Well, Christmas is upon us, I know that because half of my friends are depressed, and the other half remembered to take their Prozac. And everywhere you look on-line there are people having conversations about what Christmas is about. The spirit of the holidays, how they love each other and all of humanity. Yeah. Unless you believe in some fundamental difference in religion or the world that they don't. Then they don't love you quite so much, which is probably a good thing, because if they are that borderline, you really don't need them as a friend, and this may be the perfect opportunity, with all the Christmas rush of warm and good feelings, to lose them. In fact, wouldn't it be great to take them to Walmart and lose them there? Sorry, wishful thinking, I guess.
I did have a pretty good week. Had a few good conversations during the week that were worth having too.
So the week is wound down and the year is also winding down. I spent this last year spreading myself entirely too thin. Carpenter, Writer, Plumber, Electrician, Webmaster, Son, Father and more. I stopped playing guitar, music and video games. I guess in an alternate universe that could be a good thing, but in this universe, those are things that keep me sane... At least I think they do, unless I'm not sane and don't know it. Hmmm. But seriously, I need to take that time to escape from pressure. We all do. We all have different ways we do it, but we do it. So I have promised myself that this year I am going to make time to do those things. Sure. Except, I really am going to figure out a way to do it, I just don't know what that will be yet. Something will give in one direction or another and the time will be there. Maybe that would have better saved as a new year’s resolution.
As a writer, choosing a somewhat public life, I have been frustrated a few times this past year when it has come to being able to speak my mind. There was a time, not so long ago, when I did speak my mind and I didn't care about the consequences. I still have a great deal of admiration for people, who have chosen public paths, yet still do speak their minds. I always feel conflicted, speak my mind? Don't speak my mind? It's an issue for me because of the things I have seen changing in society lately, otherwise I would stay away from it.
When I was younger there seemed to be a live and let live attitude in this world I call home. Not so much anymore. Now it seems to be a 'You better think like I do or else,' world. That bothers me. And so, the guy that never takes issue with anything is going to present an issue to you.
Here is how I look at life. Grant you, life has shaped me, and is greatly responsible for some of what I am, but that is a small part. Many years ago someone said to me, 'You can make your choices in life, or you can let someone else make them.' I thought, just let someone try to make my choices. But, the fact is, he was right. So, I really do work on making my own decisions now. I don't want someone else to make them for me, or fate, or whatever you want to look at it as. I want to have as much control of my life as is possible.
So, I look at the world, what it has morphed into, what it continues to become as it changes and changes, and I choose, as I said, to walk the non-committal line. Now, for those of you who know me, that is different. I will talk about nearly anything with the people I call friends. My ears are open, my mind too, and I'm not only willing to listen, but I'm also willing to let it change me if it makes sense. I think that is a responsible position. But, when I write, either Blog or fiction, or nonfiction, I have a different level of responsibility. I am responsible on a different level because I am purposely reaching out to the public and giving them my opinion. Is that always true? I mean, do I set out to do it that way? No. Never. But that doesn't matter a great deal either. I have seen words people have authored, that were committed to electronic media, or traditional print, come back and bite them. So, I try not to do it. I try to walk my fine line.
So, as I said, when I was younger, it was live and let live. That is what my generation promoted. Now that has changed, and every day it seems to become more extreme. If I don't speak it really is allowing someone else to make my choices for me. So here goes.
I don't have a problem with gays. I am not gay, I know that, but if I were I would not have a problem with it. I guess easy for me to say. I do not think Christ has a problem with gays. I don't want people to send me six thousand scripture references telling me, 'Yes he does,' or 'God hates it,' or whatever. This is my opinion. I didn't ask to argue about it. I have read the Bible, in fact I have studied the original scriptures, Gospels, Texts, Translations, Greek, Chaldee. I know what it says, and I know what it doesn't say. I have read it. I don't have a problem with Paganism, Wicka, Native American beliefs, or any other religions or spiritual beliefs. No problem. Sexual orientation, color, heritage, pride of heritage. No problem.
