In Honor of Sam I Am


Sam I Am12/07/2002 – 09/07/2017

There is a bond between a human and a dog that is forged in a moment and grows stronger over the years. Our bond was forged six years ago on May 22, 2011. I find myself replaying that moment over and over in my mind. I remember Keith being surprised by your actions, and her explaining to me and Jenny how you had never jumped in anyone’s lap. It was your way of letting Keith, and us, know that you had chosen me and Jenny to be your adoptive/retirement parents. We wanted you, but it was amazing how in that one moment you made us feel wanted. At times I have said that we adopted you, but in reality you adopted us.
Tonight I can’t help but wonder: Why did you choose us? 
That day I watched you as you walked around the backyard among the other dogs doing your own thing. I’ve often wondered if you jumped in our laps because you were wanting to get away from those annoying “young pups.” Maybe you saw in my eyes a kindred spirit of one who was comfortable enough in their own skin to be alone, while at the same time desiring companionship, but not knowing exactly how to be a companion. Maybe you saw Jenny and sensed the love that she had for me, and knowing we had that kindred spirit that she would love you in the same way. Maybe, in some mystical, intuitive way, you knew that in a few years a little boy was going to enter my life, and you chose us so that you could teach me about patience, selflessness, dependence, tenderness, forgiveness, and love to help prepare me to be his dad. I truly believe it is no coincidence that you came into my life 6 years ago, ten months before me and Jenny got married, and that you have left us a short 18 months after Dylan was born. Your work is done, and now you can rest.
Sam I Am, I am forever grateful for the love, life, and lessons you shared with me. I’m truly thankful that you got to be in Dylan’s life even if it was for just a short time. I know in many ways he was like those little annoying pups, but he loved his “dog!” I also know that you loved him, if for no other reason than the food he would drop and throw on the floor for you to eat. I hope you know that you weren’t just a pet to me, Jenny, Tyler, and Dylan, but you were family. 
Sam, you truly are a champion!

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A New Story: At Least A Beginning

I’ve never been good at letting go. I thought that after the first few times of having to let go of someone I love that it would become easier, but this is not the case at all. Every moment of letting go has been more difficult than before. Thinking back over the various times that I’ve had to let go of someone I care about I realize now that the first time was the easiest, and this time is the most difficult.

The Easiest

When I was seven years old, I loved to watch my shadow. It gave me hope that I wouldn’t always be small. My shadow represented what I wanted to be at that moment in my life. I wanted to be big. At seven years of age, I was tired of being small. I was tired of bullies picking at me on the playground. Albeit I didn’t really like girls at that time, I still didn’t like the fact they never noticed me. Most of all, I wanted to be big for her. No. I needed to be big for her. It is what she said to me frequently, and what I strived to be for her. “I need you to be big boy for me. Okay?”

As we walked up Main Street, our shadows walked ahead of us. That evening I saw not just my own shadow, but I saw our shadows. I remember that it wasn’t how small my shadow emanated or how tall her shadow seemed to be that caught my attention; it was the letter M that our shadows formed. Her hand was warm, and I always held as tight as I could to her hand. Up until that moment, I always believed I held tightly to her hand because I was being a big boy and protecting her. It is why I walked on the outside next to the street. I was trying to show her I was a big boy. I wanted her to know I was being what she needed me to be.

But, the moment I saw the M, I somehow knew that I had been deceiving myself. I held tightly to her hand because I was scared. I was scared of her losing me, and of me losing her. Afraid she would leave me. Even more, I realize now I was scared of growing up.

She noticed when my hand began to tremble inside hers, and asked whether I was okay. I couldn’t answer because I knew I would begin to cry the moment I opened my mouth. So, I shook my head yes, but my hand continued to tremble. I felt her hand grip mine even tighter. I knew she was trying to comfort me, but although I was only seven, I knew my fear was not one that would be easily comforted. I realized I had to grow up. The only way the bullies would stop, the only way girls would notice me, and the only way I would be the big boy she needed me to be was if I faced my fear and grew up.

