Encouraging Thunder Award

encouraging thunder

First, I want to give a big thanks to Raymond http://aboutray.wordpress.com for nominating me for this award!  This award, for me, represents the community aspect of blogging…of reaching out and making that personal connection to our fellow writers.  Without that personal touch we would be simply putting up fliers on the sides of long forgotten abandoned buildings. I would also like to thank http://encouraginglife.co/about/encouraging-life-blog-awards/ for being the creator of this award.

Time is precious, so if someone takes the time to “stop by” and like, comment and/or reblog your work…there’s weight to that.

This is a nomination for bloggers who are considered to be active bloggers, read my posts, reblog my posts, leaving lots of comments and likes to my posts. They are truly amazing people who give so much support and besides I also visited their blog and having good interaction with these awesome people. The award could be rewarded many times and who knows what might happen if someone receives the same award many times! I am very thankful for these kind bloggers and therefore I grant all of them a special award Encouraging Thunder as a symbol of protection from nature in random order 😀

  1. alliesimpson2013 alliesimpsonblog.wordpress.com
  2. KT Brison litmamahomeschool.wordpress.com
  3. jacobemet jacobemet.wordpress.com
  4. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner donnaweidner.wordpress.com
  5. Darrin Pruitt drdivinespark.wordpress.com
  6. Leroy @WanderlustEmporium wanderlustemporium.wordpress.com
  7. caughtintheclouds whatsrightiswrite.wordpress.com
  8. cordeliasmom2012 cordeliasmomstill.wordpress.com
  9. Mike Andberg mikeandberg.wordpress.com
  10. Andrea Lundgren https://andrealundgren.wordpress.com/
  11. gipsiewonderer thegipsiewonderer.wordpress.com
  12. J K C o n i b e a r https://judykohnen.wordpress.com
  13. cassandrajanus cassandrajanus.wordpress.com
  14. allysonyj llysonjohnson.wordpress.com
  15. threehandsoneheart threehandsoneheart.wordpress.com
  16. smittyrooks smittyrooksblog.wordpress.com
  17. Caroline arolinepeckham.wordpress.com
  18. jcm3rockstar cm3blog.wordpress.com
  19. Ellen Hawley otesfromtheuk.wordpress.com
  20. What you can do with Encouraging Thunder award?

    • Post it on your blog
    • Grant other bloggers with the award

    What you can’t do with Encouraging Thunder award?

    • Abuse or misuse the logo
    • Claim that it’s your own handmade logo

    What you should do after receiving Encouraging Thunder award:

    • Enjoy the award
    • At least gives thanks via comments and likes and or mentioning the blog who give the award.
    • Mention your purpose in blogging

    Give them all love by visiting their blogs and show some appreciations 🙂

    *I apologize for any mistakes in typing the name of the blog. I copied them based on your written main blog address on your profile. If you have any changes in blog name please let me know via comments below.

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The Game

electrochromatic-mirrors

I’m finally alone.  I rest my hands on the cool, metal surface of the table and quickly take inventory of all the old scars and fresh wounds that mar my once nimble hands.  Band saw, tig welder, claw-hammer, drilling, milling, lathe, tapping and the list goes on.  Three of my fingernails are black, most have dents, and all are grooved with little vertical lines that I feel as I scratch my thumbnail across them.  I feel strangely detached, like my life is not my own, but rather a movie I’m caught up in.  My hands flip over palm-side up, like a couple dying fish kept out of the water too long, and the callouses and the dirt and grime that never seemed to come out reminds me of a wasted life.  These hands once flitted about the keys of a word processor, composing sonnets and short stories.  There used to be so much potential in these hands.  Clenched tightly, a scabbed cut on one of the knuckles breaks open and begins to trickle.

The detective enters the room, places a tape recorder on the table, slides a pack of smokes across the table and takes his seat.  He clears his throat.

“Okay, from the top,” and the record button is pressed.

***

I still hadn’t gotten used to third shift hours and the 45 minute ride home was treacherous, but I was thankful to have a job; college loans were coming due, even if I didn’t get a diploma.  I felt the heaviness of my eyelids and a moment later the baradadadada of the rumble strips snapped me to—they were my newfound guardian angels.  Rubbing my eye with a hooked index finger and the immediate sting of salty tears penetrating a gouge was felt.  I glanced up and noticed a pair of headlights following closely behind.  The headlight housings looked square and my stomach sank as I imagined red and blue lights strobing on the roof.  My car was four months late on the inspection.

