Preamble Ramble

Photo Jun 23, 8 55 58 PM

Sobriety is varying states of unrest.

Some weeks, I’m bubbling over, some weeks — I’m tapped.

I pull up the chair to sit at this table. I open my computer. And, I stare at the screen — into all your faces.

I’m processing this story. Always.

Every week I feel like I’m in a dark room where the photos just soak forever. Nothing develops. But, still, I want to tell you everything.

There are a lot of these Goddamned pictures. So many stories. And, the plot can go a lot of ways while you’re waiting for things to come into focus. Stories get restless and start to write themselves. There are an estimated five billion hopeful story lines going full tilt right now. Some intersect, and some, escape, wild, out on their own. And, many of them, I can tell you with absolute certainty — hopeful or not — won’t end well. It’s funny, my best moments, my best stories in sobriety are the ones where I don’t feel sober at all. Right now — I’m running on fumes.

We all get high on stuff. Sometimes it’s legal, sometimes it not. I’m not sure what I’m high on this week. Fear. Excitement. Sadness. Loss. Epic confusion. I’m riding the wave and there aren’t too many cohesive thoughts. But, I’m enjoying being lost in this emotional blur which is decidedly better than just — being lost.

I stop here, every week, and disclose the state of my union, or, should I say, the non-state of my disarray. I like to stare into your computer eyes and let you know things. Like — I’m coming up on some cord cutting, and, I need to test the waters before I start hacking. There are still secrets that I have to keep from you. Maybe I’m high on that.

But, I can tell you this — I have plans for a little summer series. Stories. True stories. Portland stories. Expect those in the coming weeks.

Cord-cutting-cathartic-cross-bearing-down-on-this-12-bridge-city stories. Love. Love stories. Love that lived and died. In a bottle. In a pipe. In a needle. In a heart. In a city. — This city.

So, tune in next week.

Summer’s heating up.

(Photo: Allison Webber; )

To Everything, There Is A Season


In an act of seasonal defiance — I bought a can of pumpkin purée.

I need to feel, no, — to literally ingest — something that has not arrived yet. The Fall.

In the cradle of my mind, Autumn peeks in through the cracked door, checking on me, the colicky babe of Summer. And, even though the temperatures still soar here in Portland, my bones can tell — change is coming. It’s more than just the seasons. Something is afoot. Students return to the college campus. A warm spice is in the air. I fight the urge to pull the covers up to my chin in the 90 degree heat. More than feeling this shift — I welcome it. If we’re going to be brutally honest, and — I am — I wish this year would just fucking end.

So yes, please, bring on the hay rides, family gatherings, and pie scented candles. I find myself searching for the fast forward button. My mother informs me that next year, by the law of averages, things are bound to start looking up. For the coming New Year — No resolutions. No reflections. Nothing sentimental. Just a clean white page where I can write this story: The year when all good things happened.

It has been suggested that I take my life one day at a time. And, feel free to call me a future-tripper, but, these days, I need something that’s in a higher echelon than “Just For Today.” I find myself wondering — Will I ever know the comfort of “Always”? The older I get, the more my long-legged idealism seems like a cruel joke.

The mere thought of 2015 has real sparkle, even standing here, at the edge of Summer. This year, once full of promise and hope, has become the penny lost under the couch. Once, it shone bright and new, like I had just popped it out from the bank’s tight, paper sleeve. Now, it sits on the dresser, caked with dust, the bronze tarnished to a sickly green.

My expectations fail me, again. And, I realize that I need to do away with all my big plans. Plans are useless. Don’t make them. Give them up and trade them in for something better — something real. In the words of the Book of Ecclesiastes, immortalized in Americana by Pete Seeger and then The Byrds: “A time to cast away stones. A time to gather stones together.” So, which will it be today?

I put down my pencil and stare at the ceiling before going back to the drawing board. No more rewrites. No more revisions. I want a new story.

The ceiling turns red as sun bleeds through the scarlet bed sheet that has served as my curtain for the past year. This is the time. The trees, about to shed their leaves, will stand bare in the cold and rain. Then, with the wisdom of all their years, their roots winding through dirt, sucking up water — they will grow new foliage. A brighter shade of green. Death makes way for rebirth. Me, the trees — we both know it’s coming, even now, in Summer’s twilight. We are ready to let our dead things fall to the ground.

To everything, there is a season.

So, I patiently await this season’s close. Though, I must admit, I find sweet satisfaction in the sweat that beads off my brow as I sit down to my breakfast on this hot, Summer morning.

Pumpkin Oatmeal.

Stay saucy,