“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
I’m scared. I have a squirmy flip-flopping feeling in my stomach, right in the corner, and it is labeled: “2014; Anxiety; Fear.” Last year at this time, I felt “insatiable hope,” this year though, “uncertain fear.” 2014 is not off to a good start.
Animals can smell fear, so they say. They also say some animals can smell death. I can too. I know it waits for us all, just around the corner. We may not see it, but we can smell it.
“There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (video)
“Not today.” I try to embrace it, to live it. And yet, I know I’m a hypocrite.
Because I also know that one day it will be — it will be today – one day. Living and breathing the motto “Not today” is procrastination and denial at its finest.
One morning I’ll wake and I’ll say, “Not today.” And Life / Death (they are the same, do not be fooled) will tap my shoulder, and Death will laugh in my face and Life will cry for me.
Today is all we have.
Now is the eternal.
Today is all we have.
And meanwhile life goes on all around us, so does death, seemingly oblivious to our strife. Or maybe because of our strife.
We know this, innately, but something still has to push that ‘activate’ button. And once activated, you remember the knowledge of ‘before’ and live with the knowledge of ‘after.’
Optimist: You go on believing not today.
Pragmatist: You understand today is all we have.
Something can be more than one thing at the same time, though, even opposites. You can’t fully know one thing without knowing its opposite.
Life and death. Laughing and crying. Not today and only today. Programmed and clueless. Optimistic and pragmatic.
Scared and brave.
These times when I’m scared, I will breathe, I will re-focus. I will look around and take in the tangible. The life going on around me: the wind rustling the Live Oaks; the books stacked on the coffee table; the disheveled, crushed red velvet throw piled up in the chair beside me; the photo of my mother on the book shelf; the dog snoring in my lap; the lines on my hand that pets the snoring dog. And I will say, “Today is the only day. Now is the only eternal.” And I will look at Death and believe my lie when I say bravely, “Not today.”
And then I will write. I will let the words fall out as they may. I won’t corral them, I won’t pre-wash them or dictate them. They will be scattered, free, disheveled like a crushed velvet blanket. They will be layered with weight and meaning. They will be anything but empty.
Today, I will say what I want to say.
And what I want most to say is, “Not today, Death, not today.”
And I don’t know if that is a statement or a plea. But I have a feeling it is both. At the same time.
The Wild Goose South Flies, Zhang Xuanzheng. (Via)
Mary Oliver Will Save My Life This Year
Walking to the dumpster
arms overflowing with trash,
the remains of our days and
discarded table scraps of life
downsized into three over-stuffed bags,
because I don’t want to carry four under-stuffed bags
to their ends.
The thirty yards from the garage to the dumpster
feels like thirty years
as the weight and sorrow and grief
tighten in my chest,
and my throat squeaks that little sound
that sounds like a cry,
but is not a cry,
but it could go either way.
And I think out of the blue –
the sky is light blue and cloudless,
the wind too strong for clouds
as it blows hair across my face instead –
Tell me your sorrows,
I will tell you of mine.
Meanwhile the wild geese fly above
announcing your place in the world of things.
Tell me your sorrow,
I will tell you of mine.
She’s just a dog, I sob,
as I heave the coffee grounds and cat food cans and newspapers
into the trash bin.
thinking not of where life goes to die,
but of wild geese and domestic dogs.
She’s just a dog …
You only have to let the soft underbelly of your being
love what it loves
She’s just a dog.
And I love her with my life,
Retracing those thirty yards –
If I walk backward, will I go back in time? –
already thinking of the laundry that needs folding,
after I replace the three trash bags.
Spot’s cancer is back. Like a hawk, I hunted daily for swollen lymph nodes — mercifully? noticed the day after Christmas, but at least not before. Too many questions, too few answers right now; This will be a big week. If you pray, please say one for Spot. If you don’t, please think a good dog thought–maybe of bacon–for her. She and I will both be brave. She and I will both say, “Not today, Death, not today.” And we will mean it. Our words will not be empty.
