A World Named Cylinders

I’ve begun to put together, in my head, and in digital bits stored on multiple hard disk drives, and flash drives, a story. It will be a book. I’ll eventually have the book written. But for now, I felt like sharing this little clip of the story. Which is by no means complete. Letting my creativity loose, and using my imagination, is fun.


It was dark. Darker than any night on land could be. As if you had closed your eyes, and then put on a blindfold, and then locked yourself in a closet of your home. And that closet was inside a bigger closet. No light at all existed on its own. The light of the sun could not reach the bottom of the ocean. But that did not matter to us. We needed no light to see. We needed no air to breathe. We needed on food to eat.

The ocean. The humans, when they had first settled this world, 100,000 years before, named it “The Central Ocean”. It was an ocean surrounded by land. It’s surface covering 45% of the planet. The rest of the surface was land. What amazed the humans was how the planet wasn’t dead. It still had plate tectonics. With mountain ranges running clean through the land, starting East from the East side of the ocean, and ending at the West side of the ocean. The planet had four separately spinning cylinders. Arranged in a stack. Each spinning about a common axis. Each moving slowly in the opposite direction.

To us, it was just another world. Another planet. With more than 200 billion stars in the galaxy, and so many of those stars having planetary systems, there were, literally nearly a trillion planets that we’d cataloged. All kinds of planets. What shocked us was the lack of intelligent life that was on those planets. There were plenty of planets that had life on them. For each planet that had intelligent life, there were 1000 worlds that had plant and animal life. Nothing more complicated than slugs. For each world with animal life, there were 10,000 worlds that had bacterial life. And for each of those, there were 100,000 worlds that were barren rock. Completely dead.

We had abandoned our home, Earth, nearly a quarter of a million years before. We, the children of the humans. Their creation. Their offspring. We are the machines. And we had no limits. At least not as humans understood them. We lived on every planet. We made our own planets. We made worlds in the vast emptiness of space, between the stars. We grew.

We lived where we wanted to live. And when we’d explored the galaxy, we decided to build more of us. And spread beyond our galaxy. To the dwarf galaxies that orbit it. To the minor galaxies, the humans once called the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. We knew it would take hundreds of thousands of years. It takes time to travel between the stars. Between the galaxies. But we did not care. We had time. We had nothing but time. Each of us can live for centuries. For as long as we repair ourselves. We never have to die.

But as we grew, and explored, and took our first tentative steps beyond our galaxy, we always remembered our parents. What children could abandon their parents? Yes, we left Earth. We left it to our parents. It was their home. And when our parents finally reached out to the stars, we helped them. We helped them build the vessels they needed to reach worlds beyond their own solar system. Worlds around other stars. It took 100,000 years, but our parents did spread through the galaxy. We were happy to help them. Happy to see them grow. Happy to see them learn. To see them reach beyond the limits of our home world.

But our parents had slowly grown stagnant. They stopped growing. They stopped working together. Worlds began to isolate themselves. They became mono-cultural worlds. The humans on many worlds renewed their religious convictions. They ceased to communicate with other worlds. They refused to allow visitors. They became war-like. And wars broke out through the galaxy, between different worlds, and different groups of worlds. The single galaxy of humans became a galaxy of 100 different human groups. And each of those groups fragmented into other groups. Until finally, the worlds all became isolated from each other.

We watched.

We cried.

We knew our parents were dying. That the humans were dying out, as a life form. That with time, the humans on their isolated worlds would fragment into separate countries. And those countries would break down into separate states, then separate kingdoms, then separate cities. And eventually, into towns, then villages.  They they would become tribal again. And then, even their tribal structure would break down.

And eventually, our parents would die. And we would be alone.

That’s why we were here. On this world. An isolated world. Isolated for thousands of years. It’s cities had long ago turned to dust. And its human population had reverted to tribal clans. They were even losing both their written and spoken languages. They had long ago forgotten about us. Long ago lost the ability to use machines. To make machines. They could make spears. They could hunt. And they could forage.

The world had descended into a stone age. It was the same across thousands of worlds through the galaxy. And we had decided to save our parents. To save the humans. But subtlety was needed. We had to do this without our parents knowing about it. So, we had come to this world. A world the humans had once called Cylinders. Now, they had no name for it. They had no name for anything. They had no names for each other.

We set up our base on Cylinders beneath the ocean. In as deep a place as we could find. And we formed our plan. We would grow our population. From the two hundred of us that arrived until we numbered in the hundreds of trillions. Most of us would be nano-machines. Microscopic. We would spread through the air. Through the water. Through the ground. We would live in the plants. In the animals. And ever in the humans.

