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He Journeyed Long

4 Apr

He did not know how long he had been walking. He could not remember where he began. He only knew that he had been walking for a long time, and it had been a rough journey. He was tired. He was covered with mud. The journey had to end, but he did not know when that would happen, either. He just had to continue walking.

His path passed over uneven ground and was covered with vegetation. The journey was slow as he made his way through trees, around rocks and over a trail that really was not a trail. As far as he knew, nothing had traveled this path before.

Suddenly, his surroundings changed, and the green that had surrounded him since the beginning gave way to a flat emptiness. The ground was black and cracked. The surface was hard and tough on his bare feet. Earlier, he spotted a large beast, and he instinctively knew that this was its home. The beast was gigantic and made loud rumbling noises when it moved. It would be best to make it through the desolate wasteland as quickly as possible.

However, there was something out there other than the beast. For a long time, he had the feeling of being watched by some unknown force. As he made his way to the end of the black landscape, he heard something racing from behind. He had to make it to the land on the other side before he was caught.

He made it to a land similar to what he had been walking on forever. Rough, green and untrodden. However, he could not escape. His only chance was to stay a still as possible and hope that he was hidden from this new threat.

It was not alone. He heard language that was foreign to him. What were they saying? Could they see him?

They moved around and looked right at him. He never moved. He had no idea what would happen next. He only knew to stay still.

It worked. The creatures moved away from him, but he would not move until he knew it was safe. That feeling never came because he knew that they were watching from the distance.

Eventually, he had no choice. He had to move. He had to follow an irresistible urge to go forward. Something was out there, and he had to find it. Perhaps it was not far away.

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Lyrically Writing – More Than a Feeling

11 Mar

I usually write about real life stuff, but I have dabbled in fiction a few times with one post about an aging rock star and another post about a man walking into a bar. Fiction hits me at strange times, and those times are rare. However, an idea has come to mind about how to get more fiction out of that same mind. It is simple. Just take lyrics from a song and write a more detailed story out of it.

This is my first attempt. The song is “More Than a Feeling” by Boston.

He laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. There were cracks and a stain from an old leak. He studied them with the help of a streetlight shining through the window. He had no idea how long he had been staring at the ceiling, but he knew that it was time to start the day.

He looked out the window and saw nothing but the streetlight. The sun was not up. Nothing was moving. It was just him, the light and the cracks in the ceiling.

He walked to the bathroom and slapped the button on the radio. It was already set to the oldies station. When did the songs of his youth become oldies? He knew the answer as he looked at himself in the mirror. He was also an oldie. Lines spiderwebbed from his tired eyes.

As he studied the map of life on his face, another song came on the radio. It was a song that brought memories from a lifetime ago. It brought recollection and regret. He closed his eyes and listened to the words. Somewhere in the melody, he slipped away.

What was that feeling? No, it was more than a feeling. It was a dream. It was a nightmare. It was heartache. Standing in that cold bathroom with his eyes closed, he saw it happening all over again.

It was a hot summer day. The sunlight glistened in her blonde hair. Hers eyes were swollen with tears as she told him that this was it. She could not do it anymore. It was a moment that he thought would never come. She was done. He was unable to move as she walked away. At that moment, a car drove by with the windows down and the radio up. The song on the radio drifted over him as she disappeared from his life.

He sat in his cubicle as the song played in the chambers of his mind. To make it stop, he thought of the women who had been part of his life. Some of the memories were clearer than others, but there was one certainty. As the years went by, their faces faded further and further into the back of his mind. At some point, they would not be there at all.

However, there was one face that he would never forget. It was a beautiful face etched into his memory. It was also a face of sadness and regret. It was her face as she turned to walk away. It was her face on that summer day when he knew that his life would never be the same.

The day was at a close, and darkness returned to his apartment. He slapped the button on the radio. It was already set to the oldies station. Usually, the music made him forget another uneventful day. This time, it brought her back into his dreams. This time, it brought back that feeling. Wait, it was more than a feeling.

It took him back to a certain time and a certain place. It took him back to that summer day when he did not close his eyes to sleep. He closed his eyes to her love, and, with those closed eyes, his watched her slip away.

 

 

 

A Blogging Recalibration

4 Nov

My blogging anniversary came and went with little fanfare. I did not say anything about it, but I got one of those silver trophies from the WordPress folks. It is hard to believe that I have been blogging for all this time.

