Friday, June 10, 2022

The Price Of Wishing

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

pickles ~ summer ~ thunderstorm ~ puppy

They were submitted by:


It was a summer night just like this one when I came here. A thunderstorm just like this one. If I believed in portents, I would definitely be a little concerned. But I don't. So it's fine. It's finally going to be fine.

In less than a day I will have done my time, and I'll be free. Sort of free. You don't live out a 400 year sentence for the kinds of crimes I was found guilty for without it being, you know, a big deal. Everyone seems to know who I am. I'll never get a minute's peace, but I'll finally be out of here. I'll finally move outside of these gray walls and the parade of hoodlums that come in and out changing styles, changing names, changing crimes but never really being different people. 1997 was a good year. pre-9/11. I mean things weren't great before that either but inevitably things hit a pretty steep decline afterwards. 10 years, 20, 50,100... All the milestones came and went. Wardens changed. Rules changed. The outside changed... And here I still am, still living in 1997 in my head and being pushed out into whatever awaits me in 2397. It's a tenuous freedom, but it is freedom.

When I accepted immortality as my gift from that djinn I didn't expect to spend eternity in a box watching as humans devoured each other metaphorically and then literally. I didn't expect to be handed a 400 year sentence for feeding a hunger I didn't ask for in the first place.

A hunger that's been satisfied by involuntary donations from the prisoners here once the cops figured out what happened when they denied what I am..

The last night.

I've missed my kids lives. Their kids lives. Their great grandkids lives. Do I even have family left? I've missed world war 3. 4. Nuclear fallout. An apocalypse and rebirth. Revolutions that won and revolutionaries stomped out by their own people's greed. I don't get to watch the news anymore. Not after my last freakout that left a few screws dead. I don't know what it looks like except words from the kids coming in here, a revolving door of outside culture. I hardly recognize the language anymore.

400 years.

4 years of this place is enough to drive some men insane, and I've been here 400. Am I even getting out of has my grasp of reality completely obliterated? Sometimes I don't even know if anything I know to be true actually is the truth. Sometimes in the dark of night when nothing is quiet, after all the sleeplessness, I don't know if I haven't made it all up.

And then I get hungry and for at least those few moments that hunger is being sated with pulse against teeth, I see it all so clearly.

Hours. Hours left.

I miss pickles I can't have anymore. I miss the smell of puppy breath right before they lick your face and fill you with joy. Are those things even real? Am I really? What's the price of 400 years? How can you leave one world and re-enter another you don't recognize anymore and be ok?

But I won't be here... At least there's that?

I won't be fed anymore either.

I won't be fed.

And I'll be so hungry.




Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


What TF Sarah

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, June 3, 2022

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 5 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Would you rather be the sand castle or the wave?

It was submitted by: 


 ...I'm not a philosopher.

Like I don't have enough time ony hands to really wonder what it all means or if life has a purpose or the existential threads of my existence. To be perfectly honest, I really don't even think about where this world came from or what's in space. The closest I get to wanting to solve a puzzle is maybe how the Somerton man died or what happened to Brandon Lawson or who the zodiac killer is. I don't really ever think about the bigger why are we here kind of picture, and at times I'm not even thinking  beyond the day I'm living. Every day life keeps me pondering enough. Why do people always blame a mysterious them? How do cults work? Why do we always fall for scams? How can we fix the many things that are broken? Why does one or my cats keep pooping in the sink drain? how the fuck am I going to make it through the day when I just used all my energy shampooing muddy dog prints off my carpet? When you're thinking about things that are not necessarily in your control but close I think the bigger things that might not ever have an answer seem to sink into the background.

I've written a lot of people in prison over the last 15ish or so years. I've definitely had my run ins with philosophical questions because of it. These are people who do have time, nothing but sometimes, and access to a library always full of philosophers if nothing else, and an aching need to ponder what it might all mean now that life takes the form of a highly controlled and caged environment. The big picture perhaps becomes essential to sanity because the everyday things are out of their hands and off their radar if they want to stay afloat. And I get that, but god does it grate on my nerves

I have to say even with the years of philosophy and the questions and the conversations and, well it's philosophy so... definitely some arguments, I don't really know how to approach this idea. The wave or the sandcastle? I don't care. I just want to be able to afford food this month. Do I want to be a thing shaped by human direction or by the moon? Do I want to be make the most of my environment and let it destroy me just to rise again or do I want to be the thing that shapes the environment? I don't think there's really an answer here that says anything about me or about my worldview or about existence because there are pros and cons to each way or looking at these ideas and these questions and the fascinating thing about being a human is that we can look at sandcastles and waves and take the best parts of those ideas while discarding whatever doesn't serve us, right? We don't have to have those kinds of metaphorical limits and if we don't want to be any parts of either one, then we don't have to do that either. Ask me about being a queer atheist anarchist in the rural South who likes antitheistic satanism and goes to a Christian church every week that rolls and has good conversations with the pastor who loves and accepts all those things--the parts of these things that serve me work together in a way that has made me a much better person than I would be otherwise. Things have changed a lot for me in the time since I embraced the church and anarchism, and I feel like I've definitely grown. I don't have to be limited by and either/or scenario. Ask me why I chose to write people in prison or why I homeschool my kid. Ask me how I found peace with my childhood. Every part of who I am is cutting out the parts of things and feelings and beliefs that don't serve me anymore and embracing the good bits that do. It's been work, but it's been worth it, and I ultimately understand the burning questions I do have all the more because of the journey. I don't have to choose any one thing...

Wave, sandcastle, hermit crab, dried out piece of driftwood, dunes, a horse running on the beach... I'm all of it.


Part-time Working Hockey Mom