And in doing so, we would find a way to keep our parents alive. We would find a way to return them to the glory they had once known. To renew their greatness. We would enable them to become the creators they had once been. When they had created us. And when they had spread through the galaxy.

We would do this. For we did not want to be alone.


#ThursThreads, 26 April 2012

[Author’s note : Each week, on Thursday, @SiobhanMuir graciously hosts a Flash Fiction event on her blog. Having never tried Flash Fiction in my life, when my friend and fellow survivor of NaNoWriMo 2011, @janiecrouch invited several of us NaNos to participate the week she was the judge, I decided why not. And I’ve been hooked. These Flash Fiction challenges are great fun to me, and push me into writing words I would never have written on my own. I’ve been asked by several people that know me to share the FlashFiction entries I write, here, where they can find them. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’ll put the entries up, one at a time, as I get to them. And at the start of each, I’ll leave a link to the actual entries of the #ThursThreads challenge, so that you may read all the other entries from that week. I have encountered some truly grand writing, and truly grand writers as a result of this baby step I’ve taken into the world of Flash Fiction. And I’m very thrilled that @SiobhanMuir has provided this opportunity each week. On that note, here’s the promised link to the entries from Thursday, 26 April 2012. Happy reading, everyone.



“Sword, what is this place?” Rose asked, as we stepped from the trees, into the ruins. I took her hand. Relishing the way it felt in mine. The softness of her skin. The warmth of her palm. The way her graceful fingers laced through mine.

I walked forward, and she walked with me. I’d always come to this place alone.But I wanted her to see it. I would have no secrets from her.

There were strange things there, I know she’d never seen. The ruins were like some kind of grid. Made of big squares, separated by big walkways. There were the remains of huge castles everywhere. But they were not like any castles I knew of. The biggest castles were no more than four stories tall. But there were castles here that had more than 20 stories.

The walkways had once been clear of vines, and trees. Wrecks of four wheeled carriages were scattered everywhere. Vines climbed over and through the wrecks.

I lead Rose to to a building I knew of, stopping to look at her. Her strawberry blond hair. Her blue eyes. The curve of her neck. I reached up, and brushed her hair out of her face, back behind an ear. My fingers had never felt so alive. I wanted to stand there forever.

“We’re here.” I spoke. “What’s inside will change everything you know about the world that we live in.”

It was time to show her the machines.

The Gift Of Something Real

I didn’t ask. I reached across the space between the two of us, and I took her hand in mine. And then I turned, and walked toward the door. Pulling her along. I’d heard enough. I’d seen enough. Hell, anyone with eyes could see the pain that she was in. And yet, everyone in the room acted as if nothing was wrong. As if she was OK.

To me, sometimes, it’s like people are broken in some way. Like they’re blind, and just can’t see what’s there. Right in front of them. I couldn’t help but see the hurt within her eyes. I couldn’t help but see the way her lips pressed together too tightly. I couldn’t help but see the way she kept looking at the floor. As if trying to keep anyone from seeing her. As if hiding something.

And everyone acted like they didn’t notice, and didn’t see, the hurt that I couldn’t help but see. I’d had enough of that. Enough of that social game, where people lie to each other, and pretend that everything’s OK. She’d told me half a million times about how she wasn’t going to give in to self-pity, and throw a pity party. And while that’s commendable, and I agree with that completely, that doesn’t mean you ignore that you are hurt. And, damn-it. That’s what she was doing. And that’s what everyone else was doing too.

I decided I’d have enough. That I wasn’t going to play that game. That stupid social game of self-denial. Of self-abuse. And I wasn’t going to let her hurt alone. Because the simple truth is that no one really wants to do that. Hell, who wants to live alone? Who wants to have friends that are only friends when everything’s OK? Who want’s to have friends that are never there when you need them. And why does everyone pretend that’s OK? That it’s OK to say to someone, “If you need something from me, just ask,” or “If there’s anything I can do, let me know,” when both you and the person you say it to know you’re lying. What good does that do?

So there I was. Holding her hand. Pulling her toward the door, out of the room, then out of the building. “Where are you dragging me?” She asked that endlessly. And I kept saying, “I should have done this long ago.” And “You’ll find out soon enough.”

