Saturday, March 25, 2006

Imagine That...

So I pulled out my bass tonight...first time I've had it out of it's case in at least five years and I'm sure it's been ten since it was plugged into an amp. I walked it a little bit, played a couple of simple riffs; a little Stray Cat Strut, some Ozzy, a little Deep Purple, Queen's Another One Bites the Dust. I was just playing around with some friends after their three year old went into an air guitar routine. I was thinking about something Kat Dixon said to me a couple weeks ago, about how happy she was to know that I had played. Something I don't think she said, just implied...that once you have a love for music, it will always lurk under the surface. You might not sit at a piano or pick up your guitar for ten years, but it will still be like renewing a love affair when you do.

Now I have a desire to try writing a song again. Imagine that...

So If You Didn't Take The Bait...

Let me stand up on a roof top and shout...

"I'm published!!!!!"

I am now part of the Phaze Publishing family. A novella co-written by myself and Alessia Brio has been purchased by Phaze and I signed my contract yesterday. "Switch" will be released by Phaze as one of their Heatsheets and will be available only in e-format at first, but Alessia and I have discussed the feeling that we may not be finished with these characters and it is possible their story will continue. It is not improbable that we may one day collect those stories and place them in an anthology or novel.

Follow the Link on my sidebar to "Artistically Inclined" for more on the co-authored works of Will Belegon and Alessia Brio.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Watch This Space

Yeah, yeah....I hear you. Watch what? Lazy bastard hasn't posted anything in a week. Probably sitting around, drowning his sorrows in Glenlivet and Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream.

But I really have been doing some things. Things I couldn't do before. I went to my kids little league game and watched him pitch two shoutout innings and hit a double down the first base line with the bases loaded. I gave in to every little request my daughter had for a whole day, whether it was "Daddy, read me a book" or "Daddy, can I have some of your ice cream?" (There is no greater love one can show another then being willing to share your Ben & Jerry's)

I've done the laundry and the majority of the housework. I don't fold clothes much, because Her Highness just refolds them, since obviously that sloppy job could not possibly have been my final fold, right?

Oh, *blush*...and I have indulged in way too much XBox and Playstation. Me, a grown-ass man and all even. But I admit it...I'm hooked on Knights of the Old Republic and Gun.

I had a job interview today. Must have gone ok from their point of view because they said it was going to have to be quick, a half-hour or so, and I was in the interview for 68 minutes. I don't know that the job they are seeking to fill is one that fits with my qualifications though, nor am I sure they are willing to pay me a wage to do that job that I will agree to do it for...so, where was I?

Oh, right. Watch This Space. Well, not this one really. Over to the right there is a link to a blog dedicated to the combined efforts of myself and Alessia Brio, a blog titled Artistically Inclined. Watch That Space.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Returning From A Dream World

It’s easy for things to seem so perfect in a sort time span. Things are forgiven in the name of a temporary peace that would be seen with much harsher eyes if their consequences were not so easily painted over with the watercolors of a weekend.

Rudeness is rare, touchiness is temporary and offenses are only fleeting. The laughter is legendary. All the stories are new; nothing and no one is boring yet. I know all of this. I am aware of the appeal of the escape.

So why idealize this last weekend?

Because this was no cruise, or dude ranch special we bid on over E-Bay. No thrown together conglomerate of diverse personalities on a corporate retreat or over-the-hill gang of ex-jocks playing practice games with minor stars from World Series one-shots. Our common interests were deeper, and we still have a community to share when we get to our places of orgin. Sure, it comes with an “ignore” function. But we will see each other again.

Some of us already have done this. Already we scheme for the next gathering. Already we are planning the next set of memories. The loyalty is the difference in this band of adventurers, the reason but also the riddle.

The quick camaraderie is not the thing. That is a function of shared vocabulary and common questions. What moves us beyond our shared interest, into loyalty and love?

I think it is because we all have had to do one thing. In order to write you have to be willing to share. Every story, every poem is a small part of us we have let loose to share with the world at large. We are vulnerable. The anonymity of the internet, illusionary as it may be, is our one protection. In coming together face-to-face we have abandoned our protection and stand before one another, naked in a way those in our stories rarely are.

