Tell Them (In honor of ‘Walking Dead’ Words for the Weekend)

It took me a while to accept the fact that I am dead. You don’t automatically go to heaven when your young son shoots you. I guess I should be glad you don’t automatically go to hell either.

I don’t feel dead though. And it’s not like anyone tells you, “Hey, guess what! You’re dead now!”

I can still see the world I used to live in. Differently though. I can see more. It’s like being in a room with a thousand televisions, each one airing a different show, only I can watch them all at the same time. But just like television characters, the people I watch can’t hear or see me.

Not usually.

But every once in a while, like wind blowing sheer curtains open, the veil between my current world and my past world rustles and shifts. In those times, I can communicate with my past world.

Right after I died, I was able to make phone calls to my husband Rick. He and I didn’t end on the best of terms. Things were getting better though. We just needed more time. There’s never enough time. Not in that world, not in this one either. There was so much I still wanted to say to Rick, to my son Carl…but they couldn’t hear me; even though I was in the same room, it was like they couldn’t see me. But I needed to tell Rick that I love him, that I forgive him. So I called him on the phone, and he answered. The funny thing about that, is phone service is non-existent in his postapocalyptic zombie-infested world. All the phones are dead. Like me. I don’t understand how it works, how I got through. If I did, I would tell you. I do know that this is one of those times. The veil has shifted between you and me, allowing you to get my message.

Listen carefully. My family and my friends are being held captive in a train car by some really weird folks. I think they’re cannibals, but I can’t be sure. I’m not so worried about my family dying, because I personally know death is not to be feared, but it’s not their time yet. Just as I am still here for a reason, they have a reason too, they have to find a cure. You have to help them find the cure. You have to help save humanity.

All you have to do is find Carol. Tell her there are weapons buried outside the gates of “Terminus.” She will be skeptical, but tell her Sophia is with Lori.  Tell her Daryl loves her. Tell her to hurry. Tell her Hershel says, “we all have our jobs to do.” Tell her to kiss my daughter Judith. She will believe you. You’re not crazy.

We don’t have much time. I can feel the veil closing.

When you find Rick and Carl, tell them I’m not mad. I’m sorry I was not the wife or mother they wanted me to be. I did my best, and I always, always, loved them. I was not perfect, I know. My final months were a purgatory of sorts–I was torn between two men, one I thought dead and one I had come to love. But just because someone turns out not to be dead, doesn’t mean you stop loving the other person. You don’t stop loving after you die either. I’m dead, but I’m still alive. I’m still here. In another purgatory of sorts, this world between two worlds, this waiting room with a thousand televisions. But I’m still here. Death is not the end. Death is just a doorway taking you into another room.

In this room, there are windows, and I can see you all. I’m here, watching. I’m here, alive. I have so much hope for humanity, so much love for you all.

Maybe it’s love keeping me alive?

Maybe love is the cure.

Tell them. Tell them love is the cure. Tell them I love them. Tell them love never dies. Tell them love…cure…tell them…tell them…love…only love…

“Tell Her This” by Del Amitri

***

This piece was written in collaboration with Words for the Weekend: The Whole World is Haunted Now, Vol. 39. Join us (Cayman Thorn, Mary Pierce, Michelle Terry, Jennie/Diddy/CK Hope, and another piece from yours truly) for a special themed volume in honor of tonight’s Season 5 return of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Many of you may remember we did a similar piece back in February where Cayman and Jennie both shared epic pieces for–my favorite volume of Words ever–Words for the Weekend: The Day the World Went Away, Vol. 16.

Comments are closed here, but please come see us at Words and share your thoughts! ~ Christy

Autumn, Running and Rambling

When friends start checking-in with me with random “Send up a flare every now and then why dontcha’?” and “Hey girl, just checkin’ on you” and “Here’s a picture of some flowers from my garden, just because I thought you may need them” (Michelle is just the sweetest, I swear) type of messages, I start to think that maybe I should poke my head out of my hidey-hole cave to say, “I’m here! I’m alive! I’m sober!”

(And, wow, how is that for a long sentence?)

I just posted, what, a couple of weeks ago? But maybe y’all are picking up on some vibes I’m sending out without my even knowing I’m sending them out. I mean, just because I totally change the theme around here from a colorful header to a stark black and white theme, remove a few posts, and go MIA from commenting, doesn’t mean I’m isolating and withdrawing into existential angst again, does it?

Or wait. Maybe it does.

