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Kooky Humans Learn About the Soul's Purpose

Ever have a kooky friend at one job, then leave, only to find a similar kooky friend at the next job? Well, if I don't learn the lesson, the same one seems to pop up again, and I come to and realize it wasn't the friend that was kooky, it was me. It seems that my soul leads me to places and people who teach me, yes. Okay, so that one friend was creepy too, just sayin'.

Recently, I fell into one of those rabbit holes where I felt like I "lost everything." Now, this has happened before, and I know others talk about similar downward spirals, so I'm not alone here. For me, it's been damn harder in the past, but of course that old bugger called sorrow still crept its way in to every crevice of my life, as it does when life shit happens. In a few words, life felt rather scary and dark. But this piece is not about the darkness. It's about trudging your way out of it, because as humans with flaws and pains and trials, that's what we do. We climb out of the pits, searching for joy. Man, I know some troopers.

When I come to a place of "lost" or "empty," it certainly drives me into a state of questioning everything -- my ideas on love, success, my path, my goals and dreams, what my heart really aches to do, and the like. Everything, aye. Literally, physically, my heart hurts -- I feel it burn, as if my own beating organ is trying to speak to me, and I'm not talking about the need for antacids. No, indeed, I think the heart speaks to us each day, each moment, each breath. Or at least during the lunch break, the intermissions. I love super pretzels.

When I thought about my crazed desire for success in various areas of my life, how I long for certain things, how I've always longed for certain things, and how I torture myself with "how to get there" or "why I'm not there," something strangely magnificent finally occurred to me -- whatever decisions I make, whatever I decide to do, where I work, who I'm with, all those plans and decisions -- in the end, it really doesn't matter. Wait, don't run away screaming, let me explain:  I realized that no matter which route I choose, the universe will still present me with opportunities to more fully develop my soul's purpose. The environment or people may change, but the lessons will arrive anyway, helping me dig deeper inside. And that is why I am here. And so whether I am answering phones or winning an Academy Award (I'd prefer the latter), in this life, mine, the same lessons will still be there. The scenes and friends and coworkers rotate and change, but whether or not I choose to see the lessons and learn is up to me. If I want to go forward, gotta put on my big girl overalls, so to speak.

So it brings me to this:  delving deeper into my soul's purpose is the meat of life, and the when and where and such of the journey, well, that's just the side order of fries (preferably Green Dog Cafe fries). The way that I choose is what free will is all about. I can choose to embrace and enjoy the journey and what comes next, or I can choose to fight it. I am free to wrestle or dance, but whether I'm at the ring or the rock show or stepping around elephant dung, everything and everyone around is a reflection of one thing:  me. Well, hopefully the elephant shit is not a reflection of me, but maybe the floppy ears are.

In reality, whether I take the journey fast or slow, the ultimate path remains the same. Like those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, only in this one, the ending always points back to the same place -- deeper inside the soul. A spiral, perhaps. Like the spiral tattooed on my chest, right next to my heart. Interesting. Many years back, when I got that tattoo, I was thinking about a man I admired and loved, how I wanted to be with him. You know, make him my love slave. Later I realized that although I barely knew him, I admired his career, and it helped me push myself to keep dreaming and writing. So wouldn't you know, once again, the truth, that spiral, points back at me. Sometimes, in the beginning, I fail to see the whole picture because feelings get in the way, but in hindsight, I see that the solution always points back at me. And as an added bonus, imagining a love slave is damn hot.

Akemi Gaines, on the site, writes, "Your life purpose is to be the authentic YOU. If you try to become someone that you are not, your effort is wasted, and you feel bad about yourself. Even if you get money or people’s attention this way, you just feel like a fake, and you don’t get to enjoy them really enjoy love and abundance, we first need to love ourselves completely and unconditionally and to see the abundant and supportive nature of the universe. We, each one of us, have unique gifts, and the gifts get even better as we go through our unique life experiences. Recognizing our gifts and figuring out how to express them is some of the most important work you do in your life. So we can say our soul’s purpose is to express ourselves in an authentic way. Which brings true enjoyment." Dayum.

Lovely. Well put. It goes on to explain that through life's lessons, we learn our soul's purpose, and that there are many ways to express ourselves and contribute to the world, which is why we, as humans, are free and not tugged about by some divine puppeteer. Gaines continues, "So let go of the idea that there is a life purpose statement hidden somewhere in the sky. Also let go of the idea God is a mean superintendent tracking your progress against the life purpose plan. And while you are at it, let go of your friends in the spiritual circle who make you feel bad because you are not contributing enough money, time, etc for greater causes. Instead open up and enjoy your life. Be yourself. Praise the miracle of life and create more miracles yourself."

