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The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender [SEQ. 15 – END]

The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores perception and reality. Below is our final segment. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

To read part 5, click here.

To read part 6, click here.

To read part 7, click here.

To read part 8, click here.

To read part 9, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

26I stumble, change falls out of my pocket and a lightning bolt destroys a small building. It punches a hole through the rooftop and kills a baby. It is an accident but I don’t feel bad. Their brains are so simple they don’t really understand pain. 27Studies suggest that their receptors are able to recognize simple stimuli such as something called “fear” and pain of the base physical kind but no further. 28Perhaps the child will be born as new life in a better scenario. 29I understand that sloths have it nice this time of year. 30The bombs are launched and I watch them sail across my skies, penetrating my clouds like flaming flesh rockets. 31The bombs are driven by intention and I watch as a group of individuals gather in the desert and press their thoughts to steer the missiles through the sky. 32They almost had it. They almost had it all. They could have had peace but instead they chose war. 33They make boundaries and labels. They separate themselves and create hierarchy. 34Each of them wants to be better than the other. 35They are always trying to be superior to their neighbor and they become so consumed with it that they lose their very lives. 36The entire purpose for their existence is lost to their greed. 37They have passed all the way through the chain of life and have each been given their opportunity at humanity and they blew it. They each had a chance to live on the final level selflessly and to give of themselves and to enjoy each moment. 38That’s all they had to do for a simple one hundred human years and then they would transcend this realm and begin to accumulate form on the next plateau. 39But they messed it all up. Again. Always. Every time. 40I desperately want to see my people succeed. 41I am so lonely. I want a friend. I want company. I want them to speak to me. I want them to love me. Why do they ignore me? 42This plateau is so quiet. When will they find me? When will they encounter me? 43They have trapped me in this box, calling me names. Calling me god or God or GOD. 44They call me SHE and they try to label me and put words in my mouth and intentions on my heart. 45I am not SHE. 46I am sexless. I am not bound by simple human sexuality. Male / Female are a weakness given to them in order to breed and it has been evolved pleasurably because nobody would do it otherwise. 47Their belief has placed me into a box and their understanding of me is disgustingly limited. 48They pray to me and ask for cars when they have cars while their neighbor starves and dies. 49They pray for justice when they mean revenge. 50Their cruel hearts are deep with black worm rot and their eyes are empty pools. 51They desire every darkness. 52They care not who is hurt or what the cost. 53They will keep improper change at the store. They hit their children for hitting while telling them not to hit. They trap animals in giant facilities and skin them while still alive. They make the animals live in tiny cages in things called Slaughter Houses and they treat them like a piece of plastic that has not been endowed with life. 54Where I have given life, I have given respect. 55And this sickens me. They believe they are special because they are smarter. 56They believe that the animals have been placed here for their enjoyment no matter the expense. 57They believe they should be allowed to manipulate, confine and destroy resources and herds. 58They believe that they can breed life for the purpose of death. 59Their teeth chomp on rotten flesh and they ignore their fruits and vegetables. 60They become obsessed with greasy bacon and forget about my apples. 61They grow fat and they grow obese and part of the world dies from being over weight while the other half starves and begs for help. 62How do you not see that what you are doing is wrong? How do you look at a hurting person and walk away? How do you ignore a hurting human being? 63They are like you. They are exactly like you. They are nearly photocopies of you. Look at your DNA. 64You will find that you are nearly clones. 65I bang my formless head against a formless wall and struggle with my mistake. What have I done? 66How have you turned so quickly to evil? How have you turned so quickly inside? 67You are living your life, pulling objects towards you instead of pushing everything out. 68If everyone pushed out, they would each be hit with kindness from every angle. 69If one starts. If one single person starts, it always begins a reaction. 70They don’t understand their power. They don’t understand the energy. They don’t understand how they’re connected. 71Connected through me, with my spirit, my being, my energy. 72They have access to it all because they are me. 73We work in flawless unity but they have to tap into it. They’ve almost got it figured out. 74But it’s too late now. Maybe the next time. Maybe the next race. Maybe the next revolution of evolution. 75For now we’ll start back at the beginning. But it will have to be somewhere else. Somewhere far away. 76The Greator will have to orchestrate another elaborate Cosmic Explosion. 77The Humanlings have acted so selfishly that they’ve destroyed every trace of life itself. 78They have not destroyed a piece of land or an area or a region. They have not destroyed a culture or a people. They have not destroyed a hemisphere. 79They have destroyed Life Itself, reverting everything to abyss. 80All trees, all hamsters, all vines, all flamingoes, all people, all grass, all ants, all microbes and amoebas. Virus, vaccines and vericuse veins. Air is gone. Matter is gone. Mars, Mercury and Venus (Earth names) have all been gobbled up by the exo-implosion caused by their thoughtless, thought driven cell bomb. 81It’s all gone. 82If no one is around to experience space, is there space to experience? 83Does existence exist if no one may touch it with their consciousness? 84And if no one is there to believe in me? 85My heart pumps with the belief of the little ones. With them gone, so am I.

 

 

 

 

[SEQ. XVI] 1A whisper.

 

 

 

 

Shh.

 

 

 

 

Listen.

 

 

 

 

[SEQ. XVII] 1I can feel it working its way into my heart like a warm fire. 2I grow brighter. I reach out. Of course. I was so obtuse. I never looked higher. I never looked beyond. I, like the Humanlings, was too busy looking in and down. I was pushing everything inside instead of outside. 3The greys buzz past in their plasmatic vessel and the consciousness that is my entity attaches to the ship and finds a home. 4I work my way through the navigational bio-computers and glide with it through the BLACK. 5There is absolute darkness Outside. 6The small grey creatures are nothing like the humans. They seem to understand one another through feelings rather than through simplistic grunts. 7Everything on Earth seems so primitive compared to these. 8There is a peace here that I’ve always hoped to exist. That I’ve known could exist. 9I feel a tickle. A prayer. 10A grey that is a bsipo – it takes three greys to make a child; a pleon, a bsipo and a mitigular. 11They are not to be thought of as male / female and they, in fact, are enamored and interested that it only takes two humans to reproduce. 12They’ve been studying the humans for a long time and can’t understand how a normal social structure works with only two in charge. 13How do the parents vote? In a three way relationship, it is always easy to see which way is best for the group. Arguably some of the largest countries on their home planet, on their base plateau, work (or worked, since it is now a memory only of extraterrestrial life) under democracy and yet their personal relationships often operated as singular tyrannies. 14The bsipo sends its thoughts to me and I capture them. A prayer. 15The bsipo wants to be placed with a new pleon and mitigular. The pleon and mitigular have both agreed that the bsipo is not an accurate fit for their family and would like to replace it. 16The bsipo, understandably, is devastated. 17I nurture the thought and circle it and smile upon it. 18I’ve found you, little creature. I’ve found you. Your Controller has found you and I shall answer your prayer. 19But first you must do something for me. Fall to your knees and praise me. Throw your hands in the air and cry my name. Give me strength. Scream from your oozing guts. Weep for me. Take these new partners. And blessed be. 20No. We can have a new start here. Not blessed be. You have been blessed. Give blessings back. It is your duty. No. Too authoritarian. They’ll contort it again. They’ll twist it and ruin it. They’ll manipulate my words and try to apply a value to their work. 21They always want gold stars. They always want approval. Why won’t they just do it to do it? Why won’t they just help? Why are they always wrong like burnt cookies? I can shape them. I can fix them. 22Instead I tell the bsipo, I have helped you because you were in need. It’s still wrong. They will still think that helping only applies from me to them. They don’t want to engage with one another. 23The pleon and the mitigular approach the orphaned bsipo and embrace it in a hug. 24They have welcomed their partner back. 25An orgy ensues but not the way in which you, the reader, understands it. There is no filth and perversion in the act. It is not a social scar. This is their circle of love. It’s embracing. 26Their hands pressed together, their inner beings bond together. Their heads are thrown back and chem-trails that bridge their bodies between cells meld their fourth eyes into a single sight and they are each swimming in the pools of the others subconscious. 27They are delighting in the pure thoughts and forgiveness of one another. 28They dip their heads under the liquid dream and drink deeply. They spin and caress and levitate and merge. 29Their bodies become one and then three. 30The process itself is called Spiraling Trinity and is, as near as I can make out, recreational sex that transcends form. 31The three come back to their bodies and their inner eyes sleep while their outer eyes stare into one another in a triangle of vision. A six dimensional puzzle. Their blue hands intertwine. Their skin has changed color. 32The door swings open and a child stands with mouth open. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’ve seen you blue,” she transposes to them through the tele-functory process of pro-standard communications. 33“It is alright. It is natural. It is an accident. There is no need to be embarrassed. Please shut the door and we will see you at dinner.” 34The child smiles and I see another child in its mouth. 35Like a plant, the creatures grow one from another. 36They don’t reproduce. They produce and the Spiral Trinity is not for rebirth but only for transcending form together. 37In the other room, the child slides a pill into a crevice on the side of her body. Little stubby tentacles gobble it up and absorb it. Green goo begins to drip from the orifice and the face of the child goes limp. 38The child has found the pleon’s Force T substances. Force T stands for Forced Trinity and it acts as a recreational drug that replicates a slightly dumbed down version of the Spiral Trinity. 39The child falls to its knees and opens all four eyes, inside and out. Ears go pert. Inhale. Touch my face. Rub my face. Thoughts spiral. Goodbye. I see my body. Kneeling. Crying. Falling. Breaking. Goodbye. I lift up. 40Trapped in the corner of my room. No. It’s okay. I’m still lifting. My spirit separates from my mind. 41I am experiencing the effects of the Force T. I am experiencing the perspective of the child. I am trapped in both the child’s reality and my own. 42The child feels its / our life throb. 43It slows. It speeds. It pops. The body goes limp and the face hits the floor and the orifice in its side pukes and yellow vomit and pink chunks of meat cascade onto the nice carpet. 44As is traditional with grey deaths, the head collapses and a hog sized scarab crawls out. Black and green. 45It shimmies for the nursery of the ship and disappears. 46The child stands in front of me, our consciousnesses pressed against one another. 47The child is a mitigular but always felt that it was a pleon. 48The ple looks me over and feels me out. Me. I am All. I am Everything. Beginning and End. Outside of Time. 49The ple tells me that The Greator has sent it and that I am to blink out. 50But what will happen to me? THESE THINGS ARE NOT MY CONCERN. YOU HAVE BEEN FAR TOO HAPHAZARD WITH YOUR PEOPLE AND YOU WILL NOT CRUSH OURS. I HAVE BEEN CALLED AS AMBASSADOR TO THE GREATOR TO DELIVER THIS MESSAGE. 51But you died. 52I DIED TO SAVE MY PEOPLE. I DIED TO STOP YOU FROM RUINING US AND SPOILING US WITH YOUR ATTEMPTED GOODNESS. 53On the ship the three greys enter and stare at the body of their beloved child. Human sadness is not a part of the brain that the greys have. 54They acknowledge that their race has suffered a great loss and that their community has suffered a great defeat. They pull in the last few traces of the child and understand that what happened was necessary. 55“May we all stay safe from religion,” the adult ple speaks plainly. 56They don’t want me here. 57NO, THEY DO NOT WANT YOU HERE. BLINK OUT. 58Blink Out? But that means oblivion. 59YOU HAVE SUFFERED THROUGH OBLIVIONS BEFORE. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT AWAITS ABOVE US AND WE ARE ALL ON OUR OWN PATH TO THE GREATOR. BLINK OUT. GIVE UP YOUR SEAT AND PROCEED ACCORDINGLY. ALL GOOD COMES FROM THE GREATOR. 60Thank you for showing me love and kindness. Thank you for being benevolent. It is more than I deserve. I know that now. AND OFTEN TIMES TOO LATE. JUST LIKE YOUR HUMANLINGS. 61Ah! I am no better! I am no better! I am a fool! I deserve this! 62IT IS NOT ABOUT DESERVING. IT IS ABOUT RECEIVING. AND NOW IT IS YOUR TIME TO RECEIVE. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BLINK OUT BUT YOU CAN’T STAY HERE. 63Yeah, another Earth song. I loved them so much. I know I did rough with them. I know I loved them too hard sometimes. I know the floods and the fires were tough but they had to know. I did my best. I tried my best. I wanted them to love me. I just wanted them to love me. Some of them truly did. I made some of them. And I scared some of them. But some of them loved me dearly. And thanked me. And regarded me with awe. 64The undercurrent pulls me down and I am absorbed through a vortex. [SEQ. XVIII] 1Atom to atom, bounding across subatomic particles, I travel through worlds, around nebulas and beyond the cosmos. I transcend both space and time as I pass through swatches of color and joyful energy and symmetrical lines and shapes and numbers – ah, the sweetness of seven, you are beautiful – rotating and radiating in the space between, which is all space always. 2My collective consciousness, which is many lives and many perspectives on many realms all merge with the others that have come before us and that will come after us. 3After our journey, we all come to rest upon the shores of Pale Lavender in the womb. I see the glittering eggs of fertility. The cradle of life. The beautiful velvety warmth of The Greator. The Nameless. The Ageless. The Ever Present Always. 4I cannot gaze on the face of This Thing That Has No Name. It speaks and I weep. I am reduced to regret and remorse and I am being boiled alive and it is delicious. I fall to the velvety flesh of butter and I rejoice in being home. In finally being home. In finding the goodness in all that is good. And finding the absolute harmony of existence. 5The tones of peace and celebration throb gently as I am lifted and embraced and told that I did good. I did good. I am good. I roll over onto my belly and my stomach gets rubbed. I love The Master so and The Master loves me and our love makes the Spiral Trinity look like elbow macaroni glued onto paper. 6Streamers glaze before my eyes and my walls crumble and disappear. Nothing contains me. The sad three-dimensional world from which I have traveled, that world which contains pain and grief is vanishing from my reserves. I am not me. I am part of The Greator. The expansion engulfs the juice of glory and always and forever and now. 7I am this. Always at home, outside of time, with my darling, The Greator, Pale Lavender. [END SEQ.]

