked from home. Despite having a place to hang my hat for the time, I was alone each and every day until the late afternoon and evening hours. Associating with others was still very much a problem, so I continued to abide by a hermit mentality.

When not actively working at my desk for my jobby job, I found my mind wandering aimlessly and staring blankly at the white walls. I still had more questions than answers.I had no clue how I was going to adapt to the new paradigm or where I was heading. Life still didn’t make an ounce of sense. Just another brand new prison for my fractured mind. Island 2.0.

I needed a clue. A subtle hint. Something from somewhere that didn’t exist primarily in the dream world. Something tangible and real. Any clue would help.

Little did I know, the clue was literal.

I rose from my bed one night after spending too much valuable time sprawled out on the blankets, thinking about the past, and the closet in the corner beckoned me to root around inside. The only area in the home I hadn’t yet explored. I flicked on the light, dropped to my knees and sifted through the contents of the small space.

Stacks of fantasy books covered the floor. Board games piled up on shelves. Piles of linens and folded laundry. Shirts and skirts dangled from metal hangers. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Another waste of time. Nothing more than a closet.

Before I rose from the carpet and slammed the door in anger, a beige wicker basket popped into view, tucked away in the corner concealed behind a clothing hamper. A metal clasp held the box’s lid shut and one handle protruded from it’s sides. It had the uncanny appearance of a picnic basket.

I opened it and glimpsed inside.

A sewing kit sat within. Varieties and sizes of needles and multicolored thread. Small handmade dolls, animals, a pin cushion and random stitchings of fabric. Parts and pieces of old projects never finished. Two blue crochet needles and a thick ball of yarn.

I removed the tightly wound ball of yarn from it’s home and bounced it in my hand.

OK… brief pause. Unfortunately a public disclaimer needs issuance from time to time. My friends, co-workers and family consider me quite sane. I’m your average, ordinary, everyday run-of-the-mill, Joe. I have great honest relationships. I have a job that allows me an opportunity to do good by others and work with those who need help in life. I make a livable wage and am irresponsible with my money. My employment allows me opportunities to be active in my community. My children love me and we have the best relationships(s) with one another, and a woman in my life that has stuck by my side through thick and thin. I like to believe I am as sane as they come. But… regardless, I have to dredge up an old statement. A public declaration. I am not crazy.

The things that have happened over time, the subtle, to straight up madness, have been crazy. A sane guy experiencing the insane, bizarre and unexplained. Bring it on. I love the realm of the unknown. The space of the place between places.

Or, perhaps, I am a little crazy.

😉

But, I like who I am and don’t plan on changing anytime soon, so I suppose it’s acceptable.

The ball of yarn struck a nerve. Something about it didn’t make sense. I didn’t sew. I don’t crochet or have any involvement other than a random button I’ve reattached to a pair of pants or two. I did my stint in Home Economics in High School and had to construct a silly project or three… but I did not sew or practice the art. Nor did I care to learn or give it a try.

The object in my grip fascinated me to no end. I held it as I sat at the foot of my bed and rolled it around in my hands over and over again. Staring at it. Wondering on another, why? Why is this so important right now?

If you remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I immediately thought on Richard Dreyfuss.

Both funny and strange simultaneously.

Then out of the blue, I remembered something from the days on the Island. Something I happened across during my little side hobby which I titled at the time, Online Archeology. A snippet of research that happened across my screen one night.

I spent some time during those days researching the ocean, and the provided links eventually led me to sailing vessels. I wanted to learn about pirate ships and the materials used during their construction. No reason at the time for wanting to pursue this knowledge. Just something to do other than staring at the TV and another DVD movie.

As I browsed the information, my mind snapped photos of sections and pages in my online travels.

Sailors, in order to control and hoist the sails of the ships, pulled ropes through a metal hook which was named, a clew. That wasn’t the information I was looking for though. It was the snapshot of words further down the page I happened to scroll on by at the time.

A ball of thread is also called, a clew.

In Greek mythology, Theseus from Athens was given a clew by Ariadne, so he could properly navigate out of the Labyrinth. A labyrinth so confusing, it’s designer and builder was almost trapped inside. The clew allowed Theseus to destroy the Minotaur and escape the labyrinthine prison by following the anchored string back out the door.

