Breaking Radio Silence – Seven Years From the Light of Day

It was seven years ago this week that I left my last call-center job. Actually, it was when I brought my computer equipment back to the office and out-processed because I had been working remotely for the previous year. And when I drove to the office, a huge thunderstorm blew up and it got so dark the streetlights turned on. But as I drove in and then when I drove out, I was blasting one song, “Light of Day” by Joan Jett (written by Bruce Springsteen).

I didn’t tell anyone at the time I was leaving this job because I didn’t want anyone to try and talk me out of it. It was a toxic environment that was affecting my physical and mental well-being. And there is NO reason whatsoever for someone to suffer through that. Now I didn’t have anything lined up when I left that place because I needed to heal up first (I had two disks in my lower back that were either compressing or bulging and causing me enough pain that would have made anyone else scream). Then when I did begin to heal up and got into gig work, I moved on to the mental and emotional part of myself to work on.

It takes a lot of strength and courage to walk away from a toxic environment or relationship because too many people will tell someone to just hang in there and that it will get better. That advice is just as toxic as the environment or relationship someone is trying to get away from. That puts the responsibility to clean up the toxic environment or relationship on the person who isn’t causing it in the first place, and it places shame and guilt on someone that they don’t need to deal with.

If someone comes to you wanting to get out of a toxic environment or relationship, do what you can to help them. First, you support and validate their experiences. Two, you don’t tell them they haven’t done enough because most people are powerless in shitty environments like this. They’re powerless because they’re in places with people who refuse to stop being shit-heads and deal with their own toxic bullshit. Worst of all, some people just won’t pull their heads out of their asses because they like it up there. So why should people put up with this shit if they can find a way out?

Another thing I’ve heard is that someone might be walking into something worse. Yes, I was told this several times in my life and that’s bullshit. No one knows the future or what will happen if someone does something. If someone walks out of a bad situation and does their best to learn and do better, encourage them and support them. If you can’t do that, fuck off because if someone is trying to do better in their life and you can’t support that, you’re a part of the problem and not the solution.

I’m sure some readers might be thinking: what if someone keeps making the same mistakes? Your job in life is not to pull someone’s head out of their ass for them but if you’re trying to get them to think and trying to keep them from going back into the toxic shit, that’s the best you can do.  You can’t live someone’s life for them but in reality, I don’t think this happens nearly as often as some people have gone on and on about. I think it happens because people don’t feel like they can do better or if they try that they won’t be accepted as wanting to do better. Again, be supportive and back it up.

The reason I was blasting the song ‘Light of Day’ back then was because of these two parts of the song. The first was this line,

Things can’t get worse, so they gotta get better

That is so damn true because if you walk away from something bad, things have already gotten better.

Then there is this part of the chorus:

Well, I’m a little hot-wired, but I’m feeling okay
And I got a little lost down along the way
Well, I’m just around the corner ’til the light of day, yeah

Yes, we’re all tired but when you’re away from toxic shit and toxic people, you’ll feel okay. And  yes, you might get lost along the way. But if you’re lost, you can find your way to where you need to go. Too many of us are afraid to get lost or drift or take a different path because we listen to well-intentioned people who don’t realize that if we take a different road away from our shitty pasts, we’ll turn the corner to the light of day.

Song ‘Light of Day’


Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Sunday Inspiration: Believe In Yourself

Yes, I know in my last blog entry I said I’d write and post here every day. This was followed by a big anxiety attack over something that I blew out of proportion, and no I’m not going into any detail as to what that was because I don’t need to. I took the last two weeks to do some serious thinking along with dealing with a vicious surge of hormones and ass-kicking fatigue that did lead to some really good insights because those always keep coming and I hope they keep coming for the rest of my life.

With this blog, I want to keep the schedule I’ve been trying to maintain for some time (see above) with a bit that it can change with or without notice. I’m actually creating lists of blog topics with notes so yes,  >gasp< I’m actually planning stuff out and not tossing it later. Because most of all, I’m tired of being a disorganized mess and also not writing when my anxiety inevitably ramps up and tries to knock me off the rails.

When I started this journey of recovery, I didn’t think healing, or the recovery of my self-confidence and self-esteem were possible. Back then, I would have told you those things were not what I was doing this for because I didn’t believe they were possible. In reality, I thought there was no way to heal wounds or to recover any self-confidence or self-esteem. That’s not true at all as I’ve come to learn over the last seven years. Wounds can be healed though never forgotten. And self-confidence and self-esteem can’t be taken from you no matter how hard someone tries to destroy those things inside you.