Profound, and yet oh so simple. Enjoy life, open up, see the lessons, develop your soul, see the miracles, and give back. I am here, and whatever path I choose, I am presented with help from the universe to navigate these lessons, and in this way, I can learn more about my heart and soul. Everything points me back to one place -- inside. The more I strip down the layers and express the depths of my soul, my tricky heart, the more I can be part of the return. As I become more in tune with my true nature, I become better able to feel and express my true self, feel more joy, and let it leak out. As I constantly turn inward, more is revealed, and then it's time to share my life's purpose with everyone. When I see the lessons, look inside, learn more about who I am and my place in this life, I can enjoy each day more, and with this joy, I can more fully give back.

Whoa, that was a head trip. I believe all this fuckin' web of spirituality, but I must admit, I wouldn't mind my next life lesson to involve bubbles and...well...I'll keep that one to myself, but hells yeah, now, that would teach me about my soul's purpose. Ha. Hey, I'm human. At least the last time I checked all the parts were there.

Wonder what's gonna happen next?
C.A. MacConnell

P.S. Is it too late for me to be in Avatar 2? I make an awesome blue person. I don't want to mate with any of them though, because a blue baby would really creep me out.



Yes. This one came out well. Was originally from a daydream...seems powerful to me. Hey, if no one told you they love you yet today, I love you! Life's too short to not feel that kinda sweetness in the heart. Enjoy, C.A.


How casual we were, leaning back in leather
seats, listening to talk radio, paying no mind
to the low and high hum. Here, there, a chuckle.

Riding in the strange car, you were driving
carefully -- not too fast, not too slow, taking
the turns lightly, teaching me how to settle

and sink in the bucket; my back ached,
but for once, I was tree-calm. How casual
we were. We were making it, on our way

to the top, on our way to a crucial event,
our faces lit up with talent fire. Looking out
the window, I imagined the inferno might be

like this:  a packed, yellow party with pretty
lights, round, white tables, champagne flutes,
powerful, sweet, rich scents, suspended gold

earrings, dresses with planned, crooked hems,
tailored suits and wicked pangs, the oh-god-
hunger-claims from those who knew no starving.

Yes, shiny glasses, flutes knocking to the music
of raised speech, and when they hit, the freshly
shaven ones would scream and swallow. All

around, flashy smiles, five-inch heels, metal-sharp
shadows, and quick hands reaching to greet. Watch
the valet stretch, holding that writer's hand, helping her

leave the limousine. We were ready to face them,
to lose ourselves in artistic chatter, to feel endlessly
soft fingers, the handy shakes, to melt into the human

blur, to melt into the noise. We were making it.
For weeks, we planned it. Our timing seemed
perfect. Through the streets, we judged the critical

speed, the shifting flame of our long-awaited
arrival. Then, suddenly, in the middle of one
twisty back lane, you turned your head, checking

on me once, twice, three times, simply shrugging.
You know, we don't have to go, you said. I felt
my stomach, nodded, smiled, stared straight

ahead, then glanced back at you, studying the side
of your face, loving your fine, cut jaw, loving
the way the brow hugged your itchy, right, dark eye,

loving the way that some days, the lid almost
seemed purple, and you knew my answer,
and we both laughed, and we couldn't stop,

and ever so smoothly, you gripped the wheel,
making the U-turn, and the party was forgotten,
and again, the road, and the life, and the laughter,

and the sky lights, the newly burning stars,
were ours. We were ready to face them.

C.A. MacConnell


The Soul is Sneaky

Sure, sometimes I get hellishly frustrated with this artistic journey, but I swallow my angst and keep right on plugging away when it comes to the writing thing. Guess it's in my blood, yo. I go through these periods where I get all wound up and consider giving up, and then I pick up a pen and start writing in my wolf journal or something, and the "throw in the towel" plan goes to shit. The soul is sneaky. Really, I am so stubborn, and I always have been, and in this part of my life, it comes in handy I suppose.

So I started diving into one of my old novels, The House of Anchor. This wasn't the original plan, but the plan changed, basically because I clicked on the file, started reading, and thought, Hm, yeah, I could knock out this big bad boy. Decided I'm going to absolutely rearrange, demolish, and rewrite the sucker. This challenge should either make me mad or keep my head and hands and heart busy for a while. I've already started changing small stuff, like names and chapters here and there. Will be interesting to see where this monster goes. And it is a monster -- a gazillion characters, several different points of view, a slew of settings. My goal is to narrow and focus the story and combine some characters one page at a time. Also have to figure out what to do with the language in some parts, which can be...shall we say...very offensive. I think it's rad and poetic the way it is; however, random book shoppers might be shocked. Still thinking it over. I'll let it evolve and see what happens. Ah, fuck it, I may leave it juicy.

