Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

It’s not supposed to be easy
That’s why it feels so fucking good.”

– AWOLNATION, Jump on My Shoulders

Writing’s a bitch.

She really is. Sometimes you can make her your bitch, sometimes you find this perfect harmony that transcends space and time, entwining your consciousness with those of people who died centuries before or who don’t even exist in the strictest sense of the word, but most of the time she’s just a bitch. You sit yourself down in that spot (you know the one), that spot akin to the bed where you lie together, and either you make sweet, tender, beautiful love, giving birth to a child of intellect and creativity, a child who if all goes well will live on long after you have passed and longer still, or you lie there in a cold, tense silence, backs to one another, the severity of your solitude and isolation more abundantly clear than it’s ever been before. Either you get it on or you can’t get it up.

She’s a fickle one, that Writing. Sometimes it works out between you two, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you feel that connection between you, the keyboard/pencil and paper, and the entire world. Sometimes you simply stare into that mirror that is your computer screen, and nothing but your own emptiness stares back at you.

Your fulfillment is at her whim, and she’s prone to inconsistencies to the point where you can’t help but feel she’s punishing you for something, making you beg for it. She pushes you to the point where you reconsider your entire life, reconsider your identity as a writer. You begin to wonder if you have it at all, if your successes to-date were nothing more than flukes, accidental miracles, or perhaps the echoes of a life you had, could have had, but which has slipped through your fingers like grains of sand, each possibility for the reason mirrored in the infinite grains.

And then you hit a nerve, you strike gold, and suddenly you’re hammering out a page or so on this very conflict, drawing inspiration from the struggle. And suddenly your fears are gone, and you know you were born to do this. You know you are, and always will be, a writer.

Yes, Writing is a bitch. But you still love her. And you always will.

Webs

Webs

When I was a boy, no older than my son is now, I had a fascination with bugs.  Our property was a decent five acres, so you can imagine the fun I had with all that land.  I would embark on safari expeditions, mapping the harsh wilderness with my faithful partner Bono as accomplice.  We would admire the graceful art of the water gliders from the safety of our dock, watching them skate across the pond’s surface with such fluid and serene movements that I would often have to remind myself to release the breath I had been holding.  We played audience to the antics of the dragonflies as they chased one another through the reeds, like tiny fighter planes in a secret war, and we followed the progress of armies of ants as they carried their hard-earned bounty back to their queen.  Bono was ever patient, although not so much observant.  But when I glimpsed through the keyhole into that world of wonders, it didn’t matter.  I wasn’t with dear Bono anymore; I was with the ants, the pill bugs, the centipedes, the butterflies.  Gone was the big world, the world of big decisions and big problems and big arguments and big pain.  I was free.

Back when things were better and we still had visitors, our relatives and family friends would stop by to visit my parents, and they would sit on the back porch and sip their iced drinks and laugh as they swore up and down that I would grow up to be an entomologist. Just you wait and see, they would tell my parents. The kid has it in him. And they would smile good-naturedly and nod along politely, sharing secret glances with one another whenever the guest wasn’t looking. But they were all wrong. What they failed to realize was that my fascination, my obsession even, wasn’t fuelled by a love of science or learning. It was never about that for me. The love stopped at the creatures themselves and went no further.  I admired them, respected them, was even a little jealous of them. But I never wanted to study them.

Of all the creatures in our garden, I had two favourites.  The first was a spider.  He (or she; I never could tell) was set up in the lower branches of one of the trees on our property, perfectly placed in my line of sight.  At sunset after a rainy day I would race outside to see the web, partly out of concern for the spider in the wake of the storm, but mostly for what always came next.  The web would always be intact, a wonder in itself, but what stole my breath away every time was far more abstract in its appeal.  The web would have collected water droplets from the rain, still sturdy as ever under their weight, and as the sun began to set it would align perfectly with the web.  The droplets would catch the light and reflect it, like tiny ornamental lightbulbs, decorating the strands of silver with flecks of gold.  It was one of the most beautiful images I remember from my childhood, indeed even after all these years there are few sights I’ve seen that rival it.  The spider, who I had never had a reason or right to name, would sit in the centre of the web, completely still, as far as I could tell indifferent to my presence.  Sometimes I liked to imagine that he too was admiring the sunset.

