Category Archives: Author Notes

i’m still not sure how I met Elle Michael River

My editor is a better writer than me. i am OK with that.

I am not sure, exactly, how we met, but like one or two other people I have stumbled upon during this writing journey – Shari Stauch is another – I am deeply grateful and a little in awe.

She scared me when I realized she was going to review my work. Elle gave me a better review than I deserved. It is astounding to me – how I get to work with people of this caliber.

This is an except from Elle’s blog.

FOR I HAVE SINNED

By Elle Michael River

When Jesus walked into the nuthouse, I knew things were going to get interesting. Our savior wore a gray t-shirt, ripped jeans, and a pair of orange, converse sneakers. An angry red sore oozed over his fat, brown lips, and he had the tell-tale bruising of a black eye almost healed. He was smiling. I guess he knew something we didn’t. He bounced up and down on the balls of his feet and hummed what sounded a bit like Jingle Bells.

No one else paid Jesus much attention. It was close to lunchtime, and meals were a serious business in the nuthouse. I was bringing up the caboose of unit B2’s lunch line, picking at my overgrown nails, when the singing began.

“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almiiighty!”

Jesus’ crisp tenor pierced through discussions of Connect Four triumphs and whether there would be pie. Everyone stopped short at his sudden serenade. Silence. Here was our savior, smiling at us, his teeth a rancid, smoker’s yellow.

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Praise ye the Looord!”

Jesus wasn’t a very good singer.

Pete let out a bark of laughter and turned his crooked smile to Jo and me.

“Wow, this one’s even better than Crazy Katie! Someone screwed up downstairs,” he said. He rolled his eyes in that Pete way.

A stiff, brunette woman wearing nurse’s white came by with her clipboard and began to count us off by twos for lunch. A line of dark lipstick had smeared beyond the left of her smile. I couldn’t stop staring at it. She called my number – forty, the last in line – and I shuffled forward, sucking at my lips. She gave me a weird look, but I cast my gaze to the ground. I didn’t like being last. My favorite number was nine, but I wasn’t always fast enough to count eight places and wedge myself in. It was easier to be number forty.

Jesus was all but forgotten during our meal. Hunger has a way of taking over your brain until all the mashed potatoes are gone. Pete, Jo, and I always sat together at lunch. We weren’t really crazy, not like the others. The doctors couldn’t keep us for long when they had actual psychos like Katie to deal with. The three of us stuck together because it was important to have allies in the nuthouse.

Crazy’s contagious, you know?

(Please click link to continue on to Elle’s site and to read more)

http://ellemichaelriver.com/2017/09/11/for-i-have-sinned/

A Pirate looks past 60, with apologies to Jimmy Buffett

Now we have the radical left who are no better than the radical right. It feels as if the entire country has lost its mooring.

We are adrift.

This is not who we are, what we are. There is and always has been racism – on all sides. I’ve been the only white guy in the room, not a comfortable situation; no more or less than being the only black guy in a room. But, we have always been able to put on the back burner and survive, when the shit hit the fan.

I know a man who can and does spew the vilest racist comments, but yet when the chips are down shows his true colors. I’ve seen this same guy risk his own life to save a non-English speaking Hispanic guy from a car fire. It showed me his racism is, or was, only on the surface, not who this guy is. It was his mouth, not his heart.

I fear it’s gone deeper in us now.

The right wing’s hate and anger that a black man had the audacity to be elected president and effectively lead for eight years has spilled out from the gut and now defines a substantial percentage of who we are.

Are we going to allow a handful of cowards who fear “them Uppity Niggers” define us a nation?

By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever used that word in a post. It is an ugly, yet powerful word. I wish people who use it freely would ponder its weight. Just think, step back from the anger and think.

We all own this. We have to.

I don’t think you will ever educate Klan members, Neo-Nazis. I’ve been in fights with the Klan, they are gutless cowards. They feed off each other. Their power is fragile. Giving them attention gives them power. The media gives them power, the White House gives them power. Ignore them and they will not go away, but they will diminish and weaken. They will go back into their holes.

The left is no better. Sinking to the same level as the right and the KKK. The radical left is nothing more than another disenfranchised collection of cowards. Again, the attention feeds them and their actions justify the radical rights actions.

I struggle with this. There is nothing I’d rather do that bust open the skull of a Klan member with a pipe.

That makes me no better than them.

We need calm level-headed leadership, not trump, not Hillary, not the mess we call congress. Instead, we have black armbands in the street.

We are seeing in this country now a direct result of the failure of leadership. We have been accepting the unacceptable for too long. There is a cancer eating this country alive. I’ve watched it come unglued since the ’70’s.

We used to have, at the very least, respectable leadership. What happened, why? How did we get to a place where we accept – AND DEFEND – the unacceptable.

We have the highest number of prisoners, per capita, of any nation in the world. A for-profit prison system. We have a government that is now encouraging – boldly – the militarization of local police departments. We have radicalized hate groups in the streets. We have men like Joe Arpaio endorsed by the occupant of the White House. That same occupant of the White House publicly endorses police violence. We have a Supreme Court that says corporations and people and they can dump as much cash as they want to spend to buy all the politicians they want to buy. We have a congress with an 11% approval rating and they still get elected…

We have a government so gutless that it stands back and watches it unfold… just lets it all be, as if these things are acceptable and normal.

