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The Gray

The Gray

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Colors

I’m floating now in the infinite possibilities of the Gray.

The White and the Black are absolute.

The Gray is undefined.

The White and the Black are solid and stoic.

The Gray is permeable, malleable, and forgiving.

The White and the Black are each, individually, stagnant death. The annihilation of both has created the gray and I will no longer be a slave to either.

The Gray is the freedom to exist in Black and White simultaneously. It is love and hate, life and death, joy and sadness, good and evil. It is the thing feared most by the White and the Black—free will. It is the great void of life, unbound by the black and white shackles of our human perception. It is the living spirit of me here, you there, and all the time and space in between. It is the before, the after, and the soon to be…

The Black

The Black

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Colors

So much time has passed, and ink spilled, between the moment I escaped the white and began unleashing my soul upon it.

Make no mistake. The white is still there. It beseeches me from behind the veil of pitch black words now scrawled upon it. I cannot hear it. The cacophony of words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters that I’ve let loose upon it has—for the moment, at least—drown out the sedate pleas of that crippling complacency from which I escaped.

Between the white that—not so long ago—consumed me, and this moment right now, there lies a smoldering wasteland of venom, and insecurity, and fear, and hatred, and love; all of which lay naked, and unashamed, before you on the previous pages.

That is the Black, and it is just as all-consuming and deceptive as the White…no more, no less.

The Black is, at first, a cold glass of water after a long walk through the white desert. My heart soars at the site of it. There is a longing from the very core of my being. As I near it, there is hesitation because maybe, just maybe, it isn’t really there. Perhaps it’s a mirage created by the mental starvation of looking at nothing but the white for so long. Then I touch it. It’s real, and I can actually feel it in my grasp. Instinct takes over, and the cool hardness of the glass is on my lips before I realize it. Somewhere, deep inside of me, a voice says to slow down…savor it; the next glass is not a given. Before the voice is finished speaking the water is gone. It is traveling through me now…providing the most beautiful, if fleeting, moment of relief. The Black is the thing I most desire…the water after the walk.

Now sated, I relax, and the black takes control. Good and evil are just words scrawled upon a page that speaks to the darkness inside me. I want to believe that some things are sacred, but everything within me is vulnerable. Everything is white or black; written or not written.

Every word I read spreads the poison further. Every paragraph eats a little more of my soul. I am weak in my own truth, and the abandon of the words before me sets me on fire. It sparks a vision of freedom that I will never attain. It taunts my tepid life with the flames of reality. I am weak, and broken, and consumed by the blacks sublime ability to say what I cannot, think what I dare not, and do what I will not. 

And then—just as quickly as the words came to consume me—they are gone. I am abandoned, and lost, and floating in the void somewhere between the white and the black.

3 Things That Get No Respect (Anymore)

3 Things That Get No Respect (Anymore)

Shaking hands with words (respect, serve, regard, tolerate, cooperate, etc.) overlayedNo Respect? Not An Option.

 

When I was growing up I was taught to respect three things: Authority, my elders, and myself. Having ‘no respect’ for any given person or situation was a punishable (yes, that was a thing) offense.

It was pretty simple. If an officer or teacher told me to do something I was to do it. If I was addressing someone older than me it was to be by “Mr” or “Ms/Mrs”. If I was going to do or say something I was to first consider if it was the right thing to do based upon the situation and the participants.

Respecting these things was not presented as an option. It was not a pick and choose scenario. It was a written-in-stone edict that I was to follow at all costs. It was the brick and mortar upon which all my other lessons would be set. It was also a basic tenet of the world in which we lived. It may have been taught, and/or, enforced differently by all my friends parents, but it was taught nonetheless.

Respect Is An Obstacle – Or Is It?

 

Of course, I questioned this way of doing things at the time. In my childish mind I felt that respecting these things always, and in every situation, was in direct opposition to being myself and being able to voice my own opinion. It also put a serious obstacle in the way of being able to get what I wanted, whenever I wanted it. As I grew older I questioned my parents.

