Change is a fickle bitch; sometimes, in life, we instigate change, and other times,
it is thrust upon us against our will. The damnable thing is that, in the case of the former, we learn too late that we got exactly what we asked for but absolutely none of what we wanted. In the case of the latter, especially as it relates to this particular nobody writer from nowhere, the change thrust upon me against my will eventually became the best thing that could have ever happened in my life. Go figure.

Being forced to leave behind everything I had built, accumulated, and accomplished during my ten years in Texas and head back to the Northeast with my tail between my legs, I found myself completely lost. I know how this is going to sound, but since this is a mini-memoir and I’m expected to open my kimono a little bit to get to the truth of things, I’ll admit that my fundamental identity as a man and a provider, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a productive contributing member of society was nowhere to be found. It was as if the very essence of who I thought I was had run away from home and disappeared into the ether, leaving my skin and bones behind to fend for themselves.

Taking this “brutal honesty” thing a step further, I will tell you that, while I never crossed that bridge to “thoughts of suicide,” I was definitely neck deep, treading the choppy seas of “fuck it, then, there’s nothing left to lose,” and I spent a lot of time staring into the abyss of a 52-year-long life that had just had its slate completely white clean. What in the actual fuck are you supposed to do, much closer to death than birth, with a clean slate, a fresh start, and a world in front of you that, if you could summon the testicular fortitude, you were free to make your oyster? Why, you start shuckin’, baby. And you summon your favorite version of yourself – my 30-something me, in my case – and the two of you get busy cleaning up whatever mess you still have so you can clear a space to start making a new one.

Not long after I was back in New England, my old friend, the guy who had once told me that Google had shaved 20 points off of the global IQ, reached out to me and asked if I was still doing training and course development work. After catching him up on the current state of affairs in my life,… The layoff, the cheating wife that took everything and left when the severance money dried up… he told me he had launched a startup that was trying to break into the high-end world of security software and wondered if I was available to help him with documentation, product education, and training on how to program it and integrated with existing customer infrastructures.

I remember initially thinking to myself that the David he thought he was talking to was long dead and buried, and I told him I would think about it and get back to him. I remember, as well, that my daughter – on whose summer porch I was living temporarily with the cat and two dogs my second (and absolutely last) ex-wife left behind when she took everything else I owned – basically slapped me upside the head and told me there was nothing to think about.

It was a delicious irony, if you think about it that I found myself returning to the original writing career that I had started in my first marriage in the shadows of the end of my second marriage and was doing so with someone I had met and come to know quite well during my writing and blogging years. I understand that there are a lot of people out there who are averse to the idea of faith and religion, but – as my mother’s sister Aunt Lynn would say to me a few years later – that right there was a God wink and, as we Christians like to say, the Lord surely works in mysterious ways. At the very least, I’m fairly certain God has a curious sense of humor.

I accepted that job, and several months later, my brother asked me to help him move my mother back into her house and take over the job of caring for and supervising her daily medical care and maintenance. She was in the early stages of dementia, and now that I was back in New Hampshire with a job and my own income, it would be a lot easier on everyone if she was back in her home and had someone to live with her and watch over her. He and his wife had recently taken away her car keys, and with both of them having to work outside the home, it was incredibly difficult for them to manage her care when they were not at home.

Remember, at the beginning of this story, when I was face down in that ” 2-inch deep puddle of water, drowning, and not terribly sure if I cared very much about summoning the necessary strength to roll over onto my back so I could avoid drowning in my own misery and self-loathing”? Yeah, about that, my mother needed my help, my daughter needed my help with my two grandkids, and I needed to get the fuck up, get over myself, and help my people. So I did.

We moved my mother back into her house, and I bought her an oversized fancy recliner (she had trouble breathing whenever she lay flat in a bed because of her COPD). I also took over the after-school pick up of my third-grade grandson and took on the job of daycare for my then 2-year-old granddaughter, and everything about my life no longer had anything to do with me. What mattered was what I needed to do for everyone else. And just like that, my essence came home to me and reunited with my skin and bones, and with the band back together again, we kicked off a reunion tour and were back in business.

As of the date I will publish this, almost 15 years have passed since I became “that guy” who moved in with his mother. I was a CPAP-wearin’ middle-aged chick magnet, “Drivin’ Miss Daisy” (in her little old lady car) to and from the grocery store, doctor’s office, and her favorite lighthouse on the weekends.

