Living In Shadows

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Tool “Schism”


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We all know how it feels to be alone; when you can be surrounded by folk but still feel as though you’re on your lonesome. It’s an ethereal feeling, no doubting, but one which I would wager most of you feel at least once in your lives. For some, it’s a little more frequent, it can be a most troublesome endeavor when attempting to find your own lost soul. I’ve searched high and low for my own inner contentment, at times I have felt like a hollow shell, not capable of feeling. It matters not if I’m in a well-populated locale, large numbers don’t alleviate that sense of loneliness. If anything, they just make you feel more helpless. “What’s wrong with me?” is a question we pose to ourselves when situations such as this arise. More often than not, the answer can be a simple “nothing”.

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Anybody who believe to have sussed themselves out should take another long, hard look within. It is when you don’t that mid-life crisis looms, stress and anxiety, depression, worse. Life isn’t meant to be understood necessarily, but it is there to gain understanding of. Confused? Then read on my dearest Grueheads as I will give it clarity. Time and time again I’ve believed to have had it licked; the epiphany, when it comes, can offer a great deal of relief. You feel as though the clouds lift,even momentarily and your pathway unclutters. I’ve had plentiful light-bulb moments during my life cycle, none more prominent than when everything around me appears to be crumbling. When faced with stark reality we force ourselves to delve deeper to find the answers.

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When my first wife left me, I couldn’t fathom why someone would wish to exclude me from their life. I’m a people person after all, folk gravitate towards me because I remain consistent. We all ovulate, whether shedding eggs or not, there are times when putting on a brave face that just doesn’t seem to fit. Climate change, world affairs, recession, religious wars, expectations, that’s a hefty burden and some days it just feels that little bit weightier. As humans we often don’t make it easy on ourselves. That first walk to the local convenience store can offer countless opportune moments to swing the scales in our favor. A smile at a stranger, telling the person in front of us in queue that that crisp note fell from their pocket, as opposed to stepping on it inconspicuously and awaiting clear coast to pocket it. Paying it forward, it’s a fairly effortless pursuit and whilst it may seem as though, short-term at least, benefits are outweighed considerably, the bigger picture suggests otherwise. For every time that currency drops in our direction, there will be another when it’s our pocket emptying, our money going astray. When another decides to pay it forward in such situations; our day can receive a real boost and that spring in our stride returns.

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The law of averages suggests that 50% of the time, give or take, we’ll be on the receiving end of life’s little injustices. What we put out there, is what we get back right? Not exactly, to suggest as much would be foolhardy. But it does make one hell of a difference to our fortunes. Due to intimate emotional baggage we put up barriers as means of protection. Through doing so, we considerably lessen the chance of finding our contented centers. You need to trust when it appears such an ominous endeavor, believe when there is no reason for faith, love when consumed by hatred. The only person suffering as a result from not doing such is yourself. You cut down your options, become set in your ways and decide that you have the measure of your mortality. Thus learning really isn’t necessitated anymore. When this occurs, you begin to exist in your own asphyxiating bubble, slowly losing oxygen supplies and withering away inside your own shell. So fucking wasteful.

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I’ve had two failed marriages; the first of which I have long since stopped searching for reasoning. Why worry about what cannot be altered? It’s long in the past and my young mind wasn’t in the place to select a suitor at that point. I’ve let it go. My second breakdown of nuptials is far more recent, the wounds more visible, scarring still underway. It saddens me so much more than the first, primarily because there is a child involved and they’re some tough meds to swallow. Not being able to start my day with that immense hope and excitement a three-year old brings eats me away if I focus on it for too long a period. But it is more than that, vows are something I take very seriously. In neither marriage would I just have walked away had the decision not been made for me. Second time, it was my choice and that hurts me. Although ejected from my homestead temporarily, there was a revolving doorway which I chose not to enter. I gave up, not because I didn’t love my spouse. Because I loved her too much to carry on pissing on such an effervescent dream. Certain factors, which I shall keep ambiguous, made it nigh-on impossible to endure any longer. If I had have done so, chances are I wouldn’t still remain. My soul was slowly dissipating, these outside influences were too strong, their conditioning too dense to traverse, too ingrained to reverse.

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I’m lonely of my own free will and that is the saddest factor. It defeats me thinking that I let her down by walking or that her defenses will fortify by the time she meets her subsequent partner. I don’t want to take anyone’s hope from them, the opposite is true. I advocate love and belief in all that I do, so failing to achieve this with a person I was so staunchly dedicated to sharing my life with is all the more distressing. My second marriage is gone; it’s innocence can never be reinstated. And the truth is, had it not been for that contributing factor, our lives would have played out very differently. But now I am forced into looking forward once more, only this time I’m nearly forty and an infant is involved. Fortunately, the legalities shouldn’t pose much problem. We have accepted that our paths are destined to stray each others and have reached an amicable juncture. Whilst this brings short-term relief, it doesn’t make my heart hurt any less.