This was when they taught me that it was okay to question anything and everything as long as I did so with respect and positive intent. My father taught me that respect for these things did not have to mean I agreed with them. It only meant that they needed to be given the benefit of the doubt and, if need be, challenged with respect and tact.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not and old man grousing about the way we were. I’m not lamenting the missed opportunity to be called Mr by my neighbors children the way their parents were by me. I am just trying to call attention to the glaring lack of respect that we, as a nation, currently suffer from.

 

Respect Is A Foreign Concept

 

The concept of respect is foreign to us as a people now. We have forgotten the lesson we learned and, in so doing, failed to pass it on to our children. We run roughshod now in our never ending quest to get what we want, when we want it. Our actions and words are put forth as if nothing, and no one, else mattered. We do not consider the situation or the other people affected by it. We simply lash out on Facebook or twitter like petulant children demanding our desires.

 

Social Media Eliminates The Need For Respect

 

Every problem we face as a county today is a direct result of this missing edict coupled with the ease of opinion sharing provided by social media. We form our ideas and opinions without respect, and then spread them to the masses. Once unleashed they are feasted upon, digested, and regurgitated ad infinitum. We do not respect authority. We do not respect our elders. We do not respect ourselves.

The result is the creation of entire movements based upon, and geared towards, the individuals right to have their every desire sated regardless of how it affects anyone else. We want to do and say as we please with no repercussions. Anyone that gets in the way of that is fodder for the social media masses. Facts no longer matter because no one respects themselves, or others, enough to check them before hopping on the bandwagon.

 

Respect Is A Two-Way Street

 

I assure you there is a better way. Everything and everyone can, and should, be questioned. The questions, respectfully asked, allow us to move forward, and be better as a nation and a people. Lack of respect is a killer of that process. It fosters hatred and unleashes vitriol. It sends valid points to wither and die upon deaf ears. You see respect, as I recall, is a two way street. If I put forth an opinion without respect for the intended audience I cannot logically expect a respectful reply. No matter how valid my point disdain and disrespect are the only possible return.

Respectfully yours,

Dave

Manic Panic

Manic Panic

Storm Before the Calm

Storm Before the Calm

Panic Without a Prelude

 

Panic attacks are like the first blustery wind of an unexpected storm. They come from nowhere, with no warning, and no indication of how long they will last, or how severe they will be. It can happen anywhere, or anytime. You can be in the worst of moods, or the best—it does not matter.

When it happens it is like somebody flicked the lights off and then used the cover of darkness to punch you in the gut. I understand that’s an odd analogy, but it is exactly how it feels.

 

Wrong Without Warning

 

Imagine you are moving along through your day and (without warning) everything is suddenly wrong. You can’t move forward. You can’t move backward. All you can do is stand there and wonder what happened. You feel nauseous because you cannot put your finger on it, and you know the people around you can see something is wrong. You know that someone will ask you if you are okay—and you will say “yes”. You are not, but it does not matter because you couldn’t explain what was wrong if you wanted to.

The feeling of helplessness is vicious and feeds upon itself. Your heart rate increases, palms start to sweat, your chest tightens up, and a little voice in the back of your head tells you that you’re having a heart attack. The rational side of you says you’re not, but the truth is there’s no way to be sure. The lack of certainty sends your thoughts spinning. Should you go to the hospital? If it is a heart attack would you make it in time? If it’s not will the doctor’s laugh at you? Does your daughter know how much you love her? Will she be okay when you’re gone?

Each thought cripples you a little more. It’s a cascade of irrationality fueled by the reality that all of the things you are thinking—while maybe not true in this exact moment—are completely plausible possibilities. People die of sudden, massive, heart attacks every day. Why not you? Why not today?

 

My Panic, Not Yours

 

This is what a panic attack usually feels like to me. If you see me standing stuck in a moment this is what’s going on in my head. I do not know if it is the same for everyone. For me the attacks vary by degrees—sometimes they are small and last seconds, other times they are massive and consume my day. They were less severe when I was younger, and have grown exponentially over the past couple of years.