On some days I would catch crickets or grasshoppers, a fly if I was lucky.  I would run as fast as I could to the web, and upon arrival quickly confirm the spider was still there (it always was) before carefully releasing the captured insect straight into the trap and watching the show unfold.  The bug would immediately start to struggle, effectively entangling itself more and more in the web.  With hungry eyes I would follow the strands up to the centre, where the spider sat, immobile, unreadable.  I watched as he registered the movement, the disturbance.  Even before he moved, even before he gave any indication that he had noticed, I would know when he had.  And then he was off, dancing from strand to strand, completely unaffected by his own lethal trap.  He would ensnare the insect, turning it on the spot and covering it in more and more of his webbing until the prey was completely mummified.  I can’t remember where I first heard it, but whenever I participated in this ritual a quote would always come to mind: “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”  I’d always found comfort in that thought, and it became my mantra.  Whenever I found myself trying too hard to understand the motives behind other people’s actions, I would simply repeat the quote in my head until I felt better.

I found my second favourite quite by chance one hot summer day.  I had been laying on the dock in my usual spot, trailing my fingers just beneath the water’s surface and watching the water skaters as they darted out of the way.  They would never stray too far though, out of what I liked to think was curiosity.  I had been moping around for the majority of the day, the heat too intense for expeditions, or demanding physical activities of any kind.  I might have been inside, but there was a different kind of heat going on in there, and the house had thin walls.  I decided to go and visit my spider (who of course was not “mine” in any possessive form of the word, as much as I might have liked to think otherwise), so I got to my feet, ignoring the pins and needles from being immobile for so long.  I started down the dock back to land, and that was when I saw it.  Sleek, graceful, quiet, dangerous.  I had never seen its kind before but I could immediately tell it was dangerous.  I had seen a stinger before, and this creature definitely had one of the most impressive stingers I had ever seen, not to mention a size only paralleled by a handful of the insects inhabiting the garden, my spider among them.  With a dark red exoskeleton, long, powerful wings, and an abdomen striped with orange, the creature was like the insect world’s equivalent of a stealth jet.  It flew by without a sound, seeming to part the air around it.  My breath literally caught in my throat. It flew over water and made its way to land.  I watched it fade into the distance, and then, just as it had almost completely disappeared from view, I snapped from my reverie and chased after it, keeping a safe distance.  The creature did not subscribe to any of the antics that flies often incorporate into their flight paths, zigzagging through the air as though afraid they were being followed.  It was more like a dragonfly, but even they could be playful when they wanted.  This thing was all business. I could almost feel the seriousness radiating off of it.

I followed it all the way home, which just so happened to be my own.  He (again, assuming) landed on the side of our house next to where our hose was connected and wound up, and then, pausing for just a moment, ducked beneath the siding.  I waited, cautiously, to see if he would return, and when he didn’t I walked over to the spot where he had gone under and peered into the gap.  It was too dark to see anything, but I could feel it.  Looking down at me from in the darkness.  It gave me the chills, but it also gave me a weird sense of exhilaration.  I quickly moved my head, feeling like something (or more than one somethings) would drop down onto my head and commence stinging.  The heat forgotten, I sat down on the ground, crossed my legs, and waited.  Eventually he came out again.  I know it’s possible it was just another one of his kind, considering they all pretty much looked the same to us, but although I can’t explain it, somehow I knew it was him.  The same one I had followed home.  He crawled out of the spot, and then, again with the pause, took off into the air.  I watched him go, but this time I didn’t bother following.  Instead I stayed by the home.  When he finally came back it was with a tiny caterpillar in his mandibles. He took it inside.

Over the next few days of watching their home I counted three individuals.  The first one, who seemed to be the biggest, a second one who had more yellow than the other two, and a third, who was the darkest.  I looked them up in one of the many insect books I had gotten from the distant relatives who were convinced I would be an entomologist when I grew up, and decided they were paper wasps.  They mostly ignored me, but I never forgot what had happened that first day.  Because when the wasp paused just before going into his home, I was sure he had looked right at me.

My mother would often have me water the plants in the flowerbed, a chore I had no problems with.  I actually enjoyed it, to be honest.  It gave me a chance to watch the bees, another one of my favourites.  The honey bees were nice, but I’d always had a soft spot for the big, fuzzy bumble bees.  Even their name was cute.  Bumble.  Like a cute, clumsy little bear.  That’s what they’d always reminded me of.  A cute little bear.  The way they zipped around from flower to flower, so dutifully, was as amusing as it was sad. Busy bees.