We have been brave enough to face rejection and ridicule and have been accepted as who we are. We have passed the test. Now and forever, those I took it with will be bound to me and I to them.

We are a family, and anywhere two of us are together, there is a home.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Friendships Are Not Physical

The most curious friendships of my life have been started in these last three years. I have people dear to my heart that I have never embraced and the ones with whom I wondered if I ever would and yet have are now even more precious to me.

How do we measure friendship? It is a question with overtones of both longing and danger, but one we embark upon so early. We start to call others our best friends so early. Only as we age do we think to put measures even upon that, narrowing down to bestest, or oldest, or most devoted. In the beginning, we just love those that love us back.

Least you think I am climbing upon my polyamorous soapbox, I will point out that it is also in those times that we are often our most cruel, our most selfish and most thoughtless. I am not advocating a point of view that youth always knows best. However, there is justification here in saying that the limits we place are a learned behavior.

Is one any less a friend because the hugs have been delivered via keyboard? Because the shoulder for crying was supporting a telephone as well as a confidant? Is one any less a lover because the memory of the kisses is imagined or faded by time?

We are limited in those we can interact with on a fleshly basis by many means…time, distance, expense. The customs of our cultures or the cruel chalice of circumstance. As I am on this journey to visit with friends whose refusal to accept those limitations is so very manifest in all our shared lives, I wonder at the arrogance of someone who can attempt to imagine that these friendships are any less real. In my time of need they have given more courageous comfort than any would dare demand. I will be embracing two couples whose very existence is due to their refusal to accept these barriers.

It is said there are no new frontiers…clearly the cliché does not apply as equally to emotion as it does to geography.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Random Thoughts From 20000 Feet

They say the only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys. Makes sense to me. Certainly this toy was costly, and not just in dollars. Just as certainly, it is a toy. Oh, I’ll call it a tool and write it off my taxes. But there is really no reason I could not have written this in a more traditional notebook and typed it in later. This is not essential, just a convenience.

A convenience that cost me four times what I paid for my first car. Of course, I’m old enough and from a background where a first car was something you bought from someone who knew it was just about to die. Then you and your buddies got together with Dad’s tools and started working on it. No computers in a 1972 Datsun. We started easy and changed the oil. Then the sparkplugs. Pretty soon we learned how to do a valve job. We spent ten hours to accomplish what a pro would have finished in fifteen minutes.

But that was the fun of it. We laughed and sweated, bloodied knuckles and talked about girls that would have been happy to talk to us if we just would have given them the same consideration we gave a straight-six or a v-8. We snuck into the old man’s beer and he pretended not to notice.

I don’t know for sure that this is not still a part of Americana. Certainly the part about the girls is. Maybe 16 year olds know more about the internet now than internal combustion, but knowing how to make a webpage is in some ways similar to knowing how to rebuild a carburetor. I’m pretty sure my son will consider girls just as much a mystery as his old man did. I’m pretty sure that I’ll pretend not to notice the occasional missing beer.

One thing that does seem to be missing a little in this new age of blogs and boards though is the image of a bunch of kids sitting around the garage. I know that the learning part of it, the sharing experiences, is still there. And I’ve come to know that the electronic barriers can be overcome easily enough. This trip is part of it. I’m pretty sure that my kids will have a wider base of knowledge to work off at 16. Certainly today’s internet means that some of the things about girls will be less of a mystery.

But I’ll still let myself believe that they are missing something. It is the prerogative of each generation to believe that it was their youth that was the real good old days.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's Odd The Way Life Works

So...The change I never wanted is now forced upon me. Where I go from here is a complete unknown. Somebody had to take a fall. I understand that, and I understand why it was me. I could probably rail at windmills and get some sort of twisted satisfaction out of it, but not any real change. This is the way it is going to be. I must move forward, must bend my head and push against the wind. Perhaps I've been doing that for awhile now. Certainly the last 9 weeks have been more about a struggle to remain in place then they have forward progress. Maybe this is not the beginning of a wind-impeded walk but the end of one.