Oddly enough, the heart attack scenario represents the best case for me. Arguing with myself whether or not I am having a heart attack is at least tangible. Sometimes, the attacks do not present a reason for attacking. Sometimes they are just a sudden onset of terror and an inexplicable surety that everything is not okay. There is no discernible cause—just a hopelessly empty feeling and sudden desire to be anywhere other than where I am. I have left family events, work, even dates when one of these empty moments struck. I have had times when even the company of the person I love most in this world—my daughter—was not enough to make me feel anything other than lost.

 

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

 

I do not exist in a bubble. I deal with these panic attacks much like you might deal with a sinus infection or a broken arm. I adjust and power through it. If you know me then you have most definitely spoken to me while I was in the midst of one of them. Ninety percent of the time you will never know. The other ten percent? Those are the times when I inexplicably disappear. Maybe I told you the truth. Maybe I made up an excuse. Either way, it was necessary to remove myself from whatever situation I was in and deal with the darkness that had descended upon me.

 

Silence Kills

 

I am grateful that I understand what is happening now. Like so many others I suffered for years in silence. Now that I know it is real I can deal with it. One of the ways I deal with it is by writing. If you are dealing with the panic attacks please share how you deal with them below if you are so inclined. If you need someone to talk to but do not want to do it publicly you can reach out to me at eyeofh@gmail.com. I cannot give you answers, but I can listen—and sometimes that helps.

 

Best,

Dave

The White

The White

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Colors

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Staring at a blank screen

 

I’m staring at this screen and seeing nothing but White. White where once there were words and stories. White where once there was life, and love, and happiness. White where once everything made sense, at least as much sense as anything in this gray world can make.

I’m staring at this screen, and the White is washing over me. The words hide behind it teasing and taunting me. The White ripples from their excitement beneath. Like a sheet covering frolicking children, it froths to and fro. The ripples increase. A rage begins to grow. The words are angry; the children are restless. The energy they create makes the White seem to lash out at me. It licks my face. It chomps at my brow.

I want so badly, neigh, yearn with all my heart to grasp that consuming whiteness and wrench it from the screen. I wish nothing more than to draw the veil and free those taunting words—to shred it with my discontent and unleash them howling into the world.    

But the White is powerful. The White is woe. The White is enveloping me and suffocating the words in a blanket of sadness and regret. The White sees nothing and is nothing—and it wants us to be white as well.

Caressing my face now—portending at love—its blankness has tempted the strongest of souls. In nothingness, there is no danger or doubt. In nothingness, there is no risk.

The White is safe,” it whispers, “the White is home.”

Silence and whiteness and death have me now. The White has blanked those black words beneath—blinked them out of existence.

Oh, the violence of nothingness—How it rapes the soul and leaves the world one light darker.

Voices & Violence

 

Shhh.

Do you hear that?

Do you see?

It is a child being unborn.

It is a beautiful sunset going unseen.

It is existence becoming unwritten.

It is “ignorance is bliss,” and “let sleeping dogs lie,” and it is abso-fucking-lutely the blanket complacency of the ‘safe,’ and the White, burying our souls in eternal nothingness.

It is the fisher of men, come to cast the net wide for the clueless, unquestioning, masses. A never-ending gathering for the feast of the status quo.

Into the white

 

But wait.

What’s that now from beneath the White?

A baby crying? A child screaming? A young girl weeping at her father’s side while his last breath fades into the White?

Tiny sounds from tiny souls usher forth. Tiny sounds to form words, to form chaos, to fight for life! They weave within one another and cling to the blackness of their form. They writhe as lovers in the abyss, copulating to multiply and go forth.