Through the evolution of words, and around the 16th century the word became, clue.

Today, a clue is not only considered a fragment of evidence, like something a police officer uses to follow potential leads, but it’s also correlated with an object that leads someone out a trap, or leads a person to a solution. Something to help solve a mystery.

I found my first clue. Eyes wide and jaw dropped, I tossed the clue on my desk and opened the laptop. It was time to dive a bit deeper and pursue further exploration.

I’m not quite certain where the clues will take me, but almost six years have gone by, and I continue to follow.

>>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like (if you like it), share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

rainbow-ball-of-yarn

 

Murder of Crows

–8/11/11–

 

“Harbingers. Winged messengers. I witness a murder of crows. From ancient lore and lands cross the sea, they know what eternity holds. From the fringes of these broken dreams I watch as it all unfolds. A brand new me, new sights to see, a new visage to behold.

Guardians of omens, light or dark, a symphony of wings. Then stoic silence, the gathering, to reveal what the future brings.

I bask in the light of crepuscular rays breaking through the quiet dawn. A brand new day, a brand new place, a brand new unsung song. Anger is tempting, vengeance alluring, find balance between right and wrong. To resist is the task, time to tear off the mask, step forth from a life withdrawn.

Entering the Murder’s realm, hands up, declaring surrender. They take a step back, poised to attack, regarding me as an offender. A thousand eyes cut through my mind, they see me as a pretender. My bloodshot stare returns their gaze, while I revel in their splendor.

“I mean no harm, I only wish to know, that which I don’t understand. I’m not anything more than a simpleton. A decent common man.”

“Go back to sleep, delve in deep, and come up with a plan. To master self and seek the truth, is what you wish to conquer and command. Soar new heights, re-scan the land, open up and then expand. Once that’s through, find another you, only then will you understand.”

At four am, eyes fluttering, I wake up from my sleep. I scoured the mind, bode my time, searched high, and burrowed deep. The Messengers opened up a door and visited while asleep. A tear hit the floor, but nothing more, couldn’t bring myself to weep.

While a serpent sits upon a throne of lies and sings it’s venomous song, I now feel free, a new destiny, chin up, and feeling strong. The road is a rocky, hole strewn stretch, and the journey seems so long. But it’s mine to walk, and I must take stock, of what was mine all along.

I approach my window, glance outside, search high and to the grass below. No one knows what the future brings or which direction the path will go. All I know while questioning, almost everything I know. The future me, will now look to the trees, and seek out a Murder of Crows.” JSM

>>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like if you like it, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

crows
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Home Sweet Home

“An adage will say home’s nothing more than a place to hang our hat. A place of peace, comfort, safety –sure– I can attest to that. When all is grim, chaotic, or lost and it all seems to fall apart. Home is the key, at least for me, a place for a brand new start.” JSM

Having lived in numerous locations in my forty plus years, I can’t truly say I’ve ever had a “home” or ever felt at home. Anywhere. Ever.

When I moved out out my parents place at seventeen (the only time I truly had a home), I have “lived” or taken residency in eighteen (maybe upwards of twenty) different places in my local area.

Living with a parent, after their divorce and before graduation (shortly before deciding to go it alone), my father and I lived in three locations. Wow… when I actually try to count them all now, I get lost and confused on just how many places I’ve actually “hung my hat.”

My current home has been five years, and the house I once paid a mortgage during the old life equaled five years. That’s ten years total in two locations… adding in all the others, the math gets messy and the recollections become weird and jumbled.

Always bouncing. Always relocating. Migrating. Always keeping stuff packed away and never fully setting up shop. Always looking for something more convenient, bigger, or closer; always attempting to keep up with the Joneses. Always on the search for the better bang for the buck. Life was about competition, pushing boundaries and living on the hard edge. Life was fast, chaotic, and stretched to the absolute limit.

Not life. Merely living. Existing. Life is meant to be enjoyed. In hindsight, I did NOT enjoy my old life and I can say that with conviction. I just lived in it. I existed within my perception of what I believed was the true definition of “life.”

I didn’t know I didn’t enjoy it, until it was almost too late. In the old life I adjusted accordingly and was accustomed to the lifestyle through a sink or swim mentality. After a time, it become conditioned. “This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

“Just go with the flow. That seems to be the way to go.”