Just thought I'd give you a little update on what's coming next. I know, I love the word "just." Shoot me.

On a personal note, today is the last day of this random at-home vacation I've been on. Start a new job tomorrow. Man, for 29 years, I have really wanted to work on my books for a living, but I keep having to find all of these ridiculous jobs. Anybody want to sponsor me? That would be a dream come true, just saying. Sometimes my heart hurts because of it, but until the miracle, I have to suck it up and show up. Don't get me wrong -- I am damn grateful for work, running water, food, and the like, but I am also human, and at times, it all gets to me. But shit, the other night, I gave a talk, and I met a woman who was on her 3rd round of chemo, and she was brand spanking newly sober to boot. Writing or no writing, job or no job, alone or in love, I have nothing to complain about. Aye.

So this is funny -- as of now, I have two pairs of appropriate pants for this job. Another pair is "iffy." Seriously, I hope that the managers didn't notice that I wore the same pants for all three interviews. Also, I have no appropriate shoes, so I've decided that if I'm questioned, I will say that due to my back pain issues, I can only wear platform sneakers. It will be hard, but I will cover my tattoos and try to restrain myself from wearing large amounts of purple eyeshadow. Ha, to the outside eye, I will appear so together.

Is anybody really "together?" Just curious.

Seriously, I went kinda nuts during this vacation, and now I need a vacation from my vacation. But let's go totally against my Debbie Downer self and take a look at the positives. On my vacation, I met a deer friend, talked to turtles, got creeped out by turkey vultures, felt in awe of hawks, saw a log cabin and ancient school, meditated near an Indian burial mound, recorded the sound of my feet stepping across an old wooden bridge, hung out on swings with moms and dads and little people, kicked it with skateboarders, met new awesome friends, petted a miniature horse named Cindy, got a slew of hugs, felt choked up for the trees marked to be cut down, walked by gravestones from the 1800s, gazed at rivers, lakes, and streams, caught the view from Mt. Storm, watched the ducks pair off, said hi to a crane, noticed people's bodies, the shapes and sizes, the stories they tell, waved at the German Shepherd who wants to kill me, hung out with my imaginary boyfriend who seems to be obsessed with Christmas while I am a total Grinch, made spinach salad for my roommate and told him he needed a haircut for his Q-tip head, and last but not least, I noticed random garbage, including a couch in the middle of the forest. And last night, I went to this Sahaja Yoga meditation, and you know, I've been to one of these before, but for some reason, this time it felt right. Made me happy to find some spiritual group setting that seemed to gel with me.

So I'm going to chill and watch a movie, which is what I've been planning on doing the whole week. Ah, at last, I feel peaceful. And maybe that's what this break has been about -- feeling the feelings, working through it, and ending up with peace. Now that I think about it, isn't that what life's about? Imagine that.

I think I want to be an actor when I grow up. The soul is sneaky,
C.A. MacConnell



Fresh off the presses. Just wrote this one. Interesting...hope you like the read. I might mess with it some more, but it feels good to have some fresh poetry. Haven't written new poetry in a while. I've been more concerned with revisions. So, I'm happy this came out. Much love to you, C.A.


Last night, she woke three times.
Maybe four. Drenched in sweat,
she had turned to glass,
and once again, her body became
the rain to the bed,
her sudden nightly windshield.
Twice more, she came to,
stretching to rise from the covers,
holding her racing head,
knowing her role
with vehicles, chauffeurs, and sheets,
how she was never anything more
than a stuck car door,
how she was never anything more
than a stay-at-home groupie.
The way the faucet leaks --
truly, each drip gains ground
on the sink, her famous,
maddening oil spill.
This morning, she begins new,
backlash employment
at the same place where she worked
twenty years before,
when she was fifteen
going on twenty-seven,
according to the ID,
when she arranged
rides for businessmen and stars,
when she made sure each driver
remembered the ice,
when she watched her pager
vibrate and flash,
later collecting backstage cash,
shaking hands with managers,
when they had no idea
that Mom was her ride that day,
when she nodded, frowned,
and made a note of it
when the man in shades,
the big-toothed contact,
mentioned that one car
didn't have the right juice.

C.A. MacConnell


F'n Rad Neck Triangle

You know, I may have had a lot going on lately, but there is one thing that has been more consistently baffling to me than anything, and it is this:

Not the bear, no. It's that strange, triangle-shaped threading that has suddenly appeared on sweatshirts in recent years. It drives me nuts. For some reason, I can't stand these things. This is the only sweatshirt I own that has one, and I sucked it up and bought it just because of the cute little bear, but I still have trouble wearing it because of the...well...we'll call it a "Neck Triangle."