I think it has something to do with the change of seasons. Especially Autumn. Spring too, I realize, but Spring usually finds me depressed and longing; Autumn turns me inward–like the petals of a sunflower folding into its self–and more introspective. Autumn reminds me that everything is transitory, that everything in nature has a life-span. Falling leaves, dormant plants, less daylight. Things grow cooler, wispier, and I realize that I do too.

As a creature of extremes–remember, moderation is not my strong suit–I think it’s these “in-between seasons” that throw me off. Give me the freezing temps and the windy, desolate ice storms of Winter, or give me the blazing sun hot enough to fry an egg on the hood of your car, flowers in full bloom, sunburns and heat stroke of Summer. I want my seasons to take a stand. All or nothing, baby. Just not this in-between, ho-humness of a season that can’t make up its mind that leaves me trapped in my own head thinking of the past or the future, but not of the present.

But there’s a good thing about being trapped in your head. You spend a lot of time thinking. My creativity levels are off the charts; I see poems everywhere, and characters, and plot lines, and I see the passing of time . . . so many things slipping through the hourglass. I see reinvention and rewrites and renewal. I see second chances. My head is not a bad place to be these days, as opposed to the past when it was dark and dismal and suffocating. I’m in a good place. It feels strange to say that out loud, but it’s true.

There are some really awesome things going on for me . . . and I want to tell you all about them. And I will, in time. There are also some incredibly scary things going on too. Changes and things I can’t control and some stories that aren’t mine to tell. And I know that’s incredibly cryptic, I’m sorry–I hate when people are purposefully cryptic, but just know that while they’re scary, I’m not scared. And know that the awesome far outweighs the scary right now.

But because I feel bad about being cryptic, and because you’ve read this far . . . I’ll share one of the awesome things.

I’m running again. Like seriously running again. I’ve been off and on all year, but I have my eye on a May marathon, a special and sentimental one, so I don’t want to go into it half-assed or unprepared. I’m literally starting over from scratch. When I started training a few weeks ago, I could barely run five minutes without tiring. I’m up to 20-minute running segments now, but nowhere near the five hours (plus?) I’ll be running in May. It’s been humbling, extremely humbling. And you better believe that monkey-mind was chattering non-stop when I started, but then I remember that I did it before–I can do it again.

I can’t compare myself though to who I was a couple of years ago. She was filled with enthusiasm and excitement and a bit of arrogance too. I guess it was sobriety’s pink cloud equivalent. After the marathon, I grew a bit complacent in my running, aimless without a goal, and ran less and less. Ha! I was setting myself up for total running relapse . . . It was bound to happen. I used life and stress and grief as excuses to stop running; the same excuses I used to make for drinking. Instead of falling off the wagon, I had fallen off the treadmill.

When I started back running, in essence, I was at Day Zero. I still have that enthusiasm and excitement. I still feel a bit arrogant when I jump from a ten-minute running segment to a fifteen-minute segment. But I’m also remembering, rediscovering, how fun it was just to run and sweat and feel exhausted at the end of a run. And the music! Oh how I’ve missed just blasting the tunes and zoning out. What’s new this time? Spotify. Hello? Why did no one tell me about Spotify before? I’m in running playlist nirvana! The endorphins are really nice too. I highly recommend them.

Another awesome thing? The movie The Equalizer. I highly recommend it too. In one of my favorite scenes:

“I’m going to miss your stories,” one of the characters says.

“You have your own stories now,” Denzel’s character replied.

Thanks for being here, thanks for reading, and thanks for caring. I’m grateful for you. And I’ll see you soon. I promise.

So many stories of where I’ve been and how I got to where I am.
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to . . .

 

Are you running? Do you like Autumn or Spring, or do you prefer Winter or Summer? Feeling creative lately? Seen any good movies? How in the world are you? 

So You Want to Quit Drinking

(the following poem contains profanity and raw imagery. it is not intended for young, nor sensitive, eyes. it is inspired by several bukowski pieces, each linked to in the footer. while bukowski, to my knowledge, never sobered up, there are few who understood alcohol’s powers as well as he did. I’d like to think he had both bluebird and kraken in his heart, and would not hesitate to let you borrow either, or both, though he’d probably ask you for a six-pack in payment. hey, we all have our demons, baby. if you need help, get some help. don’t let them win. you’re worth saving.)