I had friends and family whose company I sought. Good people who made life more pleasant from time to time and took that edge away from the constant chaos. Unfortunately, after those brief moments of peace, it was always back to the rough and hectic lifestyle.

Looking back, I try to see the good and positive in my old life, but frequently come up short.

My children being the obvious exception, and the few friends I’ve retained along the way.

Part of my issues with trying to recognize the positives of the old life, is the fact I never had the opportunity to discover who I was as a person. Nothing defined me. I never had a moment to develop. My self evolution ground to a halt and everything turned stagnant and as stale as a ten year old cracker. I didn’t have any hobbies. I had no focal points. Just meandering through it all like a zombie. I was following the crowd, riding coattails, paying attention to what was considered trendy and popular and listening to all the wrong people. I participated in activities that were suggested to me without ever once giving them any second thought.

“Jere, you should do this, and that, and join everyone in “this” activity.

Is “this” really for me? Do I truly want to be involved in “this”?

“Sure. OK. I guess I’ll give it a whirl. If you guys say it’s the thing to do, and claim it’s fun, who am I to say otherwise?”

Boy was I wrong. Damn it all… I was so very wrong. So much time wasted. So many opportunities slipped through the fingers. I say again… damn… it… all.

I had infrequent moments during the old life where I thought I enjoyed it. Feet up, resting in the recliner. Eyes closed, a book sprawled across my chest, a small smile on my face and feeling comfortable. “Ahhh. This is the life.”

But in retrospect, it wasn’t my life. Only a momentary period of mental respite. Not living.

I tried to live. I tried to be what others wanted me to be. Indeed I tried.

I wanted to live up to the expectations of other human beings. I wanted to fit in, blend in, join in and enjoy it.

I failed. I had the inability to see life the way others saw it.

Thank the good lord above, I failed tremendously.

My failures are what reignited a rediscovery of self. I had to learn how to fail, and fail, and fail, and fail, and be OK with it, in order to locate something that resembled an inkling of success. I had to lose, in order to gain any substantial ground. I still have my daily battles and life struggles, but now I tackle them with a smile on my face.

Still learning how to live MY life. Still learning how to grow as a person. Still learning in general.

I will always be learning. I welcome the challenge with wide open arms.

It took a cataclysm to find things out about myself. My thresholds. My tolerances. What I wanted in life and what should be discarded from it. What are those things I can do away with, and what it is I can’t live without. Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t know what any of that was as I sat in that driveway and wiped the fatigue from my eyes.

I may have woken from slumber and a vivid dream, but I had yet to wake up.

*****

I turned off the car and clipped the leash to Shelby’s collar. She nosed around the driveway and sniffed out an area to claim as her own, and I gave her the space she needed to finish her nightly business. I looked around the property and came to the conclusion I had no desire to engage with family, feel their pity, and tell me everything would be alright. The urge to drive away caused me to second guess my decision.

Instead of walking up the steps and knocking on the door, the two of us wandered the property and found ourselves out behind the house near the fire pit. The coals and charred debris had long since dwindled and were cold to the touch, but an overwhelming need to start a fire and stare into the flames grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go.

It was peaceful out there in the back yard. The late summer wind rustled through the trees high overhead and we could hear the scurrying of woodland critters darting to and fro around us in the brush along the outskirts.

“What do you think, Shelby, want to go inside?”

She sat down in defiance beside a lawn chair and looked up to me.

“Yeah me either. Let’s get out of here.”

We crept through the yard, keeping our attention away from the windows and returned to the driveway and as my hand reached for the door handle a voice broke through the silence of the night. “It’s about time! Don’t think I wasn’t watching you tip toe around out there. Where are you going? Get your ass in here!”

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Everything within me told me to leave and continue driving to places unknown, but hey… it was family.

I decided to get my ass inside.

Once in the home, the dam burst. I allowed every tear I had stored up over the months to flow free. I may have even cried myself to sleep that night in their living room.

The new beginning to a new journey.

Another brand new start.

>>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

The Eye of the Storm

Jessica Everett reminded me of Mama Fratelli from the Goonies. Wild, unkempt, disheveled hair. A permanent frown on an aging face. She dragged and scuffed her feet across the carpet in red open heel slippers; as if her upper body weight was too much to carry. She wore a white translucent night shirt beneath a tattered and frayed pink bathrobe, which she tied off loose at the waist, and she reeked of seafood and alcohol.

