Ash saves the day

When my mood grew dark and my temper foul,
When frustrated impatience was on display,
When it seemed it was time to throw in the towel,
Along came Ash to save the day.

There are good people out there whose skill, kindness and willingness to help goes unacknowledged. Ash is one of those people, a person you will likely never meet unless you live in the Saratoga Springs area of New York and shop at Best Buy. Ash deserves to be recognized, so here’s to you Ash.

Last post, I pondered my reluctant relationship with ‘tech’. I’m not fearful of it, although, I am concerned about its reach and intrusion into our lives. I like it when I can use it as I would use a physical tool. My phone is no more than a communicator 99% of the time and my computer has been a reference tool. Only recently, in the past few years, has it become a notebook and only last week did I use it to reach out to you. I don’t believe I’m a technophobe, but rather, I’m technology challenged.

I’m not too proud to admit, “I don’t know”, and then go find someone who does. I found that person at the Best Buy in Saratoga Springs where I purchased my new Tracfone (yeah, I hear you laughing). I walked into the phone section and met my savior, Ash.

“Can you help me? I purchased this phone two days ago and I can’t get it to work”.

It was 8:00 at night and the store was quiet with one hour left until closing time. Ash asked what the problem was and I told her my story. It basically boiled down to, “the lady on the helpline said my phone won’t accept the service”. Ash told me that they couldn’t call on my behalf. Then, Ash said, “let me see what I can do.” Ash went above and beyond for me and when I left at closing time, I had a working phone, thanks to Ash.

Ash used a very particular skill set to figure out what was needed and by sheer dumb luck, I had what was needed in my computer bag to complete the task. Without Ash, I would have laid another brick in the wall of techno-phobia.

Does this mean I’m a technophobe?

I killed my phone. It was an accident, honest, it was. I got out of my Jeep (2001 Cherokee, that aught to tell you something!), and I fumbled the phone. I made what I consider to be a heroic effort to regain control of the hapless device, almost had it, and watched it carom off the arm rest, my leg and then plummet the remaining two feet to the asphalt. My last ditch, Hacky Sack save attempt resulted in a slight deflection, but alas, the phone struck the hard surface and laid face down, un-moving. I quickly scooped it up, scoffing at the tiny scuff on the upper right corner of the case, and stuffed it in my pocket. It was later, when I wanted to send a text that I discovered that my Alcatel TCL Trac Fone had suffered a catastrophic concussion and lay dying in my hand. The outer screen was unmarked. The damage lay below in the liquid crystal, rendering the screen unreadable, unusable and strangely, electronically pleasing to the eye.

“F****** phone”, I said while trying to resurrect it, “what a piece of ****, now I have to spend another 40 bucks for a new one! What a pain in the ass!”

That’s the gist of what I said if not the exact words. I went out and bought another Trac Fone, this time Samsung, called the phone number, spoke to the tech on the other end and was informed that the new phone was not Trac Fone authorized at this time, whatever that means. Now I have to take it back to where I bought it and get another or my money back. F****** phone!” I liked phones better when they were attached to walls and didn’t follow you around.

That got me thinking about another run-in with technology I had that resulted in the following.

 Bit by Bit

Our world is shrinking
the wireless evolution
advances unchecked

Digital technology
can't replace proximity

Just in

I arrived home half an hour ago. I went with my wife, Rosemary, to meet with a friend who happens to be the editor of the anthology, Influence of the Moon. I purchased a few copies to gift to friends and I gotta say, it’s really cool for me to have a copy of a book that I contributed to. There are 25 other extremely talented authors who poured their creativity into making this book a reality, they all deserve and have my praise. My thanks and praise also extends to Shannon and staff at 518 Publishing who made the book a reality. This is the third anthology they’ve published in as many years, take a moment to check them out. I’ll try to link up with their blog or at least give the URL they can be found. I also want to send a shout out to Susan Blackley, owner of Written Image Press who called me out where I was lazy and made me write a better story.

I don’t mean to sound like I won a literary award and a lucrative book deal. I’m just excited to be part of the endeavor along with the other authors.

Here’s the URL’s;

https://www.pub518.com/blog/categories/ampublishing

https://www.writtenimagepress.com/

Shannon and her technicolor top knot

once emerald green
like summer past, now fuchsia
blazes on her brow

It’s time for me to go to bed now. Good night friends.

1667

That’s how many words I need to write each day in the month of November if I’m to reach the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words!!!

I’m a slow writer. I’m type with 2 fingers and I’m good for about 10 words a minute. I can type more words than that in a minute if I know exactly what I want to say, but I usually don’t know how I want to say what I want to say until I’m saying it and then I think of a different way of saying it and have to change what I said and in the end I didn’t say what I thought I was going to say when I started to say it. I actually exceeded my average wpm count just then!

