Category: Musing

How Can We?

How Can We?

How can we breed patriots

When we don’t teach our history?

From ‘Pilgrim Rock’ through

The great presidents of our time?

Valley Forge, the wars we’ve fought

For a country now harassed with hate?

How can we deplore so easily

With easy disdain and anger?

How can we be so blind of eye

As not to see the great rupture

In our land of milk and honey?

How can we not with haste defeat

This pestilence that so infects

Our hearts, our minds, our souls?

How can we be so hardened of heart

As not to feel compassion and joy?

How can we not feel pride in a

Nation that has so much to give?

How can we not stem the bigotry

That runs rancid in our streets?

How can we turn a Democracy

Into a totalitarian state of chaos?

What feeds this disease that now

Plagues our halls of government?

Please, tell me how can we revive

A country rich in history and glory?

How can we breed patriots

When we don’t teach our history?

 

Billy Ray Chitwood – March, 2019

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Life’s Great Conundrum

Life’s Great Conundrum

‘Time flies’!

Remember when the concept of dying didn’t quite register with you and your life? Somehow, we were able to relegate dying to people much older than we. Death was all around us, but we never allowed the possibility for ourselves…dying was simply alien to our ‘think and act’ thoughts.

Now, here in the ‘Twilight’ years, I often consider more seriously the metaphysical aspects of death and dying. The ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ ends at death, or, much of the world believes that is the case. Most of the time I end up muttering dumbly to myself, ‘I don’t know what I believe’! Many people accept on ‘Faith’ that when death comes for them their essence, their spirit, will go to a place where souls will live eternally, without worries. That’s a lovely thought and I want to believe that is the case.

The only evidence of ‘life after death’ comes from people who will claim they experienced a vivid vision of themselves as their spirit hovered above their death-bed, saw a bright light far-off in the black void, beckoning them to come into the light. Then, suddenly, the vision voids and they find that they are still of flesh and bone and heart-beat.

There are also accounts from some who have had Déjà vu moments, generally when some extraordinary event has taken place. For some seconds these people feel as though they have lived those moments before.

Here’s my take on death and dying.

My take is, you really were not expecting me to give some amazing new updates! One thing I’m not! I’m not an Atheist, for being an Atheist, one has to be first and foremost an arrogant ass if not an intellectual bore! Agnostic at times, I’ll grant, but no darned atheist.

I was born in Appalachia with the preacher pleading with the big congregation to come and denounce their sinful ways…this, during the heart-wrenching hymns, “JUST AS I AM” and “LET’S ALL GATHER AT THE RIVER.” Now, I was a little boy, maybe eight-years-old, and my little heart was telling me I was a terrible sinner and needed to get up and walk down that long aisle to the front of the church and allow the preacher to bless me and see me cry.

Well, as mentioned, now in ‘Twilight’, that ‘easy God’ may be gone but there is still a vestige of faith that has stayed with me through all my sins of a lifetime. The way I figure it, I’m not giving up a ‘vestige’ of Faith that maybe has in store for me a really nice eternal home, or, another chance down here on this orbiting craft of earth. Hey, if I’m right about an ‘After-Event’ of some kind, then, I made the right choice. If I’m wrong, well, hell, I’m not going to know it. Now, am I?

So, maybe a little ‘doubting Thomas’ at times, I’m going to believe those meticulous nine-months of a precision birth came from a divine and intelligent source and NOT A BIG BANG. I’ll just let pass the aggravating conundrum of ‘First Cause’, and believe I’m going to see again all those people I loved – just, maybe in a new form…this form I’m carrying to death with me has been fun at times, but I’m happy to trade it in for a new model.

Right about now, old Mark Twain would have a really funny come-back for what I’ve been trying to write here…oh, I don’t know, maybe: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

Hey, you reckon old ‘Mark’ could be in this body and mind of mine writing all this good stuff for me?

Well, Sam Clemons was a damned good writer, and, if he’s in my body and mind and writing my eighteen books, you sure ought to be buying them… Just saying…

Billy Ray Chitwood – February 5, 2019

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Lazy Moments in Time

Lazy Moments in Time

What folly this

That binds me,

Betrays me,

Leaves me here,

In this strange

Subtle land?

Glory must

Surely shed

Its light

On yonder

Brows,

Not mine!

Here,

Dreams live,

Greatness appears,

And, so soon

Expires…

What fool am I

To stand among

These great

Images of

Proud history?

Tis Folly here!

Must be folly

For I see not

My Image

Smiling back

At me!