My maternal grandmother used to say, you either had faith or you didn’t, no two ways about it. She was right because you either believe, or you don’t. And though it’s wonderful to have people in your life who believe in you, help you, support you, encourage you, and comfort you, in the end you have to believe in yourself more than anyone. And with that belief, you have to learn how to stand up for yourself because if not, you’ll feel like you’ll have to destroy that belief in yourself in order to keep the assholes of this world from destroying your life.

Twenty-plus years ago, I made a decision that in retrospect was wrong. My silence did not help me nor did it stop people from hurting me. Silence doesn’t stop people from hurting you- it just gets them back off for a while. Because if you’re not causing harm physically, mentally, or emotionally, you’re not doing anything wrong to cause people to hurt you. Also, you’re not responsible for pulling someone’s head out of their ass. Most of all, if you stand up to someone who is vomiting their own unresolved shit onto you, they’ll back off and if they don’t, then walk away. And if you do walk away, you’ll be just fine.

Now at this point, my mind is telling me someone is not going to like what I’m writing here. If your back is coming up reading this, before you come at me ask yourself why you’re feeling this defensive or are angry at me. I will give you a warning you might not like the answers you find and you will have to deal with them sooner or later. I’ve dealt with a lot of mine and continue to deal with answers as I find them.

Believing in yourself doesn’t mean jack-shit if you don’t have confidence in yourself and your abilities, and most of all, if you don’t stand up for yourself and keep doing what you want to in life. Because belief in yourself has to be something you follow through on physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means you refuse to believe the lies that anxiety spews at you like if you have genuine faith in yourself you’re just going to become a shit-magnet. This is where standing up for yourself comes into play the most followed by not ripping your confidence and self-esteem out of your guts and handing them to someone on a bloody platter.

My belief is that life is to be lived, not for fame or glory, or wealth, or power, or privilege, or to be universally admired and adored. I believe life is about trying to make the world a little better of a place than it was when you came into it. I believe that we’re here to love with our whole heart and soul, to be kind, to be open and accepting of others and their experiences, to help those in need, and to learn how to heal our wounds so we don’t hurt other people.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to use this space to say things I need to hear and that I feel can help other people. Ask yourself if you truly believe in yourself first and foremost. If your answer is no, or not really, or not as much as I probably should, ask yourself why. Those answers may not be easy to deal with, but they will show you where you can go to find that faith in yourself that you want to have.

My Forty-Ninth Trip Around the Sun – Day One

Today is the beginning of my forty-ninth trip around the sun (or my birthday to be more precise). I like the ‘trip around the sun’ way of saying birthday better. I am looking back and looking forward today and here are my thoughts on this:

Nine years ago when I turned forty, I told myself I wasn’t doing so bad with my life. That may sound simple, but what I didn’t know at that time was how much this would mean to me. It was the first crack in a wall of silence around my thoughts and feelings. And yes, my life did crash down around me and I’m still picking up the pieces, but I don’t regret breaking that silence. Because the biggest thing I got out of it was no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. And as my late father would say, sometimes we’re handed a bucket of shit that we have to carry despite the stench.

Seven years ago, I was making the decision to leave my last call-center job due to the enormous physical pain I was in. I knew my bosses at that place would not have helped me if I had come to them so I started making my preparations to leave. Yes, I left there with nothing lined up but again, no regrets because I survived it.

Five years ago, I was starting to go into what I call the storage unit in my mind, the place where my most painful thoughts, feelings, and memories were. In the months that followed, I seriously thought I was going to truly crack up but again, I survived it and came out stronger.

Three years ago, the streets were silent and empty as a pandemic raged here and around the world. It was the year where I think we all learned there is no such thing as a sure thing, and there never was. So many people lost loved ones to this damned virus, and we were all changed forever.

Now what I want to do in the coming year is learn how to write through anxiety and stress. Looking back, I know where I’ve made mistakes and I know why I think and feel the way I do. Despite that, I still struggle to write when I’m feeling stressed and anxious about something. And I’m not going to apologize for not going into detail here about what I’m worried about because I’m dealing with it.

I will admit here I’ve always been envious of writers I’ve known who managed to keep writing when their personal lives were going nuts. I know the reason I wasn’t able to do this in the past was that I felt like people would have landed on me hard for wanting to block out shit for a while and do something for myself. Now of course I know that was a huge load of bullshit that wasn’t real and if someone is dumb enough to come at me now, I’d just look at them like the total idiot they are.

