You’re a Filthy View

I was just reading an article about a man nearby in Ft. Lauderdale who was arrested for feeding the homeless. Ok. You can read the article here, if you want more info, but I want to get a little closer to something that burned me when I read the comments on the article. You can look at the logistics and legalities and all of that in your own manner of thinking, but it was THE COMMENTS that set me to writing this post.

“the law is not cruel at all.  Just sets some regulation of where you can feed these bums.”

“you can quit your job, eat better than most working people, see any specialist in the healthcare field you need, have dental work done, talk on your free cell phone, put your child in day care while you “look for a job” with the gas card they gave you to fill up your car,  lay down at night in the home they pay the rent for that I could not even afford and remain nice and warm with the heating assistance they provide.”

“either put them on a work program or in a mental institution or run them out of town”

So that’s what people tend to think. He’s an alcoholic. He’s mentally ill. He’s lazy. Let’s get something perfectly clear before we embark any further on anything I have to say. It can happen to any of you, any one of you at any time without hesitation. And it can happen quickly. If you’re financially not prepared for upset, then watch out. You’re next. What’s worse? Once you’re in that situation these are the views that people think of you. “Get a job!” you hear it thrown at you all the time. You hear it biting at you often, and sometimes you just want to scream, “THEN GIVE ME ONE!” And another bit of warning, it can take a second in life to make it happen…..and years, I tell you, YEARS to recover from it. It’s taken me four years now, and I’m just barely getting by. The world looks at you with distrust, distaste and a sense of blind acknowledgement. “God, why are these guys always ASKING me for something? Why are they always BOTHERING me???? GET A JOB!”

At some point in that life, you do give up. You just want to go from one day to the next. One meal, to the next. You forget anything at all about wanting anything more. Security? That’s luxury.

Sorry this post is so…disjointed. I’m not in my right mind. I was SO PISSED by what people thought of the homeless MAN that I just started getting angry and I had to let it out. The homeless in your city are as unique as the people who view them. Some of them want out, some of them want to live from one day to the next, and some of them don’t care anymore and slip into whatever intoxicant helps them forget what’s happened.

It’s easier if you’re a woman. Easier if you’re a woman with a child. But, if you’re a man? Forget it. You’re just another placard photo for someone to snicker at when get off the highway. You’re just another nuisance that bothers people. You’re another road side attraction to roll your eyes at with boredom.

I was once in Walgreens and a woman came rushing in loud and wild asking for a manager. “Some homeless guy outside YOUR store just asked me for change!!!!!”

I, being who I am, piped up and said, “OH MY GOD!!! Did you give him any????”

She replied, “NO! OF COURSE NOT!”

I asked, “DID HE ATTACK YOU????”

“NO!” She said, “I RAN IN HERE!!!”

And I just whimsically asked, “Then what’s the problem?”

“HE was bothering ME.”

So maybe that’s what my question should really be…..is there a problem with the homeless in America? Or are you just BOTHERED by the homeless? Is that what the issue is? I mean, we can find a gazillion ways to help them, but it seems, in turn, what people REALLY want to do with the homeless is to no longer have to be BOTHERED by them. Not help them, not find ways to get the ones WHO WANT out some help, but just no longer have to BOTHER with them. (And don’t mention shelters. You’re better off in jail than in a shelter. In jail, you have protection. Shelters are anarchy and fair game.) I was lucky. I found a way out. And dammit, if it didn’t take every ounce of fighting I had.

We don’t want you feeding the homeless because we don’t want to have to LOOK at them. Push them to the edge of town. Just….do something with them somewhere else. Our pretty views can’t be burdened by something so filthy.

Sorry. I’m just…..PISSED!

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

Bundle Stumble

So far, my plan to get ahead selling my book and pattern bundle has stumbled. Now, I could do one of two things. I could give up and say, “It just didn’t work out.” But, I can’t do that. I’d have to fold this laptop, start packing my yarn up, grab the cat and figure out where to go and what to do next. And we’re not going to let that happen. I don’t give up so easily. I’m far too tenacious for that. And as I’ve said before. We’re not going back to life ever again. You keep pushing, you keep striving, you keep moving forward. Stand up, stretch, hold head high and move forward.