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 31, 2019

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Junkyard Philosophers

Junkyard Philosophers
 
From whence came this yearning of my soul?
 
It’s only a question I ask every day of my life, fitting, I suppose, of one with dubious genetic structure and a mangled environmental beginning marked by too many turns and twists of emotional enigmas. Of course, my portal in the scheme of time must say volumes. Am I ‘matter’ that does not matter? 
 
Who am I? 
 
In thinking about the question, I’m an amalgam of insecurities and dreams. I love people but cherish my private times of aloneness and my writing for self-discovery plus self-therapy. I fail. I succeed. I get angry when the computer cannot keep up with the thoughts I’m typing, some words moving to paragraphs up the page from where they should be. 
 
Who am I?
 
I’m a dreamer, too lost to a past of incredible joy and love, of business victories and defeats, of consuming despair, fears, and regrets, with the painfully stark acknowledgement that more sags and wrinkles visit my body and refuse to leave. I love people but love more being at home alone with my wife…writing or watching a movie. I’m a lusty fellow when it comes to moving to a new locale – that makes me a wanderlust and my wife a haggard packer of boxes.
 
Who am I?
 
I’m a piece of ‘Everyman’, spread too thin to be a consistent devotee of something good and mostly reasonable. My writing is the one constant in my life, for it allows me many personalities to sketch and get to know. Those sketches give me glimpses of who I am. 
 
It’s my belief I must have brothers and sisters of the bond out there – not depraved and lost souls, just junkyard philosophers.
 
Billy Ray Chitwood – January 31, 2019
 
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Sought and Fought for Naught

Sought and Fought for Naught

-Nine Haikus All in a Row, with a Theme-

*

It was never clear

That dream-set inside of me

Along each new day…

 

The abstract nature

Of my humble beginnings

Ever in my way…

 

On the lonely trek

Were stark ugly mementos

To echo my past…

 

Then, into Twilight

Doubts and fears were soon to pass

As my mind could fast…

 

At last it did seem

That olden days meant little

To a now dull mind…

 

Ahead comes darkness

Morphing to eternal light

Perhaps, to happily dream.

 

But, if not to dream,

Then, perchance, darkness alone,

Shakespeare did foretell.

 

Demons come and go

Through dark eternal passages

Shadowed walls of Hell.

 

Doth Fate have in store

This horror scene, prithee tell,

What is heaven for?

*

-Nine Haikus with which to explain a Life-

By Billy Ray Chitwood – 01/26/19

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Winter’s Lassitude

Winter’s Lassitude

Perhaps it’s the winter days that has me in this patch of lassitude, here in the pale used-up corn stalks of boredom, where words won’t form and thoughts come in slow motion and without any great desire to be fulfilled. The sunny day falls on a layer of snow and cannot alter the artic bite in the air, yet without the glowing essence of a clear day, I might very well give way to purposeless stagnation.

I want to write, to create a marvelous ‘flash fiction’ piece, a poem of praise for the deity that claims my being, yet, the torpidity seems all-consuming and bids me crank up the leg-rest of my Lazy boy and wile away the day with patches of slumber. But I fight the off-kilter feelings and press on with words that might or might not warrant any qualitative analysis. So, I cling to the notion that out of the lazy meandering the Gods on Mt. Olympus might bring life to my fingers as they tap onward the laptop keys.

Wouldst I write about the political nonsense that is frightfully ambiguous and bordering on insanity? God, forbid! My takeaway from the blabber would be of no import and would only show my informed but unpolished political leanings that would please some and anger others. No politics, thank you very much…

What, then, Lazybones?

I shall try a poem for my good followers and then put the day away marked as ‘non-essential’ and ‘lethargic’!

Here, then, is the poem…ah, what name shall I give it? Ah, yes…

Wasted Day

How does one forfeit a day?

Wasted but adorned beautifully

By Sunshine and snow?

Tis a mindless pity to waste

So much energy and time

To say, ‘I don’t know’!

The blog and book must wait

Until tomorrow comes

For an intellectual glow!

After all, words are cheap

And book sales are small

So much for my folio!

One day, surely, I can miss.

My brain can use the rest

Tis no huge fiasco.

Tomorrow, then, I shall

Write a #1 bestseller

And all the world will crow.

*

And so be it this Tuesday morning in January.

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 22, 2019

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The Flat Head of a Nail

The Flat Head of a Nail

-Some Silly Machinations-

One hellava title, huh, The Flat Head of a Nail?

So, what?

Just waiting for you to ask, thanks!