The problem, which I only became aware of the next time she asked me to do it, was that to water the plants I had to get to the hose.  And the hose was on the side of the house.  Next to the wasps’ home.  I may not have been an entomologist then but I had known a thing or two about wasps, and I knew they were as aggressive as they were protective.  While I liked them quite a bit, I wasn’t exactly eager to put myself in a position that would end up getting me stung.  My only alternative though was to tell my mother about them, something that would inevitably lead to their deaths.  I would sooner have gotten stung than have them killed.  After all, what were their lives compared to a little pain?  Okay, maybe a lot of pain, but my argument still stood.  So, I risked it.

I made my way over, approaching slowly and cautiously for all the good it would do me.  There was no sign of the trio, but I knew that if they were home it wouldn’t be long before they sensed the disturbance and came pouring out.  I reached the hose and began to unravel it, surprised I hadn’t been visited yet.  Just when I began to think something was wrong, the first dark red head peeked out from beneath the sliding.  This time I knew he was looking at me.  And it might have just been the fear, but at the time I was sure that if he had had eyebrows they would have been bent in the middle.  So I did the only sensible thing.  I started to talk to him.

I told him that it was alright, that I wasn’t there to disturb them.  Then I thought that was pretty stupid, because clearly I was disturbing them, otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered to come out.  So I told him I didn’t mean to disturb them, that I was actually trying very hard not to bother them, admittedly for both of our sakes.  I can’t remember everything I said, but I’m pretty sure at one point I bargained with him, even tried reasoning with him.  I think I said something about how if I got stung my mother would raise hell and we’d both be in for it, although of course only one of us would lose their lives over it.  I’m pretty sure I was adamant on it not being a threat, that I was sincerely warning him for his own good.  And all the while, as my young imaginative brain spouted the most sensible of reasoning to an insect, said insect just sat there, watching me with those dark, emotionless eyes.

I’m sure this is the part where you expect one of two things.  One being the insect flies out and lands on my shoulder and then I grow up to be the wasp-whisperer, touring the world as I teach people about the secret life of wasps, and how intelligent they are and how much we share in common and the bond that unites us all, and it ends with me on my deathbed, my trusty faithful pet wasp laying on my lap, with me until the end.  Enter sap story moral about how animals have souls too etcetera.

The second is the wasp calls its friends out and they all sting me and I grow up to be a cynical old bastard who works for a pest control company. Cue realist’s dream come true.

Neither of those things happened that day.  The wasp just… sat there, watching me, until I had run out of arguments for why it shouldn’t attack me.  And then, when I was done, and I just stood there awaiting its verdict, still nothing happened.  So, wary, still not sure I had convinced him, I took the end of the hose in my hand, turned it on, and left, only taking my eyes off of his own when they were out of sight.  And when I had finished watering the plants and I went to put the hose back, the same thing happened.  He peeked his head out, watched me watch him as I worked to wrap the hose, and did nothing more.

Our relationship, if it can be said we had one, continued on like this for several months.  On some days it would be a different wasp who watched me, and sometimes whoever it was would fly out and hover in the air beside me.  I ran away the first time this happened, but when I looked over my shoulder there was no one following me.  So I returned, knowing if I didn’t water the plants my mother would have my hide.  The wasp flew out again, but this time I didn’t run, and the wasp didn’t chase.  It just stayed there, circling the area, watching me.  I went about my business, stealing the occasional glance back over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being ambushed, but nothing happened.  Nothing more than that ever happened.

Take what you want from this story; that maybe the wasps really did listen to my arguments and find them within reason, or perhaps that they simply didn’t find me threatening.  Maybe there was something deeper than that, that maybe they sensed something in me that they didn’t sense often.  Or maybe not.  Maybe we don’t live in a world with reasonable wasps, or spiders that enjoy sunsets as much as I do, or bees that work hard for any reason other than it’s in their nature to do so.  Maybe all that is just a product of a child’s imaginative mind.  But I like to think differently.