I thought about putting an excerpt from the book up as a teaser, but I’m flipping through my book and I can’t find something that stands out for me as a favorite. I love the whole thing! I really do love that book of mine. I copied and paste what must have been 20 pages…..no no no, that won’t do. Too lengthy. And then another excerpt which was basically a paragraph, which told you nothing other than I was convinced Tina Fey and Michelle Yeoh could turn me straight.

So, I come to you. If you’ve read my book and have a favorite part or scene, by all means, tell me about it, tell ALL OF US, about it in the comments section. Here’s one from Melissa from a few posts ago that I loved!

“Just finished your book in one long sitting – ate my dinner in front of my computer – just didn’t want to stop reading!! It made me laugh out loud at times and wipe away tears at others. If your supporters really want to get to know the complex, intelligent, soulful individual that you are and at the same time come together $10 at a time to help put you in a better place, I would urge them to purchase the book – the included patterns are the icing on the cake. Gregory – every time I see a Martini glass, you know who I’ll be reminded of from now on – too funny – and I wonder if that gal ever named her dog Rupert – wonder how many people will pick up on that reference??? Hang in there, my dear, you have a lot to offer the world.”

I love how she got my comment in the book about the dog that should have been named Rupert. She was paying attention :) The whole comment was awesome!

So, once again, comment on your favorite scene in the book. Maybe that will help my book and pattern bundle thrive. God knows I need it. I need my safety. And I’m fighting tooth and nail to get it.

madman6x9coverIf you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

The Donegal Bears and a UK Shout Out

unnamedA few weeks ago Hazel Donnelly sent me some Donegal wool from Ireland. Isn’t that awesome? Direct from her stash in Ireland, this beautiful girl sent me two skeins of Donegal to work up some bears with. Draped in the mock sweater and removable hat and scarf that my bears are cozying up with this winter, the little bears came out great. I have two in this style with the brown sweater. The other two aren’t finished yet. They were of a grey tone, made up with white sweaters. So, I’ll post those later in the week.

But, these two little guys that are done came out just really nice, plush and poofy. You know how virgin wool can be. Sometimes it has that soft hint that feels like cotton. The Donegal was no exception. So, thank you Hazel!

il_570xN.512817843_s7o3And speaking of Hazel, you should really check out her shop. If you’re in need of a hat or gloves for this winter, she’s your girl. She does REALLY great work. Phenomenal work. And I have to admit, she is an incredibly beautiful girl with some striking eyes. So be sure to check out her knit accessories direct from Ireland.

AND! I want to give another special thanks to a wonderful retired couple in Wales, Carol and her Darling Dave, who sent me an email last night that was so kind and touching that I spent the rest of the evening with a giddy heart. Here I am, this skinny little guy in Orlando, Florida, getting love from all parts of the world. And that lovely couple’s email just pretty much sealed the deal.

AND! We have sold so far 24 copies of my book and pattern bundle, most of whom have been in the UK, which is why I wanted to give a great big hug and shout out to all of you across the pond and say, thank you! Ya’ll have been really kind to me. I really appreciate it :)

Now, even though I’ve sold 24 copies in two days, I still have a long way to go. The funds from the book and pattern bundle are going to set me into a better world, a better life. No more fear of rent not being paid, no more missing meals, but what’s more, I will FINALLY be able to hand back the generosity that has been handed me. I’ll finally be able to rest, sleep, worry less, eat more, and share my blessings with others. And on a logistic front, I can begin a new chapter in this bear story.

So, be sure to snag a copy of my book and pattern bundle. I’m hope for another 20 copies by the end of today.

IMG_0950So, If you’d like to snag the Donegal Bear, click here. He’s ready to ship with a signed card by me. And yes, the pattern for him is in the bundle, as well.

If you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you! Let’s do this!!!!

My Knit Potato

I certainly have come along way.

Man, you should have seen the first teddy bear I ever knit. Now, this is well before I was actually knitting them for a living, this was in the early days when I had first started knitting. I wasn’t interested in scarves and simple things. Nah, I wanted to go BIG! Give me something challenging. So, I found a copy of the “The Knitted Teddy Bear,” by Sandra Polley and gave the little buggers a shot. Whoa……no no no. It is a very good book for a more advanced knitter, but I have to say my ambition didn’t save me and my first knit teddy bear truly did look like a knit potato. He was a sad little thing. Wish I had taken a picture.

