Tag Archives: #bloganuary

Out of the draft box, Part 3: Haiku Today 2015.10.24 —

Ironclad
(Image credit: Rob Ross [that’s me!])

Ironclad —
a pact between waters
of Earth and sky


The gray autumn sky chills. It’s full of reminders of things we have yet to do –– things left undone. It’s packed with guilt and frustration; it hangs around like a guest who’s worn out their welcome, chilling us to the bone. Consuming the warmth of summer as quickly as it came. It hangs heavy on my heart and weighs on my mind.

The gray autumn sky comforts -– it’s a looming alarm that says, “time’s up, buddy. Whatever you had planned, you may as well shelve it. You’ll have plenty of time to make it even better than you had hoped. So put on a pot of coffee, some slippers, and your hoodie. Play some video games. Dig in, stay warm. It’s not the end of the world, or else I would not be here.”


Here I am again, taking stock of what’s left in my draft box. Just one more after this, and I’m going to have to work that much harder to turn the purse of my mind inside out; and it may look, for all I know, like a TeeTurtle with the same question mark and dubious smile on both sides.

My instincts tell me that I still have much to tell and stories to unfold, I just have to get after them. And even when life and work and all things seem like a huge cluster . . . bomb, I intend to find the time to make it happen. After all, I have been known to be a time thief. 😉 The time is coming for me to take stock of all that is overwhelming in my life — for it’s been so good for so long that the load is getting ponderous.

I remember a time when life flowed more quickly. Moving here, moving there. Not having the kind of discretionary funds to do much more than live day-to-day and cobble together my hobbies as cheaply as possible. Things were simpler, and less of a hassle. Now I take stock and everything I see looks like something all-too-neglected . . . every skein of yarn I thought I was going to turn into a pair of socks or whatever; every exercise widget and gadget that’s rarely used in my fitness regimen, such as it is. Books. I haven’t read a book in forever, it feels like — and yet I still own quite a few of them, some of which will only be taken from me when I am dead. Clothes that no longer fit. Clothes that I’ve never really worn.

I’ve been ramping up to this: building up the temerity necessary to start going through and whittling it all down — mercilessly working to get things down to a manageable level. I feel like it would be great if I could take time off from work to do this, but unfortunately that is not possible at this time because . . . well, COVID.

So there’s the elephant in the room that I didn’t want to bring up, because it’s a little too on-the-nose. But rather than hide out at home or find new ways to make money to avoid contact with the public, I live life boldly by serving my community in a capacity that often feels underappreciated. I personally feel underappreciated by those above me in the chain of command, and yet I do this not because I feel a need to be appreciated; indeed, if I ever had this particular need I was disabused of it a long, long time ago. But thanks to COVID and the omicron variant now making its rounds through our facility I have all this vacation time saved up that I am unable to use.

So here I am, putting all my plans on the shelf as staff shortages rise once more. Delaying the inevitable, but not for much longer. I’m going to clear out the clutter and find myself somewhere therein, turning the gray skies blue once again.

Image credit: U.S. Army Europe, CC PDM 1.0

“Strap on those boots, soldier.”

Where did the horror go, anyway?

(Image credit: rtaylor111, CC PDM 1.0)

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” That is the first line of what is likely my favorite from a long list of works by an author so well-known in my lifetime that in my mind, he carries this torch. Genre fiction author Stephen King — best known for his horror, but indeed he has touched so many genres it’s not fair to pigeonhole him as a “horror author as such” — is someone that inspires me, and not just because he wrote some books that I have enjoyed.

When I was younger, I was a huge fan of this guy. People in my high school classes would remark that I came in with a different book every day, and that’s largely due to King. I devoured his works. I kept a list of his novels, which ones I’d already read, and I visited local libraries frequently to try to score the ones that I hadn’t gotten to yet. I wrote a few fan letters, got a few form letters back in return . . . I get how that works. No big deal.

When I read his nonfiction book On Writing, that’s when I got a real window into who the man was. I mean, he never left us lacking for insight in the forewords and afterwords he wrote in his novels, and I always read those too. King was one of those authors who could make a connection to the Dedicated Reader with just a page or two of his own sincere words, and so I anticipated with On Writing, I’d get more of that with some amazing advice about writing . . . and a good sense of how the indefatigable King pumped out work after work, winner after winner.

It turns out, however, that On Writing was part autobiography, talking about King’s early years writing, as an English teacher, coming to terms with alcoholism (having written some of his best works on the bottle,) and once getting past that it seems he didn’t skip a beat but kept on going. The man was hit by a van and almost died. I almost gave up hope on the chances that King would live to finish the Dark Tower series, the one that began with that line about the gunslinger chasing the man in black. Not only did he come back from that but he kept on writing. Took that lickin’ and kept on tickin’.

These days, it feels like the horror genre as I knew it has slipped out the back door. It’s not what it used to be at its zenith, and sometimes we get a taste of the old days in film and tv, but King still writes stuff that speaks to me even if people still treat his old stuff like it’s camp. Not that I’ve picked up a book in the past decade. Having the opportunity to do that while operating in the modern paradigm . . . that’s unfathomable to me right now. But I do listen to audiobooks, and so the written word is not entirely wasted on me; these days I can pump those words right into my earholes while I’m busy adulting.

So yes, I still admire King. I admire that he’s still out there telling stories, even after all he’s been through. And even if one day he gives up that torch, it might well be taken up by Joe Hill: an author in his own right, and not just King’s son.

At the end of the day, I want to tell stories too. I’m not sure if anyone will think they’re worth paying for, but sometimes that’s not what it’s about.

Sometimes you just have to explore.

(Image credit: sjpowermac, CC0 1.0)