Many years ago, a colleague and friend gave me a piece of advice in one word:


Sometimes I forget to do this so in the coming year, I’m going to remind myself of this whenever I can. Sooner or later, if you do that often enough, it sinks in. Second, I want to tell myself something my late mother was fond of saying via the title of a song she loved: “One Day at a Time” by Cristy Lane. We can only take things one day at a time and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

Most of all, no one has all the answers even if they say they do or act like they do. I think it’s more important than ever to call people out like this on their bullshit then move on and not try and pull their head out of their ass. I’m more than willing to help someone but in the end, a person, such as myself, has to do the work and finish the job.

On this day, my birthday, the start of my forty-ninth trip around the sun, I will tell myself I will get through this day and the days ahead like I did before. As my late father used to say, if you wake up on this side of the dirt you’re doing good.

So I’m going to proofread this then copy and paste it into a blog entry here and hit the ‘publish’ button (then go take a nap because I need to do a full-run on the road this afternoon and evening).

Behind the Story – Writing at Twenty-Eight

Since I’ve been talking about when I was twenty-eight, I’d thought I’d talk about my writing back then.

I wish I could say I wrote a lot more than I did but back then, I didn’t write under stress. Why? You guessed it- I was afraid of what ‘people’ would think if they knew I was pounding the keys or scribbling on paper instead of doing something else. I wish I hadn’t been so damned worried about ‘people’ back then but as you’ll find out with this book and the other two in the non-fiction triumvirate from Hell, I was genuinely afraid of people using my writing, or pretty much anything they could to fuck my life up.

Now after my mother died I had some time to myself and in one week as part of a challenge, I wrote about a hundred and ten pages (sorry I can’t remember the exact number). It felt so damn good because it was just me sitting and writing. There were no demands on my time, and I just wrote without doing any edits along the way, which is the best way to get a first draft out. I hope to repeat this experience some day because it was a righteous high. Yet other than my writer-friends at the time, I didn’t tell anyone else what I’d done (not even my dad, but that’s a story for another time and place).

Back then, I wanted to write just as badly as I ever have before or since then. Yet back then, I felt like I was living in a way where everyone’s eyes were on me. It’s been hard to work through the fact that no one’s eyes were on me at all, at least not enough to police my every action, thought, and feeling. In retrospect, I was more like a turd that people stepped in, then they chewed me out because I was just a lump of flesh to spew crap onto. Yes, I’m saying people back then just spewed crap on me because they weren’t willing or able to deal with their own feelings. But back then, that realization was a million light years from me, so I hid my writing like I hid everything else about myself.

I will say my writing back then wasn’t at the caliber it is now but that’s just time and experience sharpening my skills. But I was writing good stuff back then and I think if I had put in the work, I could have written something that could get published. Back then the publishing landscape was very different (digital was just getting started and Amazon Kindle was still a few years off) but I think that if I had started small I could have made something of myself.

Over the years, I’ve wondered how I would have handled any kind of success and now I’ll say the best way I could. I mean, there are things you shouldn’t do but no one is perfect and demanding perfection or thinking it’s possible is total fucking bullshit. I tell myself you handle things the best you can with what you have to work with at the time. Back then, I would have been very modest and probably tried to downplay it a lot because sooner or later, someone might have said something nasty or stupid and sadly, I would have taken that way too personally and beat the crap out of myself over it.

I’ve wondered if not wanting to deal with people’s potential crap kept me from pushing myself writing-wise as much as I could have back then. I think there was a possibility that if I had any success some people would have thought I’d leave everyone behind. I would NEVER have done that, but I honestly think that was something people in my life back then thought but wouldn’t have said out loud. Good thing that’s over and done with, and also if anyone says any stupid shit about any success now or in the future, I’d honestly go, ‘what the ever-loving fuck?’

Here’s some advice from my present-self from my past-self:

Write whenever you want to (after taking care of your responsibilities but not being at everyone’s beck-and-call or thinking that you have to be).

Write whatever you want to (follow through on a project and get it out into the world and if anyone poo-poo’s that, fling that shit back at them)

Keep writing, especially in hard and stressful times. Writing is good therapy in addition to being cheap and easy to do (and yes, if anyone has an issue with that, just ask them, “What part of ‘fuck off’ don’t you understand?”)

Most of all, when you’ve done something significant like I did twenty-eight years ago when I banged out a hundred-plus pages in one week, believe in yourself and that you can do it again (and again).

