Personal Update – November 8, 2018

Surrender isn’t the same as giving up but it sure can feel like it.

The insurance adjusting never paid off. Thousands of dollars, 6 licenses, 32 certifications, over 600 hours of training, and I never worked a single job. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

I’ll take what I learned there and try to apply it somewhere else but in order for me to do it right and to continue pursuing my goals to turn to writing full time I need to be able to support myself and can’t do that alone on the substandard wages I made in Mobile.

So I came back North to finish out the season hoping I could make enough before freeze to at least pay off the debt I created trying to change careers and bank some to see me through winter, but it’s not happening. Freeze came early. The season is pretty much over.

Unless something unexpected happens I have no choice but to commit to driving truck for the full season next year. The man I am working for in Montana is providing a comfortable trailer rent-free as part of my pay so saving money will be easier.

I’ll head back to Mobile for a few months when I know for sure the work season is over and return in the spring.

I was optimistic and hopeful when I moved to Mobile last year and while I’m not giving up on my goals I can’t help feeling like I failed even if it is just a temporary setback.

But that’s just a feeling and I am neither defined nor controlled by it.

I will make the best of what I am given and keep moving forward no matter what.

Always

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Love
Is all that matters
It wakes me in the morning
Sets me on my path
Gets me through my days
Keeps me warm on coldest nights
Sends me miles from nowhere
To somewhere
Makes a home
Where a dream rested
Makes a life
Where hope is tested
Makes me full
When I’m hungry
Heals me
When I am unwell
Welcomes me
At all hours
In all places
In all ways
Whether I travel in the company of passion
Or reside in the solitude of self
Whether desire is by my side
Or the isolation I abide
It is always with me
Love
Once given
Remains

Winter

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I was not dead then
I gathered life
Like wheat at harvest
I shed the seeds
That flourished and bloomed
I breathed the sweet air we all share
Bathed in the life giving glow of the Moon
Swam in the endless sea of light
Traveled months of darkness without fear
Sensing all I was a part of
With awe and gratitude
No, I was not dead then
But I am so much more alive
Now

Dreams – 10/26/2016

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So long
So long ago now
So long ago I hardly remember
I stood in the tall grass
For the first time
With disbelief
That the world was so large
So large that I could barely see my toes above the sharp blades
That housed the hopping
Chirping
Crawling
Flying
Life
So large that it could encompass my every dream
Dreams that altered space and time
Dreams that excited me
Thrilled me
Scared me
Now the world is small
Infinitesimal in comparison
And nearly meaningless
Except for those dreams
Of so long ago

 


 

Note: I think I will rewrite the end. I was probably not feeling terribly optimistic at that time. If written now it might end something like:

The world is smaller now

Almost infitesimal

Yet filled with meaning

The dreams of so long ago

Only began to reach

 

Or something like that 🙂

 

Crossroads Moon – October 24, 2018

Welcome to the season of indecision. Buckle up, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride that will either end with nausea and bruises or an elated arm pumping “YESS!!”

It’s also going to be a long ride that won’t officially roll to a stop until the total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019.

That big box you see in the image is called a Grand Cross and it represents exactly what you might think, a crossroads. In this case, a crossroads of influence.

Think of the image as a flat surface, like a plate, only it’s loaded with pits and peaks and gravity defying turns, and at the outer edge of each direction is a magnet.

Now imagine that you are a steel ball resting somewhere near the middle but already polarized to a particular direction because of recent events and your overall emotional and psychological state prior to this conjunction.

If you were to enter the crossroads unaware or uncaring of the influences there’s a good chance you will gravitate further into that field. Especially if you are already drifting toward those fields where the magnetism is a little stronger. That’s the blue line.

Making sense? I hope so because it’s the best analogy I’ve come up with.

Here’s the cool part: Influence does not equal destiny.

Just because we may feel naturally inclined to roll in a particular direction does not mean we must roll in that direction. We always have a choice and when we make that choice, either consciously or unconsciously, we send energy to one of those magnets and because a charged magnet has a stronger attraction we will invariably be drawn towards it.

