Sing in me, O Muse.

I haven't written here in a while.

It's not that I haven't had things to write about. I could have, if I forced myself. But forcing myself has never been a way for me to produce my best writing.

My best writing always seems to strike when I least expect it. She likes to sneak-inspire me, clutching me from sleep and pulling me close in an embrace of words until my brain is buzzing and my fingers are shaking as I type.

Writing without that never seems as good. I guess I miss her when she's gone. And she's been gone for quite a while.


I have a small black notebook. It's partially filled with old, incomprehensible scribblings from when I served as a ward clerk. But it also has a few verses, random lines of thought, moments when inspiration didn't clutch at me so much as brush past me on a busy street. Many of them come from the creative writing class I took in college, an entry-level course I considered somewhat beneath me (call it curse or blessing, but I can produce iambic pentameter as easily as breathing) but which had a greater artistic effect on me than I anticipated.

The notebook, which I used to take around with me to school, to work, to church, now lies mostly blank. I take it out and look at it sometimes, but she doesn't seem to live in there any more.


I had a dream a couple of nights ago. I don't remember much of it now. I wrote seven words on the back of an envelope on my desk when I woke up: "Bookstore scene. Star Wars book. Holding hands."

I think she wanted me then. I think she was trying to reach out to me, trying to tell me to get my fat ass out of bed and come to her, trying to give me a gift that I'm not sure I deserved. At least, I seem to have refused it.

I wanted to write about that dream, and that scene. I wanted to narrate it, to flesh out the characters and emotions a little, to try and describe the comfort and love I experienced in that small gesture of taking a woman's hand in mine and knowing, somehow, that we were feeling and thinking and living the same thing at that fictional moment inside my head.

I think that's about as close as I can come tonight. Maybe that's close enough for now.

Maybe she was the one holding my hand.

when you're fast asleep.

If a dream is a wish your heart makes, then my heart is seriously messed up.

Either that, or I've been watching way too much Buffy.

You know what, it's probably both.

celestial mechanics.

spirits in the material world.

If what I can sense with my senses is all there is to life, I'd be pretty unhappy.

I do more than see, touch, taste (too much of that one). I think. My boy René got that one right. And I feel. And you will never tell me that the things I think and feel are not valid, that they can be callously tossed aside or ignored or treated as anything less than what they are: proof of Life, and More Than Life.

Sometimes I have these moments where... I dunno, they're not out-of-body experiences... but they're just moments where I realize that the me I see, the meatsack in the mirror, the biped with the opposable thumbs wearing the Green Lantern t-shirt -- that's not really the Me I am. And I feel like Me is looking out through my/his/our eyes and everything becomes not quite there, and Me is just inhabiting me for a little while before moving on to someplace else. And then it suddenly becomes too much to take, the idea that I'm living this life on behalf of this other organism that is fundamentally identical and completely different and I think, if I could just get out of this me-ness and see that other life, just for a second, that I would change everything forever.

And I know that has all sorts of religious undertones (or other implications regarding my sanity, or lack thereof) and that's really not where I'm trying to go, exactly. Smarter people than I have got this sort of thing down to a science, quite literally -- several of them, in fact.

But I'm still here. And I still feel. And most days that's enough for me.

Henley knew it, and Madiba learned it.

I am the captain of my soul.

believe in what you want.

I'm driving tonight.

It's a little after 2am.
I drive past the coffee shop, the one that always seems to have people sitting outside late at night if the weather is good, and since it's mid-March the weather is getting much better, and I wonder (as I always do) how late the shop stays open and what the people there talk about and how badly I would stick out if I ever tried to go there since I don't drink coffee and I don't socialize late at night and I don't do well in large groups.
I drive on.

I pass train stations on my left and fast food on my right.
I get to the bottom of the hill and start up the S-curve, the one that I usually take a straight line through, crossing and re-crossing the lanes at will because there's no one else on the road.
Except tonight there's someone else on the road.
I guess it's you.

