Suggested Audio Candy:
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force “Planet Rock”
Right now I’m sitting in my tool shed. It’s customary for Keeper to start the day this way; after pouring myself a fix of caffeine and stumbling out to my daily office space soundly dazed and confused, it is here that the first leg of my daily pilgrimage plays out. It’s not what you would call cozy; last week I was assaulted by a strimmer which saw its opportunity to plummet from above like a crabby alloy kestrel and left me nursing a severe migraine and skull-cap lesions. However, for as much as freak accidents are still very much on the cards, even when tucked away out of plain sight, most of my time here is pleasurable. It is the tool shed within which I hatch many of my harebrained schemes and here I scribe for an average of six hours at the start of the day and a further two later on, once my lungs have reconvened their fluctuation. I have made many friends whilst cooped up in my pen but alas any allegiances formed are fleeting and prone to disaster. Have you ever befriended a slug only to discover said gastropod spattered across the heel of your sock just minutes later? Guilty as charged.
Cornelius was a most valuable asset to me and our time together, whilst brief, provided no end of stimulation. If there is one thing about the common slug that you can bank on, it’s their acute listening skills. They never make a bolt for it the moment you start airing your daily laundry (at least not with any kind of conviction) and, instead, they’re all wavering antennae and willingness to shoulder your numerous woes. I used to find them somewhat icky and admittedly I wouldn’t relish nuzzling one in a display of polarized affection. As long as they stay where I can see them and keep their distance, then there is much to be said of the slug. In the last week I have met some real outlandish breeds and have engaged in lengthy conversations with them about my discolored cobblestone paving slabs and the dormant stone frog which guards the gate of my palace like a petulant gargoyle without its wingman. We have laughed until snot has made an appearance and that’s a sure-fire way of knowing that your funny bone has been tickled. If there’s snot; it’s funny. I’m fairly sure that’s how it works.
I sit here in my canvas throne day after day, concocting new ways to assault the senses of my readership and every day offers a fresh challenge. Yesterday I commented on my beloved eighties horror and cherry-picked my favorite films from this epoch. I had no idea what the plan was to be and stepped into the unknown with some trepidation. However, in such situations, the crimson quill ordinarily comes good on my behalf. Should things be growing bleak and no prose be forthcoming, then I know now to cut my losses and not let it percolate in my thoughts for too long. Once I have a couple of hundred words down, the murk begins to lift, and nothing can stop me at that point. But I still have to swing for the incoming curveball and make contact in the first place. While this could be considered a risky endeavor, there is one thing that keeps me coming back to this place, and that, my beloved Grueheads is on account of you guys.
I gets my spinach daily. Ug ug ug! The comments received every time I traverse my feed (which is beginning to resemble the fast-trundling conveyor belt from The Generation Game increasingly of late) feeds me the very nutrients I require to keep on keeping on. The most diminutive act of kindness can make all the difference and the clouds then lift allowing me to pay it forward in exchange. I do this through spoken verse primarily and every word which spills forth is on account of the spinach I quench on. Scrutinize each of my interactions closely and you will discern that, at no time, am I peddling anything over than positivity. That’s all that interests me; cheerlessness is a state of mind which I can obtain all by myself without the assistance of others and I have no inclination towards the distribution of said downer. What you put out is generally what is received in return; thus your mental five-a-day can be procured right there in the comfort of your own wi-fi hot spot. I feed like a famished boar and the moment I skip a meal is the one whereby the rumbling recommences.
Ultimately I just like offering others a lift. This is sometimes not feasible through way of social networking but follow the trail of breadcrumbs sprinkled liberally through my prose and you will have some idea of my state of mind at all times. It’s happy, regardless of the fact that I may be feeling a tad off-kilter, I leave that shit to one side when settling down to scribe. Nobody wants to hear me harp on about how the world is unfair as they can get that intelligence from numerous readily available sources. That’s what news headlines are for right? Isn’t that why the tabloid media clamber from their cess-sodden bed quarters each morning? To remind us, like Crazy Ralph but with none of his charisma, that “we’re all doomed”. We aren’t required to travel far in order to assume position and these hate mongering festoids pray on any frailties within our moods like the narcissistic nomads they are; mere vagrants of sorrow. How many reams of dick skin are they required to masticate daily in order to satisfy their malicious ticks? Where’s their spinach coming from?