I do have a problem with people who are not tolerant of other people. People who hate for the sake of hate. Maybe I am the danger that is changing the world. Maybe I am the sickness that has leaked into our society. If so, good. I hope a great many others get sick. I hope the world gets sick and stays sick. If you are shocked by the words,I have written then you should flush this page and never read any of my Blogs or books. I say that because I assumed that my outlook on life was pretty clear. I assumed I was making a statement with my writing.
I don't want to make this blog all about striking back at things I don't like. I do want to say what that person said to me. Make your own decisions. If you don't someone will make them for you. Maybe you are like I was then, and you don't understand it yet. You will. That's the great thing about life. All that advice. All those warnings. All that critical feedback people gave to you. It will all come back to you. You will eventually understand that you don't know everything. This world is also about others. And then be responsible for you.
So, there is my stance. Not wishy washy, that's how I feel. And that brings me full circle. And not having the time to take a break from life. Relax. Lately I have been re-examining my life. What is important, what is not important. What is not important is pretty clear cut to me. I don't have a lot of time for game players, time wasters. I don't have time for intolerance or people that like me if I change this or that. I'm not interested in joining anyone’s club, and I'm not trying to get someone to join mine.
I guess that means I'm not really walking that line any longer. I regret that I walked it so long, because some people made assumptions about me and what I think because I didn't speak up. Proof positive that you can always change for the better.
As for people who do hate, hey, it's your prerogative, but don’t do it in the name of God, or Jesus, or Allah, or the friggin' Easter Bunny for that matter. And if you feel you must tell me all about your opinions, fine. I'll be polite. I probably won’t even light you up and tick you off. I'll just listen and nod, and at the end I'll tell you I don't agree with you. Sorry. I have to, because if I don't you might believe that I agree with you, and if you are about hate, I don't.
So, that's out of the way. What am I going to do this year? I think something has to go. The house will go. I will finish it. I spent this past week dry walling the new laundry room and that is up and running. More work ahead, but it is getting less and less. So, that will go. The next thing to go is one of these careers. Am I a writer or am I running an on-line business? Well, both, right now, but one will go. I will either throw it all behind one thing or the other. And it will be a question of return on investment. I know that sounds cold, but it has to be that way. If you really think about it the entire world works on return. If you give someone a compliment and they do not acknowledge you, do you give another? Not usually. If you are looking for a new social activity and you go and no one takes the time to greet you and say hello? Probably not going back. I'm no different. If the writing goes it doesn't mean I'll stop writing, it only means I'll go back to writing for me, which is an entirely different thing...
Guess that's it for me this week. I try not to be too political, but sometimes when you have a bad taste in your mouth it has to go. I am not, by the way, comfortable with the public side of writing. I do not go to book signings. I belong to only one writers' group. It really irritates some of my author friends that I will not travel to promote my books, but I won't. I watch them go to dozens of organized book signings. It doesn't hurt my feelings. And I think that says everything I need to say about my writing. I do it because it is there. If you like it, great. If you don't, great also.
I will leave you with a free preview of Hurricane which should be published sometime this coming year...
Copyright Wendell Sweet 2013, all rights reserved.
This preview is licensed for Dell's Blog. If you wish to share this preview with a friend, please point them to this blog. This material may not be copied, quoted, or transferred electronically, or in standard print for any reason, without the copyright owner’s permission. Permission is granted to use small excerpts in critical articles both in standard or electronic print.
“It's bad luck to skip school on a Monday,” Amy Knowles said to her best friend Deidre Blevins.
“I know,” Deidre said, “But I hate it. I just can't be there. I can't deal with those Goddamn Nuns today. You don't have to come if you don't want to, Aim... I didn't even tell Jimmy.”
“I know that. Obviously I want to go... I mean,” Amy fell silent.
“What,” Deidre asked?
“We're friends,” Amy said. “It's been me and you way before Jimmy or Mike came along... It's just that, sometimes we get too far away from that.” Her face colored.
Deidre nodded. “We do... So, where do you and me go today.... With no car... No way to get nowhere. I hate being on foot.... It's just about all I keep Jimmy around for. That and the pot,” Deidre said.
