07 November 2016

Courier Bold

After the first time my cooter tried to kill me, I decided it was time to pursue some of that fancy higher education people so often brag about reaching. That way I could outsmart my twat the next time it plotted a coup. I managed to eek out a nice little history degree before cancer kicked me in the learning curve the second time.
But during the time spent chasing that paper, I had started writing again. It began as coursework, and progressed to therapy. I wrote my way through required papers to the point of irritation for those left to read the tomes. After I wrapped up the first few years of study, I found myself writing for more than instructional purposes. I wrote about sick life more and more; connecting with others whose experiences were similar to mine. I found humor in the story; that kooky main character The Volatile Cunt, the hilarity of public puking, parenting with pus-filled bed sores. Time and time again, I turned hospital nights into inspiring tales of spilled wound drainage and filling my kid's pockets with stolen jello.

I still find humor in the story.

After correcting the cooter, round two, I wanted to learn more, so I went back to paying for it. This time, I focused a lot in writing-heavy courses; comprehensive studies in American Literature and Art. American Humanities. American Labor Movements. American Women.

It wasn't by design, but by curiosity.

I'm nosy as fuck, you see.
Or, "constantly inquisitive" as I like to say.

This curiosity, and developed love, was propelled by one of those deeply passionate addictions that I get. The one to know more. The need to know how it got to be like this.
How it got to be like this.
There had to be someone who could tell me. A history professor. Perhaps a sociologist or two. Throw in a couple of those classy political studies guys along the way and I'll be damned if I didn't get myself a graduate degree in this history nonsense. Every step I needed to move foward, semester after semester as I endured being a godamn "nontraditional" student, I ran into the same face over and over.

Bill Meiers.

Eventually, there came a time when I questioned whether I was on the right course of study. Nobody fucking pursues a degree in such a soft major any more.
History though? Focused on AMERICAN History? Are you a fucking dick?
Yes, yes I am. It's a great history, this country of ours. Come get drunk with me some time. I'll learn you something.
 I considered a change in focus that would have meant fewer opportunities for some of the less pertinent writing that I had engaged in. I discussed my inability to make decisions nearly every day with that old familiar face in graded-paper form. That was the year I won the Penland Prize for Short Fiction.

Bill Meiers.

So I kept at it, and earned a few paying gigs. Thrown in a few poetry compilations. Wrote a one-act play. Sold some shit. I slugged along and slugged along. I sat at a computer month after month after month, drinking random alcohol and spewing nonsense at a screen (much like I am now,) while I read and researched the bullshit of expert after expert to fill in blanks on the bullshit I had to say about the same exact fucking thing. I got through the chest-deep American-made horseshit by these delightful moments in which America was where I grew up. I didn't write that stuff for me. I wrote it for the sheer joy that it would bring to that familiar face.

Bill Meiers.

I remember the day way back when I met Professor William Meiers, who preferred you call him "Professor Meiers, or Bill Meiers, or anything except Billy, which is what my mother calls me, or a Plespisbut, which is what the Roman's might call a stick up the you know where,"
He was the kind of guy you remember.
His first required assignment was a paper on the current implications of changing technology on behavior, and whether or not "society is becoming more rude."
I gleefully waited in the back corner as he collected the works the next day. The fluttering rustle of papers filled the room as he walked about the students, lending out his hand at each individual seat. His striking blue eyes would glance down to breeze the first few lines before he would look up and scan the writer's face; seemingly tying the words to the creator's brain with a piercing gaze.
Maybe that was how he could tell the Madisons from the Jordans,
He traversed the room slowly and I followed his progress throughout. Now and then he would comment at a line in the paper he received; here and there a name made him smile. At the triplicate phone case of the third Madison his head turned slightly; wondering if he was allowed to comment on the Madisoness of it all, I suppose.

Bill Meiers.

It had been a longer trip the second time cancer came around. It made me much, much more cynical. On top of the way relationships in my life fell apart, and fell apart, and fell apart.

Finally he had reached my seat upon his journey to collect printed thought. He was a slight man, as a hobby he enjoyed marathon running. Routinely he would participate in triathlons, when 25 mile runs weren't already on his agenda. His grey hair had long since seen the passion he had for life, all 5'7" of him the very embodiment of a twinkle in the eye. He prefered to maintain a connected gaze while he was handed your work; I like to think he had limericks for features to remember them.
Although I nearly always caught his eyes flashing Dolly Parton's voice when they connected with mine.

