Category: Writing

Winter – 2039

Winter – 2039

Flash Fiction by a New Model –‘Dialogue Only’

“My God, Frank, are you…you?”

“Of course, I’m, me! The treatment took less than two hours, Gracie. The transformation took hours, and it was amazing to feel the not unpleasant tingles and tightening of skin. When I looked in the examination room mirror I almost passed out with elation – and, or course, the anticipation. You’re scheduled for 6:00 AM Friday morning. Your procedure will take less time than mine, the doctor says. At Five O’clock that afternoon we fly to Nassau and ‘Paradise Island’. We’ve wanted to return there for years. Now, we’re going back younger than when we went the first time.”

“Frank, we talked about this. I thought we decided we were not going to do this, our Faith, all our discussions about the costs involved, about the altering of our belief in God…”

“Grace, Grace, please, sit with me…

“I know all of that… Costs? The business is doing well. We have good people we trust running it. We talked about the ‘Micro-Bots’ Micro-Biologists have been working on for many years. We also talked about it being part of God’s plan for us people of Faith to find this ‘Manufactured Man’s Immortality’, and about this being ‘His Plan for us’ – that Humankind seek and find their immortality with their own cognitive powers of discovery in Science and Technology. We talked long and hard about this, Grace… I changed my mind and kept the appointment with Doc Burrell.”

“But you said…”

“I know what I said, but those thoughts changed for me with a sudden mind-spark just before arriving at the doctor’s office. Then, when the Doctor gave me documentary information my mind was totally satisfied with the decision. Dr. Crosley had his doubts as well until he had seen the evidence…”

“What evidence? Don’t stop now.”

“Well, you can’t speak of this to anyone, and I frankly don”t know why it should be such a big secret. It has something to do with endemnifying the doctor and government regulations. While it’s been rather media-hyped, I think it might have something to do with people coming to their own conclusions about ‘Immortality’ without outside source information. Even today, in 2039, this in not a universally adknowledged and approved by everyone. Of course, when we see our friends, we will be forced to talk about it all to some extent. Just, no ‘pressuring’.”

“So, why were you given the information?”

“Because, as I said, just before getting to the doctor’s office, the truth – for me – struck the chord and I concluded it was the right thing for me to do. The doctor just cemented the decisio for me, for us, to do this procedure… and, yet, you must come to this conclusion on your own, Grace. You must come to this conclusion for yourself. Can’t you see the truth by looking at me?

“Look, The micro-biologists have been working for years developing this ‘Miracle of Humanity’. They can now provide to the medical profession the navigational training necessary to inject these Nano labs into the blood stream, into the veins, to replace dead cells with new cells, cure cancer, heart disease, arthritis, COPD, the long-feared body dysfunctions that have plagued all of humanity in the past. It is God’s way to helping MAN help himself… Can’t you see that, Grace? I thought your seeing me would convince you. Do you not want to be young and vital again – with me, Gracie? Why are we even having this conversation? You see me! That should be enough.”

“Of course, I want to be young and vital again with you. It’s just there is a nagging that comes from my mind and likely my soul that I can’t quite dispel… But, seeing you, listening to you, loving you so much, how can I do otherwise? I shall keep the appointment and join you and the other ‘Immortals’ as I’m sure the world will convert to MBT.” [Micro Biological Transformation]

“Just think, Gracie, we can do some of those things we’ve talked about, the travel to places of history…best of all, we can now solve your infertility issue and bring children into our world…”

“Why the long pause, Frank?”

“It just occurred to me… Other people will have these thoughts we’re having. Infertile women will become fertile, bring children into the world. Those children will bring more children into the world… My God! Earth will be over-run with people…

“Perhaps that is why intensive extra-planetary studies and exploration are taking place…

“My God, Gracie, think about it! God’s design is to populate the Universe, and, perhaps, beyond… makes me wonder, Gracie, just how long this MBT business has been with us. People have often pondered what their governments keep secret from them.

