Tag Archive: life


When I’m gone let me go, but carve my name upon a stone. 

Such a silly thing to pop into a persons head, especially a healthy person, but there it was. An unshakeable truth that once thought could not be set aside. All of a sudden the graveyard I was passing looked even more beautiful and tranquil. And selfish. And prideful. 

What makes us want to inscribe our name in stone after we pass on to what is next? Could it be our very human desire to be eternal and more than just existed? To be remembered requires no such monuments so the reason must be much more personal and deeply dark.

Are we naive to carve into the very earth our names? If even the names of young lovers inscribed in passion is eventually lost to growth; then surely with time even a name writ in pain will wear away. We are but yelling into a void hoping the echo might be heard by someone… by anyone. 

Oddly the thought made me smile. I want a stone; on a hill, near a tree, overlooking a pond. I want the wind and rain to slowly wash my name away. I want to be lost to time like all those who came before me, but first I want the taste of imortality. So till time has had its way with me let that stone stand as proof I lived and loved. 

For as the deep set lines wear away my need for them shall surely fade.

By Megatruth as seen on DeviantArt


So I’m an old fashioned book reader. To me this means that I love the tactile component of reading an honest to goodness paper and ink book. That being said I will on occasion read digitally, to try out new authors mostly, but what I am here to tell you today is that I believe some books are even better as digital copies. For instance Emotional Rescue: Essays on Love, Loss, and Life – with a soundtrack by Ben Greenman. This book was on the editors pick list (Amazon) and after reading the title I pondered for less than a minute before I started downloading. They were right, it is every bit as good as the title suggests and then some.

For those of you who stoped at the word essays I urge you to keep reading because they don’t feel like the writing assignments you might recal from undergrad they feel like internal dialogue. Let me explain. Mr. Greenman uses essays to have the liberty to jump topics between chapters which you cannot do, or rather it would be very difficult to do, in a typical story format. As such we can go from talking about pain/pleasure to sense/nonsense to distance/nearness. What is great about the essay format other than the wide array of topics that become available is that is has the feel of listening to the radio. As if, for instance, you are cruising down the highway rocking out and feeling happy and alive then all of a sudden the station plays a ballad and you remember your junior prom date. It was done to such a tremendous effect too. 

Let me also state outright that I love Mr. Greenman’s narrative voice. It felt very comfortable almost as if he was posing the questions he answers directly to me. I do honestly believe he has the large pool of friends who just call to talk that his essays suggest, and who could blame them as his perspective it quite interesting.

Now although I loved the book and I have already been recommending  it to anyone who will listen I’m not sure I would love it as a paperback. With my digital copy I highlighted amazing points that he makes regularly through out the entire narrative. I could also immediately look up songs which I had never heard or needed to hear again. The magic of technology allowed me to listen to the soundtrack of Mr. Greenman’s life while I read about the highlights. Which *gasp* fulfilled my need for multi sensory reading. As such a traditional book read of these essays would have been a completely different experience.

Should you still not be sold on this book please allow me just two more points. First, while Emotional Rescue is a far cry from the typical linear story telling most of us readers have come to love and expect by the end it came to an actual end. By which I mean that at the end all of the story telling (including the hard left turns) makes sense and even comes to a nicely tied up conclusion like a well constructed stand up comedy skit. The second point is perhaps more of a me point but I cannot help myself. In my mind this story would make an amazing musical… There I said it! I can completely picture it and I hope that someone else can too because this is a book I don’t just want to read it’s a book I want to experience!

I’m not saying that all the answers to the questions of restlessness, energy, intensity, and comfort—how long to hold a job, how long to keep a lover, how long to stay in one place before hopping on a train or a plane or into a balloon—reside in two minutes of a never-released song recorded by a virtually unknown novelty singer. But I’m not saying that they’re not.     -Ben Greenman

My Time (Part 3 of 3)

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Weeks later Len had made his way back through his rotation of beautiful cemeteries to stroll in, and found himself excited to visit Alden Paxt’s grave stone once more.  So much so that his walk was really more of a jog.  While he made his way through the immaculately manicured lawn Len thought about how much the Mysterious Mr. Paxt had changed how he walked through graveyards.  Now he read each name and date, even kept a journal dedicated to the ones that seemed intriguing or had great quotes.  Len felt more aware and perceptive and he liked it.

