How to Begin

Previously I blogged about being a contributing writer for JenX67’s blog Are You There God, It’s Me Generation X.  Now that May is almost upon us (and thank God, too, because April really was the cruelest month this year for me) I’m starting to ponder the possibilities for my first post.

In the forefront of my mind is a post about being a single dad and all that entails. Contributing bloggers for JenX67’s site begin submitting in early June so I’ll have May to gather material.

But I’ve also considered that I might be able to get something out of living with my parents (I’m a three-time boomerang child) now, like how the TV almost never gets a rest. I thought I watched a lot of TV. And it’s so LOUD — WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO LOUD?

Of course, there’s always my angst over money, and conducting a job search an the crappiest job market that I’ve ever known. Plus how my age, 42, factors into the equations. Not to mention that my technology skills have deteriorated in the past half-of-a-decade. And the skills that I do have may not translate well into the industries I’m looking to get into — advertising, marketing, publishing. I probably won’t be able to be very picky. The only thing I know I can’t do is sales. I’d suck at that.

In any case, I’ve got some things to think about and consider.

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Stuck in the land of If Only

If Only is a place you do not want to break down in, because it’s real easy to get stuck there, lost in a maze of regrets and woulda shoulda coulda blah blah blah.

If only I’d done that. If only I’d done this. If only this had happened. If only that had happened. If only this or that hadn’t happened, or I hadn’t done this or that. It’ll drive you batty. And who needs that, right?

I’ve spent some time wandering around in the land of If Only. It’s kind of cross between the land of the Lord of the Rings and that hedge-maze in The Shining. Yeah. Frightening. I know. And complete waste of time.

So when you see the road sign for If Only up ahead, hit the gas and speed on through. Because even Rambo could get lost there.

My e-coming out

Check it out. JenX67 has posted my impending coming out as a contributing blogger on her site ,beginning in June. I got’s a bio and magnatar (whatever the hell that is) and everything.

I was hesitant about taking this on at first, but I finally talked myself into it. It took some coaxing though, let me tell you. Had to hold myself at squirt-gun-full-of-Frank’s-hot-sauce in the bathroom mirror for the better part of an hour to finally come around.

I’ll be concentrating on writing about being a divorced GenX dad since I’ll be getting plenty of first-hand material on that subject. But also about co-parenting with Colleen. And how we got about reforming our family in the wake of our divorce. Plus, I’m sure the fact that I’m boomeranging back to my  parents place for the third time is likely to provide some fodder, hopefully humorous and not too pathetic.

Anyway… here’s hoping I don’t screw up royally or make a complete fool of myself. Woo hoo!

even harder than I thought

My first weekend out of the house was even harder than I thought. But I don’t know what I expected. What could I expect? This is all brand new to me. I’ve never done this before, which begs the question: do I ever want to do this again?

Ask me now and the answer is a resounding: Hell no!

Which begs another question: Do I even want to consider another serious relationship…ever?

I had my doubts about marriage before now, and after this, well, let’s just say it hasn’t really improved my opinion much.

Probably too early to be even thinking about that sort of thing anyway. I’m not just going to run out and meet someone just to meet someone, just so “I won’t be alone.” blah blah blah. That seems  ill-advised, if you ask me.

And I know what you’re thinking: I didn’t ask you. Too bad. You’re getting my opinion anyway. This is, after all, my freaking blog, buddy!

Who am I talking to anyway?

I don’t know

Quiet, you!

Bffffft!

Anyhoo… the beginning of the week hasn’t been much better than the weekend. And what really troubles me is that I find no solace in things that had, in the past, always brought me comfort, things I could escape in, like reading books and watching movies. I’ve already blogged about not being able to stand music very much these days. Ack!

Thing is I don’t really have the luxury of NOT being okay. I’ve got my daughter this weekend. I can’t take care of her if I’m wrapped up in my own miserable self-pity — wah wah wah! Not to  mention self-loathing.

change is good, open windows, and other cliches.

I know that when people say these things they are only trying to be helpful, and I appreciate it. However….

When I hear “Change is good,” I can’t help thinking of that line from You’ve Got Mail:

People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened. … the truth is… I’m heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died … and no one can ever make it right.

That’s how I feel. Granted, I chopped that quote up, but I don’t own a charming book store and my mother hasn’t died, so it only seemed appropriate.

And then there is the ever popular, God doesn’t close a door without opening a window, which, I got tell you, sounds a little macbre. I mean, what does God want me to do? Jump out the window?

Still, I suppose that cliches have their function. People want and need to provide comfort and when you don’t know what to say, when you know that nothing you say can really fix what’s been broken, a cliche gives you something to say, some way to say I’m sorry that you’re hurting and hope that you will soon be better. I care. And that is a good thing.

Perhaps one of the best things that anyone has said to me came from my cousin, who urged me to “Don’t let anyone tell you what you need. If you want to stay in bed with the covers over your head for a couple of days or gorge on ice cream then do that.”


Well, that’s that then…

… I guess.

So why do I feel as if there should be more, I don’t know, not fanfare, that’s not the right word, but more…something to mark this dismal occasion.

