Suggested Audio Candy
Ennio Morricone “A Fistful of Dollars”
There comes a time in the life of any sharpshooter when he starts questioning his ability. This prairie dog may well be the fastest draw in the west but his itchy trigger finger begins doubting its response time and the dreaded incertitude comes creeping in. I have been at that point for the last few weeks; wallowing in self-despair whilst pondering whether or not it’s time to hang up that Stetson once and for all. Then a rather fortuitous turn of events convinced me otherwise and pretty much saved my bacon if I’m honest. I have been on the fast-track to a premature casket for too long now; living in today and praying that tomorrow will never come. I can’t do it anymore or, more to the point, I simply won’t. Last dusk I wrote a piece called Waiting On An Epiphany. It was a nudge in fate’s direction; requesting a way out of my current quandary, and over the past twelve hours my calls have been answered.
I owe every last one of you Grueheads an explanation, a rather gargantuan debt of gratitude and, myself, a hefty slice of humble pie. I made my name by offering optimism to those who had ceased believing, giving encouragement to folk who knew only disparagement and offering unconditional love to those craving intimacy. I’ve stated numerous times how that has filled my spirits to bursting and made me feel that the future is actually full of hope, not despair. Keeper is one of those frustrating individuals for whom it is simple dishing out pearls of wisdom but nigh on impossible applying the same logic to his own situation. I possess the necessary insight so it’s not like the signs aren’t in place; more that I choose to ignore them and shut out all those around me that truly give a hoot. It’s a defense mechanism; in place to halt me from facing up to certain uncomfortable truths that I’m not ready to accept.
I have become a specter, wisping from one frosty locale to the next, totally detached from a reality which has changed shape drastically over the past three months of my life. Damage limitation is possibly the best way to describe it; I have felt so woefully misunderstood by my own nearest and dearest that I have reclined from everything, except for my work. What I have done by making that misinformed choice is to disconnect from my support network leaving myself open to the elements. Then, a few hours ago, I received a message from someone very dear offering tough love. This person pulled no punches for which I was infinitely grateful, as she made her point succinctly and forcefully, but with the necessary tact and awareness of my current emotional frailty. It hit me like a thunderbolt; by receding from those around me that truly care I am failing every single last one of them and, moreover, myself.
The problem is that when I’m in my dark place I tend to shy away from those I need most desperately. While this is partially down to not wishing to burden them when they’re fighting their own demons, if I’m honest, it’s easier not to deal. Facing up to harsh realities can be a most distressing endeavor and home truths never sound appealing as they invariably mean admitting that you’ve acted out of turn. Positivity is something I swear upon, I’m the eternal optimist, and believe the silver lining exists in most circumstances. The problem is, while I’m steadily seeping life-force, I’m ignoring these issues rather than tackling them head-on. I always wear my smile, no matter how ill-placed it may appear. But inside it’s often a whole different story.
Every day I make myself scarce just before my solitude is interrupted; thus remaining in control of my liberty. I meander from one location to the next, dodging all human bullets en route. Should I find a spot secluded enough to constitute setting up camp, then I dig in and do exactly that. Hearing that I have been ignoring the folk who I wish to address the most saddened me, no self-pity, just disappointment as it was never my intention. However I’m nothing if not man enough to admit when I’m wrong. I have a great responsibility to those who are on this pilgrimage alongside me, they place themselves in my safekeeping and show faith when everyone in my vicinity has come up short.
It has never been my intention to fail those who step up whenever I falter but, alas, it is exactly what I appear to be doing. I’m sorry, truly I am, my pep talk last night was all it took to make me consider my actions and begin to formulate a B-plan. I am hoping to make a short pilgrimage very soon to join with my brother in arms, C. William Giles. Instead of it symbolizing yet another vanishing act; it will offer me the safe haven required to realign. This will involve me breaking bread with a treasured comrade who can assist me in getting my house in order. I must break the cycle as, each day I have a tendency to drift farther from my safe place and often don’t return until the sun has set. There is no internet or Wi-Fi in the places I frequent and I therefore become the invisible man. I should be doing this shit somewhere warm and with at least basic amenities. Instead I roam the wild like Grizzly Adams.
