Tag Archives: Ohio

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

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Monday, May 19th, 2014

For the past few weeks, I’ve been performing a lot of functions outside of my comfort zone. That is to say, I’ve been practicing networking and public speaking. Some say I do it well, but I have my doubts and continue to feel like I’m reaching around in the dark. Being part of a voluntary organization is a can of worms in my mind. Today is easily further down the rabbit hole.

In addition to the newly-accepted group, I’ve volunteered to write messages to each member of the Ohio congress (some 120+) asking them to support a House bill that would protect our business from a crippling change in regulations. I’ve never considered myself a political campaign vehicle, nor acceptable in the eyes of state-government gentry. I wonder how many of these people have ever been mac ‘n’ cheese/Ramen noodle broke? Unwillingly unemployed for more than 12 months? Renovated their house themselves? Drove their car for 13 years? Sacrificed not having a family to survive?

My cheeks often flush when I think of the copious illusions given to me as a child, when all along “the cake was a lie.” It was, and it simply irritates me when people don’t understand this. If I ever make high society, it’ll be by fluke. I am not welcome there.

On a brighter note, my yard is slowly becoming more respectable with every bucket full of dirt I dump on it. It won’t be too long when I should be thinking of what trees to put in.

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Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dear God, I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. That networking group has given me a lot of activities to keep me on my toes. On the down side, it has cut into my writing time. I’ve been here before though and have watched other people under the stress. Remember the metaphor of running a marathon versus sprinting? Yeah, that’s this.

I AM NOT GOING TO CALL MY WRITING A PASSION. That’s trite and it belongs in a job interview, not on my writer’s palette. If  I know only one thing of the writers I love, they don’t make overtures to their personal craft. They use it. They love it, but they don’t massage it. The passion is understood though their output. There’s no need to talk it up.

That last paragraph should read “I’m still writing.” This is the time to clutch on to my creativity like a balloon you don’t want to fly away. That’s especially so after last week’s story. It was a very difficult write, but I’m very proud of the result. It’s more soulful than my other works. It’s more alive. It’s that gritty realism very few people are comfortable acknowledging. My style is why I get suggestions to read Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and the like. I’ll get there, people.

May’s got me in a much better mood than three months ago. It’s 17° C out (62° F), and I can walk outside without wanting to erupt into profanity like Lewis Black. I’m getting some landscaping done mid-week and sooner or later I can put the screens back in the windows. I haven’t scored any big victories lately. So, the small ones will have to do.

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City in the Fields

There was a flash fiction challenge yesterday from Opinionated Man of which I had not participated. I had already posted yesterday’s flash, which was for another Reddit contest (did not win/no honorable mention). That’s not to say I’m upset about it. I didn’t want to leave people on here hanging.  The WordPress challenge seemed a little more like a Saturday write anyway. If people have read my blog for any length of time, they know I’ve spoke about my town slightly in my stories. In 1,000 words or less, I shall condense that.

——————-

Urbanites often clamor for the countryside, a respite from the “noise” and “pollution” of a metropolitan backdrop. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence especially if it’s compared to concrete. Plenty of green dots the landscape of my city, even if it’s mold. Perhaps the agricultural nature of the outer limits appeal, waving arms of wheat and corn in a Summer’s gust? The ears certainly make for better conversation anyway.

Crumbling corners and mended roads, all drizzled in chocolaty-tar sauce like a sundae stretch for miles under questionable skies. Built once with pride, brick buildings burn from apathy’s children leaving only work for the crewmen to raze. Holes, like pulled teeth, pit a once wealthy dirt. An asphalt crown is the new order of business.

Hulking and oppressive, the courthouse stands idle with all of its faded glory. Since when had you last felt alive? Bluebottle cars fly around your rotten carcass of petty justice. Your delusions of grandeur are transparent! Your mightiness is moot!

…and the floods. O, the floods! Have you come to visit us with fervor of Zelus? Have your waters ran through our hair enough? Can you not stand the sight of our houses as much as I? There would be no blame in that. Bring it to us so that we may bathe in a pool of our mistakes.

Time has come and time has passed, leaving nothing but old values as new ideas spread across a nation. Angry and afraid, a retirement community is proclaimed. Leave it as it once was, so we remember it fondly. A sepulcher for the nostalgic. There is no need to share; it is ours!

A generation took that to heart, and a generation made a new start off on coasts and in between. “They will be back!” Was the mantra of the day which fizzled to a murmur on the lips of the selfish. The world is not as it once was. Haughtiness becomes highlighted in hindsight.

