Photo Prompt: Cliff Stairs

I was talking with Goldy (https://fishofgold.net/) the other day and we came up with the idea of trying to do a photo prompt to get ourselves back into writing a bit more and to try and engage with others in the blogosphere a bit more too.  So, here we are.  A photo.  And the prompt?  Write whatever you want, whatever the photo inspires.  I’ll try to do something like this on a regular basis. 

Play along if you want and tag your post into the comments so I can read your words as well.

My own response is below.

…..

I was hopeful that the change was made before the wooden stairs fell apart.  Can you imagine?

Step, step, step, nothing.

You can’t see the mismatch from the top where we started. And there’s no warning (Watch your step.  Proceed with caution.  That last step is a doozy…) just the sudden jarring change from old to new.

Not that the newer one, the metal one, felt much safer.  The cliffs were crumbling before our eyes and the roar of the breakers, constantly churning the beach, filled our ears. 

In time, more of the stairs will fall.  It is inevitable. I hope nobody is on them when they do. Can you imagine?

Step, step, step, nothing…

Another letter to myself

Dear Jester,

Is it okay that I keep writing letters to you, to myself, like this?  Yes.  I’m sure you’ll agree it is fine.  I should know.  I’m you and you’re me.

Anyway…

I’m not sure how to go about this, so we might as well dive into the crux of the matter: It is seeming harder and harder to keep up with the speed of life right now.  And that was really brought into focus by the death of a friend last week. 

You had seen them struggling and you had mentioned to yourself that you should reach out and then you didn’t and now they are gone.

And why didn’t you reach out?  Because you hadn’t seen him in 22 years?  Because you were busy with chores and school and toddler tantrums and infant sleep and birthdays and the day to day grind of life in the kingdom?  Because you didn’t know how much he was struggling?  Because you didn’t know…

You didn’t know.  You didn’t know you wouldn’t have another chance. 

If you had known, you would have sacrificed something else to make the time.  One less thing would have gotten clean.  Or a little bit less sleep would have been had.  You would have made a different choice.  But you didn’t know.  And, there is no way to know that reaching out would have helped.  Would have been worth doing anyway.

So, dear Jester, I’m not sure what the point of this letter is.  I was grasping for some sort of philosophical piece on the speed of life but the words on the page keep failing that, in my opinion.  Very unlike me, I have started, stopped, deleted, and started over this letter four times now.  And this will have to be good enough.  I don’t have the mental energy to attempt it again.

I guess, I just hope you can set aside any guilt you are feeling, we are feeling.  Be kind to yourself.  Grieve. 

And maybe next time reach out…  Because that pile of dishes can wait.  Sometimes, reaching out can’t wait.  And you don’t know what you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Matticus

So this is 40

My dear Jester,

Yes, that’s me.  Yes, I’m writing a letter to myself.  I did that last year too.  I think.  I guess I could look it up but it really isn’t that important.  Anyway…

So, this is 40…?

*Looks around and nods.*

Okay.  This is 40.

Why shouldn’t it be?  You’ve had quite the adventure. 

Married.  Three kids.  Two cats.  Home owner. 

Six cities.  Ten jobs.  More roles than that.  More managers than that too as it turns out.

You’ve been to the top of more mountain passes than you can remember.  You’ve snowboarded on seven different mountains.  You’ve been to (at least) sixteen different states.  You’ve been to four different countries. 

You’ve been a DJ, a beach bum, a blogger.  You’ve been a raver, a husband, a father.  You’ve been a friend, a brother, a son.  You’ve been lost, mentally and physically.  You’ve been a part of four published books and you have words in at least that many still waiting to be published. 

You see?  Adventures a plenty.  Why, you could write a story for each of the sentences above.  The time you watched the sun rise over the mesas on a backpacking trip in New Mexico.  The time you were in whiteout conditions on the slopes in Colorado.  The time you thought you might like to try and become a professional beach volleyball player.  The time you watched your first son being born, your second son being born, your third son being born.  The time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The second time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The day you brought your kitten rescues to their forever home.  The day you stood on the side of a mountain and vowed love and adventure to your Queen.  And on and on and on.

Adventures.  A.  Plenty.

So, why the letter at all?  Are you confused about the number?  Are you just bragging about all you’ve been able to accomplish so far?

*Looks around and shrugs shoudlers.*

You don’t know and that’s okay.

I’ll tell you this, my dear Jester, you better hang on tight because there is still so much to do, to see.  There is still so much to learn!  The next 40 years are going to be a whirlwind of adventures.  They won’t all be good, of course.  That’s the way it goes.  That’s as it should be.  But, there will be more good than you can imagine.  And, I know your brain.  I know you can imagine quite a lot. 