We have got to do better. I’m not sure we are capable of coming back from this ledge. For the first time in my life I’m thinking of leaving, seriously thinking of leaving, abandoning my home and going somewhere else. Another shore to sit and watch it burn. I know some will say, “Good, go.” To them, I say, “God bless yer ‘merica”.

A recent conversation with a sane and somber conservative friend. We discussed the most effective gun for protection and hunting. He said the .12 ga. Shotgun hands down. As I sat looking at them, considering the life and death power; what they mean to me.  Thinking back to the reason I gave up my guns years ago, I had to ask myself, “is it really that bad?”

Sadly, I think it is. I’m curious to observe, will I buy the gun or pack it in.

 

#williamlobb #resign

Writing

 

 

People tell me I’m a good writer. That’s a stretch. I’m sure they are referring to the final product. That, to me, is a great honor. It is hard to describe the feeling when someone says good things about my work. It is more than a quick stroke of the ego. The positive feedback touches something very deep inside me. As does the criticism – always deserved – and IS the side of the writing process that leads to actual growth.

I am equally grateful for the criticism or the praise. It takes some work to appreciate criticism. Learning to say “he/she is right” and start over is tough, but it makes you a better writer. Suck it up, buttercup.

All that said, you people are nuts. Continue reading Writing

Old Glory, Faded Glory, Ragged Glory

I’ve seen a lot of American flags strapped to pickups trucks lately. I see them at night, I see them in the rain, I see them touching the lumber and garbage in the back of the trucks; beer cans and coffee cups and bags that I assume are destined for the local landfill, or the side of some back road. I see them flown, on pickup trucks, alongside Confederate flags.

I’ve never been much of a flag waver. I was raised around men who took the flag and what it stood for very seriously. They took patriotism – not nationalism – very seriously. Guys who were in fights like the Battle of the Bulge and Pearl Harbor in WWII – I actually had two uncles at Pearl Harbor – and some who saw some really heavy, terrifying things in Vietnam. Some got medals. Some threw those medals away. Continue reading Old Glory, Faded Glory, Ragged Glory

Fausto’s first blog post.

I cant type real good. I’m a cat. You get that, right? Be impressed I can type at all. I aint got opposable thumbs fer starters. Typing is hard.

My slave’s name is Mr. Lump, cause he makes a lump on the bed when I’m trying to nap.

He is freaked out of his mind about this trump feller. Somebody hide Lump’s phone before his head explodes. i think it wud make a hell of a mess.

I fear two things: no fud and vegibles. I hate vegibles.

If Lump’s heads explodes i might not have any fud. Then id be nervous. His hed didnt explode yet, so im good. but its close.

If you have fud and no vegibles I think you shud relax.

vacuum cleaners scare me. unless you are being chased by a vacuum cleaner you shud relax too. ive been chased by vacuum cleaners. – thanks Lump, you annoying bastard – i aint never been chased by no Kim Jung Un. He’s pretty chubby. I cant imagine he’s a real gud chaser.

you shud relax.

Tell Mr. Lump tu relax twoo

I’m takin over the bloggin. im hoping Mr. Lump will relax. its gettin annoying listening to him bitchin and bloggin and twittin all day.

Just say no to twitin Mr. Lump

 

 

 

I think I enjoyed it

 
 
The realization that all of your actions speak louder than your plans and desires. 
 
That  shaky moral code that says you never strike a woman or children or old people and animals. Anyone else is fair game and has been fair game. 
 
A time in your life where you could not eat meat of any kind, for moral reasons, but busting open a guys skull on the sidewalk was acceptable

Continue reading I think I enjoyed it

From the New – Still Untitled Mess

He turned and looked at me and said, “These machines, this equipment was built by a good man, good men who went to work at seven in the morning every day and brought their sandwiches in bags and on weekends they played baseball and drank beer and they took their families on picnics on Sundays. When they died people went to their funerals and genuinely wept because men like this would be missed in a community, the community was somehow diminished by the passing of men like these. They built things that were good and strong. These old machines are their legacy. They still work and do the job they were designed to do long after these men have passed. We will never be men like this, we will never understand men like this. We are another type of men. There is no good in men like us. Sometimes I come out to this barn just to be alone with this equipment and try to understand what it must’ve been like to be the man who built such things. To be a good man. A simple and good man.”

Then he looked over at me and said, “What will our legacy be, nephew?”

With that he turned toward the barn door, stopping to wait for me as I let his words sink in.

As I joined Unk he continued, “We live in a world without walls to contain us or boundaries. But, we come to learn we cannot trust anyone. Allegiances and allies change, seemingly by the minute. Your right hand, the guy you always trusted, you end up putting a plug in him because he fucked you over. Life happens, keep moving.

We lose touch with who we were, we lose our life before this. Every day in the life pushes us farther and farther away. We lose the simple things. We lose right and wrong, they are ever changing. Right and wrong are simply a result of circumstance. A condition of the now.

This Ain’t No Bike Race, Either

This administration reminds me of a failed bike race. Anyone who competes in any sport will understand. Falling behind is all in your mind, but it’s very real. Once you fall behind, you lose your edge, you start riding the other guy’s race. He dictates the pace, he controls the climbs, he controls your breathing. You find yourself falling behind and resenting everything. You start resenting breathing the same air as that jerk in front of you.

You might hang on, but the race is gone. It’s no longer fun. You start to take it out on yourself, your too old, too fat, too stupid. The list is endless. Continue reading This Ain’t No Bike Race, Either