Stand or Fall – Twenty-Eight and Silent

Yesterday I wrote about my twenty-eighth trip around the sun and how totally shitty that year was for me. Another shitty aspect of that year was how silent I was about what was going on in the world at the time. I wasn’t silent just because I was shell-shocked with grief, but because I was scared shitless to say anything that challenged the narrative being shoved down the throats of everyone in America courtesy of the Bush administration and their insane determination to invade Iraq under false pretenses. Every day they pushed for that invasion evidence came forth to show they were peddling lies. But those bastards had one big billy club in their weapons arsenal- the power of conservative media to rise up and cancel the shit out of anyone who spoke against their lies and bullshit. Yes, conservatives invented the ’cancel culture’ they scream so loudly about now.

The first public victims of cancel culture were the group now known as The Chicks (back then they were still called The Dixie Chicks). In April 2003, on tour in England lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed to be from Texas, the same state President George Bush was from. Well, you would have thought she was calling for the White House to be nuked or something by the way the media firestorm exploded. Within weeks, The Chicks canceled the rest of their tour, they were banned from country-music radio, and vilified as demon witches from Hell. And all because they challenged the lies peddled by the Bush administration trying to start a war they had no business even thinking about in the first place. Back then, if you questioned anything the Bush administration did you were labeled ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘against America’ because after 9/11, the Bush administration and conservative media used 9/11 to silence criticism of their drive to go to war only to benefit government contractors and oil companies.

But voicing any criticism of the Bush administration and the drive to war in Iraq outside of a group of like-minded people would have people screaming for your head. For me back then, I was terrified if I spoke out like that it would be used against me to drive me away from my father. I was afraid people would try to turn him against me because although he wasn’t a true conservative, he did believe that the United States had the right to be the world’s policeman, something he later said to me was dead-nut wrong (and yes, I was shocked as hell by that statement because all my life I’d heard him go, ‘My country right or wrong.’). Whether or not anyone would have used my political beliefs to turn him against me and drive me out of his life didn’t matter because it was a risk I wasn’t willing to take.

Fifteen years later, things began to change for women in the spotlight as a clip of singer Taylor Swift has surfaced of her in 2018 sending out a tweet criticizing Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) for her homophobic bullshit. In the clip, Taylor is damn near terrified by what she’s about to do because she’s old enough to remember what happened to The Chicks. But Taylor sent that tweet, and she wasn’t ‘canceled’ like The Chicks were (probably because the lead monster against The Chicks, radio broadcaster from Hell Rush Limbaugh, is dead and hopefully burning in Hell for all the hate he spewed). And The Chicks recovered their career and are on a sold-out world tour as is Taylor Swift.

Yes, a part of me looks back at myself and thinks how I would’ve love to have burned it all down and told a lot of people to fuck off in the process. But I don’t completely regret my silence back then because it was because of a decision I made, a promise I made to my mother as she was dying. I promised her I would take care of my father after she died and a promise to a dying person is a huge one, but one I made with all my heart and soul and with no regrets. But my mother has been dead for twenty years and my dad has been dead for eleven years. And if they do have a problem with what I’m saying or doing with my life, they know how to bridge the divide so to speak (and they’ve done it before, but that’s a story for another time and place).

I’m not a scared, grief-stricken, shell-shocked twenty-eight-year-old kid like I was back then. As I finish my forty-eighth trip around the sun, I know I’m a tired, hurting, pissed off, middle-aged bitch who is not afraid of saying ‘fuck off’ or even burning what’s left of my life to the ground. To be honest, I don’t have much left other than my voice here. I live very simply and very contently on my own, but I know I live with the courage of my convictions. To me, conservative ideology and those who believe in it don’t have that conviction because conservative ideology runs on fear: weaponized fear that is turned into anger and hatred against others, and fear to keep those who do see through the lies and bullshit in line.

The real villains in this world aren’t feminists, minorities, gays and lesbians, transgendered people, drag queens, or radical activists. The real villains are neo-Nazis, greedy bastards who will bleed this world dry just to line their pockets, and anyone who lives their life without conscience or empathy. Those are the people I will speak out against without any fear now.

Because like The Chicks sing, I’m not ready to make nice.