Of course, many years later (and after having learned so many different knitting techniques-especially a more knitted version of amigurami) I set out to make my own knit teddy bear by designing my own pattern. Simple, well designed, and perfect for the novice knitter.

But, those early days of learning to knit were a singular part of my life that I never really recognized until well after the fact. I had to learn patience, acceptance of my shortcomings, had to learn to see my mistakes and fix them quickly. There were so many nuances about picking up the needles, versus picking up your life. I shy away from using terms like “zen moments,” but I do feel there were moments of eureka that translated from little moments knitting into bigger moments in life.

Of course, you can read about all of that in my book. See? I told you I was going to be pushing my bundle! Last night we sold 18 copies. Not bad! But, we have 10,000 subscribers so we have 9982 to go. We still have a long way to go and not much more time to do it in. And like I’ve mentioned before, this has become a necessity for me. This is important, and perhaps more than you know. I’m not just pushing my book and patterns bundle, I’m eagerly trying to get some safety under my belt.

madman6x9coverIf you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with had and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

Optimistic November OR! The 10K Run

I couldn’t wait to wake this morning. November has come. Now, that might not seem like too much fanfare for anyone to take seriously, but I am a mad man of symbolism….and I’ve been waiting for November 1 to slip its way onto the calender. I’m one of those sorts. We pick a day to gear up towards making changes. You know the type. Diet starts on my birthday. I’ll quit smoking New Year’s Day. I’ll hit the gym regularly beginning next Monday. We like monumental days to look forward so we can make bold change in our lives. We need a specific deadline to look forward to, embrace, then embark from. I chose November 1. And why this date? Why today? Because I said so, it’s as simple as that.

October wasn’t well for me. A lot of self doubt was bothering me. A lot of stagnation. Lethargic burdens that had me melancholic. I ain’t like that, I tell ya. I like optimism. And if you’ve lived with this blog for a long time, you know that the one thing I preach is that you must be forever hopeful. You will reap what you sow. If you’re spending your time doling out negative pessimism, congratulations! You’ll have a bountiful feast of bitterness once harvest comes around. However, planting a warm smile, a sense of purpose, and a devout desire to overcome obstacles armed only with your tenacity and hope will reward you with a lifetime of riches. Haven’t we learned that yet? As people, as humans, haven’t we figured that out yet? Seems to easy to grasp. Oh, well.

So with a few twisted moments in October doing their best to shake me of the optimism disease, I had to sit back and ask, “So, what’s up, Gregory? What’s going on?” With some clarity I started to see very simply an unhappiness that I had taken for granted. It’s always been gnawing at me, but I always brushed it off and said, “I’ll deal with you later. I’ve got bears to knit.” And like any illness, it just got worse, just started growing bigger and bigger until there was no room in this tiny apartment for it, me, and the cat. So, I had to deal with it.

I’m not moving forward, you see. I’m still on the edge, the cliff, land’s end. One false move and we end up right back where we started. I do my best, and with all of your help, I do survive each month, but…..barely. And that’s no longer enough for me. It’s just simply not. The stress of each month passing keeps me from sleeping, I don’t eat as often as I should because that devilish bit of gnawing steals my appetite. I want a little more than that kind of life.

Now, I don’t want the world, mind you. In some respects, in this heart of mine, I already own it. I have all of you to remind me of that. The generosity and kindness you have shown me have proven that I have the love of the world and that’s not something I take lightly. But, I need my safety. I need to begin building a real future for myself. And that starts today. November 1, 2014.

I’m pushing my bundle. You knew I was going to. You just KNEW I was. Because that is the easiest way to get to my safety. I can work on my back orders while the bundle goes viral. I can use some of that cash to refund people who aren’t happy they’ve waited so long. I can begin putting money away every month…..for tomorrow, for the next leg of my journey in life. So, that’s my plan for November. Push my bundle, my book and bear patterns….and I do mean push. It is a really good book. People really seem to like it. And I really loved writinng it. I’ve been selling it on craftsy, but don’t stress it, if you don’t wanna go through the trouble of starting a username and such there, I’ve got another option. You can get it directly from me now.

I feel good about this, because I’m optimistic. I am so lucky to have 10,000 subscribers to this blog. 10k! And I’m gonna be running after each and every one of you to get my bundle. Shameless self promotion? Hell, yes. Selling out? Of course! I’m gonna earn my safety. I’m gonna earn my place in life. I’m gonna have a long term place to live and enough food to share with anyone who comes my way. I’m going to sell 10,000 copies of my bundle. That, THAT is my goal.