“Really,” Amy asked?
She thought about it. “I could think of something better... For right now he's okay. I like him well enough.”
Amy wondered what the something better might be. Deidre had colored a little bit when she said it. She didn't ask though. It was good enough just being together. She didn't want to complicate it with feelings.
“I smell rubber burning,” Deidre said and smiled. “A penny for your thoughts. That's what my dad always says to me,” she said.
“They're worth more than a penny,” Amy said as they reached the parking lot. She slipped her hand through Deidre’s arm. “Lead on,” she said.
Deidre was surprised by the arm, but pleasantly surprised. She liked the feel of it, she decided. She looked up at the sky then back down at the parking lot. “We could hitch out to your place, or we could walk around downtown.”
“We could get picked up by some Psycho too,” Amy said.
“Never have,” Deidre countered.
“Okay, but if some Psycho picks us up and kills us I am going to be so pissed at you,” Amy said. She tried a little smile on her face. Deidre answered it with one of her own.
“Never happen,” Deidre said as they started across the parking lot.
“I'd probably follow you anywhere,” Amy said softly. So softly that Deidre was not sure she had even heard her.
“Yeah.. I wish that were true,” Deidre said every bit as softly.
Amy looked up at her. She had heard the words, but she was looking away. She was about to speak when Jimmy's voice interrupted her. She looked up and there he was. His blonde hair hanging in his eyes, head half out the window of his truck. When no one answered he spoke again.
“I said, I thought you was staying at school today?” He said again looking a Deidre.
“Well, you said you might be here, so Amy and I thought we would try,” Deidre said quickly and smiled.
Amy nodded and smiled.
The car behind Jimmy's truck blew its horn and Jimmy twisted around and glared back at the driver. He popped up his middle finger and showed it to the driver and then looked back at Deidre. “So, where we gonna go? I didn't make no plans and I ain't got no money,” Jimmy said.
Deidre had about forty dollars on her, two tens in her pocket and the rest in her sneaker. She pulled out the two tens. “This will get us a little way, right,” She asked?
Jimmy took the two tens and slipped them in his pocket. “We can go out to Mike's,” he looked at Amy. “He's working on the Nissan today... I can help him... We can hang out... We have enough for beer now and gas to get there too.” Jimmy said.
The car behind him tapped its horn once more. Jimmy levered open the door jumped out and started to turn back to the car, but Deidre caught his arm.
“Baby, you'll get us in trouble. We'll get caught,” she said as she pulled him away.
The guy in the car rolled his window up quickly. Jimmy smiled at him, flipped him off again and then turned back to Deidre and Amy. “Luck for that little fuck,” he said. “Come on.” He held the driver's door open as first Amy and then Deidre crawled across to the passenger's side and then turned and looked back at the car. The young guy behind the wheel refused to look back. Jimmy flipped him off again and then climbed back into his truck.
“What does it look like,” Bob Travers asked? He was at his own desk, but he called up a view of the latest National Weather Service radar on his monitor.
Rebecca Monet leaned closer to the monitor, her breasts brushing against his shoulder as she did. “It could be the big one. It's building fast and they are already predicting a path that will bring it right to us,” she told him. “I want to be the one that gets it if it does. I mean, I know I'll have it at first but if it goes big I want to keep it instead of it going to Bethany,” she said in a low voice, nearly a whisper.
Bethany Jacobs was the anchor woman for Channel Eight News. She sat next to Bob during the newscasts. He had his pick of the big stories and left the rest to Bethany.
“Becca, you know I can't do that,” Bob said in an equally low voice.
“Bullshit,” she said sweetly and smiled. “I know what your contract says. You schedule. You appoint. It's your call.” Her breasts pressed more firmly against his shoulder. “Come on, Bob. I'm good. I can do it. You know I can,” Rebecca pleaded. Her hand came up and rested lightly on his upper arm. Her perfume was subtle but intoxicating.
“Bethany will go ballistic,” Bob whispered.
“So, what,” Rebecca said.