I have grown rather fond of acting as fly on the wall. Every time I hit the notifications tab on and the blue bird supplies another batch of reasons to be cheerful, I buzz about just asking to play voyeur as other sparks ignite around me. I think that is why the word Gruehead has become so coveted and why it means so many different things to different people, it’s a secure umbrella wherein you can find shelter from the shit storms. We all have our dramas; everyday life is a series of banana skins and discarded roller skates which we muddle through to the very best of our abilities but, should things appear bleak, there’s always somebody on hand to perk us back up. I write through necessity but not one imposed by others. Instead it is merely encouraged by their kind actions. If a solitary person can relate to a single word I scribe on a daily basis then being a Gruehead really is what it’s cracked up to be. Together we form an unshakable collective and I thank the heavens above each time I’m reminded that my habitual observations resonate.
I’ve got the mind bit sussed but still my weary shell groans as though about to capitulate at any given moment. There is light at the end of this particular tunnel and, indeed, it has been there for some time. Alas, it appears to be on movable tracks, and destined to evade my grasp. Yesterday I dislodged a handful of undesirable botanical stragglers from my mother’s garden plot and, come the bitter end five minutes later, you would be forgiven for believing I had scaled Kilimanjaro in concrete Wellingtons. It comes with the territory I’m afraid; this creature of habit is a product of his environment and right now I’m the tool shed’s bitch. One can’t mingle with the insects without first learning how to exist on their terms. Occasionally I run myself a tepid bath if it appears as though I’m growing fungal but, other than these sparse soapy interludes, I’m little more than a life-sized roach with similar posture to boot. But I’m a happy roach; that’s the bottom line. Never more so than when I’m talking utter codswallop.
Alas, there are no great revelations to be gleaned from this essay. No Jerry Springer-like final thoughts or parting conundrums to take away come the conclusion. You’ve simply been keeping me company. You see, when I am writing like this, I’m right in the thicket, scavenging all the twigs and berries I can muster and handing them out like a wilderness girl does cookies. In the very instance that you read this, should you have traversed my verbal assault course until this point, then you will know exactly how I am doing right now. Things are good, demons still getting ideas above their station from time to time, but nothing a little spinach wouldn’t fix. I’ll be there again soon; soaking up the kindness like a human sanitary towel but, for now, I have a new eight-legged freak to get acquainted with. He’s been dangling ominously close to my personal space for the past half hour but still I have persisted. It’ll take a lot more than an embittered arachnid to put this old dog down. I’m not destined to perish via spider toxin; it has already been decided that, when my time comes, I will die clutching my arteries and not extracting spider venom through a crazy straw.
He can stay for now; hell if he plays his cards right I may afford him a season pass. I say him where my visitor may well be of the female persuasion for all I know. I’m not convinced but I am quietly confident that arachnids don’t possess genitalia. Elsewhere in the tool shed it’s pretty much business as usual; no strimmer-related injuries to report and incident is currently at a distinct premium. This whole essay basically equates to just wishing to hang out. I have enjoyed our time together greatly as always and, should I have tickled a funny bone or two en route, then the new resident spider need not perish for gate crashing the party as I will feel more than justified in my trivial rambling. It’s lunchtime here in the UK and high time I kick-start my daily metabolism by nibbling any spinach left on the trail. Ordinarily I prefer to finish on a flourish but this time I feel that slipping back into the dark recesses would be more appropriate. Tell you what; endgames are cool. How about these apples?
I will request that you turn about-face and count from one through ten at a measured velocity. By the time you reach ten; swivel on the spot and I shall no longer be present. Then you can go back to your daily routines and I shall do the same. I never did like goodbyes; a simple ciao is so much less final. We’ll meet again; same time and place tomorrow right? Humor me please. If I don’t eat soon then I fear I will pass out through undernourishment and that will be a far more abrupt way of closing this essay. Where’s Keeper at? Why have we been left with a looping gif to keep us invested while we wait for the paramedics to defibrillate the bastard? This is no way to cease communication. Trust me; count backwards from ten. Here, I’ll count with you.
I know I’m still here. Sorry; I had every intention of leaving but this deck chair is rather comfortable in a “I can no longer feel my spleen” kind of a way. There has to be some way of ending this. Oh my God; what if I’m stuck here forever, prisoner to my own prose? I’ll end up boring myself and you know that things are bad when you can’t bear your own company. This is akin to early phone exchanges between fledgling lovers. You hang up, no you hang up. Why don’t we both count to three and do it in unison? Nah, tried that already. Maybe ten was too long a fuse, perhaps three would be a more achievable goal. Okay then, I think I finally have it sussed. Turn around and count to three. When you reemerge from your 180 degree rotation I shall be gone. To make things even more conclusive, I shall leave a sprig of tumbleweed here in my spot and this will act as indicator that I have, indeed, departed. You ready? Let’s do this.
See, I told you it would work.