One final note: one day I went to get the hose, and there was no wasp there standing guard.  And there was none there the next, or the next.  It got to the point where I would spend hours outside their home, waiting, watching, hoping.  Sometimes I like to think that they had grown so accustomed to me that they had deemed me no threat, that I had achieved their approval, and decided they no longer needed to watch me for trouble.  Or maybe they had accepted my presence as just another part of their home.  My alternate favoured fantasy, the one tinged with sadness, was that they came to realize that they couldn’t live there anymore, that it was too great a risk should my mother ever decide to water the garden herself and approach the hose, and upon finding the wasps, proceed to kill them.  I sometimes like to imagine the two smaller wasps with their things in hand, flying off for the last time.  I like to imagine the third one, the bigger one, the first one I saw, staying behind for a while, watching to see if I might come running around the corner one last time, to come and water the plants.  I like to imagine him sitting there, waiting, his brothers calling for him to get a move on, and then, finally, when he can’t wait any longer, flying off to join the others in the clear blue sky, off in search of a new home.  I know that what most likely happened was that one day my mother actually did happen to go to the hose, or in any event found out about the wasps one way or another.  I never did ask her about it though.  Not only because of the trouble I’d have gotten in, but also because I wanted to keep that last shred of hope alive, that last possibility intact.  And in the end, don’t we all lie to ourselves one way or another?

My boy is in the garden now; I can see him through the study’s window.  He’s watching something in the grass, down on his hands and knees, face pressed to the earth.  I think I’ll go join him soon.  Who knows?  Maybe he’s found a descendant of one of my old friends.


You can read the fiction analysis of this story here.

The Correlation Between Pawn Shops & Broken Hearts

The Correlation Between Pawn Shops & Broken Hearts

I met her at a bus stop in Hackney. She was sitting on the other end of the bench when I got there, reading a book by J.D. Salinger.  I watched her out of the corner of my eye for a moment, debating whether or not to say something.  Before I could overthink it and lose my nerve, I cleared my throat and told her The Catcher in the Rye was my favourite book of all time.  She seemed to study me briefly, and I must have passed whatever test she had put me through because then she smiled and said it was the only one of his books that anyone knew.  I told her I knew another one, and she asked which one, and I read off the title of the one she was reading.  That made her laugh, and it was a sound like the chimes of far off bells, the ones that you hear from off in the distance and wonder what their purpose is, wonder who they are calling, what they are calling them for.  It was the kind of laugh you fall in love with.

She was wearing a beanie that read “Erindale Lions” beneath a crest of some sort, which she explained was from the high school she had gone too, and the kind of jacket you’d expect to find in a thrift store, with patches of various images and words stitched on, seemingly by hand.  Her hair was a blondish-red and it seemed to flow out from beneath her worn-out hat and onto her even more worn-out jacket like ichor from a mountaintop.

She had a piercing in her nose, and she told me the story behind each of her tattoos.  I told her I had always meant to get one for my father after he passed away, but had simply never gotten around to it, and she said that that was really sweet and that I should do it, and I agreed.

She pointed out my headphones, now hanging from the inside of my shirt collar, and asked what I had been listening to.  I told her, and she shook her head and said she hadn’t heard of them.  I mentioned a few of my other favorites, to all of which she shook her head, laughing as she pressed her hands against her face, feigning embarrassment.  Without saying anything I unplugged the headphone jack from my iPod, passing it over to her.  Before she could object I told her I wanted her to have it, explaining that the music it contained had literally saved my life on several occasions, and that one day it might mean just as much to her as it did to me.  She told me that she couldn’t accept it, and I said that yes she could, and not only that but I very much wanted her to.  She said you know the chances of us ever seeing each other again are pretty low and I said well yes that’s true but now that you have my property I’d like to think they’re a bit higher, and that earned me a smile.  I still see that smile in dreams sometimes.

She asked me where I lived and I told her and she said oh no I won’t be anywhere near there for a long time and I said I would be happy to wait and then before she could object again I asked where she lived and she raised her chin slightly and said proudly that the world was her home, that the roads and the back alleys and the fields and the forests and the cities were her home.  I asked if that meant she was homeless, and her shoulders slumped a little and she said yes.  We were silent for a moment and I felt bad for asking, but before I could apologize she said you know, you might never see this iPod again, and she didn’t have to say what we both knew she really meant.  She said it in a quiet voice, and without even needing to think about my answer I immediately responded that it would be an absolute honor to have my iPod stolen by her.  I didn’t have to say what I really meant either. She smiled to me, and opened her mouth to say something else but then a bus pulled up and she swore and said it was hers and she stood up and she left, but not before giving me a quick kiss, the kind of kiss you’re not aware of until it’s over, until you’ve missed it and all that’s left is a lingering tingling sensation in your lips, like front doors left ajar and bedroom window curtains blowing as the wind gently drifts into the room, like a song you hear on the radio from a past life, like running into old childhood friends when you’re back in the town you grew up in for your father’s funeral.