Now, thinking back, when I grew up, there was never a Neck Triangle on any sweatshirt that I recall. Never. These days, when you go looking to buy a sweatshirt, it is damn hard to find one without the Neck Triangle. I look and look for one without the NT, but they are everywhere, I tell you. People, take a look around -- all over the planet, people are wearing sweatshirts with the Neck Triangle. Seriously, they are taking over the world. And sometimes, even some long-sleeved t-shirts have the thing stitched right across the neck as well. It's madness. Pretty soon, even short-sleeved shirts will have the Neck Triangle. Then tank tops. Then someone will even figure out a way to get them on bathing suits, I'm sure.

So just what is the purpose of the Neck Triangle? When did the trend start? Was it a Hollywood thing and now the general public is just catching up? Seriously doubt it. Is it a secret sweatshirt cult symbol? More likely. Is it some weird way to stitch the things to save money? And if you remove the stitching of the Neck Triangle, does mass chaos happen? Does the shirt turn to threads? Does a bomb go off somewhere? Do aliens descend from Mars? Is there Armageddon? All of this musing brings me to this question:  Yo, what the fuck is that thing?

I have not removed the Neck Triangle from my sweatshirt yet, because I am deathly afraid of what may occur. Anyway, what are these things for, and who started doing it, and why did they suddenly appear? Thinking about the Neck Triangle has cost me my job, my finances, my relationship, my personal hygiene, my desire to write, and my general sanity. It almost drove me back to the booze. I nearly ended up in the zoo. Almost as baffling as the Smown. Alas, rather than try and fight against this evil Neck Triangle takeover of the world, I suppose I may give in to it today. Just to celebrate, I'm going to wear my Neck Triangle with pride today, and I am naming this Neck Triangle Day. From now on, April 7th is officially Neck Triangle Day, so mark your calendars and pull out your best Neck Triangle sweatshirt, people, because today's the day to show it all off:

I refuse to buy another one, but just for today, I'll be nothing more than a Neck Triangle groupie.

C.A. MacConnell


The Pits. Hell, Some Things Stick.

Suddenly, this morning, I thought about a 1996 Roanoke night when I went to see a slick national grunge band play. Sold out, the show was wild, and that was back when mosh pits were a complete bloody mess. And like the rest of those pits, the vibe was nuts that night, and I was right in the middle of the madness. Felt some kind of manic rush from the weird, shared, violent dance. Baby, bring on the adrenaline high. And being the shorty that I was, that made it all the more difficult, because it was hard as hell to breathe, but I liked testing my throat and lungs, and I wasn't afraid. Well, there was one South Carolina show that was rough, and I panicked. That show almost killed me. Nearly suffocating, I reached up, searching for space, and right at the last moment, the crowd shifted, and I could breathe again. I've never felt so helpless.

I know, none of this sounds like much fun, but at the time, it was a necessary outlet. Guess I had a shitload of internal rage, and I didn't realize it then. Most of the time, even now, I tend to hold it in, and fury fades, turning into depression. In those pits, I felt some sort of fierce, urgent release. I suppose that's what the other kids were doing too, I dunno. For sure, I had to have something intense churning in my brain to put myself in that kind of danger. And it was very dangerous. And we knew it. And we loved it -- the torturous orgasm.

That night in Roanoke, the singer seemed furious as well. On stage, he was our leader in anger; he shouted about demons, and as far as I know, talking about demons usually means you're pretty angry.

Later, through a series of illegal moves, I met up with him.

He wore an orange skull cap and a camouflaged jacket, and he appeared to be like any wandering street guy from the back. But his face -- well, it was some face. Interesting, boyish, one prominent mole.

I shook his hand and asked, "Hey, how are you?"

He looked down, then up again. "Man, I'm tired," he said, keeping eye contact, although he did seem shy. And he did look tired. Rightly so, because the band had been touring all over for a while. And he was tired because he was stoned out of his mind.

"Man, I'm tired too," I said. But I also clearly remember that after-the-show feeling -- the awesome release. Yeah, I had danced out part of my kid rage again. And I was tired because I had sweated out Niagara Falls aka I was dehydrated from too much liquid lunch.

We traded names. As we talked, his voice turned soft and light, as if each sentence was a secret, and he chose his words carefully. He began to look younger, until I noticed that he just looked like some sweaty young boy who shivered like me. Everyone else was gone. Just him and me, hanging out and freezing, standing nervously on the pavement like gutter punks.