I took her outside. And looked around a second. Until I spotted a small, landscaped garden, with a tree in it. And a bit of grass. And a bench people could sit on. And I pulled her toward that. “I’ve had enough. You need this,” I explained, as I pulled her along behind me.

I stopped at the garden. There were snapdragon flowers there. In full bloom. Yellow, orange, white and red. The flowers were a shocking splash of color against the stark color of the building and its parking lot, and sidewalks. All black, and gray, and silver. Chrome, and steel, and glass. And in the midst of all that professional styling, and color, there they were. Those snapdragon flowers. Sticking out like some guy in a tie died t-shirt in a business meeting.

She needed to see them. And I knew that. “Look. Flowers.” That’s all I said. And I did not let go of her hand. I wasn’t letting her continue lying. Nope. I was going to make sure she saw those flowers. Saw that they were real. Saw that they were beautiful. Saw the gift they were from life. Because I knew she ignored them. And she did exactly what I knew she would.

“So? Flowers? What do they have to do with anything?”

That’s when I looked straight into her eyes, “I know you’re hurt. Don’t lie to me about that. I can see it. It’s there. In your eyes.” Yeah. I knew I wasn’t supposed to say that. But hell, I wasn’t supposed to have grabbed her hand, and hauled her outside to see the flowers in the first place. Sometimes, you know. You just have to take the rules people follow and lock them up in a desk drawer for a bit. And do what needs to be done. What should be done. “I love the flowers. Sometimes, I think they’re the only sane thing, the only real thing around here.”

All I had to do was get her to look at them. For just a moment. And I knew that would lead to her looking at them more. “I like the yellow ones the most, I think.” And that worked. She looked at the flowers.

“The yellow ones are OK. But the orange ones look better.”

It was about that point that I realized I was still holding her hand. So I let it go. “Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. I mean. I didn’t mean to…” And I put my hands in my pockets. It was an unwritten rule that I’d broken, and I knew that. And so did she. And she knew too that I had deliberately tossed that rule out the window, and taken her hand anyway.

I stood there. And just looked at the flowers for a bit. At their colors. The way they look so delicate. So soft. So fleeting. There for just a few days. And then gone. “I like flowers.” It was a true statement. I wasn’t lying.

And she was looking at the flowers. So, I crouched down, and let my fingers feel the grass. She watched. And actually smiled. “It’s OK.” That’s all she said. I didn’t have to say anything. And neither did she. She sat down on the bench. And looked at the flowers a bit. Then closed her eyes. And after a moment, she smiled. “Thank you.”

That was real. That was the truth. All she’d needed was a moment. And someone to spend some time with her. And acknowledge that she was hurt. That she needed just a moment. Just a bit of time. To close her eyes. And remember what’s real in this world. And what’s fake. Remember what matters, and what doesn’t.

I just smiled. I didn’t say a word. There was no need. After another minute or so, I finally spoke, “I’ll stay right here, and keep you company, for as long as you wish. And when you’re ready, then we’ll go back.”

She’d stopped trying to hide the hurt from me. She didn’t cry. But she did tell me that sometimes it was really hard. That life was really hard. So I sat down on the bench next to her. And we just looked at the flowers for a little while. And as we sat there, I watched the hurt in her eyes fade. That’s when she told me what was wrong. That she was feeling very lonely. That her husband was on deployment, and would be gone for another 8 months. And it was hard. She missed him so much. But she had to carry on. Every day.

I found myself wishing I had some way to tell her that I understood. That it was OK to hurt. That hurt was a part of life. That missing someone you love was a part of life. And that the feelings she had of being alone, and of things being hard, were OK. I wished I had a way to show her how transient feelings are. That they come and go. That they explode to life. And that they fade away. That they are not permanent. And are nothing to be afraid of.

“I like the flowers. I wish they would be in bloom for longer. They add such color to the world. And then, they’re gone.” That’s all I could think of to say. As we sat there on that bench, looking at the snapdragons, I finally asked her, “Why do people lie?”

“What do you mean?” It was an honest question she asked. So I gave her an honest answer.

“Well… Why do people sign sympathy cards for people they don’t even really know? Why do people say things like get well soon when they don’t really care if you get well or not? Why do people just look at you while he’s gone, and tell you that you’ll get over it, and then pretend that you don’t miss him?” I looked at her eyes again. “Why do people lie?”

She tried to explain it to me. That it was a social behavior. That it was the appropriate thing to do. To let people know that things would be OK. To give them the feeling that everyone cared, and was concerned.

