I’ve left this for you…

And now it is put to rest.  Enjoy the archives.

It has been a pleasure.

Yours,

D

Ashes & new pages to burn

Those of you that know me, really truly know the writer behind Sadistic Excess, know that I’ve struggled with writing here for some time.  The blog was originally started for N, who you’ve known through my writing here and through her own brief appearances.  I wrote to her, so that she would understand what I was thinking.

At some point, yes, I did get lost in the sensational joy of having people like my work.  I did live somewhat off the commentary highs like any writer does from time to time I suppose – scan comments, read reviews and otherwise place our faith and confidence in your hands rather than our own.   I enjoyed the debate, and yes, the slight hit affection some of you would indicate towards me.  It made and makes me smile still.  (even if I think you give me waaay too much credit.)

And slowly, I started to just write for me.  As something I enjoyed doing.  And I still enjoy writing, and have been writing, just not here, and I have to ask myself why that is.  Part of it is the changing nature of my relationship with N.  It’s funny how things change as the years pass.

I find now that it seems wrong, almost, to write here, when its goal was for another purpose.  I could, I suppose, just pick up as if nothing had happened, as if the last chapter of my life, spanning a decade +, hadn’t happened, but that isn’t me.

You all know if you read back, how I feel about deleting work.  We have seen blogs come and go by strong authors, that for one reason or another get wrapped up in life and go back and regret feeling one way or another.  I can’t say I regret.  I do not regret loving N.  I do not regret writing for her.

Every emotion, every word that is on this blog is there because she spawned it.  I am here because she pushed me to start this place, and as such to delete all of that work, would not only send a ‘fuck you’ to her (which she doesn’t deserve), it would tell you all that somehow I am ashamed of having felt that way.  I am not.

However, given that I need to write, and that it cannot be here, I am making a few changes.  This blog, such as it is, will be stripped and housed neatly on a server owned by wordpress.  All of the archives, all of the words will be there, and you can read them to your heart’s content.  If wordpress deletes it, or if it goes to the wind, well, my apologies.  I’m not reposting it anywhere else (but I will keep my copy.)  This place, however, the one where I spend my money to host, where I spend my time staring at a blank screen, will change and be started fresh.

I hope you’ll walk the new path with me.  It will be a change for both of us.

To My readers:  Thank you for taking the time to drop me a line when you have.  I am not great at responding like I should be, but I do read each and every one.  If you didn’t get a response, its most likely because the answer was too complicated and was put on my back burner to address ‘when I had time.’  My apologies.

To the two readers that still have my copies of the Gargoyle, well, I purchased a new one.  To all my other readers, don’t wait on it.  I’ve already lost two in my project, I’m not sending the third one out.

Thank you for allowing me to kidnap your mind once in a while.  There is no greater flattery to a writer than someone who comes back for more.

As I was, as I am and as I will continue to be,

D

My Father's Keeper

I’ve hesitated on posting this for a number of reasons that I don’t care to go into.

The drive has been coming for a while; I’ve not been in years.  This time it began as dreams of the location, not the man himself.  My father’s ghost is a dormant one, and just stirs ever so softly when he rolls over to remind me that he is still there.  I rarely dream; something I’ve long considered a gift rather than a curse, and so often I remember details, but not this time.  I simply remember a place that I associate with him, because it is for him alone.

Is it cruel that his body should forever be surrounded by strangers, or a fitting justice?  The answer depends on my mood and just how favorable my latest thoughts on him have been.  That I am fickle with his memory rather than concrete is difficult for me considering how when he was alive, I knew nothing more than absolute certainty – in his death, nothing is certain.

The cemetery is located in that undesirable swath of land that cuts through Oak Cliff and looks out onto Grand Prairie with haunted eyes.   In later spring bluebonnets will litter the hills with waves of color punctuated by delicate yellow blossoms and pink little gems; set against the backdrop of neatly aligned headstones.  Not now.  Now the brown-green grass stretches out dotted by dead or hibernating trees and the odd cherry blossom, standing bright pink and proudly stark against the death.  A power plant lurks not far in the distance, its huge stacks reaching into the sky, destroying the serenity were it not artfully hidden behind rolling waves of earth.

The lake it sits upon is a joke, created for the power plant and polluted by the ghost of Hensley Field.  Don’t play in the water, don’t eat the fish – all advice I’d give any traveler foolish enough to be beckoned by its silty brown facade.  Slash and burn finds its subtle revenge.