“We have a …. A sort of,” Bob started.
“I know. It's not like it's a secret.” Her hand stroked his bicep. “I would do anything you want, Bob,” she said. The weight of her breasts against his shoulder suddenly seemed to increase tenfold. “I mean anything,” she said leaning closer and whispering in his ear. Her lips brushed his ear.
“Are we talking about the same thing,” Bob asked, his voice low. His eyes scanned the room looking to make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.
“I’ve got a few minutes... I'm sure your dressing room is empty. Let me show you what I'm talking about. I think we're on the same page,” Rebecca whispered. And this time her lips not only brushed against his ear they seemed planted there.
“I... I can't right now,” Bob said.
“Can't stand up,” she asked with a musical little laugh.
“Something like that,” Bob agreed.
“I'll meet you there... I'll let myself in,” She asked?
Bob nodded. The weight of her breasts was instantly gone, but the sound of her voice and the scent of her perfume were in his head. 'Boy was Bethany going to be pissed off,' he thought. But Tad Edwards, the station manager, had already dropped hints to him about seeing Rebecca work more, and a few other hints about how he thought Bethany was not aging well, meaning to Tad she was past her prime at twenty-seven and he thought it was time for a fresh face. A younger face. Rebecca was all of twenty, and she was... He made himself stop thinking about her. He had to, or else, he told himself, he'd never be able to get up.
'Man, oh Man was Bethany ever going to be pissed off,' he told himself again.
Paul lay in Jane's bed. He had left early this morning on the pretext of having to go over the paperwork for the year end audit, and that was partly true, but the real truth was that they had been getting less and less time together and he had simply needed to be with her.
“We have got to go,” Jane said from beside him.
“I know,” Paul told her. Her body was pressed to his own, one of his arms holding her to him. He didn't let go. She felt so good. She reached over and bit his chest softly.
“Ow,” Paul said... “Okay... Oh all right... Maybe tonight? I could say I'm working late.”
“I can't... You know I've got classes... Tomorrow?” She countered.
He smiled “That will work.” His hand slipped down and rubbed across her buttocks, squeezing gently and then, reluctantly, he let her go.
She held him a second longer and then kissed him before she rolled away. “I love you,” she said.
“I love you to,” he said automatically. “I'll go first?” He headed for the shower and a few minutes later he was merging into traffic on I 65 and heading towards the Airport Road exit.
He and Janey had been an item for about a year. Paul Blevins didn't really think about it as cheating on his wife Peggy any longer. He was pretty sure she was pursuing her own interests anyway. It just was.
He didn't think too hard about the love aspect of the relationship either. Sure, he told her he loved her, and he did. She had a perfect body, and he loved it. And her attitude was great, he loved that too. And, she was completely devoted to him, how could he not love that? But the other kind of love? The kind that made you cry. Made your heart ache? No. He had loved Peggy like that at one time. He loved his daughter Deidre like that. She could probably get anything at all out of him. But she didn't abuse it. She was a pretty good kid most of the time. Not out running around getting involved in all of the bad stuff that kids her age got involved in. He had no real concerns or worries about her. All of his real love. The kind that could hurt him anyway was reserved for her. She had never abused it and Paul didn't think she ever would or could for that matter.
He and Peggy had fallen apart a few years before and there seemed to be no way to fix it. Janey was pushing lately for them to be together. Her little boy, Lincoln, who was just two years old, already thought of Paul as his father. And Paul supposed that eventually he and Janey would probably be together.
Deidre had about six months of school left and then she would be off to college. Local if he had his way, New York if Peggy's father had his way. And there was not too much that Peggy's father did not get his way on. Money did talk and he had a lot of it.
Either way there was no reason to stay after Deidre was gone. There would be nothing there. It would feel too weird sleeping in the same bed, keeping up the charade. For what? For whom? They really only kept up the pretense now for Deidre's sake. If she was gone, what would be the point?
There would be no point, he told himself. Janey would most likely get her way... Sooner rather than later.