Science and Technology people are really messing us up ‘byte time’ if you get my drift. When Sputnik went up in November,1957, our knowledge was re-doubling every five years. In 1900, geez, knowledge was doubling, like, every century. What’s next? Now, these genius-minds have so many bytes at work that they could make our entire Universe seem really cloudy…whatever bytes might look like in the universe.

I think.

No, no, no, not, think! ‘Cogito ergo sum’ for me, or, as it was originally stated in French, ‘je pense, donc je suis’…that’s just a dab of ‘showing off’ – I don’t speak French, but, when I was younger and courting the girls, I would carry a few short phrases in French and/or Spanish with me on dates, you know, to put some icing on the proverbial cake.

Hey, I’m barely able to understand that I cogito or sum.‘I think; therefore, I am’! Most of us will remember that bit of Latin from our classroom educations.

‘I think therefore, I am, WHAT?

Really, what am I?

Don’t give me the ‘blood, bone, and flesh’ answer! I mean, we’re in an age now where knowledge is re-doubling every thirty minutes. Computers gave birth to bytes, and now, today, we’ve gone from byte to kilobyte to megabyte to gigabyte to terabyte…all the way to Domegemegrottebyte – that damned word in bytes has eleven 000’s following in a row the numeral, 1.

Did you know that one kilobyte represents the size of a short story like ‘flash fiction’!

Did you know that a short novel is one megabyte?

Well, hell, I don’t know what to do with that information other than sling it at you! Now, some of you are thinking right now what you would like to do with that information, but, please, remember to be gentle with this messenger.

Now, don’t get angry at me and stop reading! This stuff these genius guys of Science and Technology are feeding us every day! Be mad at them. They made me do this post!

On second thought, get angry, because I’m angry… I make a dumb mistake, go to google for help and they feed me this stuff – well, actually, I made a mistake with my Ichabod Crane fingers on the laptop keys.

What I was trying to do was get to Amazon and correct another dumb mistake. My new book, Dominique, just launched (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) and, like an idiot I put the Kindle Edition on ‘Pre-Order’ until January 20, 2019…when what I really wanted to do was allow folks to buy the novel on Kindle for 99 Cents until January 20, 2019. Some way or another, I got lost in this ‘Knowledge Re-Doubling and Byte’ stuff and got my head zipping around like it was on a tilt-a-whirl stick. Truth is, I don’t know how to get Amazon to change course… Dominique is still 99 Cents on Amazon Kindle, but, as I understand it, readers won’t get the book delivered to them until January 20.

My bad!

Anyhow, “Dominique” is about one megabyte, or, 1 000 000 000 bytes… Ah, sorry, the book is about two-hundred pages in length. Whew! And, yes, this is a ‘plug’ for Dominique! But, gee whiz, a person’s gotta market somehow or ‘tuther’. You will make me really proud if you buy the kindle store out, or, shucks, it’s okay if you want the paperback…go ahead and buy it. It won’t make me mad, I promise.

I’m guessing I should explain the title of this blog post, and, I know some of you are thinking it defies explanation…but I gotta try.

‘The Flat Head of a Nail’?

Well, that mistake of landing on that ‘Knowledge Re-Doubling’ and the ‘Byte’ pages just kind of blew me away, and I began thinking about sizes – you know, planets, universes, cities, towns, people – and I wondered, like, if that flat head of the nail was, now don’t laugh at me, well, if that flat head of the nail was, maybe, populated with people, cities, towns, and maybe had its own world and universe…

Okay, I can’t write when you all are laughing so hard at me, so I’ll stop now…

Except, I just don’t want to take away from my one-megabyte book entitled, Dominique. It deserves to be read, folks. I promise you this: Dominique will be your finest one-megabyte read in a long time. In fact, I’m pretty close to guaranteeing that last little 100 bytes I just gave you.

As far as the flat head on that nail, you might want to read up on Rene Descartes and Emanuel Kant – those philosophers spent some time on trying to figure things out… Then, you can explain it all to me. One day, I’ll do some imagining and maybe come up with a tall tale about it all.

Now, don’t desert me, good folks! My next post won’t try to make sense out of what the sci & tech boys and girls are serving up to us.

Oh, just for fun and your edification, check out this link for me. It’s waiting for you to take a look!

https://booklaunch.io/billyraychitwood/5c363eb290e02adf7ae252c8

interstellar madhouse (3)

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 18, 2019

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Custard-Filled Donuts & Sunsets

Custard-filled Doughnuts and Sunsets

Dreamers and Romantics have a keen sensitivity to life, some mysterious alchemy within their souls that mark their steps through time and dimension.