The main entrance is closed, and I am directed though a side entrance that backs me up to the rear of a funeral procession to which I cannot see the end.  The person behind me goes past them, but I will not.  I wait, just as I would want them to wait, and lumber behind them slowly until they clear where I must turn.  It is their day to mourn, my day simply to remember, and courtesy, a dying thing, is all I may offer them in comfort.

It’s been so long that I cannot remember exactly where he is buried.  I round the bend, following the winding path as it weaves through the hills, and pass by neat rows of headstones and grave markers.  Another procession interrupts my path when I stop next.  Death is the landlord here and there are always new tenants checking in.

I see a turn that looks familiar and head that way, and with crystal clarity I know just where to stop.  I make a note to remember the number and know I will not, instead I pinpoint it with my phone so that I can locate him in another few years.  I find his grave with my eyes long before my feet will move from the curb.

He is on a hillside, buried when this place was still new, still making the papers whenever someone would discuss fallen soldiers.  My father did not die in battle, although he did battle every single day.  The earth is soft and my feet sink in as I walk up to where his body rests.  There are no flowers – the grounds are walked and mementos are removed every two weeks or so to keep it in line with grand military tradition.  Nothing personal, it’s like bird shit on your dress whites.

Eerily, I can make out the sod lines and images of decay wash over me while I stand there.  It is silent.  In spite of the activity in the distance, I hear nothing other than birds and the rattle of trees and bushes.  Lumbering footsteps mark the passage of an armadillo, oblivious to my presence, blind as he is.  He disappears and I am alone.

I think perhaps I should have brought him his favorite bottle of rum, but no, they changed the packaging a few years ago and he’d never approve of the new shape;  I won’t sacrifice my last, untapped bottle for some landscapers’ drinking pleasure.  Perhaps this is a time when the thought truly counts.

A cool wind passes me by and I am calm.  The sun, shining brightly in the sky and yet still far from the heat of summer, is warm upon my face.  I sit down with him and have a conversation.  It is one of the few times in the past few years that I’ve felt anywhere close to God.

What was my father to me?  Not a personal question, but with a very personal answer.  He was everything.  His choices, good and bad, shaped me.  He created me, guided me and put me on a path that I find exceedingly difficult to handle some days.

It was a path he, himself, could not walk.

Is it every parents’ desire to see their children become more?  I don’t know.  I do know that we’ve made a sort of peace with each other.

I know he loved me.

His failures have illuminated the difficult path he knew I should take.  He pushed me when I didn’t want to go.  All this time I’ve spent, looking back, longing for a different life, a different way, and I’ve seen him there, blocking me, still forcing me forward.  I’ve resented him.

There were other ways.  I wouldn’t take them now.  It has nothing to do with measurements of success, that choice.  It has nothing to do with things or people.

He wanted me to have character, to be able to hold my head just as proudly as he did in the face of adversity.  He wanted me to have faith, to trust in ‘this too shall pass.’  He wanted me to be able to defend myself and my family.  He wanted me to be happy.

There were other paths.  There will always be other ways to learn, but this was my path.  He was my teacher, and he instructed me as best as he could manage.  He never faltered, but he failed.  He never wavered, but knew when he was wrong.

My father was not perfect, and he did not expect me to be perfect.  He was a fine man, a wonderful husband and he tried to be a good father.  He simply ran out of time.

The grave does not hold my father anymore than the cemetery holds the ghosts of fallen soldiers and war veterans; it holds their remains.  The ghosts, the souls have long since left with their families in the same line of cars that once followed their bodies to their final place.

For my part, I am my father’s keeper.

My Father's Keeper

I’ve hesitated on posting this for a number of reasons that I don’t care to go into.

The drive has been coming for a while; I’ve not been in years.  This time it began as dreams of the location, not the man himself.  My father’s ghost is a dormant one, and just stirs ever so softly when he rolls over to remind me that he is still there.  I rarely dream; something I’ve long considered a gift rather than a curse, and so often I remember details, but not this time.  I simply remember a place that I associate with him, because it is for him alone.

Is it cruel that his body should forever be surrounded by strangers, or a fitting justice?  The answer depends on my mood and just how favorable my latest thoughts on him have been.  That I am fickle with his memory rather than concrete is difficult for me considering how when he was alive, I knew nothing more than absolute certainty – in his death, nothing is certain.