As I began a new life in Elder Care, alongside child care and transportation, my time in between was spent on creating technical documentation and training materials. I didn’t blog. I didn’t tweet. I did ‘Facebook’ a lot of pictures, though, entirely because I wanted to capture the evolving lives of my grandkids, and – trust me – I have thousands of pictures saved that I routinely look back on from time to time, now that they have aged and grown. I reconnected with my high school sweetheart during that period, but you’re going to have to wait for the “love and relationships” memoir I don’t yet have the strength to write before you will get the lowdown on all of that.

My mother lived four years longer after I moved in with her, and the first three were a treasure for both of us. That final year, perhaps the worst year either of us shared, ended with her finally being released from the torture and decay of Alzheimer’s. It’s an awful thing to watch, dying in slow motion but not before you don’t know who you are, where you are, or what you ever did with anything in a life you can no longer recall. I was every bit as sad for her as I was then, and continue to be now, afraid of what lies in store for me. Alzheimer’s is very prevalent in my family tree, and my greatest fear is living long enough physically that I will have no clue who I am or anything I ever accomplished in my life; I pray that I don’t live long enough to torture the very people I was involved in putting on this planet.

Here we are, well beyond any reasonable word count, and I’m once more faced with having to choose between writing Part IV or a lengthy close to Part III. As a writer, especially one who fancies himself more of a storyteller, I have decided to do both and neither. I know what you’re thinking: ” C’mon, dude, you can’t have it both ways.” Am I right? But here’s the thing.

The first time I was a writer for general public consumption, what I was most proud of was my work with soldiers and their families. You are going to need to click out of this platform in order to spend the time necessary to read 3,000 words of a story that tells you everything you need to know about the first defining moment in my life that shaped the writer I became. Along with that story, readers should know I also became a member of the Patriot Guard during that stretch of my life and stood shoulder to shoulder with veterans as a line of defense between protesters and the families of fallen heroes weeping at the graveside as they laid their loved ones to rest. We weren’t there to pick a fight, but we were sure as hell there to engage one should anyone try to interfere with families saying their last goodbyes to their loved ones.

The next defining moment in my writing life came after my third stroke when I lost the ability to read and write as I listened to doctors, speaking to my daughter but not me (because I was in a complete cognitive fog, lying delirious in a hospital bed) as they explained to her all the things I would never be able to do again. I may have been heavily dosed with Dilaudid, but I was already thinking to myself, “Fuck you and fuck that; I refuse to be helpless. Just you wait and see.”

It took me a year, but I figured my shit out, engineering workarounds for my disabilities, and – singly for the purpose of proving that I still could – I published my first book with no small help from an old blogging friend and mentor, Vassar Bushmills. Then we published a follow-up, and after that, I published my third book(the one I always wanted to write), “Hermit Chronicles: Vol I,” with volume two already half-written in draft.

I also began work on an entirely new project that was 25% done before Alice and Emma came into my life. Apparently, if I live long enough, I’ll publish an autobiography constructed of a collection of mini-memoirs.

The real close to this story is that there is no close, yet, because I ain’t dead yet, and I am nowhere near out of stories yet to be told. I really am a nobody from nowhere, though, and so are all of you, except that we are somebody to the people who enjoy what we do, and we are somebody to the people who care that we are doing it. For the bulk of us, we write because we have to… It’s a compulsion… And if we don’t put our thoughts down on paper, we fear our heads might explode. That’s how it should be, anyway, and it certainly is in my case.

Even though I did not spend a small fortune in order to earn the name “Writer, “I consider myself one all the same. How good I am at it is determined by the reader (once Grammarly assures me that I haven’t done anything to anger the spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentence, or dangling participle (whatever the fuck that is) gods.

Okay, I’m done now, but I’ll leave you with the knowledge that the cuddly little boy at the top of the first entry became the terribly underweight and deeply troubled 50-something creature that sat atop the second entry and who now looks like the person at the top of this entry…yeah, there are a lot of miles in that face… But enjoy knowing that whatever I write that you read did not come through my fingertips; rather, I said every word of it out loud and directly to you through my microphone into a screen that I copied and pasted (after proof-listening to it a thousand times in my headphones until it sounded right) into your computer screen. You can never unsee that image now, but you can tell all your friends you know what a nobody writer from nowhere actually looks like in real life. You’re welcome.


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