“Perhaps, this is the ‘Grand-daddy’ of them all!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

January 18, 2019

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A Private Session at the Way Station

A Private Session At ‘The Way Station’

Guess I write quite a bit about my feelings, about my life and times. Thought I

would allow a small portion from one of my books to do the ‘talking’ in this

post… The following is a section from ‘The Way Station’ (a euphemism for a Care

Facility) in my book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections From An Appalachian

Son.”Prentice Paul Hiller is recovering from a complicated hip surgery, meets and

bonds with a former Clinical Psychologist, Greta Fogel. Over the weeks of teasing and

mental jousting, Greta has encouraged Prentice to write about his life and times,

suggesting that it might be not only good therapy for him but that the end product

should be a great read.

 

It should be noted this memoir is 90% true, and I am Prentice Paul Hiller — but I have never been in a ‘care facility’ (other than hospital stays for hernia and appendectomy operations). The remainder is pretty much true except for names and some places… I might be a bit generous to myself regarding the 90% – but too far off.

Also, this memoir is written on ‘two tracks’ – one chapter for ‘The Way Station’ followed by chapters from periods in my (Prentice Paul’s) life. The section noted below has followed a chapter regarding Greta’s reading of one of my personal chapters.

***

EXCERPT – from “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son” by Billy Ray Chitwood:

Having just settled in with my laptop, Greta came into the sun room. Without too much preamble, I moved the laptop to her lap, with the cursor set to start on the last two sections. “See what you think of these two sections,” I said with a doubtful expression, “I’m ambivalent! Don’t know if I went too overboard.”

It took some time for her to read the sections. She paused time and again in very thoughtful poses.

When she was finished, she asked: “You want to talk now or later? Want me to leave you so you can write?”

“No, let’s talk! First, Dorie seems really nice,” I said.

“She’s a really good lady. I’m very impressed. You’re going to like her.” She sat on the wicker chair near the window. Greta was wearing a lovely lavender sweater and beige pants outfit plus a new hairdo. Her eyes glowed with the combination.

“I already do. We had a chance to visit when she got here. She’s a version of you, really!”

Don’t know about that, but I like her and I’m glad you do…” She paused for a second. “Shall we talk about these last two sections?”

“Really! You want to talk about the last two sections? Why do you think I shoved the laptop on your lap? Of course, sweet lady, let’s talk about these sections…you read it and acted like you wanted to leave. You don’t like the sections, do you?”

“Of course, I like the sections! You know I like your writing. You raised my eyebrows a bit, that’s all. You surprised me!” She said with a slight nod and a wry smile.

“Bet I know why!” with a nod and smile of my own. “The ‘Vickie’ sex snapshot?”

“Well, certainly, that raised my eyebrows! And we won’t dwell too long on that bit of memorabilia! However, it might surprise you to know that that kind of experience is not so uncommon, particularly when you consider the environment in which you lived, notwithstanding the criminal implications of Vickie’s complicity in the seduction. No, it is not a pretty snapshot, and  it does surprise me somewhat that you would make it part of your ‘reflections,’ although your penchant for honesty and ridiculing yourself would preclude your leaving it out.” She was about to say more when I interrupted.

“It was such a vivid recall, Greta, like the earlier sex encounter with my pre-puberty aunt. It was somehow important for me to put it in, even knowing that is was highlighting depraved behavior…”

“I understand, Prentice. You need not justify it to me. You want the writing to portray the ultimate true picture of who you were then. It couldn’t be any other way for you.” She paused again, then went on.

“The ‘Vickie snapshot’ is not necessarily what I meant by ‘raising’ my eyebrows.”

“Of what then do you speak, dear lady?” using my chivalrous tongue.

“I speak of your ‘isms’ section, EST and ‘Tao Te Ching,’ and your ‘political views’ section to the larger extent. What raised my brows and surprised me a bit was the length to which you’ve gone to find yourself, your belief system as it relates to your political morality. In other words, you’re a man who strives so hard to find integrity in yourself and in others. You fight in your mind the battles of our times, wanting desperately to find a Utopia which you know does not exist. In some ways, you are an incurable romantic, a Don Quixote chasing ‘windmills’ you think are giants to be slain. You know your sins, Prentice! You know your faults, your errant ways! Your missed opportunities! And you’re trying to make up for it all with the pages of your book.” She paused, eyed me carefully with a fondness she would not hide. “And, you’re doing a damned good job!”