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THE SPIRALING CORNUCOPIA OF PALE LAVENDER [SEQ. 14 – 15]

The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores perception and reality. Below is part 8. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

To read part 5, click here.

To read part 6, click here.

To read part 7, click here.

To read part 8, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

[SEQ. XIV] 1Now I’m making waffles. 2I am thirty years old and I have short hair and a good smile. My muscles feel good and my confidence is strong. 3The kitchen is wide open and there are pots and pans hanging from little hooks. It looks nice. 4My wife is a thin brunette who usually wears white shirts and black yoga pants. She doesn’t teach yoga but she’s thought about it. 5She’s a vegetarian who thinks vegans are pious. I don’t really like her. But I love my daughter. 6And right now my daughter is sitting at the kitchen table and she’s dressed up like a princess for no special occasion. She wears a pink dress with a crown on her head and a scepter in her hand. And now that I’m actually looking at the costume and giving it more than just a passing glance, I think she might be dressed as a kind of fairy princess instead and not just a regular, run of the mill, earth bound human princess. Boring. 7I lift up the waffle iron and see that the waffle is burnt to an absolute black crisp. “Okay, baby! Guess what we’ve got here?” “Smells like it’s burning. Did you burn my waffles again?” 8“I sure did. I know just how you like em! Black with a little bit of whipped cream.” 9“Ebony and irony,” she sing-songs jokingly. 10I love her and I’m thinking about packing her up one night and leaving her mom. 11It might work but the horuscribe tells me it’s a mistake. 12The horuscribe is a small creature, three feet tall, that lingers in the ceiling corner of all rooms that I enter. 13Its body is very narrow and has always reminded me of a carrot – thick at top and tapered out at the bottom. 14It wears a black robe and a white mask. The white mask looks like a deer skull with black make-up applied to it. 15The black make-up highlights certain areas like spots on a dog. 16Sometimes, however, I wonder if the deer mask is not a mask at all but rather just its face. 17The horuscribe has eyeballs – two in the front of its face in the same place that I do. 18It has long black and white fingers that also look like bone. 19It watches me. It simply watches me. 20On the morning of my 26th birthday, it was the first daybreak of the second Knuckled Moon, I woke up and my wife told me, “Happy Birthday. I’m pregnant.” And it was that same morning that I first saw the horuscribe. 21My wife has never seen it. Nobody has ever seen it. 22When I use the bathroom, it is there. 23When I am intimate with my wife, it is there. 24In my car, it is there. It is everywhere. 25It was there when I opened my eyes. And now its there whether my eyes are open or not and I can’t get rid of it. 26Everywhere I go, there it is. 27I’ve tried to touch it but nothing happens. My hand passes through it but there is a sense of captivity when I do. 28It watches me and sometimes it points at me but I don’t know what it means. 29It is always in the room that I’m in and it is always there when I leave and it is always in the next room before I enter. 30It is never positioned in such a way wherein I can see if it exists in two places at once. 31One time I was watching a late night science documentary and it was talking about how, in quantum physics, a singular atom can exist in two places at once and move in two different directions at the same time. 32There’s nothing I can do with this information because I am not a quantum physicist but I found it interesting albeit useless. 33At first I had a very difficult time coming to terms with its presence but now I find it kind of comforting. 34I’ve gotten used to it. 35And then one day I walked into my house after a long day of work and I found that the creature was sitting atop my daughters head, propped on top of her scalp like a vulture. 36It seemed to be in a state of subdued ecstasy – a kind of waking coma. 37“Meghan?” I asked and her hand lifts in the air and she smiles. “Hey, dad! How was your day at work?” 38She is full of joy and she seems like herself but it is not her. 39This creature is puppeteering her being. 40The creature was controlling her like a puppet, drawing her arms and legs like marionette strings, creating mock emotions that felt genuine but were imposters. 41Has it not been observing me? Has it been observing her? What has it stolen from me? 42All things my daughter does, no matter how genuine they seem, are now only reflections of real emotions. 43When I tell her I love her, she responds and the worst part is that she thinks she means it but she doesn’t. 44When she goes to school, she studies hard for good grades and she really does try but really it is the horuscribe trying and succeeding and I want to be proud of her because she doesn’t understand the difference but I do. I understand. I see through her. 45Perhaps this horuscribe is her true self? 46Is my daughter a projection of this oddity? 47Is the horuscribe a projection of a projection? 48Do I have a horuscribe attached to me that I cannot see? 49Do I think I am making my own decisions while only being a puppet myself? 50Has my daughter been living with her own visions of a creature attached to me, understanding that I am not her father at all? 51If my daughter feels emotions and thinks they’re real, even if they are being manufactured by the sentient thoughts of another, does that negate them? 52When does self-awareness stop or start being self-awareness? 53My world is false. My world is a projection. My world is transparent. 54My daughter is here but she is not real. 55My daughter is this creature. This creature is my daughter. 56My daughter is just a body. Just a sock filled with meat that is being propelled through an entity no one can see except myself. 57My wife speaks to me. I listen. My wife speaks to Meghan. She listens. 58She answers. She smiles. She waves. She jokes. She eats. She poops. She vomits. 59She is my Meghan. 60And then one day the creature speaks to me. Speaks to me for the very first time. And it says to me, in a voice that sounds like a phone sex operator at a PTA meeting, ‘The Sky is Falling.” 61And I feel the sentence with each of its capital letters. 62I feel the hard importance and the factuality of this statement. 63I look up and the sky cracks open and begins to crumble like rocks. 64Large boulders of celestial matter crumble and fall to the earth in slow motion. 65Their ragged edges rip holes in the fabric of existence. Sheets peel down from the sky, of the sky, like billboards in a hurricane. Earth. The Greatest advertisement. 66We are knocked out of orbit and our planet tears through the cosmos. 67I lift off the ground and my back slams into an apple tree in our front yard. 68I feel my spine snap and my legs disappear but it’s okay because I can fly. 69The soil and the sky switch spots and the earth tears apart like a loaf of bread. 70 “You can save her,” the creature whispers to me. “You can save your daughter from this fate but you have to do it now.” 71“Do what? Save her from what? What is happening?” 72I desperately want to save my daughter and I desperately want to make a decision but I don’t know the rules. I don’t know the logic. I don’t have the information readily available to make a smart move. 73Can I even trust this thing? 74 “You must choose now, Richard.” “What is happening?” “Everything is falling apart. The pants of existence are getting unzipped. You knew it would be your generation. You always knew. And now here it is and you weren’t ready. There goes your house.” 75I turn my head and I see my house tip over like a two dimensional slice of cheese and then it vanishes. 76The world suddenly looks flat and strange although I think it has always looked like this? Do I have new eyes? A new brain? Where am I? [SEQ. XV] 1I look down and see that I have neither body nor eyes. I am not breathing. 2I am embedded into the actual fabric of time. 3I am a moment. 4My eyes perceive all at once. 5Asia is my hand and Europe is my fist and North America is my toe. 6I feel the people walking on me and planting in me and digging in me. 7The pressure of the cities are great, like tumors. The gray masses grow and grow until it destroys my life cells. 8And then the people crumble. 9They always crumble. They always come and go. They rise and they fall. 10They destroy one another. 11This time it will be with cellular weapons. 12The land will become polluted by their toxicity and then I will heal. 13I always heal. 14Until my mother Sun eats me alive, I will grow, the chosen princess of Miss Universe. 15The Greator chose me to bear life and to hold the secrets. 16I reach deep into my core and I find fire and I squeeze it tight inside me and I feel it drizzle out of my holes like burning shit. 17People scream for their lives from my red-hot diarrhea and I destroy their villages and burn their cultures in my frantic filth. 18Ash cakes the sky and thousands choke to death. 19They should have known better. 20They should have asked me not to do it. 21The cities will be next. If only I could reach them somehow. 22They are destroying me and eating away at my simple perfections and flawless ecosystems. 23They are recreating a photoshopped copy of life and it disgusts me. 24Bow to me, you fucking Humanlings! You stand atop me! You eat my grain! You eat my vegetables! You eat my fruit! I give you water. I give you trees and oxygen! I bore you. I gave you life. I nurtured you in my womb that you call the atmosphere. You are my children. Bow to me and respect me. Worship me. Tell me that you love me. Show me your appreciation. Tell me that I am beautiful. Fall to my feet, you pitiful worms or eat from the dumpster of my asshole. 24I flex my unbreakable abs and a tsunami rushes over the coastal communities and I laugh as they drown and I watch their miserable little bodies float through the streets. 25Let the buildings save you now. Let your silly paper money bandage your wounds.