That is, perhaps, why he noticed the book from such a long way off.  Sitting on the aged marble stone sat an old paperback novel so well loved by its previous owner that the pages curled back and nearly touched the spine.  Len looked in every direction but could find no one so as he moved closer tentatively he reached out to grab the book.  His hand trembled slightly fully aware that he was intruding on something deeply personal.  Never before had he dared to bother mementos left by the bereaved, but today not even proper etiquette could stop Len.

The author’s name was undecipherable on the broken spine but the gold foil title My Time could still be made out.  Len not even bothering to walk toward the nearby bench turned to the first page and began reading.

Time is the only thing that makes life worth living, and for me the clock started with a flash of lightening…

Len felt his eyes widen as he reread the first line.  It was the quote.  Slowly the realization that he now held the only clue to who Alden Paxt was in his hand dawned on him.  So fast he nearly tore the page Len flipped to the title page.  There is bold black typeface were the words;  My Time by Moses Darling copyright 1972.

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Some how Len had made it to the bench before he collapsed.  Sitting there head between his knees, heart racing, taking what he hoped were deep calming breaths Len tried to make sense of the book.  He could have seen the headstone and liked the quote same as me was his first thought.  They were both from the same area so it wasn’t too far of a reach.  Maybe it was a famous quote and he had just never heard it before Len thought, but that seemed to be a bit more of a stretch.  Nervously he opened the book again to the last page hoping for a blurb about the author instead he found an oddly placed dedication page.

Now the name Alden Paxt will never be forgotten.

That decided him.  Len didn’t fidget while he read or even take coffee and bathroom breaks he read My Time as if it might dissolve away in the breeze if he stopped.  Hours later he began to feel a slight itchy sensation that told him someone was watching, but he ignored it.  It wasn’t till the light started to fade that he finally looked up.

“So what did you think” the the man leaning on his cane asked.

“I… I loved it.  Um, have you heard of it,” Len said as he turned the cover towards the stranger who made a noncommittal shrug.  “Well you see its a story about a man who lives twice.  Once in reverse where he gets younger rather than older, and then once moving forward.”

“How would that have happened,” the man asked as he sat down on the other end of the bench.

“That part is never really explained actually,” Len said flipping the pages of the book, “but the life he lived.” He sighed audibly looking over at Alden’s stone.  “It was worth living.”

“What’s that now?”

“Sorry I just meant, I know its fiction but the character in this book he really lived his life.  He made mistakes as much as he got it right, but he didn’t let fear stop him.  He just kept going like he knew he would get to do it again, like… I’m not doing it justice,” Len finished rather lamely.

“Like all his ends were actually beginnings,” the man offered while staring into the sunset.

“Exactly!  Odd place for that kind of realization huh?”

“Why would that be son?”

“Well,” Len said motioning to the rows of grave markers, “we are literally surrounded by ends.”

“Oh, yah,” the elderly gentleman said goading Len.  “What about that one there,” the man said pointing, “how is his story over?”

Len followed the man’s outstretched finger.  “Alden Paxt?  Good example he kind of exists as a middle I don’t know his beginning or end just the dates.”

“Ha!” The man’s bark of laughter cut through the evening air.  “Your holding his beginning there son.  The end though is sure to be up for interpretation.”

“How would you know that?”

“I’m the one who left it.”

Len watched as the skin crinkled around the man’s dark deep set eyes and a smile broke out upon his kind face.  “How did you know Alden Paxt?” Without meaning to his question came out more like a demand.

“Don’t be so surprised son, as it turns out life is often stranger than fiction.  I think you should keep that copy… It suits you, and that way neither of our names will be forgotten.”

“But I don’t know your name,” Len said confusion obvious in his voice.

The man slowly stood cane in hand, “I cannot say I ever had a proper one but friends have been know to call me Moses.” And just like that the man started to walk away.  Len stood and would have followed him, but the man’s voice blew back on the building breeze.  “Or Alden.  There was a time when people knew me by that name too.”

Len sat down hard without having meant to staring after the kind man’s silhouette as it melted into the growing shadows.  “Stranger than fiction,” he asked in a whisper, “talk about an understatement.” The book suddenly felt very heavy in Len’s hands like a story that spanned nearly 200 years should.

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Thanks for reading!  I hope you liked it I spent quite a while making Alden’s life come to life, and I’m happy with it but there is always room to grow.