Through the years, I have learned a lot. I have learned that some people are interested in the mysteries of gas pumps, and other people want to know the deeper meanings of Smokey and the Bandit.

I have also learned that friends can be made through the Internet. There are people out the who I have come to know, respect and care about. Some of them have left the blogging community, but others are still typing away.

Many of you know that this blog started in a therapy session. My therapist felt that I needed to release some mental frustrations and suggested a diary of some sort. I felt that a diary would not properly release the tension because I would be the only one reading it. The internal noise needed to be released in a different way. Hence, this blog was born.

Those early days were full of caustic writing that was sarcastic and, at times, mean-spirited. In fact, my first comment was negative and came from someone who I knew. The blog was anonymous, and I have still not figured out how they found it.

Getting that comment was also surprising because hardly anyone read the blog. The first month saw an average of two readers a day. However, I kept writing because that was two readers more than there would be if I did not write.

At some point, I began to focus on the statistics. More readers found their way to this place. As the content grew, the readership grew. However, I wanted more and decided to publicize the blog on Twitter.

Honestly, that may have been a mistake. I had to delete some early posts because I did not want people in my real life to read them. Of course, it was impossible to get rid of everything that came pouring out of my mine, and some people close to me were hurt by the words they found.

Publicizing the blog also transformed my writing. A lot of the thoughts inside my mind had to stay there because not everyone needs to know what goes on in there. I decided to stay away from controversial subjects and go with more entertaining stuff. At least, topics that I think are entertaining.

Along the way, the blog kept growing. I was lucky enough to be Freshly Pressed. Although, I still do not understand how a post that included Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man caught the attention of those who decide what is worthy of being Freshly Pressed.

Getting Freshly Pressed created another goal. I wanted to reach the same numbers in another month that I got in the Freshly Pressed month, and that finally happened earlier this year.

I write all of that to write the following. Statistics have become more important than the writing. I have put bad posts out there just for the sake of publishing posts. This means that I have veered completely away from what this blog is supposed to be.

I started the blog to get words out of my head. In a lot of instances, those words were not nice. When I began to publicize the blog, the words changed, but the goal of the blog did not. I was still getting words out of my head. When statistics became the focus, I was typing words that were not really in my head. At least, they were not in there for long.Recalibration

As of today, I am going to recalibrate the blog. I am not going to publish posts just for the sake of numbers. I am going to write when something needs to be written. In other words, when something needs to come out of my mind. That means that I will not be writing as often, and the numbers will probably decrease. However, I hope the quality of the blog will improve.

A Devil of a Post

17 Jul

When my last post was published, I realized that a milestone had been reached. Yep, it was post number 666. Most people know what that means to Christians around the world. It shows up in the Book of Revelation and has become associated with the Antichrist.Dice

To mark this auspicious occasion, I decided to look into this number and see what else is out there. A recent project of mine would be a good place to start.

I read the Bible from cover to cover. At church, they always take out verses and talk about them. It seemed to me that the Bible is a book, and books are meant to be read. In other words, I felt that I would understand it better by reading the verses within the context of the overall work. I will not go into detail about all of that, but I will say this. The number 666 turns up a few times before the Book of Revelation.

Every year, Solomon collected 666 talents of gold.

It is also the number of Adonikam’s descendants who return from Babylonian exile.

Outside the realm of Christianity, the number does some other things.

The numbers of the roulette wheel add up to 666. That is a good reason for me to stick to Blackjack.

The Chinese consider it to be a lucky number.

In Lafayette, Tennessee, which I wrote about a few posts ago, it was the telephone prefix. Growing up, I was always intrigued by that fact.

Despite the luck of the Chinese and the telephones of a small Tennessee town, 666 dominates as a number of evil. With that in mind, we will delve into the dark reaches of my iPod and see what devilish tunes lurk within its bounds.