ANNOUNCEMENT: This is the final Words for the Weekend post here at Running On Sober. Words is moving to a new and totally dedicated home: wordsfortheweekend.com. Be sure to bookmark and/or follow the new site if you enjoy this series. Thank you for fifty totally awesome volumes, I am excited about the next fifty — I hope you will join us! (Running On Sober will remain active, but will be going back to a sober-centric focus.)
Somehow, opening and closing with Tom Waits, just feels right. In fact, each work included “just feels right” for our topic of farewell. I hope you enjoy this, our 50th (and this site’s final) volume of Words for the Weekend for the weekend of 10/12/13. After saying “goodbye” here, please come say “hello” at our new home, wordsfortheweekend.com. As always, have a beautiful weekend. ~ Christy
“I can see by your eyes, it’s time now to go
So I’ll leave you to cry in the rain,
Though I held in my hand, the key to all joy
Honey my heart was not born to be tamed.
So goodbye, so long, the road calls me dear
And your tears cannot bind me anymore,
And farewell to the girl with the sun in her eyes
Can I kiss you, and then I’ll be gone.”
“I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.”
“As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. … He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings. Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go, in whose light you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full. … Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” ~ Rumi, The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
“Stories never really end … even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.” ~ Cornelia Funke, Inkspell
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ~ Gilda Radner
“Somewhere the flower of farewell is blooming.
Endlessly it yields its pollen, which we breathe.
Even in the breeze of this beginning hour we breathe farewell.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Uncollected Poems
“Gravel” (a piece from poem “The Leaf and The Cloud”) – by Mary Oliver
When death carts me off to the bottomlands, when I begin the long work of rising—
Death, whoever and whatever you are, tallest king of
tall kings, grant me these wishes: unstring my bones;
let me be not one thing but all things, and wondrously
scattered; shake me free from my name. Let the wind, and
the wildflowers, and the catbird never know it. Let
time loosen me like the bead of a flower from its wrappings
of leaves. Let me begin the changes, let me—
Can you imagine a world without certainty?
The wind rises the wind falls.
The gravels of the world,
the stones of the world
are in their proper places.
The vast, writhing
worms of the sea
are in their places.
The white gulls
on the wet rocks
are in their places.
Ben sluices through the ferns, hound-smart.
The bracken up to his neck.
He breaks from the wood and gallops over the field.
The sass of his voice rises—
(Death that slow swim,
death that long walk over the dunes,
death that bleached clamshell. . . .)
and the rabbits scatter.
(Oh, heart, I would not dangle you down into
the sorry places,
but there are things there as well
to see, to imagine.)
Even the mosquito’s
flashing and groaning;
even the berries, softening back
into the black bog;
even the wood duck’s
and the first white lilies
on the shaggy pond,
and the big owl, shaking herself
out of the pitchpines,
even the turtle scratching in the dust,
even the black ant, climbing the mile-high hill,
even the little chattering swift
diving down into the black chimney.
Everything is participate.
Everything is a part of the world
we can see, taste, tickle, touch, hold onto,
and then it is dust.
Dust at last.
Dust and gravel.
In the distance, the rabbit-field.
Ben—his face in the grass, his chomping.
His sweet, wild eyes.
Are you afraid?
The ear of corn knows whereof it is plucked.
Are you afraid?
The wind moves this way and that way, something
is pushing it.
Are you afraid?
Somewhere a thousand swans are flying
through the winter’s worst storm.
They are white and shining, their black beaks
open a little, the red tongues flash.
Now, and now, and now, and now their heavy wings
rise and fall as they slide across the sky.
Goodbye to the goldfinches
in their silver baskets.
Goodbye to the pilot whales, and the curl of their spines
in the crisp waves.
Goodbye to the grasshopper.
Goodbye to the pond lilies, the turtle with her
Goodbye to the lion’s mane floating in the harbor
like a spangled veil.
Goodbye to the moon uprising in the east.
Goodbye to the going forth, and coming home.
Goodbye to the going forth, and holding on, and worrying.
Goodbye to the engine of breath.
The knee sings its anguish.
The ears fill with the sound of ringing water.
The muscles of the eyes pull toward sleep.
