The End of Phase 2 Pt. 3: Notes.

From the pages of Thought Processing (my handwritten journal):

Purchase a copy of Yes Please by Amy Poehler and highlight the shit out of that book.

Screw the partnership. Start writing posts for the books we carry and hopefully others will follow. Maybe ask local writer friends to write a post about their favorite book (the one that said this is it. I’m a writer/reader/book lover). (Michael Jones, Richard Sanchez, Anne Estevis, etc.)

Start working on “Stories for Shaun” in lieu of “Letters to Shaun.” Regular WordPress blog?

What’s phase 3? More about life and writing? More books? More posts about being a father? Bug Ashton about new banner.

Write. Write. Write. Never stop writing.

Possible post titles:
1. Lessons in Letting Go
2. Letter to Jeanna—”The Greatest Bastard” Damien Rice.

Stop being so afraid of moving forward, goddamnit!

Find “gift of fear.”

“They are not long, the weeping + the laughter.”

There are shards of memories I want to share with you. Maybe to put together, or maybe to bury. Truth is, I don’t know what I want to do with them. The only thing we can be certain of is that these pieces aren’t meant to hollow a path to return to us. They aren’t bread crumbs from a crumbling romance grown stale and moldy. They’re simply shards of memories. A declaration. A proclamation. Just reminders that it was never in my intention to let you down.

Sometimes I forget [illegible] There are times when you don’t get a rejection. Sometimes this [illegible] rejectionlessness eats you up more than a no would. You begin to feel that you are so unworthy of anything

There are times when you don’t get a rejection. And, at times, this may seem worse than if she had just said no. A part of you There’s nothing you can do about this one. Asking again is just a set up [for] ridicule. If you were clear of your intentions the first time, a second time will not garner you an answer.

Never expose yourself to the world [illegible] Several people will say personality trumps everything else. However, I’ve noticed the vanity of those around on a day to day basis. This is not to deter you from trying to meet someone who is “out of your league.” There are no leagues. Just shallow and the deep. Shallow people are the here and now. They say things like, “Can you blame me for They create superficial high standards. They care only about chiseled features or unnaturally large tits. They worship cosmetics like a Christian Catholic on Easter Sunday.


I wonder when I grow old, my face will remain scowled. As if my expectations of the world have left me perpetually disappointed.


The End of Phase 2 Pt. 2: Writing

Sometimes I wonder why I wanted to write. What inspired me? What set me on this tumultuous journey that drives me mad with passion and anger? I wrote down notes before I remember why I wrote down notes. I “published” short stories using blank sheets of paper stapled together. The word count didn’t matter during those days. Writing as a child was easy. Writing as an adult means making time to write. But writing, like the ornery child, does not wait for scheduled hours of the day (or, in my case, nights) for my attention. It screams out at me in the middle of the night, during my working hours, when I’m out with Shaun at the park, or in the middle of browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble. I kept journals. I’ve graduated from lined paper to blank sheets to quad pages. I jot down thoughts. I scribble quotes that catch my attention or poems that I want to recite by heart. Scrawl definitions to words just introduced to my vocabulary or ones that return to me like an old lover. In these pages, I etch in chicken scratch tales of romance gone amiss or fuck fantasies in which I come in the depths of teachers, professors, old and new lovers, or random characters I’ve fallen in love with.

There are times where the passion wanes (or is it waxes?). Where I think that the last piece—the last good piece—I wrote was my exit music for a film. I contemplate that maybe this whole training to hone my writing skills was really working in my editorial favor. What if I’m not meant to be a writer? What if I’m a editor in writer’s clothing? Isn’t it true that I’ve edited the works of friends and coworkers more than I have my own pieces? And like a tsunami of thoughts and ideas and plots and characters and voices and narrators, it drowns me and I’m back at the keyboard pounding away. I try to keep focus what needs and deserves it and a break in the massive wave comes in the form of, “Daddie luk!”