“Whoa, wait a minute! There’s something else you want to say. ‘A damned good job’ doesn’t quite say it all, Greta. Come on, I can take it. It might hurt, a lot, but I can take it. I might never speak to you again, but take it, I shall!” She could see the last bit as mock and tease.

“Yes, a damned good job! I say what I mean, Mr. Hiller. And, yes, Mr. Hiller, there is something else to say…” Again, she paused, looked out the window at the lovely blue sky day. “What you put down is well written. You would be aware that some of your reading audience might not share your views. That, I know you know! Incidentally, I’m not one of those ‘really smart people’ to whom you refer, but I am non-partisan. What you want, I believe most people want. You write about it passionately and sincerely. How could I fault you? The chivalrous battles you fight with your writing are noble, patriotic, and good…” She paused yet again, then wistfully continued.

“Why, I’m not completely sure, but I’m thinking of those two great volumes of Spanish literature.” She waited, pursed her lips in that cute little habitual way she had, and went on. “His neighbors thought him mad for all his dedicated reading of chivalry, but Alonso Quixano gave himself a new name, ‘Don Quixote,’ put on a suit of old armor and went off on his chivalrous quests with wild imaginings. He was at times beaten, ridiculed, and ultimately unintentionally betrayed by his dull-witted squire and neighbor, Sancho Panza. His quests, his imaginings, ended in a great melancholy. Alonso would put away his armor. The melancholy worsened with his age, and Sancho in the end tried to restore his faith. But Alonso Quixano died a broken man, and, with him, his alter ego, ‘Don Quixote.’

“What does ‘Don Quixote’ have to do with what you’re writing? The chivalry part, mostly. Though, at times, you do seem daft and wildlyimaginative!” A pause for chuckles. “You write about many differnet things in yur life. You bemoan at times the sad states of your existence, your life style, your ‘images’ of the good life, your moods, your legacy. And, to repeat myself, you do a damned good job of it. If I have any concern, it comes from my fondness for you. I don’t wish you to become ‘melancholy and broken,’ Prentice.

“Don’t try so hard to make up for your life! This writing business, the process, is good for you. Use it for all the right reasons: the legacy thing, the self-ablution, as it were, the process itself. You are who you are. You will try too hard. You will continue to beat yourself. It’s too late for the couch, not that you really ever needed it, but, if I could push but one button for you, it would be the button that makes you believe in yourself and makes you have more faith in the God who made you and accept whatever it is He intends for you. You are really a dear, dear man, and I don’t wish to see you hurt so much.”

She stopped talking and looked again out the big window, her face creased with a sadness beyond the mere interpretations she had rendered on the sections of my book. That sadness held me for a moment. Then, I decided to revert to my easy tactic of light patter. 

“Well, Greta, you’ve totally blind-sided me! What the hell am I supposed to do with Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and you?” smiling, with raised eyebrows. “Okay, methinks I get it. You’re a sweetheart!” I closed the laptop and got up. “Come on, let’s break out of this joint and find a Big Mac, fries, and coke.”

Actually, ‘Don Quixote’ and I likely had a lot more in common than I might be willing to admit. Then, again, there might be more Sancho Panza in me than I might be willing to admit.

[End of Excerpt…]

Billy Ray Chitwood – January, 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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The Rock

“You the guy that dealt with Winslow?”

“Maybe. Why you asking?”

“Let it go, Charlie. They’re not buying it.” (Bebe whispers)

“Shut-up, Bebe! They are buying it!”(Whisper)

“Charley, they got muscle. We got no muscle. This is crazy. You want to die? Criminy!”(Bebe whispers)

“Okay, look, fellows, my partner wants to ‘pass’ and, me, I don’t want to pass. You said you wanted the best! This is the best rock money can buy. You got the money! We got the best rock! C’mon, let’s deal! It’s cold in this auditorium, and I don’t like being cold.”