Goodbye to the swaying trees.
Goodbye to the black triangles of the winter sea.
Goodbye to oranges, the prick of their fragrance.
Goodbye to the fox sparrow,
goodbye to the blue-winged teal.
Goodbye to lettuce, and the pale turnip,
and the gatherings of the rice fields.
Goodbye to the morning light.
Goodbye to the goldfinches
and their wavering songs.
up the hill,
like a thicket of white flowers, forever is coming.
It is the nature of stone
to be satisfied.
It is the nature of water
to want to be somewhere else.
Everywhere we look:
the sweet guttural swill of the water
Everywhere we look:
the stone, basking in the sun,
or offering itself
to the golden lichen.
It is our nature not only to see
that the world is beautiful
but to stand in the dark, under the stars,
or at noon, in the rainfall of light,
wringing our hands,
half-mad, saying over and over:
what does it mean, that the world is beautiful—
what does it mean?
The child asks this,
and the determined, laboring adult asks this—
both the carpenter and the scholar ask this,
and the fisherman and the teacher;
both the rich and the poor ask this
(maybe the poor more than the rich)
and the old and the very old, not yet having figured it out,
standing beside the golden-coated field rock,
or the tumbling water,
or under the stars—
what does it mean?
what does it mean?
The high-piled plum-colored storm-heavy clouds
The fly mumbles against the glass.
This is the world.
The hot little bluebirds in the box are getting ready to fly.
This is the world.
The sweet in the parsnip
waits for our praise.
The dragonfly lives its life
without a single error, it also
waits for our praise.
The pale-green moths are pressing
against the screen, fluttering, they are
dying to get in to press their papery bodies
into the light.
This is the world.
Listen, I don’t think we’re going to rise
in gauze and halos.
Maybe as grass, and slowly.
Maybe as the long-leaved, beautiful grass
I have known, and, you have known—
or the pine tree—
or the dark rocks of the zigzag creek
or the silver rain—
or the hummingbird.
I look up
into the faces of the stars,
into their deep silence.
This the poem of goodbye.
And this is the poem of don’t know.
My hands touch the lilies
my hands touch the blue iris
and I say, not easily but carefully—
the words round in the mouth, crisp on the tongue—
dirt, mud, stars, water—I know you as if you were myself.
“Bukowski Says Goodbye” (video) – by Charles Bukowski
I hope I haven’t bored you too much.
Poetry tends to bore.
I know it bores me.
It makes me miserable
Reading it or listening to it
I guess that’s why I could never quit writing it
Because, I just, well hell, I thought it wasn’t being done right or the way I felt it should.
Ego, I don’t know, hell.
Anyhow the stuff makes me miserable.
I think the true artists must be elsewhere riding bicycles in the hidden hills.
I don’t know.
With a bag of all-American hamburgers.
I don’t know.
Bukowski going, goodnight babies…
This is an advertisement from the edge, from the edge, edge, edge, edge, edge! …
This is, hahahahaha, this is Bukowski saying goodbye all over again.
But this is not really goodbye. This is, simply, time for our series “to walk away and start all over again” over at its new home, Wordsfortheweekend.com. In fact, you are cordially invited to attend the “grand-opening” shindig next weekend, just RSVP by clicking here and hitting the little follow button on the right-hand side. It’s going to be an awesome first-edition, complete with special guests–I’m giddy with excitement!–please join us.
Thank you so much for making this series such a success, I have loved sharing with you here. I am excited about the open road ahead.
Like the beginning of a new book, page upon page beckons and promises opportunity and adventure. Let’s begin, shall we?
ANNOUNCEMENT: Words for the Weekend will soon be moving to a new and dedicated home: wordsfortheweekend.com. Be sure to bookmark and/or follow the new site if you enjoy this series.
This is the latest installment of quotes and words that move me for the weekend of 10/5/13 (Volume 49). I hope you enjoy them too. This week’s topic is alcohol and sobriety. All persons* quoted found sobriety after alcoholism or alcohol abuse, and, while they have publicly shared their experiences, I do not know if everyone (alive) is currently sober — it is my great hope that they are. (*I do not know if poet Barton Sutter has ever been in recovery, though his poem “Sober Song” will surely speak to anyone who has ever said goodbye to alcohol.)