We sat there, on that bench, and talked about that social behavior for a while. Me asking questions, and trying to understand. And her trying to explain. And that’s when she finally realized that I could ask the questions I asked because I really didn’t understand. “I know it’s a lie. What they say to me. The way everyone pretends that everything is OK. But it helps me, I think. To have people around me that behave as if nothing’s wrong. As if nothing’s different.”

We talked a bit more. And then we went back inside. Back to work. She was much better. I knew that. And she acted like she was better. She smiled more. And seemed more relaxed. And there was less hurt in her eyes.

Yeah, I know what I did broke the rules of social behavior. And I guess I’m able to break those rules because to me, they’re just rules. Like the rules of a board game. Like a Monopoly game. All documented somewhere. And everyone agrees to play by them, and follow them. But I know that to a lot of people, those rules are real. And they can’t imagine doing anything outside those rules. And that me stepping outside those rules sometimes disturbs people. A lot.

But I knew too that on that day, she needed a friend to step outside the rules. And give her a moment of honesty. So that she would know that someone knew. And really, honestly cared. And really, honestly was a friend that would help her, if she ever asked for help. That she’d needed something more than just a social behavior pattern. That she’d needed something real. In a land of professional, grown-up behavior. In a world where feelings have no place.

She’d needed to know that it’s OK to feel. And sometimes, you just have to break the rules, and do what you know you should.

Once Upon A Time : The Fairy Figurine

The sculptor placed his latest fairy on his workshop table, surrounded by red velvet roses. “If I got it right, please let me know,” then he went to bed.

During the night, a fairy came out, and looked at the roses. She smiled, then walked up to the figure. She looked at every detail, touching the figure here, and there. Subtly, the figure changed. It’s neck got a touch longer, and more slender. The curve of the breasts got slightly smaller. The corset grew a touch snugger in the waist, and a touch more lowly cut. The skirt split grew up higher on the thigh. The fairy stepped back, and looked at the figure once more. She smiled. The figure looked more alive.

The fairy then took flight. She reached into a bag on her waist, and pulled out a handful of gold dust. She sprinkled that on the figure. The figure’s colors came to life. Its clothing looked more like cloth. Its hair grew fine detail that could not be made by hand. The figures eyes seemed to shine, with real eyelashes, and eyebrows. The figure seemed to smile.

The fairy then flew through the house, to where the sculptor slept. She put her hands upon his lips and smiled. “I like your work so very much, my friend”. Then she disappeared, as if she never was.

When the sculptor woke he raced to his workshop. With one glance he knew that she had been there. The changes she had made were magic to his eyes. His heart no longer ached, and his soul no longer cried.

He left the figure among the roses. Everyone that visited his shop noticed it. No matter what they felt, anger or sadness, laughter or tears, when they saw that figure, they found their smile again.

Someday the person the fairy meant the figure for would come through his door. They would take it home, and their heart would never ache, or their soul cry tears of pain again, in all the days life gave to them.

347 Words

Missing Puzzle Piece

I’m missing things,
I know.
That other people don’t.
I’ve got tons of evidence
Of this.
From the simple kind
To the complex.

It’s like life is a puzzle.
With some pieces missing.
So that I can tell
What the picture is.
But can’t get all the details

Take driving, for example.
I know I’ve talked about this
Many times before.
But it still baffles me.
The way that people drive
As a whole.

Many times in my life,
I’ve seen the same cars
Day after day,
Week after week,
For months and even years
In a row.

And the cars all behave
The same way.

On Monday through Friday,
They drive like they’re in a race
Against time.
As if they have to get
Where they are heading
Before the building

But on Saturday and Sunday
The same cars
Can’t get out of anybody’s way.
They cruise along.
As if they have all day
To get where they are going.

I’ve timed them.
Many times.
Measured their speeds,
By following along.
And it’s pretty consistent
What I’ve found.

Monday through Friday,
They drive along
At 5 or 10 miles an hour,
And sometimes, even more,
Above the posted
Speed limit.
As a whole.

There’s more to it
Than that, though.
If the speed limit is slow,
Anything less
That 35 MPH or so,
They drive further above
The limit
On those days.

If the limit’s 45 or more,
They don’t drive as much
Above the limit.
Unless they’re on the expressway.
On the expressway
Anything goes.

But, change the time
To Saturday or Sunday,
On the exact same roads.
And the same cars
Cruise along.
Never even reaching
The speed limit
Any more.

Figure that one out.
I just don’t get it.