***

so you want to quit drinking

after bukowski

so you want to quit drinking
give up the bottle
clean up
dry up
grow up

so you’re finally ready
to quit waking up
in strange places
with spit
on your face
vomit
in your hair
glass
in your hands
asphalt
in your knees

oh I bet you really made an
ass of yourself
this time.
did you fuck up
royally?
fall off the wagon?
fall off your bar stool?
fall off the karaoke stage?

did you flash the bartender
kiss a woman
grope a man?
did you fuck a stranger
flip a cop the bird
throw up on a neighbor’s lawn?
did you scream at your mother
slap your kid
kick your cat?
did you drunk dial your ex
walk out on the tab
crash your best friend’s car?
did you lose your wallet
your keys
your dog
your mind?
did you pick up a gun or a razor
a bottle of pills
a pen to write your last goodbyes?

no?
none of that?
well maybe it didn’t happen.
not like that.
or
maybe it did.
or maybe it will
next time.
how
the hell do you
know?

ah.
so that’s why you’re
ready
to
quit
drinking.
you’re tired
of no longer being in
control of your actions.
tired
of being a slave
to the demons in your head.
tired
of running from yourself
only to find out you
cannot
ever
out
run
yourself.

you can lose yourself
oh sure.
you can go mad,
give in,
give up.
but why would you want
to do that?

why let them win?

they
will, you know,
if you let them.
the demons in your head.
the fat
pasty
booze execs
their
slick suits
and
slick hair
and
slicker words.
the smug
housewives
sipping their
wine slushies
whispering
over their
pee-no-gree
gossiping about
your
demise.
“oh poor dear.
she was so fragile.
bless her heart.
what will become of the children?”

fuck ‘em.

if
you give in,
they win.
and there’s always
going to be a
they.

fuck ‘em all.

your
demons?
they live in
the past, babe,
this is the now
the n. o. w.
your demons aren’t here
they’re way back there.

why
go
back?

all
those nights,
all
those bottles,
all
those black-outs and hangovers,
all
those times you wanted to die?

newsflash, baby.

you’re
still
here.

tougher.
stronger.
badder.

somehow you’ve had more
than your share of second
chances.

you should be dead.
I don’t know why
you’ve been spared.
like me,
you’ve survived
a thousand deaths.
another
laughing
heart,
another
modern
Lazarus,
another
marvelous
god.

maybe those gods got plans
for you baby.
maybe it’s
one big cosmic
horse race in the sky.
maybe this is your race to lose
baby.

you really are marvelous you know
the gods wait to delight in you
maybe they like you
maybe you’re entertaining
maybe you make them laugh
or maybe they just feel sorry for you
laying on the bathroom floor
beside that other god.
maybe you remind them of themselves
the gods were young and crazy once too
dancing on tables and flashing strangers
gods gone wild
before they too
cleaned up
dried up
grew up

oh
how the gods love fools and drunks
but honey you don’t have to be a drunk
you can just be a fool
or
even better
be the one who fools them all
they’ll never see you coming.

oh
there will be days you want
to fall back.
there’s no help for that.
but don’t fall.
save those feelings
send them to that space
that place in the heart
that will never be filled.

we can meet in that space.
and
instead of waiting
instead of drinking
we will release the krakens.

what?
you thought I really had a
bluebird in my heart?
no baby,
I have a fucking kraken in mine.
and so do you.
instead of drinking
we’ll release the krakens
and laugh in delight
and smoke our cigars
and we will make it through
this day.

so
you really want to quit drinking?

put down the bottle.
do not pick it up again.
ever.

pick up the pen.
do not put it down again.
ever.

and
when they come calling,
which they will
for a while,
you know what to do.
let them keep their
bluebirds -
you
release your kraken,
baby.

nobody
can save you but yourself
,
true.
but a kraken never hurt either.

now
off you go baby . . .
remember,
bottle, no.
pen, yes.
and write write write.
write it all
let it come out of
your soul like a rocket

c’mon baby, you want to quit drinking?
ain’t nothing to it but to
do it!
do it!

then get up tomorrow
and do it again.
then the next
and the next
and the next day again.

but you have to start
some day.
how about today?
this day,
this
one day.
that’s all there is.
you can’t go backward.
you can’t go forward.
n. o. w. is what you got.
it may not be much,
today,
but it’s enough.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