Big smile, everyone. It’s November 1. The Mad Man is no longer the homeless guy struggling to stay alive. He’s no longer held back by the past. He’s a fighter, a survivor, and once you’ve defeated your foe, your gnawing pessimism and depression, you move forward into a sense of accomplishment. That’s right. I’m conquering the past with this endeavor to sell my bundle and moving forward into freedom. Into safety.

We’ll have enjoyed this blog. I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I know you’ve enjoyed reading it, and this has been an experience that we have mutually shared. I could never have made it even this far if it had not been for you. So with you my my side, we’re taking the next step toward forward.

madman6x9coverIf you’d like to buy my book and pattern bundle on craftsy, click here. The bundle is a pdf that contains not only my book, “MAD MAN KNITTING -or- the waiter and the fly,” but four of my patterns. The bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear dressed up in a mock sweater with hat and scarf.

If you’d like to buy it directly from me, click here. Just be sure your email is correct in check out, that’s the email address I’ll be sending it to.

 

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

My Witness to a Massacre

It was just about that time of day, early afternoon, lunch time. I instinctively felt the two strays I’ve grown attached to were probably outside waiting for food. Sure enough, there they both lay waiting patiently to get some grub. I poured a moderate amount of cat food onto the ground, they walked up, rubbed aside my leg to say thanks, the red one with the busted leg giving affection and a wink, then they went quietly to eating. One stumbling over the other to get to the good stuff.

I have grown accustomed to their habits. They usually roll up at the same time of day. They sit for a spell, then lounge away, and I go back to my knitting. And on occasion I feel I’ve fed them too much, since they leave some behind. Probably saving it for later, I tell myself.

But, as I sat knitting, long after they had been eating, I heard a racket out back. The screaming shrill of birds in such a loud cacophony, I like anyone needing my quiet while working, got up to investigate. Peering out the window I saw there were perhaps half a dozen birds, darting down and swooping into the pile of food that the two strays had left behind. They rushed down, grabbed a bit then darted back up into the sky, stealing the food I had left for the cats.

A few of the birds wistfully stepped on the ground to bounce and peck at the cat food, spiking it with their beaks, tossing some kernels aside, mad dashing for others. And out of the azaleas, like snipers waiting to make their move, the two strays made an ascent, swiping at each bird they could, disabling their wings, knocking them out of flight, making them helpless. Fangs went sharp to make piercing kisses into their small necks, as the sounds of mad flapping and screaming filled the air.

There was a blood bath, I tell you. Shrieking turned to silence, the cat’s breathing and gazing became predatory and lion like. They swiped, stopped and bit into instinct, and what was left behind was carnage. Three birds were injured and maimed as the two strays conquered. And one by one, each of the winged things was picked up and carried off to a safe place to devour.

DAMN!

I watched the red one with the hurt leg limp along to the shade of a large bougainvillaea, look back at me, dropped the bird and winked. His insane way of saying, “Thank you.” Yes, he’s going to be just fine.

So, to all of you who were interested in an update on the two strays that have adopted me, there you have it. They’ve been using the cat food I feed them as an appetizer, and using what’s left over as lure for fresh kill. Wow. Smart little bastards.

The two strays are going to be just fine.

Happy Halloween. :)

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

 

Reflections on a Screened Porch

There is no secret in it. We all know that the older you get, the more you concern yourself with your security. Oh, yeah, when you’re young and wide eyed you’re invincible and you live for the moment, for now. Forget the future. But, the older you get the more you think about being transitory. If it’s not on someone’s couch for a few days, or an apartment for a few months, then its from this life into the next. Solid ground seems shaky and uncertain and you strive in fascinating ways to make sure that you will have a foothold for the last half of your life, the half that comes with a world of viable concerns. Where will I live? How will I make money? Will I be alone? Am I going to make it?

I had an interesting day. Some may say my astrological chart was out of whack. My moon sign must have pissed off my sun sign and then a couple of planets got into a fight while rising. Others may say that my blood sugar must have been low. (I have to look into that. I don’t care for sweets, never have, so I avoid them….even fruit sometimes. I like cantaloupe, but it’s just so damned expensive).