I felt some weird bond with him and his "demons." Like for one glorious moment, I believed that someone else in the world understood my pain. May sound weird, but to me, at that time, that was the only kind of friendship that I could remotely grasp. Shared torture, if you will. Whatever, it was all out of proportion, yeah, and the whole world was deep, like it is when your brain's ill or when you're wasted. Or both.

Then his manager started yelling at him, and he had to hop on his bus, so he did. But when he got to that bus door, he turned around and held up a palm at me, waving goodbye. He looked at the bus again. He looked at me again. He looked confused.

I waved back, then shrugged, smoking a cig. Brr, it was cold. I disappeared. That's the way it was in those days -- act out the rage, then disappear.

Now, after many years, after attempting to become a grownup, I still have trouble expressing the anger. It'll take me a while to feel anger about something, and even when I do feel it, I tend to err on the side of stuffing it. Then it turns into a wild ball of depression and/or anxiety. Obviously I'm aware of the pattern, and I suppose I've gotten better at dealing with it, but it's still there. I mean, anger is a natural, human emotion, right? And depending on how a person may have grown up, the ways of coping are many. But stuffing shit can really kick me in the ass.

When I was little, no one expressed anger. Everyone was so very quiet all of the time. If a door slammed, I jumped, and the house was silent more often than not. Even now, if I hear people yell, I'll often hold my ears. It bothers me that much. Noise in general bothers me -- a loud laugh, the sound of someone chewing, my cat crying, etc. But then I could go and listen to Nine Inch Nails at full volume, and that seems all right. Makes no sense, really. No, it does make sense; I suppose the noise bothers me only when it seems to be out of my control.Yes.

No, I don't mosh anymore. Not sure if anyone does. I'm sure there are some basement clubs around that still hang on to the whole scene, I dunno. I admit that sometimes I miss those reckless days. Sure, now I'm better at expressing myself with words, and I don't have to yell or punch at a crowd to get my point across, but sometimes I think this:  Damn, that was easier. Wouldn't mind doing it today, actually. I'd probably get injured, but whatever. Back then, I think I was made out of silly putty. Now I'm made out of the real know, bones and skin and blood. How boring.

We all like control. Some of us dig it more than others. And it seems that we all freak out when we feel like we lose control. Some of us more than others. Ask my vacuum cleaner -- I try to control the hell out of my pad. I suppose that's what anger's all about -- the fear of the lack of control. But hell, when I think about it, life is ridiculously out of control. Why I try and control it is beyond me. It is ridiculous to try, and yet I do. Some days are more peaceful and lucid than others, and those are the days when I'm more focused on following my heart, going with the flow, and letting go. When I'm angry, I'm hanging on. When I'm peaceful, I'm accepting and letting go. And just for today, I think I'll let those little demons go.

Or maybe go for a walk and listen to Tool. Ha, some things stick,

C.A. MacConnell


F'n Rad Barista, Part Five or Six, Not Sure

Customer:  I'd like a smoothie.
Barista:  Man, seriously?
Customer:  What?
Barista:  Oh, nothing, it's just that I just cleaned the blender. You know, disinfected it and everything. Well, kind of. I rinsed it out.
Customer:  Well, won't you have to use it again? It's only ten in the morning.
Barista:  Yeah, well, I usually start closing around 10 a.m.
Customer:  Closing?
Barista:  Yeah, we close at 6, but I like to be prepared. I'm a real go-getter.
Customer:  Oh, I see, well, can I get that smoothie anyway?
Barista:  Hm, lets see, sure, but if you want whipped cream, I'm sorry.
Customer:  But doesn't that come with it?
Barista:  Yeah, normally, but I already cleaned the whipped cream nozzle, and I don't want to get it dirty again. I'm nervous that I won't get everything done before 6.
Customer (rolling eyes):  All right, well, I'd like Strawberry.
Barista:  Hm, I already put the Strawberry mix away in the fridge, and it's buried behind all the iced teas...hard to get all that stuff jammed in there for closing, but right now it's all packed in there perfectly. You should see it. Really, it's amazing I fit it all. So would you mind banana? I think I can get to that.
Customer:  Really, I want Strawberry.
Barista:  Hows about Four Berry, and we'll call it a day.
Customer:  I guess that'll work. How is it that you still work here?
Barista (starting the blender and shouting):  Oh, I don't work here anymore. I just keep coming in because I don't have anything else to do.
Customer (raising brows and shouting):  I've never heard of such a thing.
Barista:  Hey, you want a Diet Coke with this? I'm trying to get rid of those to fit the selzer in the fridge for closing.
Customer:  I think it might be a good idea for you to seek some help.
Barista:  No doubt. It gets wild here.
Customer:  No, I think professional help.
Barista:  Here's your Four Berry! Enjoy. You know what's funny? Someone else wrote that on the comment card. Weird how coincidences happen.
Customer (taking smoothie):  Um, yeah, thanks.
Barista:  Hope you come back, hope to see you soon, have a nice day, but lady, next time, just a suggestion, but can you come a little earlier, so I am not in the middle of closing?