The radio played low as he drove, and he listened as he watched traffic. Nothing much new. A tropical depression building off the coast of Africa. A big One. One that bore watching the weatherman said. Maybe it would be something, Paul thought, but he doubted it. They almost always slipped off and shot up the coast or veered off and hit Louisiana or Texas. Most likely this one would too.
He came to a near dead stop in a long line of cars making their way onto Airport Road. Janey would be along in another thirty minutes or so. With Peggy's fathers' money it wasn't a good idea to make themselves an easy target. On the surface Peggy might not seem to care, but Paul suspected she had to be thinking about the future too. Six months from now was the future. Or the end of their future. Six months from now, divorce most likely, and he didn't mean to make it easy for her. So, they were careful. Never leaving at the same times. Not being seen together.
The only reason he had stuck it out these last few years was Deidre. He wanted no custody dispute that she would be dragged into. No loss of seeing her. Peggy and her father's money could make him look bad. Take her away. That would kill him. And he knew it. She knew how much it would hurt him, which is exactly why she would do it. For Spite. For payback. Women were like that. Women whose fathers had deep pockets were even more like that, he thought. He had no doubt that had he pulled the plug a few years ago she would have made sure he never saw Deidre again until she was old enough to make her own decisions. But then Peggy may have poisoned her mind completely.
He could do without Peggy, Jane too, but not Deidre. So here he was, day after day. Six months to go and it would all be over. He inched forward through the traffic trying to clear his mind as he went.
The audit. Now there was a sobering thought. Janey really was helping with the audit. He had bought her in. It was a mess. There were real problems there. Problems that would take Janey to fix if he could convince her to do it for him. She was helping. Going through the mounds of paperwork. She was smart, she would see it. He would let it be her own idea. He hoped it would be her own idea. He pushed the thoughts away.
The line of cars suddenly poured onto Airport Road, and he sped up just making it out and merging into the middle lane at the expense of a blaring horn and a pissed off driver of a beverage delivery truck who had not wanted to let him in. He made the left lane finally, signaled at the light and cut across the feeder road and then into the restaurant parking lot.
A few cars, and, for the second time in as many weeks a moving van was parked in the lot. Companies did that all of the time, but he could not remember if there was a moving company nearby with that name. Peggy was what he was thinking of. Peggy and her father’s deep pockets. Her father’s money that could hire a private detective to follow him. To poke around. Six months, he reminded himself as he parked, got out and walked to the restaurant. She could do as she pleased with Daddies money after that.
He whistled as he walked to the door, unlocked it, and stepped inside the restaurant.
Dave Plasko shot the ball under his knee and across to Steve Minor. They had tried letting Darren Reed, who was part of their little group, play but he was too slow mentally to keep up. It confused him and then it panicked him, and once he was panicked, he might do anything. Best to let him watch from the sidelines as he was now.
Steve caught the ball, faked left then nearly walked himself to the right, put the ball up, and it barely kissed the rim as it went through.
“That's it. You dudes are done,” Dave said.
“Another one?” Light said. “One more?”
“Got to work, Light,” Dave said. “Outside clearance. Can't fuck that up. We'll play when I'm back this afternoon.”
“Now, how is it you three white boys got that all sewn up,” Light asked?
“Hmm... We're white? … It's Alabama? How the fuck should I know. This is your fucked up state not mine, Light. You know we ain't on that shit.” Dave told him.
Light bounced the ball across the small basketball court that was just off the main prison yard, and into the Recreation box on the other side.
“Yeah. If you could only play that fuckin' well all of the time...” Dave joked.
“I do, New York. You motherfuckers just cheat too Goddamn much,” Light laughed.
The yard gate opened and Jack Johnson, an overweight correction officer stepped in and looked around the yard. “What the fuck, Plasko,” he asked when his eyes fell on him. “You and your girlfriends ready to go to work or not? I ain't got all goddamned day you know.”
“Later,” Plasko told Light. They touched fists. “On our way, Mister Johnson,” he called out. He looked to Darren and Steve and the three of them headed across the rec yard to the gate.
I hope you enjoyed the preview.
Have a great holiday, I'll be back next week...