I may not believe in god or anything mythical and magical, but my son cements my belief that we are capable for such beautiful miracles. As we stick our tongues at each other, I am reminded of the Dr. Manhattan monologue paraphrased as this: Of all the possibilities, he was the strongest outcome. That I met Jeanna and convinced her to love me and…well, you know…led up to him. Of all the people who could have stood in his place, he was the one who won.

Or maybe the Richard Dawkins quote is better:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

I love this quote so much that I’m now requesting my friends (who are surely reading this post) to read it at my funeral should I not be the last one standing. (Future friends, in case I am the last one standing in my current circle, take note of this request.)

wpid-2015-04-07-13.19.24.jpg.jpegMuch to the disappointment of every one of my creative writing professors, I don’t think I’d mind it if I never get published. I enjoy this thought process. I love the feel of pen to paper. My cock gets hard banging on the keyboards of my laptop or desk top. I come to the sound of a typewriter doing its damnedest to keep up with my prose. Okay, none of that is essentially true. It’s figurative, not literal.

I’ll end this with an anecdote (as oppose to an antidote). A short while ago, I snapped the picture to the right (or left, I haven’t decided where to place it yet). I sent it to Monica because we’re having an ongoing feud of who can find the best For Dummies or Idiot’s Guide to books. She quipped how we’d both benefit from the book. I think the only relationship I managed to keep afloat is the one with writing. It’s far healthy, though. Far, far from healthy. But what’s any relationship without complication? Superficial. Oh. That was meant as something rhetorical. I’m not even sure if this is considered an anecdote.


The End of Phase 2 Pt. 1: Izzy

Seemed like yesterday. Sorry, that’s a cliche. And she deserves more than just a cliche. And no matter how much I figure out the way to write this post, there’s no way to describe the feeling. Because it does feel like yesterday when people confused her for Jeanna’s and my daughter. How can a couple of handful of years seem like an eternity? The vivid memory of carrying her to the car when she fell asleep on the couch lingers. Most of those times, she pretended sleep. Ruben and Jeanna and I called her out several times. And try as she might, she could never keep that smile from crawling across her lips. Isabel. Izzy. The youngest. The girl who asked silly questions grew up into a orator in her own right. As a tween and teen, she talked to me about religion, faith, and philosophy. I shiver whenever people say it, but Isabel was (at times) mature of her age.

Even after the decay of the relationship, I still looked at her as something of a younger sister. When a certain coworker made a pass at her, I felt my blood boil. Was this what older brothers felt? Always assumed it was something of fiction.

And just like a snap of a twig underfoot, the years of treasure days came rushing back to me. The word whispered in hallways of hospitals and rooms of clinics. People who never had it stutter and tiptoe around it. A four-letter that expands to a sixth. The big C. The “blind, emotionless alien.”

Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. Well, that’s not true. But for this post, Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. I never doubted her strength. Never doubted the love that carried her through this fight. This battle. This constant war fought by solo soldiers across the world.

And today, the doctors gave her the news. She’s clear. A few more treatments and her battle is over. She goes home a survivor.



“Wanna hear how I deal with people like that?” It’s more a statement than a question, but the infliction still escapes my lips as I say it. Force of habit, maybe, but I don’t dwell on it much longer. I have an audience before me and floundering right now means I’ll lose them. Look at me, the persistent orator despite the social anxiety that cripples me on a day to day basis. It’s Friday, and today I’m being cross-trained in circulation. This is another duty stapled to my new position.

My job title hasn’t changed, but I’m no longer a book lord. These days I sit in front of a computer cataloging the tomes as they arrive. I am also a library whore. Catalogers’ primary jobs aren’t important. Everyone in tech services are picked off at a whim. Need help at the reference desk? Let me just put everything down and assist you. A line as long as a Chick-fil-a grand opening? Sure, these books will be here when I get back.

Not that I mind. I need breaks from the monotony. Sitting down is unhealthy. And cataloging is banality exercised.
The girls at circulation cheer me throughout my firsts. My first check-in. My first check-out. First fine. First new library card. First replacement. It wasn’t long before someone says, “Now wait until you get your first annoying patron.”

