For Gayle


Suggested Audio

The Cult “She Sells Sanctuary”




I’m special. Oh so special. As I opened my sleepy eyes this morning, they were the words that greeted me. And by golly, did they come at the perfect time. It is no less than I should expect from Gayle Temple Frank, a lady who has never been anything less than wonderful to me. No matter how many storm clouds have burst overhead, I’ve never felt anything less than seen by my sister. She has made observations about my work which have single-handedly kept me in the game when throwing in the towel seemed the only option, understood me when few others could, and has never once in the four years since I’ve known her, failed to see me. Life has a tendency to move faster than we can live it and we have both had some unspeakably harsh realities to face up to during that time. But no matter how much time has passed or water flowed beneath the bridge, some things remain constant. My friendship with Gayle is one such sweet thing.

There are many others I wish to celebrate and shall do in turn, but today I just wanted to give thanks to one of the most extraordinary people in my life and remind her just how much she means to me. She’s already very much aware of course as our unspoken bond is utterly imperishable as has been proved time and again. But those words, at this particular time in my life, meant everything Gayle. Naturally, I’ll Retweet the hell out of that shit as I never understood what’s so wretched about wearing the kindness of others openly. When I glance down my Twitter feed, I wish to soak up every last kind sentiment that people have extended my way, and while many would regard this as conceit, it couldn’t actually be farther from the truth. I just need to feel loved. As without kind deeds such as these, I simply wouldn’t be sat here now. It really is that simple.

Being an Artist can be a thankless task. I pour every last drop of my heart and soul into every last piece that I scribe and it is not at all uncommon for me to spend every last waking hour creating as nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share with those who mean something to me. And make no mistake, if I tag you when I post, you mean something (and if I don’t, it’s never ever personal, mere human oversight). Whether or not we speak often is irrelevant as unconditional love need not always be spoken of to be felt. But that happens to be my default setting. No bullshit. Just constancy. Anyone who has followed my trail for long enough will be more than aware on my stance when it comes to such dedication to the cause. We may not always see eye to eye but it’s the soul I raise my blinder for. Rather ironically, it’s the peepers that provide the clearest window to within. My sister Gayle’s eyes positively sparkle. Just as her soul does. And I would quite simply trust her with my kidney. Would toss in my lungs for good measure, but I’m not entirely sure she’d have a great deal of use for them. So kidney it is. Aren’t you just the lucky winner?

A couple of weeks back, this thoroughly well-meaning but often misunderstood English gentleman, finally had some news to truly celebrate. Many likely didn’t have the vaguest clue how to respond to my engagement to my Sweet Lady Grey as they’ve been so used to me playing my cards close to my chest where matters of the heart are concerned. Suddenly I’m most vocal, to the point where I have posted lengthy declarations of my undying love on the very social networks I used to avoid spilling into. And my reasoning couldn’t be more simple. For the first time in so damn long, my heart is genuinely happy. Crisis has needed to pass, old wounds have been required to heal, and certain harsh realities I’ve had no choice but to face up to head on. When I needed to be seen the most, it was she whose gaze remained unbroken. Thus, while push and shove have been getting worser acquainted, I have never felt anything less than positively sainted.

Waking up to these sweet words from my sister this day instantly inspired me to make the very most of my time, where I’ve been in something of a creative slump for the past few days. That comes with the territory unfortunately as it’s impossible to maintain that kind of momentum all the time and sometimes you just have to accept that the spices just ain’t flowing. While that may have been the case for the past few moons, I currently find myself in sub-zero conditions (sent by our foul-weathered friends in Siberia no less) and right in the thick of the thrash. Granted, all feeling in my hands and feet have pretty much vacated me and I’m beginning to resemble Jack Torrance, but one beautiful and totally soul-felt gesture has ensured that I’m warm where it matters. My darling’s response to Gayle’s congratulatory tweet then ignited a fiery inferno within; further fond felicitations from my equally heavenly sister Vallie continued to fan the flames; et voila – I’m the Keeper of the Motherfucking Quill boy. And fuck you slump.

You’ve gotta love those tiny gestures right? This is my currency and, while not about to shun their grander counterparts, life has taught me how to appreciate the very smallest pleasures and grip on with both bloody hands. I’m ultimately a rather simple man, with the same strain of needs, and worldly possessions no longer interest me as they once did. The complexities to my character tend to reveal themselves through my prose but, when all is said and done, I ain’t that hard to work out. Not anymore. As the one thing I have held onto, somewhat grimly on occasion, is my dignity. And my dear, sweet sister Gayle, tweets like the one you fired out late last night while I was busy being soundly filleted by Morpheus, remind me that I have never once relinquished this. So I thank you, with one hand on my heart and the other pressed against my wholly ineffective portable heater, for transcending blood and always making me feel like part of your family.

And what a family. Every Instagram post of that adorable little bear-pawed angel, Gemi, and the wonderful home you and your husband have provided her and many others, fills me up and this from a guy who makes no secret that he’s a harlot for the kitties. Gemi is most precious as I have reminded you through countless adoring gushes and is a bona fide celebrity to me. Just like her mommy. A picture perfect example of sweetness and light. Your blessing on our engagement meant so much sister and I know I speak for both of us when I say that. I have never ever been as sure of anything in my whole life as I am that she is the one Gayle. And I’m fully aware this will warm your soul to hear. As you are true, real, clear, sincere and I truly am blessed to call myself your brother. Always aka the only way.


Richard Charles Stevens


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