 

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The Spiral Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is winding down to its next Monday.

Lifestyle pieces go up every Wednesday. Stay tuned.

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Discovering Rainbows: When your children turn to memories

Sometimes, when we speak to children, specifically those under the age of 3, we find that there is something of a communication barrier.

Sometimes it’s because the words they use contain different meanings than the words we use. For example, when my children say “yesterday” they don’t mean “the day directly previous to today.” Instead they mean “any period of time that came before my last sleep.”

Dinosaurs were yesterday.

Sometimes Rory says that I’m being a bully. But he doesn’t mean “someone that pushes smaller people around” he means… well, he actually means exactly that but the heart of the matter is quite different. He doesn’t like being disciplined. So when I give him a time-out for hitting his sisters, I am, effectively, being a bully.

And then there are times where things are not understood because they are taken out of context.

One day I’m at a friend’s house and Rory turns to one of the girls there and says, “My dad says that we should eat blood.”

And then all eyes slowly shift towards me and I smile sheepishly and stupidly because, well, yes. Actually, as a matter of fact, I did say that.

But my context… was a little different.

Jade and I had recently visited Ireland where they have black pudding. Black pudding is made by taking animal blood, mixing it with oats and spices, forming them into patties and then frying them. Ultimately they look and taste a little like breakfast sausages. So I was telling the kids about this. I was telling them about the time daddy ate blood. And I was telling them that people do this. And I was telling them that they could do it as well.

So yes, I was telling them that they could eat blood.

Conversations and words are strange things because ultimately, words are just empty containers – empty cups – and each of us gets to choose what we’re going to fill them with. Knucklehead can be aggressive or endearing. It’s just an empty cup until I fill it with intent.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Sometimes, however, we can’t understand children of that age because, well, we just literally can’t understand them. Their lips and tongues and brains aren’t quite functioning at full capacity yet. Their words sound mushy and drunk.

Like today when Bryce said, “Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

I hear these words escape her mouth and they’re said with such conviction that I’m certain they mean something. Certainly she’s saying something. For Bryce it seems that she has full intent but no cup and her words, rather than being neatly contained, are just splashing all over the place.

And so we try to interpret.

“Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

I’m sitting in a chair reading a book when she says this. I’m in the other room. There’s a wall separating us and my location in space has my back positioned to her. Ironically, you’ll just love this, my book is about finding happiness in the minutia of life. So it makes sense that, reading this book, I turn my head a quarter of an inch in my daughter’s direction and I say, “Oh, yeah. Neat. Okay,” and then go back to reading.

Rather than finding joy in my daughter, who is discovering and interacting with the exciting world around her – rather than connecting with a human, a child that came from me, no less – I choose to bury myself further in my own thoughts.

Because that’s what kind of person I am, I guess.

Because actions do speak louder than words.

Because even if we say, “I’m not like that,” our actions show us who we are. It’s so funny how, more often than not, our thoughts and our actions do not align. Our thoughts speak to ourselves (no one else can hear them) and our actions speak to others. So if we think one thing but do another, it creates a rift in our reality. We begin to think that we are someone that we are not. Or, worse yet, the world thinks we are one way while we think we are another.

There grows a haunting disconnect between that which we think we are and that which we actually are.

If I think I am the guy that gets up and engages with my children but when my children speak out to me, I pay them lip service in order to make them go away so that I can indulge in whatever it is I’m doing… who am I?

I give her just the absolute most minimal attention possible to hopefully satiate whatever want she has in this moment. Because I’m sure it’s nothing.

And then Bryce says, a little more enthusiastically, ““Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

“Nice. Nice. Yes. Yes. That’s very wonderful, isn’t it?” Look! I’m paying attention to you, Bryce! I’m giving you words.

I am giving Bryce empty cups. My words are cups but I have filled them with no intent at all. She is asking to be fed with attention and I’m just pushing empty plates at her.

“Nice. Nice. Yes. Yes. That’s very wonderful, isn’t it?” Whatever, whatever. Please leave me be. I’m reading a book. You are a babbling child who is almost certainly making a mess out of chocolate cereal at my dining room table. What do I have to say to appease you?

Or… what do I have to say to silence you?

Or… best yet… what do I have to say to make you go away?

Because you are bothering me and I want to be left alone.

What are we really saying when we say the words we are saying.

Sometimes I don’t understand what my daughter says because she’s three.

Sometimes I’m thankful my daughter can’t fully understand what I’m saying because she’s only three. Thank you, Bryce, for not understanding that I’m pushing you off.

Daddy. Darezah aimbow in our-owse.”

Alright. So this problem is not going away. I’m actually going to have to engage. I shut my book and I set it down and I stand up and I walk around the corner and I see Bryce sitting at the table with, wouldn’t you know it, a mess of chocolate cereal in front of her. Wonderful. Guess whose cleaning that up?

“What is it, Little Ohm?” This is a character from a movie I saw once and for some reason I started administering the name to Bryce.

“Look. Darezah aimbow,” and she points. And I look. And I see nothing. I see nothing and I just think to myself, of course.

“What are you saying?”

“Darezah aimbow. Dare.”

“There’s a rainbow?”

“Yah.”

“In our house?”

“Yah.”

Where is this rainbow?”

“Dare.” She points. I still see nothing.

I sit down next to her at the table. I lower myself several feet. I squint. I lower myself further. I try to relax my eyes. Still nothing.

“Are you a freaking psychic medium?”

“Yah. Dare.”

I squat down lower. I bring my eyes to her level. I tilt my head like hers. And I follow her finger and I see… a rainbow.

In our house.

And it is a simple thing. But it is also a beautiful thing.

“There is a rainbow. Look at that.” I sit in silence and stare at the thing for a moment. “It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yah. Vewy pwetty.”

“Yes. It is vewy pwetty, isn’t it?” And then the two of us just sit and watch it. We just… enjoy it together. Like a piece of art in a gallery. We just sit and watch the rainbow, the silence periodically broken by the sound of dry, crunching cereal next to me.

“I wuv you, Daddy.”

It’s out of nowhere. Out of the blue. It has no greater purpose. No shadow intent. She isn’t trying to get something out of me. She isn’t trying to do anything. It is a cup that is filled with cold and refreshing water. The perfect amount. At the perfect time.

Where do I fit in this picture? How did I help create a being like this? They arrive here perfect and then we just start to slowly mess them up.

“May I have a hug, Bruce?”

“Oh, yes. Yes, Daddy.”

She puts down her spoon, delicately and intentionally balancing it inside the bowl, steps forward and hugs me. And she holds it. And she squeezes. And I can feel her smiling. When she pulls back she gives me a kiss on the cheek and says, “I love you, Daddy.”

Oh, it’s funny what a little perspective will do to your life. It’s funny that if we stop looking at things the way we see them and start looking at them the way someone else sees them, we actually get to experience life in a richer capacity.

If we open our ears and hearts to others, we get to see the world in a multitude of ways.

We can be both here and there. We can see things as adults. We can see things as children. And if we join together and sit down, we can somehow see the world as both. It’s like the 3-D glasses. You get to see through two lenses at once. And everything pops. Everything is brighter. More intense. More saturated.

I glance back at the rainbow and see that it’s fading – almost a gray color now. And I think about how fleeting all things are. The sun, nearly 100 thousand miles away, cast its light in just this way, to reflect just perfectly through that window, that someone built in that way. All of that coupled with my daughter standing in this room at this time (making a mess from her chocolate cereal), facing the proper direction as she was the exact height at this time of her life to see this miniature spectrum.

And she saw it in this tiny little window of time where it was available to her. Just a few moments in the late afternoon.

This special thing happened.

And then it was gone.

And we couldn’t get it back. So hopefully we enjoyed it.

“You want some cereal, Daddy?”

I nod. “Yes, please.” And she feeds me one small piece of chocolate cereal at a time. She drops a marshmallow on the floor, says, “Oops,” and then picks it up. It’s now covered in dust and hair. She balances it back on the spoon and says, “Here.”

I reach out, dust it off and bite.

The rainbow in our house is gone.

And then the cereal was gone.

And then Bryce left the table.

And then years passed.

And then Bryce left the house.

And then it was just me sitting in a chair with a book, remembering the time that I got to share a rainbow with her. Hoping that I enjoyed it.

Because this memory is all I have left.

 

 

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THE CAVE: Getting lost in the darkness of a failing marriage

“You’ve been married for eleven years?” someone asks me.

“Yeah. Eleven years. It’s a long time. We’ve been together for fifteen.”

What? Did you get married when you were twelve? How old are you? You’ve been married fifteen years? What’s that like?”

I suspect that they anticipate me to tell them that marriage is beautiful and wonderful and that I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.

But I don’t.

Instead I tell them the truth.

“What’s it like? It’s, uh… Marriage is like this dark cave. And when you get married you both go into the cave together. You take hands and you step into the darkness. That’s the unknown – this new part of life. You walk next to each other for a while and then one day your hands get sweaty and so you let go of each other but it’s all good because you can still hear them next to you. You’re still talking and you know that they’re there. It’s dark. It’s black. But you know they’re next to you.

And then one day you’ve talked about everything and so you get kind of quiet and you decide that just spending time in one another’s company is enough. And so you just keep walking in the dark, next to each other, in silence. And it’s okay because you know that they’re still there. You can still hear their footsteps.

And then one day you ask them a question. And you get no response. And you realize that they are gone. You realize that you’ve gotten separated. You’ve drifted apart. And you are alone. And somewhere, they are alone as well.

You call out to them. You shout their name and you get no response. And so you go looking for them because you know that they’re there… somewhere. You know that somewhere in this cave they’re wandering around. They’re doing their thing and you’re doing yours.

You call for them and in the distance you hear them. And you keep shouting and you keep calling and you keep walking and you try to get back to them.

And you hope that you find them.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Some people are walking in the cave and they’re like, ‘I’m done walking in the dark with you.’ And those people turn around and they walk back towards the light. Sometimes they walk back towards the light and out of the cave together. And sometimes they do it alone.

And sometimes that’s okay.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

One day you wake up and you’re thinking, ‘This is not the person that I married. This is not the person that was standing next to me at the altar.’ And, if you’re self-aware enough you may realize that you are also not the same person that was standing at the altar and that your spouse is experiencing you in an entirely new way.