I could immediately feel my pulse throbbing in my carotid, my breathing became shallow and my eyes had better focus than they did in months.  Razor-like attention was placed on keeping the car between the lines long enough to make it to the next turn-off.  My hands gripped the wheel and the headlights in the rearview seemed to get even closer.  There was a turn-off in about an eighth mile.

“Jeez-jeez-jeez, come on…I got this. Jeez-um,” I muttered.

The turn-off was just ahead, so I put on the signal, slowed to make a comfortable turn and a moment before turning the wheel the car behind put their signal on to go in the same direction.  My chest went tight and I involuntarily tapped the accelerator, causing the Monte to lurch forward, but just as quickly I let off.  I couldn’t afford a ticket for no inspection AND a speeding ticket.  I had to make another turn, but this was a road that I’d never taken and so was unfamiliar.  A resume the state limit of 55 miles per hour sign became visible.  At that speed it would be even more difficult to make a turn on a strange road.  I slowly eased the accelerator down, but before hitting 45, I saw the green reflective glow of a street sign on the left and immediately put on the turn signal.  The car behind was so close now, that the headlights couldn’t be seen…just a glow from behind the bumper. Slowing to make the turn I squinted to see if the tail was going to follow me further, but the proximity made it too difficult to tell.  I held my breath and made the turn.  They kept straight and roared off into the darkness.

I breathed a sigh of relief and after going a safe distance pulled over onto the shoulder.  I laughed at the situation and at my reaction to it, swung the door open and puked all over the blacktop.  I wiped my mouth with my sleeve and clicked on the radio.  Tom Petty was belting out American Girl and I was immediately reminded of The Silence of the Lambs.  I shivered.

There was no problem staying awake the rest of the ride home and the adrenaline dump coincided with my head hitting the pillow, so I was asleep within seconds.  I slept better that night than I could remember ever sleeping.

***

My record was four and that night I’d nearly came in my pants.  Four turns and the car was still behind me!  Now I’m no idiot, I’d figured out a while ago that they were all different cars by the shapes of their headlights, but this was The Game.  I quickly graduated from a police officer needing to fill a quota following me, to a hitman sent by some jilted ex-girlfriend—to ramp it up.  Four…darn…turns!  I bet I wouldn’t ever be able to top it.

***

I hadn’t gotten better than a two in weeks.  Sleeping sucked ass and I felt like a zombie all the time.  Color was draining from my world.  Sleepwalking…that’s what life had become.  I found myself getting lippy with co-workers, like even getting my ass beat by some fucker with hands the size of canned hams would be better than this.  Wake up!

***

The back roads were becoming my friends—every curve, straight-away, and hill had become intimately familiar, like the landscape of a mistress’ skin.  I’d painted the Monte with flat, black primer two weeks earlier and on nights like this I would turn the headlights off and cruise like a ghost, disturbing only the freshly fallen leaves along the roadside.  The waxing moon gave just enough illumination to keep my nerves steady.  I spotted what looked like an old man walking a small terrier along the ditch.  I let off the gas to come in silent and cloaked in darkness…close enough to blow the old man’s baseball cap off and then hit the accelerator to continue on the hunt.

When being followed stopped getting the job done, I began to imagine myself as the hitman…paid by some loan shark looking for the ultimate settle-up.  I was the tail and followed for as many turns as I could.  The smell of their fear drifted into my open window and filled my nose like a lover’s perfume.  I imagined the panic in their eyes, the panic that was once mine, and my muscles flexed in anticipation of the envisioned wet-work ahead.  Unfortunately, four had become a curse.  Inevitably the car would turn into a driveway after the fourth turn-off, usually sooner, and so four was quickly losing its luster.  Sometimes, like tonight, I would come upon a car while my headlights were still off and I would get really close before turning them on and watch with a smile as the car in front of me would swerve as if startled by my sudden existence.  Then The Game was on.

***

The red of the tail light’s glow, like those ahead, had become my favorite color.  My right hand slid into a cardboard box that sat in the passenger seat.  I felt the stickiness of the side of the roll of duct tape, the cool hardness of the crowbar, the ridges of the blade release on the box cutter and the roundness of the recently purchased ball gag.  Had I gone too far in picking up the ball gag?  The day I went into Adult World to pick one out I felt like a sexual deviant, as if I wasn’t careful I’d find myself buying a rubber suit and nipple-clips…that’s how these things progressed and I was no sideshow freak.  The multiple-pierced, checkout girl gave me a knowing smile.  She was cute even with all the hardware.  But it was the untraceable .357 tucked in my belt that had me feeling the wonderfully familiar on-edge sensation.  Ramping up.  Turn two.