They see the sun pausing, creating a great palette of lucent magic as it makes its final descent into the morning on the other side of the world. Something stirs within the Dreamers and Romantics, and they must somehow celebrate this mystique that sight can only present. They cannot embrace this beauty they behold, cannot feel the orgasmic wonder that comes with the climactic end of two joined in making love.

There is an intense urge to capture this supreme moment of sunset, so the Dreamer and Romantic compose their lines of verse, their songs of longing and love. Words will come but they must be noble, virtuous, and worthy of this scene that has aroused   their souls.

It is so as well with the novelist, short story, and flash fiction writer. There is a need to express some inner desire, some exposition of a great notion or theory.

Are these Dreamers and Romantics special people among the masses?

Perhaps they are to those who like to read, who like the singular turning of a phrase, a poem, story – those who have other talents, those who design and build our great structures, our bridges, our roads, those who fly our planes, drive our buses and trains, those who sweep our streets, clean our houses.

I’m a Dreamer and Romantic! I love that sunset and a lovely woman with whom to share it. As Lord David Prosser might say, I want to hug that sunset! What I believe David is saying (if he were to say it),  The sunset is so beautiful that spoken words fail to express the exalted feeling…you want to hug it, make love to it, more than just say, it’s beautiful!

That is why we have Dreamers and Romantics writing, painting, composing music – and, at times, being real pains in the arses. Some can be rascals, malcontents, arrogant, pompous, perhaps thinking they are a special breed…well, actually, they are! Otherwise, no dancing, no reading, no sculpting, no painting – well, you get the idea.

Can you believe it? All of this came from eating a custard-filled doughnut this morning – I saw the sunset in my ‘pictures’ file.

Billy Ray Chitwood – March, 2016 & January 10, 2019

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The World – According to Me!

The World – According to Me!

I came into this world as a ‘blue baby’. Now, I never took the time to figure out just what being a ‘blue baby’ was all about, never asked a doctor or my mom… I do remember my sister saying to me when we were adults that, “you know, Billy Ray, you were born a ‘blue baby’!” It seemed we were always arguing about this and that, so she was tagging me with that little piece of news out of spite.

. I asked her, “What’s a ‘blue baby’, Bobby Jean?”

She took a sip from her 24-ounce plastic glass of Pepsi, and said: “Hell, I don’t know, but you lived. So, guess it wasn’t lethal!”

“Well, you sound disappointed, Bobby Jean,” I responded.

“Well, I was the one that got all the beatings from our itinerant daddy, Billy Ray.”

“Well, I know, but you were the one doing the bad things, Bobby Jean. I suffered through those beatings, too, sitting there in a state of emotional paralysis.”

But, back to the ‘blue baby’ label. I finally googled ‘blue baby’, and here’s the information provided: a ‘blue baby’ is a baby  with a blue complexion from lack of oxygen in the blood due to a congenital defect of the heart or major blood vessels. That’s it, all I got from google. All I was ever told by my Mom was that it was my grandmother who took me from old Doc Brown, dangled me in the air by my feet and gave my backside a pretty good whack. That got me to crying, more importantly for me, it got me to breathing. There was a gathering of kinfolk and neighbors in that old clapboard house at the time, and my grandmother became a celebrity of sorts up and down those muddy lanes. Guess it’s pretty obvious that old Wooldridge sawmill camp didn’t have a lot to excite folks…except, maybe, some copperheads from all the sawdust.

Well, the rest is history, as they say – that is, up to a ‘passage’ point.

Most of my young life was spent in emotional confusion. Now, I didn’t know to call it ‘emotional confusion’ at the time, but it surely was that malady as I look back on it. Now, I’m not going to turn this into a sad story. Suffice it, I grew up after a lot of spent-emotion and a lot of moving about in East Tennessee, joined the Navy, met a ‘Wave’, married her, and spent ten years in another kind of emotional spell, had three beautiful kids, got a college degree, and taught school for short while.

Skipping over a lot of dumb mistakes and ‘searching’, I met Julie Anne, likely the best thing that ever happened to me. She got me to writing, and now, some eighteen books and 400+ blog posts later, I’m sitting here in ‘Twilight’ with still some ‘oats to sow’, my little euphemism for writing.

What have I learned about life in my sojourn here on this orbiting craft of conundrums? We’ve had plenty of philosophers writing, telling us about metaphysics, the branch that covers just about everything, being, time, space, knowing, a whole gunny-sack of abstract knowledge that my ‘Chitwood model’ is not equipped to appreciably handle with any great insight.

