How hungry next time?

This crazy place where gold sits in plain view beside an ideal

And a hungry man steals the ideal

Makes from it a simple piece and wears it proudly in the streets

For everyone to admire.

.

How hungry must he be to let gold hang from someone else’s neck

To leave it on the field

To let it gild marble walls and lofty altars

And languish in vaults?

.

How hungry to toss together rickety foundations of refuse

And mounting them, raise a naked fist

To a smiling sky

That showers golden stardust on the sated

And leaves the famished to die?

.

How hungry must he be, next time walls fall

To leave gold to the rubble

And build something of value

Beneath the smiling sky?

.

Jason Anderson, 2014

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This is very important

understand

the world does not exist

only we do

.

©2013 Jason Anderson

The Tell-Tale Alarm Clock

There might be no point to this story. But it’s all true.

There are two  alarm clocks in my bedroom. One sits on my nightstand and looks and behaves like a proper dual alarm clock. The other is a battery-powered travel alarm, and it’s utterly lost.

Every night at 3:05 a.m. its muffled, high-pitched alarm chirps gamely for exactly thirty seconds. This has gone on for three years.

I don’t remember when I got it or why, although I can picture it. It’s made of black plastic, about four inches square. It’s improbable that I set that alarm – I’m either very awake at that hour or not going to be.

I’ve searched for it many times. It’s maddening – the target area is so small it should be easy to find. It hasn’t.

What’s in the area?

My dresser. My beliefs regarding laundry require me to completely empty my dresser before doing it, then completely refill the dresser – it’s definitely not in there. My bed and the badlands underneath, where creatures known as dust bunnies gather to practice sedition or worse. They don’t have it. Metal baseboard radiators, into which it could conceivably fall and hide (but didn’t).

And that’s it, and it’s in none of those places. I’ve looked. I’ve looked again.

So I resort to a game of cat and mouse. When I’m awake at 3 a.m. and remember, I get into position, ready to pounce. When the alarm goes off I frantically listen, search, listen, search – rifling through drawers, looking behind the dresser, between sheets, between mattresses, under the bed…

I only have thirty seconds before it disappears back into the strange, silent lostness.

Is it human nature to search and re-search the same place because something “has got to be *somewhere*?” I hope so. Life behind the dresser doesn’t change much, but I keep looking back there expecting to find that clock — even though it has never once been there, not even when I sneaky pretended to be looking somewhere else in an attempt to catch it off guard.

So this alarm clock has been singing to me each night for three years, near what Ray Bradbury called the “soul’s midnight.” I always try to find meaning in things – it’s always there, even if you have to put it there. Even in seemingly meaningless mysteries like this.

Maybe it’s buried under the floorboards, trying with its piercing shrill to needle its way deep among the layers of my conscience.

I doubt it. Like I said. there might be no point to this story – except maybe that insanity is looking for something in the same places over and over, and still expecting to find it.

Leewater is now The Boy Hero

Call it a mid-life crisis. In May, when I turn forty and people ask “what have you accomplished?” I wanted to have an answer. So I changed the name of my blog from “Leewater” to “The Boy Hero.”

Rim shot. But seriously, folks.

The Boy Hero isn’t me. I haven’t suddenly sprouted super powers or aged thirty years  in reverse. I haven’t lost my mind or started wearing tights (probably redundant). I’m not a boy hero, but I was one once. Long story — maybe someday I’ll write about it.

When I started this blog I also started a company called Leewater Films. Leewater was meaningful to me, and it was distinctive. Films reflected the fact that at the time I was focused mainly on screenwriting projects.

Lately both words have started to chafe a little, like garments outgrown.

So I changed the name to Boy Hero Productions. It reflects a recurring theme in my writing and makes me smile a little every time I see it (I think that’s the important part). It’s also an homage to the main character of my first screenplay, a young superhero who you maybe-might meet someday, in some form.

And really, many of my protagonists, even those without super powers. Especially those without super powers. Girl heroes too, of course — and even heroes that aren’t so boyish for other reasons (like, they’re pushing forty so hard that forty’s getting mad).