I looked back down at the beautiful M on the sidewalk, and I realized it was a beauty that I was about to destroy. I began to pull my hand loose from hers. I could feel her hesitancy at first. I could feel the skin of her hand become firm, but for some reason she let me let go. At that moment I wanted nothing more than for her to grab my hand back into hers. I wanted her to make me hold her hand. But she didn’t. I couldn’t look up at my mother. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw her hand brush across her face. I looked back down at our shadows fighting back my own tears. There was no longer a beautiful M, but rather a large and small I. That night, between my own weeping, I could hear, through the air conditioning vent, the sound of my mother crying.

Today, I understand more about that day than I ever did when I was seven. Three things that I now understand from that day that I didn’t understand when I was seven:
1. Letting go means breaking something that is beautiful.
2. When you let go of someone you love they are having to find a way to let go of you.
3. Letting go is not only painful for you, but the one you let go of has to go through their own hell.

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I Will Be…

I Will Be…
When the world is dark and cold
I will be the light that warms you.
When life is like a violent storm at sea
I will be the anchor that holds you.
When life is sinking all around
I will be a rock for you to stand on.

When you’re scared of the future
I will be there to walk with you.
When you need to talk it out
I will be there to listen to you.
When you can’t hold back the tears
I will be there to cry with you.

When the storm clouds disappear
I will chase the rainbow with you.
When your dreams come true
I will be there to applaud you.
When your blessings in life make you smile
I will be there to smile with you.

What ever you need or want
I will be….

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“That Last Day”

This is what I’ve written so far on the story I’m working on.

When I was eighteen years old my senior class sponsor, Mr. Clark, asked the graduating class of 1991 to write on a sheet of paper where we thought we would be in five or ten years. As is my practice, I thought about this assignment for a few hours before I actually wrote anything down. Mr. Clark informed us that the school was going to have a time capsule buried in the front lawn of the school under a monolith dedicated to Mrs. Williams who had been teaching at the school for twenty-five years. The class of 1991 was her final graduating class.

Mrs. Williams was a gem of a teacher but it was definitely her time to leave. She was forty-nine  years old and in fact looked ten to fifteen years younger than her age. Her hair was as radiant and black as the day she began teaching. She had taught Spanish all twenty-five years of her teaching career. She was a gem because she cared. Mrs. Williams cared about her students and the subject she taught. But the last couple years of her teaching career she had begun to falter. When it came to the subject of spanish her mind was still sharp, but concerning any other subject, such as modesty, dates, or simple tasks, well things weren’t as sharp.

Two weeks before my class’ graduation Mrs. Williams walked into my Spanish II class fifteen minutes late. As she entered the room the air was sucked out by every student because we all inhaled at the same time. No one said a word. No one could say a word.

Through the years Mrs. Williams had been the epitome of class and modesty, which for many of her students at the time translated into prudish. She always dressed in long skirts and long sleeve blouses. She never revealed much of her dark tanned skin apart from her ankles and forearms. Many of her students over the years joked that Mrs. Williams never had sex nor even said the word. All students knew this to be untrue because she had a daughter. It was still difficult to imagine her involved in any sexual act because she was so proper. Still, no student would deny that she was beautiful. It was something of a rite of passage for every one of her male students, and some of her female students, to declare on the bathroom walls whether or not we would “do” Mrs. Williams. There was not one male student, and it has been rumored female student, that wouldn’t “do” Mrs. Williams.

That day, two weeks before graduation, when Mrs. Williams walked into class she proved every student over the years wrong. Her arrival to class was obvious because we could hear her high heel shoes clopping down the hallway. I think it was Joseph Raynord that saw her first. Or at least I assume he saw her first because it was his gasp and mutter of the words, “holy shit” that caused me and every other student to turn and gasp. I didn’t dare blink because I didn’t want to miss one second of Mrs. Williams walking and standing in front of the class. Every male in the class shifted in their seats. Every female sat with their mouths agape. Mrs. Williams stood in front of the class wearing a pleated red and black Catholic school girl skirt that was a good six inches above her knees with a tight red blouse that had a plunging neck line that let every one of us know that not only were Mrs. Williams breasts real, but they were standing the test of time perfectly. We shifted in our seats not only to get a better angle but to try to push down our obvious erections.