I’ve learned that most of the platitudes for living don’t really mean ‘squat’. Take, for an example, ‘one learns from her/his mistakes’. Well, ‘whopee’, I didn’t! I just kept on making those ‘goofers’. Of course, there are a couple of ways to look at that. Number one, maybe there’s just too much junk piled-up inside that keeps one from learning the good ABCs of living. Maybe, if one could just find what it is they’re good at and keep on doing it with someone who is compatible and loves her/him, then, maybe he/she could learn those ABCs. Number two, maybe the inconsistency and the wanderlust are too ingrained, too attached to one’s being that makes settling down and becoming something ‘permanent’ just near-impossible. Maybe Ralph Waldo Emerson was right in his essay on Self-Reliance: “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Then, what do I know?

In my humble opinion, I have one salutary talent – writing! Writing is not only a ‘love’ for me. It is a necessity. Particularly now, here in Twilight , the latter is most compelling. Perhaps, my writing creations blind me to reality. Maybe I’m not as good at writing as I think. No, not viable. I am as good as I think. What is difficult is convincing readers and publishers of that fact.

In this life I’ve known the gamut of emotions – ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’. I’ve lost, and I’ve won. I’ve walked with the ‘kings’ and with the ‘common man’. I’ve played the games that keep me living and alive. I’ve never intentionally hurt anyone through covert planning. I’ve loved and won. I’ve loved and lost.

For a kid born in a clapboard house on a rainy night in Tennessee, a ‘blue baby’ (if that scores points!), fed emotional soup that was never fully digested, all the above, I’ve had a reasonably good life and times. Perhaps, I’ve had more than I deserved. Perhaps, I’ve had less.

Either way, the journey is still on. I’m going to motor right on to my next blog post and book, enjoying the life my characters give me to live – the loves, the disappointments, the victories, the defeats, the high-life and the low-life. They are there in all that I write, the foibles and the strength.

Welcome to my world.

Won’t you come on in?

I’ll do some writing.

You do some reading.

We have a deal?

Good.

Billy Ray Chitwood – January 3, 2019

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The Fool I Came To Be

The Fool I Came To Be

It wasn’t all that difficult becoming the fool I am today. Well, it wasn’t and it was. It was possible that I become a bigger fool than I am today. All the ingredients were there. In fact, there were many times along the way when anyone looking for the fool in me would have easily found him.

Dwelling on all those wasteful habits and motions that portrayed my life during the critical years would be time wasted and to no one’s benefit, very likely just another ‘pine and whine session’ unworthy of the print. The stories have been written about the young man and/or young woman who was abused in one way or another in childhood.

There are the ‘positive’ stories of the young man and young woman who escaped their childhood’s abusive environment and went on to succeed in her/his chosen field of work and in the development of their own children.

My story belongs somewhere, maybe in the ‘positive’ column, but not without some serious editing. It is true that my childhood witnessed too much abuse and trauma in the family disconnect, too much detritus in the emotional play-by-play that I could never fully fill-out my adult world with the talents that were left to me. Oh, there were successes here and there, but never the ‘big hit’ that scored storybook success.

It seems I was too busy as a young man trying to find some nebulous ‘white buffalo’, my silly euphemism for ‘home, picket fence, family’. That search for the WB found me in gin mills wooing, or, trying to woo the women, and, if keeping a ‘batting average’, it was likely in the above average range. Blessed with decent looks and, with a few libations that gave me courage, I scored often. In fact, I found it relatively easy to fall in love and marry…several times! Thank the good Lord, that search is over. Julie Anne and I have been together for thirty-five wonderful years. Love is there, and life is steady…

That more or less covers the ‘bad-boy’ imagery. In work, I cheated my employers by not giving them all I had to give. Otherwise, I would no doubt have ended up a president of a large company. As it was, with my cheating, I made it as far as a National Sales Manager. Again, that ‘gift of gab’ led to a modicum of success – even managed some acting in film and commercials along the way. So, yes, there were small victories here and there.

I’ve written about most of this in my memoirs, but, during this holiday season, I felt the urge to regurgitate for the few fans that I have gained through my writing efforts (and, for me). In those efforts I’ve managed some eighteen books – and, counting…most of the novels are in the genres of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, strong women, many inspired by true criminal cases (some now ‘cold cases’ unsolved).

This is my ‘Holiday Card’ to all who might be passing by the site where this shows up. https://brchitwood.com

There, I feel a bit better about myself this holiday season.

If I didn’t add cheer to your good seasonal fun, at least, have a libation and, with me, let’s celebrate a great new 2019.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ONE AND ALL!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 31, 2018

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