Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Air Run
 Ladytron I’m Not Scared
 Stetsasonic Talkin’ All That Jazz
Today Grueheads I bring you tidings of great joy. Santa hasn’t got shit on me right now as, after two years of long, dark tunnels, I’m finally basking in light. Those who know me will be more than aware of the torrid trail of despair I have walked since, in September 2013, my whole life turned on a sixpence. I could say it has been easy but never really fancied being struck down by lightning and I have accumulated too many scars en route to suggest such poppycock. To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I managed to remain topside at times, but I always believed that the fog would lift eventually. That is precisely what has just transpired and finally, after a seemingly eternal bout in limbo, it would very much appear that I have my way out.
Today started like every other day for the last 700 or so. I felt like death warmed up as is customary, shuffled downstairs for my caffeine fix, took my perch in my normal place, and coughed right through my first cigarette of the day. It wasn’t until after lunchtime that the trend was bucked and I had all but relinquished any hope of my change of circumstances ever arriving. I’ve been the proverbial mule. Sure, there has been this one carrot and it has dangled somewhat enticingly mere inches from my snout. But each time I lean forward, said carrot scampers back into the blackness, leaving me woefully bereft of the first of my unlikely five-a-day. Steady torture best describes the plight which has dogged me incessantly ever since my life changes and it was nigh-on possible to expect anything ever to be any different. Some guys have all the luck and it seemed as though I was shit out of the stuff. I just knew I should have stocked up back in the nineties.
Anyhoots, should you have read any of my more sombre introspective work then you will know only too well how much my dignity has been in question. I am a proud man with simple needs and kind of missed holding my head high. Like a blighted shrew I have holed myself up in my warren and licked my plentiful wounds accordingly, all the while committed to the belief that things will soon improve.
Earlier this week, said belief took a hefty tumble as the goalposts were moved once again just as I was beginning to sense victory. At that point I vacated the house calmly so as not to alert my poor seventy year old mother, strolled to a not altogether safe distance, inhaled a short breath, and screamed as though having both nipples pierced with knitting needles.
This was more than just a simple scream however; it was the kind that suggests it may be time to unzip that body bag. It may have sounded terminal but, as a coping mechanism, it worked a treat. I implore you all to do the very same the next time life deals you a low blow. I am of sound mind despite my harsh trajectory and it is moments such as that which have kept me compo mentis. Three days later and wailing at the height of my lungs doesn’t appeal anymore. Somehow, by some cunning slice of good fortune and blind luck most likely, today somebody was smiling at me. I didn’t feel it straight off the bat but, when I clocked this empowering grin, I just knew that it had been there all along.
That’s why I’m still here and not currently acting as a fertilizer for mother nature’s ground force. My father has kept me safe all along. I never doubted his presence and, indeed, I owe half of my first paycheck to pops for pitching in with thoughts and suggestions each time I have prepared to bleed the Crimson Quill onto parchment. Without him I wouldn’t be the man I am now and I intend to honor dad’s memory by heading for the very pinnacle of my game and achieving what it is I was placed here to achieve. Anything less is conceivable and the key is that I shall remain humble and grateful unerringly, no matter what the world wants to throw my way. It has thrown some most unhelpful items over the past 24 months and I would say I have earned today’s bone. Like a canine, I shall lick it appreciatively, dig a little plot at the end of the garden, tuck it in with soil like an infant, and return tomorrow for another slather.
One question I would imagine has crossed a few minds ponders what I have actually been doing for the past two months. It has been necessary to retract as opposed to interacting as I have needed to get my house in order before the big changeover. There are 1200 pieces of literature on the site and, while most I was satisfied with, there were a few clunkers lurking about like bad algae.
Mostly scribed during the bleak midwinter brain freeze of 2013; many of these works even I struggled to comprehend. It felt only right to return to a few old haunting grounds and do battle with some past adversaries for old time’s sake. However, I wasn’t prepared for how one-sided this melee had suddenly become. It dawned on me how far I have come as a creative writer and, moreover, a human being. The time hasn’t been wasteful, despite any long destitute slogs involved.
The reason why I have been throwing all of my obsessive compulsion into housekeeping is that I needed closure before embarking on the next chapter. I have no desire to revisit the past anymore as suddenly a future has appeared as if by magic. This time away has been imperative to my rejuvenation and it feels most poetic that I have tackled each in turn as a way of gaining the tidy conclusion I hoped for. If you get a chance, take a stroll around the archives and every link should lead you into a fresh rabbit hole. That’s how this works; I spread my kernels wide and far and, even when it appears I am stalling, things are progressing as per my meticulous plan. I uphold my belief that there is no other site in existence quite like Rivers of Grue. I’m not suggesting it’s better than any other, just different. I paint with a mixture of fine and broad strokes and every solitary piece of literature is a part of me for communal tear and share.
I am now ready to walk The Rose Trail. This can mean whatever the bloody hell you want it to and I urge you to apply its logic as it has kept my heart beating through some fairly arresting cardiac moments. My particular trail began with a dream, more critically, a visitation. My opposite number suggested that there was a single route which needed to be adhered to and, at the end of the trail of roses, was the exact reality I have always dreamed of but dared not expect. It is success, it is contentment, it enlightens and brightens, it validates and remunerates, and the roses bleed in beautiful unison, leading a path that is no longer twisted and, instead, clear and bountiful. Today my beloved friends, my whole life changed a second time. I much prefer this vantage.
So what have I learned from all of this jazz? I think the most important learning has been never to give up, as uninspired as that may sound. I know right? You would expect the Keeper of the Crimson Quill to come up with something a little more inventive than keep your chin up son. However, it truly is relevent right now, as I am living, breathing proof that you have to keep keeping on. Sometimes it may feel as though you are travelling in reverse but that’s really not true, as long as you follow your own Rose Trails. Mine leads to dazzling nirvana and the realization of my wildest dreams and I know yours does too. I love you all dearly and I scribe these words with a discernible lump in my throat. Fret not as said lump will soon be back in my ball basket but, for the time being, I am truly touched by all of your love and support through the hardest time of my entire life. It is my solemn vow that I will not be letting you down Grueheads. The future starts today and it is now time to begin a new chapter. See you at the next stanza.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2015