What kind of day did you have?

I don’t really know what this is all about. I was playing an old (and virtually unknown) song called ‘Essay in Paranoia’ which goes like this…..

“What kind of day did you have?

What kind of day did you have?

Was it as bad as the papers said?

Was someone really killed?

‘Cause that’s how they read.”

And then, for whatever reason, I started thinking about a man who might have had not only his financial wealth but also his sense of self-worth invested entirely in the stock market. He returns home one night, to his trophy wife, after a long and disastrous day when everything has come crashing down hoping that she might love him still – in poverty as she has in wealth. But knowing that she won’t.

This is what came out…….

They told me all about it

Before you went to sleep

The stars were falling from the sky

As you were counting sheep

A market fall. A margin call

When we were in too deep

Money falling everywhere

But none for us to keep.

In its own way, a special day

A day long overdue

And I suppose I’ve had of those

Some better days, it’s true

But it’s ok. We got away

Our love will see us through

So tell me how you feel today

How was the day for you?

Imposter Syndrome

I read something from someone somewhere here the other day about ‘Imposter Syndrome’. “It’s a terrible thing,” this person said, “but we know that we all have it.” And I thought about that statement for a while and found that I had to disagree with it. Because we don’t know that we have it. We just hope that we do.

Because the primary symptom of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is not knowing if you have it or not, but suspecting pretty strongly that you don’t.

And then I imagined a conversation with a psychologist on the subject.

This is the conversation ….

She sat across from me looking over the top of her glasses with a fountain pen poised theatrically above her notebook. The first thing I had noticed about her office were the books. I wondered if she had read them all. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of them concerning sex. Sexual abuse. Sexual disfunction. Sexual disorientation. Sexual reassignment. Why were psychologists always so obsessed with sex? Didn’t they care about all the other traps that God had set just to fuck you up?

And then she was trying to deny that she was even a psychologist at all.

“Don’t think of me as a psychologist,” she said, “just think of me as someone to talk to.”

“My grandmother is ‘just someone I can talk to’”, I replied, “but not at $150 an hour.”

“But you can tell me things that you can’t tell her.”

“You obviously don’t know my grandmother.”

But I knew were she was going. She wanted to talk about sex. “I don’t want to talk about sex,” I blurted out.

“That’s fine,” she said. And then we just sat there and looked at each other. She wrote something down in her notebook. What could there possibly be to write down already? I hadn’t even said anything. Except one offhand comment about sex. I felt like I was attending a job interview and somebody else already had the job. She was just waiting for me to slip up and reveal myself as totally unsuitable.

Eventually she broke the silence. “You’re a writer,” she told me.

“Yes. Well … maybe. I don’t know. That’s the whole thing.”

“And you think you suffer from imposter syndrome?”

“Yes. Yes. I’m almost sure of it. I sent you a chapter of my novel. Did you read it?”

“I did,” she replied and jotted down something else about me in her notebook. It was becoming annoying.

“And what did you think?”

She smiled at me in a manner which I interpreted as being condescending and let out a sigh. “I’m not a literary critic, Mr Richmond,” she advised me, “I’m a psychologist.”

“Yes. But you’re a person. A reader. And you’re ‘someone I can talk to’. So tell me,” I begged her, “what did you think?”

“Today, I’m afraid that I can only answer as a psychologist.” She wrote something else down. It was infuriating. I’m not sure that she was even listening. Perhaps she was compiling a grocery list.

“All right then,” I conceded in the end, “Have it your own way. As a psychologist, what did you think of my novel?”

“As a psychologist?” she asked, as if it had been my idea all along. “as a psychologist ….. I don’t think you are suffering from imposter syndrome.”

The Border

I am (due, I suppose, to my fetish for emotional masochism) about to enter yet another NYC Midnight Challenge . History will record that I am yet, despite numerous valiant attempts, to progress beyond the first round. Any thought that 2019 will produce a different result would be, clearly, delusional. And the fact is that I am feeling, right at the moment, even less inspired than usual. There is some comfort to be taken, however, in the knowledge that I cannot do any worse.

I will keep you informed.

Anyway, I was looking through previous entries trying to see where I might have gone wrong (the bit residing between the title and the words ‘The End’ seems to be my stumbling block) and I came across an entry to another competition that I suspect was so poor that I didn’t even bother entering it. All I can tell you is that it was a maximum of 500 words and was about ‘a border’.

I post it here, therefore, just to give it a brief moment in the shade and to at least post something, which is more than I have managed for a while.

*************

THE BORDER.