You’ve both changed. You’re both completely different people. And then you wonder if you can keep making it work. Because those other versions could do it… but you’re not sure these new versions are a fit.

How do you put together a puzzle when the pieces keep changing shape?

Now drop kids into the mix. Oh, shit. Things are getting complicated.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

You have a dream of having a career. A specific career. And so you educate yourself in that field. Maybe you go to college. Maybe you go to a tech school. Maybe you read books and watch YouTube videos. However you prepare for it, it is, at its core, a preparation. An education of self.

So then you get that job and then the industry changes – new technologies or practices emerge. So your boss sends you to receive additional training. You learn new ways to process information. You learn new techniques. The career field changes and so you must adjust.

So we apply hours and weeks and sometimes even years and sometimes even decades of preparation to a job (say hello, doctors!) and yet, when we discuss marriage, when we prepare to live with another person full time and make life changing decisions with them… we… do… nothing…

The church that married Jade and I encouraged us to take three 30-minute classes.

90 minutes of training for the task at hand is not enough.

I’ve been married for just over a decade and the training I’ve received on-the-job has not been nearly enough.

But marriage is not like a job. You just get thrown in first day with no idea what you’re doing and nobody encourages serious training. Nobody tells you to re-educate yourselves after five years or ten years. Nobody tells you that your marriage career is going to change and you’re going to have to make it work or get fired. And if you suggest education – if you suggest marriage counseling you get this taboo sense that something is wrong with you.

You know that feeling I’m talking about. That unspoken weirdness that everyone thinks but does not speak. This idea that is perpetrated in our culture that marriage counseling is for the weak and broken and… my personal favorite…

If you have to go to marriage counseling you weren’t meant to be.

Because if you have to ask for help it is because you are stupid. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that everyone else knows how to do this? Don’t you know that it comes easily and naturally to everyone else? Marriage is simple and straight-forward and if you need advice it is because the pieces do not work together and there is no hope anyways. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that it’s better to live miserable little lives than it is to seek counsel? Don’t you know that?

What if we applied that logic to other areas of our lives? Son, if you need to ask a question in class, you probably just aren’t smart enough to begin with.

If you need to look at the recipe for how to make chili, you probably weren’t made for chili. Sorry. It’s delicious but you don’t get any. Shoo-shoo, Oliver Twist.

Listen. Seeking education does not make you stupid or wrong. Seeking education makes you self-aware. Education and intellect craft a stronger individual, crafts a stronger family, crafts a stronger culture, crafts a stronger world.

Do not allow the uninformed to inform your thinking.

Do not be engaged and dissuaded by a society that has a 50% failure rate in marriage.

Set your own rules. Live by your own standards.

Education is not a swear word.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I’m broken.

That’s a fact.

I’ve got a bunch of baggage that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I’ve got baggage about my family. I’ve got baggage about my parents. I’ve got baggage about my faith. I’ve got baggage about my body. I’ve got baggage about my personality. I’ve got baggage about my grades and my IQ and my creative abilities. I’ve got pride issues. I’ve got insecurity issues.

And my wife gets to adopt them.

And I get to adopt all of her bullshit.

And then we have to figure that stuff out together.

We say things we don’t mean. We do things we know we shouldn’t. We raise our voices and we walk away from conversations and sometimes we hurt each other with nothing more than our intent.

Thank GOD people have not heard some of the stuff I’ve said to my wife in the heat of an argument. Shit has come out of my mouth that I think about today and cringe. I have said things to her for no other reason than to hurt her. And that speaks to who I am (or hopefully was) as a person, at my core. At the time I would have said it was her fault. It’s her fault for being a specific way and I was just bringing it all to light and if it hurt her it’s because it was true.

These are the words and thoughts of someone that is selfish and arrogant.

The vows tell us that we’re going to be together through sickness and health, for better or worse but what they don’t tell us is that it’s sometimes going to feel like you’re dragging along a dead marriage, fighting uphill to make it work. They don’t tell you that there will be periods of time – not just days and weeks but entire months – that drag on through the gray drizzle of time and you’ll wonder just what is wrong with your spouse because it’s not you. It’s not you. It’s never you. It’s always them. Making mistakes.

“I’m trying. You’re not.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Getting married is like a light to all of your shortcomings as a human being. Your spouse will illuminate all the problem areas. It’s painful and it’s terrible and it hurts to look at yourself and see all the flaws. And it’s just so much easier to turn your face to one side and not look at that pile of problems that create you, as a person, and it’s so much easier to deflect blame to the other.

It is so much easier to look at someone’s shortcomings and it is so much easier to nurture resentment for a million little things and a handful of big things.

It is so much easier to judge others.

And it is simple to judge our spouse.

And so you choose.

Those three thirty minute classes didn’t prepare us for cancer at 26. They didn’t prepare us for lay-offs. They didn’t prepare us for invitro-fertilization. They didn’t prepare us for twins. They didn’t prepare us for a miscarriage. They didn’t prepare us for the day-in-day-out minutia of life and they didn’t prepare us for the fact that Jade likes things done a certain way and I like things done a certain way and those ways typically are not the same but are, more often than not, quite opposite.

Those classes didn’t prepare us for anything.

I wish I could say that everyday Jade and I choose to hang onto each other in the darkness of the cave but the reality is that we don’t.

Sometimes we are cold and calculating.

And sometimes we are terrible.

And cruel.

But we try.

We choose.

We choose to continue to stumble blindly through the dark, seeking each other.

And sometimes we choose to talk about walking back into the light. Sometimes we talk about what a divorce looks like.

And sometimes we have fun together and we find each other and we remember why we do this. We remember why the search is worth it.

We remember that we love each other and that our family is amazing and that we’re very lucky and it is only our own selfish shortcomings that are destroying us and we realize that if we can choose to be better people, we can choose to be the best for each other.

And when our spouse shines a light on our problem areas – our selfishness, our arrogance, our pride – we can choose to get angry that someone noticed our darkness… or we can thank them for being close enough to us to point out our flaws. And then we fix them together.

“But, man…” I conclude. “Marriage is really hard.”

The guy across the table looks at me. I notice he doesn’t have a ring on his hand. I wonder if he’s thinking about proposing.

“But it’s also amazing. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful and I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.”

 

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THE SPIRALING CORNUCOPIA OF PALE LAVENDER [SEQ. 6 – 7]

 The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores faith and reality. Below is part 5. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