“The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band

“Dark Night” by The Blasters

“Lucifer” by The Alan Parsons Project

“Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie

“Fallen Angel” by Robbie Robertson

“The Road To Hell” by Chris Rea

“The Devil Made Me Do It” by Golden Earring

“War Pigs” by Black Sabbath

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach

“The Voice And The Snake” by Enigma

“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

“The House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals

“Werewolves Of London” by Warren Zevon

“Season In Hell” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band

“O Fortuna” by Carl Orff

“The Witch Queen Of New Orleans” by Redbone

“Witchy Woman” by The Eagles

“Satan Is Her Name” by Steve King

“Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood

“(You’re The) Devil In Disguise” by Elvis Presley

 

 

A Natural High

1 Jul

In April of 2013, I wrote a post about movies ending with someone riding into the sunset, and, shockingly, that post was Freshly Pressed. My statistics shot out of the roof as people click on that post and commented. After a few days, the “Click on SBI” hysteria died, and the numbers returned to normal. That means that April of 2013 looks like a rodent going through the belly of a snake. There is a big bulge right in the middle.Fat Snake

Since that month, I have been looking for that point where this blog’s numbers will match the numbers of April 2013. However, I have been looking for it to happen naturally rather than through the artificial inflation of being Pressed.

June of 2015 turned out to be that month. For the first time, this blog reached the same numbers as it did two years ago. Hopefully, that happened because the posts are of better quality and more interest.

The posts that drove the June numbers were:

The Power of 601 – a celebration of the 601st post

A Name Change – the announcement of a new name for the blog

Name That Blog – the request for assistance in renaming the blog

Down in Monterey – an ode to the music festival

The Lafayette Expedition – a historic romp with my wife through a small Tennessee town

Thank you to everyone who read those posts and all of the other ones.

Forcing the Issue

28 Jun

I feel that my best posts are created organically. They pop into my brain and make their way onto the screen in a free-flowing manner. They are not forced.

Sometimes, I force myself to blog, and the resulting posts are not my best. This is when I fallback on my iPod and movie quotes. As you can see from the past few posts, I am in time of writer’s block. Nothing is coming to my mind, and I have a couple of options.

I could not write.

I could force something that I really do not like.

Of course, there is a third choice. I could drive myself crazy trying to think of a good idea and pretend it is free-flowing.

For example, I could write about whether anyone would protest if this flag was flying over a state capitol.Flag CSA

I could also write about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. We talk a lot about the Bill of Rights, but this one has always fascinated me. In fact, I would bet that most federal lawsuits are based on this amendment because it deals with civil rights. Section 1 reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This is the paragraph on which the Supreme Court based its decision concerning gay marriage.

The amendment was ratified in 1868. However, that process was fraught with problems. Most of the southern states refused to ratify it. I say most because Tennessee was the third state to pass the amendment, coming in behind Connecticut and New Hampshire. As a result, Congress, led by the Radical Republicans, passed the Reconstruction Acts. This meant that the remaining states of the old Confederacy had to pass the amendment in order to get back into the United States.

Oh yeah, those were the states that fought under that flag further up in the post. That was the first flag of the Confederate States of America. I bet a lot of people on both sides of the Confederate flag issue would not recognize it.

Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln did not think the states had the legal right to secede and planned on getting them back in with a pledge of allegiance from a certain percentage of each state’s voters. I wonder what would have happened with the 14th Amendment if he had still been alive. However, that is alternative history, and history is tough enough without thinking about what might have happened.

I could write about a song that I just downloaded, “Stole the Show” by Kygo. It also features Parson James. Anyway, it makes me think of how I used to handle relationships with women. However, that is too much information. Just know that I am happy to be married and have all of that behind me.

On second thought, I will put it this way. I always envisioned myself as Burt Reynolds driving into the sunset at the end of Gator. In other words, I was an idiot.

I could write about those things and a lot of other stuff that I have tried to cram into my mind. However, that will be forcing the issue, and I do not want to do that.

A Name Change

24 Jun

As many of you know, my wife suggested that I change the name of this blog. A few posts ago, I asked for suggestions, and I received a bunch of good suggestions. Some people sent over new names, and others said that I should not change a thing. I have a brand, and that brand is Surrounded By Imbeciles.

After days of contemplation, I have decided, like a good politician, to ride the fence. The blog name will change, but a bit of its heritage will remain.

Surrounded By Imbeciles will be shortened to SBI. New readers may not know what that means, but the old timers will be in the know. (Of course, the blog’s web address will give it away. It is hard to completely change the name when it is right there in that top bar.)

SBI will be followed by A Thinning Crowd. This represents the fact that I am no longer surrounded by imbeciles. Obviously, there are still imbeciles in the world, and I still encounter them. However, I am surrounded by a bunch of good people, and the imbeciles are “a thinning crowd.”Bleachers

For the foreseeable future, this blog will be known as SBI: A Thinning Crowd. However, I reserve the right to change it at any time. If I sense more imbeciles on the horizon, then the crowd is no longer thinning.