I stay in my lane and you stay in yours.
Actually, you stay in yours for a little while, then you merge left into the center lane, closer to me.
You are a silver Kia and you have soft, unobtrusive headlights.
You seem to match my speed, staying just behind me on my right, as if you did not want your presence to be known, as if you were trying to stay unnoticed, as if you wanted me to notice.

We pass through intersections.
We pass under lime greens and stop at fruit punch reds.
We pass beyond shadow and into light and back again.

We see a shape.
Then three shapes.
The shapes are moving.
The shapes are alive.
The shapes canter across our path, and we slow to grant them passage.
They give us no sign or acknowledgment.
This is their time and they are unaffected.
Even though we turn our heads as we pass, the shapes are vanishing; they have permitted us to share for a moment but no longer, and they must press on.

We look at each other.

You are no longer a silver Kia.
You are young, and you are beautiful, and your hair is shadow and your expression light.
And you smile as you turn your head back from the shapes now behind us.
You smile at me, in delight at the sharing, and I wonder if you now see my expression, if I have stopped being me and become something other, the way you have.

I have to turn now.

You drive straight.

statute of limitations.

It's not, like, a fantastic idea, as a general rule, to live in the past. I do think I've figured that much out.

I mean, it's just sort of... there. Whatever happened, happened, as Daniel Faraday would say. They are matters of record, even if the only record that exists is in your head, or someone else's head.

Except those two records don't always see eye to eye, or synapse to synapse. (And now I sound like Ben Gibbard.) There are events in my life of cosmic magnitude and limitless significance, and these chapters, essays, dissertations which I study and analyze and deconstruct in an effort to figure out What The Hell My Deal Is... those same events are mere footnotes in the ongoing autobiographies of the other parties involved.

It's probably better that way.

And maybe those events aren't quite as significant as I remember them to be. A guy named Leonard (just to round out the pop-culture references) once told me that memories aren't that reliable, that they're not even that good, that they're an interpretation and not a record. Maybe that's for the best too.

We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are.


My mirrors suck, though. In my mirrors I'm always having a bad hair day, it's always the not-so-good side of my face, the lighting's all wrong, I'm squinting, and I didn't have time to shave.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in these mirrors and the recollection is so sharp that I gasp for air as the embarrassment and the pain and the shame and the guilt flood over me, drowning me, battering me like that time I went down that one water slide at Seven Peaks and I wasn't ready and forgot to cross my arms and legs and cover my mouth and I ended up with a bellyful of extra-strength chlorinated water and I was seeing spots in front of my eyes from the lack of oxygen.

It's a lot harder for me to find a good mirror. They're there -- but they're hazy and indistinct, and it usually takes some sort of external stimulus to resurrect them: the scent of a perfume (they say that olfactory recollections are the strongest), the taste of a certain dish at a certain restaurant, any number of pieces of music (my first kiss: "Jeremy," by Pearl Jam, and it wasn't on purpose, I swear, it was just on the radio).

Maybe that's why I like re-reading books, re-listening to favorite albums, re-watching TV shows where I know all the lines. Those are mirrors where I don't have the burden of a reflection.


It's been said that we all reach the future at the rate of sixty minutes an hour. But some of those hours contain more minutes than you might think.

I've been in another world for a long time.

There's a lot of things I can stand. And a couple things I can't.

I'm only too aware of my faults. Boy, am I.

Some of them I can change, and I'm working on those.

Some of them I can't change, and I accept those as part of who I am, and make peace with myself, secure in the knowledge that I have other qualities that compensate.

(Some of them I can change, but I lack the courage or strength or willpower or desire or motivation to do anything about it. So I keep them around as a ready excuse, in case anyone ever asks; I can point to them and say, "See, that's why, and I'll do something about them someday, and then everything will be great." They're my crutch.)

(That's another post for another day.)


