Chasing Sleep, and Reflections on Time Travel

Time is a strange thing, isn’t it?  especially our perception of it.  Five minutes can seem like an eternity, waiting for a bus or train in the wrong weather.  Several hours in good company goes by in a flash.  A day can seem like a year, and yet an entire decade passes in no time, at all.

Time was that beard was dark, with red highlights from my Scottish Gran’Da’s side of the family; back in the day, I had hair down to my kidneys, and once upon a time, not so long ago, I didn’t need to shave my head, I just did it for efficiency’s sake.  Then once upon another time, I grew it back in, and discovered how much of the field had gone fallow.

The worst is just how our perception of time gets, as we get older.  Weeks were once an eternity; a year used to be a long time…an entire decade seemed incredibly long; until the decades behind started to outnumber those ahead.

Now, time seems to grow shorter; my children growing up so goddamned fast I cry for yesterday when I was cradling them to sleep in my arms.

And I’m astonished, at their young age, how much wiser they are than I ever was – sometimes wiser than I am now – and how compassionate and passionate they already are about life.

I pray to a god I don’t believe in that nothing happens to them in their long decades ahead – especially those painful, formative early two or three – to break their spirit, to break their drive to be themselves, to be unafraid, and to be ALIVE, in the truest sense of the word that the young deserve, so that they can enter adulthood at peace and ready to change, conquer or renew their world.

God knows I spent too much time when I was young feeling sorry for myself; picked the wrong people as friends more than once, but picked the right onces more often.  But whether the best of friends or the worst of them, the times were always good, better than I remember, except for how wrapped up I was because of untreated depression, anxiety, and the ongoing physical and mental abuse my father inflicted on me.

By the time I was finally able to get a handle on myself and my life, I was almost thirty; after too many bad relationships had for the wrong reasons over too little time, I wound up meeting someone who finally made everything feel right…and in time, we were married…and we had eight, nine good years…out of a thirteen-year marriage.

And we have great kids, together; in their eyes, I see the future unbridled, and I can remember that feeling.  The sun is still rising on their future; I’m already into the early evening of mine.

How did it go by so fast?

Why didn’t I appreciate what I had more?

Why didn’t I do more to be happy, instead of resenting those around me who were?

After I finally got my shit together, how the fuck did I lose it, when I had so much to live for, so much reason to feel joy?

Who am I now?

Where am I now?

Is this it?  Is this all there is?

I swear, I’ve tried so hard for all this time…why does every happy memory I have of every person I’ve ever known have an equal number of bad memories I’ve had with, or because of either myself, or them?  Why aren’t I looking back with nostalgic romance?  Why is it all I see are the scars and craters left in my wake?

Will my children still love me when they realize I’m nothing like the man they think I am?

Will anyone ever desire me again?

Will anyone ever enjoy my company, again?

How long before I’m forgotten?  How long before I’m dead, before I truly am completely alone?

Will anything I’ve ever done, or tried to do, will anything I’ve ever said or written  be remembered by or matter to anyone?

Will my expressions of friendship, affection, love, counsel, support, and encouragement even  matter, weighed against my inflictions of disdain, venom, rage, contempt, hatred, cruelty or jealousy?

Do I have time enough to atone?  Time enough to balance out the red in my ledger?  Do I have time left to actually feel ALIVE, again, or is this constant sense of regret all that’s left to me?

How much time have I already wasted, and how much more will be added to the ledgers of times I regret?

Seven Years of Writing Fifty Years of Life

I finished the Galley review; it’s back with the publisher and editor now…I hadn’t realized how much of the last seven years of writing, rewriting, revising and editing I’d spent bleeding all over the pages…I’ve done a million passes…this is the first one where I read about myself, in it.

I’m emotionally exhausted – BEYOND having just turned 50 while drinking and getting stoned alone.

This book was inspired by nightmares that I had during a time in my life where every day was a struggle, where I was just trying to cope with the loss of my marriage, no longer being part of my ex’s extended family, and the restrictions imposed on my ability to see the kids, back then, because of the emotional crisis I was going through.

The story I found hidden among those vivid dreams, all of which were turned into scenes of horror in the story, became They Came in Peace; that’s something I can never forget.

What I can’t understand is how, without ever inserting myself in the story in any way, so much of my blood poured out, into the pages I wrote.