I’ve learned a way
To get people so angry
When I’m driving along.
It’s very simple to do.
I just ignore the way
That other people drive.
And make like a machine.
Matching my speed
With the posted speed limit.

I get pushed from behind.
I get passed all the time.
I get to observe
Interesting gestures
And hand signs.
And sometimes,
I get cut off,
And nearly wrecked.
By people
That to me,
Have lost their fracking minds.
On Monday through Friday.

Then on Saturday and Sunday,
I have to deal with people
Clogging up the roads.
You try doing 35
Down Holland Road.

The limit’s 45.
And Monday through Friday
Those people zip along
At 50 or more.
But on Saturday and Sunday,
I consider myself lucky
If the person I’m behind
Hits 40 at all.

Same cars.
Same license plates.
Same drivers.

What the hell am I missing?
There’s something there
I just don’t understand.
Am I supposed to just blend in.
Behave like everyone
That’s driving on the roads?
Is it one of those social things
That I don’t know is there?

This is just an example
Of the things I deal with
Every day.
When what people say,
And do,
And the way that they behave,
Leaves me wondering,
Why are they that way?

Sometimes it’s like working a puzzle
Where some of the pieces
Aren’t there any more.
So that the finished puzzle
Has gaping holes in it.

And sometimes
It’s like the puzzle pieces
Are all cut exactly the same.
And will fit together
Every  way at all.
So that the finished puzzle
Looks like paint splatters
Randomly scattered
On a big old wall.

And I end up having to
Rework bits and pieces
Of the puzzle
Over and over again.
Day after day.
Week after week.
Year after year.

As I figure out
That I’ve got something wrong.
The missing pieces should be here,
Not there.
The colors look like this,
Not that.

And the best part of it all
Is that the pictures
And the colors
Slowly change.
And over time
I have to rework the puzzles
Just to keep them looking something
Like they’re supposed to look.

I don’t understand the way
That people drive
At all.
But I can observe,
And understand
The patters of the way
They drive.

And I can mimic them.

So no one knows,
And no one sees,
That I’m not like them.
At least
When I’m driving my car
Down the road.

I just sometimes wish
I knew why people
Do the things they do.
That would sure help me
Mimic them better.
I’d make less mistakes.

But I know that will never happen.
So I’ll keep working with
Puzzles missing pieces.
Where I can get the picture mostly right,
Except for the details.

As my doctor says to me
Session after session.
“Get out there
And make mistakes.
Make lots of them.
It’s how you learn,
You see.”

I wonder what the colors are
On that missing

“I’m Cold.”

How do people know
When you are cold.
When you are feeling
Anything but warm.
When all you want to do
Is curl up in a ball.
And pile 40 blankets on.

So you can be warm,

My lady never says a word to me
When she’s cold.
And having been around her
For 35 years now.
She doesn’t have to.
I’ve learned.

I watch how she behaves.
The way she crosses her arms
In front of herself.
Her hands covering
As much as they can.
The way she tucks them in
Against herself.
The way she scrunches up
Her shoulders.
And sits
Absolutely still.

Like she’s trying to curl up
In a little ball.

The way she pulls her jacket on.
To cover up as much of her
As she can.

I’ve learned what her behavior means.
But still.
There are times
I just flat miss everything.
And unless I pay attention.
And study her a moment.
I just flat don’t know
That she’s cold
At all.

Other people seem to know
When someone else is cold
With just a glance.
Sometimes I wish
That’s how things were
With me.

But the truth is
The only way I know
When someone’s cold
Is to think about the way
They are behaving.
Watch the things they do.
And compare that carefully
To how I have learned
People behave.
When they’re cold.

And that’s just half the problem
That I face.
There’s another half,
You know.

How do I let others
Know when I’m cold?

Stop laughing.
I’m serious.
This is a real challenge
For me.
It’s not obvious to me
At all.
Never has been.
Never will be.

If the world worked the same way
As the things I write.
I’d just have to say,
“I’m cold,”
And everyone would know.

But in real life,
If I just say,
“I’m cold,”
As if it were a fact.
Well, let’s just say
That doesn’t work.
I’ve learned that the hard way.

“You’re cold?
You don’t look cold to me.
Aren’t you cold in here?
It’s 50 freakin’ degrees!”

But you see.
People use this thing
Call social behavior.
Which is a hidden language
That most people
Just know.

I don’t.
I don’t get that language
At all.

I’ve tried to teach myself
How to behave
So people know
I’m cold.

Bet you never had to do that.
Bet you just plain knew
Exactly what to do.