68Tell me, what color would you say my shirt is?” “Red.” “I really don’t mean to be rude – it truly isn’t my intent – but I must say that your view of things is fascinating. I wish I could see life through your eyes for a singular human day. I bet it would give me quite an appreciation for my own problems.” 69“What color is your shirt? What do you see?” “Even if I told you the word, you wouldn’t understand it. 70Your eyes and, by proximity, your brain, lack the ability to even think about this color.” 71“Tell me what it’s called. I want to hear it.” “You want to hear me say a word that you can’t understand just for the sake of your ears hearing my sing-song voice?” 72“Yes. I want to hear the color that I can’t understand.” 73“But you won’t understand it. It’s meaning is entirely lost on you.” “I want to hear it.” 74“No. I won’t say it because the exercise lacks any true merit. Your simple curiosity is not enough to elevate the purpose into action.” 75“If your people –” “They do not belong to me. They are not mine.” 75v2“If the race of individuals of which you are, lack simple curiosity, what drives you forward? How did you invent this world?” “We invented it through study and hard work. And we did both of those things because we understood that it would be for the greater good of the survival of the species. Our thinking is based upon what you would call merit. Our merit is much deeper and selfless than what you think of it as but the heart of the matter is as close as we can get to understanding one another. We believe that curiosity is for simple-minded creatures that get themselves killed. Curiosity often times leads to death. 76Why did your Pandora open the box?” “She is not mine. Pandora does not belong to me.” 76v2“You see, now you’re understanding. But the story belongs to your race.” “Yes. She opened it up and all the trouble came out.” “Of course, and if she had wanted to destroy the world, this would have been a very wise thing to do. 77She could have done the same thing with a more pure intent and gotten greater results. 78But instead she was controlled by something as simple as curiosity and the unexpected and unwanted happened. 79The unexpected and unwanted do not happen here. We set our lives in a direction and that is the direction they go.” 80I step away from the painting and look at the sad and hopeless and happy cows and I tell the doctor that I want to meet the painter and he says, “Yes. Now you are thinking properly and clearly. What will you ask him?” and I say that I want to ask him what is in the lighthouse.” “Very good. You are learning again. You are learning it all over again. And much better than last time. 81I will reach to the painter for you. And then I feel a vibration pulse through my body and I know, deep inside, that it is the transition of purest thought, being cast through the ship or building or world or wherever I am. 82Everyone receives the same thought at once. As the thought bubble spreads from this central ripple, everyone in every room receives the same gentle request. Painter [I cannot experience his true name] to this area [I cannot experience the name of the room]. There is a human here that wants to inquire about the contents of your creation. The human is inconsequential and the priority is very low. If you are in the middle of something, please finish. This is no rush at all. Thank you for your attention and I look forward to sharing time with you. 83And then the feeling is gone and then the room unzips and a small man steps through the fabric of reality and washes it away behind him. “How do you do that?” I ask but both men ignore me. 84The doctor looks at me with his black eyes and sharp teeth and looks at the painter, who looks like Kurt Cobain, although I can’t remember why Kurt Cobain was important or what he did. 85The doctor says, “You may remove your vanities. There is no purpose for it here,” but the painter says, “I am not yet ready to speak his tongue in my birth form. Although I have been practicing, I still find the practice clunky and unnatural.” 86“Of course. Human, what would you like to ask The Painter?” 87The Painter turns towards me and I see that his right hand is missing along with three fingers on his left hand, retaining only his pinky and thumb. 88“Are the cows hopeless or happy?” 89The Painter approaches the painting and gazes at it. “I think this one is content but this one looks as though he has a stomach ache.” I say, “Do you not know how you painted them?” and he says, 90“I only made them. I do not control them. In this moment they appear to be upset but perhaps they will one day change their outlook.” 91“What is in the lighthouse?” The Painter gets very close to the picture, almost nose to nose, and tries to squint. I say, “The mouse hole is not inviting to humans.” And he says, “Did you try this?” and I say, “Yes,” and then both the painter and the doctor begin to laugh. 92The doctor’s laugh sounds like a bird choking. 93The Painter says, “Let’s go there.” “Inside the painting?” “Well, yes and no. First, it is a painting but as I’m sure the doctor has explained to you, it is not a painting in the same way that you understand paintings to be. 94The word and art and meaning are lost in translation.” 95“Did you paint this?” “Yes.” “Then it is a painting.” 96“Your brain only contains three parts and it is very obvious when you think out loud like that.” 97I have been chastised and I feel humiliated. 98“I painted this but I didn’t use paints and I didn’t use a paintbrush. I created it. I breathed it into existence with my imaginings. I placed it there, not on a canvas, but in time and space. I brought it forward into existence. There was nothing and now there is something and I did that. Do you understand? I did that.” 99“These cows… they are… real?” “Real? Are you real, little human?” “Yes, of course I am. I’m here, aren’t I?” and then both of them start laughing again. 100That choking bird sound makes me uneasy. “Oh, yes. Little Human. You are real. You are here. We can see you with our eyeballs and so you must be standing here with us.” 101I want to leave but I have nowhere to go. “Come, Little Human, let’s go see this painting. You should cover your eyes so you don’t get sick.” 102I lift my palms to my face, blacking out my vision. The Painter blows on the back of my hands but then I realize it is the wind and he says, [SEQ. VII] 1“My breath is the wind here.” 2I smell the ocean and grass and I hear a cow and when I lower my hands I see that we have arrived. 3“We’re in the painting.” “No. We are not inside the painting. This exists on a separate plateau. 4Time, in the chronological sense, moves much slower here. The painting is not a painting at all. It’s more of a slow motion telescope. You can glance through and see what it happening. 5The portal is left open as a kind of art.” 6“You can watch people?” “We could if we so chose but it is used more for appreciation and less for observation.” 6“But what is the merit in that?” “The merit of appreciation? 7All good stems from the thankfulness of a gift. 8You might understand it more of a living photograph. Or live television.” 9I say, “You mean a security camera?” and The Painter smiles and says, “Always feeling suspicious of others. Always seeing the worst in them. 10There are controls on the painting that allow us to navigate through both space and time. I believe The Doctor fancies the lighthouse and what it evokes in his patients and so he leaves it there. But with a few simple sliders we can be looking at a different part of the world, or rather, a different part of this world. 11It is a moment depicted within a frame and, given enough time, that image will change as time progresses. But it will move too slowly for us to watch. It will be years and years – years is your word, not ours – until that cow even lifts his foot for the next step.” 12“Can you make it go backwards?” “Ah, quite astute of you. Yes. Time is the fourth dimension, a dimension which you are below and which I am above. We – myself and others like me – can view all aspects of time as simply as you would twirl a cube.” 13We reach the lighthouse and outside I see a man with no arms sitting in the dirt. He looks at me and asks if I can help him. Asks if I can give him anything. Anything at all. Food or water or money and I tell him that I’m sorry but I don’t have anything. 14The Man smiles at me and then closes his eyes and tries to drift back to sleep. 15The Painter holds open the door of the lighthouse and we step inside to find a wide room made of dark brick. 16I tell The Painter that I did not notice the beggar when I looked at the picture in The Doctor’s office. He says, “Most don’t.” 17In the center of the room there is a table and on the table there is a small lantern and by the lantern there is a piece of paper and an old fashioned quill and some spilled ink and in the ink there are some dead bugs. 18I pick up the paper but can’t read anything on it – the spilled ink has blotted everything out and has dripped onto the floor. My eyes follow the ink down and I see that the legs of the table are very intricate and ornate. 19In the corner of the room is a red curtain. I walk towards the red curtain and pull it back. 20Behind the curtain I see stairs that lead up and stairs that lead down. When I turn around, The Painter is standing right next to me. 21“Which way?” I ask and he says that it depends where I want to go. 22Do I want to see what’s at the top of the lighthouse or do I want to see what’s in the basement? 23I slip past the red curtain, letting it fall behind me, and begin taking steps up the spiraling stairs. 24“How high is it?” and The Painter asks, “How high is what?” and I say, “The top,” and The Painter says, “Why do you wish to know?” and I say, “Just –” and I catch myself but not before the word slips out, “-curious.” 25Yes, I am curious. I want to know how far it is to the top but for what purpose? Why does it matter how many steps stand between the top and myself? Will I not climb them if he tells me that there are too many? I am goal oriented. My goal is to reach the top. The quantifiable number does not matter to the goal. 26My curiosity is a moot point. 27I tell the Painter, “Never mind. I don’t care.” And he says, “Do care. This world is the only one you have. And I say, 28“I don’t believe that. We just came from another world,” and he says, “Yes, but this, now, this moment, is currently your whole world. And 29in this moment you get to choose everything. 30In this moment you could choose to continue walking or you could choose to turn around. 31You could choose to walk to the ocean or find that man outside some food. 32It is all the same. We are all the same. 33Because we were in a very different place, does not mean that we were not connected to this place. 34Because your toes are far from your eyes, it does not mean that the two are disconnected. 35We are all part of one great body, no matter who we are, what we are or where we are. 36That step is part of you.” We reach a door at the top that is made of heavy wood and banded iron. On the door is a gargoyle head with a pierced nose. 37The gargoyle token is not evil. It is simply a crafted rock, carrying no malevolent will itself. The token acts as police tape. 38Caution wanderer. Stay back. This ground is strange and dangerous. 39I lift up my hand to knock but The Painter stops me. “Go inside.” “Just walk in?” “He already knows that we’re here.” 40And that is when I received part of my answer. Who is in the lighthouse? HE. 41I open the door and, although the room is full of windows facing the outside world, everything is dark. 42The Painter says, “You have to do this part alone,” and I turn around to find him standing at the top of the steps. 43“I’m afraid.” And he says, “I know. Everyone is. You are not alone.” 44And then he shuts the door and I’m left in the starlight.

 

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Part 6 premieres next Monday the 6th. We will have a conversation with Darkness and get eaten by a giant whose name is God.

 

 

 

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HUG CONTEST

I’ve got this thing that I do.

At night, after I’ve got the kids in bed and settled down, books read, conversations had, questions answered, minds settled, I announce a Hug Contest.

One by one, they each get to give me a hug and then, at the end, I announce a winner. And yes, I announce an actual winner. I tell one of them that they gave the best hug. I try to mix it up but I also try to be fair because, honestly, not all hugs are created equal.

When we started doing this, Rory was more of a quantity over quality type of guy. He would jump at me, throw his arms around my neck and squeeze so hard that I would begin to see black dots in front of my eyes. I would fall to the ground, he would wrap his legs around me and wheeze into my ear while straining, “Is… this… a… good… hug?” Instead of answering, I would tap out.

Bryce is always a welcome competitor afterward as she likes to gently but firmly wrap her arms around my neck and squeeze. It is as though she often times actually embodies the hug. Becomes the hug. Her hair nuzzles up against my cheek and tickles my nose.

Quinn likes to mix it up – she’s kind of a mixed martial artist in that capacity. Little bit of technique from here, little bit from there, put em all together and what have you got? I never know what’s going to come at me. Sometimes it’s quite nice. Sometimes it is exceptionally painful. Sometimes she takes the Rory route, sometimes she takes the Bryce route and sometimes she just gives me a quick squeeze, almost an accidental brush-by and says, “How was that?” like she’s gaging my reaction in order to perfect the technique.

But here’s the thing about naming a winner in a Hug Contest… more important than the execution of the hugger is the need of the huggee.

Sometimes I want a warm hug. Sometimes I want it to linger. Sometimes I want Rory to put me in a rear chokehold until I black out. The kids are aiming at a moving target but they don’t know it. Which is great because they just try their best every single night.

And every night there is a new winner.

And the winner is always so happy. The winner always goes to bed smiling. Because the winner won.

And the best thing? Even when you lose, you’ve still gotten a hug.

I started by just rotating winners and that worked for a bit. Rory, Quinn, Bryce, Rory, Quinn, Bryce. But it quickly became too predictable, even for a three year old. I wanted to keep them on their toes. I didn’t want them to think that they were trapped in a thankless system where they just won every third day.

So then I started actually judging them. And then I told them why. I would tell them why they won.

So then. Quinn had proven herself victorious in the Hug Contest two nights in a row and then Bryce had won the following evening which ended with Rory saying, “I never win!” and then on the fourth night, just as I was getting Quinn into bed, she says, “Can we do the Hug Contest tonight?” and I say, “Sure! Let’s do it,” and then Rory says, “I want to be the judge,” and I say, “You want to be the judge in a hug contest that you’re competing in? Do you know what conflict of interest means?” and he says, “No.”

So I tell him that he can’t be the judge and I tell him this because I know. I know. I know what this little scoundrel is thinking. He’s thinking that if he is the judge then tonight he could rig the competition in his favor. He will nominate himself as best hug giver. He will reap the plunder.

But I’m a parent.

I’m smarter than that.

I’m smarter than him.

And so I say, “No. Sorry, man. You can’t be the judge. You can’t do it. Not if you’re in the contest. It wouldn’t be fair,” and he says, “PLEASE!?” and I say, “No, dude. It isn’t fair,” and he says, “Ug, doood.”

And so we round robin this thing and at the end I’m feeling quite loved and quite wonderful and I tell them all, their six eyes staring at me, “You guys… this is a first time ever, history making event, in the annals of Hug Contest history…”

They wait with baited breath.

We have a three way tie!”

I applaud and then Quinn says, “Yippie!” and Bryce echoes her and Rory moans. “But who won?” he asks and I say, “You all did!” and he says, “I want to be the judge,” and I say, “You want to judge?” and he says, “Yes. I want there to be a winner. Not a tie,” and I say, “Alright. Let’s all give Rory a hug and he can decide who wins. A second Hug Contest in one evening! Another history making event!”

And Rory gets serious and he says, “No. No dad. I don’t want to,” and I say, “You don’t need any hugs?” and in my head I think, How convenient. You don’t even need to see the competitors. You already know who the winner is. You’ve got a lot to learn about being shady, bub.

And so I say, “Okay. Let’s hear it, Rory. Who’s the winner? Who is the winner of your Hug Contest? Who… have you named winner?”

And Quinn and Bryce and I sit and stare at him as he holds a finger to his lips. He says, “Hmmmm…” and really mulls over the options. Decent form, I think. He’s obviously fooling the little ones but not me. I’ve got your number, pal. You think you’re being shady? I invented shade. I am the tree that casts it.

And then he smiles, completely aware that now is the moment he is unveiling his master plan. He looks at me and says, “You are the winner, dad! You give the best hugs!”

And then my heart breaks. And then my stomach turns inside out. And then my eyes begin to fill with tears.

Ah, shame. Guilt. Stupidity. Give me your best because I deserve them all. I am insignificant and putrid and vile. I am disgusting and full of loathing. I am selfish and stupid and, worst of all, obtuse and ignorant.

Aren’t I a humble parent? Aren’t I a humble person? No. Not at all. You think you know so much but you know nothing, Johnny Snow. You see the worst in people. You expect people to act selfishly. You anticipate people to act in a specific way. You think you are better. And this is one of your greatest faults.

The mirror is a painful place to look. Oh, there’s a shortcoming. And another. And another. And another.

It is one thing to look at yourself, examine yourself, and come to terms with certain facets of your personality, slowly turning them over and slowly revealing them. There is something soothing in that process – the process of growth, which we are all on over many, many years.

Oh, but the pain of having a child reveal the entire ugly picture of yourself to yourself, all at once. It’s like the coroner pulling back the blanket on the corpse of a loved one and seeing them diseased and rotting. But it is not a loved one. It is me. And it is not my rotting skin but my heart.

I leave their room with my head down, the weight of my pride dragging me to the ground.