“You don’t like being cold! You’re a tough guy, huh, Charley?”

“This has nothing to do with ‘tough’, guys. You get my meaning? You asked for the merchandise. I’m supplying it, Mr. Delaney, am I not right?”

“We talked it over, Charlie, me and my guys. We don’t like you. You’re the guy that got Winslow sent away. We know about you and your operation.We don’t wish to deal with you, and this stupid conversation is over.”

“Not yet, it ain’t. I’m selling. You’re buying. Give me the dough!”

“Put your toy pistol away, Charlie. You’re covered six ways of Sunday! You fire one shot, you and your partner are cold and dead. That’s what I’m selling, hot-shot! You buying? Hey, Bippy, show the man your artillery. You see Bippy over there, wise-guy, see his ‘semi’. Now, put your gun down, take the diamond out of your pocket, and hand it to me, nice and easy like. Don’t try any funny stuff unless you truly have a ‘death wish’.”

“Come on, Charley. Give him the ‘ice’ and let’s get outta here. They’re not fooling around here!”

“Shut-up, Bebe! I’m handling this. Get over there with Delaney.”

“But, Charley…”

“Go on, get over there with Bucky Delaney.”

“Okay, we ready, now?”

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the record show I had nothing to do with this arrangement. It was their doing, the way they wanted it.” Charley gave a big smile, and continued…

“Ladies and gentleman, we’re gathered here today to unite in holy matrimony Buchanon Delaney and Bebe Forrestall…”

*

Have a ridiculously good holiday season! AND, A Happy and prosperous 2019, One and all!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 26, 2019

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The World Without Me In It -Silly Fun-

The World Without Me In It

-Silly Fun-

Another grain of sand added to posterity!

That’s the sum total of an existence, be you an emperor, a bird, an animal, a common man or woman.

The world, at least, that little patch where I’m known, revered or loathed, will have a moment to sanctify me, make accusations of me, or, just silently remember that I wrote twenty books that went nowhere, that is, didn’t sell, didn’t appeal, didn’t use up much paper in POD presses. The odds are, amid the lack of tears and clamor, maybe someone will write a short eulogy of sorts – likely, my wife, a son, a daughter, a grandson, a granddaughter. Hey, even one of the latter will try to make some ‘hay’ with the books I’ve written…stranger things have happened.

But, generally, grains of sand are okay for the coastline beaches, and I don’t want to be ran and walked over all the days of summer or any season. So, I opt for a ‘star’, way up there in the firmament among all those other fixtures for gazing and making wishes. Why not? Movie Stars have ‘Stars’, presumably bronze or copper, on the cement walkways of Hollywood. Hey, I did some acting, could have been one of those stars…coulda, shoulda, woulda!

Okay, I know I’m fooling around here, spending all this time – really precious here in Twilight – considering what action I’ll get when the ‘Grim One’ takes me away. It could be that I’ll reincarnate really fast and come back among you peeps with a head so full of knowledge and magic that I can make anything happen. Now, in this ‘gig’ I’ve been a boozer, a womanizer, a fourth-rate poet and writer, and neer-do-well who wanted to do well and didn’t quite make it. In my next life, it just might happen that I make it. (Well, actually, I kinda liked that ‘womanizer’ part.)

One thing, though, if the ‘Powers That Be’ decide to send me back as a pet, then I hope the ‘Powers’ make me a dog, like a poodle. Women particularly like poodles, cuddle with them, hold them to their bosoms…yeah, that could be nice duty. Maybe I could be the world’s first ‘talking dog’! Now, if the ‘Powers’ make me an inanimate thingy, I won’t like that too much, unless, of course, they make me an ‘invisible man’. Then I got lotsa fun possibilities. Hmm, wonder if ‘invisible men’ are considered inanimate. Hell, you can’t see’em, so they must be inanimate! Unless they touch you, well, then…I’m thinking…just forget this paragraph!