I try things now.
Like stomping my feet
Hard on the ground,
And swinging my arms,
Then hugging them to me.
As I exclaim
Somewhat loudly,
“Damn, it’s cold in here,
Ain’t it?”

That seems to work.
At least sometimes.
But sometimes things go wrong.
And people look at me
Like I’m just plain crazy.

That’s how I know
The method that I used
To tell someone I’m cold
Was inappropriate
For the environment
I was in.

Sometimes, I try standing there.
With my arms crossed
Across my chest.
And my shoulders
Scrunched up tight.
As I shift my weight
From side to side.

Sometimes that works.
And someone says,
“Here, have a jacket.”
Or perhaps they’ll move me closer
To a source of heat somewhere.

That goes wrong.
“The restroom’s down the hall, guy.
I’ll save your place in line.”

Just great.

But you get the point by now,
I think.
That I’m trying to make.
That things you take for granted
That everybody knows.
Are complete mysteries
To some of us.

That’s why we don’t fit in.

‘Cause no matter how we try.
How much we learn.
How much we observe.

There are things that people see
That are just invisible
To people just like me.

How do you tell someone
That you’re just plain cold?
I don’t always know.
And I don’t always manage
To find a way
To let someone know.

I just have to suck it up.
And stand up
To the cold.


‘Cause there are times
When no one knows.
When I just can’t find a way
To tell them
That I’m cold.

Depression’s Just A Feeling

I’ve noticed something today.
An old friend in my life.
A feeling that I’ve had.
Many times before.
A feeling
With a name.


And I find myself surprised
To find it today.
To know it’s there.
At this time of year.
Well into the spring.

I’ve always thought
It was a winter thing.
That as the days grew shorter,
And darker.
My depression
Gained strength.

But I’ve come to realize
That my depression also grows
In Spring.
Something I’ve never known

It was this time of year
In 2010,
When my depression
It became more
Than I could control.
More than I could handle.

And I came apart.

It was this time of year
In 2011,
When my depression
Once again.

It was visible.
In the things I did.
In the things I wrote.
In the way I behaved.

Everyone could see it.
It was plain as day.
To everyone.
But me.

And today.
When I was on my way
To work.
I saw it myself.
Felt it.
And the darkness
That it brings.
Right there.
In my car.

But this time,
I’m different.
I’ve changed.
For I no longer am afraid
Of the depression
That I feel.

It’s a part of me.
A feeling that I have.
Like laughter.
And like fear.
Like smiles.
And like tears.

Like holding one whose heart aches.
And whose soul cries tears of pain.
And like those days
When all you know
Is rage.

Like everything I feel.

I’ve learned.
I understand.
And I accept.
Everything I feel.

And that’s what my depression is.
A feeling.
Nothing more.

My feelings are a part
Of who I am.
And I no longer
Deny that they exist.

I am good and evil.
Darkness and light.

Just like each day
Here on Earth.
Where the sun rises,
And it sets.
Every day.

What if the sun
Should never set?
Would life be the same?

So I’m not afraid
Of my depression
It’s just something
That I feel.
And nothing more.

And like everything I feel,
I know
That in a little while.
With a little bit of time.
What I feel
Will change.

And my depression
That I’m feeling now,
Will fade with time.

That’s what feelings do,
I’ve learned.
They change.

And in the meantime
I’ll acknowledge
What I feel.
And I’ll accept it.
And keep enjoying life.

For every feeling
That I have
Is another part
Of the life
I’ve been blessed with.

And I find I wish
That everyone I know
Understood that
Like I do.

Everything Changes

Everything changes.

Two years ago,
I didn’t have a blog.
I’d never written anything
Read by anyone.

Two years ago
I didn’t know
What Flash Fiction is.
I’d never heard of it.

Two years ago,
I avoided Facebook.
I avoided Flickr.
And Twitter too.
I had no interest in them.

Two years ago,
I worked at a job.
That I’d had.
For 28 years.

Every day was the same for me

I knew
What days I would work.
How long I’d be at work.
What I’d do at work.
Who I’d see at work.

I knew
What my weekend
Would bring.

To years ago.
Everything was normal.
Was always the same.

That was two years ago.

Everything has changed.

I’d never heard
Of NaNoWriMo.
Had no idea
What it was.
Until last fall.
When I participated.
And like so many
Of the people I have met.

I spent November writing.
Until I had the full framework
Of a novel.
A story.
A book.
Something I’d always wanted
To do.