Turn three and my cock was straining against the inside of my jeans.  Turn four, throbbing, I knew it was just a matter of time before a driveway would swallow the prey in safety; safety…what a weird concept.  I let off…four car-lengths ought to do it.  The car turned into its driveway.  I slowed to see the number on the mailbox and hit the accelerator.  Around the next bend I double-backed, headlights off.  I let off the gas and coasted to a stop.  The mailbox.  I cupped my hands around a cigarette, lit it and drew in deep.  A smile crept across my face.

***

I put the cigarette out in the little round, glass ashtray in the center of the cool, metal table and exhaled, “…the Game,” and I think how if I hadn’t throat-punched that asshole in the quad, treating his girlfriend like trash, I would’ve never came up with The Game.  Maybe these hands weren’t so useless afterall.

The detective shut off the tape recorder and began sorting through his paperwork.  I looked down at the length of chain tethering me to this bolted down chair and judged just how deep I could get my thumb into his right eye.  My cell might be six by eight, but I’m gonna sleep like a baby.

Stranger in a Strange Land

spidey

Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother and grandfather talking and sometimes even arguing in a strange language that I couldn’t understand.  It turned out to be Mohawk.  You see I am half Native American, Mohawk, on my mother’s side and half German/French/English from my father’s.  My mom and dad split up before I can even remember and I was raised by my mom and my beautiful Mohawk family.

We didn’t live on the reservation that many of our relatives called home, but rather I called Syracuse, New York my home.  You see, the government had many ideas on how to undermine the cultural integrity of Tribes living on reservations and relocation was one of them.  My grandmother, who is the strongest woman I have ever known, was placed in a Catholic run boarding school, where she was beaten for speaking her native tongue.  She held on to her language despite their efforts and became one of the most devout Christians I have ever known, as well.  She would wake up early every morning and do rosaries, then when it was time for mass she would deny herself getting communion and when I asked her why, she said that she wasn’t worthy.  If she wasn’t worthy then no body was, as far as I am concerned.  My grandfather was a broad-shouldered ironworker, who lost the battle with alcoholism when I was very young.  With him gone the Mohawk words faded away and my connection to my culture was in a way lost.  There was a place that I hung out at in my youth called the Native American Indian Club and they held language classes while I was in elementary school, but less stuck than what most walk away with from taking Spanish all throughout high school.

We did go up north to the reservation during an occasional summer vacation, but other than fishing it was pretty boring.  I was out of place, though I wished I wasn’t.  You see, I had always found Native Americans to be more aesthetically pleasing to my eye, so much so that I’d wished I looked more like them.  I was my father’s son and had curly hair to boot.  I stuck out like a sore thumb, or at least it felt that way.  Then, when I thought I was starting to fit in, something would set me straight.

I was invited to a dinner at the Onondaga reservation, which was just outside of Syracuse, and as I sat outside eating I could see these Onondagan boys sitting together and I was envious of how they looked and of how closely knit they seemed to be.  That was when the pointing and laughter started…a pale, curly headed boy on the Rez.  I don’t know what happened next, all I know is that I ended up having one of them in a scissor-lock and as I squeezed with all my might I cried a flood of tears.  I cried for being shunned by those I wished I belonged with most.  My trips to the Rez became less frequent.

While in college I met and immediately became friends with a guy straight off the same Rez my relatives came from.  We hung out and talked about going up north and using his sweat-lodge.  Then one day he started talking to me in Mohawk and when he quickly realized I didn’t speak it, he asked me if I’d ever heard of the term “apple”.  I played it off, but inside I felt that same pain I did when I was a kid.

More recently I had entertained the idea of moving up north to the Mohawk reservation (Akwesasne), but when I brought this up to my relatives living up on the Rez, they would politely suggest that I might think about living the next town over…leaving the reason why unsaid.  I was even interested in a position with the tribe and when I asked my aunt, who was already a part of the tribal power-structure, via email if I was qualified or out of my depth…I got no response.  Maybe I was just that…completely out of my depth.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never turned my back on either my paternal or maternal heritage, as I am now closer to my father than I have ever been and I know I have him to thank for certain attributes as well as my mom.  It was just hard growing up looking ethnic enough to be harassed by the police in my adolescence, but not enough to be truly accepted by my own tribe.

A stranger in a strange land.