This is always true, not just now, and it is our best method of creating desired change. Some refer to it as the Law of Attraction.

So, Mr James, why the big explanation? What’s this buildup all about?

I’m glad you asked.

The magnets here, which mostly deal with love and relationships under this phase of the moon, represent polar opposites of each other: security/insecurity, commitment/abandonment, independence/interdependence, stability/instability.

The natural flow in this case, the position of the charged magnets, is at abandonment and instability. Yay!

Why “Yay?” Because this creates a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow and all I have to do is make a choice and commit to it. Fooo!

Why “Fooo?” Because it will be more difficult to commit during this time.

Therein, as Shakespeare says, lay the rub.

It’s likely that in the coming weeks we will feel both the desire to be in a lasting relationship and the impulse to walk away from the ones we already have. It’s also likely that we will be more inclined to hedonistic urges and (good news/bad news follows) suddenly find ourselves facing the possibility of entering a new relationship, with someone younger or less mature.

If you are single that’s sort of good news. If you are not single it’s going to be a challenge. Either way, it is unlikely to last because those who find themselves in that situation will be drawn there by the negative aspects of those polarities.

But wait! There’s more!

Because this crossroads will basically reverse itself in January the time in between could be a hell of a ride and you may find yourself pinballing back and forth across that plate until you are so beat up you throw in the towel.

Here’s what I suggest:

1. Make a choice. Stick to it. Everything you do is a choice. If you choose to ignore your choices and just go with the flow that is still a choice. So choose wisely and choose now and then focus only on that choice. Indecision is your enemy.

2. Be aware. Going through these next months with eyes closed will only make the ride worse. It’s always best to know what’s coming up and that requires we keep our eyes open and alert.

3. Be excited and unafraid. Getting onto a roller coaster with apprehension and fear will take all the fun out of it and this really could be the best ride you’ve ever been on.

Remember, as with all full moons this is a beginning, not an end.

So strap in close to your partner and enjoy the ride.

Hands up!!

Sweet Alabama Peach

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I brush my lips against you
Your fine soft hairs tickle
Tempt
You smell of sweet musk
Sweat
A warm summer day
Spent in the orchards
Making love beneath the trees
Eyes bright with anticipation
I slip my tongue over your soft skin
Taste you
You taste like nights spent by the ocean
Humid days in bed
A fall dance
I take you into my mouth
Patiently
Extending our time together
Making the seconds last forever
Carefully
I press my teeth into you
Playfully
I bite
Softly
Longingly
Lovingly
Your sweet nectar
A melody of seduction
Slides down my chin
Slick
Sticky
Warm
You surrender to me
Your juice
Fills my mouth
With an explosion
I suckle your tender flesh
Feel you slide down my throat
I smile
What a peach!

 

 

Why I rewrote the narrative of my life

The following excerpt is from my latest contribution to Elephant Journal.

When I decided to change my life, the goal was not only to change who I am today but to change who I was yesterday.

I know that sounds a little sketchy, but follow me for a minute.

One of my brothers and I once had an argument about what color a particular car my dad owned was. I said red, he said blue.

That’s a pretty big difference and yet…


You’d be doing me a favor if you finished reading the article HERE.

A good heart

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My vehicle
Wasn’t always taken care of
Old as it is
It shows the scars
Of its rough history
It’s paint
Lacks the luster of its early days
The interior
Is cracked and stained and torn
Sometimes it requires repair
I have the tools
The ability
Patience
I do what I can
But some of the work
Is too little too late
And it breaks down
If I could do it again
Start from the beginning
With the skills and knowledge
I have today
I would take better care of it
So it would last longer
It would shine
Be clean
It would have fewer dents and scars
A better life
But I’d keep the engine from this one
Because I run good

 


 

Image: “A Good Find” by J M Greff

 

 

 

This is the oilfield

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It took everything I had to get to Fairview, Montana, 1,900 miles from home, and once I arrived it was not as promised. Some of it was good. Some of it was not so good.