 

 

 

***Subscribe for updates. New blog every Wednesday – friends, family, life, death, kids and adventure. And on Mondays we’re currently releasing a fiction in 10 parts called The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender. Part one linked to the left and the intro is linked here. It’s a tale of evolving consciousness through many different plains of reality. If that sounds weird enough to check out, you should.

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The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender [seq. 6]

 The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction. Below is part 4. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

[SEQ. VI] 1I open my eyes and I’m underwater, inside of a narrow tube and I can’t lift my arms. 2A creature has been placed over my mouth and my first thought is that it looks like a starfish and its “arms” have suckered to my face but it does not hurt and I realize that this thing is giving me oxygen and allowing me to breathe as we exist in some kind of symbiotic relationship in this water or liquid and I wonder what it is taking away from me. How am I paying it? 3Small creatures or blurs or people move outside of the tub and I can see them observing me but I can’t speak or motion for them. 4I blink my eyes and one of them points at me. It reaches up and opens its chest and pulls out a small trinket that looks like a slug and the creature places it on the counter and the water in the tank begins to drain and when it does, I feel myself poop but I do not feel any shame in the act. 5When the water is gone I see that there never was any glass and that the water was more like a jelly that was somehow held perfectly still, presenting its expected form. 6The jelly is spread out on the floor but it immediately begins to coagulate and then it pulls towards itself as though drawn by internal magnets. It gathers itself up to one another and then slides and slithers back to its cage. 7Is the liquid sentient? 8The starfish drops from my mouth and pulls a long proboscis from my throat, longer than I would have assumed. I feel it pulling up through my stomach and intestines. 9The thing licks it’s lips and says, “Thank you,” before dropping to the ground and scurrying towards the gelatin, it’s abdomen plump with my bacterial stew. 10It crawls into the cage with the gelatin and then crawls inside the gelatin and goes to sleep. It will live off of my secretions in hibernation until next it is needed. 11The creatures are greys of some kind but they’re not from outer space and they’re still watching me and now I’m back here and I just stare at them and they stare at me and I am so very sad because I can no longer sense what they’re saying. 12I have lost all form of communication with them. 13Something has been pulled away from me and I can’t remember anything or how to speak to them but I’m certain something is missing. 14I want to feel their thoughts and I want them to tell me that it’s going to be okay but they don’t [SEQ. VI2] 1and then I am lying in a bed, staring at the ceiling and a woman is standing over me and she is my wife and all of my memories come rushing back to me and I say, “Please don’t ever allow me to wake up again. It’s too painful to remember who I am. My journeys are eternal” [SEQ. VI2] 15instead they just stare at me and is it pity that I see in their eyes or is that just my imagination? 16Instead I speak out loud and say, “Where am I?” which is such an elementary question and I’m embarrassed that I have to ask it because I know that I should know and instead of answering the greys take a step back because the raw quality of my voice hurts them. 17One of them lifts up a finger and makes a motion through the air that opens up a small doorway in the air itself and we step through it, displacing ourselves. 18In the other room I see another man, a human man, who is Caucasian, what we would call European with gray hair and blue eyes. He has on a sweater and wears a kind smile that draws me in. 19The other greys are gone and there is no doorway and I say “Who are you?” and he says, “You don’t remember me?” And I say, “Am I crazy?” and he says, “What do you mean?” 20And I say, “Is this real?” And he says, all of this audibly, of course, out loud, which is why I think the greys left – because the sounds somehow hurt them or at least made them uncomfortable. 21He says, “What do you mean by real?” And I say, “Is the place I was at real – the land with the scarecrow and the fishermen? Or was it a kind of hypnosis? Did I experience it in the Dream Tank?” Dream Tank. Where did those words come from? 22I continue, “Was the rock a drug? Was the ship real? What is ultimate reality and what is false and where am I right now in all of this?” 23And the doctor says that everything is real. 24“All realities, even fake ones, are real. 25Aren’t we all processing things? Aren’t we all reacting to stimuli? 26If you are afraid of a ghost in the dark and you feel fear, isn’t that fear real even if the ghost is not?” 27And I think he is right but it seems like he’s avoiding handing over the information. Information that he has. Knowledge that he won’t share with me. 28I ask him how long I’ve been here and he tells me a few hours and I say, “In this room?” And he shrugs and says “Parts of it.” 29I go to his bookshelf but don’t recognize any of the titles. They look like they might be written in Danish or Dutch. I reach out to pick one up but the doctor says, “Please don’t do that,” but I do it anyways and inside I find that all of the pages are blank and I say, “Who are you?” and he says, 30“There are no answers in my name,” 31and then he says, “Who are you?” but he does not inflect his voice as though he is repeating a question. He doesn’t inflect at all. His voice is void of nuance. 32He’s trying to copycat me or all of us. Humans. 33He’s not like me. 34I turn inside of myself, reach inside of myself, looking for my letter but my letter has been stolen from me by the abyss and I find only hints of something that used to be there. Dust. There are warm feelings but I can’t attach them to an action or a memory. Just an empty room with a concrete bench. 35He tells me that he gave me something very important and I lost it and that I lost it stupidly and carelessly and now, he tells me, he has to talk to me in this primitive series of grunts and moans like a common animal 36and then he reaches up and he peels off his face like boiled skin from a tomato and underneath I see that he is a grey with sharp teeth. 37Like roasted kale, he eats the face and I hear it crunching between his teeth like tacks. 38He says, “Life is delicious,” 39and then he tells me that I’m doing it wrong. 40I’m viewing life from the wrong perspective. 41Here, look, he emotes to me and I turn to look at the painting on the wall when his emotions brush past me. Has he gifted me back with the communication? Can I feel him? 42“Look at the painting and tell me what you see.” And I tell him that I see a field with a light tower and I see two deer but I wonder if there are deer wherever this light tower exists and the grey sends to me: “What do you think of this painting? Tell me what you see,” and I begin to explain the image. 43There is a lake in the background, white water heads, a little bend on the horizon. The water disappears in the distance. 44In an eternal sunset. 45The cattle in the foreground walk off frame. Cattle? Deer? I’m not sure. Could it be both? 46He says “What do you see,” and I tell him again and then he says, “But what else do you see? Look beyond your own eyes. Stare at it with the artist’s own heart. When he painted it, what was he thinking about? As he painted the black strokes in the now dried paint, what was he thinking about? Was his mind set on the brush strokes or were they set on something else at hand? Was his heart in it at all? See it with those eyes. Feel the letters and the tools and bring them to me to feel and I can feel the breeze and I don’t see anything change at all but suddenly everything surrounds me and I can see into the amazing beautiful because that is ours and it belongs to nobody except us and I am insanely aware of the fact. 47“Tell me what you see in the painting,” and I tell him that I see a lighthouse and he says, “Yes. That is what your eyes see. But what else?” And I say that it makes me feel calm and he says, “Yes. It does. But why?” and I try to look deeper into the painting and 48I look at the eyes of the cows, which are black and bleak and I say, “The cows seem sad. They are surrounded by beauty and freedom but they look so hopeless.” The doctor nods his head and says, “That’s very interesting. I’ve always felt as though they looked calm because they had everything.” 49And I say, “If you have everything and need nothing, you no longer require goals.” 50The doctor says, “And?” I think and then say, 51“And if you don’t have goals, you don’t have a path.” 52“And if you don’t have a path?” “Then you are hopeless.” 53“So do you believe that being hopeless and being fully content, which most believe to be polar opposites, can actually co-exist in the same moment?” 54The question is not meant for me to answer aloud but to wonder at. 55He asks me what else I see and I tell him that I want to know what is in the lighthouse and he asks me why I care and I tell him that I don’t care but that I am curious. “You want to know what is in the light house simply for the sake of knowing what is in the lighthouse?” “Well, yes,” but I immediately feel inferior for requesting it. What is the purpose of my curiosity? 56“What if there were nothing inside?” “Then at least I would know.” “You would know what?” “I would know that there is nothing.” 57“And what if I told you that god resided in the lighthouse? What would you do with that information?” “I would go to the lighthouse.” “How? It is just a painting.” 58My eyes begin to sting. The air is very dry. I blink a lot. 59The doctor asks if I am okay and I tell him that I am fine. 60“I cannot go into the painting.” “No, that much is obvious. It is just the perception of colors and shapes on a canvas. So how do you find out what is in the lighthouse?” 61I take several steps towards the painting and I squint, trying to look inside. 62“The mouse hole is closed to humans,” the doctor says and then laughs. 63“I cannot know what is in the lighthouse. 64I can never see God. 65I can never know God. 66I can never know if He exists. Is that what you are suggesting?” and the doctor says, “No. You can know. You just have to stop looking at things like a human being. You’re so short sighted and your perception of the world around you is so limited. 67Often times I wonder what it must be like to see the universe through such flat eyes. 68Tell me, what color would you say my shirt is?” “Red.” “I really don’t mean to be rude – it truly isn’t my intent – but I must say that your view of things is fascinating. I wish I could see life through your eyes for a singular human day. I bet it would give me quite an appreciation for my own problems.”

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THE SPIRALING CORNUCOPIA OF PALE LAVENDER [SEQ. 2 – 3]

The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is a 10-part series of fiction. Below is part 2. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

