The First One

I was twenty two and the circumstances were and still are bizarre to this day. But he changed my life-more for worse than better, but still, better as well. It is those better ways that keep me loyal to him in the small ways that I am. I don’t hate him, no. I don’t. In fact, a part of me will be forever deeply in love with him because he was the first man, even before and more thoroughly than my own father, to advocate for me, to push me-my limits, my buttons, my levels of absorption. It was him. He was the first man who told me that my personality, my brain, my everything; I just blew his mind. He’s not the only one that’s said it but to this day, he’s the only one that counts. He was my first and my most powerful muse. He told me that I could do anything I ever wanted to and that he was proud of me, that he believed in me. He told me I would get an agent and I would be one of the best writers ever read and he was the first one to say it and the only man that meant it without any reference to himself and he took no credit of any kind from it and he was the only one who knew what the fuck that meant when he said it.

When I speak of him with anger or hate it’s not pointed at him, not entirely. Because really, what could he do? He and I were too different. He broke me and he knew it. He owned me; him saying those things to me, he loved me, and that he wanted me to be his wife if only his dog Rupert could be the best man. That I would look gorgeous with the heavy weight of his diamond on my left hand. He knew that when he wrote out ‘Mrs. Rana Esposito’ and said softly that it had a beautiful ring to it… he knew that it took the fire and indifference about me that he loved away. His love, for the first time, and forever after, made me completely weak. He was the one that showed me that true love was a drug and I needed it more than heroin. How could I ever blame him for losing that spark-even when it made my light go out for good? Do I miss him? Yes I do. I still miss him every day. Our cranky chats, when he’d hit me up when he needed me, when things were shit and he needed someone to help him work his kinks out and go back to being Mr. bad ass rock star… I miss that. He only ever apologized to me once. Only once. I felt like he owed me a lot more than that. Many, many more apologies because he said and did a lot of shitty things to me, but I’m glad that he didn’t hand them out when he didn’t mean them.

He was and is a man with very few regrets. If I am something to him at all, I need to find comfort in the fact that I am one of those few regrets that he has. I know that he regrets that he hurt me. I know he does… Or he wouldn’t have come back like some sort of revolving refraction of my past… pop his head in over and over and try ‘us’ all over again… Because like me, there was always something for him about me that stuck with him, that left some sort of mark on him, even though it was much smaller and more shallow than mine.

I’m most angry and insane about not his loss, but about what it did to me. The night he broke my heart, I remember it perfectly. I was at our beach house in Florida. We had been on the phone and he let the hammer swing down and I hung up, the phone just barely clicked on the receiver, a tiny, quiet end of a conversation and a life… and I got up off of the canopied bed and walked out onto the balcony overlooking the beach and just looked out at the black ocean feeling this warm/cool breeze, hearing the heavy surf and I remember the screened in area, the tiny squares and metal smell of them. I remember the black metal railing that I fisted until my knuckles went white. I remember the perfectly trimmed hedges just beneath the balcony, framing the concrete parking lot. I remember the shade of yellow that the paint distinguishing the parking spaces became underneath the street lights in the parking lot. I remember the moths and mosquitoes that flew around those lights… The halo around the lights that was blurry by both the contrast of the light against the night sky and my quiet tears… I remember the exact and huge, heavy, all-encompassing feeling of succinct and final loss and devastation and the harsh realization that it would never, ever be the same for me… It felt like I had a mass grave of bodies packed in rows on my chest and I couldn’t breathe. If I inhaled the sobs would explode and I would shatter. For days after, I sat in a corner with my arms wrapped around my knees-barely speaking. It’s so damn easy, just thinking about those nights, those weeks, those months, those years, to have it come back to me… not a mild reflection of the misery, no… but that same horrible deep, ripping agony, the kind that you hear your own fascia around your guts and your heart tear in your ears, the kind that is way, way too fucking real…it comes back as fresh as it did that very night, after eleven years… so easily.

He broke my heart every single time after when he inevitably would lose interest and leave again. But, because it never fully healed after the first time, it didn’t hurt quite as much… But all of that pain still belongs to him. He was the toggle switch that changed my fate. He inadvertently pushed me down the path towards the cliff that I jumped off of. The one that led to the abuse and the rape and the complete and utter destruction of everything that I could have ever been before.