But, you know, I’m being rather flippant about this important stuff, and maybe I shouldn’t be mocking the ‘Powers’. I sure don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. Then, they can really do me damage. It’s my understanding that there are lots of comedians out of work, and it’s not nice for me to be comedic here – Hellava word, ‘comedic’…

So, I lost track of what this essay, this ‘thing’ I’m doing here, I lost track of the point or points I’m trying to make. But I can’t just throw words and paragraphs away. (Lots of folks said that about my books. ’throw’em away’, they said, ‘we ain’t gonna publish them’.) That’s very wasteful, throwing stuff away, so I’m going to let all of this stand, or, fall, as to whatever it might want to do…or, well, now, darn it, I’m confused…that’s a staple here in ‘Twilight’, if you get my drift – I’m not talking about a staple in a staple gun here!

There was a ‘point’ when these fingers began pecking a few moments ago, but damned if I can remember what the point was.

Oh, yeah, I suddenly remembered – what’s this world going to do without me in it?

Enjoy at your own risk!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 31, 2018

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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, 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, Just a tad more important, 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, maybe the junk wouldn’t pile so high. 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 isn’t possible. 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 1, 2019

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Serenity of Silence

Serenity of Silence

Listen!

You can hear it!

You can hear the silence if you listen!

Silence stirs creative juices!

Silence has motion!

Silence can direct you to a sacred place.

Listen to its serenity!

Learn from its movement.

Let silence flow freely.

Silence is elixir for body and mind.

Allow what silence demands.

Be not in haste for silence to cease.

The silence is there for you.

Silence is an offering.

Silence is a beginning.

In silence, only you hear the words.

Listen, to the rhythm.

Listen to the beat.

The words come in silence.

Silence becomes your thoughts.

Silence brings action.

Allow silence its passage.

Silence is there for you.

Listen, you can hear silence.

Silence has a noble purpose.

The purpose?

Don’t move.

Don’t disturb the silence.

Listen to its message of hope.

Listen to its message of peace.

Silence is of yesterday and tomorrow.

Silence speaks through eons of time.

Silence is a golden moment of creation.

No angry noise!

No petulant screams.

No violent outbursts.

No anger, no hate.

Silence.

Golden.

Whispers from the past.

Wishes from the future.

Great moments of Silence.

Can we hear the Silence of our hearts?

The whispers of our souls?

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 24, 2018

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Desperate Days of Winter

Desperate Days of Winter

The soul of man must feel the season of death, those December days and nights when the body’s joints stiffen and the morning strides become shorter from bedroom to bathroom, when the hot-faucet’s cold water takes so long to warm – and even the ‘recirculation system’ seems reluctant to work as advertised.

Aside from the lack of body comfort, the December months can easily take mind-trips to the gray fringes of thought, can speak of death and dying, can take an old man down a snowy memory lane to a younger day when December was still cold but also a time to rejoice, to feel the warmth of friendship, love, of gift-giving to those in need, of magical gladness and good will, of a little Baby lying in a small barn-stall in Bethlehem while Wise Men made their way to his manger to rejoice in His birth, and the stars marked their way.

An old man can think of the days that were but are not so much anymore, a day when it was not just okay but natural to say, ‘Merry Christmas’, a day when it was okay for mistletoe and kissing, a day when politics took a holiday as well as the people, a day when it was not so grim and ugly to be a democrat or a republican.

An old man can think of so many things in his desperate December because the world has gone on without him, to sing new songs to new generations with a panoply of new appetites and feelings, with actions and words alien to his golden years, with surprising new wishes for the world he will be leaving behind. The old man is mired there in that remote and desperate December, still with a modicum of hope that his family and its generations to follow will have a world that offers democracy, freedom, and the liberty to fulfill their wildest dreams.

The old man can still dream, still write his stories and, while he can have times of desperation in December, there is always a January and a new beginning.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 10, 2018

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