Play With Prompts!

The inner child has been brutally beaten and eviscerated of late and through her childhood. I can’t change her parents or what they did. I (as the adult now in charge) can only intervene — which is a great thing — to see that she receives the protection she never had. And kindness. Respect and acknowledgment in the long healing process.

And play! Play is healing. Play — “spiel” in German — was neither word nor reality in childhood. The “spiel” there sprung forth, appropriately enough, because in many ways, my childhood was as bleakly dark German as one familiar with that culture might imagine. As I always say, I didn’t have a childhood, I had a workhood and a slavehood. Not here to rub those old wounds, rather to let that little girl deprived of play do just that. Play.

Play with Prompts! Found this site of writing prompts aimed at kids, 20 prompts to be exact.

http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/news/twenty-fun-writing-prompts-for-children/

Didn’t read ’em, rather just picked a number … 18. Will roll with whatever it is. Let’s see what it says!

“Write a poem in the form of a letter to someone you miss.”

Fun! And completely off the cuff. Here we go.

Oh little boy, so cute ‘n’ curly
your hair as if wrapped at the beauty salon
Your teeth white but not so pearly
the eggshell shade of an eagle’s talon.

Oh little boy, you rambunctious lad
galavanting off far away and wide
for your devilish adventures to be had
tomcatting it, no one at your side.

Oh little boy, you’re a what you say?
A father. Again?! How could that be?
Oh, we all know as we know the sun each day
Charlie, you’re a rascal humping all ladies you see!

Oh Charlie, I miss you so.
Black curls and doggy breath ever with me.
Your crafty crawls under fences are never forgotten
Neither your 100 pups so conceived ill-gotten!

I love you, Charlie.  (terrier and poodle mix and dog of childhood)

The Zen and the zealot of dogwalking

Dogs and people and walking. You know the ones. The folks who get walked by their dogs. The dogs who are like Alaskan huskies hauling people behind on the wooden sleds. Only substitute sidewalks for snow, huskies for any other breed and sleds for leashes.

I’ve never cared for that look. Never ever. I like dogs that are disciplined and have been through basic obedience, at the very least. A disciplined dog is a happy dog. A disciplined dog is also a happy human. Your mileage may vary but that’s how I look at it.

And, as an aside, one of several reasons I like watching dog shows. The animals are extremely cared for, obviously, well behaved and responsive on a leash.

I digress. As I was saying, I’ve never cared for that look for Dog Walking Person.

And yet there I am, doing it. Before  you launch an attack or point out the irony, let me finish. The dog I am walking is not mine. Repeat: not mine. He’s my roommate’s. And since he’s away for a spell, dog Ivan falls under my care.

Ivan is a German shorthaired pointer. A medium-sized dog who’s about bulk. And around 6-8 extra pounds, hence I’m giving him the walks he doesn’t normally get.

Bulk and physical might. And no discipline. A dangerous combo indeed. Our walks consist of him pulling and straining 10 steps ahead of me and me holding tight to the leash with both hands. It’s not as easy as it sounds. For starters, I have maybe only 50 pounds on him and am little taller than Ivan standing on his back legs. It takes every ounce of energy and muscle to keep pace, keep control and keep him out of trouble.

The Zen of dogwalking? Try the zealot of dogwalking.

(a zealot by the name of Ivan.)

My roommate, on the other hand, is built like a linebacker, thus him walking Ivan would not be nearly the exhausting strain that it is for me.

Oh, and did I mention the leash burns of the hands?

I do rather dislike that sight of Dog Walking Person, yet I am that person while the roommate’s away. I ought to wear a sign on my back that reads: Not My dog. And a pair of falconry gloves.

Begging for crumbs in the job market. (Not fucking again!)

Feeling no burning, or even lukewarm, enthusiasm for the topic in mind for today’s post, I left it to WP to “inspire me,” hit said link and got:

Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

WTF?! Even worse than the topic I’d had in mind! I’m here to write posts, not books! Never mind that the odds of (blog) publishing such personal material are nil or very nearly.

So the subject of work it will be!

And by work, I mean looking for. God, am I really here again? Rooting like a starved pig for that rare mushroom on the forest floor? Am I really here AGAIN, pleading for a crumb from the universe, from an employer with a job that I don’t want to do and have no business doing. Enough of my life has been spent in waste  and depletion. Years in all shades of gray from unhappiness to abject misery.

And here we are ahgain … ah, never mind. I’m tired living the story and exhausted telling it.

I want, I truly want, a life of authenticity and abundance. What’s wrong with that? Everything, according to my experiences and beliefs in childhood (big thank you to the parents).

But this chapter is NOT supposed to be about that. It’s NOT supposed to be about continuing the poverty and unhappiness. I know that sure as I know that ocean tides ebb and flow. I’ve been in ebb. Big time all pervasive and prevailing ebb. The forces of nature and power of the tides are working in my behalf (finally). I had no say or control over that any more than I did the darkness and misery that engulfed me/my life not long ago.

It’s that … false starts. The brass ring ’til I fucking dropped it in Prescott (a story not to be told). A bad attitude … bad in the sense of “here were are again, back in this old dark place” — a place I suspect/feel/intuit is NOT where I’m supposed to be.

I don’t quite know how to scale this molehill that I’m making into a mountain.

And then there’s the first year anniversary of my father’s passing looming. Oh so close. Grief wracks  the guts and mind covertly and furtively. Like the loner guest living tucked away in the back of the house. You never see him. He comes out only for his meals that he takes back to his room. In the back of the house. No one there. Not a plant. Not a pet. Not even an artificial plastic fern to mimic greenery.

