I Think I’m Done…For Now

Anyone that knows me, or has followed me for any length of time, know that I’m prone to taking extended breaks from blogging. These breaks typically start in the fall when my life ramps up with activity. It’s hard for me to balance writing along with everything else that goes on the latter half of the year. I’ve often had to admit to myself that I am not “superman” and that I can’t do everything, so I step away from writing/blogging for a few months.

I wish that were simply the case now, but it’s not…

It’s been a month since I have written/posted anything new, and that was a simple 7-line “Essence” poem on September 1st. Everything after that have been reposts of older pieces that I had written a long time back. To be honest, I am not trying to force the words. I haven’t even attempted to write anything new. Why? Because, the only words that have been coming to me are the ones you are reading right now.

I often wonder why I came back to write in March/April of this year after taking an extended break for several months. Even then, my heart really wasn’t in it anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long, long time. The words are forced and have begun to sound rote (and repetitive) to me. To alleviate that, I tried getting back into storytelling, but even that was escaping me. So, I tried my hand at writing personal essays, but, that…that just isn’t me.

At one time I thought writing was as natural as breathing for me and that it would be impossible for me to stop. I felt like it was an essential part of my life and that I would be lost without it. I’m beginning to think that I was wrong about that and other things as well.

That being said… while I will continue to be around to read and comment, I will be taking an extended break with no promise to return to writing. However, I have no plans on deleting/removing this site. I will keep it up just in case the urge to write ever strikes me again.

Take care,

AC Elliott, 1 Oct 18

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Stained

Black stain upon my hands
Inky and dark from smudging
Papers, with words scattered
Haphazardly thrown together
Nothing more than a jumbled list
Unorganized, random thoughts

Black stains upon my face
Inky and dark from rubbing
With stained hands,
While pondering
Scribbles that make no sense
To anyone other than myself

Renderings of my subconscious
On the paper, hands and face
Smelling of ink, dark and stained
Condemned
To be unable to generate
A single coherent thought

Ennui ensues
Wishing to change
The channel in my mind
To watch something else
Capitulating to writer’s block
Waiting for “The End.”

~~
©ÀC Elliott, 2016

On Shaving and Compassion (Thinking Over Coffee #6)

I woke up this morning, and somehow managed to slide out of the bed. By sliding, I literally mean…sliding. I had done something to my back towards the end of last week and it hasn’t been forgiving to me in the least. Needless to say the muscle relaxers are long out of my system by the time I try to get up. Therefore, sliding is a necessary evil.

It’s not the age, it’s the mileage, I thought to myself (not for the first time). I can’t remember where I first heard that turn of phrase, but these days it’s more applicable than it used to be. Between the shoulder I’ve dislocated so many times that I’ve lost count, the bum knee from 20 years earlier, and my back…there’s a lot of mileage on my body.

Stumbling over to the vanity, I took a bath cloth and ran it under cold water. I was hoping that the cold, damp cloth would help to clear the fog in my brain from the muscle relaxer. It didn’t, but, at least I tried.

Damn, if that boy wasn’t right, I thought, looking at myself in the mirror. My youngest son had recently told me “the gray really shines through when the light hits your beard just right.” He was right, it did shine through, like shimmering stars on a cloudless night. In and of itself, that didn’t bother me in the least. After all, I know how old I am, and gray hair is par for the course as you age. Still, I decided to shave it off none-the-less, for no other reason than the fact that I hated how itchy it made me feel when working outside this past weekend.

Finally, ready for my day, I decided to make some coffee and think for a bit. I had recently been talking about my progress and evolution in writing/blogging. So, I thought I might continue down that line, but my brain had other ideas.

My coffee tasted bitter today. There was nothing different about it. I used the same coffee grounds, the same amount of creamer and nothing changed with the sweetener. So, there was nothing wrong with my coffee. I could only assume that the problem was with my own taste buds and the bitterness that clung to it.

I’m not sure where the bitter taste came from either. It was just there. I was in one of “those moods” today, and I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried. It might have had something to do with the ominous feeling of change that I felt settle over my shoulders as soon as I woke up.

Those changes could have been work related. Last week I had a large meeting that lasted 2 to 3 days, where a lot of things were discussed, changes were made organizationally, and new tasks were handed out. Truth be told, I am still unsure of what is going to come from it.

Or, it could have been personally related. Especially since I have a lot going on there as well.

Regardless of the cause, the bitter taste was there, and I couldn’t shake it, no matter how hard I tried. One thing I do know, is that it has influenced the rest of my day and heavily impacted my thoughts.

For some reason, it brought to mind a discussion I had with my new director last week, about strengths and weaknesses.

The Conversation

“What do you feel is one of your strengths?” he had asked me, while we were getting to know one another.

“My compassion has always been a strength, because underneath this rough exterior, I really do care for my people.” (further expounding unneeded for this venue)

“And, your weakness?” He asked, and I smirked, knowing that question would come up next.

“My compassion, because underneath this rough exterior and loud bark, I really do give a shit about people.”