Is Society Becoming More Rude?

My smile was slightly crooked as my gaze met his, my paper now in his hands as he looked down to the nearly blank top page.

"Fuck You"

His bright blue eyes shot up suddenly as he tried to suppress a chuckle. "Bwah!" He turned bright red behind his smart glasses; the pressure of laughter caught just beneath the surface. His attention turned back to the two lonely words upon the page.

"Indeed, Joleen. Fuck You, indeed."

Bill Meiers is the reason that I could write again, have written these last few years, and the mind that made me think that I can keep doing it. He regularly connected me with people to help build a name from my words; but more imperatively, he changed writing from an emotional outlet into a real piece of who I am.

My daughter stared college this past fall, and the first class I demanded she take was Professor William Meiers Monday/Wednesday Comp 110.

His first paper can be tough, but if you listen, he'll make you tell a story.

Bill Meiers passed away yesterday and the only thing I can do about it is write.

Because if there was a man who has more life in him, I have not yet met that soul. As Bill Meiers was everything that L-I-V-I-N' is supposed to be. And we are all less for it that Bill Meiers could not be with us longer.

So if there is any one thing that I have written that you have read, will read, could read, can read, might read, or should read; let it be this:

Thank You, Bill Meiers.

01 November 2016


I never intended to get this far.
Down the road.
Into this mess.
Without a plan.
Away from myself.

Everyone talks about these directions they follow; towards a goal, off the beaten path, trudging along, climbing the ladder. They ho and they hum, hand shielding their eyes as they squint into the distance, and they anticipate the moment when the happiest existence possible peaks into view on the horizon. The quest for that glorious destination propels them forward, day after day; on to bigger and better things, finding themselves, getting somewhere. Navigation has long since been engaged, a monotone of instruction spewing forth from a tiny voice that exists only in the peripheral. 
"Merge onto the freeway."
"In a quarter mile, take the second left."
"You'll never be right."
Or whatever it is those fancy gps-thingys say. I use a map. Like a godamn truck driver's daughter is supposed to do. The only navigation I need to see out of the corner of my eye is the glowing neon of a 24-hour diner's Hot Coffee sign.
The directions are pretty straightforward; do this, get there
But nobody moves at the same speed. And there's not one other soul caught in the traffic jam that's on the same route as you are. On top of speed traps and trap queens, there's all that other metaphorical nonsense too; missing guardrails, detours, broken stoplights, checkpoints, sinkholes, aggressive drivers, bumps in the road, the rat race, highway to hell. 
Image result for bat out of hell
Meatloaf's bat out of hell.

But continue onward, the directions do. Travelling around curves, rolling through highs and lows. People seem so keen to stay the course. Focused on the path laid out before them. Hearing nothing but the dulcet tone of that guide on the journey, the voice from nowhere.
The one from everywhere.
So condescending,
"Your destination will be up ahead."
Always in the distance that promise of open road; the glimmer of that last red light just around the bend.  Mile after mile of burning the oil, the croon from the corner offering instructional advice.
"Turn around when possible."
"Stay in the center lane."
"At the end of the road, go right."
I don't understand directions.
Says so on my 1st grade report card. 
Mom will dig it out if you ask her to.

So I guess they say I never have understood directions.
I don't find that to be accurate. I understand directions perfectly well. It's that I question under whose authority that the instructions were issued. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Miss Mosser. If that was even your real name. Who are you to tell me left from right.
I need to know neither
I'll get to the same place as everyone, eventually. 
I don't need it to be plotted out for me. I can clearly fucking see the direction I'm headed. Even when it's dead fucking wrong. 
I always want to be the one in charge when I drive into the pond.

This giant sense of "NOW WHAT" encompasses me a lot more now than it ever used to, I never needed an itinerary before. Just Trucking and all that. But fuck, the price of diesel what it is right now, I can't afford to Keep On Keepin On. 

I think I have to pick a new direction.
One way, or another; one way or another.

I think I've known for awhile.
The construction along this road tore my tread to shit. Absolutely destroyed my alignment. So you see, I had no drive system. And everybody said the way would be nicer for it, but I wouldn't know.
I had already long passed there.

For now, I'm going to take the road to work and make it through the day.

I'm just waiting for my truck to warm up. 
And I know there's a diner up ahead.