Tag Archives: lonliness

Teens and Adults Write the Same Things

Have you ever gone digging through your old work?  Especially stuff you wrote in your teens? I was cleaning up my desktop, backing up files, tra-la-la, and I discovered a ‘poems’ folder that I hadn’t opened since high school.

Oh boy.

I cringed, and opened the file.  I read through some of them. They were simple, especially in terms of style and depth. The striking thing turned out to be the subject matter. Thematically they were all the same.

The things I write about now are more complex, long-winded versions of the same experience! The bad relationships in my stories all thrive–and are torn apart by–conflict. Sacrifice, bitterness, violence and the dry-eyed acceptance of loneliness were in almost every old poem I wrote.  That stuff seems typical of every high-school experience, but I realize that these sorts of themes are also still showing up in all my novels and short stories.  There’s something about that experience I’m still turning over in my hands.  It’s possible that every time I’ve been driven to write, from childhood until now, the trigger has remained the same. I sometimes wonder if lifelong immersion in one mode or another is healthy for a mind.  Do we do damage to our psyche by returning to the same themes; or do we write to stave off the cancer that consumes us from within?

When you look back at the body of your work, what do you think?

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ― Marcus Aurelius




All Truck Drivers are Dicks!

I live in a city. The trick with parking in a city is that there are a lot of us in one dense area, so there’s some competition involved. Normally, I park right in front of my house, and can leave my truck there until street-cleaning day. I roll over to somewhere else, then return my car to a spot in front of my house as soon as a space opens up.

I went to move my car, and saw this warning stuck to it.

Move along, Giganticar, or you will pay!

According to the time-stamp on the lower portion of the notice, this thing appeared on my windshield three hours before I got home from work. I wandered over to my truck to (you guessed it!) move it, again, for street cleaning.

Considering that my vehicle has sat in the same spot for much longer than the allotted time with no complaint, I’m forced to conclude that my neighbors got upset that I parked in front of their house for street cleaning. If they had left a note on my windshield explaining their position, I would have apologized, made them cookies, and moved the truck. There could have been good feeling spread all ’round. This whole ‘involving the police’ thing is a bit out of hand.

Of course, I have a massive, battle-scarred black truck. Most people imagine a big burly dude as the owner of this monster. Maybe they thought I would be impossible to talk to.

I have tried to make friends with my neighbors. I make an effort to learn people’s names, and say hi to them when I pass them on the street. One of my neighbors is a metalhead. Another is a gamer. I know we have things in common. I have passed out my phone number. No dice. The closest I came to a friendship was a regular interaction with a gent who suggested I call him The Candyman, and after a few weeks of basically normal interactions, he went off on me for not loaning him beer money. I said sorry, I can’t, because I rarely carry cash — and he went on a rant that began with “why do white people always…”

Those who seem furtive and shy (like my roommate), I leave alone; but I still get stared at by these folks. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos, but I am pretty scary. I wear combat boots. I stand tall. I’m starting to feel the weight of being ‘suspicious.’ Two years, here. Haven’t made a single friend.

In other, hipper neighborhoods, people know each other. You talk to your deli guy or your pizza guy, or the artists in the park, or whoever else. Here, there’s just concrete houses in bleached pastels.

In addition to the time stamp, the warning also listed the address where I was parked. In the event that the neighbor DID report my vehicle, and that was their address, I sent them a package. I sent them a box of truffles, and an apology. Best case, we become friends. Worst case, they have no idea who I am, and throw the box away.

Just gotta do the best you can.

I think the universe is gently reminding me that I don’t belong here.