Breaking Radio Silence – Twenty-Eight

The online magazine-website Bustle has a regular feature they call ‘28’ (link here) in which they profile an actress, author, or other famous woman about the year they were twenty-eight years old. Most of the stories are of women struggling to get up and going in life and touching, and sometimes funny. But when I read those pieces and think of when I was twenty-eight… well, if Bustle ever comes to me and asks me about the year I was twenty-eight they’d probably wouldn’t want me to participate after reading this. Yes, this is my way of saying “I had a very different experience than most people did at this age.” No regrets on my part, but just a statement that twenty-eight is an age and a year I don’t ever want to repeat.

Where was I at and what was I doing at that time?

I turned twenty-eight in May 2002. I was still living at home and was watching my mother slowly and painfully dying of cancer. In the summer of 2002, my grandmother died, I got fired from my first full-time call-center job (no big loss there), and my mom blew an ulcer that caused her to puke a sink full of blood one morning while I held her up and kept my shit together. I was on a dead-run most days and I felt like such a stone-cold bitch because I was so damn good at that point in time in keeping my mental and emotional shit-storms all to myself.

A few days before my mom died, my dad collapsed due to physical exhaustion (he was really good at running himself down like that) so I had to move my mom into my bedroom and sleep in a chair. The next day, I had to bring in the hospice nurse to get that started for my mom and I was able to do that because my mom and dad had set things up to where I could take over if I had to. When the nurse came over, my dad was in bed due to exhaustion, people were coming over to visit because my sister had just had a baby, and I was conducting a three-ring circus. When I walked the nurse out to her car, she asked me if I was alright. I told her I was and that I’d been preparing for this for a long time.

In reality, I never felt more alone than I did back then. I felt like everyone other than my mother and father damn near hated me for the way I was at that time. Behind my back at that time, and in the years after, I’d heard that I was a stone-cold unemotional bitch. Now I will freely admit I put up huge walls around myself and probably would have said ‘no’ to anyone who offered me comfort in any way. I would have said ‘no’ because I felt like if I lowered those walls I would have shattered into a million pieces and never been able to put them back together. And if that had happened, I would have been useless. Instead, I felt like the last person left standing.

And I’m not going to apologize for the painful words and images here, or if I come off as angry and bitter. I’m nowhere near as angry and bitter as I was for so many years as most of it was buried very deeply inside of me. Once I took those feelings out and worked through them, the pain of those feelings has eased to where I have begun to heal. I’ve healed because I know I did the best I could with what little I had to work with at that time. And that deep down, I’m not a stone-cold unemotional bitch.

What would I say now to my twenty-eight-year-old self?

I would tell her she’s doing the best she can, and not to apologize in the future, or if she does, to take those apologies back. I would tell her she’s not a stone-cold unemotional bitch. I would tell her she won’t shatter into a million pieces but in the future she’ll learn how to work through the pain and grief she’s going through and heal from it.

At the end of my twenty-eighth year on planet Earth, I was getting ready to move out into my own little apartment and I had started my second full-time call-center gig. But I also knew I had a long road ahead of me with my dad and that’s a story for another time and place. In the years since, I’ve had some high moments, and a time when I became a stone-cold bitch and was again, the last one left standing when my dad died.

One week from today, I will begin my forty-ninth journey around the sun (yes, it’s my birthday next Monday) and I look forward to it because I know I’m on the road to the life I want for myself. It’s been a roller-coaster ride over the last twenty years but well worth it. Now I’m beginning to see I don’t have to let the mines go off as I walk through my emotional fields. Instead, like I said yesterday, I can see the mines, defuse them, and build them into something better. In the past, a part of me wished I knew then what I know now. But then I remember something my crusty old bear-dad used to say, “Sometimes it’s hard to remember this is a learning experience when you’re going through the shit.”

In the end, we learn by doing. And in learning and doing, sometimes we can find healing. I know I have, and this is why I write about it now.

Conversations From the Road – Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down

Illegitimi non carborundum  

“Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down.” (or ‘grind’ depending on your translation from the Latin)

My dad had this saying on a piece of paper pinned to the corkboard above his workbench when I was a kid. It was something he told me often, especially when it seemed like the world had gone totally off the rails and was like a constant never-ending shit-show. My crusty old bear-dad was right and lately I’ve been hearing his voice a lot inside my head. That old bear is trying to teach me something from beyond the grave so it’s time to listen up, everyone.

In the years after my mother died, my dad dealt with a lot of grief and pain. He used to say out loud, “Why am I still here?” It hurt like hell every time he said that because I wasn’t ready to lose him, too though I knew he was on borrowed time. One day I found my voice and told him: “Because you still have things to teach me. And I’m listening.” After that, he never said that shit to me again. Instead, he tried to teach me as much as he could and tell me his stories as many times as he could before he departed this Earth.