But, I was sitting here with faceless bears surrounding me. I got into this weird habit that just doesn’t work. Knit up a bunch of heads, bunch of feet, bunch of bodies. Next thing I know I have ten half done bears sitting in piles everywhere, but not GOING anywhere. It worked so much better when I was just doing each bear from start to finish. Put him in his little box, send him on his way, off to his new home. Now, they sit around like they’re in limbo. Don’t know what prompted this new process, but nah…..not working. Back to the original plan.

But, I was sitting here surrounded by unfinished bears and I felt that stress we all feel when overwhelmed. The walls were caving in. Questions about the future pushing me into areas of the mind I really REALLY didn’t want to think about…..but, we all have to at some point. If I don’t get these bears done, my career is over, my reputation soiled, my future will be…..what? The once and former homeless guy is now….homeless again?

Hell….No.

That’s it in a nutshell.

ISt8ykjsbk1tk51000000000 I hopped on my bike and went for a ride. I went to my little white house. As usual, I peeked through the windows, imagined from the outside what it would feel like on the inside. And in a moment that is probably illegal, I stepped into the back porch, sat down and just thought for a while. I could have been trespassing, who knows. No one lives there, it’s still for sale, so I wasn’t hurting anything. I opened the creaking wooden screen door, stepped inside, and sat on the back steps and took it all in.

ISd8bqiwjrw9t51000000000The weather here in Orlando is spectacular right now. 80 during the day. 60 at night. There was a cool breeze that seamlessly helped the streaks of sunlight pierce through the heavy oaks above, handing their brightness to newly blooming hydrangeas, blossoming in screaming green against the stark blue of the shed. I closed my eyes and could hear that the sound of traffic was obsolete, and with the absence of that shrill was heard only the subtle laughter of friends joining me on this back porch, spending the cool autumn evenings playing cards and planning croquet. I could smell a pot roast slowly cooking in the kitchen, biscuits cooling on the counter. I could see Mario lazily toying with a lizard as it held on for its dear life. I could see my future. This house is my Howard’s End.

I’m notorious for fighting adversity, while holding my head up, while not being jaded, while being optimistic about life, or even about the struggle in life. It never becomes tainted with the pain that makes one bitter. I never feel that. I always feel it’s always worth it. Life is worth the struggle. The beautiful moments we have and hold and enjoy are worth the fear and panic we sometimes are confronted with. The hardships we face keep the grand experiences of joy from becoming mundane.

I want that house because I love it, but I know one day I’ll ride by on my bike and the FOR SALE sign will be gone. But, that’s ok. Because that house represents my dream. And we have to wake each day, face the pain, face the fear, face the struggle and move closer towards our dreams. Mine is of what security a home of my own would feel like one day. My dream is that one day my little white house will be a reality. So, that’s what you do. You get on with it. You make it happen, you find a way to chase your dream. And it’s gonna hurt sometimes. It’s going to scare the hell out of you. But, if I don’t hold on to that dream of this little white house, my only option is going back to nothing. If I don’t move forward, then I’m only slipping back into the hell I left behind.

And I’m not going to let that happen again.

I heard myself say as I left that screen porch, “You will never will be homeless again.”

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

 

 

That Skinny Man is MINE

IMG_0749If you’ll recall, a few weeks ago I posted a blog about these two stray cats that just showed up one day. They didn’t cause any harm, didn’t bother anything, nor anyone…..they just started hanging around my little apartment, most often by my front door. Whenever I opened the door, they’d come rushing out of the bushes, rub against my leg, politely asking me if I had some food.

Over the past few weeks I’ve grown really attached to the two of them. Especially after the red tabby came limping with a broken foot one day. It didn’t seem to bother him, he’d come rushing up on three legs to get his daily dinner. At some point I took to sitting with them, and they had no problem propping into my lap and giving me some love. What I find interesting about the two of them is their relationship with each other. They are always together, never apart. And with the red one having a busted leg, the other one has taken to tending to him. He lets his injured partner eat first, guarding him with his body, and keeping his eyes on the perimeter. And once they’ve both finished their meal, the grey and white cat will clean the invalid. They’re buddies. I thought that was touching. Brilliant.