Please leave any comments to help me make my stories better.  Could you see my ending coming, where my attempts attempts at humor silly, or my dialogue stiff? I want to know.  Thanks in advance!

My Time (Part 2 of 3)

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All day long the mystery of Alden Paxt ate at Len creeping into his consciousness while he waited for red lights, coffee shop lines, and printed spreadsheets.  So when his coworkers invited him to dinner that night Len politely refused wanting nothing more than to spend the night glued to his computer until it gave up whatever information there was to find on Alden. 

It was 11 pm and Len’s bloodshot eyes and mound of soda cans attested to his night long search for Mr. Paxt online, but nothing else.  There had been no record of death in 1927 nor any birth certificate 89 years earlier for an Alden Paxt.  While there had been some unusual headlines between 1838 and 1927, including a pregnant woman, in April of 1838, who was hit by lightning one stormy night and woke up childless, but no mention of Alden the mysterious.  Scrolling through pages of the  archaic Langston Township Chronicles, a local newspaper that had been around since the early 1800s, Len stopped on a page of birth announcements to read one titled “Baby Moses” which read almost like a lost puppy add.

Child found in shack off the Long River.  Aged at least three years.  Sick.  Looking for mother or mother’s whereabouts.  Please contact the Langston Township Police Force or Sister Mary Agnes of Saint Ivo’s.

Len knew the LTPF was still in working order, sadly understaffed with retirement aged officers, but he could not remember ever seeing or hearing of Saint Ivo’s.  In a last ditch effort to make his night of skulking around the internet worth while Len began looking into the second most mysterious person whose name he had read today “Baby Moses”.

Much to his dismay no church in Langston was now, or ever, named St. Ivo’s as far as he could tell, the only convent in a three town radius was called Saint Cathrine’s, and none of the Catholic schools had names anymore exotic than Thomas Aquinas.  Stumped Len typed Baby Moses Langston Township into the search bar.  To his surprise he found St. Ivo’s Orphanage listed as an official “safe haven” under the Baby Moses Project in Michigan.  As soon as he read the words orphanage his mind went into overdrive… abandoned children wouldn’t have birth certificates.

Len closed his laptop resolutely tomorrow he would go to the orphanage, and perhaps find his answers.

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Standing in the gravel parking lot Len felt more than a little unsure of himself.  He knew it was a long shot, but between Alden Paxt and Baby Moses Len had more questions than he could abide.  So he made his way to the office regardless of his misgivings.

“Yes,” the receptionist said curtly.

“I was wondering if a Sister Mary Agnes was still here and available to talk.” The woman hiked an eyebrow causing Len to run the math again.  It was possible but not likely that she was still above ground.  Still the receptionist picked up the phone motioning to a bank of pseudo comfortable chairs.

Nearly ten minutes later a motherly looking sister greeted him, “Len?  Welcome to St. Ivo’s. Would you care to walk with me?”

“You couldn’t possibly be Mary Agnes.”

The sister laughed out loud and threw a wink at the receptionist, “No, no I’m Mary Louise.  Come let’s talk.”

This time Len didn’t even pause.

“What did you want to talk with Mary Agnes about?” The sister met Len’s silence head on.  “Well my dear I know you never knew her personally because she joined our little family at the turn of the 20th century, so… I must admit I am curious.”

“It’s probably going to sound crazy,” Len started not making eye contact, “but I’m here because of Alden Paxt.” The sister was staring at him shaking her head.  “I mean… God dam.., ah dang it.  Sorry sister.”

“Who is Alden Paxt Len,” Mary Louise asked as a smile colored her words.

“He’s the proud owner of a very interesting unused tombstone from 1942 or ’27, its not important, but um because of him I came across Baby Moses’ add in an old copy of the Chronicles.”

“Really?  Well Moses is worth the trip I suppose.”

“You actually know what I’m talking about?”

“Of course.  I took over for Mary Agnes in ’68.  Moses was perhaps our most intriguing occupant.  He was such a miracle, and a mystery…”

“Did they ever find his mother?”

“No.  You know he nearly died.  No matter what they did that baby seemed to get smaller and weaker, a few years after he had been found he still couldn’t eat solid food or even hold his tiny head up.  Then out of no where he started to thrive.  Agnes hadn’t even bother giving him a proper name she was so sure he would die.  Everyone just kept calling him Baby Moses till one day he looked her right in the eye and said something along the lines of its Moses darling.”

