A story within the story… my inner-most thoughts, convictions, and emotional senses. That is the essence of the words written within my journal. A journey into the previously unknown interior of my soul. It is the cataloging of my desperate search for peace, safety and comfort. The ravaging effects of great loss cast me into a story much deeper and significant than the outward circumstances that prompted my quest.
This is not a book written to establish a pattern for living, nor is it intended to be a roadmap for others to follow. It is my reflective and often dismal discovery, a questioning of all that I believe mattered. An adventure into the raw belief systems that drove me and not the principles I said I lived by. I describe the crossroads of clashing truths about myself and the elements that led me to seriously doubt my identity. An identity that served me during my younger “heroic days,” but could not walk with me into the depths of pain and suffering that eclipsed my gladiator mentality. I could not walk and carry an obesity of thoughts that filled a space that rendered my mind overweight and unfit to travel further.
If I were to describe this book as a song, it would be “the sound of a proud man breaking.” A song that portrays the slow death of my image, “a hero,” and the mysterious emerging of my soul. The raw materials for this musical composition have been paramount losses that led to a bitter wailing and exacerbation to my spirit. There is a range of musical notes from rage to divine revelation. A variety of instruments from the bass tones of dark introspection, violins of sad reminders, trumpet sounds of victory, guitar chords of fragrant memories and the drumroll of a death march. I would describe the music as a symphony of sorts. To some, it may make no sense and create a dissonant reaction. To other readers, it might bring resonation to their life’s music. Or, surprisingly, it might alert some to a long, arduous adventure they have been on and never realized it. Viewed as a musical composition, it can bypass logic and enter the more significant depths of ones’ soul. That might be the best description and intent for “the story within the story.”
These pages are also filled with the creative nature of photography, my own. These images have brought out an imaginative nature of my soul. As such, may also bring the reader into a new way of seeing the contrasting colors of ones’ own existence. Photographs are moments sitting still, much like my life has been been over the last year. In hundreds of a second a photo captures a slice of life. These writings are very much the same in the way they reveal an emotional story.
My life is not portrayed as simple or logical but rather whimsical, magical and paradoxical. There are sharply contrasting colors and images of the dismal with a backdrop of hopefulness. Hope, at times, makes up a small and subtle portion of my written language. Photographic images can capture what words fail to communicate and create an intimate exposure to ones own imagination that words alone may keep sterile. Often the dominant image that takes up the picture frame in my writing, depressive thoughts and discouragement, is reenergized by a picture. These emotional images are but a beginning to the shedding of my skin that was old and burdensome. Pictures can give capacity to “see” differently, I am grateful for this!
As poetry, I make no attempt to promote a need to be understood nor seen as a guide. The poetic expressions contained here are like moisture laden clouds that dropped their contents in random order and gave cause for me to retreat, take shelter and ruminate over the effects. In other words, my experiences and reflections of them have rhyme and reason in their own right and as such remain poetic. I’ve come to accept that my life is a poem that God writes about me. I am just beginning to see “me” from a viewpoint that takes in a far greater perspective than the minuscule one I had of myself or would have cared to represent it as.
My desire to express is the reason I transcribe on paper, for one person, myself. Please bear this in mind as you read. It is not my premise to educate nor make my story the object of attention. My single goal for sharing is that you, the reader, might discover a courage within yourself to attend to your own soul and the magnificence that it contains.
“No man is an island,” by John Donne. For as much as I would like to remain an isolated rock of invulnerability, my deeper longing is to be intimate. I have not succeeded in staying hidden and embracing intimacy at the same time. Even though the need for both exists and portray themselves readily. The longing for a visceral experience leads me to be vulnerable and open to possible intimacy with myself, to God and to another.
So I begin “When the lights go out,” as my preference to be intimate and share myself with you.