Ghosts of people past still haunt the streets in which I ride. Past the schools. Past the homes. Past the shops I’ve seen too many times to remember. Pictures on the gelatin of my eyes. Translucent and faded they post bills of their likeness where I’ve been before. Up on the hill, down by the river, out by the freeway, or around the corner, I cannot live them down. The city will not let me live them down.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday. Well, it’ll be later than that when you read this post. I seem to have ground a little too hard on the last story and find myself in a fog today. Certainly things like the laundry got done, but nothing creative. I feel like a lout when that happens. To be in the flow of writing is such a wonderful experience. It’s direction in an otherwise listless existence. There’s even a writer’s prompt I’m halfway interest in. It seems as though I’ve not the energy to answer it right yet.

I love Saturday night. It’s a night I like to be out of the house. Unfortunately, I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth spending the money to sit at a bar and pay $5.00 plus tip for a Fat Tire. Now before I hear “that’s cheaper than (location)” I’ll remind you they pay us less in the Fields. It’s a wash. I suppose I could hit the $2.00 Bud Light specials… no, I’ll go without before I go Bud Light.

The additional work is still in the searching phase. It seems if I don’t have a Commercial Driver’s License (re: trucking) or manufacturing experience, I’m out of luck right now. There is an ad for an exotic dancer. I’m sure they’re talking about females. Even if they weren’t, I’m not exactly dancing material. I even hate doing the hokey pokey.

One thing that cutting back has helped me with is cooking at home. Granted most people would get tired of baked chicken, but its time delay lets me do other things around the house. Normally, I’m the type to focus on what I’m doing with little distraction but manual work’s always multitasking. Funny how that works.

My mind’s getting to me. Where did I put my car keys?

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Friday, March 14th, 2014

These past few days have been very reflective, and not much has been said on here. I know I excitedly discussed the options I had over the last weekend, but Sunday brought a certain withdrawal of such claims. There is a lot to be said about The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and I’m not entirely sure it could be done justice with a blog post. To say that Americans are in a better position financially now than 100 years ago is truthful. A person of my station at that time would not be able to afford a house or possessions without the use of graft or other crime. On the flip side of the coin, there has been a deep sacrifice in family to procure such things today. Sacrifice. Something tossed about these days, as if it were a foreign war. As it stands right now, I am staring down the barrel of acquiring a second job. It’s nothing new for a guy like me, as I have been there before, but it does make me wonder if others aren’t fully recognizing the damage done to this country. This is the point in my life that I fully understand the honest man isn’t the common man. The honest man is the uncommon man, which is only paid lip service by those who “know better.”

Naïve? Yes. I will not argue the naïveté of such. What should it matter, at this point, to anyone anyway? Being frank is a part of who I am. Should anyone hold it against me that I try to make it work? It was that hope which made this all naïve.

There are brighter notes to this, and I’m willing to move on to them. Tuesday night brought me an acquaintance for a chat. He learnt I wrote, and was very enthusiastic about the idea. He’s a potter, painter, and teacher. In the middle of discussing motivation and inspiration, he recommended the documentary PressPausePlay. Having a deep respect for Eliseo, I watched it the following afternoon piecemeal between projects. They key for this particular movie is to take it all in without expressing an opinion until afterward. It touches on many aspects of what the artist has to grapple today.

My take had multiple thoughts, but initially there was only one. It takes time for me to sit and think for the rest to come to light. Regardless, I wrote a note to myself which eventually found its way to my home office wall. It reads:

Nate,

You cannot spend your life worrying about the ends. The only true end is death. It’s the process of making [creating] that means more than death.”

I found something personally useful this week,  and with a bit of spirit, I won’t forget it.

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Saturday March 8th, 2014

Today I have a couple of things to say for a change! There is reason enough to believe I should break them out into separate posts, as they’re different topics. What fortune! I think I’m more excited about that fact than I am the actual material but what happens next is still a bright spot on the grey-matter-gone-black that is my mental faculties. There may have been a spider or two that scurried away as I cracked open that cellar door.

Last night was shaping up to be a real Emo-city, cut-and-not-so-dry, window-gazer of an evening. All dressed up in suit and tie from a seminar I attended that day, I went to eat dinner out. The hurried, mechanical pace of American restaurants and a waitress too young to flirt with didn’t satisfy what I craved. Fortunately I keep a book at my side, being that dining alone is a way of life here. I thumbed the pages of The Jungle before setting out for a different venue. Ho-hum. That’s not in reference to the book, just the atmosphere.

Next stop was a swankier bar downtown. I’m not entirely sure why I went there. Maybe it’s because the women dress better? With better dress though can come attitudes, especially with the clientele being employees of a large corporate headquarters a few blocks away. Just as a side note, it doesn’t take much money to gain a sense of superiority in the Fields. A yearly salary of $70,000 could cultivate a behavior similar to that seen on “The Real Housewives of…” It’s slightly amusing, as I have been to much more wealthy locations in this country, but mostly tragic… and annoying. Most annoying was the woman so drunk she was laughing like Salacious B. Crumb and loudly.