What is perhaps the hardest is that he was the water that mixed my creative process into a seething, raging, beautiful thing and now, after all of this shit, my creativity-the very essence of me, the entire point for my being on this fucking planet: my writing, my art, my music-my first nature, is the most difficult thing for me to face. I dig my heels in and back pedal away from it with emotional violence, a beaten horse. I only find the opposite of solace in it now. It’s fucking beyond painful to try and work; to knead and push and callus my hands and write and draw and play. It’s all agony and uphill for me because I judge my work not on its beauty because that has disappeared. I judge it on the pain it causes me-by the memories. The reason my novel has taken these long years to even get towards half way complete is because it is, in truth, about him. Him and me, and all of the what could have, should have, would have… and it hurts to go back and work on it, even though it’s such a fucking worthy and beautiful story, as much as it’s morphed and moved into different spaces since. Because still, whenever I see my main character, it’s Anthony’s face, his tattoos, his eyes, his hair… his life. His life… and the complete barrenness of mine.

 

 

My most favourite song that he co-wrote with his first band Lynch Mob, he played bass and did back up vocals. This was from their first album, when I discovered him at 14. I had pin ups of him on my wall. Ironic, this song being my fave. In the extreme.

So, I’m a Literary Elitist Twat

I poo poo bad writing. Like I have the right. I’m American. So there. I don’t know, maybe I’m in the wrong here. It is obnoxious, the nay-saying. Bad creators have been spilling their sewage in the masses’ drinking water since creating began. If not for shit work, we’d have no decent perspective to examine the good. It can’t be all good. But does it have to be mostly bad?

Not that I enjoy bitter critics. I’m one of those people that wholly believe that those who cannot do, critique (harshly). That comes out of my own experience. I enjoy good, fair, elevating criticism that pushes your boundaries and makes you work harder, but asshole critics that say meaniehead things are just useless. And yet, I do it. Oh lo Hypocrisy, thy art my master. But, at least they mostly deserve it, the shit ones.

Writers, you want to be my friend. You really do. It’s not that I have power. No, I have no power and I’m grateful for that. I am just honest. If you ask me to read your work and I think it needs work, I’m not going to tell you it’s good, if that’s what you want to hear, don’t bother. And if I say, “this is fucking fantastic,” well, it’s fucking fantastic. I mean it.

I think, though, what bothers me most about bad creators… is that they usually have annoying personalities to go along with their crappy efforts. Writing seems to come the easiest to the people that do it the worst. I’m sorry, but if you can bang out your sci/fi, steampunk, mystery thriller romance in two weeks and you’re so assured of your skill that you can’t help but smile at the grace of the sun, you suck. I say that with no bones. I’ve seen it. And you’ll probably get published. And get movie deal after movie deal after movie deal.

My compass does not lie in structure or grammar or rules. I break all the boring rules in my own writing, because fuck you. In fact, I’m waiting for an inventor to create some sort of self punishment device for bad grammar modification for myself. I’ll need an adverb setting, a comma setting and an ellipses setting. I’m terrible.  So grammar, all that is temporary and aside from my major point.  My compass lies in emotion and how it is conveyed. My conviction swims in poetry. I was a poet way, way before I ever attacked prose. All of that other stuff surrounds the emotion and builds it up or knocks it down and so it is important, but there are many sources for that and you can find them. If you want to know if your words have heart, have meaning, have BEAUTY and have relevance to a creature that has more emotion than most, you come to me.

I sound so arrogant and self assured here, like I am the be all end all judge of decent words. No, not at all. Don’t mistake me. But, I don’t exactly have much else. I can’t do much else well but create. My skill lies in my passion. And I have passion. Too much passion. I’m a severely jaded, sorely abused, half dead revenent of a  Brontë sister. So full of love, romance and passion but unloved and unknown to any man’s unselfish soul, so I put my heart and my broken pieces in my prose and I expect everyone else to as well. And if you have no heart, no passion, no soul, I have no use for you. Your presence offends my nature. Go away.

I’ll give you examples of beautiful writing and I’ll give you an example of maybe some of the shittiest writing on the face of the earth. Tell me I’m wrong.

“Girls were born knowing how destructive the truth could be. They learned to hold it in, tamp it down, like gunpowder in an old fashioned gun. Then it exploded in your face on a November day in the rain.”


“That kind of tenderness couldn’t be permitted to last. You only got a taste, enough to know what perfection meant, and then you paid for it the rest of your life. Like the guy chained to a rock, who stole fire. The gods made an eagle eat his liver for all eternity. You paid for every second of beauty you managed to steal. ”


“So many things in the world have happened before. But it’s like they never did. Every new thing that happens to a person, it’s a first… In that night I felt expansion, as if the world was branching out in shoots and growing faster than the eye could see. I felt smallness, how the earth divided into bits and kept dividing. I felt stars.”

“I hold his name close as my own blood and I will never let it out. I only spoke it that once so he would know he was alive.”