I’ve been working on the final pass through book since the end of April, when my publisher emailed me the Galley.  The further into May I got, the more I immersed myself into the work.

I spent more and more time on it as I took some time off after an assignment, more and more hours each day.

It was only on Saturday, my birthday, that it dawned on me just how personal the story in They Came in Peace is to me; the characters’ circumstances are incredibly different from my own…but there are shards of myself in each of them.

Saturday, I did a lot of thinking, too.  I realized that I have too much red in my ledger.

Some people are gone from my life, and I’d never want them back.  Others are just people I remember fondly, whom I feel I may have mistreated; people who I want to have a good life.  But most are people I miss dearly, but hold out no hope of reuniting with.

I’m not a Good Man; I disabused myself of that illusion a long time ago.  I’ve been alive for fifty years; not all of them good.  I’ve made mistakes, and it’s time I did something about that.

I bear the chains I forged In life

I was a cruel and selfish being.  Almost always wrongly blaming others, rather than damn myself.

But for a very, very small few, who had crept into my childhood, none of those whom I have rebuked or damned for my own sins deserve such condemnation.

I damn myself, and those lone, opportunistic voices, one who has already been cast back to Hell, who corrupted me.

No one else who has Known me, least of all my children and their mother, deserve what sickening monster I was.

I can never atone…never be granted pardon…but I can keep my children from following my dark path.

To everyone else, In my own sick, selfish and twisted way, I tried to love you, to care about you the best I could.

But I was – and likely still am – too corrupted by the poisons inflicted on me.

I only hope I didn’t leave you in misery…and that you remember me more kindly than I remember myself.


They tell us not to compare ourselves to others; that the economy of the past died thanks to 40 years of conservative economic policy and voodoo economics.

They tell us not to compare ourselves to our peers – even though these are the people who usually make up our core social dynamic.

Most of all, they tell us to let go of the Past.

But it’s hard not to compare myself to my father…who at 50 had a house, two cars, three kids and a wife who stayed with him until he died – whether he deserved any of it, or not.

Most of the people I used to know have homes or cars, and families…their lives more active and seemingly fulfilling than my own.  And when I used to work in auto financing, I would watch as kids half my fucking age put twenty grand down of fucking high-end luxury cars I could never dream of driving.

I’ve spent my entire life pursuing one single dream…to write, to be read, to create a fantastic and engrossing, successful story.  Along the way my life has been ruined by a chain of events that I can trace back to a single day in 2011…and I would give everything I have now just to go back and stop it from happening, because I might still then be happily married, and a regular father to my beautiful children.

But, I fucked up my life badly enough that didn’t happen.

I chose to not date anymore after my marriage fell apart; the idea of being that close to another human being, to breaking someone else’s heart, alienating someone else that I’ve invested the emotional energy into loving…

…no more.

As to friends?  The last of my so-called “friends” deserted me years ago; all of them bailing because they just couldn’t deal with the emotional crisis my divorce compounded with a cancer scare and being allowed to see my children only sporadically…people that I loved like brothers and sisters…people I loved more than myself…called me toxic instead of helping me clear the poison out of my system.

Today, the first day of my sixth decade on this planet, I can’t help but reflect on the fact that I live in a literal rat-hole apartment, surviving of subsistance wages, and that I am completely alone.  The last person I’d ever allow back into my life was vain enough to believe my last screed was about them, and that they could take advantage of my vulnerability for their own gain once more…and the people whom I truly believe loved me have been driven so far away from me as to not even be able to care…

Today, I’m less than 150 pages from finishing my review of the galley for They Came in Peace, a book I’ve been working on, writing and struggling with for nearly seven years.

Writing this book is about the only thing that’s kept me alive as one by one, people have left my life – the worst, most gutting blow the death of my mother last year.

It looks like it’s getting both a limited trade paperback run and an ebook rollout, but as I reread the words one last time…I realize just how much of my grief and anguish has bled onto these pages, despite it being just another highly stylistic sci-fi parable.

I’m almost finished working on the galley before it goes to press.  After that, I will truly be alone for the first time in years.

As to the past?  It stretches on far longer than my future, and in the past, I knew things I don’t know now; namely joy, companionship, and love.  If I let go of my past, I let go to the only things that make me Human.  I have let go of the people, but the past is a place of consolation and torment, and sometimes, the only escape I have.  To let go of it would be to let go of my own future.