Scratching cold starts in my journal, I could only stare out the window in efforts to find some sort of inspiration. A video comment by Ira Glass found on Jodie Llewellyn’s blog was running through my mind at the time, and I felt I needed a running start to have the spirit move me. I ended up walking out with little to show for it. The gloom of a failed evening was starting to follow me. So, I did the best I could: change cities.

Driving about 20 minutes north reveals a small college town with a better tone throughout, in my opinion. I set up camp at a sports bar near the highway just to sit and read. Those are what I’ve decided to be the staples in my life right now: reading and writing. Most of the time there was being conscious of a presence sitting next to me. Cocksure and country alpha, I could feel a pissy nature emit from the turned back of a patron. Was he jealous that I was reading, or just a jerk? Later in the evening he was joined by another and his dialog only assured me of the latter. Foul with crass etiquette (i.e. spitting), his  conversation covered a gamut of gems ranging from aggression to sour grapes.

Not quite ready to give up the ship, I stopped by a bar I usually visit for some tonic and whatever else I could squeeze out of Upton Sinclair. I don’t like the idea of being so frequent to an establishment that I either lose interest or wear out my welcome. Last night was not one to mull over that fine point. It turned out to be a great decision, as a girl broke my concentration with an inquiry of the reading material. After a well-received joke, I went back to reading as her significant other body-blocked our field of view. He was definitely jealous of our rapport, and I relished it like a villain.

Stepping outside for another broken promise, I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen from the local university. Both were philosophy majors with a interest in books. Naturally they opened up with my selection for the evening and we had a delightful conversation that ran almost an hour in the freezing cold. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Sinclair, Dick, Asimov, Kerouac, Bradbury, Heinlein, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald were all under the same roof. I could not have been happier even if I wasn’t a fan of some of the authors. The spectre of depression had been banished to the void for at least a night. Happily, I drove home content for a change.

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Monday, February 24th, 2014

I don’t like causing too much of a fuss out in public. For one, it’s much quicker to maneuver around low-quality humans than it is wasting time dealing with them. Second of all, this area is small, impressionable and judgmental. You get a reputation, and that’s not always a good thing. All of this is under the assumption you’re not from money. If you’re wealthy, you can do whatever you please. I’m sure many in America know that unspoken rule.

I decided to have a vegetarian burrito at the local Chipotle last night because guacamole is fantastic and I wanted to take a ride to a nearby town for some brainstorming. When I arrived, the line was at least twenty to twenty-five customers deep. It would be roughly a ten-minute wait. Not a problem. I’m patient.

As I approached the counter, the line workers started to run out of ingredients. The making of tacos, burritos and bowls ground to a screeching halt. Cooks were frustrated, the line crew was panic-stricken, and the sharks were starting to circle. By sharks, I mean customers.

As the replacements slowly came in, a person who appeared to be the shift manager said something to the cooks out of my earshot which garnered a tired, irritated response along the lines “I’m doing what I can.” It was at that point a middle-aged soccer mom got on her soap box. She explained how the in-fighting wasn’t helpful, her experience there wasn’t that great, she didn’t want to come back again, everyone was upset about what was going on, and she wanted to see the manager. I tolerated her whining up until the point she dragged me in on it.

Excuse me, lady? Speak for yourself. If I have a beef with these workers, I’ll let them know. I don’t need your help. Thanks, pay for your food and get lost. It would probably be a good thing for everyone involved if you didn’t come back ever again. Heck, I’ll frequent the place more to cover the loss in business. How ’bout them apples?

By the time I got up to the frazzled staff, I was boiling hot. It wasn’t from the workers; it was that spoiled little brat ahead of me. If I was too hungry to be decent in public, then it’s my own fault for not eating sooner. She could have made her own dinner and saved us all the headache of listening to her. These employees have to churn out meals for dozens of people a night. People like her. She needs to get real. Don’t try to catch people coming and going.

I addressed every employee as politely and friendly as I could. If there was an ingredient temporarily out of stock, I’d say “no worries” and find the next best substitute. The irked cook who sparked the woman’s diatribe went so far as to say “I like this guy!” I raised my finger and said “patience is a virtue” without so much as a hint of emotion. It was the truth. It didn’t need to be doctored up. He smiled. The tense atmosphere cleared out and the other customers who were acting like brats shriveled up like Shrinky Dinks. Serves ’em right. I’d also like to believe it got me a tad bit more guacamole than corporate suggests.

We’ve all been in frustrating and stressful situations before. We’re not perfect. We get mad. That’s normal. If you can’t cut people slack for being human, don’t even bother asking for any when you become such. It’s going to happen, too. I guarantee it.

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Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Dear Citizens of WordPress Province,

I know it’s highly irregular of me to post three times on a weekend, but this needs to be done for my reflection. Not in the mirror, mind you, but mental reflection. I’m not that vain. This is much like my earlier post about the dream, which I have a vague idea now what I was troubled over. I think I am concerned over making the wrong move again. The two roommates were a thought over the people that I meet in my life. The two were actually one, and the second was skeptical of showing all of themselves to new people. Guarded, if you will.

