Suggested Audio Candy:
 S’Xpress “Coma II”
 Nicole Alonso “Rock With Me”
Friendship is everything to me. I’ve had many over the course of my forty-one years and have grown pretty adept at knowing just who my true friends are over that time. Many have come and go, some have let me down terribly when I have needed them most, and others have stepped up to the plate when I have least expect it. One thing has remained constant however and that is my faith in the whole process. Over the past three years, I have needed the love and support of those who truly care just to make it through the broken glass that has littered my path. It can be the tiniest gesture, affirmative action, or even just the knowledge that there is somebody on hand willing to break your fall. But it can assist in changing your entire outlook and that has an incalculable gift to me every time the edges have begun closing in.
I pondered long and hard over whether or not to scribe this article as it is Tuesday and I spent the entirety of Monday endeavoring to part the clouds for the wonderful friends I have in you. You know me by now, always looking to spread a little good cheer, and never happier than when watching another’s spirits lift. However, what I may not have made clear, is the dreadful position I find myself in presently. Do I share that? Right now I feel that I simply must as, for all the goodwill I put out there, I’m actually damn well in need of some myself. It’s not that I’m looking for sympathy, more that I need to be honest as it is that which I pride myself on as a scribe. Showing strength is easy, it comes naturally to put on a brave front and battle through whatever is going on in my life to empower like-minded souls to defeat their own demons. Revealing weakness too is no great issue due to my self-effacing nature. However, I am rather good at concealing the pain and that shit needs an out.
So you see I need a game plan. By channeling my angst into something that I hope will still inspire, I can tackle the stuff that currently has me backed in a corner and downright terrified to be 100% accurate. You see, outside of the joyous bubble from which I scribe each day, life is kicking my ass with a steel toe-capped shit kicker and laughing maniacally as it does. Through showing faith in somebody who has taken advantage of my kind nature, I have been left well and truly stymied. It is, of course, something to do with money and rather a tidy sum in actual fact. In October last year, my financial situation finally changed after perhaps the longest, most agonizing year I can recollect. Words can’t convey my immense relief as it meant I was now in control of my life and able to dig myself out of the deep trench I had taken refuge in since the winter of 2013. I sure as hell wasn’t about to fritter this opportunity.
Anyhoots, the arrival of this cash injection coincided with a desperate plea from somebody who I had known since childhood and trusted implicitly. They needed cash money and fast, or else bad shit was about to befall them, and there appeared nobody else they could turn to for help. I procrastinated for all of three seconds before agreeing to help and presented them a sum significant enough to save their hide, with the very best of faith. I was assured that this was a short-term deal and believed every word as I had no reason not to. Needless to say, it wasn’t a temporary loan after all, and I have found myself in precisely the same situation I was at this time last year. The waiting game sucks, but never more so than when the person in question gives their word, looking you dead in the eyes, before whipping the rug from beneath your feet every last solitary time. As a result, I have promised my own nearest and dearest that things are in hand and let them down repeatedly, through no fault of my own I might add.
You know me by now Grueheads, there will be no naming and shaming here as that isn’t my style and neither is it what this exercise is in aid of. But I have to get this off my chest as my lungs aren’t thanking me for the extra pressure. When I’m fretting, I’m smoking, toking, and subsequently choking. Red flags are waving and I’m under no illusion as to what needs to happen to stop the rot before it goes any farther. I need my faith repaid by the one person who can make that transaction. That is easier said than done when your whole world rests between their knuckles but I refuse to relinquish it, regardless of how much it has been scrutinized of late. I could fall down a thousand times and then a thousand more, be battered and bruised, splintered and separating, but I won’t stop believing in the goodwill of others. This is how I find peace when I need it most.