So, be patient.  You need to work on that.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your wife.  Pet your cats.  Take the trips.  Put in the hard work when it is needed.  Fix the sinks.  Take care of the house.  Go camping.  Go backpacking.  Go on bike rides and walks.  Go to the beach.  Watch the movies.  Listen to the all the music you possibly can.  Struggle.  Triumph.  Cry.  Smile.  Love every single second of it all as much as you can.

Because why not.

And let me know when the number ticks up one more.  I want to hear what stories you’ll have to share then.

Have a great year,

Matticus

Rhythm

This space, other than my letters to the princes, has been about fiction for so long, it feels weird to be writing about life in the kingdom.  So much has changed since I first started.  That was before the first prince had even shown up.  He was on the way, yes, but not yet here.  How can eight years feel like a lifetime ago?

I keep having this conversation with a colleague, about how time is always funny but pandemic time has been outright “hilarious.”  (For today’s post, hilarious = ridiculous.)  Blink once and the day is over.  Blink twice and you’ve lost a month.  Blink three times and suddenly time has slowed to the point where it feels like it might just be going backwards, and what a horror that would be…  Blink four times and the cycle repeats, except maybe they’ll be in a different order.  Or maybe it will be completely different because nothing is certain at the moment, not even the steady march of time.  It slips.  It slides.  It stops and sprints.  It does a jig and then stands against the wall to catch its breath.

–Side note: fellow author and blogger, Arthur, has a podcast where he delves into the mystery and inevitability of time. He has some great word play in the podcast that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve spent the last 14 months working from home.  It’s been an adventure.  I’ll likely be home for a few more months as well.  That information is just a tangent on how the normal rhythm of my days has been different during the pandemic and is definitely a factor on how weird time has felt.  And while you may ask how come I haven’t gotten into a new rhythm, a new routine, in those 14 months, my response would be laugh and gesture broadly towards my surroundings.

In the kingdom, the rhythm to every day is different.  Sometimes the rhythm of the morning is different from the afternoon.  Sometimes it changes suddenly.  Sometimes it changes so subtly that you don’t even notice until something goes wrong and you realize the song changed to a waltz and the cha-cha steps you were doing no longer make sense.  Not sure why I threw in a dance metaphor there.  It works though.  This has all been like a dance.

Some days are salsa: fast tempo, fun, quick steps.  Some days are waltz: slow, beautiful, smooth.  Some are the “high school hang:” I have no idea what I’m doing but gosh darn it I’m going to get out there and be seen anyway.

Not sure where I was headed when I started writing, but here we are.  Songs over, another is about to start.  I wonder what will come on next.  A swing?  Hustle?  Whatever it is, I’ll pick up the rhythm as best I can.

And you?  How has time felt for you during these 14 months?

Graphic readings

In keeping with the times, and my lack thereof, and my low energy and brain power (this is a theme that is likely to continue for some time until I get back into some sort of routine), I have a backlog of books I want to read.  I’ve tried.  They just don’t keep my attention or I don’t have enough time to really get into them and then the next time I pick them up I’ve forgotten what came before and need to start over.  And that’s the crux of the problem, I just don’t have the attention span for them at the moment. 

I have, however, managed to read a few graphic novels in the last couple weeks as I try to get back into this whole writing and reading, and reading and writing thing.  They are just about the right speed for me at the moment.  Our library opened up for the first time in over a year and while letting the Little Prince and Littler Prince find some prizes to borrow, a graphic novel caught my eye and I scooped it up  (Also, how cool is it that the library has comic books?) and devoured it easily.  The art.  The fast moving plot.  The small commitment.  Whatever it is/was, I was able to get through it.  So, then I got another one.  And then another one.

Superman: Year One – I was intrigued by the cover and I tend to like “origin” stories.  And, for the most part, I enjoyed this one as well.  It’s broken into three parts and I liked the first part the most but each section had merit and the art was beautiful.

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite – I had started the tv series but hadn’t finished yet.  Picked up the graphic novel and read it in one sitting.  And, all things considered, I enjoyed the book more than I was enjoying the show. 

Superman: Red Son – Revis recommended this one.  The storytelling was very intriguing.  I felt the ending was a little rushed given the time spent on the buildup, but it took nothing away from the overall enjoyment of the story.

I know I used (still do?) have a lot of comic fans among the faithful kingdomites.  As I’m getting these from my local library system, I might not be able to get any you would suggest…    The first couple Revis suggested when I reached out to him were unavailable, unfortunately, but what would you suggest?  What can I look for next and dive into?