The only explanation for my behavior is that currently I feel out-of-place at home with my blood relatives. They have offered all the support of a rubberized Zimmer, show disdain instead of empathy, and have let me down in ways I never dreamed possible. Let’s not get things twisted; I love them all dearly and that is never in question. It’s not intentional on their part but they simply cannot dream of understanding my plight right now. Thus I have fallen into a rut of sorts, a deep trench of melancholy with no handrails or climbing grips. While wallowing in self-loathing I have become increasingly blinded to the ocean of hands clambering to haul me to safety. No more; I have been in rapid decline because I’ve cut myself off from the pools of healing which I know too well are all around me. Fuck that for a game of hide and seek; I’m dusting off my pleated slacks, throwing my cashmere sweater over my shoulder and attaching my fanny pack so I don’t misplace any of my coinage. I don’t know if I can contain myself much longer; it’s time for the ants in my pants to have their say.
Dere’s trouble comin’ dis way so be warned
Put on your coat, zip your pantz
A most terrifying new age of terror haz dawned
and I speak of dem ‘orrible antz
Dey scurry in troopz as dey start to assemble,
With grinz on deir face as they do,
my palmz are all sweaty, kneez starting to tremble
see it’z all been a bit out da blue
Dey’re coming dis way, all snarling and growly
dey make me feel grim apprehension
if I cry out for help den dey’ll look at me sourly
and I’ll never collect my state pension
Dey gone done a snide, dose ignorant fuckz
dem onez I refer to iz antz
through sheer perseverance and small slice of luck
A fair few ended up in my pantz
I felt em all scratching and taunting and poking
so I ran to the stove right away
dis kettle waz hot, scrap that, it was smokin’
but it taught deze ant fuckz right of way
Some third degree burnz, real bad onez, all weepy
it smartz when I pull up ma pantz
I never feel safe and fingz always seem creepy
as I know dere’ll be more of dem antz!
I’m not afraid of those ants any more Grueheads. Screw ’em; every last one of them. We don’t need your ants, we got our own ants, big ones with rotten tempers. Mess with these ants and you may well lose your picnic blanket. I may well have seemed distant of late and, for that, I apologize unreservedly. It’s just my way of coping and never intended to offend or disappoint. When you consider that I spend most of my waking hours writing, it becomes easier understanding that sometimes I just need to take stock. My life now is nothing like how it was three months ago and my own flight plan is far from laid out at this point. Should my reserves be depleted, and I drop from the radar as has been customary of late, then know that I’m still here putting quill to parchment.
I will try my level best to allow certain habits to die but I’ll also be needing your help as this has never been a solo venture. Should I scribe 3000 words in a day then break that figure up into tweets. By my estimations, that accounts for approximately twenty-one, working on the full 140 characters as a guideline, or over thirty should I be spendthrift. Therefore I still have a presence. I’m a work in progress just as we all are and prone to the odd clunker from time to time as none of us claim to be the finished article. That’s what makes us Grueheads; these wonderful imperfections. By creating a nonjudgmental environment to flourish within, we all join hands and every presence can be felt. Know this my friends: I may appear thousands of miles away on occasion and, in geographical terms, I am. But, should you need me, remember you’ll always find me propping up the bar at the Last Chance Saloon. Now how about that burlesque show I was promised?
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013
Groove On Rouge
This one represents something of a no-brainer to Keeper. In the history of risqué galleries, this may well be the most sassy. Show me a man, or woman come to think of it, who doesn’t find burlesque deeply arousing and I shall drop my gun belt right here. It’s all about the frills you see. Petticoats, bloomers, and fluffy feather boas, supply three rather splendid reasons to catch that matinée. Imagine the grind it has been sourcing images for this showgirls gallery. Seriously, the things I do for you lot. Anyway, I got off ma horse and drank ma milk in honor of making this west a little wilder. I was born ready for pistols at dawn, and this saloon is full to brimming with thigh-slapping yeehaw, so, with no further ado, it’s time to reveal my six-shooter and get ma groove on. Anyone for a quick dolcie doe?