I scoff at the words. Three years in the library, I’ve had my share of annoying patrons who think the sun shines from their ass. It wasn’t too long ago when I applied for the circulation position. Wasn’t too long ago when they didn’t approve the transfer due to my “inexperience.” My mind laughs at the memory of my last interview. When I’m told that part of my new duties is to cover circulation, I bit down to keep myself from asking, “Are you sure I’m experienced enough?”

Hostility is no stranger to me. People at the stadium lashed at me daily. I stood my ground when a mountain of a baseball player threatened me. And each time I handle it the only way I knew how.
“Just remember that you’re smarter they are.”

Future’s End

Friday, the assistant director approached the circulation desk. I met him years before I applied to the library, so there’s some history there. He starts talking to me about the future of the library and the arts department. The city has granted us two buildings. He assumes, as anyone should, that the arts building will come first. The second building is a new library branch. As he’s talking, I begin writing the press release in my head. There’s a reason for all this chatter, and I’m sure it involves my added duties. He continues talking about the new branch’s location. It’s location is the former location for the city’s library. “The library will come second, I think,” he said. And as an after thought, “You can get your MLS in that time.” He goes on to tell me about the transfers and futures and GRE test scores and the last sixty hours of my undergraduate education and two years working on my masters. And the seeds are planted and the urge returns.

The only problem, of course, is where the money comes from. Loans are there. I could probably look into scholarships and grants. The most obvious path is asking if the library is willing to sponsor me. That’s doubtful, though. And how many of my years am I willing to hand over in return?

The thought of taking on another role scares me. Full time father. Full time employee. And now part-time student? Having to worry about my parental duties while balancing school and thinking about my responsibilities at work isn’t my cup of tea. And let’s face it, the only reason I survived college was because Jeanna was my balance. I may come off as a person who isn’t afraid of a challenge, but that’s just it. To paraphrase Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, “I’m always afraid.”

Krist, if I wasn’t. Can you imagine all the things I wouldn’t do?

I ordered my GRE test guides Saturday night.


The Third Year

Has it been three years already? It seemed like yesterday that Jeanna was pregnant. Only, yesterday we held Shaun’s third birthday party. Like every year after Shaun’s birth, the weather wasn’t seasonable. I’m just relieved the rain bode its time. It began to pour after we served the cake and the kids broke the piñata.

Shaun spent the day relishing in his ability to play in the rain. We placed all chastising on hold yesterday. Though, he did take a certain song to heart when I nabbed him from the ground on which he lay. The wind prevented the candle from being lit. We sang “Happy Birthday,” though Shaun did note the missing flame. He looked at us, one eyebrow raised. “You guys,” his eyes seem to say, “you do know the candle isn’t lit, right?”

Because of the weather and drop in temperature, many of the invited were a no-show. I’m guessing that, any way. We didn’t open any of the gifts. Jeanna saves that for the house. Mike told me that he upgraded Shaun’s arsenal. A bigger water gun, perhaps. I haven’t asked Jeanna about it.

Though it wasn’t phenomenal, I leapt a great feat yesterday. For the first time since the two paired up, I spoke to Jeanna’s new boyfriend. An inevitability I longed to avoid without reason. It wasn’t friendly banter. It wasn’t filled with disdain, either. I spoke to him like I would a guy at a supermarket complaining about the service. Not sure how uncomfortable it was for him to have the ex-boyfriend around. Not sure how uncomfortable I should have felt. There are no rule books written about this.

While he attended the party, his part seemed minimal. I stole glances at others, gauging whether I should seem unease. A few smiles came from the audience. Though I couldn’t register any of these as pity or worry. Party of me wished Jenny or someone were there with me. Another part couldn’t enjoy the fact I’m alone more.

I’m adjusted to the single life. The bouts of loneliness come and go like any other emotion. I stopped filling my life with meaningless crap by cutting down my subscriptions. My full-time position in technical services has gifted me more time with Shaun. Life is good, despite all the depression.

And as the rain began to fall, we cleaned up the picnic tables. Shaun pointed me to the boyfriend in his way of introducing us. Jeanna and I agreed that next year, we’re hosting the party indoors. To next year. To Shaun, the greatest three-year-old in the world.