“Even when it started to snow she did not lose her sense of direction. Her feet grew numb, but she did not worry about the distance. The heavy winds couldn’t blow her off course. She continued. Even when her heart clenched and her skin turned crackling cold it didn’t matter, because the pure and naked part of her went on. The snow fell deeper that Easter than it had in forty years but June walked over it like water and came home.”
ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgrosssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
(I had to separate them somehow, sorry… I just can’t leave just a blank space between the skill and the drivel, because that might insinuate that just because they’re all collections of words, they might belong together).
“Olivia leaps up and retrieves my jacket, which Grey takes from her before she can hand it to me. He holds it up and, feeling ridiculously self-conscious, I shrug it on. Grey places his hands for a moment on my shoulders. I gasp at the contact. If he notices my reaction, he gives nothing away. His long index finger presses the button summoning the elevator, and we stand waiting – awkwardly on my part, coolly self-possessed on his. The doors open, and I hurry in desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he’s leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It’s distracting. His burning gray eyes gaze at me.”
I tried to skim through an excerpt of Twilight to post here, but I just can’t do it. No fortitude.  After reliving the good quotes, which literally reduce me to shambles just reading them once again, I can’t. If you want to know who the authors are, here… the first two quotes are from Paint It Black by Janet Fitch. That book inspired the title of my own novel, Until Her Darkness Goes. The next three are from the first book that blew my mind. I think I was 14 when I read it. That is Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. The last quote is the very last paragraph of her first chapter. That is the first and last novel that made me fall in profound love and understanding with a character in just the turn of a few pages and then killed her off in the first chapter. Yes, June died in that snow. She froze to death. It was suicide.
The abomination quote is similarly, the last paragraph of a first chapter… Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I think I liked Thatcher more than I like E.L. James, as far as English women go. I love the UK with all my heart and soul, I just think that James needs to be kicked out before I move there. We can trade places. She can come live in hellhole Arizona where I live, a state that just loves to victimise women and make them less than human, also where she can be neighbors with her golden cow  Stephanie Meyer and I can go live in England. All settled.

Hanging by Strings of hope and defeat

Allison… I’ve known her for a few years now, via facebook only, sadly, but one day. ONE DAY. She will have her gin and I will have my whiskey and we will par-tay because we’ll be celebrating her blooming writing career.  She’s brilliant, really. I wrote a review of this novel on amazon. It should be up shortly. I am pretty sure I accidentally spelled Palahniuk incorrectly. Ugh. Stupid cheeky “h.”

It took me forever just to start this book because I knew the gist of the subject matter and I have my sordid history and I was honestly afraid, knowing how Allison writes, that it would trigger me. That’s really saying something. To be honest, it did trigger me. And you know what? I’d do it again. And I will do it again. She is pumping forth more words as we speak, including a sequel to this piece. Pretty soon, she’s going to have loads more victims, and I’m not even lying, I’m not jealous. She deserves this. She deserves it richly and she’s worked damned hard for it. Oh and, I’m just slightly fucking well way over chuffed for her because SHE SIGNED A DEAL WITH GILLIAN FLYNN’S AGENT. HOLY SCHMIT! God, when I heard that I was just like… *mind blown*. I told her, very seriously, that I could not wait to read Stephen King’s first blurb on one of her novels. It will happen. I know it. If he doesn’t die first. He’s starting to look a little dusty, which makes me afraid and sad for the world. Hang on, Stevie! She’s worth it!

More about this novel that I wasn’t comfortable putting on amazon is that yes, it’s beyond gore. It’s beyond horror. It’s beyond sick. But I can take that. I’ve had ruthless, depraved things done to my body and my self esteem that can never be healed. I’ve had loaded and cocked guns, safety off, shaky finger putting pressure on the trigger, to my head in front of my children.  I am not scared of a little bit of mess and bits of flesh. I don’t (believe it or not, from my posts so far) inflict it on myself often anymore, because that’s just stupid. The trauma of this prose, this story, is in the powerlessness. it wasn’t the gore that really shook me, it was the subtext. What caused me the most suffering when I read it was the reminder that there is no safety and there is very little choice. Once certain things are set in motion, once you are under the complete control of a monster, that is when your soul is stolen. It’s not the physical pain. Morphine does the trick for that. It’s the sense of knowing what’s coming next and not being able, not having the strength, to do one good god damned thing to defend yourself or the ones you love. You can only hope for oblivion or  revenge, and in that hope, and trust me, you fucking pray for revenge, at least for a while, and when you do, you lose what’s left of yourself that you find worthy. That’s what this book is really about.

 

Buy STRINGS on Amazon

 

p.s. Do yourself a favour and buy a physical copy. You’ll want it in your hot little hands (but not under your pillow)

 

 

Writing, Healing, Self Discovery, Leaving Neveragainland