The problem is that I stop and think about what I’ve written or what I want to write next, and the average dwindles away. It’s kinda like being stuck in a traffic jam sitting behind the wheel of a (pick your favorite vehicle), Changing lanes and advancing a short distance and then coming to a stop and watching the car you were previously stuck behind move ahead and out of sight.

The way I figure it, the math goes something like this:

1667 divided by 10 equals a little less than 3 hours. Factor in correcting spelling errors, coffee and then the subsequent bathroom breaks, brain cramps and staring off into space, I figure the time required to reach the daily goal will fall roughly between 3.5 hours and forever.

I’m not liking the odds, I know me and I also engage in a lot of wishful thinking. That doesn’t mean I’m not gonna try. Remember, the point of the journey is not to arrive, right? Anyhow, It’s getting late so I’ll wrap this up with a heartfelt thank you to those of you who read this and my previous posts. I’ve visited some of your blogs and read what you shared. Wow! There’s some powerful, thoughtful, wrenching, and wonderful posts. I look forward to viewing more of them as time allows and giving back in my own way.

I call this ‘Sidelong’.

Peripherally,
out of the corner of my
eye, see you and smile

You brighten my world when you
grace it with your brilliance

To old friends

So here I am, staring at my computer screen, trying to think of what to write. I had a good day, a couple hours at the shop, a couple hours at a local festival to benefit a local food bank and a couple of hours at my nephew’s birthday party. A good solid day. I had no flashes of brilliant insight, no epiphanies, nothing that said ‘blog this’.

“Why would anyone care what I have to say, what I did, what I think what I…etc etc etc.”

That is what I said to myself every time my self said “start blogging”. I’ll admit that I talk to myself someti…a lot, and I can be pretty convincing. Consequently, my blog site languished. Now I’m writing and you may be asking yourself, ‘Why’?

I’m writing because I need to write.

I’m not new to writing. I’ve penned dozens of outdoor columns in the local newspapers and magazines over the past twenty years. I tried to communicate the experience of living and doing outdoors rather than concentrating on the technical aspects involved. People interested in the technical were likely already doing it. I wanted to remind them of why they did it. I wanted to awaken an awareness in people who weren’t doing it and make them want to.

Recently, I had two pieces accepted into an anthology released last Friday the 13th, titled, ‘Influence of the Moon‘, published by 518 Publishing and available on Amazon. That was an amazing, difficult, humbling and rewarding experience. There were times when a deadline loomed, and inspiration had left the building. I felt that way over an hour ago.

It would have been easy to skip posting today, but I’m trying to establish a little discipline in my writing. I have stories inside me, short and novel size, that want to get out. I have poems and commentaries that I want to share. There’s a National Novel Writing Month, ‘NaNoWriMo’ challenge coming up in November and I need to get in shape!

Allow me to share with you, the first poem that I ever wrote. It was written November 19, 2017, while in the woods, in a small notepad I was carrying. The words happened, so, I let them. Thankfully, they still do.

To old friends 

Mighty giants, heaven's pillars
straining
straining against an unseen burden
crushed by that above
drawn to that below
thus they stood
balancing heaven
on earth.

Holding,
bound in both
for years unknown
striving grasping reaching
higher
deeper
bending shedding renewing
ever
and again.

Until
overcome
smitten down
toppled by their burden
they lie
and in their repose
silently return what was borrowed
so that others
may stand
in their place.

Is anybody out there?

Cassiopeia
Polaris, Ursa Major
Meteor's bright flare

Heavenward my gaze is drawn
Do the stars look back at me?

I have to believe that others, far away, look into the vastness of the cosmos and ask the same question. Our suns may be invisible to our mutually searching eyes, but it’s nice to know that someone else cares to look and wonder too.

Lyrically Speaking

My commute to work is very short, in fact, I shouldn’t be driving at all to get to work. I have two perfectly good legs and my carbon emissions are gonna happen anyway. What I’m getting at is this, the only good thing about a commute, besides the joy of driving (yeah, I like driving), is listening to music. I recognize and appreciate talent when I hear it, even if the style is not to my liking (country, the current incarnation; most of the currently popular pop, some great voices that need to really cut loose and achieve their potential; and, I’m sorry, most jazz). That being admitted, Johnny Cash rules; Lady Ga Ga, Kelly Clarkson, Pink; I’d love to hear them really going for it, and as far as jazz goes, the cool, smoke filled speakeasy stuff is OK.