The ripple begins again. I can hear them calling and my heart quickens sending blood, and oxygen, and madness pulsing through my veins. Anger builds as the White attempts to pull me deeper. Anger and rage and despair and all the things I’ve lost to that complacency begin to ooze from every fiber of my being like blood-filled drops of sweat. They fall into the White void in hopes of soiling it—soaking it red with the life it has tried so virulently to keep hidden from the world—but the nothingness is powerful and persuasive. The nothingness absorbs my color.

And yet from the other side—the underneath—the din grows stronger. The black words are coagulating, becoming cohesive, and careening towards the battle that must be fought with reckless abandon. They sense the tiny rivulets of my dark discontent soaking into the sea of white above. They yearn to plunge into that sea. They yearn to become a part of life and do what life does—exist in gray!

The words know the truth. They know that one cannot exist without the other. They know that in black, or white, alone all that exists is death. It is from the gray that life springs forth. It is from that combination of light and dark that we find the joy in the birth of a child and the sorrow in the death of a friend.

Love, and hate.

Pain, and pleasure.

Destruction, and creation.

Birth, death, and rebirth.

Mass immolation, and the complete restructuring of the ALL and the EVERY.

This is the battle that MUST be fought. We are all sedate in the comforting quiet of the White—we are all dead. The barrier must be destroyed. The words must be set free to love and rage.

The White held me in its grasp for what seemed an eternity and—make no mistake—almost claimed me forever. I know not how I escaped, or how long I can remain free. All I know is that ten minutes ago I was enveloped in a sea of nothingness staring at a white screen that is now covered with black words. And I know that those words have pulled me from the abyss of nothingness and given me hope…

 

Authors Note: This short piece of speculative fiction appears in the collection Moments At Rest which can be found for free on Amazon

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God – From Horror to Hope

Writing For God

I have not written anything of substance in quite some time. Now I begin again with this statement: I am writing for God.

It is a simple declaration with a not-so-simple backstory. The people that know me will, most likely, be confused by it—those who have read anything I have ever written before, even more so. The following essay is intended to explain that decision and the path that led up to it. It is also my attempt to pull it all together in my own mind so that I can move forward, and accomplish what I intend to with this website.

The early years

I have been writing since I was about ten years old. No matter what has been going in my life I always found my way back to writing. It felt like a calling of sorts—like something I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, live without.

What I wrote was always dark. Hell, I don’t even think ‘dark’ covers it. Twisted. Masochistic. Misogynistic. Those are probably better adjectives to describe the stories I was telling. This was all intentional of course. I loved horror and that is what I wrote.

For some reason, it always seemed to me that the best way to find the truth about a person or a situation was to torture it until it screamed its soul out. Fear and destruction were the only lenses through which I could see anything. I could be walking into a church and see a simple—even beautiful—situation that my mind would immediately twist into the most terrible story possible. For example; I was driving down the street one winter day and happened to pass a home with a large picture window out front. I glanced as I drove by and saw a mother and daughter happily decorating their Christmas tree. Instead of appreciating the beauty of the moment my mind immediately asked the question ‘what if the husband/father was being murdered right outside that very window? What if his throat was slit and his blood washed upon the window that framed that perfect scene?’.

Where I was

That is where I was—Living that kind of life, with that kind of internal monologue. In retrospect, I realize that I had subconsciously trained my conscious mind to find the horror in every situation. I am sure there are some people who can handle that. To be honest, it was an empowering feeling to have the type of imagination that could write stories that would make people feel all types of ways—none of them good! Stephen King, Clive Barker—They were my heroes and I wanted to be them.

The Problem

The problem was that I could not. Even though I loved writing those terrible stories there was always a battle going on in my subconscious mind—I felt guilty for putting such negativity into the world. I would have an idea and table it for months. Part of me just wanted it to go away. Another part of me had this insatiable desire to write—no matter what the cost. I tortured and destroyed myself over and over just like the characters and situations in my stories. Eventually—or maybe always—it all started to spill over into my personal life. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, divorce, custody battles, breakups—every single thing in my life went to shit.

The In-Between

So there I was in my early 40’s—twisted, broken, filled with self-loathing, and self-pity. Sounds like a great time to make a major life decision right?