C.A. MacConnell


Reverse Prayer

Hi. I taught yoga for years, and I did a serious practice for 13 years straight pretty much. Although I don't teach now, and I don't do a full-on physical practice, I still do some daily poses, and I still love arm balances, headstands, and elbow stands, but I try to focus more on meditation. I had to slow down. And to me, true yoga involves paying attention to your heart, listening to your true self. That may sound like ridiculously cheesy universal bullshit, but I do mean it. And deeply. Sometimes being true to yourself means changing everything or leaving everything. Or hell, learning a new approach. It means total honesty, with the self and others, damn gut level honesty. Aye. No, I'm not perfect at it, but I do my best to aim to be true.

This morning, I thought about some awesome people from my classes -- students and friends who really touched my life. At one facility, I taught four classes a week for many years, so I really got to know and love the people, and for sure, any of those students could have taught the class. I was continually amazed and touched by their strength, inside and out. I love these gray days. Calms me. Well, sort of. It's relative. I've been a train wreck actually, but looking at this rain, I feel like a little less of a train wreck, and more like a anxious, pensive baby harp seal that's lost, ha. So much for uplifting metaphors. Oh, man, just bein' real. Damn gut level honesty, there you go. Let's see, let's turn it around -- I do feel grateful to have a new friend in my life. :) Here's a poem I reworked just now. Peace out, C.A.

Reverse Prayer

Full class
Me sick
Inside and out
But I still taught
As well as anyone
No thirteen
Mike was late again
We moved
We breathed
Into the stretch
Mark smirked
And showed us
His handstand
Julie joined him
Upside down
On the sly
Mat to mat
Donna kissed Mike
Kerry was missing
Carol couldn’t reach
Behind her back
Stubborn space
So far
So stiff
I changed the plan
I left
The reverse prayer
Of the flow
From afar
I showed her
How to clasp her hands
Another way
How she could open
Her chest
As well as anyone
How she could open
Her heart
As well as anyone
Dear god

C.A. MacConnell


Didn't You Look?

Not long ago, I was heading out to run errands, and while I was driving, my music buddy called me from California; I hadn't talked to him in forever, and I can't remember the conversation, but right when I hit the parking lot, right when I said, "love you!" into the phone, I looked left, looked right, crept forward, and BAM! CRUNCH! A truck plowed right into the side of my car, taking the whole front end off.

Shaken, I said, "Gotta go. Got in a wreck," into the phone.

"Are you okay?" my friend asked.

"Yeah, but the car isn't," I said, hanging up.

Slowly, with that sinking feeling, I got out of the car, looked at the damage, then faced my opponent. I scanned the body of her truck. Of course, no damage at all. I glanced back at my car. Probably totaled. Uh, definitely. I knew. I didn't want to know, but I knew. I ran a hand along my belly, stroking it.

Not sure what she yelled at me, but it was something like, "Didn't you look?"

I did look, but in the time span between when I looked left, then right, she came barreling into me. It was my fault, no doubt -- number one, I was on the phone, and number two, I was the one pulling out into traffic, and I should've looked twice, because I paused too long after I looked right. But she must've been going fast as hell for me not to see her, and for that split second crash to occur.

Anyway, I was all shook up while I called the insurance and the tow truck. Oh, and I called my Mom. Obviously, I needed a ride. And moral support, for sure. I felt nauseous.

Well, after my opponent calmed down, she told me that she was indeed in a hurry. See, she was on her way to the hospital to visit her husband. Apparently, he'd been taken in the night before. She said that he was incredibly ill, and he'd been suicidal the night before. So she was terrified for his well being. To me, she looked rather crazed as well.

By the time my Mom and the tow truck arrived, I started to think about this:  you just never know why someone might be distracted or in a hurry. She could be on the way to the hospital. She could be in labor.  Or, she could be on her way to get a pregnancy test, like I was. And while talking to the body shop, I knew that my car was toast, but I also knew that I had a child inside of me, and I was healthy and alive, and thank god I wasn't hurt by that truck. Just goes to show you. Be gentle with other creatures, and be grateful and gentle with yourself, even if you have to buy a new car.

C.A. MacConnell

P.S. This is true up to "you never know why someone might be distracted or in a hurry." The rest is all a big crock of shit. April fools.