It was only as the bus pulled away, fading into the distance until it was nothing more than a tiny speck, like a stain on a windshield that you will never be able to rub away, that I realized I had never even learnt her name.

Sometimes I like to picture her listening to my iPod, maybe as she is boarding a bus, or settling in for the night in one of those cheap motels you see all the time on TV dramas, or lining up for breakfast in a soup kitchen, or browsing the isles of a thrift store.  I picture her shoplifting a charger from some dollar store somewhere when it finally dies, and charging it whenever she gets a chance, keeping it alive, taking care of it even when it’s tired and has given up on her, not because it wants to give up but because sometimes things are just made the way they are, made fragile and weak and scared but still in need of that one other, the one that won’t give up on them, the one that will keep them going and won’t let them give up on themselves.

Sometimes, when I have bad days, I imagine her walking into a pawn shop. I imagine her walking out, counting through several bills and wondering if she should have asked for more.  Whenever I picture this I try to tell myself that she wouldn’t do that, that she would only do that if she absolutely needed the money, and that if she did then I would be okay with it.

Sometimes I think I see her, a brief glimpse, a fleeting image, a face in the crowd. On the subway, in restaurants, on the sidewalk, at bus stops. Always at bus stops.  I still wait for her.  At night, after the orderlies call lights out and the building goes dark and the moon is out, I sit by the window in my room and look out over the street.  And I wait.


You can read the fiction analysis of this story here.

Update#13 – A Trip Down Memory Lane

Since returning from our road trip I’ve been a little slow in getting back into the groove of writing on a regular basis.  I had a nice run going before we left, and was clocking in some uncharacteristically productive numbers working on the book.  Unfortunately the trip sort of disrupted that, and it’s been slow going since.  I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things, so to help streamline that process I’m going to step away from the blog for a bit.

The break will actually give me reason to follow through on an idea I’ve been toying with for a while now, which is to repost some of my older stories.  Most of them were up long before I actually had any regular readers, and seeing as no one’s going to the archives I’m going to bring the archives to you.  Over the next week or two I’ll repost them in the order they first went up in, and maybe even slip in some non-fiction reposts as well.

I know some people are like vampires with the sun when it comes to reposts, but seeing as none (or at least most) of you have ever actually seen these posts, as far as your virgin eyes are concerned they’re still technically new.  As usual I’d love to hear what everyone thinks; feedback is always greatly appreciated!

Anyways, that’s pretty much it.  Thanks for reading, and good luck out there.

Update#12-ish – Overwhelmed and Underwhelmed

Though it may not seem like it, things are pretty hectic right now.  Between a lack of internet (freaking Bell), keeping up with everyone else’s blogs (freaking great writers), and delving into preexisting material on a handful of newfound blogs (freaking archives), I’ve not had much time to focus on my own writing.  Which isn’t to say I haven’t been trying.

I was on my road trip when it happened and since then it’s sort of faded into the background, but the entirety of Chapter 1 of Utopia (consisting of Parts I through IX) is now up on the blog.  I’ve got a lot to think about before I start dishing out Chapter 2, first and foremost of course being whether or not I will.  This isn’t me nursing some sore spot over my perceived lack of interest (honest), I just need to consider certain… alternatives.  Be that as it may, you’ll be the first (and the only) to know if I decide to start sharing again.

In the interest of helping me with said thought process, I’d like to take the opportunity to once again ask for feedback.  Again, this isn’t to reassure my wounded ego of your own interest in the project (although that will be a nice little bonus)- it’s simply to help me figure out what is and isn’t working.  Here’s what I’m most concerned about:

  • Formatting: several of you have pointed out that most of the parts are a bit too long.  If I continue posting sections would you suggest I break them down, even if that means rough breaks in flow?
  • Plot: was anything overly confusing?  Keep in mind this is still the very beginning of the story, but if there’s something you felt simply wasn’t expanded upon enough, please let me know.
  • Setting: again, anything overly confusing or hard to picture?  If that’s the case, any suggestions on what needs to be made clearer and how?
  • Characters: was it difficult keeping track of names and people?  I’m most concerned about overlapping characters like Andrew & Celia or Mike & Patrick.  When you read their sections did you recognise that they were part of the same plotline?  If not, is there anything I can do to fix that?