Here's the thing: I know I have strengths, too. I'm good at lots of things. And I'm not just talking about skills like playing the piano or quoting lines from movies (or writing obscure cathartic late-night missives that no one understands but me). I'm talking about qualities, traits of personality, things about Me that are Mine, that are Good.

There have been times in my life where I was more sure of that, and times when I was less sure. But by now I'm pretty confident in the qualities I have. And in the shadows I don't have.

So when someone takes those very qualities -- things that I've spent a lifetime cultivating, things that I use to buoy myself up when I remember all those faults, things that I remember when I get two flat tires in a week and another late night at the office and another meeting in the morning that I'm not getting paid for and a cold that won't go away -- when someone, someone I care about, takes those qualities and accuses me of not having them, of being the thing I always hated and tried with all my heart not to be, and then runs away, shuts down, prevents me from doing anything to prove that someone wrong, to show that I'm not That Guy...

I can't take that.


And yeah, I know it's not really my fault (and I can't help but think of Matt Damon bawling his eyes out on Robin Williams' shoulder when I say that, even though the comparison is silly and the difference in degrees is gargantuan). But it sure feels like it is. It's all my fault. When the chips were down and someone needed me most and I had the perfect opportunity to utilize 26 years' worth of compassion and empathy and love, to utilize Myself in the way that only I can... I blew it.

And I think, maybe I never had it in the first place. And that absolutely kills me.


 I don't truly believe what I just wrote there.

But tonight I do.

I don't know what you just said because I was thinking about Batman.

I was just leaving the bathroom for the evening, having taken my customary seat on the toilet (even though I didn't need to actually take the seated position but I wanted to read a few pages in the David Sedaris book that currently rests on the tank) when I happened to look myself dead in the eye.

I saw Age there.

It was no more than a glance, a fleeting passing wisp of a presence that I don't know if I've ever felt before.

Like most people, I don't feel old. More to the point, I don't feel like an adult. I feel like I got to about 19 years old and then went to South Africa and skipped a couple birthdays while I was there and when I got back I forgot how to remember the years I was gone and so I'm stuck in this anomaly in the space-time continuum where my hair gets grayer and I get fatter but my Me-ness never changes. It's like the inverse of Groundhog Day -- everything around me is altering, shaping, progressing, decaying. Somehow my body left my soul behind -- just after high school, I think.

Except when I caught that glimpse of Age in my eye in the bathroom mirror at 3:30 a.m., I suddenly saw and sensed and felt every one of my 26 years.

I guess I am an adult. It must've happened when I wasn't looking.

the worth of a game.

I wrote this on the blog I write for at It's about the value of video games (if they have any [I think they do]). You should go read it.

I don't make plans.

It's hard to tell.

I've got all this... something. Love, I guess. Compassion. Empathy. Charity. Something.

I'm like anyone else; I've been fed (gorged, really) on modern romantic comedies and Disney princesses and classics of unrequited-ness and fantasies that transcend time and space and dimension and (like Rob Fleming/Gordon said) thousands of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. I don't think it has made me miserable, though. It's just made me confused.

It's not that I expect fantasy. I don't. I want reality.

I just can't tell when reality is there. If it's there. If it ever can be.

Everyone else seems to know when it's there. They don't just believe in it; they know. They can tell their eros from their philia, their agape from their storge. They have experience -- real-life, this-actually-happened proof. I don't. I've been close. But not close enough.

I can't tell if I'm living an unwritten life or just writing it myself, but badly. Or maybe the writing is there, but the performance is off, the emphasis all wrong, the metaphor over my head, and I stumble through the reading, uncomprehending, unfeeling, dull.

Because I know not what I do when all this... something, that I have, comes out. There are reasons there, obviously, somewhere inside my psyche, if you'd care to poke around in it (and I'm not sure why you'd care to, but some days I wish I knew how). But there's one reason that should be there. I'm not sure I can identify it.

When you're already willing to do anything for anyone, just because they asked, how can you tell when the asking is more important than the doing?

When everyone means the world to you, how can you tell when someone means the sun and moon and stars?

I don't know.