At first Mrs. Williams didn’t say a word, she just stood there. I’m not sure about the females, but every male was content with her just standing there. It was Mr. Clark, he must have seen her walk past his classroom, who broke the silence and our concentration. When he walked in and called her name she shook her head as though waking from a sleep. Mrs. Williams looked around as though she was lost. Mr. Clark had no idea what was going on, but he began to walk towards her when Mrs. Williams looked down at what she was wearing. She gasped and then ran past Mr. Clark out of the room crying. We, all the males and a few females, ran to the door to catch one last glimpse of Mrs. Williams running.

That was the last day Mrs. Williams was our teacher. We, all her students, were told later that Mrs. Williams had no idea where she was or who we were that last day. Her last day was the day that we, the male students, and a few of the female students, knew that we would “do” Mrs. Williams.

It was during my senior year of college, a fifth year senior, that I got a call from my mother relaying the news that Mrs. Williams had died. My mother knew that Mrs. Williams had always been my favorite teacher. She had been my favorite high school teacher, even before that last day. When I asked my mother how she had died she replied, “Alzheimer’s.”

At that very moment I felt a rush of understanding and guilt. Understanding because all of a sudden that last day made perfect sense. Guilt because that last day Mrs. Williams was not only my favorite teacher, she had become my favorite fantasy. I confess now, nineteen years after that last day and fourteen years after her death, that I had often imagined having sex with Mrs. Williams at my ten year class reunion, her wearing that same red and black pleated skirt with that tight red blouse with the plunging neck line that revealed the most perfect cleavage I’d seen up until that day. I wish I could say that after the news of her death that I never had that fantasy again, but it would be a lie.

It’s funny, often in an ironic way, how our memories work. Today is my thirty-seventh birthday and the memory of Mrs. Williams as my favorite teacher and fantasy was all prompted by my thinking about what I wrote on that damn piece of paper that was placed into that time capsule under the monument for Mrs. Williams. It has been nineteen years and I’m still not where I thought I would be five to ten years after graduating high school.

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A New Year

I would like to wish all those who read my blog a Happy New Year! I make no promises, but I am gonna try to be more consistent with my blog and my writing. The purpose of this blog has been to help me be busy writing. In a sense to hold me accountable. And to also document my process. I’m hoping this year I will be more disciplined.

On this first day of 2010 I’ve written 1100 words, and it felt great. Over the past few months I have been writing down ideas for a story I have in mind. These 1100 words I wrote are the first in the story. As I work on this piece I will post when I finish a chapter or a section of a chapter. Understand that it is a rough draft.

Again, happy New Year. May it be filled with joy, peace, and love!

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My Recurring Dreams

I’ve had two recurring dreams in my life. The first was during the summer after 5th grade. My brother and I was spending the summer with my real dad while my mom and step-dad moved to Algood, Tennessee. The second has been over the past couple years.

In the first dream my family are in a house that I do not recognize but it is clearly my family’s house because my mom, step-dad, brother, and sister are all there. In the dream my family is being killed one by one by none other than Darth Vader. I am the only one spared because I am hiding behind this odd patterned chair and Darth Vader never finds me. I had this dream at least a couple of times a week while staying at my dad’s over that summer. When the summer was over my mom came to Mississippi to pick up my brother and I. Mom was very excited about the new house. She had gotten me and my siblings new bedroom suits. As we walked through the front door of the new house I stood for a few moments taking in what I saw. Then without being directed I went straight to my room. What is strange is that I wasn’t scared. At the time it was more of a confusion. I couldn’t understand how a house I had never been in and furniture I had not seen till that moment could have shown up in my dreams. The house was exactly, right down to the furniture pattern and arrangement, like in my dreams from that summer. I have never told my family about that first recurring dream. Needless to say, Darth Vader never showed up and killed my family, but I did hide behind that chair quite a bit when hiding from my siblings.