It’s those characters who never speak, who keep to themselves, who on the surface seem fine to go about their lives, such as they are or are not, as they are. It’s the figures who DON’T talk that can be the most frightening of all.

Perhaps I should make his acquaintance. He’s in my house, after all. He’s an uncommunicative oddball, an eccentric with no place to go (but his room) and no one to talk to but himself and how healthy is that, really?

Meandering thoughts from a blog post whose topic was to be the search for a job.

Old crap topic. Loner uncommunicative man in the back room of the house. Need to make his acquaintance, if he’ll let me.

Cliches and history tell us that it’s “always the quiet ones,” “the neighbor who never bothered anyone and just hung out in his garage” that are concerns. Dunno that I’d go THAT far with my loner uncommunicative man in my house.

But something … something is not right … and I need to find out what is troubling him. If I can.

When life’s pizza slices turn cold

Like pizza, certain slices of life are best served up hot rather than cold from the refrigerator after a day, a week, a month.

In fact, occasional have been those snippets of life, anecdotes or passing and seemingly banal moments when the thought’s arisen: “That’d be a great blog post.” Then the experience flows past and with it its blog-worthy aura. I’ve not missed blogging really. Five years of consistent contributions and dialogue is not to shake a stick at, methinks. Three years is the normal blog lifespan, I reckon. Contrary to the cliche, absence (from blogging) has not made my heart grow fonder. I’ve liked being away.

Anyhow.

I’ve got an amusing anecdote about my roommate, a guy — not merely a guy but a biker dude —  and laundry.  It’s somewhat dated, granted, and worth telling, yet for some reason I’m unable to draw from the muse to do so.

Worries, stress, anxieties, fears, thoughts and ruminations that put me ill at ease about life (present and future) weigh. As an analogy, some of them are mean clowns, bereft of joie de vivre. Others are aged grandmamas with declined hearing and mobility. Many are dreams tossed into a net like dead fish and some are … simply sorrows. Tears cried, in greater number tears unshed.

Grief unprocessed.

The niggling reason I can’t write on that funny laundry blurb. It remains in the fridge like that pizza slice. Oh well. I’ll {ahem} hang it up for now.

Discovering the FREE in Freelancing

January 4. Was it really that long ago that I last posted?

Not here to bemoan the passage of time, my absence of posting within it or to catch up. A ridiculous notion.

I am here to express, and to a certain extent unload, the dismay that blankets me now. I’m a freelancer who’s discovered the operative element in that word: free.

Doesn’t matter where I work. Okay, a small local paper. Doesn’t matter where. Okay, in a state that starts with A and btw, I love Arizona. It’s a damn fine state and plentiful red for this hardcore conservative libertarian.

Doesn’t matter the town’s name. Really doesn’t.

What’s notable is I’m a freelance reporter, features specifically, at this little paper. I was brought on board as a stringer so no illusions about it being “fulltime” or “well paid” or bountiful in production. About 8-12 stories a week (it’s a weekly) was a reasonable expectation. Thus FT-ish and I could squeak by long as I keep expenses uber low.

Well, it hasn’t gone that way in quantity (reasons unnecessary for this posting) and even if those confining conditions are “removed,” couldn’t say the figure’s reasonable.

+++

I’m so excited! My first full paycheck in a long time AND for doing something I love and am meant to do! Work with purpose! Pay for work with purpose! A concept that I must continually roll around on my tongue like a spiced walnut or splash of (not cheap box) red wine.

I know it won’t be much. A few hundred dollars that’ll pay most but not all the rent. It’s progress from continuing to dip into the fund left by a family member and I’m in NO WAY ready or desiring to write about him and that passing on the blog or anywhere else.

I delay opening the envelope containing the check. I want to savor the anticipation of being paid for what I love to do and am meant to do. I continue the walk through the desert heat toward home.

Finally I’m ready. “$325 or so isn’t a lot but it’ll go toward the rent. I’m excited!”

I open the envelope, remove the check. My eyes widen. My breathing stops. My heartbeat’s arrested.

$159 and some change.

Wait, is that right? I scrutinize the attached record of stories and photos for the past two weeks. Repeatedly. Many times over. I practically memorize it.

It’s accurate. No articles or photos overlooked.

In a two-week period, I’ve earned $159.

That’s a few tanks of gas. Not even half the rent. I’m heartsick and stomach-sick. I feel like throwing up. The emotion is that intense. Emotion of what? Lack. Panic. Creeping return impoverishment and poverty (that I’ve already been through, endured, survived.)

Prosperity? No. Abundance. Fuck no, save for the love of writing on the spiritual plane. But spirit don’t gotta have an abode to live. Or bills to pay.

Two weeks of work. $159. It spins inside heart and mind, instigating an urge to both cry and vomit. I’ve always held my emotions in my stomach. I’m heartsick and heartbroken both.

= = =

I calculate things. I earn a penny a word. It gets worse. I roughly calculate in my mind the hours spent on each story. The time to travel, to do the interviews, to take the photos, to transcribe the recorded interview, to write the raw story, to *craft* the story, to manage the photos and write the captions.

I might make $5 an hour.

What is the minimum wage in Arizona? $7.80.

= = =

The life for this freelancer is this. That which is described above. I work as close to free as I’ve ever worked in my adult lifetime.

I work and so damn hard, with love in my heart and passion for writing.

For it — that is, two weeks of such impassioned and meticulous time and labor (of love) and work — I receive: approximately three tanks of gas.

I want to cry and die both. That is how heartsick I am.

27 July 2013