Sign Patrol, Two for One Today

Looks like Sarah's takin' Ty through the Drive-thru for Prom this year. Rock on sister, Love 'em and leave 'em. I never went to prom, but sounds hot, woohoo. I'm with you. If you and Ty get bored...I'm on vacation, just sayin'.

During my vacation, I was going to check out this new Church to gain more spiritual perspective on some things; however, on closer examination, man...I have heard of leaders being disciples of God, but not sure who the fuck is in charge here. Then again, maybe it's the perfect place...mass confusion and wacky worship. Could be a good time, or at least some good hellfire and brimstone material.

Sometimes, it's all about the material....
C.A. MacConnell


Night Shift

Howdy. Fixed this one up for you. Hope you like. I've been getting lots of exciting feedback on the book, so that's rad. Slowly selling away. Word of mouth is my friend! Would love it if you'd pass on the word. Thanks! Lots of change going on with me in the next few weeks. Scared, but looking forward to a new opportunity. :) Sometimes fear and excitement go hand in hand. Tonight though, rest! I'm determined to rest. I'm not very good at that at all. Night night. My heart hurts. Hope you like this little gem. I think I'll turn it into a short story actually...Peace out, C.A.

Night Shift

Aaright. Can I help you?
He works the night shift
at a gas station; he rings me up
come evening. In the window's
reflection, through the finger-
prints, I catch him staring back.
Strange Owl Eyes, take me
home. True, quiet and deep
are all we have. Maybe later,
his steady look spreads light
on each customer, from pretty
to ugly, inside and out. Quickly,
he makes change. Counting
twice, he makes it right.
Can I help you? I see the focus,
the fixed expression, the half-
smile. One wrinkle settles in,
creasing the right eye, changing
the face, blurring god's skin.
He moves to reach and bend,
and when the crooked line
becomes rowdy and rough,
he's still there. He works
the night shift; he rings me up
again. Owl Eyes, hire me,
fire me, give up the handbook,
hear my two weeks notice,
make me feel some sense of place
behind the counter. Can I help you?
I'm unsure about his true, given
name, but we knew the same
circles, and to me, tonight,
he is the real worker of change.
Back in the day, he knew the love
of my life.

C.A. MacConnell


The Director

In my mind, you are
Winning. A quiet joker
Grinning sideways, you whisper
To the real
I'll hurry. Someday, when the work is
I am
You own your uniform --
The white suit,
The purple
Button-down. Man, you
Are as pale as Poe
From the inside
Your brown hair hangs now,
Slightly touching
The tips of your ears,
And the skin around your eyes
Dark-tired, matching
Your brows, but inside
The black pupil,
There is still
A hint of creation,
The oldest
In my mind, you are
Winning. A quiet joker,
All the love fans know
Your face and sweat.
Today, you could save the
Through shadowy scenes,
Or you could visit the real
Or you could rest
Your head down
And finally drift

C.A. MacConnell


Sign Patrol

Sorry, a little hard to read with the "grunge" motif, but just wanted to let you know if you're looking for work...I was going to apply here, but unfortunately, according to the sign, "Now hiring rock stars," they're only hiring rock stars.

C.A. MacConnell


Sign Patrol

Ah, this time of year, wouldn't you love to head on out on the lovely scenic trail? Just follow the sign!

Unfortunately, no lie, this very sign points directly to this lovely highway and 30 foot wall made of solid steel and some other choice materials:

I suppose you have to do some Spiderman scaling and wall climbing to get to this trail and the scenery. Get ready, bikers and joggers. All in the name of exercise.

C.A. MacConnell


Skating, Singing, Loving for Soup

Skating, Singing, Loving for Soup

Over the years I’ve been sober, I’ve seen people come and go. I’ve seen many struggle. Yeah, I’ve seen many souls die, but I’ve seen countless others survive as well. Just the way it goes in the world of severe illness. But here’s one story about someone raw and real, flawed and stubborn, someone who touched my life. Jay wasn’t famous, although he had that drive; he sure wanted people to hear his words and voice. Anyway, he could be a real pain in the ass sometimes, and I could too, but he was my best friend at one time, and he was a star to me.

His NYC baseball cap was basically attached to his head, and even though sometimes he spent hours on his hair, it always looked like shit. When he asked me what I thought about it, I always smiled and lied and said, "I like it." He always wore long sleeves. You know, to cover up the scars. But when I met him, he'd been sober for a while. He was still skinny, but healthy, working full time, seemingly steady in every aspect of living -- new apartment, new black car, whole new life. Not long before, he had worked hard to reconnect with some family. Still, he had that wild streak, and I loved him, like we do. Well, I loved him as much as I could feel love at the time. In a way, it was a love based on survival -- desperate and clingy, immature and fiery, weirdly easy and crazy.