“What?  How old was he?”

“There was no telling, he always was a bit of a runt, but the name stuck.  From then on he was Moses Darling.  That boy always had such an intense look about him, an old soul people use to call it.”

“You mean you knew him,” Len couldn’t believe his luck.

“During this teenage years, yes sir.  He always had an opinion and and amazing story for any situation.”

“Where did he end up?  Did he get adopted?”

“No, he didn’t have any interest in finding a family actually.  Which was odd.  All the other children without family ties seemed to crave a home and roots more than anything, but not Moses he wanted to wonder and learn.  He even wrote an essay that won him a scholarship out in New York City.” Mary Louise paused laughing to herself.  “He wrote that story and then disappeared off into his future.  Only thing I know for sure about Moses Darling now is that he wrote a book, because he sent a copy to Sister Mary Agnes for our library.”

“Is there any way I could borrow it sister,” Len asked brimming with hope.

“Oh I’m sorry, see she was buried with it, Agnes, we never even put it on the shelf.”

Knowing that his luck had to run out eventually Len took the news in stride, thanked the sister for her time, made a donation to the orphanage and left.

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Hope you are still with me and enjoying the story.  Part 3 will be up tomorrow.

My Time (Part 1 of 3)

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Time is the invisible thing that makes life worth living.  The large typeset font standing out almost black against the aged marble headstone drew Len forward in the cold misty morning.  Len liked his mornings quiet and calm so unlike many of his friends he strolled through cemeteries rather than pound pavement.  To him these were just thoughtful places with an eery beauty.  As none of his family had ever ventured this far West Len didn’t even make a habit of scanning the stones, but those words had more than just caught his attention they had pulled him off the gravel path.  So standing before the stone with wet shoes and damp socks Len read the sentence again before walking around to see the name Alden Paxt.

Alden Paxt, as it turned out, had died 89 years young in the year 1927. Len looked the stone over somehow unsatisfied. Then it dawned on him, the epitaph.  There was no line honoring Alden as a loving husband, a caring father, or a cherished friend. Immediately Len envisioned a funeral empty except for the priest and grave diggers, and without ever knowing this man his heart broke for Alden. Then confusion set in; what kind of man plans a funeral, buys a stone, engraves that sentence, and then forgets to leave someone behind to care that he is gone?

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With only a small amount of difficulty Len managed to find the grounds keeper and convince him to check the files for any information about Alden or his headstone. The scowling grounds keeper came back from his office file in hand brow even more furrowed.

“It’s just a stone guy.”

“What?”

“No one is buried there lot number 803 is empty.” Len’s mouth hung at a rakish angle as the man continued. “Yah…that’s what it says.”

“But the stone?”

“Oh that?  Nice line right? Yah, it was commissioned…back in October of ’42 same day the lot was purchased.” The grounds keeper looked up as he shut the file.

“You mean to tell me that a stone and lot were purchased in 1942 for a man who died in ’27?”

“That’s what the file says guy.” With a shrug the man walked back towards his mower pocketing the folded manilla folder.

“Thanks,” was all Len managed as a response.

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I hope you enjoyed this post part 2 will be up tomorrow.  Comment or like I adore feedback 🙂

Today I am…

Have you ever had that dream where no matter how fast you run you never move, either away from the impending doom or towards some desired thing?  Welcome to my life.  No matter how hard I try I cannot escape my looming dark shadow.  It finds me at inopportune moments forcing me to accept its truth.  I remember it suddenly, with a pounding heart, when I allow my mind to wonder.  It stalks me.  My own personal viper in the flower bed just waiting to strike.  But…more and more I feel the fight leaving me.  I run slower from the shadow, my denial rings hesitant in my ears, and I find myself waiting to be caught.  I cannot be sure that this is not me giving up, but perhaps, just perhaps, it could be something more.  Patience, acceptance, or my very own version of waiting till I see the whites of its eyes.

The moment is upon me and just like that the decision is made. 

I shall not run, for there is no more fear.  I will not be consumed, because it can be mastered.  I have not been burned, instead I will glory in this mark.  I refuse to hide, cover, or conceal this part of me, which I cannot escape, as it is not a stain against my person.  My intent is set.  It is mine, but I am not defined by it.  Today I am 30, and that is nothing more than the latest addition to the list that describes me.

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As seen on ncglists.org

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