Immortality

Ankh

Most of us, if not all, are afraid of what comes next…the big next.  Now, I’m not going to get mired down in a philosophical treatise on the afterworld or reincarnation, rather I am going to center on the simple act of leaving the life you know behind.  Death waits for us all, whether we want it to or not.  We worry about the state of our affairs, “who’s gonna support my loved ones, who’s gonna take out the garbage on Monday night,” and so forth.  The question that burns the deepest is, “how long before I am completely forgotten?”  At least if I am remembered, in some way, then I live on.

Those of us that blog, do so for certain reasons, like catharsis, or sharing beautiful moments, or introspection and trying to understand what it is to be human…reaching out with this to say that we are not alone.  We read the words of others to experience their human condition and to see not only what makes us different, but what unifies us as well.  Beneath all that, I think, that we yearn for immortality through our words.  Many of the bloggers I see have already published books, and in that alone deserve our respect and gratitude for adding to the chronicles, while some of us (yes me) are still finding our voice with hopes of one day writing the next Great American Novel.  Is that too much to ask?  If I can string the right words together, in the right sequence, I can live forever.  It’s wizardry.  We are trying to cast a spell, but if we do it wrong we could find ourselves lost in the oblivion.

This carries a lot of weight.  I have always allowed fear, more specifically the fear of failure, to paralyze me into inaction.  If I do nothing then I haven’t failed yet and the possibility of success is still there, but if I try and fail then the dream dies.  Now with age comes wisdom and I have learned at the intellectual level that this is false, that we learn from our failures and can always try again, but at the subconscious level I am still scared shitless.  A prime example of this fear induced paralysis was, for me, going to college.  I didn’t go right out of high school.  I went to work through temp agencies, at warehouses and factories and found myself having nervous breakdowns that bubbled up when I would think, “is this my life, am I stuck?”  I had always wanted to go to college, but the fear told me that if I go and I flunk out, then factories and warehouses will be all that’s left for me.  It took every ounce of my resolve to fill out the paperwork, but in the end…I flourished.  I loved it.  I wish I could be a career student to this day.  Now I won’t get into the irony that I am now employed at a factory in a managerial position, as it would change the tone of this entirely.  Rather, I am going to talk about hope.

As most of you know, I am now the proud father of a beautiful almost-five-month-old son.  Now, as much as he can serve as a wondrous distraction, he has also given me my immortality (at least that’s how I see it).  He looks so much like me that it’s like having a window into my own infancy.  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of my future self sending my current self a letter that not only explains what’s coming, but the right decisions to make to get there…perhaps this’ll be a future post.  Now I know this concept seemed a fantasy, but it will happen…not for me, but for my son.  I am the letter from his future and hopefully with my help he can make the right decisions and avoid certain pitfalls.  Okay end of tangent.  This newfound immortality means that it isn’t all riding on me becoming the next Stephen King.  I can begin to write with a sense of insouciance.  The weight has been lifted, by the hands of a 17 pound, almost-five-month-old mini-me.

So, watch out world…here I come!  Right after I change his diaper and I figure out a new way to  make him smile and laugh.

I have been nominated!

I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by a fantastic blogger Cheryl!

This means a great deal to me, as I am really very green at this and it serves as validation and will motivate me to keep plugging away.  Besides being a great place to read the writings of others, what I have been most excited to see is the really accepting community that I now belong to and I thank you all for being a part of that, especially you Cheryl!

The Versatile Blogger Award rules!

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  2. Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  3. Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link back to the post on your site announcing their nomination.
  5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Bloggers I would like nominate are:

Harsh Reality

Fred Colton

Glenn Hates Books

Laura Clark

Fortune’s Expensive Smile

Cassandra Janus

K. L. Register

Delight Circle

Outside the Coffee Cup

Timothy Pike

Gh0stpupp3t’s Realm

K. E. Wilkinson

Serena Artiste

Idioglossiablog

The Chosen One

Seven things about me:

1.  I have recently become a father, almost 5 months ago, at the age of 42, with the help of fertility.

2.  I am an amateur blues harmonica player.

3.  I once, a long time ago, won $25,000 at the casino for getting a Royal Flush at a Let It Ride table.

4. I am a Texas Hold ‘Em enthusiast (you’re now concerned about me having a gambling addiction).

5.  I wrote a treatment for a reality TV show and, it seemed, was an email away from meeting with MTV about it…so said the agent who later dropped me.  So close…

6.  I am happily married to a wonderful woman who not only gave me my beautiful son, but also had a wonderful son of her own that I cherish.

7.  When I was in 7th grade I bought a Ghost Busters’ jumpsuit and wore it to school…repeatedly.  In other words…I’m a geek.

8.  (BONUS)  I was named after Erich Fromm, after my mother and father read his book, “The Art of Love.”

Thanks

Erich