9I enter another room that is more like a great hall and see that it is more vast than my simple field. So large that I cannot see the roof. 10Where am I? Am I not on a craft? The sky seems endless. Am I on a planet? Where have they taken me? 11The inside of the cavern glows with perfect light that radiates from nowhere. The essence of life gives light to itself. It is a light that exists at the origin of everything. 12Two doctors converse and stop speaking when I approach. 13I feel as though my presence makes them uncomfortable. 14No words are spoken. Instead, we stare at one another and have a conversation of thought. 15Because I am a creature comprised of emotional experiences and every experience shapes me differently, like a fist hitting plaster, every other individual’s experiences make them uniquely who they are and, even if our experiences are identical, we will process them differently based strictly upon our natural birth bend – the organic recipe of our brain bubbles. 16I will try to transmit my pure, raw thought which I apply emotionality to, and I will churn it out into raw and savage words for you to then process through your ear and get filtered through all the bullshit that makes you uniquely you. And so often what I say is not what you hear. 17So much is lost in our primitive grunts. 18The greys speak through emotions. It is not the hearing of an audible voice in your head. It is the feeling of justice. It is the feeling of wrongness. It is the feeling of love. They are able to transmit the very essence of the thought to one another. The very pureness of the emotion. The core. 19Nothing is lost in translation. 20And because of this they cannot lie and in fact do not understand what a lie is. A lie is beyond the fence of their mind. 21I also sense that they don’t know that they don’t know. 22The knowledge of the unknowable does not exist to them. I don’t sense a hole wherein something is missing from. I sense that there is nothing there at all. 23A loud but warm and not altogether unpleasant alarm begins going off. It seems to radiate in the very air itself. The siren is not audible. There are no speakers but rather a general consistency in the air quality that shifts. The local energy wavers and quivers. 24The greys all knew what the “sound” meant by the sensation it gave them. There was no need to make the feelings abrasive. The good feeling gave them the knowledge for what was needed to be accomplished. 25This made me wonder why fire alarms on Earth are always screeching headaches. Especially when you want everyone to remain calm. Would the same effect be created if the powers that be simply played loud but pleasing music that encouraged people to run? I always have a more difficult time completing a task if there is a person screaming in my ear as loud as they can. It’s difficult to concentrate. 26When I realize that I’ve been lost in some stupid rambling thought I suddenly acknowledge that [SEQ. III] 1I am standing in the field again and there is a rainbow that arches across the little stream. The grass is tall, the sky is blue and the clouds are white. 2I can see the day moon sitting in the ocean above me and it is so beautiful and I know that I am in a computer-generated image. I know that I am still on the ship or on another planet or in a machine in a small room or I’m on Earth and everything is being projected onto us but this is not real. 3I know it like I knew the feeling of their lies. I know because I can still feel some kind of emotional residue. 4None of this is real. 5Why am I here? 6What are they doing with me? 7A moose walks to the rivers edge in the distance and takes a sip. It’s weird because he drinks it with his lips and not with his tongue. 8A couple of blue birds fly past me and I feel like a child again. 9On the other side of the stream I see a scarecrow and I wonder who put him up. I do not feel concerned that I haven’t seen any people or that I don’t know where I am. 10The world feels real but I don’t know what I’m doing here or how I got here but it all feels okay. 11This is where I was before they took me but this is not when I was before they took me. 12I hear a large boom and then another and I become fearful. Very fearful. 13My stomach rolls and my knees begin to shake and quiver and I find that I’m having a very difficult time walking or thinking appropriately. 14It is awful. 15I fall to my hands and knees, my stomach washing waves of panic over me. My brain feels like it’s crying. 16With one hand I pull myself to a large rock that is nearby and hide behind it. 17BOOM. What is that noise? Is it a giant? Is it a bird? My mind begins thrusting images of giant birds at me, making me stare at them. Look at this bird with its enormous beak, pulling you apart and splattering your blood against the soil! Watch your neck break and your body become consumed. This giant blue bird with its feathers chasing you through an empty field and squawking. 18Where are these thoughts and feelings coming from? 19I look around the rock and I don’t see anything. I don’t hear the noise anymore. 20I turn and crawl up a small hill where I find a fence that is made from posts of wood and barbed wire. I crawl between the top and middle wire and approach the scarecrow. 21Its face is brown sac cloth and its eyes are made from plastic buttons. One is red and one is blue. Its nose is made from a tightly wrapped fresh condom and its mouth is made from rotten banana peels. It’s wearing a tracksuit that is gray with white tennis shoes. The brand is expensive. Someone has put something in its pants to make it look like he has a comically huge boner. Someone else has smeared mud all over its ass to make it look like it shit its pants. 22At the base of the scarecrow are two small chairs – lawn chairs. There are also some cups, a fire pit made out of rocks with ashes in the middle, a tea kettle that looks like it’s lived a busy life but has never actually been used here, at this spot. It is gray and covered in rust. It is tall and narrow and looks like something you’d find on a camping trip and not in a kitchen. There are old metal forks. A red compass. A stack of pornographic magazines and a pack of cigarettes. I notice that there is no lighter nearby but then I see a box of strike-anywhere matches. 23I see a trail that cuts through the corn where it has been trampled down a number of times by repeated use. 24Then I notice a second path. One leading somewhere and one leading somewhere else and which one will I choose? 25I look up and I see the day-moon and the sun both in the sky, both right next to one another and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that before. 26I feel a strong vibration in my body but I don’t know what it means. 27I push towards the path on the left and it winds through corn that is taller than I am, a mouse in a maze, an Earthling in a labyrinth. 28We are all observed and studied. 29How will I react? 30I feel like a child. 31I am lost and I am not afraid and not fearful but I feel like something terrible is going to grab me. I don’t want it to grab me. It will touch me. The black sleeves and the green hands with cuts and warts. And what are those hands attached to? What is on the other side of those hands? Is it a witch? No. It is faceless. 32A hungry, lusting darkness that lingers at the fringe of the peripheral. 33And where are you? What are you? Why do you make me feel like this and do you like it? Is my fear necessary to the world? Does my fear feed a creature that needs it the way my breath feeds the trees? Is my fear powerful? 34When the path ends I see that there is a small white farmhouse but I also see that it exists in a tiny little community. There is a small community playground with a swing set and a merry-go-round and a tractor to sit on and dig with. There is also a water fountain inside the head of a giant inanimate lion. There is an old barrel that is very tall and lying on its side – kids get in and run. It’s a human gerbil wheel. I see children running in it now. Four of them. Five of them. A girl in overalls tries to stand on her hands as the barrel spins, taking her in a full rotation, spinning her a day into the future around their imaginary sun. 35An old woman sits on a swing by herself. I notice that the other swing is empty and I know that she used to be married and that she used to have a husband and that she is very sad that he is gone and she misses him terribly because they were together their entire lives. Their whole life. 36They were together when she was fifteen and he was sixteen and they’ve now been together for sixty years. 37They don’t remember life before one another. 38The memory of their individual lives before their counterpart existed has long ago been washed away off the placards of remembrance. 39They were together for so long that she considers him a true extension of herself. 40He had the authority to act on both of their behalves because they had achieved such simpatico that they had become the same person in two bodies with two separate interests. 41They understood and achieved true love and compassion for the other person until they understood what the other person wanted perfectly. 42Her husband has been dead for three years and she doesn’t have any friends. She has people in her life but she would not consider them friends. They are okay to eat lunch with but she couldn’t share these thoughts and emotions with them. 43They don’t understand and none of them has ever lost a husband and she wishes she could speak to someone about it. 44And because I know I am supposed to, I approach her and ask how she is and she looks at me because the question is very straightforward. Her face crunches up and then becomes very kind and she says she is alright and I tell her that the day is beautiful and she agrees and I see the foot marks in the ground where her wooden shoes have been dragging back and forth in the dirt. 45Her skirt looks homemade. It is white and comprised of chicken feathers. She wears a pilgrim style bonnet that is white and her chest is covered in purple sheen although it is completely transparent. It projects a perfect twenty year old chest onto her body and it deceives the eyes in order to look as real as possible and this is what these people do here. 46It is okay and acceptable because it isn’t a question. 47She tells me that she is fine and I ask her if she knows which one of these buildings is a schoolhouse and then I hear a loud BANG or BOOM and it’s the same sound as before and she tells me to run with her. 48She gets off the swing and starts to strain towards a home. She is old and moves very, very slowly but I stood by her and I helped her as she hung onto my elbow. I notice that her back is quite hunched over. 49She takes me to a small plot of land that is filled with doors – just regular house doors – but they all appear the same. 50Identical black doors. 51There are no numbers on any of them. Just handles. 52She approaches one in the front row and opens it. Inside I see stairs spiraling downwards. 53I don’t ask if we are going underground because I know that we are not. 54The doors are vices that hold the fine fibrous Fabric of Feich open like surgical clamps hold open a wound. 55These doors lead to Someplace Else. 56It isn’t on this Earth but it also is not off this Earth. It is a kind of side-step to a higher perception of reality that exists on top of us, an overlay that we cannot perceive. 57We have not yet discovered where this other place is in relation to our world or planet or solar system or existence. 58Scientists have gone through and acquired samples and have found strange molecular patterns, sacred geometry and interesting fruits and flowers but still no people and the doors are too small to take any major tool through – like an astro-scope or bio-splitter. 59But I also know that scientist is a very loose term because the people in this village are the only people on this planet. 60There is no one else. 61The moment I heard the bang I knew. It was like the vibration alerted me. There are no others but these. 62I know this to be true. 63But what is out there? What is beyond their city? 64I need to know. Do I need to know? Do I want to know? Why does it matter? Why does it matter what is beyond their city? Why do I care? 64Is this my human nature? 65Is curiosity just an advanced form of the house cat and the laser pointer from the future of my old world past? Is my entire life someone’s stupid video? Am I the punch line to an advanced joke? 66Are alien children watching us and cooing, “Oh! He’s becoming curious! Watch him play with his curiosity! Hehe! He is going to see what that scratching noise is! He’s going to go investigate the odd auditory stimulation! Tee hee!” 67I have my life happening right here and I have problems at hand so why does it matter if there is a desert or a mountain or something else entirely out there? 68Right now I have to deal with this problem and that’s how I need to live my life. I need to appreciate the now and right now I need to get to safety and this old woman is walking very slowly but finally we do get close to the doors but before we do I see in the distance a great metal rod stamp out of the clouds and slam into the earth. 69BOOM            !! And then another. And another. And another. BOOM   !! BOOM          !!BOOM           !! The sound hits my ears seconds after the vision does. 70I ask her what they are doing and she says that they are collecting and I say, “For what?” because I already know who. 71She says that they are fixing them – hey, Chuck! – but I don’t know what she means and I also know that there are other people out there. 72Why was I so certain there was nobody else out there? How could I have known that? 73How could I have been so certain that it was true but now here I am being proven completely wrong? What else am I wrong about? What else is sneaking up on me? What else am I living with that I need to re-examine and release? 74She opens the door and enters first.

 

 

Return next Monday, May 30th for part 3 of 10 as we visit a prison at the center of time, witness the mystical collection of energy and fall into complete oblivion.

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Code 5 Quinn-pocalypse

I’m walking out of my house – I need to run to the grocery store to pick up some waters. It’s a quick in and out job. Super basic. I’ll be gone ten minutes. Max.

I hit the door and drop down the porch steps and I’m almost to my car when I hear Quinn behind me. She does this whine – it’s full of panic and concern. This tone that is like eeeeeeehhhhh! It’s a noise that sounds like she’s on the edge of a full nervous breakdown. Her voice wobbles and quivers. “Daddy! Wait! Wait! I didn’t give you a hug and kiss!

I can hear her shouting this from the living room. “Yeah! I’ll be back in just a minute! One minute! I will be right back, I promise!”

NO! HUG AND KISS! EEEHHHHH! PLEASE!

I keep walking. She’s on the porch now. Squealing. Now she’s running down the steps. Running towards me. I keep walking. “I will be right back, Quinn! You will see me in two minutes. I’m just buying a water.” And then my internal monologue kicks in, which goes something like this: What is wrong with this kid? What have we done to this child to give her such separation anxieties? This noise that she makes is killing me. It is driving me up the flipping wall. I wish she would just relax. Her panic is so dumb. And so senseless. I’m going to be right back. Why isn’t she listening to me? If she would just stop making these stupid whining noises and listen to me, she would know that I’m going to be right back. Why is she wasting my time?

This is the routine whenever either Jade or I leave the house. Every time. Every single time there is a fantastic meltdown over hugs and kisses. If you do not properly connect your lips with Quinn’s lips and give her a very proper hug that has a fairly specific form to it, then you are dealing with a Code 5 Quinn-pocalypse.