In the morning, my life will begin again. My children will need to go to school, I will want a cup of coffee and I will still need to prepare for my tax appointment. The only change is that I won't have anywhere I need to be at 9:45 a.m.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I Took A Chance Today...

Many of us revel in the anonymity of the internet, myself included. After all, that's not my real name up there. With the shield of privacy, we can say things we would never say under other circumstances.

I parted that veil a bit today. I've done it before, sure. But only with people I've known better. And I did it not just today, but also about ten days ago with someone else. I can't help but have some nerves about it. Both of the women I've taken this chance with in the last couple weeks are fairly unknown entities to me. I have a feeling that I can trust both of them, but that's all. It's just a feeling. How often have you been wrong with those instincts? With me, it has been often enough that I should know better.

Sure, I can plead male idiocy...I mean, they are both attractive young women and I'm a little older. In truth, both are young enough to literally be my daughter. And it's not like I'm trying to manipulate either of them. Oh, I flirt. But I think they both know that I'm not the kind of guy who would ever be comfortable in the aggressive asshole role.

Both of them know me professionally. That puts me at risk. I don't work in an atmosphere that encourages that kind of personal connection. So why did I do such a foolish thing?

I'm not trying to play games. But I admit to having an appreciation for both of them. Simply put, any man at any age post-puberty would be thrilled with receiving their attention. So why did I take it to the next step?

*sigh* I have no idea.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Oak Tree Meeting

She and I were together for years. We shared a first kiss and a first slow dance, and always assumed we would be together forever in the way that small town first loves always do. Then the unthinkable happened. They moved.

Her grandparents stayed on the family farm, but Laura went to Chicago with her father. We called each other constantly, but the distance was just too great, and our plans to go to college together fizzled. Then she got married and I went through two divorces and the only times I thought of Laura anymore were when an old John Hughes movie would be found via channel surfing. Then I would remember my first love.

All that changed when I got a letter with familiar handwriting. I don’t know how she tracked me down in Paris. Nobody back home knew where I had gone, and with both my parents long dead I could not see how she could find me. But she had.

The letter was only a note really. “Meet me at the old oak tree on a moonlit summer night.” No signature or return address. Not that I needed them. I knew what she meant. There was an oak tree halfway between our two family farms where Laura and I had shared many an adolescent thrill. A moonlit summer night could only mean one date. Among other things, Laura and I shared a birthday, July 12. Two months from now.

I picked up the phone to call the airline.

I sat on the porch and wondered if it were moments like this that made people write books about time travel. I felt twenty years younger. I was half expecting Dad to walk out on the porch and start talking about the Cubs game. I had never understood what it was that would not let me sell the house. At least, not until now. I think I finally got it. As long as I still owned the house, I had a place to retreat to if things went wrong. In all the years since mom died, I had never come back. But the point was that I could have.

I thought I was going to have to bury ol’ man Kelly after talking to him on the phone the other day. He reacted like he had heard a ghost. I suppose ten years of getting a check to keep the house up but never talking to me had thrown him off. When I told him I was coming home he had said to give him a couple of days and everything would be ready. He was as good as his word. Everything looked like I had just left the week before. There was even beer in the fridge. I promised myself I would remember it come Christmas time.

The sun dipped towards the horizon. Soon the crickets would begin their chorus, and a few hours after that I had a meeting to attend. One that was wracking my nerves and turning my insides to jelly. I couldn’t understand it. I had sat at tables where there were a couple hundred million under discussion without feeling this way. Of course, in those games I was usually playing with house money. Not so tonight.

I sat the empty beer bottle down and let the porch swing creak as it swung. Some things may not change, but I no longer believed people were one of them. I wondered if as much had changed about her as I felt had about me. The suit I was wearing cost three times as much as my first car had. I had toyed with the idea of buying some boots and slipping back into my adolescent uniform of jeans and tee shirt but discarded it. Despite the venue, I didn't feel like this meeting was going to be about our past.

So, this was sitting on my hard drive. One of those forgotten beginnings. Should I continue it? I've quite forgotten who I intended Laura to be, and where the piece was going. It could be interesting to see where it ends...