The cemetery is located in that undesirable swath of land that cuts through Oak Cliff and looks out onto Grand Prairie with haunted eyes.   In later spring bluebonnets will litter the hills with waves of color punctuated by delicate yellow blossoms and pink little gems; set against the backdrop of neatly aligned headstones.  Not now.  Now the brown-green grass stretches out dotted by dead or hibernating trees and the odd cherry blossom, standing bright pink and proudly stark against the death.  A power plant lurks not far in the distance, its huge stacks reaching into the sky, destroying the serenity were it not artfully hidden behind rolling waves of earth.

The lake it sits upon is a joke, created for the power plant and polluted by the ghost of Hensley Field.  Don’t play in the water, don’t eat the fish – all advice I’d give any traveler foolish enough to be beckoned by its silty brown facade.  Slash and burn finds its subtle revenge.

The main entrance is closed, and I am directed though a side entrance that backs me up to the rear of a funeral procession to which I cannot see the end.  The person behind me goes past them, but I will not.  I wait, just as I would want them to wait, and lumber behind them slowly until they clear where I must turn.  It is their day to mourn, my day simply to remember, and courtesy, a dying thing, is all I may offer them in comfort.

It’s been so long that I cannot remember exactly where he is buried.  I round the bend, following the winding path as it weaves through the hills, and pass by neat rows of headstones and grave markers.  Another procession interrupts my path when I stop next.  Death is the landlord here and there are always new tenants checking in.

I see a turn that looks familiar and head that way, and with crystal clarity I know just where to stop.  I make a note to remember the number and know I will not, instead I pinpoint it with my phone so that I can locate him in another few years.  I find his grave with my eyes long before my feet will move from the curb.

He is on a hillside, buried when this place was still new, still making the papers whenever someone would discuss fallen soldiers.  My father did not die in battle, although he did battle every single day.  The earth is soft and my feet sink in as I walk up to where his body rests.  There are no flowers – the grounds are walked and mementos are removed every two weeks or so to keep it in line with grand military tradition.  Nothing personal, it’s like bird shit on your dress whites.

Eerily, I can make out the sod lines and images of decay wash over me while I stand there.  It is silent.  In spite of the activity in the distance, I hear nothing other than birds and the rattle of trees and bushes.  Lumbering footsteps mark the passage of an armadillo, oblivious to my presence, blind as he is.  He disappears and I am alone.

I think perhaps I should have brought him his favorite bottle of rum, but no, they changed the packaging a few years ago and he’d never approve of the new shape;  I won’t sacrifice my last, untapped bottle for some landscapers’ drinking pleasure.  Perhaps this is a time when the thought truly counts.

A cool wind passes me by and I am calm.  The sun, shining brightly in the sky and yet still far from the heat of summer, is warm upon my face.  I sit down with him and have a conversation.  It is one of the few times in the past few years that I’ve felt anywhere close to God.

What was my father to me?  Not a personal question, but with a very personal answer.  He was everything.  His choices, good and bad, shaped me.  He created me, guided me and put me on a path that I find exceedingly difficult to handle some days.

It was a path he, himself, could not walk.

Is it every parents’ desire to see their children become more?  I don’t know.  I do know that we’ve made a sort of peace with each other.

I know he loved me.

His failures have illuminated the difficult path he knew I should take.  He pushed me when I didn’t want to go.  All this time I’ve spent, looking back, longing for a different life, a different way, and I’ve seen him there, blocking me, still forcing me forward.  I’ve resented him.

There were other ways.  I wouldn’t take them now.  It has nothing to do with measurements of success, that choice.  It has nothing to do with things or people.

He wanted me to have character, to be able to hold my head just as proudly as he did in the face of adversity.  He wanted me to have faith, to trust in ‘this too shall pass.’  He wanted me to be able to defend myself and my family.  He wanted me to be happy.

There were other paths.  There will always be other ways to learn, but this was my path.  He was my teacher, and he instructed me as best as he could manage.  He never faltered, but he failed.  He never wavered, but knew when he was wrong.

My father was not perfect, and he did not expect me to be perfect.  He was a fine man, a wonderful husband and he tried to be a good father.  He simply ran out of time.

The grave does not hold my father anymore than the cemetery holds the ghosts of fallen soldiers and war veterans; it holds their remains.  The ghosts, the souls have long since left with their families in the same line of cars that once followed their bodies to their final place.