The new name better reflects my evolving writing philosophy, involving role models, strong three-dimensional characters and platitudes lifted from a variety of places (anyone can be the Batman!). But philosophies are better done than said.

So, the blog now goes by “The Boy Hero.”

If you’ve been reading my posts, thank you. I’ve been as sporadic about posting as I am keeping up with the blogs I follow, but it’s a really rewarding experience. I think we have a good thing going here, so I’m recommitting myself to it, and just wanted to explain the change.

So long for now. Gotta fly.

Jason

.

PS. My old URL, leewaterfilms.wordpress.com, now maps to the new one, blog.boyheroproductions.com. I think both will continue to work.

Wonders at the Windows

Wonders at the Windows

I wear the dry must of a house

Long closed in upon itself

And though each morning I practice

Throwing all the curtains wide

This façade still wears its foreboding

To ward away surprise visitors.

Something in my guarded heart

Still craves salvation

Like a sheltered adolescent

Imagining who would break in

To rescue me – as if I could choose!

When only pirates and thieves

Break down doors

Not the boy next door, who

Wonders at the windows

When I will come out

So he can accidentally cross my path.

©2013 Jason Anderson

It’s going to get darker in here

(a not-very-evil writing manifesto)

The truth is I play it safe when I write, especially if I expect someone might read it. Yeah, I admit it. I’m pretty new to this writing stuff, and not many people have read anything I’ve written (I’ve made sure of that). But I often think, what will you (the reader) think? And everything gets censored by the dictatorship of self-consciousness.

Lately I feel like an archaeologist brushing away topsoil, keeping himself busy enough to ignore the fact that he’s too afraid to uncover the stunning dragons that lie deeper. Or a photographer snapping furiously away but resisting going into the darkroom.

I’m hoping the act of writing this and putting it out there will help me remember to try to live up to it. How’s that for a firm commitment.

There is a darkness. (I actually swiped that from the dust jacket of Batman: The Black Mirror.) It is undeniable. The fabric of every life is shot through with it. It wears different masks – grief, sadness, depression, addiction, abuse, anger, hatred and too many more to name.  We like to categorize – I think it makes us feel like we’re doing something.

I’ve always been a student of darkness. Yeah, I’m one of the quiet ones, but I’ve never been a violent soul, thankfully. My strength has been observing.

I’m really good at it.

I’ve seen some things. Experienced some things, too.

Humanity has a truly terrifying streak, more so than any beast or monster or devil. Not an original observation, I realize.

People say you get desensitized to things like sex and violence and human suffering but I think, if you’re lucky or unlucky like me, you don’t. The opposite happens. You don’t become darkness, you don’t get angry, your heart doesn’t weep for the world. You accept the overarching, undeniable reality of darkness, and learn to love every scrap of light you can see. Seeing people shine reminds you it’s the shining that’s remarkable, and not the darkness. Seeing them stand on their own two feet makes gravity bearable. Seeing them give unconditionally to others makes you want to, too.

The fact that people look to the light, that fact that after all you’ve seen you still look to the light, makes you want to be light.

Back to my point. So far I’ve been brushing away topsoil and taking pictures with no intention of developing them. So far I haven’t been ready to tell you about the things I’ve seen, or what I think they mean.

But it’s extremely important.

Important to me, and to one other person. I don’t know who that is, and I might never meet them. But, in this digital age, I have a fantasy that they’ll send me an email (or a text) someday, and say:

“I read something you wrote. Thank you for telling the truth as you saw it. Thank you for finally taking the risk and doing it. You didn’t save me. You provided a rung in the ladder I built to get myself out of that fucking darkness. And that was enough. Really, that was all I needed.”

More likely they’ll say “Tx, ur story was ok”. Whatever.

Thanks, by the way, for all the rungs. See, I made a ladder. I promise from here forward the stories I write will reveal the darkness in which the base of it is planted, and the magnificent view from however far up it I’ve climbed. Maybe some will also be ok.

 

©2012 Jason Anderson