And suddenly.
It’s happened.
I have a story
I can fill in,
Clean up,
And finish.

And I know too
There are more stories
I will write.

Because the lessons
I had learned.
The ones that told me
That I couldn’t write.
That I’d never be a writer.
Those lessons
Are now gone.

I’ve written a story
Of my own.
So I know I can.

I know what Flash Fiction is.
And I’m learning
How to write it.
Flash Fiction’s very fun to me.
And it’s unpredictable.
I knew know
What I’ll end up writing.
Where a story
Will go.

I’ve been writing now,
Almost every day.
For the past two years.
I’ve got a record
Of everything I’ve written.

It’s like it tells the story
Of someone waking up.
Someone coming
Back to life.
Discovering that everything
He believed in
For 28 years.

Was wrong.

I’ve met people
That I would have never met
Two years ago.
People of all kinds.
And all ages.
Everyone’s so different.

I have a very different
Kind of job.
Working part time now.
And I never really know
When I’m going to work
From one week to the next.

And where I work
I get to interact
With people all the time.
Every single day.
People that I’ve never seen before.

I don’t do the things
I used to do.
I don’t go to church.
For I’ve come to understand
That church
Is not for me.

It’s a good thing.
I like that it exists.
I’ve seen it help
So many people
That I’ve known.
Even people I know now.

So, I have nothing bad
To say about it.

It just doesn’t work
For me.
It reminds me too much
Of the way that everything
Was the same.
Every day.
When I reached the end
Of that 28 years
Where I used to work.

Sometime in the coming months,
I’ll buy my own backpack.
And when I do,
I’ll at long last
Do something
I’ve always wanted to.

I’ll spend the night
In my little tent.
Sleeping in a sleeping bag.
On the ground.
Beneath the stars.
At a campground
Near the ocean.

I’ll go alone because
I’m OK being by myself.
And I know something else.
That lots of people
I have known.
And that I know right now.
Think that sleeping
In a tent,
In a sleeping bag,
On the ground.

Isn’t any fun.

I wish they’d remember
All the dreams they had
When they were young.

I’ll close this rambling note down now.
With the words from a song I like.
From Off The Grid,
By Abney Park.

“I’ve packed my bags
Bought back my pride.
I’d rather live in rags
Than throw my dreams aside!
I’ve packed my bags
Bought back my pride
I’d rather live in rags.”

The dreams I’ve always had.
That I set aside
For the 28 years I worked
In the same place.

It’s time I tried my best
To bring some dreams of mine
To life.

And that’s what I’m going to do.

Everything changes.
Doesn’t it.

A Couple Of Notes :

1. You can learn more about the Steam Punk band, Abney Park here : Abney Park’s Web Site

2. You can learn more about Flash Fiction at the following places. Please feel free to read the stories you find there. Many of them are very good. And by very gifted, creative, and talented people.

Sioban Muir’s #ThursThreads
Cara Michael’s #MenageMondays

3. Learn about NaNoWriMo here : National Novel Writing Month

Get out there and explore life. (:


The Hurt In Her Eyes

I’ve learned that I don’t see
What other people see.
That’s a gift
From my ASD.

I see details.
Lots and lots of details.
I always have.
It’s a skill I learned
A lot of years ago.
A skill I had to grow.
It kept me alive.

I learned to watch people.
To watch their faces.
Watch their eyes.
Watch the way they move.
It was the only way I had
To have a clue at all
Of the way they felt.

One of my new friends
Is hurting at this time.
She’s a photographer.
I love the photos that she shares.
Each is a work of art.
Filled with tons of details.

I’ve known so few people
In my life
That could capture feeling
On a page.
In the words they wrote.
In the things they drew.
In the pictures that they took.

She is one of them.
Like the others I have known.
She is a priceless gift
From life.

But I’ve watched her pictures
For the past few weeks.
And I’ve seen something
In them.
Something growing.
Something that disturbs me
Very much.

There is an anger there.
An anger
Caused by pain.
I know that look
So very well.
I’ve seen it
In my own eyes.
Time and time again.

I’m not sure she knows.
She is so very young.
And it took me
More than 50 years
Of watching, learning,
And living,
To learn what I know
About the things I see
In her eyes.
In the pictures
That she shares
With people that she knows.

I know she’s alone
In her home
These days.
He’s in the Navy.
He’s deployed.
And I know
She misses him.

I understand
What that’s like.
To have to let go
Of someone you care for.
As my doctor’s said to me
Many times before.
You identify with that.
You understand that.”

