My friend Steven was over from Canada for a flying visit last weekend. I’ve known him for half of my life, and the last time I saw him was here, over three and a half years ago. We have not kept in touch as often as we probably should have, but that’s more my fault than it is his. Still, it’s good to know that with some friends you can just fall back into your relationship no matter how long it has been dormant.
Over a lovely Italian meal and some adult beverages we caught each other up on where our lives are currently and – as most friends our age do – spent some time reminiscing about the old times as well. If nothing else, what the conversation did show me, was that I am in a much better place emotionally than I was in 2014, and that can only be a good thing.
Unfortunately I have not made the trip to North Bay to visit him in the near decade since he has been overseas, but with the promise of free accommodation should I ever pitch up on his doorstep, the temptation is always there.
Hope you had a safe trip back, buddy.
My personal life is (finally) great, and after a long time in the wilderness, I have a job that I actually enjoy and that doesn’t expect my soul in return for my payslip every month. The only point of this triangle currently amiss is my writing.
This year started off with promise. I finished Slipwater – a novel I am extremely proud of – and it has been sitting with a number of agents since early February, but since that feeling of accomplishment I have not done much to maintain the momentum. A short story here, a revision or two there, but that’s about it.
Well that stops today.
I received another rejection letter this morning. I’ve been getting them for over half my life now. No big deal: that’s just part of the constant struggle for acceptance… and I don’t only mean acceptance of a particular story, but also the wider definition of every writer’s desire to have his or her words heard, and for them to mean something to someone.
But this rejection is one too many, so I need to pull my fingers out of my ass and put them on the keys again.
You know, obviously I’ll wash them first.
The Girlfriend© was an Illegal Eagles virgin, but I have been to see them somewhere in the region of six or seven times since the turn of the century, so I broke her in gently. Having said that, in a way this was my first time as well, because the guys on stage on Friday night down in Dunfermline were all completely new to me.
A new line-up it may have been, but they were every bit as talented and enthusiastic about the Eagles legacy as I had come to expect. Three of the six on stage were younger than I am, which is simultaneously good to see, but also a little disheartening to be reminded of my advancing years in such an innocuous manner.
The one guy on the entire upper level who decided to stand and shake his tailfeather was right behind me – drunk, and shouting all of the right words, in all of the wrong notes. At one point he slapped me in the back of the head, and I turned around to find out what the hell his problem was, only to find that the staggered seating had me staring directly at his gyrating crotch. I never did ask him, and for what it’s worth he just kept on thrusting.
The Illegal Eagles tripped through all of the hits, plus a few solo tracks (including a mesmerising version of Don Henley’s Heart of the Matter), and managed to embroider the show with some relaxing banter throughout. A near note perfect rendition of Hotel California was the penultimate number, and The Girlfriend© and I both left satisfied: one old fan, and one brand new.
I got a letter from my dad today, which would not have arrived as such a great surprise had my father not died in 2004… and this letter had been written at least five years before that.
In the two pages of emotive prose, my father apologises, says that he loves me, and basically asks for forgiveness in a way that he would never have been able to do in person. He also left his address and phone number should I ever wish to get back in touch and rebuild a few of the bridges he had spent years burning.
At the end of the letter, in capitals, are the words EDDIE LIVES! It’s a phrase that means nothing unless you’ve seen Eddie & the Cruisers II… something which carries a crazy ironic weight, because that movie was about a famous singer presumed dead only to be discovered alive twenty years later.
Of course, I didn’t get the chance to reconnect because the letter was kept a secret from me for two decades. Maybe I wouldn’t have contacted him at all; or perhaps I would have done so just to tell him to fuck off. The truth is I don’t know how I would have reacted twenty years ago, but the point is, it should have been my decision to make, and not just another skeleton in an already bone-riddled closet.
So my first kiss in the year 2018 was shared with a guy, which is totally fine – we should all strive to experience new things, while we are still young enough to enjoy them – and although it is true that he was a better kisser than most of the girls I have had the pleasure of interacting with since my lips began actively seeking out others, this is not really what I meant when I internally concluded that this year I wanted to expand my horizons.
Still… I’ve had worse starts to the year.
When I turned twenty-five I dumped the seventeen year old girl I was going out with because she had never seen my favourite movie, Die Hard.
Now I’m forty-one, and the twenty-five year old girl I was with today has also never seen my favourite movie, Die Hard.
What is wrong with you people? Please end this cycle. Go and watch my favourite movie, Die Hard.
What an absolutely ridiculous name for a storm!