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It is times such as these that are pivotal to moving forth. I have stubbornly refused to facilitate defeat; my life ultimately means nothing if I don’t treat it with the care and attention it warrants. Do I trust? Yes, always will. My unique perception puts me at an advantage there, although nobody really knows another. But I wish to afford the chance to try, therefore in future relationships, I shall give my trust without second thinking. Always learning, attempting to enlighten not frighten. Smiling in the face of ignorance. Paying it the fuck forward. This will remain the case throughout my transience. It’s ironic that I continue to do so whilst slowly self-destructing but one change in my circumstances can halt that in a New York Minute. I have another child, not in a visceral sense. Rivers of Grue is my creation, my ‘light-bulb moment’. It is there every morning to share hope and excitement and its conception cannot be taken away from me.


It affords me a new family, but not to lessen the eminence of my blood relatives, in the same manner in which my beautiful boy is irreplaceable. That shit goes without saying. I don’t fear my new family forsaking me as I use my free choice to trust…always will. My creative soul was never destined to punch a clock or rally the rabble running another person’s dream. There was always something else I should be doing with my life. I’m doing it now; being selfish in a sense, but actually, once you delve a little deeper, there’s nothing selfish in my actions. Life has kicked the shit out of me at times, but no more than any other. Has it beat me, hell no, I know more of who I am because of these hardships, you have to eat a fistful of dog shit before you’ll truly appreciate the flavor of a Prime Rib. Regret is wasteful, negativity shameful and loss of belief negligible. I’m done with all three. Thus, there is illumination within these shadows and the joyous fact is that it is each one of you whom create this guiding light out of my own seemingly interminable darkness.

Burning Dawn

So many folk around me who claim to know me don’t actually see that I’m happy right now. I don’t ever disregard the sadness within but I push it back out every time the Crimson Quill bleeds. This is where so many numpties make the mistake of abusing their exclusive opportunity to educate, personal gain becomes too alluring. Because I scribe with conviction unswervingly, it means that you can trust me. The moment I scribe through spite or go back on my word my entire archives become worthless. I just wish others closer in proximity could see this, trust this.


They’re all worried about me and, of course, they have a point. I’m smoking myself into a casket at an alarming speed but haven’t given up that hope. When certain financial affairs are concluded I will have the tools I need for the banks of grue to overspill considerably. I’ve done things my way like Sinatra, there have been opportunities but I have been comfortable biding my time as I believe in Rivers of Grue. I already know where it heads, and the past six months has merely been spent scouting for likewise souls to push this forward with the integrity it deserves. The time grows near Grueheads, you’re in safe bloody hands.








  1. It seems there is a common bond there Keeper. Sometimes our darkness threatens to consume us, using our bones to pick it’s teeth. But there is light, and from my own experience, failed marriage, abuse, praying for death, and all, we come out changed, for the better. Stronger for all the adversity. Your happiness brings me joy, makes me fairly shout with joy. Keep shining your light. I will follow willingly xoxo

  2. Superb work my dear Brother, you are a master at the art of expression…such an inspiration to me. I am having a time right now…trying to put everything into perspective. An abundance of creativity is swarming over me, forcing me to spill my blood. I timidly dip the quill in…starting to spill my passion and scribe again for me is a life changer. This whole past month I have been reeling and wallowing and entertaining new ideas, feelings, and ways I express myself. This journey is amazing. Today I have been floored just being able to read so many different stories and heart wrenching bleeds from you and the entire Grue Family. I am honored and humbled and it sets my soul ablaze. Thank you my Liege

  3. My mother has always said “Regret, hatred, are a waste of spirit”. You seem to have taken this to heart my Keeper. You stride out of the darkness every day. Thank you so much for taking me with you.

  4. Such a well written piece Brother! I can relate to you so much on this Keeper! Just when we think we have all the answers, life changes the questions. All we can do is live, learn and try to use our experiences to make today and tomorrow better. I know good things are in all of our futures. We just have to believe in ourselves and each other!

  5. Keeper, this has really moved me! It seems my path in life has always been the rocky one. Whether sickness as a child to ridicule as a teen to being a lost soul in my 20s. I’m 40 now and though troubles are still here, I’ve had one certain in my life that is Love! It’s the love you give to strangers or to friends or even to family. You give love my brother thru your beautiful words and that is priceless. Love begats love, so of one of many #Grueheads I LOVE YOU!

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