For one thing , it’s too bright and sunny outside to reflect my bleak  mood. My misery. Where is the rain? And the gray overcast sky? The chilly ill wind? Eh, who am I kidding, I know better — the world does not adjust itself to your moods. If it mirrors it it is simply a coincidence.

Worst day ever!

Today marks the last day (and night) that I will spend in the house I have called home for about 7 years now. You know, when I say it it doesn’t seem like all that long. But really home is more about the people you live with than the place you live in. And in that case the home I’m leaving I’ve known for more than a decade. Now, that does seem like a long time. It does to me anyway.

Anyhoo… from now on I will only be a visitor there, although I’m sure it will still feel like home in some way, at least for a time. In a way, I’ll be glad when it is finally sold and I’ll never have to return to it, but that’s not going to happen for some time.

Tomorrow (Friday, April 23, 2010) after I pick up my daughter, get her home (her home, not mine), feed her dinner and make sure she’s completed her homework, I will, after Colleen home (her home, not mine) arrives from work, leave and go to my parents condo, where I’ve installed myself in the spare bedroom. And I suspect that will not feel very much like home. How could it? At least not at first.

This fact hangs over my head like some immense entity in the sky just waiting to fall and crush me, and I cannot escape it.

Perhaps it is too much to call today the “worst day ever!” even if it does feel that way. It’s probably more accurate to call it the “worst day ever…so far!” After all, considering circumstances there are likely to be even worse days in my future.

I’m sure that sounds pretty pessimistic, but really can you blame me? Besides I don’t think it’s so much pessimistic as it is realistic. I have a hard time believing that it is all up hill from here, that there aren’t sadder days ahead. But what do I know.

I’ve been attempting to prepare myself for this inevitable departure, in small ways. For example, instead of calling it “home” I try to say “the house.” As in, “I’ll see you at the house later.” And on my cell phone I’ve changed the land-line number designation from “Home” to “Derby house.” But I don’t know that that really helps much.

I don’t know that anything can really help. It is simply something to be done and endured. What else can you do?

GenX Divorce Fiction

Usually when y0u think about GenX fiction you think about flannel-wearing hipsters working in coffee shops and other young adults slackers stuck in McJobs of all sorts who sit around waxing cynical and showing off their encyclopedic knowledge of movies, music, TV and other forms of pop culture. Not  so for for Jonathan Tropper’s novel This is Where I Leave You.

This novel is about a 40-something Judd Foxman whose marriage is on the rocks after his wife has an affair with his boss and friend. Oh yeah, and his father has just died and wants the entire dysfunctional Foxman clan to sit shiva.

I was initially drawn to this  novel because first I enjoyed a previous Tropper novel, The Book of Joe, and second because the subject matter seemed germane to my own life. I’m 42 and getting divorced, but not because of a cheating wife, and I’m not Jewish. But still, I was right, even more than I could have imagined. It’s rare that a novel’s subject and themes strike so close to home, but this one did. I’ve been plowing through it all last week and this weekend.

But I was also delighted by the generous use of pop culture references, like the death of Kurt Cobain. There’s even a character that is known for his ability to recall at will scenes from movies and song lyrics. That’s the Generation X part. Suffering through their own divorces is the newert facet of GenX fiction and rightly so — as a generation we’re growing up. I can certainly vouch for that.

I never was able to write my GenX slacker 20-something novel or my GenX 30s boom and bust office drama. Maybe I can do the GenX 40-something divorce saga, with just the right amount of humor and insight. And don’t forget the pop culture references, plenty of pop culture references, because it just wouldn’t be GenX fiction without them. Okay, that’s not a mandatory criteria but it’s one of the major ones.

Back to school: the sequel

What does it mean when your when your life feels like an ill-advised sequel to an 80s movie? It can’t be good.

So I guess that it makes sense that it is a cold gray morning as I am about to head out to the campus of Eastern Michigan University, where I did my undergrad back in the lat 80s/early 90s. I’m going to look into a graduate certificate program in Technical Writing. If I lose my job I can go back to school with money from the Michigan Works program. At least, I think that I can. They don’t just hand out money to anyone. In any case, I figure it’s a good idea to explore all my possible options.

But as is probably obvious I’m feeling conflicted about going back to school. I mean, I already tried once this year when I took a class at Macomb Community College, and I ended up dropping that class. What makes me think this will be any different? And it’ll be even more money down the drain if I bail this time.

I have to do something, though. I can’t just do nothing, can I? I know: even not choosing is a choice. But that always struck me as a cop out. And besides I’ve done my share of not choosing in  my life. The biggest problem with not choosing is that if you don’t choose your life someone else will choose it for you. And then where will you be?

I suppose in a way it is easier to let someone else choose your life, to let someone else make all the decisions and just follow along, but it fails to provide a certain satisfaction. Plus, if the day ever comes that you want to choose something it’ll be a struggle, perhaps even a battle.  I think it makes people uncomfortable when someone they know as a non-chooser suddenly wants to choose. They fight against it. But that’s just this bloggers opinion [insert sound effect of two pennies hitting a table top].