I’ve touched on leaps of faith on numerous occasions since beginning my tenure as Keeper and those who know me intimately will be only too aware of my stance here. The moment I neglect to trust my gut is the vary same that a little of my light diminishes. Granted, habitual knockdown can test optimism to the über-extreme, but the feeling of having your faith indemnified is truly incalculable and not one I ever wish to deny myself or encourage anybody else do likewise. Sometimes it can appear that nobody cares and I get that as our minds can become our worst enemies at times like these. But I know, without a shadow of doubt, that this isn’t the case. I also know that I have the emotional funds at my disposal to reimburse others for their faith. So unless I’m some sort of freakish one-off and I’m not, that means there are others out there just the same. It’s a no-brainer, applying faith is critical to both our resolution and evolution, and there is no reason whatsoever not to believe. You just have to look out for the signposts and follow them resolutely.
I have no idea how my current circumstances will pan out over the coming weeks as that very much depends on matters out of my direct control. However, I still have jurisdiction over my own state of mind, and have reached a tranquil plateau in other areas that this can never affect. My writing isn’t governed by this shit, not when I’m pouring my anguish out in a way that suggests I’m not ready to be defeated. Three months ago I would have struggled to remain topside and the currents of fate would have been far too strong not to succumb to. Since then I have been leaping like the proverbial salmon, placing my bag balls back on the chopping block, and handing out sharp cutlery to those who could effortlessly sever my ties to hope. The truth is that I place faith in my readership every time I pick up the Crimson Quill. And do you know what? I’ve learned just how safe my bollocks are. Every day I find some way of connecting, whether that be extensive or fleeting, as there are safe havens everywhere I turn and the finest set of innkeepers I could ever wish to share a crawlspace from, rent free to boot.
Yesterday morning I needed inspiration and there it was right on cue. Grue Monday was the direct result and that couldn’t have been more vital right now as I don’t offer pep talks without dishing them out to myself in unison. The week has just begun and how it plays out from hereon in nobody knows. There may well be hardships, tears, tantrums, faith betrayed, but it will also be repaid and that is far more critical than the previous four combined. I can’t guarantee that my personal plight will conclude amicably as I don’t possess a crystal ball and neither do I wish to. But I can say with hand on heart that my soul will bask in the glow of numerous others many times before the weekend arrives. Every last one of you play a part in this configuration just by accepting my flaws, celebrating both my strengths and weaknesses, trusting my gut and yours also, and simply kicking back some in our very own fallout shelter. That used to be a lonely place for me but I learned how misguided I was in making that assumption. I knew that my beloved father was with me as I scribed pretty much from the get-go, thus have never been fully solo. What took a little longer to deduce was that you lot are right here with me too.
Does it get crowded? Of course it does, you ever tried to create art with an elbow digging in your spleen? Would I have it any other way? Not since I watched Crawl or Die. Oklahoma Ward’s excruciatingly tense sci-fi home run taught me how to navigate tight confines and also introduced me to a certain Mohawk sporting femme fatale by the name of Tank. This plucky stick of peroxide dynamite spent ninety minutes with a lit fuse, in coordinates far less than spacious, while being hunted by a brute with absolutely no intention of giving her a nice gentle massage. Tank crawled and did so with the kind of die-hardest spirit that made Vasquez from Aliens my eighties poster girl. That crawl then became a trundle as an entire army started greasing her tracks and willing her on like we do any epic heroine.
I apply the sentiment right now as I may be in a tight spot currently, but crawling sure is fun and we can cover some ground for damned sure when others are moving in the very same direction. We shuffle forward, regardless of whether or not the passageway appears to be thinning, and that fanged cretin right on our tail feathers never once gets to test out his lockjaw maneuver. Now Tank happens to possess a far more nectarinal derriere than I and is probably less likely to suffer leg cramps as she knows how to haul ass with the very best of them. But I followed her lead and happen to prefer her way to dying. The more the merrier I say, there is sufficient oxygen down here for even the most claustrophobic and it tastes fine dagnabbit. I wish to leave you with a comment I received yesterday that positively screamed crawl to me. “Your writing is hypnotic and visual – takes the reader directly where you want them. So deep that I/they can feel the terrain and smell the sweet grittiness of the fruit. Doesn’t matter what you write, it travels.” Crawl it is then.