If such a thing existed as a self-portrait of internal brain function, mine must surely be this image. I took this picture about a year ago and have come back to it quite a few times over the months that followed; there’s something about the simple beauty and the abject chaos all going on at the same time in this image, but it also reflects all the directions my trains of thought find themselves going when I sit quietly and let my mind wander.

I have been quite public about my complete disdain for the entire human race before I have had my morning infusion of coffee, and I make no apologies for that. Once the mad rush to get Alice in the yard to tend to her urgent biological needs is over, the two of us head for the porch so I can tend to my urgent chemical needs. Interestingly enough, though, sitting on the porch in the morning as the sun comes up, trying and initially failing to get what few synaptic connections remain functional in my three-stroke-addled brain to get its shit together for just one more day, it’s easy to imagine that this is what that activity must look like as the caffeine finally starts to wash over what remains.

A car goes by way too fast. I’m reminded the world is full of assholes in far too much of a hurry to get somewhere three and a half seconds earlier than the car in front of him. I mumbled a profanity or two, shaking my head, then smiled, knowing both of them were going to hit a stop sign about 500 yards ahead, this led me to visualize the intersection and the bus stop I use when I have to go downtown, before you know it I’m at the coffee shop in my mind’s eye and realize I’m starving and sure could use one of those amazing bacon egg and cheese Bagels. Next thing you know, I’m visualizing which of the ingredients that go into those bagels that I currently do not have in stock, and before you know it, I’m imagining the grocery list I’ll have to start building when I get back to my computer.

I light the cigarette I’m not supposed to smoke. I thank God for another day above room temperature, the weather, the wonders and beauty of nature, and say a prayer asking for the happiness, health, and safety of my people… And my puppies. I remind Him that, since He continues to see fit that I remain upright, it would be really cool of Him to help me find inspiration in my writing, patience through the difficulties of that labor, and trust in myself that I will always, in everything I do, do the right thing – even at those times when I would rather not, and maybe especially at those times.

I noticed the wind chimes for the first time; despite them having been clanging the entire time, I had been lost in chaotic thought. I have written about them before. And just like that, off my brain goes to Texas. I loved my life there, had finally achieved the lifelong dream of owning horses and sharing that life with who I thought was my soulmate but turned out to be Satan’s red-headed stepchild. On my brain’s way out of Texas, I thought of the horse named Forrest Gump that she took from me, remembered I still haven’t gotten around to writing his story, and my brain touched down gently on the runway of stories I intend to write but forget about faster than I can sit still long enough to put them down in a list.

With the thermos drained and the cigarette smashed into the seasoned, sand-filled Folgers can, I stand up and turn toward the porch door, telling myself the very first thing I’m going to do when I get to the computer is right this essay. For good measure, I even say it to myself out loud a couple of times as I scoop up Alice and head up the steps.

As I walk through my apartment door, I’m greeted with the scowls of loathing and disdain from Harriet and Opal – at which I chuckle and remind them that once the puppies are grown, the new normal will grow on them – and I head into the bedroom/office / Doggy Daycare Center. I look over at my computer, then down at my dog with those big black eyes I get lost in every time I look into them, and she gives me that look… You know the one… That says, “The only two things in your entire existence that matter to you right now, Dad, are my food and water bowls, and I’m going to need you to get it together.”

I comply, of course, sitting on the floor with her as she eats and drinks. She gives me the occasional puppy kiss of gratitude, and I look around to make sure the room is ready for Emma’s arrival. I check to make sure everything is picked up except what they are allowed access to. I confirm Emma’s bowl is ready when lunchtime arrives, and I make sure the toys they will need to entertain themselves between the six or eight rough house sessions they will engage in throughout the day are in place and – satisfied that I’m ready for the second tornado to touch down, I look at the computer to check the time. And then I realize that everything I wanted to make sure I remembered when I sat down at the computer is completely gone, lost to the ether of inspiration and good intentions, and I’m back down the steps where my daughter will be pulling up any minute to drop her baby off for another day of school with the Headmaster of the school of higher canine education… If only he could remember what the hell else he had planned on doing with himself in the writing world in between sessions of drowning himself in the beautiful chaos and competing pressures of chaos and creativity.

Once Emma is on the floor with her sister, like the old adage” best-laid plans, “not very much of that seems to matter terribly much, but maybe tomorrow morning’s coffee session will help sift through the chaos. Or not.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here