This is not, like, a thing. This is A Thing.

I’ve driven away before. I’ve been like F it. This is ridiculous. I’m leaving. This must stop. I get in my car and drive away. In my rearview mirror I see her standing at the very edge of our yard, waving her arms and jumping up and down and screaming, “HUG AND KISS! HUG AND KISS! DADDY! PLEASE! HUG AND KISS!” and I have no idea how long she stands there and does it for.

To remove all sugar coating and to be as primitive about it as possible – it is annoying and it gets under my skin and it drives me crazy because it doesn’t make any sense to me and, if I’m being completely honest, the vast majority of the time that I give her a hug and kiss, I do it as quickly as I can and just roll through the motions so that I can get to wherever it is that I’m going.

I brush her off.

And I’m not just brushing her off like she’s blathering on about how she wants mac and cheese for lunch but we just ate breakfast so please give me a second to finish doing the dishes but I’m actually brushing off her affection.

And so I’m standing on my front sidewalk and I say, “Quinn, yes. Hurry. Please. Hi. Hug and kiss. Okay. We’re done. Thank you. Go back inside. I’ll see you in a hundred and twenty seconds. Goodbye. Finally.”

And she says, “Okay! See you in a minute! I love you!” and then she runs back into the house.

And then I’m standing on my sidewalk and this feeling of… it was a light bulb turning on over my head. It was a feeling of illumination. I had a moment wherein I saw the darkness and I saw that I was swimming in it.

I was engulfed by it.

And I didn’t know it.

What has happened to me? What am I doing? What is wrong with me?

My child. She has come to me to see me off. To show me affection and admiration. She has come to me, small and powerless, to say I love you and I will miss you while you are away. You will only be gone for two minutes. But in those two minutes, I will think of you and I will wish that you were here. And I want you to know that.

And this is, apparently, just too fucking insignificant for me to waste my time with.

Sometimes I catch sight of myself and, for all the good I like to think that I do, I realize that I am still just a selfish piece of shit that knows nothing about humility.

 

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Where Do Babies Come From?

While visiting our in-laws in Montana and patiently awaiting the arrival of our newest tribesmen, Jade and I decided to dip out and take a walk with the kids. Turning the corner on an overcast day, Quinn asked me, no doubt with thoughts of pregnant women on the brain, “How do babies get inside the mommy’s tummy?”

This train of logic makes sense. We show up to Montana, telling the children that Aunt Katie is going to have a baby. We tell the kids that there is a baby in her tummy. Green light, green light, green light. Who the heck put that thing there?

Gotta be honest. I was a little caught off guard with that one. I had certainly thought about what it would be like having that talk with my daughter and I’ve thought about what I’d say but I’d never actually come to any kind of conclusion. I’d never thought I will say THIS. I mean, even if you’re going to shoot totally straight about it, there’s no clean way to say, “A man gets an erection – uh, that’s when his penis gets really hard, and then he sticks it into a woman and rubs it until he ejaculates inside of her – oh, ejaculate is like this creamy puddy stuff. Yeah, it’s pretty gross. So anyway, the man shoots this creamy pudding stuff into the woman’s vagina and then badda-bing, bodda-boom, the baby is there.”

It’s gross, right? You’re cringing. No way am I saying that to my five year old. No way am I playing this one straight.

Not yet, anyway.

I just imagine that I damage them so irreparably that every sexual experience they have for the rest of their lives both begins and ends with spells of shivering and vomiting.

Anyway, I’m like, “You know our garden and how we pick vegetables?” “Yeah,” “And you know how we plant a seed and then a plant grows?” “Yeah,” “A daddy plants a seed in the mommy. And the seed grows into a baby and when the baby is ready, we pick it.”

I say, “Does that make sense?” and she says, “Yes,” and then peddles away on her big wheel. What is happening? I’m having sex talks with my children. I was in high school yesterday. How did I get here?

Well, as it turns out, who the heck put that thing there turned into who the heck put me here which turned into who the heck put us all here?

This is a process of several days, understand. She’d ask a question and it would seem to percolate with her for 24 – 48 hours before she’d come back with the raised ante.

So we’re driving home from Montana and Quinn asks me from the backseat, “Daddy? Where do we come from? I mean, all of us? Did God put us here?”

And this is a role defining moment for me. I was raised in a very traditional Catholic household before leaving the Catholic church and rolling “straight Christian.” My faith has gone through a number of peaks and valleys – or rather, my faith has always been what it is but it is my actions that have seemed to falter. The spirit is strong but the flesh is weak, you know?

And it wasn’t until recently, and probably I could write an entire piece on this, that I’ve begun to seriously question many of the tent pole beliefs of my faith. Was Jesus actually the son of God or was he simply one of the most amazing teachers history has ever seen? Did Jesus resurrect after death? Is God real?

I won’t get into the minutia of it here – perhaps another time – but I’ve found this really divine peace that I’ve never experienced before. I feel free.

My faith was chaining me to the ground. My blind faith only made me blind.

And so I don’t want to tell Quinn that God is real and that she should believe XYZ simply because I’m telling her that it’s true.

And so I let her wonder. So that when she does look for God, it is her own journey and it’s not crafted by me and it’s raw and rich and experiential. Instead of telling her what happens in the movie and how awesome it is, I’m just going to let her go see the movie herself.

I believe that there probably is a God. I believe that it probably isn’t the one that modern Christian culture is having us believe in. I think our perspective of God is disgustingly warped and perverted and I think the Christian faith, overall, is absolutely grotesque masked hatred. While most of the followers walk around preaching peace, they’re sitting on their hands at home, blasting pornography and talking about how important it is to keep men from loving men and how to best keep families that are in desperate need out of our country. Basically standing in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings.

By opposing gay marriage, they are saying, in short, that love should not happen. And by keeping out the Syrian refugees they are saying, in short, that empathy should not happen. They will tell you all day long that they don’t think this but words are wind.

“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” That’s James. From the Bible. Calling this brand of religion worthless. 

“And you will know them by their fruits.” That’s Jesus.

Christian church, we all know you by your fruits. And your fruit is rotten and disgusting and it turns the stomach of the world. Your faith is off-putting. It is not attractive. You are not the victim. You are the predator.

Christianity as a whole is very wonderful. The teachings of Jesus can change your life and can change the world. I don’t want what I’m saying to be confused with modern day Christianity, which is – for the most part – just a stiff-necked mannequin. An imposter. A copy of the real thing.

It is a giant, rubber dildo. A phony.

Most (not all) modern day Christians are so consumed with the laws of their faith that they’ve lost the lessons. Modern day Christianity has come full circle and the practitioners are the very Pharisees that crucified Christ.

When the Bible says that you’ll call to God and he’ll say he never knew you, it’s talking about those people. When the Bible says that many are called and few are chosen, it’s talking about those people.

If you believe in the devil, you can rest assured that he’s just kicking back and watching Christians do all his work for him.

And I can’t get behind that way of thinking. And I don’t want to associate myself with any group of people who lead their lives with such fear. I believe in a God that kicks ass in peace. A God that lives inside all of us and in everything. A thing of beauty and love and a thing that we can each connect with in that beauty and love.

And I found this raw experience because I was willing to let go of everything I knew and I would have missed it if I had refused to let go of things that people taught me instead of the things I had experienced for myself. Who God was to me was always who God was to my parents. Does that make sense? My perception of God was crafted by other people.

And I don’t want to craft Quinn’s perspective of who God is. When the Bible says seek and you shall find, I believe this is what it’s talking about. You come look for me. And I’ll be here. I truly believe that. And if you believe that, then cutting your children out into the world shouldn’t be a problem. If you believe that God is great and God is the Ultimate Truth, then if your children seek the Ultimate Truth, they will find your God.

But we’re all afraid they won’t find God. We’re all afraid they’ll find something else. Because when it comes down to it, we have no faith in our faith. And so we nurture our beliefs into them. Better to keep these things in our own hands. Spoon feed them religion.

When I told a number of my Christian friends and family that I was speaking with the door-to-door Mormons and was reading The Book of Mormon, I was told that I should quickly run the other way. When I told a number of my Christian friends and family that I was reading Dianetics, I was told that I should drop it and run the other way.

Never trust an organization, institution or group of individuals, whether that be political, religious or otherwise, that demands you to not seek knowledge elsewhere. When someone suggests that you not look for true knowledge outside of the presented box, they do not have your best interest at heart.
Fear of knowledge is a fear of reality. And a fear of reality leads to a very limited understanding of the world. And a limited understanding of the world leads to a limited understanding of people. And a limited understanding of people leads to fear. Oh, my. That’s certainly cyclical. Look at your people group. Look at your friends. Is it the same people that would tell you to hang tight to your beliefs that would tell you to keep the Syrian refugees out? Is it the same people that would tell you to hang tight to your beliefs that would tell you that gay marriage is an abomination but not be able to tell you why?

Are the people that tend to fear the world the same people that tend to fear knowledge?

When Quinn experiences God, I want her to experience the closest thing she can. And when she looks for God, I want her to look on her own. I want to instill in her a sense of raw wonder of the universe. I love that she’s asking all these questions at five. I love that she’s already seeing the world and going, what is this? What is this? What is that thing? How does this work? She asked me about the sun and planets and outer space the other day and now she’s memorized what most of them look like – she knows that Saturn has rings and Neptune has rings (that go the other way) and Pluto is tiny and Jupiter (which she spells Gupiter) has a big red spot on it and that our planet is blue and she understands that the planets work on a “big loop around the sun.”

I’m like, excuse the French but, what the fuck?

Is this child freaking Carl Sagan reborn?

“Well, Quinn. We came from amoebas.”

Amoebas?” really, truly shocked. “What’s that?”

“It’s like a small thing that’s even smaller than you could ever see. You’d have to have a microscope to see it. It probably traveled here on an asteroid that contained ice when the world was forming.”

“Is it like this small?” and she holds up her fingers pinched almost together.

“Smaller. Way smaller. Like nothing at all.”

And then I try to explain evolution to her but quickly realize that there is just no easy way to explain this to a five year old. You try to talk about things changing and it doesn’t make sense to them and you try to talk about natural selection and it’s just too big an idea because they don’t really understand breeding and passing of traits. Is there not a children’s version of Darwin’s Origin of Species?

So I’m left to try and simply draw connections between monkeys, apes, Neanderthals and modern man. “What animal do humans look like the most, Quinn?”

“Uh… monkeys?”

“That’s right! I’m very impressed that a five year old noticed that.”

 

Crickets.

 

“Over millions and millions of years, monkeys slowly became man.”

“God did not put us here?”

“Well, some people believe that God put us here and some people believe that God put the amoebas here and some people believe…

Are you sure you want to say this? Once it’s out of your mouth, you cannot take it back. Is this a seed you really want to plant? You are about to make a major life decision and this may affect her faith in sweeping ways – in large ripple effects.

“Some people don’t believe in God at all.”

WHAT?!”

She doesn’t ask me if I believe in God.

Sometimes I wonder what I would say if she had…

 

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