I am proud to share the poetry of Leigh Ann Kyle from Paper Plane Pilots. Leigh Ann is a gifted writer and artist, and she now has over four months of sobriety. My best wishes and my gratitude to Leigh Ann for allowing me to share her work.
“Well, my money’s no good when I’m up to no good
No good ever comes from it, honest
I got a really good heart
I just can’t catch a break
If I could I’d treat you like you wanted me to I promise
But I’m fractured from the fall
And I wanna go home
I’m fractured from the fall
And I wanna go home
But it takes two when it used to take one”
“All the things that she’d suspected
I’d expected her to fear
Was the truth that drew her to me when I landed here
There’s a man who walks beside me
he is who I used to be
And I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me
And I wonder who she’s pinin’ for
on nights I’m not around
Could it be the man who did the things
I’m living down?”
“That one started as a worry that I had when I cleaned my life up, decide to be a grown-up, you know? I worried about what parts of me would go along with the bad parts, because it’s not cut and dried. It’s not like you make the right decision, and everything’s great, and you’re a better person for it. You are, you know, at least 51 percent better, but there are some things that are lost forever, and that’s just a fact of it. You know, everything is not better.
I was concerned with that, and I was concerned with my relationship not only with my wife but with a lot of people who, in some way, had been attracted to me or, you know, charmed by me or just liked me in general. I was thinking, well, what do they like? You know, do they like that guy? Do they like – what combination of those two guys are going to make those folks stay in my life? Luckily, most of the people that I really cared about were there for me. And I think at the core, I still have the same values. I just actually behave according to those values now a lot more.” ~ Jason Isbell, speaking about his song Live Oak and sobriety, in an interview with NPR
“I can choose to accelerate my disease to an alcoholic death or incurable insanity, or I can choose to live within my thoroughly human condition. … Alcohol is a very patient drug. It will wait for the alcoholic to pick it up one more time.” ~ Mercedes McCambridge
“It (rehab) was the best thing that ever happened to me. … It was great. I loved it. Because I was ready. Problem is, people go into rehab and they’re not ready. You want to get sober for your parents, you want to get sober for your job, you want to get sober for the cops, you want to get sober to protect your image. A lot of good reasons, by the way, but unfortunately, the only thing that works is that you have to want to get sober for you. So, I was ready. And so if they told me, ‘Hey, Lowe, you’ve got to go stand in the corner on your head,’ I would have done it.” ~ Rob Lowe, Stories I Only Tell My Friends
“My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart.” ~ Jamie Lee Curtis
“I used to be a pretty serious drinker. Heavy in defiance of knowing my family situation, which is chock-full of alcoholism. For a long time I was a functional alcoholic, though it never got in the way of my work. But it affected relationships. I never killed anybody, but I made people unhappy, including myself and people who are extremely important to me, like my kids. It’s easy to say I had a wonderful time and a lot of great years, and I did. There were some bad times, too. So that was not a major give-up. That time was due.” ~ Brian Dennehy
“There’s an uncanny thing that chemically happens to you when you’re in the chronic stages of alcoholic drinking. I have been able, on occasions, to have two bottles of vodka and still be up talking to people. That got very frightening. By nature I’m an isolationalist, so my boozing was at home, thank you. I was not a goer-outer. I mean, I didn’t drink for the taste and I didn’t want to be social. Someone once described alcoholics as egomaniacs with low self-esteem. Perfect definition.” ~ Gary Oldman
“I’m not gonna lie. I was self-medicating. I was doing things like drinking and using, like a lot of teens do to numb their pain. … ‘Sober is Sexy’ is my new motto, and it couldn’t be more true! All you need to have fun in life is a great attitude and good friends. I’ve made a commitment to myself to live a happy, healthy life the best way I know how, and I want to spread the message that you don’t need to do drink or do drugs to have fun.” ~ Demi Lovato
