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This Is Awkward

This Is Awkward

This Is AwkwardI was recently given an advance copy of This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes for review purposes. Here is my review. This Is Awkward releases today, and here is a link to Sammy’s site where he wrote about it and also where an Amazon link is located.

Our culture has plenty of issues: political turmoil, prolonged adolescence, and of course we still have reality TV dating shows which show just how terrible we all are as a nation.

Through all of this, two things seem to stand out above all of our other problems: we don’t know how to be genuine, and we just so badly want to be liked. These seem to linger at the core of most of our problems, with substance abuse or infidelity or depression sprouting from a desire to be loved, but an inability to be really honest and find a way to love ourselves. Read More…

Spring Cleaning In September

When what you hold dear
Starts to disappear
You can tell what you trust
By the things that you fear

You can look for me baby,
But baby I’ll be long gone

  • Fiction Family, “Look For Me Baby”

Maybe things should be simpler. Does it always have to be so difficult to be an adult? Bills keep coming in and demanding the resources that you’ve traded in so much of your time, your very existence, in order to acquire. Surely life could be different than this, and if not, at least it could be simpler. Read More…

John

I met John years ago in what feels now like a totally different life. He was an experienced disk jockey at the classic rock radio station, and I was a part-time employee and college student. He had dedicated a great deal of his life to making it in this business, and I was wondering whether I even cared enough to try.

If I learned anything from my brief time working in radio, it was that you had to be married to the job in every sort of way in order to make it anywhere. My time certainly was brief. Just barely over a year as a paid intern and part-time weekend shift kid before they told me via email that they were having to do away with all us little people. Downsized via email. Odd experience.

The job took dedication that I didn’t have. A lot of the people who worked for years in the business to have a stable career didn’t have what most could consider a stable life outside of it. At least, the ones I interacted with were like that. Granted, they were often the ones at the classic rock part of the studio, so it could very well be that the ones working in oldies and news had more going for them. I didn’t know them as well. Read More…

Faust, Midas, and Myself (Or, the Creation Process Is Dead And We Can Do Better Than This)

Quite frequently, I take the time to really consider why it is I write. It’s useful to do, primarily because it gives me an answer when people ask me why I do it and I don’t want to look like an idiot. Nobody wants to hear and answer that sounds like, “I don’t know, I just do it” though I can never figure out why that’s not a good enough reason. Why do you breathe? It’s a simple question with a simple answer. If you do not, you will die. So writing isn’t a grand production with a grand meaning. I write to give life to thoughts, and if I don’t, they will die.

Perhaps the more timely or resonant question at this stage in my life isn’t so much why I write, but rather why am I not writing? In earlier, more discontented stages of my life, writing was the only thing I could find to do when I had the time. Yet today, I fill my free time with different things. Less creative things, I guess. Things that don’t have quite as much to do with giving life to thoughts. Read More…

Eat Dessert First

He was the result of unique bloodline. Choctaw, German, Irish, Black. Whatever you could name, he probably had a bit of it floating around in his DNA. It led to a fantastic background story, but also led to a very rare disease that manifested itself after a football injury. It’s a disease that is slowly atrophying his muscles. It’s a disease that he probably had at least a one-in-a-million chance of having. His parents had to both be one-in-a-million carriers who would have to just happen to meet and have him. It is a disease that has manifested itself in a one in a million life.

I was the result of the need for work other than parents paying me to paint the garage. I ended back at my first job out of college. We often jokingly called it “The Family Business”, Disability Support Services at a local community college. My brother works there and my mother teaches at the school. I came back as almost a favor to my family, but one I would be paid for. There were moments I really enjoyed it. There were moments it felt like there was no escape. All in all, it served its purpose, but when something better finally came along, it was time to leave.

That’s how I found myself seated with this man in his wheelchair on my last day of work. That’s how I found myself facing major life change with a man who changed my life in just ten minutes of storytelling. Read More…

Fly High, 65

The cars have lined the neighborhood streets, as teenagers flood out of the vehicles in school colors and painted faces. Many of the vehicles are still painted as well. Their windows marked with the motto that was introduced to our city on Friday night just a week before.

Pray For Walker.

Earlier in the day, hundreds drove to a funeral that shouldn’t happen. We’re not supposed to have funerals for teenagers. Yet as they drove, they passed by brightly lit red and blue billboards, the colors of Jackson Prep. They had a simple message written on them as well: the number 65, Walker’s number. It was a reminder to those driving by and to the whole community that they were not driving to a funeral. They were headed towards a celebration of a spectacular young life.

“I think your second post starts tonight.”

A youth minister’s words hit me as we walked past the cars together. I knew he was right. There was plenty more to write, and he knew exactly what those words needed to say.

“The healing starts now.” Read More…

Rain Like Tears

Sorrow announces itself with rain.

It comes in suddenly, on what would have otherwise been a bright, sunny day. A gorgeous day, one that wasn’t as hot as anticipated, which was perfect for eating lunch outside and driving with the top down. A perfect day for students to laugh and joke with each other just like they would on any other school day.

That would change quickly, though, when the rain fell. And when it fell, it fell fiercely. It fell like the tears of the students at Jackson Prep that were about to fall. Students that were just about to learn that their friend and classmate, Walker Wilbanks, had passed away right about the time the rain came in. Read More…