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Joe Esposito “You’re the Best”




Empowerment happens to be a topic which I know rather a lot about. It is a tool which I learned all about whilst working with underprivileged teens and one I continue to champion now as it is so vital to each of us reaching the apex of our capabilities. We have our skill set and how much of that we access depends on a number of factors. Surrounding ourselves with people who can nurture our souls is paramount as constant knocks and words of discouragement can affect our ability to believe in ourselves and, moreover, our hopes of reaching our zenith. Having those around you who appreciate the art of empowerment is key; these suitors spark our fuses and do so without the need for credit or ownership. These folk can also be the difference between us treading water and touching the void and the kicker is that they will allow you to do this yourself.

I am only too aware of unspent potential as I carried mine around like a chihuahua clutch-bag for way too much of my existence. I knew that writing was the one arrow in my quill which could make a difference and headed off to college to study my vocation further. The problem for me was that I always had a love/hate relationship with the media; while I was appreciative of just how much it could be used for the greater good, tabloid newspapers and glossy trash publications convinced me that it was not a career I wished to pursue. I started to grow bitter and began to despise the media and all that it stood for. Before long I had landed a job in medical recruitment and, from there, my career took a number of turns before being chewed up and shat out by the government. For the first time in my life I felt lost and had no idea what path lie before me.


So I started writing and, at first, this became my new favorite pastime. It was possible it was just a flash in the pan as I had no real inkling as to where it could lead. I began chronicling my love for all things horror and suddenly the archives of my mind became accessible for the first time in my adult life. You see, I was one lazy-assed motherfucker for a long time. Let’s not twist the carrot, I achieved consistently in each of my roles, but it never really tested the grey matter. I learned the art of partial application and got it off to fine tee before too long. I did just enough to look good and precious little more. Thankfully, I was in a position of charm, and could do the bare minimum required to come out smelling of roses in a fraction of the time allotted. Maybe I would have done more had it not been for the fact that none of my employers deserved the full fruits of my labor. As I lumbered from one career to the next I steadily became more disillusioned and, by the time my mid-life crisis was looming, I presumed there was simply no other way.


My entire life turned on a sixpence just under a year ago. It culminated in me returning to lodge with my mother twenty years after flying the nest and becoming an overnight teenager complete with pout. From here I continued to search for employment for a short time as it was what was expected from me and landed a managerial role which was like a cup of cold Cancer at this point in proceedings. It took me months to wriggle free of my new-found snare and, since doing so, I have become a fully fledged bum. An honest day’s work has eluded me ever since and I have learned to focus all of the true passion inside of me into squeezing words of wisdom and encouragement from the quill which became my overnight savior. There is a lot to be said for being your own boss but it requires a level of commitment which comes from understanding that the buck stops there. My destiny was finally in my hands; I hadn’t the faintest inkling as to what I should be doing with it, but I appreciated the gift.


I must break formation momentarily to report that my next door neighbor just threw his toys from the pram and called his five year-old child a moron. I’ve had to recompose myself as the tears have been streaming, although maybe I shouldn’t be getting my jollies at a toddler’s expense. However, it kind of leads us back on course as, by ripping this poor bairn a new asshole in such a shameful manner, he is actually empowering his little angel to become said dufus. Without wishing to sound like an eighty year-old ex-Naval commander, that’s the problem with the world today. Wiring an impressionable mind to believe it will only ever amount to a length of dick-weed is hardly going to boost the boy’s morale. Maybe, by the time he reaches twenty, he will be so backed-up with furious anger that he will become a Pulitzer-winning rocket scientist and win himself a scholarship on Mars; either that or he’ll end up in the armed forces. Either way it will be partially to spite his father.


Empowerment involves little more than sparking a fuse then walking away to a safe distance and watching the fireworks play out. A number of souls I fused energy with in my early days as a scribe helped me to believe in my own capability. We shared knowledge of the process and understood the notion that two minds were better than one. We were also frequent cherry pickers and had learned to perfect the art. Taking the positives from each interaction and blatantly ignoring any negativity surrounding us afforded us the chance to dip into one another’s fonts at will, secure in the knowledge that we shared the same fundamental desire, that being to create. Inside of us all is potential and much of it remains untapped through our entire life cycle. It’s in there, soaking it up like a tampon in a train wreck, but can be a most petulant bugger when it wishes. It needs to be offered a little encouragement to leave the safety of its seclusion.


Being a scribe is, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, a rather exclusive position of authority. It you possess a certain way with your prose and even the most basic literate grasp then you’re on to a winner as freedom of speech is something the government can’t snatch away, especially when transmitting via the worldwide web. With power comes great responsibility should you be looking to make a positive splash and Rivers of Grue became a network while we all figured how to harness our ability which truly gave me dimples. I didn’t mind any extra legwork as my own journey became so much less cluttered as a result of sharing this dialogue, sparking these fuses. It was all happening to me for the first time so I made a catalogue of errors along the way but this just offered me the chance to embrace my flaws, instead of refusing that they existed. Once I became comfortable with the fact that I can be a thoughtless bag of dicks and don’t practice nearly as well as I preach I found a little solace, some sanctuary.

For all of my foibles, and I continue to work through them on a bi-daily basis, my intention is pure. Moreover, there are those around me with the same set of principle ambitions. There is a certain knack to the art of being self-effacing and it pairs actually pretty beautifully with self-respect. If you become cozy in your pelt then you can strike a balance and this allows others to refresh themselves in the knowledge that “it could be worse, we could have it like that guy” Everyone’s a winner so I loves me some banana skin heels and I’ve learned to walk in them fairly well. Plus, they look good against my ladylike pins. I don’t mind taking one for the team as, when all is said and done, I’ve got damned nice legs. That’s the kind of shit I speak of, mixing it up, combining the positive and negative to create something wholly neutral to others. They take their own positives, cherry pick if you will, and all parties benefit. Maybe these are the ramblings of a madman but I find great sanity in its opposite number and the great thing is that it actually works.



I’m great at offering the opening act, tickling those quills and quims with my prose and handing out the candies like some unhinged Pied Piper but that’s where it all turns to blancmange, the after-care package. Living is learning and one day maybe I’ll have it cracked, one thing is for damned sure, I spend every day of my life learning so I’m only ever moving in the right direction. Maybe that is why I related to Cornelius, the slug who touched my heart, before making ultimate contact with my heel. We moved at the same velocity. If I continue at my current rate of knots I could become everybody’s favorite human hermaphrodite and the good news is that I don’t leave anything like the trail of secreted mucus of my gastropod cousins. Transgression aside, my point is this, I can’t start your engine but I can fashion a spark for the hot-wiring. And I love nothing more than to sit back and take in the glorious results. Now is as good a time as any to go unlock some of that marvelous potential Grueheads.


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