The second recurring dream always has a different location and different people in every dream, but the same action occurs. I am with someone that I don’t recognize and our vehicle (never the same vehicle) breaks down in the middle of the night. A couple always (never the same couple) stops to help us, but they take us to wherever they live. While we are at this house the couple that helped us begins to act strange. Ultimately, they drug the female I’m with and I’m trying to figure out a way to save her or find help. In the dream, the male character who helped us is always stalking me while I try to figure out a way to get away to get help or trying to help the female with me. It is a nightmare. It is in fact the most frightening dream I’ve ever had. I always wake up before I can save the female that is with me.

I had this dream again this past week, but this time two strange things happened. The dream began and is progressing as it always does. I don’t recognize the location and it is different from the past locations. I don’t recognize anyone in the dream except for the man who stops to help us. Still, all the people in the dream are different from those in previous dreams. When we (my companion and I) get to the couple’s house my dream jumps forward to the bad female sedating or drugging the female I’m with, but it is at this point that the first difference occurs. In the dream, I say, “this has happened to us before because I recognize the drugs.” When I say this in the dream I am looking at the bad female as she is prepping the syringe and at the metal tray containing all these medical instruments. As I’m looking at this tray and saying “this has happened to us before because I recognize the drugs” the second strange thing happens. As I’m looking at the tray of instruments and drugs there is a flicker. It was like in a TV show or movie and the police are looking at surveillance video and their is a flicker in the video because someone has stopped the camera and then turned it back on again later after the crime has been committed. Or somewhat like what JJ Abrams incorporates in the last episode of the first season of Fringe when Olivia Dunham is on the elevator. In the dream, after I say what I said and the flicker occurs I am outside being stalked by the bad guy. Then I wake up.

I find dreams very interesting. Throughout history the importance of dreams have been debated. This is seen in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. On the way to the Capulet’s masquerade ball there is a conversation between Romeo and his best friend Mercutio in Act I scene IV:
ROMEO:
And we mean well in going to this mask; But ’tis no wit to go.
MERCUTIO
Why, may one ask?
ROMEO
I dream’d a dream to-night.
MERCUTIO
And so did I.
ROMEO
Well, what was yours?
MERCUTIO
That dreamers often lie.
ROMEO
In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

The issue of dreams and their importance are seen in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales, and also in Holy Scripture. Dreams are important in psychoanalysis thanks to Freud. It was a dream that inspired the Twilight Saga.

Do my dreams mean something? I have no idea! I just know that my experience with dreams, specifically recurring dreams, has been interesting.

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The Obstacle of Time

I have been thinking, trying to come up with what is my greatest obstacle as a writer in hopes of seeing how I can overcome that obstacle. For me it is time. I know that ultimately this is an obstacle for all of us, not just writers or artists, but also for mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.

I have read of some authors who do all their writing at night. Others write in the morning. For the unpublished writer it is typically whenever they can get a moment. For the unpublished writer one of the things that we long for is to be able to write full time. This doesn’t happen for all of us but we still dream. In the end, whether we are published or not we continue to write.

Honestly, I haven’t found the balance yet. I would love to be able to take a year off from teaching and work a 2-3 day part-time job so I could spend a year focusing on my writing. Is this a feasible plan? I’m not sure just yet. I’m not saying it is impossible (especially if I met a wealthy single lady who wants to help a starving artist LOL JK), but there are many factors to consider. In the end, whether or not this plan could work is not the ultimate issue. Writing is a discipline and I have to discipline myself. I have to manage my time. Whether I can take a year off or not next year I still have to e disciplined.

How do you deal with the obstacle of time? Time management? Discipline?

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