The contracts needing fulfilling have not started. I was told they were not going start until the 8th, a full week later than I was told before coming up here. Two days later I’m told that they were pushed back to the 15th and when I spoke with the brokers myself on Monday I discovered they would not start until the 21st.

In the meantime my prospective employer does me a “favor” by lining up work with his relatives hauling beets for $18 an hour. I talk to one of them who says he’ll “keep it off the books.” That he and his three brothers would each cut me checks to keep the payments under $600, the legal limit for a 1099, and if I needed gas or tires or whatever I could charge it to his account downtown.

This may sound like a fair deal but it is outlaw trucking and it is one of the worst possible positions a legitimate driver can find themselves in. It is a trap. Money is often withheld on promise of payment. Gas and meals are charged back to your account at double the rate. There is no legal recourse in these situations because you are invisible and they most often end with the driver walking away.

It is modern slavery and it is more common than you’d think.

I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with bait and switch and outlaw trucking and because of that I’m careful and always ready to bail within minutes because it can be dangerous. It is always stressful and rarely profitable.

Monday I talked with my employer. I was polite but firm and persuasive. I made it 100% clear that I would not be driving outlaw for his cousin or anyone else. I let him know I had already made some calls to the broker in charge of the contract he is on and was given the dates and rates. Then I told him I would continue to make calls to people and companies I know here to line up real work for his truck and suggested some sources for him to call as well.

An hour later he calls back with a fresh contract from one of my sources, a company that I’ve worked with before that knows and respects me. The contract pays $110 an hour. I’ll get 25% of that. Not the best money but not bad given the circumstances.

More than that it’s a good contract that will probably last until just before Christmas with people I trust. People that will see to it that I get paid.

Like I said, I’ve been doing this a long time. I know the rules. And I make a horrible victim.

This is not unusual. It’s business as usual and I’m used to it, as much as a person can get used to things like this.

It’s the world I am working so hard to leave behind. I think you can begin to see why.

Here’s the good parts:

Most importantly, I’ll leave here debt free and with enough banked to upgrade the Caravan and buy some time to focus on writing.

I have a home to return to. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that.

The camper I paid $560 dollars for is now in livable condition. It’s not complete yet but the majority of the work is done. Windows have been taped and sealed with plastic and boarded where needed. It’s air tight. Roof is sealed. Cushions are replaced. Wood oiled. New carpet. It’s small but solid and actually quite comfortable and easy to heat and I will make a decent profit from the sale when I’m done with it.

The truck I’ll be driving for work is in good condition and the trailer is excellent quality.

The new boss owns an RV Park outside of Fairview where I am parked for free. I won’t be signing any rental agreement. There is a very nice community building on site with laundry, showers, big screen, and more all in new condition.

The new boss is not a bad man. He does not have bad intentions. Its just the way things are done out here. There are too few of us who refuse those ways and that’s why they persist.

He drives the school bus for his young children. Is involved in the community. He spent the extra money to make a comfortable place for his employees to live. That’s a rare thing.

He was afraid of losing a driver because of the delays and thought he could help his relatives by putting me in a bind while he waited for his contracts to begin. I am certain his relatives can use the help but I’m a hard man to bind up.

There is no way he could know I am as resourceful and determined as I am until he did what he did and no way for me to know this would happen without coming here. It’s always a bit of a gamble because I can’t always fix a bad situation. I’m grateful that I did this time.

No, he is not a bad man.

This is the oilfield.

Between Kisses

 

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Lips pressing gently
Between soft words
Sharing the story of our life
In whispers
Only we would understand
Hands playing, searching, probing
Seeking place and time to memorize
Connecting everything
Everyplace
Everyone
We’ve ever been
Absorbing past and casting future
On the canvas of our life
In patterns of light
That play like the sun on
Chilly water that makes you squeal
Standing on toes
Pressing close
As laughter ignites the air
Blinding prying eyes
I am breathless
Whispering love between kisses
Telling the story of our life
——-
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