 

~~~

Inspired in part by Bukowski’s:
So You Want to Be a Writer,” “Another Comeback,” “The Laughing Heart,” “No Help For That,” “The Bluebird,” “Nobody But You.”

 

Life in 6 Songs – Final Thoughts and Special Playlist

Hi everyone, are you missing Life in 6 Songs terribly yet? If so, don’t worry, we have a very special surprise playlist for you later in the post. Also, we have the Life in 6 Songs page where every volume is listed, so come visit anytime you’d like.

I mentioned before that I had some trivia and fun stats for you — so let’s take one final look back. . . .

via wiki commons

Lots and lots and lots of songs . . . via wiki commons

Show me the numbers:

  • 23 volumes; 51 playlists; 358 songs; 1156 comments; and 877 post likes over the course of six months.

Most “liked” (and most “commented on”) post?

  • Volume 3 with Aussa and Nicole (85 likes, 175 comments). The entire world is in love with these two ladies, and no wonder: they’re funny, talented and gorgeous! And they both had achingly honest playlists. If you missed that volume, be sure to check it out.  *** AND Aussa was just published on Cosmopolitan – congrats, Aussa!

First song in ABC order?

“A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffett (Bob)

Last song in ABC order?

“Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie (Karen)

First artists in ABC order?

  • 4 Non Blondes (Aussa)
  • ABBA (Kristen)

Last artist in ABC order?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Nadia)

Longest song titles?

  • “Walking In The Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks” by Clutch (9 words; 51 characters), (Goldfish)
  • “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” LCD Soundsystem (10 words, 48 characters), (Gus)

Shortest song title?

  • “Say” by John Mayer (Michelle)
  • “TNT” by AC/DC (Ned)

What band/singer got new fans?

Elbow (Mary) and Templeton Thompson (Karen). “Why have I never heard of them?!” was a popular response.

What songs got a lot of love?

“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel were both very popular with readers when featured by Archita and Matticus in Volume 19.

Notable Snubs?

Maybe it’s just me, but I was surprised none of these artists made any playlists:

  • Elvis Presley
  • Michael Jackson
  • Led Zeppelin
  • The Who
  • Prince
  • Stevie Wonder
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Doors
  • Neil Young
  • Johnny Cash
  • Otis Redding (Michelle included Otis in Vol. 1, yay! I’m glad Otis wasn’t snubbed afterall!)
  • Leonard Cohen and Adele were almost snubbed until Lunatique included “Anthem” and Dylan included “Someone Like You” in the participation event

What surprised me even more?

“The Reason” by Hoobastank was included TWICE (by Nicole and Graham)

Interesting tidbit:

Nirvana was included only twice (“Lake of Fire,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) — and both times in the same volume by different guests (Sheena and Unpickled, Volume 5)

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Musical included: “My Fair Lady” (Michele)
  • Muppets included: “Rainbow Connection” (Christy)
  • Disney included: “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Michele)
  • Classical included: Christy, Laurie (both Beethoven), Teresa (Mozart), NBI (Pachelbel)
  • Instrumental included: Laurie, PurpleShade, Guap and Archita
  • Holiday music included by: Bob and Nicole

Lots of global music included:

  • French, Edith Piaf (Goldfish)
  • Iceland, Sigur Ros (Kristen and Paul)
  • Iceland, Sólstafir (Lunatique)
  • Israel, Asaf Avidan (NBI)
  • Italy, Eros Ramazzotti (NBI) and Pavarotti (Paul)
  • India, A.R. Rahman (Laurie)
  • Russia, Louna (NBI)
  • Spanish/Latin Music, Selena (Karen)
  • Uruguay, No Te Va Gustar (Paul)
  • Germany, Vader Abraham (Lunatique)
  • Sweden, Anne Sofie Von Otter, (Dylan)

What song was repeated the most?

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. It was included by three guests (Jennie, Kristen and Deanna) — and it was also the only Bob Marley song selected.

Other songs repeated by guests:

  • “Best Day of My Life,” American Authors by Hippie and Hook (both as song 6)
  • “Only the Good Die Young,” Billy Joel by Josie and Teresa (both as song 1)
  • “The Reason,” Hoobastank by Nicole and Graham
  • “Star Wars Theme,” John Williams by Gus and Ned
  • “Breathe me,” Sia by Aussa and Daile
  • “Birthday,” The Beatles by Kristen and BroJo
  • “Shake it Out,” Florence and the Machine by Aussa and Dylan
  • “What a Wonderful World,” Louis Armstrong by Archita and Sheena for Matthew
  • “Great Gig in the Sky,” Pink Floyd Victoria and Lunatique

Which bands/singers were most included?

  • The Beatles were included by ten different guests — and not a single song was repeated, until, like Kristen, BroJo included “Birthday”
  • Pink Floyd was included six times — no repeats (until Lunatique picked “Great Gig in the Sky,” as did Victoria)
  • Billy Joel was also included six times — one song repeated (“Only the Good Die Young”)
  • Florence and the Machine was included by five guests — no repeats (until Dylan picked “shake it out,” as did Aussa)