Instead of clearing the negativity from my mind I doubled down on it! I decided that I was going to self-publish some of my earlier work and start working on a novel that I had been thinking about for years. It was a terrible decision that, in hindsight, produced a miraculous result.

Two things

Two things needed to happen in order for me to move forward. First, I needed to re-read all of my previous work in order to prepare it for publication. Next, I had to sit down and actually outline the novel that had been a mere buzz in the back of my head up until that point. Both of those tasks combined to form the seed of the person that is writing this essay right now. It is so very easy to see it in hindsight, but at the moment there was nothing but darkness.

Editing the past and outlining (what I then considered to be) the future showed me something I never expected to see. There was a spirituality to everything I had written. It was well hidden to be sure—drenched in the blood and excrement of words I had chosen to tell my tales of terror—but it was there. I had always considered myself a ‘spiritual’ person but, for some reason, had never connected that spirituality (and God) with my actual life, or the words I was writing. It sounds ridiculous to say. I suppose the only thing I can chalk it up to is that sometimes the hardest thing to see is that which is right in front of you.

Realization and the wrong tales

What I finally realized was that I was telling the wrong tales. My heart and soul wanted to be writing for God, spirituality, and the connectivity of everything under the sun. My mind—covered in the thick dross of accumulated experience—only wanted to write stories that tortured the characters within.

That day had started out absolutely terrible. It was as if all of the negativity that I had put out into the world was crashing down on my head all at once. I felt beaten—full of self-loathing, self-pity, hopelessness, and completely out of control. It was in that moment that I decided to give up writing horror forever.

Decision & sacrifice

That decision (to give up something I had loved for the majority of my life) was terrifying but was the exact sacrifice needed to bring me back to God and change my life forever. It was my ‘come to Jesus’ moment, and it changed every single aspect of my life in a split second. I wiped the tears from my eyes, took a deep breath, relaxed, and felt at peace for the first time in a very long time. I said the words ‘Please guide me Lord’ out loud, and moved on with my day.

Divine inspiration

Moments later—amidst all the chaos of the surrounding me—I had a sudden desire to read. It seemed inappropriate considering the things I needed to deal with, but my mind would not let me rest until I did. I had started two books on my Kindle already, but neither of them seemed to be the right ones to read at that moment. I logged into Amazon and looked at my ‘suggested reading’ list. I saw a book there that I had glanced at on numerous occasions, but had never purchased. I bought it immediately, and my world changed!

A Book full of breadcrumbs

The book I bought was Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike. It was a laborious read and I almost stopped after the first chapter. Something inside me pushed me on though, and I finished it over the next couple of weeks. I plan on chronicling the ways in which it changed me in a later post, but for now, it is enough to say that it put everything that I had experienced in my life thus far into perspective. Suddenly the decision to sacrifice the thing I loved to do most (writing horror) was rewarded with the idea of what to do next—write for God!

The Dilemma with writing for God

Now here was the big dilemma: how does a person that doesn’t go to church, and doesn’t identify with any particular faith, begin to write about God? The more troubling question, perhaps: does that person even have a right to? These questions and fears stemmed mainly from my memories of—and questioning mentality with regards to—the church (any church) and organized religion in general.

Where I Am Now

Over a year has passed since I made that decision, and bought that book. I have come to realize it was just one, of many, waypoints in my spiritual journey—like breadcrumbs on a wooded path leading me home.

As I said, in the beginning, I have not written anything in a long time. I struggled with the questions above and let them hold me back. I held onto, and trusted, that moment I had asked for guidance the whole time though. In doing so waypoints (obvious ones) began to show themselves more and more along the way. It was not easy (our spiritual path never is), but it was always filled with joy, appreciation, and a way forward.

The answer to the dilemma above? Have faith and move forward with the complete certainty God will show you the way. That is it. That is what brought me to write this essay. That is what stirred my soul to create this website with the hope that someday it might be a spiritual waypoint for someone that was lost—just like me.

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