And of course if there was something you noticed that isn’t on that list I’m still very much eager to hear it.

Requiem for A Modern Leper

“I wrote a book and I will call it something cynical
The story’s slow; the hero does not change
And if he can then he won’t anyway
Instead his foes and lovers all become identical.

I fled the country,
I thought I’d leave this behind
But I built the same damn house
On every acre I could find”

– Typhoon, Dreams of Cannibalism

The Modern Leper has to go.  That part of me that was always itching to run away, to hide from his problems and partake in temporary comforts, can’t exist anymore.

I’ve got a lot of problems.  Actually, scratch that.  I’ve got a shit-ton of problems.  Chief among them are my insecurities.  When you grow up hating yourself it’s hard to imagine anyone else feeling any differently.  Even the people who claim to like you are suspect.  You begin to wonder if it’s some big game, if they’re not just playing audience to the latest pity parade.  Every awkward silence, every cancelled hangout and every unanswered text fill your mind with dark whispers of inadequacy and doubt.

I used to think I needed The Modern Leper.  I thought he saved me from a life of broken, hollow relationships and constant nagging anxiety.  He chopped off the sickly bits, amputated all the infected friendships from my life, saving the rest from corruption.  I thought that by hopping from relationship to relationship, from friend group to friend group I might eventually shake the sickness.  But those relationships were never the problem.  I was the problem.  The sickness was always in me, and my relationships with those people were simply symptoms of the disease, not the origin.  You can’t cure something that’s inside of you by running away from it.  You need to face it head-on.

I don’t want to be constantly pining for attention and compliments to reassure myself that I’m wanted.  I don’t want to depend on other people for my own sense of self-worth.  I need to stop running away from my problems, and for that to happen The Modern Leper needs to die.  I don’t know what will remain when he’s gone, hell I don’t even know that I’ll be able to shake him at all.  But I need to try.

Update #who-gives-a-shit – End of the Road(trip)

As the above gif and title of this post would suggest, I have officially returned from my road trip.  If this were anyone else the rest of this post would probably be dedicated to recounting fantastic tales of my adventure, but this is me, so instead we’re going to fly right past all that interesting stuff and move straight on to narcissistic self-promotion/self-deprecation.

First off I’d just like to make a little note of the fact that in my absence comments seem to have severely declined, which is hard to believe considering how low they were to begin with.  I’m being petty again, I know, but hear me out.  I can accept that not every post requires or warrants a comment, and certainly if it didn’t stimulate your thoughts enough to deserve such feedback then by all means don’t force it.  That being said, if (and I must emphasise the if) the reason you’re not commenting is because I haven’t been commenting on your own blogs, then we have a problem.

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I follow blogs because I enjoy and admire their content (and by default their authors).  There is not a single person on that list who I follow out of some misguided sense of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  If I follow your blog, it means I like what you have to say.  If I like and comment on a post, it’s because it resounded with me.  Generally speaking I’m a pretty complicated guy, but in this I’m simple: I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  All I ask of you is that you do the same.  If you don’t enjoy reading my blog then fine: don’t.  I don’t want people following me simply because I follow them.  I don’t want pity likes or sympathy follows.

I’m not going to unfollow anyone just because they don’t read my blog.  Look- I get it.  I’m not an easy guy to like.  I’m insecure, petty, self-absorbed and self-loathing.  Shit like that gets old fast, and it can be annoying.  Hell, I know it better than anyone: why do you think I hate myself?  The last thing I need right now is to be constantly trying to gauge people’s opinions of me.  I could never tell where my old friends stood, so I cut them out.  So this is it.  If you’re not in it for the long haul, then this is the end of the road.  If you unfollow me now there won’t be any hard feelings.  You’ll still see me on your own blogs (assuming I’m currently following you) and I’ll be just as avid and involved a reader as I am now.

I just need to know where you stand.  If you stay, I’ll assume you really want to stay, and that way I’ll know the difference between when you don’t like certain posts and when you don’t like me.  I don’t want anyone’s pity, and this isn’t a cry for help or a cry for attention.

It’s just me.