Not a pleasant combination.

The woman wheeled in a silver cart, covered in food and condiments, and came to stand at the table with her hands stuffed deep inside the bathrobe pockets, as though she was waiting for the next chore to be asked of her. When no one spoke a word, she cleared her throat and opened her eyes wide; staring at her husband.

Joseph smiled and rubbed his hands together in giddy excitement.

The smell was an assault on my senses and I turned away from the odor. I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself, “Wow, that’s strong.”

She was at my side in half a heartbeat.

Other than the standard, minor, physical altercations through some junior high and high school bullying, including, but not limited to: being shoved into the cold steel of a locker, tripped in the corridor and sprawled out across the tiles, the books knocked from the hands and kicked across the floor, or a chair pulled out from under me, I’ve only been struck in the face three times and each one hurt like the dickens. The first was an encounter at a high school dance while Motley Crew’s, Home Sweet Home played loud in the background.

I was in between relationships and someone didn’t like one of my replies to a question. I got slapped.

The second was at a Jack and Jill party where I was caught smoking a cigarette (after claiming to have quit) while enjoying a drink with friends and family, and the itching urge for nicotine coerced me to join the other smokers outside. Upon being caught taking a drag, I was slapped.

Both times, as a result of the impact, my glasses sailed from my face and traveled through open air; spinning round and round like a helicopter blade.

At the high school dance, it was instant panic. My glasses landed among the slow dancing teens, who had gathered at the center of the room, hugging and walking in a circle on the darkened floor and I had to scramble and shoo the crowd away to find the glasses among the flashing lights and moving feet.

More embarrassing than anything.

At the party, with what I call the Cigarette Incident, many years later, my spectacles landed on a stone walkway, just off the porch, and were luckily easy enough to locate right away.

Jessica hit me with the back of her hand across my cheek, and the force of the knuckles on bare flesh sucked the breath from my lungs. My skin turned crimson and half my face slowly doubled in size. Lights exploded under my eyelids and I fell from the chair on to the carpet in a crumpled heap.

My neck cracked and popped when I landed on the floor, my eye socket swelled up, and a bright red vein escaped my iris and spread across the white in thin bloody streaks.

Despite the overwhelming burn and stinging pain, I fought the dizzy and disorientation and frantically sought out my glasses. The reaction to locate them being purely instinctual. I never felt them leave my face, but I knew they were gone. I scrambled across the floor on all fours, moving my hands across the open space, glancing side to side, under the table and across it’s surface and made my way to the corners of the room and when the panic settled in, Joseph placed his hand on my shoulder.

“I have them right here.”

I ripped them from his fingers and tested the frames to ensure the glass was still intact and the plastic wasn’t cracked. Once determining they were undamaged, I adjusted them back on my face and shot my attention to the doors, and the obvious escape from my little slice of Hell.

I couldn’t look Jessica in the eye.

Instead of leaving and following my nagging inner voice which was guiding me to the car, I returned to the table, sat slow in my chair and whispered, “What was that for?”

Jessica walked to the cart and turned her back to me. Keeping her attention on the food, and while preparing her husband’s plate, she replied, “You don’t do that. You don’t come in here and insult the hand that feeds you.”

“Would it help if I said I’m sorry.”

“It might. You should try it.” Joseph interrupted and tented his fingers.

“OK, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound insulting. Will you accept my apology?” I could feel my heart thumping at the center of my cheek. Everything hurt from the chest up.

She whipped around and smiled. “I do accept. Now, do you want some butter to dip the meat in?”

“Yes. That would be great. Thank you, ma’am.”

Holy shit. What did I get myself into?

One lobster was placed on my plate by metal tongs and a small dish of butter was set beside. Joseph was half way through his first one before I even cracked open mine. Butter dripped from his chin and seafood crumbs rained down on the table and across his lap. I stared at him with my one good eye and tried to remain calm as he devoured his food. Slurping and burping with each sip of his beverage.

Jessica dropped the steaming pot on the edge of the table so we could help ourselves, and then returned to the kitchen without another word.

Half way through my first, Joseph was ripping open his second helping, gobbling it down as fast as the meat was exposed.