Damn, we laughed. All of the time. Damn, we sang. Constantly, we made up songs or sang along to every word of Blind Melon’s "Soup." No, we weren't even close to awesome, but together, we thought we were. Jay loved his guitar, and he played constantly. Every now and then, he’d sign up at an open mic, but mostly, he played porches, parks, corners, or he'd just sit and sing on the ground somewhere. It was all a big show to him, whether or not anyone listened, but he turned some heads.

One night, we bought a smiley face ice cream cake and went to a friend’s house for a pot luck party. Sitting on the front porch late into the night, we improvised some strange, long tunes with tricky words, and when we sang together, it seemed as if the porch was melting. It felt so good to be alive and creating with him. We’d run around with no plan in mind, both wearing our skate shoes and baggy jeans (he was a reckless street skater). Often, he was so entertaining, I felt like I was along for the ride, and so we fought for the spotlight.

There was nothing fancy about it. At his place, we slept on the floor, joking that we were camping out, because the carpet was better than his cheap bed. Inside, it was always either too hot or too cold, but it was all right and being together was enough. When we fought, we’d talk quietly, get somewhat pissed, and then we’d both turn silent, and he'd say, "Forgettaboutit." Done. It was that simple.

We were the “two peas” thing.

One day, he relapsed, and I cut off the relationship. He reappeared for a while, then disappeared. Every now and then, after that, he’d randomly appear at my apartment. Often, he showed up in the middle of the night. Each time, he looked thinner, and his eyes looked bigger. Sometimes, he’d be on pills or whatever else. It was always something. I could see it, but I never said anything. I've been around substance abuse long enough that I can always see it. I know when someone's jonesing. I know when someone's hungover or high, and I know when someone's coming down. It's in the eyes, man. The eyes don't lie.

The last time I saw Jay, he hugged me, looked me in the eye and said, “I’m dying, Christine.” I tried to choose the right words, to give him hope, but I knew he was serious, and I knew there was nothing more I could do. Then he disappeared completely. I heard he decided to travel around. About a year or so later, I was on my way to a friend’s house to record some songs for fun. Winter 2007. The very morning that I went to hear the finished songs, I got a phone call from a mutual friend. Jay had overdosed. And this time, he didn't make it.

In shock, I took my CD home, and I posted some songs. Then I took them down. I wrote about my friend. I talked about him in groups. I cried some. I got pissed. I reached out. Damn, I reached out. It takes raging strength and willingness to recover, but sometimes people are so sick, and they can’t seem to find the way to a solution. And I know if I take one drink, it could be me. And yet, even with all of this knowledge, even after all of these years, even after having all of these experiences, I felt like drinking last night. I wanted to get wasted, fucked up, fuck it, fuck it all. That's the madness of the disease. Then I reached out. Damn, I reached out, the same way I've been doing it for 16 1/2 years, because I know it's not about all that time. It's about today.

Today was Jay's birthday, and he still creeps into my mind, especially on days like this. Sometimes when I’m walking down the street, I’ll see someone who looks like him, and I’ll do a double take. Brother, it happens a lot, and then I think about his hands. I loved his hands – his long, slender fingers, his few skater tats, his eyes, his voice that was part sing-songy and part street-talk. I think about his baggy jeans, the silver rings on his fingers. He only had a few shirts, a few pairs of pants, one pair of boots, and one pair of skate shoes. The rest of his belongings had been lost to time, travel, pawn shops. The streets.

And I thought about the way people always seem to talk about how "perfect" our loved ones are when they die. Then I thought this:  hell, he was manipulative, selfish, and absolutely delusional at times. Well, me too. But he was also sensitive, sexy, fun as hell, and when he was well, intensely spiritual. Yeah, me too. I thought about how I loved him despite the dark side and how I still wouldn't take it all back. Since then, of course I have loved again, and it has become different, better, deeper, and I now know more about living, loving it all, and sticking it out. See, he taught me how to be easier on me, to be easier on others, and to give without expecting a return. He taught me that temporary or not, we had a real bond that helped me learn more how to be a true partner -- one that knows when to hold a hand and when to release it. My great hope is that soon someone will help me hang on, help me stick it out.

Maybe all the relationships experts out there wouldn't agree with me on this, but most of all, Jay taught me that when things get too heavy, I can just kick back and do this:  forgettaboutit.

Peace, brother. Happy birthday. Love you, even up there, you jerk.
C.A. MacConnell

P.S. That photo is not of Jay...just reminded me of him. It's one I took in Roanoke...the market area.
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