Further Thoughts

So, how can being compassionate be both a strength and a weakness? I asked myself, taking another sip of coffee. Is that even possible? Well, obviously it is, because I just stated it was both a strength and a weakness of mine. I’m still working on how to explain the how and why.

~~~~
© AC Elliott, 21-Aug-18

Chin Deep

Drowning in the muck, mire
piled up to my chin
I should have worn waders
with all the shit that I’m in
~~~~
Just a bit of a fun way to relieve some stress. No other writing coming today, or probably tomorrow either. I have a lot of work and heavy meetings taking up my time. So, while I will be reading, I won’t be back until later this week with some more pieces.

Until then…

~~~~
© AC Elliott, 15-Aug-18

Discovering the Void (Thinking Over Coffee #5)

I woke this morning, and once again reluctantly started my day. Looking in the mirror, I could see the gruff visage and dark eyes looking back at me. I had recently decided to grow my beard out, and honestly, I’m still on the fence about whether to keep it or not. Especially after my son made certain to point out the gray in my beard the night before, and how “when the light shines, the gray just shines!” God love him, I thought, deciding to leave the beard for now.

Once I was finally ready for the day, I poured my coffee, and as usual, added my dash of sweetener and creamer. Taking a sip, my mind immediately wandered back to this little series. I had started it a couple of weeks prior and it was aptly named “Thinking Over Coffee”, because, well… it is my thoughts while sipping my coffee, lol.

When I started it, I wasn’t certain where I wanted to go with it. All I knew was that it isn’t easy for me to talk openly about myself, so I started writing it in the third person as a story format. That was easier for me to do, and while I am not usually one to take the easy road (on anything), I felt it was a good way to break myself in properly. And, now, I am ready to change it up some and write it in the first person as a personal narrative. We will see how it works out…

~~~~

In the last couple of entries, I had taken on discussing my writing and where it comes from. The original title of this portion of “ToC” was actually “The Evolution of AC Elliott”, because I wanted to discuss how my writing came to be and the different variations I have gone through over the years. However, I later changed the title to “A Means of Escape”, because it fit the content better. Truthfully, I had no idea where it was going to go and was surprised with how it all came out.

I had left off on my last post talking about how there was “No Means of Escape”. In that piece I had shared how I had felt my work wasn’t good enough to share due to the negative reinforcement I had been receiving. That wasn’t written out of self-pity, it was more a retrospective piece and I am continuing in the same vein.

~~~~

Then

In 2000, I had decided to delete my first website and withdrew from writing altogether. There was a bitter taste in my mouth when it came to writing, any kind of writing. I still told stories to my oldest son, who was 7 at the time, but the thought of picking up a pen to write made me sick to my stomach. That feeling stuck with me for the next several years too, until sometime in early-to-mid 2004.

By 2004, my life had changed quite a bit. In the intervening years, I had started up two businesses, was working full time, was deeply enmeshed in college studies, and I had gotten married to my second wife. One would think that all of that would be enough, but still there was a void inside of me. Something was missing from my life and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Ironically, I had found my love for writing again through writing college papers. Especially philosophical and argumentative papers (because I am soooo opinionated). However, I also enjoyed the dissecting of classical literature and poetry. At the time, I had written a paper on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” wherein I portrayed Dr. Jekyll as a Victorian Age drug addict. Afterwards, I tackled Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Christabel” comparing the main character to a vampire. Once more, my fate was sealed, I was hooked and had found what was missing from my life.

Although I was once more hooked, I still wasn’t certain what to do with it. I was reticent about creating another site for hosting writing. I really didn’t know how to market it anyway, and I was still deeply enmeshed in my college studies as well. Therefore, time was not on my side (and it never has been either).

Then, I stumbled onto a website that allowed you to post articles. It escapes me what that website was called at the time, and it may/may not still be around. However, it was a website that allowed you to write articles in different categories based on topics that were presented. Intrigued, I took a stab at it and began writing articles here and there (when I wasn’t busy with other things).

It was fun, but still something was missing… I still needed to find my escape and those articles weren’t proving to be the ticket…

(To be continued)

~~~~
© AC Elliott, 14-Aug-18

Wishing for a Hammock

Although I seem to be on vacation a lot, I’m often more tired after the vacation, than I am before the vacation. Why? Because, most of the time, those vacations are slam packed with activity…go, go, go from morning to night (much like I am at home too). Even when I was out camping for a week, every day was filled with some sort of activity. So much so, that when I got home, all I did was crash and burn. That being said, I don’t know the last time I had a relaxing vacation where I only did what I wanted to do. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten how it felt to relax, even for a little while.

I’ve been tired too, and I’ll be the first to admit, more than just a little ornery. All this go, go, go has been wearing me thin. Always being the one to fix everything, whether at work or at home. Always the strong one, when sometimes even I need help. Tense. Sore. Muscles tight. Alone, even when not alone. I think Waylon said it best, when he said…

“Been driving these highways,
Been doing things my way
It’s been making me lonesome on’ry and mean”

Yeah, that’s me… “lonesome, on’ry and mean.”

So, I took that time and did what I wanted to do. I drank some beer and fished all day. Caught a mess of drum, croakers, flounder and mullets. Then, taught my boy how to clean and cook them right. I enjoyed the sunrise while sitting on the dock by the house, fishing rod in hand. I went kayaking for hours to work out the stress and tenseness in my body. Then, I laid back in a hammock, closing my eyes and letting myself get whisked away into other pleasant places where stress is released in a much different way.

And, now… now, I am back at work and wishing I was still on that hammock…

~~~~
© AC Elliott, 13-Aug-18