And in those years before he died, he would tell me don’t let the bastards get you down whenever I talked to him about some shit I was going through with whatever job I was working at or feeling like I couldn’t forge some kind of a life of my own. He would say that to me with emphasis whenever he thought I was backing away from my writing. He always used to tell me he wouldn’t have backed my writing if he didn’t think I had real talent and drive. He said if he thought I didn’t have what it would take to make it as a writer, he would have just patted me on the ass and said ‘that’s nice’ then sent me on my way. Because no matter how bad things got, he never wanted me to give on myself.

Nine years ago this month, I told myself I wasn’t doing so bad with my life. I told myself I was doing pretty well and if I just stayed in my little lane things would work out for me. This put my mind in a place of safety and contentment that in turn, unlocked another thought close to a year later: “Everyone else is just as full of shit as I am sometimes, but I’m not a bad person.” These two thoughts cracked the silence I had encased my thoughts and feelings in, cracks that eventually broke my silence altogether. It’s been hard as hell to deal with that, but I don’t regret it at all. Because another thing it’s made me was my crusty old bear-dad was right all along: don’t the bastards get you down.

One the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with is realizing I didn’t do so many things I wanted to simply because I was afraid of dealing with people giving me shit for that. My father knew I’d done that and that’s why he would tell me not to let the bastards in this world get me down any further than they already had. This is why I tell people, especially young people to live their lives to the fullest and to not give in to the assholes in this world who will them not to do things, or say things, or worst of all, that they don’t know how to live their lives. To the assholes of my past and those in the present who feel like they have the right to try and dictate to other people what to do and think, or who have taken their own shit and turned it inside out and mean as my late father would say: “Fuck off.” And if anyone gets butt-hurt about being told to ‘fuck off’, I’d tell them what my late father would say in reply to that butt-hurt bullshit: “What part of ‘fuck off’ don’t you understand?”

I think so many of us get ground down, worn down, or tired out from dealing with bullshit from assholes past and present, and with all the shit that sells in the media and such to where we think we have no purpose in our lives. Like my father lamented all those years ago, “Why am I still here?” And my answer to that question is the same now as it was back then: because we still need to learn from each other and be there for each other.

This past week when tried to write, I couldn’t. Yet another silent period of not writing as I’ve gone through so many times before. Yet again, I asked myself why that was and today I got an answer that makes a lot of sense: I’ve approached writing as if I’m walking through a minefield stepping on mines and just letting them blow up in my face. But I told myself today: I can see where the mines are, and I don’t have to step on them and let them blow up in my face. I can diffuse them then take them apart and put them back together in a way that doesn’t blow up in my face. Why this has been so hard to hear has been because of one thing: what ‘people’ aka ‘assholes’ might think about me working through my shit instead of just wallowing in it and letting it grind me down. Because as my late father tried to me years ago: when you work through your shit you’re going to change, and some people won’t like that. And he would also say life isn’t a popularity contest.

I think we all need to feel like our lives have some meaning or purpose in what we do and how we live. As I said to my father all those years ago, I needed him to teach me what he could before he died. Because he and I knew back then he didn’t have that many years left on Earth. And what he was trying to teach me back then was my purpose was to share my gift of writing.

Because in addition to the non-fiction triumvirate from Hell as I sometimes call it (Breaking Radio Silence, Stand or Fall, Behind the Story), and the lovely romantic fiction I love to write, there is a third area of writing I want to pursue: travel writing, writing about people and places in order to inspire people to get out of their walled compounds and out into the world. I want to show people the world isn’t such a fucked-up place, that there is a lot of good, a lot of beauty, and yes, places of pain and loss that we need to remember, too. This is why I feel the call of the road so much because people can go as far as they want to or stay close to home and find beauty and goodness.

Your purpose in life doesn’t have to be like the way I want to live as a vagabond storyteller. It can be as simple as being a good parent, spouse, teacher, or just doing good in this world by living with kindness and generosity towards others. It can be as simple as voting for people who care about this world and who haven’t sold out to special interests that are trying to kill us (yes, I’m talking about Republican Party elected officials who are in thrall to NRA blood money). Most of all, it’s just believing in yourself and if you’re not causing harm, you’re doing good. And yes, there will be assholes who will try to turn that against you because they’ve taken their own fears and shit inside themselves and turned it inside out mean as my daddy would say. And as my dear old crusty bear- dad would say in reply to that: don’t let the bastards get you down.

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