I prefer my music loud and proud, turned up to 11, intelligent, de-tuned, long haired, pyrotechnic and guitar driven! I only went to two concerts at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) this summer with my daughter, We saw Korn / Alice ‘n Chains (I went for A’nC), and Slipknot / Volbeat (WOW, both of them!). I’m sorry that Rush has retired from touring, I never missed them when they came to town. Rush, ‘nuf said.

I read a most depressing article about the aging and impending demise of most of the rock ‘n rollers whose music I grew up with and whose lyrics helped shape me. Sad times are coming soon. Many of them are still performing. Their energy fuels new artists and great music will continue to be made long after we’ve gone to join our idols in the great concert hall in the sky.

I listen more attentively to the lyrics now than I used to. The words they sing and the stories those words tell sometimes stop me in my mental tracks. They speak of experiences, pain, loss and addictions that I’m glad I never experienced and probably couldn’t have handled or survived intact. They also tell of love, hope, longing, joy, freedom, dreams come true, fantastical places and the vitality of youth. The songs never get old, though the artists do. I can listen to their music and journey to places I’ve been, experience their experiences, tempered by wisdom and maturity granted by my own accumulation of years, and still be amazed at the thoughtfulness of those young artists when they weren’t given much serious consideration then, by people of my current age.

Listen to the lyrics of Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, read the social commentary of Slipknot, journey with Rush to self discovery in fantastic settings, take Scarlet’s walk with Tori Amos, Journey’s Evolution, and, Infinity odes to young love, Pink Floyd’s the Wall will give you goosebumps, Tool, if you dare! I could go on with both classic and new, but I wont. I’ll suggest one more that makes me smile every time I hear it and I heard it today, The Proclaimers; I’m Gonna Be (500 miles).

Now I remember

It’s all coming back to me now. I’ve always had a hard time with small talk, starting or participating in. I’m not shy or uninterested in conversation, I find what people say fascinating, even when what’s said leaves me shaking my head with bewilderment. I talk to people all day, customers, the students I drive to and from school and co-workers. I solve problems, resolve conflicts, pass information and if I’m lucky and the timing’s appropriate, I get to cut loose irreverently. Pique my interest and words will flow, otherwise, I am content with silence.

As I said at the beginning, I struggle to start polite conversation. If asked what I want to talk about, you will either get silence or more than you bargained for. If you say to me, “write something”, I will usually draw a blank. If you give me a prompt, well, that’s a different story. I’m full of words, but, I don’t know what ones you want to hear or read. I think that has also been what has held me back from posting. Have you struggled with the same thing?

Habits are easy to break and hard to make. This posting will make two days in a row for me not a habit yet, but it’s a start.

I’m working on a short story that I plan to submit to the next 518 Publishing anthology, ‘A Guide to Useless Sidekicks’. I have a book’s or books worth of ideas that I have to winnow down to 5000 words or less. Wish me luck! Speaking of anthologies, I will, once again, shamelessly promote 518 Publishing’s, just released anthology, ‘Influence of the Moon’, in which I have two submissions. One is a poem and the other a short story, both influenced by, you guessed it, the Moon! Please look it up on Amazon and buy a copy or two. If you live in the upstate New York, 518 area code region, you may be able to pick one up and get it autographed by one or more of the authors at an event held at a library, convention or even a farmers market.

I’ll leave you now with this moon inspired haiku,

For Selene:

Basking in the cool

Caress of moonlight shining

Dreaming of your touch

I hope you enjoyed, let me know what you think!

PS. Sorry about the format, I couldn’t figure out how to get the spacing right for the haiku, I’m still learning.

Thank you Norra

I set this blog site up over a year ago with the intention of sharing my thoughts with anyone who was interested, or had nothing better to do. I’d been writing a bit and was working on a few story ideas, one that I intended to submit to an anthology being assembled by 518 Publishing. I’m happy to announce that I submitted not 1 but 2 pieces, and both were accepted! The anthology is entitled, Influence of the Moon and is available on Amazon. ‘Selene’, and, ‘I should have quit and gone to bed’ are my submissions. Please buy the book!

Anyhow, I was at our writers group workshop and was talking to Norra about this blog site and my lack of activity. Said I, “I’m afraid that anything that I post in the blog will be considered published, and therefore, ineligible for submission in future publications”. Said she, “Hold some stuff back but get some stuff out there and create a following. It will help later on if you present a story to a publisher” (The previous quote is not exact, but close enough). Made sense to me, and she would know, having much experience in marketing.

She asked what Unforsenities means, so I showed her the following.

Wicked Ways

The human mind is strange territory. I often try to make sense of the words and deeds of others and my conclusion usually condenses to this simple equation: P=$C², where P=Power, $=$ and C=Control.

Seems true to me. Thanks again Norra.