IMG_0914Then a short while ago, I was peeking out the window, just wondering how they were (they rarely leave the extent of the property I live on). Sure enough, there they were, but in such a touching moment I had to take a photograph. I had never seen them sleep before, but it made sense the moment I saw it. They curl up beside each other, holding each other (doubt keeping warm, this is Florida after all), the injured little guy burying himself in the belly of his comrade to stay safe. I had to take a few pictures to share.

IMG_0928It was just so damned touching and genuine. If only more people were like that. I’ve never fancied myself a cat person. Ok ok ok, Mario adopted ME, these two guys have in some way adopted ME….it’s never been the other way around. I’m good with that. I think that’s the way it should be. It shows loyalty in an animal, when they lean to you to be their protector. It means they trust you, value something in you that they can never say, but express often.

IMG_0934Of course, Mario can’t stand the two of them. She hisses and bats at them as if trying to tell them, “Hey, the skinny guy is mine! Hands off!!!” So jealous. And so obvious about it. Mean to them, and OVERLY affectionate with me…..but pouting sometimes when I feed them. “Uhhhh, that’s MY food, man! What am I supposed to eat?”

You’ll be fine, Mario. Trust me, you ain’t gonna starve to death.

So that’s that. Just wanted to share. Be sure to check out my bundled books and patterns on craftsy if you get a moment. The sale of that helps out in such great ways, and you get the great benefit of having my last book plus four of my patterns and I get the benefit of getting ahead on some back orders.

Alright, gonna go spy out the window and see what the fellas are up to.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

Eco Clouds Bear

IMG_0900Remember some of this Cascade Eco Clouds I received not too long ago? I have just a pinch left so I whipped another bear with it. It really is one of the best yarns I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and I truly hope I get to play with more of it some day. Made in Peru from baby alpaca and merino wool, Eco Clouds is completely un-“messed” with, feels like heavenly marshmallows, and lighter than a whispy cloud on a sunny day. The hat and mock sweater are made with the Eco Clouds, the dark brown and creme made with Lionbrand’s Fisherman’s Wool. The bear measures 12″ from top to bottom with removable hat and scarf and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt him, click the photo! He’s the only one, which makes him incredibly special…..and I need groceries, so snag the little guy soon!

 

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

 

Cheap Red and Nearly Dead

siouxToday is Peni’s birthday.

She passed away a few years back. Must be five years by now. She would have been 45.

At first, I had an awfully hard time with it, obviously. She was the closest person I ever had in my life. The joke around town was that we were married…..but I was the wife, and she was the husband. Usually this time of year I get a little sullen, but not this year. This year I celebrate her life, although I still get angry when I think of her death. It’s hard to think sometimes that the only person who understands about how you feel about someone’s passing, is ironically the one that has passed on.

I miss her. But, I’ve grown to accept it. I’ve grown to remember and appreciate the memories and enjoyments we shared. This time of year, I smile, rather than go quiet. These days I laugh at our antics, rather than pound my fist and declare how unfair it is.

Years and years ago (bordering on 20 now), Peni and I pursued acting. With no parts available to us, or with none being offered to us, I set out as a writer and wrote simple short stories of a gothic nature that we could perform in coffee houses. I would narrate offstage while she would act them out with whatever actors managed to move into our little realm. We had the best of time. Always the best of time. We actually had quite a little following. Some random Tuesday you could find us at the Yab Yum coffee house and catch free theater.

Many years later, I published those short stories in a book called, “Stories Inspired by Siouxsie.” Complete with illustrations by yours truly, I wanted to pay homage to the those Grand Guignole days of ours. Within that collection of mine was a story called, “Cheap Red and Nearly Dead” that was dedicated to her and our friendship. Now, all the anecdotes in the story are true. Yes, from us auditioning for a play drunk because we were bored (and got the parts), to being seen in Publix with Peni painted grey, to us being found poolside at 10am one morning with purple, wine tinted lips, the anecdotes in the story are quite true. We were crazy people, enjoying every minute of it, celebrating life while not realizing how quick it could be over….or maybe in some way we did?

vlcsnap-2014-10-20-12h51m53s172So, to honor Peni’s birthday, I thought I’d gift you with the story that was written about our friendship. And gift her with another moment of knowing in heaven that she’s still loved, cherished and remembered every day.

If you’d like to read it, just click here: Cheap Red and Nearly Dead

Gonna go back to knitting….and spend some time with her while I do so.

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