For my part, I am my father’s keeper.

The Old Man

He hovers over a lake that has forgotten him, and dips his branches in water that no longer respects his contributions. The leaves and fruit that would once nourish the fragile ecosystem below have withered into a dust that is blown away by the unforgiving wind.

He feels the earth letting go of him, and opens his mouth to bellow, only to find there is no sound. His company are only the spiders that use him for bait, his branches suspend their immense webs and snare unsuspecting travelers. In that regard, his offerings are limited to the discarded carcasses of the fallen, and a prop to people who would capture his pain.

Photo Credit:  Me

Phoenix

There is a beauty in how she sweeps over me.  A cool breeze that brings with it the fall of a flaming sky and the blossoming of an evening flower.  She is the one who tenders the flame and extinguishes it when it grows too great, and feeds it when the flame lulls to a small blue flicker of life.

It is no wonder that she is desired, the waters that wrap around her form are laden with the blood of the fallen and the first frost of winter.  My breath is a puff of white air in the cool caverns of her lungs, the bones, weighted like stalactites to pierce the heart of me.

Skewer me, that perhaps I can feel something again that doesn’t resemble pain and kill the shape that renders the god infertile – trapped inside its shell.  That I am mighty is sung inside my ear like a siren, echoing inside my head.  I hold the conch and bellow out noise that would protest its subtle message and am drowned by her roar.

Rise. I hear the demand.  Rise! I respond like a wounded, enraged animal, fighting, snapping, snarling.  My hands rip, rend, tear and my skin is torn away.  I feel my back split, am wordless in the agony.  Mute.  Silenced.

Still, I fight.  And when finally the keeper looks upon me, her eyes ablaze, I am incinerated by heat, my flesh melted off, the acrid smell of burning skin seizes my lungs.  The ash that blackens the sky is my prison.

Rise.

of flesh and tied to earth

I am not a perfect creature, but what challenges I face, I’m honest about.  I am a jealous person by nature.  Arrogant.  I am addicted to work.  I have a temper that would blow you out of the water.  I enjoy violence.  I am manipulative, secretive and I don’t trust readily, or easily.  And I’m quick to retract it and just not tell you where you lost me.

Protective bullshit, you know.

I happen to like my bubble.  I know what I can control, what I cannot control, and what is left to someone else to decide.  I’ve just been let down so damn frequently, well, I now minimize what is in someone else’s control.

This method of thinking lead me down a path medically, where I’d never think to find myself.  Unhealthy.  I’ll spare you the details, but it caused me to temporarily lose my ability to run.  I had a terrible fucking headache for two months that would not go away.  And I was just fucking miserable.

Granted, aside from stir crazy and the little snippets of extra sleep I could grab by not waking up at 4 something in the morning to do my run, I handled it… okay.  Not great.  And even though that scare is gone now, and a lingering regime of medication remains, someone very close to me asked me to analyze what brought me to that place.

Work, I responded automatically, but that isn’t the true answer here.  My work life contributed, absolutely, but it was how I managed my work that did it.  See the above ‘do it myself’ reference.  I did it all.

I have trained my staff to defer to me to often, so frequently that the response is automatic.  It is rather like needing a question answered and always asking someone else, rather than finding the answer on your own.  Anyone – anyone – who has been through education, or college knows that one values the answers they find themselves.

I made them ineffective at executing without deferring to me.  Part of this is my control streak, the dominant.. and part of it is just not TRUSTING them to get it handled well.  See, I don’t like to see mistakes and everyone makes them.

So, to that end, I outlined my team, starting with my key staff.  I have a power structure in place that wasn’t being used.  It will be now.  My phone will ring only for X, Y or Z.  If it isn’t death, blood or dismemberment, I can wait for the email.  I am to be CC’d on anything important (BUT) the response will come from my team, not directly from me.

They will be earning their paychecks.

In the meantime, introspection has set in.  I am amazed at how well this has already gone, but don’t trust (ha) that it will remain so  just yet.  I await the next disaster to truly measure the strength of my newly forged chain.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the new time.  I keep expecting withdrawal symptoms to set in, but they haven’t…. yet.  It’s spring.  Baseball season is in full swing, I’ll get my glove and go toss the ball with my favorite boys.  (Take that however you will.)

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