Right, now for the real point. I set up a profile on a niche dating site. For right now, I won’t specifically identify it but it’s not match.com, OKCupid, or eHarmony. As an aside, the eHarmony starter kit depressed me so much I couldn’t finish it. I read in between the lines way too much, and the “encouraging” lines translated just so to the point I felt like a sorry sack of crap. This place is a tiny website that scares away people who don’t like to read. I’ve given you all the information you need to figure it out on your own.

It has been over three weeks since I started the profile, but the return hasn’t been much of anything. I put everything in its right place, even several short but meaningful reviews of books I’ve read over the years. That’s not to say I was expecting anything, but there it is. The point is there were no corners cut in the effort I put into it. I’ve always thought I haven’t read as much as I should, but looking at other people I’m a little ahead of the game. That’s disappointing, not reading.

Last night, as I finished my flash fiction and laundry, I received a small two-sentence message from another user.

“Biting profile words; I’m hooked. Tell me more, tell me anything.”

As far as I could tell, she wasn’t a spammer. The reviews looked genuine and there weren’t any links to other websites. She was from Oregon, which I later ran the numbers to be approximately 2,500 miles (~4,000 km) away from the Fields. Maybe she mistook the OH for OR?

It was at 6:00pm, and I decided to think about what to say. After all, what do I have to lose from responding with a well-thought out email? By the time I was ready to write, she vanished. It was no more than 17 hours after she said something. I don’t think anything less than 24 is rude, do you? The profile was deleted with no way to respond. I didn’t realize what happened, until I screamed “how the Hell do you respond on this thing?!” That’s when I saw the small-print notification.

What was it that made her bail so quickly I wonder? Was it the time lag or the distance? I can relate to the mileage. All of my “matches,” and that’s in quotes because they’re not seemingly good fits, are on the coasts. That’s a long way, brother. Maybe the whole idea really brought her down?

Whatever it was, I hope she finds what she’s looking for.

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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Oh, the people that you will meet.

Tonight is Super Bowl Sunday, but that was not why I was at a sports bar. That was for dinner, as it was close and I didn’t want to cook. I’d have to do some grocery shopping as well. Over the din of fans and children, I found a spot on the patio. Truth be told it was to smoke a cigarette. It’s a touchy subject, but I cannot lie about it.

Depending on a person’s point of view, I either had the fortune or misfortune of being either entertained or held hostage by a sir of some 50 years of age. He started with commenting on the football game. No one around here appreciates the “handegg” label I’ve applied to it. I thought the suggestion was rather convincing myself. Regardless, he spoke highly of Seattle’s coordination and ability. I merely wanted to smoke my cigarette and wonder if Sancho Panza truly believed he was going to get a parcel of land out of Don Quixote, or if he was playing along for the ride.

Then the conversation took a turn. That is to say, he went straight into politics with little warning. Now, I’m not a huge fan in talking about something I don’t have much control over to start. It’s often the same love or hatred for one politician or another, or the intricacies of a bill/law. He wasn’t talking about that though. No, he was talking about hardcore conspiracy theory. The gentleman was of the impression the entire globe was priming up for the next world war.

What the Devil do you do with that? It’s like being dressed for a cookout and taken to a black-tie event. You instantly don’t want to be there. How do you unroll, with no time for consideration of thought or delivery (ESPECIALLY delivery), while it’s possible conspiracy theorists can be right they can also be very wrong. Conspiracy theorists are convinced no matter what. It’s not even a discussion; it’s being talked at.

I’ve tried to think of several ways to get people of this nature through the whole ordeal without too much fuss, and then I can go about my interests. It’s currently to let them talk at me, and have them go back to their business. That never seems to be enough though. They want agreement. They want validation. That is thought bullying, and I don’t care for it.

He started off with his version of an “intelligence test,” which I don’t think I passed but that’s inconsequential. The disputed quote from Albert Einstein is, “everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” It has some validity. No human can know it all, although many often think otherwise.

After letting him ramble for about 10 minutes, I finally excused myself for dinner. Otherwise, it would have been much longer than that. He wouldn’t finish. It was verbal diarrhea at its best. I’m not going into details, but he’s convinced it will start with the bombing of Israel and roll into global destruction. Again, what is there to discuss? The world has had a history of war and destruction as far as people have kept records. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, which is the way it has been in the past. Am I to quake every night about it? Do I have control over the powers that be to bring about the Age of Aquarius?! No, of course not.

It’s times like this that I think of Kurt Vonnegut, and his use of the Serenity Prayer. It also brings me to the question: when does one believe people like Nietzche’s madman and when does one throw him out of the church for running amok?

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