I stopped the car, as had become habit, on a turnout which lies almost exactly halfway between Las Vegas and Flagstaff. The highway has gradually risen to a minor summit at this point and, on a clear night, the distant glow of civilisation can be seen in either direction. It is a place, good as any, to consider one’s meaningless relationship with the cosmos.

The first hints of a new day were painting a faint line on the horizon but above me our galaxy still shone brightly. I lit a cigarette and looked up at the stars as I exhaled the first of the smoke. It can be deceptive to observe the universe as it races away from you and imagine that you are staring into the future when, in fact, you are waving goodbye to the past. I wondered, on this occasion , if the past may be pointing accusingly back.

Over the last two years I had broken each journey here. Just to breath the air. And to contemplate great truths whilst simultaneously concocting minor falsehoods. This was the border. Where I had drawn a line between one life and another.

***

The miles that separated her and I had meant nothing in the beginning, for during those early days of passion we would, if need be, have conducted the affair from the opposite poles of the planet. But the nature of time is to push everything apart and eventually the long highway came to represent more than just an obstacle of geography. Eventually the truth found its way across the border and the two sides of reality conspired against us.

We told lies. Both of us. To hold us together. That is how love works. Because nobody wants to hear the truth – not all of it. My lies had been more grandiose than hers, I suppose. I was relieved now, at least, that I need lie to her no more.

In the end there were just too many questions. Questions that became increasingly difficult to evade, more carefully phrased – more deliberately designed. The meticulously manufactured barriers I had erected here at the border began to topple. The truth found its path along the highway. And the truth was in no mood to set us free.

But we could not both live with the lie, she said.

And I knew that she was right.

***

I have been down this road before, so to speak, and, as unpleasant in the short term as it may be, nothing lasts forever. Time does not come to a standstill. The universe continues its journey from nothingness to nowhere. I choose to stay aboard for the ride.

So, as I stood there before another melancholy sunrise I knew that it was time to move on.

I had only a few hours to return to Las Vegas before my absence would be noticed. And I had yet to dispose of her body which lay cold and emotionless in the trunk.

Sharing

OK. I admit it. I don’t really know what the 7 reasons are. Although I would have to say, instinctively, that the idea has merit. I just put the photo there to get your attention.

Pathetic, really.

Because this is an attempt to post on a more than semi-regular basis. And is an attempt, I suppose, to share. But it is not a very good one because, once again I have lifted a passing comment that I made to someone else’s post and have dressed it up as an actual post of my own.

I was touched by Stoner’s description of sharing her bed with a sibling and it seemed to me that there is something very intimate and trusting about the idea. We are, as I suggested to her, never more open and vulnerable than when we are asleep.

That my own thoughts drift into a slightly more carnal direction is certainly not intended to detract from the sweet innocence of her own.

Though lonely nights

I’ve known a few

I shared last night

with someone new

We shared the pillow

shared our breath

We shared the moment.

Little death.

We lay together

side by side

We share what we

no longer hide

Just ticking the box…

I don’t post a lot of stuff.

You may have noticed (or not noticed – it’s the same thing really).

I am a voyeur. I look at other people’s posts – normally with a mixture of admiration and envy. Every now and again I will add a comment … something trite … with origins in the low moral ground that I inhabit. These comments are not well thought out – they are instant reactions. They often, I suspect, miss the mark.

I probably send people to sleep.

Every now and then, though, something pops out that, I think, sort of works.

I read an haiku from Cyranny this morning and I replied with two that lived together. I thought it sort of worked.

And so I repeat it here. Just so I can say that I posted something. Just to tick the box.

May your dreams escape
The captivity of sleep
To dance in the light

May your memories
Return at dusk to follow
You into the night

Sleep well, everybody.

Even one dollar can help a child in need.

The Onion

LONDON—Noting that making a difference would cost less than a single cup of coffee, the Against Malaria Foundation released an advertising campaign Friday stressing that even one dollar could help a needy child, but you’d have to be a complete fucking dick to give that little. “For just one dollar out of your paycheck, you could help make sure no child has to experience this horrible disease, although what kind of a callous prick would you be to send us one measly buck?” said the commercial’s voiceover, explaining that any contribution was appreciated in this season of giving, but, that you would need to be a real heartless fuck of a Scrooge to look at how fortunate you are this Christmas and how little these children have and decide one-hundred pennies was the most you could possibly spare. “Every cent counts, of course. Then again—Seriously, a dollar? A single fucking dollar? You’re a despicable son of a bitch. What kind of goddamn monster would think that was sufficient?” The advertisement also stressed that for just $3,742 you could help these disadvantaged children and still look yourself in the mirror the next day.