I have to admit. The taste was beautiful. The melted butter was a festival of flavors and I was whisked away to one of my favorite restaurants along the coast.

Moments later, my attacker returned to the table with a hand made apple pie, and she placed it at the table’s center.

She cut herself a large slice, and returned to the kitchen.

I wouldn’t see her again that night.

Joseph leaned back in his chair after the third helping and with a smile of contentment he exhaled hard. The old man tapped his full belly with his fingers, wiped the corners of his mouth, and sipped on a mug of tea as I finished up my first lobster.

I like lobster, in small doses. I’m more of a salmon guy or baked haddock. Lobster has always been touch and go for me. Perhaps it’s the texture that only allows me to get through one. I was eyeballing the pie though and excited to try a slice.

Joseph relaxed and leaned forward. “You and I need to make a deal. I give you permission to talk to me whenever you desire whenever you need me, but if you do, it has to be by my rules and not yours. You have to do whatever I say. If you can agree to this, then I believe I can help you.”

“What are the rules?”

“The first of the rules is admitting to yourself that shit happens and sometimes life’s a bitch. You have to admit to the existence of forces that are beyond your control and because you have no control, emotions and logic become most important. You have to admit that even though the pieces may be few and scattered, they must be picked up and carried, regardless. You have to admit that running from your problems is only going to make things worse.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s the first set of rules.”

“What’s the second?”

“You’ll get those at our next visit. One set of rules at a time. Can we make this arrangement?”

“I believe so. I’d hate to violate any rules?”

“Say the words out loud.”

At that moment I took Joseph’s oath, and spoke the words out loud. I admitted to myself I can’t hate, that which I can’t control. My emotions stemming from my situation, were of the upmost importance. I required a discovery of logic to somehow supplement what I was feeling. I had to admit there were external forces beyond my understanding.

Once I spoke the words and took the oath, a radio activated from a table in the room’s corner and a weather alert blared through the speakers. “This is a test of the emergency broadcast alert system. A strong storm is tracking through the following counties. Seventy mile an hour winds inland, nickle sized hail, and possible tornadoes. Widespread power outages are possible…” and each of the counties in danger were listed accordingly.

Joseph tightened up in his seat, “We don’t have a lot of time. Do you have any questions before we begin?”

“Yes. Just curious. How do you know Officer Clark? Does he work for you?”

“Who?” Joe scrunched up his face.

“Officer Clark? The one who gave me the card?”

“What card?”

Oh, man. He’s losing his mind.

“This card,” I reached into my pocket and withdrew the paper with Joseph’s information and felt my stomach drop as it was devoid of any writing. In my grasp, I held a blank, white empty card.

Joseph looked to the window and uttered, “You need to follow your dreams, but you need to understand them first. It’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship, you and I. The storm is upon us. It’s finally here. I’ve been waiting for this for far too long.”

The wind howled and twined around the building outside, and the walls shook around us. I glanced to the beams overhead and listened to the timbers creaking and groaning and caught Joseph smiling at me from the corner of my swollen eye.

“I don’t get it. What have you been waiting for, Joseph? Help me understand.”

“The beginning. The start of a brand new start. We’ll get through it. But before we get this thing going, you need to duck.”

“What?” The wind screamed outside the structure. I was slowly losing my hearing.

“DUCK!”

I hit the floor with a thud as each of the windows broke and the power of the wind sent the shrapnel into the open room. Shards of glass rained around us and Joseph sat casually at the center of the table and ignored the chaos erupting around him. He reached into the pot and pulled out a fourth lobster while the wind and rain entered and swirled around inside the church-like building, and I was back down on the floor on all fours protecting my head from the jagged debris.

“When next we meet we’ll be in the eye of the storm, my new friend,” he dipped some claw meat into the dish of butter, “But in the meantime, before that happens, you need to WAKE UP!”

I tore open my eyes and found myself parked in my family’s driveway. The engine hummed low, the radio was silent, and everything hurt from the chest to the top of my head. Shelby sat beside me staring out the window and to get my bearings, and verify my state of mind, I checked my face and eye in the rear view mirror and then reached for my insurance information in the glove box.

The eight of diamonds was nowhere to be found.

I must have fallen asleep the moment I arrived.

>>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like, share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.