  • The Clash was included by four different guests — no repeats
  • Tool was included three times — no repeats
  • Alanis Morissette was included three times — no repeats
  • AC/DC three times — no repeats
  • Sia three times — 1 repeat (“Breathe Me”)
  • Lady Antebellum three times — no repeats
  • Genesis three times — no repeats
  • Lots of artists were included twice. If you’d like to geek out over the data with me, you’re welcome to take a look at the entire list of songs and artists (via google sheets)

***

I’ve had a couple of folks ask me about the future of the series. Let’s just say we’re going into hibernation for now. We may bring it back for a special occasion, who knows? You’re more than welcome to use or build on the idea, as I did, when I read about it on NPR.

Again, I must give thanks to The Protojournalist’s NPR challenge: “If you could tell your life story — chronologically, up to now — in six songs, what would they be?”  Check out the original post here, and the 6 Song stories that followed (Part One and Part Two and Part Three).

***

What better way to wrap up the series than with a very special playlist? We asked you each to wrap up your lives in one song–Song Seven–a bonus song, a funeral song, a theme song, whatever you wanted… and these are your bonus songs, all wrapped up into one big playlist.

Enjoy the collection of “Song #7s” and, again, we thank you all.

 

***

And because I just couldn’t stand to see The King snubbed . . .

Elvis has left the building.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

 

Life in 6 Songs: Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Life in 6 Songs special event and series! As we mentioned last week, to thank everyone for an incredible series, we did a couple of random drawings for Amazon gift codes. Jennie’s daughter drew names for us, and without any further ado . . .

Here are the winners:

100_3836

Drawing One:

Two winners from all of our original participants (volumes 2 – 23)

Winner one:

100_3838

 

Winner two:

100_3837

 

Congratulations to both Guap from Guapola and Liz from Living With Autism. Guap joined us in Volume 4 and Liz joined us for Volume 20. Guap and Liz both won a $10 Amazon gift code.

 

***

Drawing Two:

One winner for the Life in 6 Songs link-up post event

Winner and post:

100_3842

 

Congratulations Brother Jon from Brother Jon’s Page! Be sure to check out his post “My Life in Six Songs.” Brother Jon won a $10 Amazon gift code.

 

***

Drawing Three:

One winning duo from comments and memories on the series

Winner and participant mentioned:

100_3840

Congratulations Michele from Mished-Up and Liz from Living With Autism. Michele had a hard time picking one memory from the series, but said in her comment:

It’s very hard to choose certain songs from other people’s playlists..I loved every list, because, while they might not have resonated with me personally, the story and the vulnerability behind posting certainly did. So I just can’t!
HOWEVER….the one hugely different list was Dylan’s, and after reading Liz’s beautiful post [“Dylan’s Life in Song: music and autism“] about his relationship with music and sound, and then being so moved by her attempts at deciphering the deep enigma of why he might have chosen those songs…I was blown away. So I will only make this one comment entry…and it is for Dylan’s list (all great songs, btw!) and the incredible love that I see in Liz’s post.

Michele and Liz each won a $10 Amazon gift code.

***

Special Drawing Four:

Two winners for being phenomenal supporters of the series

100_3844

Winner One: Sheena from Not a Punk Rocker. Sheena was a guest in Volume 5. She also did a special Life in 6 Songs post last week as a letter to her son Matthew on his 18th birthday.

Winner Two: Michele from Mished-Up. Mish joined us in Volume Two. She’s been a constant reader, rocker and supporter through-out the series, and we appreciate you sooo much.

Thank you both for commenting on nearly every single post and for encouraging each participant along the way. You both even visited the blogs of nearly every participant–very kind of you both! Thank you also for both participating in the series too!

Sheena and Michele each won a $15 Itunes gift code.

***

Special thanks to Lunatique and BroJo for sharing their Life in 6 Songs stories this week!

Lunatique from The German Perspective and her post “Life in Six Songs

Brother Jon from Brother Jon’s Page and his post “My Life in Six Songs

Thanks also to LizKaren and Breaking the Yo-Yo for participating earlier on.

***

Congratulations to all of our winners! We will email your gift codes by the end of the week.

We’ll be back in the near future to wrap things up with some series highlights, trivia, and a special playlist. Until then, here’s the birthday playlist featured in Sheena’s “Life in 6 Songs” letter to her son: “Six Songs For Matthew’s 18th.”

Enjoy, and we’ll see you all soon! ~ Christy, Michelle, and Jennie

(Song #2 “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails has explicit language)