“Staying sober is a daily challenge. I mean, my problem now is not, ‘Oh God, I’m gonna leap over that bar and grab some Cognac,’ or go out and try to find out where you score smack round here. And I’m sure I could do it within 90 minutes if I needed to … It’s much more about not getting resentful about things. Really, it’s a spiritual thing. It’s accepting that however important you think your problems are, you play a part in those problems. And probably one of the things you should look at is not being so self-involved.” ~ Russel Brand
“I am an alcoholic. I know people who have abused alcohol and now they can have one (drink) and they’re fine and I respect that. I’d love to have a glass of wine, but what if I have another, then another? My life is too important for me to risk that. … I just realized that drinking was counterproductive to what I was trying to do. Acting is very difficult in weird ways. You’d have to get to class by 8 a.m., work all day, rehearse all night, and it’s not really good to do when you’re hung over. I’d wanted to be an actress my whole life. That was my goal; that was all I cared about. Something had to go, so I chose drinking to go.” ~ Kristin Davis
“Yeah, all the experts say that you’ve got to surrender, but fortunately I was tired. I had reached that place where I could honestly say to myself, ‘I’ve tried everything else — may as well give this a shot.’ … The irony is I never got to taste Cristal. Back then, Moët was my champagne of choice. Now I get sent crates of Cristal, and I ain’t never tasted the stuff. Ain’t that a bitch?” ~ Samuel L. Jackson
“I knew I had to change my life. But addiction is a fucking tricky thing. I think I relapsed within…three weeks? And within a month, it had ramped right back to where it was before. That’s what really freaked me out. That’s when I knew: Either get help, or I am going to die. … As a father, I want to be here for things. I don’t want to miss anything else.” ~ Eminem
“Basically, I took an honest look at myself and at my actions, and was horrified and felt like I couldn’t forgive or live with myself. I wanted to blow my brains out. I checked myself into a second psych ward, and that was when it dawned on me that suicide was not the answer. … I was locked up in the psych ward with two weeks on my hands. Some people came in and talked about how they stayed sober and it stuck. They gave me the idea that getting sober was something that could be done and that I had to do it.” ~ Stephen Glover (Steve-O), Steve-O: Professional Idiot
Sober Song– by Barton Sutter
Farewell to the starlight in whiskey,
So long to the sunshine in beer.
The booze made me cocky and frisky
But worried the man in the mirror.
Good night to the moonlight in brandy,
Adieu to the warmth of the wine.
I think I can finally stand me
Without a glass or a stein.
Bye-bye to the balm in the vodka,
Ta-ta to the menthol in gin.
I’m trying to do what I ought to,
Rejecting that snake medicine.
I won’t miss the blackouts and vomit,
The accidents and regret.
If I can stay off the rotgut,
There might be a chance for me yet.
So so long to God in a bottle,
To the lies of rum and vermouth.
Let me slake my thirst with water
And the sweet, transparent truth.
As a quick follow-up to last weekend, Josie and Kristen rocked the recovery-themed 5k they participated in, and they had a great time too. Be sure to read Josie’s piece “I’ve Talked the Talk, and Now I’ve Walked the Walk” and Kristen’s post “Connections,” and congratulate them if you haven’t already done so.
And now, “Constant Reader,” I offer you a collection of Stephen King quotables (some have adult language) and another stunning poem by Ms. C.K. Hope… right after a special musical prelude. (King’s complete works are available on Amazon HERE.) Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend. Don’t forget the cake–have a corner piece for me.
“Now they check your pulse just to see if you can still breathe
I was barely alive apparently for no good reason
All this before I had been thinking the same way
Sometimes it’s better just to start again
So I blew up the house
Gonna let it burn…”
~ “Blew Up (the House)” performed by Jonny Lang on BRAND NEW ALBUM! “Fight For My Soul.” (Video.) (No, it’s not September or King themed, but it’s BRAND NEW JONNY LANG! And you know how much I love Jonny Lang: one, two, three, four.)
Alternate song: “September” performed by Earth, Wind & Fire on album “Greatest Hits.” (Video.)
“Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away
Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away…”
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” ~ Stephen King, The Gunslinger
“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.” ~ Stephen King, Salem’s Lot
“So do we pass the ghosts that haunt us later in our lives; they sit undramatically by the roadside like poor beggars, and we see them only from the corners of our eyes, if we see them at all. The idea that they have been waiting there for us rarely crosses our minds. Yet they do wait, and when we have passed, they gather up their bundles of memory and fall in behind, treading in our footsteps and catching up, little by little.” ~ Stephen King, Dark Tower Set
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” ~ Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons
“Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to.” ~ Stephen King, Dolores Claiborne
“When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, “Why god? Why me?” and the thundering voice of God answered, ‘There’s just something about you that pisses me off.’” ~ Stephen King, Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” ~ Stephen King
“Calling it a simple schoolgirl crush was like saying a Rolls-Royce was a vehicle with four wheels, something like a hay-wagon. She did not giggle wildly and blush when she saw him, nor did she chalk his name on trees or write it on the walls of the Kissing Bridge. She simply lived with his face in her heart all the time, a kind of sweet, hurtful ache. She would have died for him.” ~ Stephen King, It
“She can’t help it,’ he said. ‘She’s got the soul of a poet and the emotional makeup of a junkyard dog.” ~ Stephen King, Under the Dome
“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.” ~ Stephen King
“I always drank, from when it was legal for me to drink. And there was never a time for me when the goal wasn’t to get as hammered as I could possibly afford to. I never understood social drinking, that’s always seemed to me like kissing your sister.” ~ Stephen King
“Substance abusers lie about everything, and usually do an awesome job of it. I once knew a cokehead who convinced his girlfriend the smell of freebase was mold in the plastic shower curtain of their apartment’s bathroom. She believed him, he said, for five years (although he was probably lying about that, it was probably only three). A recovering alcoholic friend of mine reminisces about how he convinced his first wife that raccoons were stealing their home brew. When she discovered the truth, she divorced him. Go to one of those church-basement meetings where they drink coffee and talk about the Twelve Steps and you can hear similar stories on any night, and that’s why the founders of this group emphasized complete honesty — not just in ”420 of 432 pages,” as James Frey claimed during his Larry King interview, but in all of it: what happened, what changed, what it’s like now. Yeah, stewbums and stoners lie about the big stuff, like how much and how often, but they also lie about the small things. Mostly just to stay in practice. Ask an active alcoholic what time it is, and 9 times out of 10 he’ll lie to you. And if his girlfriend killed herself by slashing her wrists (always assuming there was a girlfriend), he may say she hung herself, instead. Why? Basically, to stay in training. It’s the Liar’s Disease.” ~ Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly essay, “Frey’s Lies“
“God grant me to SERENITY to accept what I cannot change, the TENACITY to change what I may, and the GOOD LUCK not to fuck up too often” ~ Stephen King, Salem’s Lot
“I hope you liked them, Reader; that they did for you what any good story should do–make you forget the real stuff weighing on your mind for a little while and take you away to a place you’ve never been. It’s the most amiable sort of magic I know.” ~ Stephen King
“Go then, there are other worlds than these.” ~ Stephen King, The Gunslinger
… and another gem from extremely talented C.K. Hope of OK, Who Ate the Daisies… She crafted this beautiful piece from my suggestion of the following three words: love, sleep, and photograph. The title? Aptly fitting the Stephen King theme (though unplanned): Insomnia.
Sleep evades me
swirling instead through bittersweet reverie
Moonlight streams between curtain seams
on a warm breeze,
beams illuminating framed memories
A photograph calls out to me,
witching hour melancholy
A whole family
love shining from freshly scrubbed faces
I rise and take it from its space
Trace fingers over frozen time
until it’s yesterday in mind
and sigh at the empty place inside
The house echoes in the silence
no extra creaking of mattress as one rolls over,
or the soft fall of feet seeking comfort
from dark dreams, to muffle the sound of it
It’s how it is meant to be,
I remind myself as I recall the momentary
bloom of regret at the turning of tides and seasons
and tramp it down before it blossoms;
knowing the clock keeps time within its own hands
and no amount of wishing it back
will return a yesterday