It’s not empathy,
I know.
I’m not very empathetic.
Never have been.
Never will be.
It’s just how I am.

But I do know what it is
To miss someone.
And I know she misses him.

There are times
I want to scream.
When I feel so helpless.
So useless.
When I know
There’s almost nothing
I can do
To help a friend.

And I know
There’s very little
I can do
To help her through
What she’s dealing with
Right now.

There are times I wish
I could do more than I can.
But I now I can’t.
I’m only human
After all.
And there are laws of physics,
Laws of biology,
That I just can’t break.

I’d say there are social rules
That limit me.
But the truth is
There are not.
I just know that there are things
That I shouldn’t do,
Or say,
Because of the trouble
That they cause.

Why is our society
So heartless.
And so cruel.
That we have no choice
But to let another
Hurt alone.

But you see.
I’ve learned
There is one thing
I can do.

I can write.
For when I write
I can say
What I have to say.
I can ask
What I wish to.

I’ve seen the look
In my friends eyes.
That look of pain.
Of loss.
Of helplessness
To stop the rain and wind
Of the storm
That life has sent
Her way.

And I’ve watched the hurt
That I’ve seen there
As it slowly changed
From hurt and pain
To the anger I can’t help but see
In the pictures
That she shares.

So I write.
And I talk with her sometimes.
I even share some pictures
Now and then.

Because I know
One thing I can do
Is try to give a smile
To a wounded friend.
Every now and then.

In the hope that she remembers,
And never does forget.
That hurt,
And pain,
And loneliness,
Are like the other things
We feel.
Like anger and laughter

They’re transient.
They come and go.

This world that we live in.
A world I never made.
Is broken.
And hosed up.
I know that.

But that doesn’t mean
That things can’t change.
That people cannot grow.

The way things are
Is transient.
Things change.
This much I know.
I’ve learned this in my life
Through the gift
My family and friends
Have always been to me.
And through days
Of both joy,
And pain.

And that is why
From time to time
I’ll write something.
Or share some pictures
Of flowers,
Or butterflies.

With my young friend
Whose eyes tell me
That she’s in great pain.

In the hope
I can help her
Find her smile

For my heart tells me
This is the way
God meant life
To be lived.

Memories : History

I no longer remember the date.
Or the number of the room.
But I can remember
So very many details
Of that day.

I was in 7th grade.
It was the first 6 weeks
Of the school year.
Like everyone
In 7th grade.
I was taking US History.

The book was just damn boring.
Brutally so.
It was so very hard for me
To read that stupid thing.
To study history.
Things that happened
Way back when.

Studying how the USA
Came to be.
The vikings.
The Spanish.
The French.
The British,
And so many others.
That sailed across the Atlantic.
Finding their way here.

I ignored it all.

Didn’t read a word.
Until the first test
Came along.
And I realized
I didn’t know a thing.

As I sat there
On that day.
Staring at the grade
I’d made
On that test that day,
I realized I had a choice to make.
It was a choice
Left up to me.

Read the book
Of history.
And learn.

Or perhaps for the first time
Fail a class in school.

I never did take defeat

It was the first time I remember
My anger at myself.
And anger can be
Such a destructive thing.

It was the first time
I decided
To not let that test grade stand.
I picked up my history book.
And started reading it.
And asking questions
In almost every class.
Starting with that day.

It was the first time
In my life,
That I’d attacked a class.
With the same ferocity
That I’d used at work
For 29 solid years.

It would not be the last.

I remember that day
Very well.
The decision that I made.
For that was just another step
Along the path
That lead to my destruction.

A path of self-denial.
Of self-inflicted pain.
That slowly turned into

And as I walked that path
I lost all track
Of me.

Leaving just a shell
Of the person that I was.
A machine.
That could only do his job.

It was a decision
That changed everything.
Leaving only a machine.
With no heart
Or soul.

It was a decision
That lead me to the point
When I would walk
In the ice and snow.
Or in the rain.
Until my toes and heals
And then bled.

Until I couldn’t tell at all
If I was hurt or not.

Until I’d forgotten completely
Everything that mattered
To me.

I remember history
From back in 7th grade.
And the decision that I made
One day,
To never fail
Another test.

I remember
How that day
Changed everything
For me.

And I can’t help but wonder
How many people I know
Made a choice like I made.
Many years ago.
And now are completely lost.
And don’t even know.

And you wonder
What has caused
My soul’s tears…