I promised a (new) friend

I don’t write much these days, which is no revelation, but I promised a friend that I would start again, a little every day.

She’s actually a new friend. I met her online. That’s right on an online dating site and we are actually friends.

Question: Does this conflict with my rule that I do not write about any woman I have dated until I’m certain there is no longer a chance of any romantic involvement?

We are just friends after all. Yes, we did meet via an online dating site. And yes, we did go out a couple of times, but neither time was what one would classify as a date. When I suggested a real date is when she – we’ll call her Casey – told me that there was another guy that she’d met only just before meeting me and that while I was interesting and attractive to her and definitely someone she would consider dating she felt compelled to pursue this other relationship. But, she did enjoy meeting me and talking with me and hoped that we could possibly pursue a friendship.

Yeah, right. Sure. Whatever. That’s what I thought at the time. This sort of thing has happened before. It’s a standard brush off, because people don’t mean it when they say they want to try to be friends. That is what I have experienced, and as such I usually just move on. But that was not the case this time. It took some time to figure it out but Casey was/is genuine. And we are now friends. And I’m quite pleased with the friendship – it strikes me to have potential to be one of the more significant relationships in my life, at least for now but I sense there is a future there as well, whatever that might be.

But here is the rub —  no not that kind of rub; get your mind out of the freaking gutter – the guy she “brushed me off” for is now out of the picture, or so it would seem. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he’s currently exiting the picture, but not quite gone. So what does this mean?

Question a la When Harry Met Sally: Can a man and woman really be friends?

I don’t know. I don’t know that anyone knows. I’m not even so sure that it really matters.

I find that I have adjusted my perspective when it comes to “meeting people” now. In this way; before I had expectations, too many – I’d find myself futurizing (is that even a word?) about a relationship before it even had a chance to really begin. And that was always bad. Or it turned out badly in any case. So now, I try – as much as is possible – to simply be open to experiencing a relationship with a new person, and simply letting it be whatever it is going to be – friendship, romantic, etc. At least this way you can be sure that whatever it turns into it is genuine, or as close to it as possible, rather than something that one or the other or both people orchestrated, which seems so… phony, and ultimately sad.

Anyhoo…I promised Casey I would write. And there, I did.

Random thought that could get me kicked in the balls, should I be identified on the street.

Women (perhaps men do this too, I don’t know, since I’ve only dated women, you tell me) do NOT fall in love with men (or another woman). They fall in love with the desire of their own heart and then go about seeking out a man (or woman) to fulfill that desire. If (when) other that they select, and manage to ensnare, ceases to fulfill this desire or their desire changes then the woman moves on, seeking out a new vassal in which to satisfy their need(s).

Discuss.

The boomerang rang rang rang et al

I haven’t posted in awhile. Not for lack of subject matter, mind you. Just that when you work 12-15 hours a day  6 to 7 days a week it’s a tad difficult to muster the energy. I’m lucky if I can read two paragraphs of a book at night before crashing. Ugh.

But this evening I find myself with a bit of time and thought why not bestow upon my eagerly wanting public some of my beatific words of wisdom. Hey. It’s the least I can do.

But what to write? What to write?

I suppose I could write about The Boomerang. She’s the woman I met on eHarmony who, after adamantly insisting that we were not a good match kept getting back in touch with me. I believe I dubbed her Lydia. In any case, I’d thought she was gone for good. And then on day while slacking on the couch and randomly texting every poor schmuck who was naive enough to make me privy to their phone number, I get a text:

“Hi. How have you been?” It read.

“I’m fine,” I responded. “Who this?”

It was Lydia and apparently she’d had a dream about me so of course had to get in touch. At this point the wise thing to do would have been to simply tell her to buzz off, but as is probably apparently, I’m not always the wisest of men. Reference: my marriage to a narcissistic, self-serving sociopath — even great sex (which it so was not, I’ve since come to realize) is an excuse for a knucklehead move like that. But I digress or regress or something like that.

We began chatting again, for a time. But after making the mistake — YET AGAIN — of expressing what a pain in the ass my ex -wife can be, The Boomerang, pointed out to me that my ex-wife was kind of a difficult person. “You think?” I said. The problem, The Boomerang pointed out, was that my pain in the ass ex-wife would become, in part, her problem. And in the end, she just didn’t want that hassle. To which I replied, “Cool beans. Bye. And do not contact me again.”

“I will,” she texted. “You do the same.”

I refrained from sending the “Fuck off!” text, which I think I will always regret. But what are you gonna do, right? Live and learn.

And what precisely have I lived to learn? Well, that in some ways, having an ex-wife is worse than having a wife. Strangely enough, when I was married, I had had way more opportunities with other woman than I seem to be having now. Apparently, there is a breed of woman who are more than willing to have an affair with a married man (my ex-wife for example), but if you have an ex-wife it somehow changes things. You can’t talk too badly about the ex or that bothers them. In their mind, it means you’re not over them. And you can’t speak too warmly about your ex either, because again this means you’re not over her. And then there are the woman who just can’t seem to tolerate an ex-wife existence at all.

It’s like a curse really. And I can’t help wondering if this is instinctually what keeps (some) men from wanting to get married in the first place. Because despite a wife being an ex-wife, she’s still a wife of some sort and that is like an dating albatross around a guy’s neck that can never be lifted.

Well…that was far more bellyaching that I’d planned on, but what the hey. It’s a blog, right. A place to let the proverbial shit fly. And I am a rhetorical monkey eager to fling his prose poo! Bazinga!

Up with People on her way to Toledo

Though  it’s been awhile since I last posted it’s not for lack of material. I’ve simply been too busy. With work. And a Memorial Day weekend vacation. And if you think being married and raising a kid takes up time try being divorced and doing it — seems to be even more time-consuming, not to mention stressful. Anyhoo…

The night before I headed down to West Virginia for Memorial Day weekend to visit relatives, I spoke with a woman that I met on eHarmony…or was it OkCupid. I can’t recall now. I do remember that she contacted me and things progressed rather quickly, communication-wise. Long story short — next thing I knew I was talking on the phone with this chick, Vivian we’ll call her (although why I’m bothering with an alias I have not a fucking clue; zero chance we’ll talk again much less anything developing, and I don’t know her last name, but still….), while she was packing up to head to Toledo for the weekend, a bit of coincidence since I was heading in that direction, though ultimately father south.

It wasn’t my idea. She texted me, saying something akin to “Wanna call and keep me company on my drive to Toledo?” How could I resist, right? Why I didn’t it still a mystery to me. I’d been working long days and had planned to wake up early for my 7-8 hour drive to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. But I did….

And almost immediately I knew it was a mistake. I knew this woman I and did not click, were not going to click, were simply not click-able. Why? Well, I’m sure the reasons are varied and complex, but to simplify things — she was just freakin’ annoying.

Now, don’t get wrong. I can appreciate someone with a positive attitude about life, especially in face of adversity. It’s impressive….to a point. And then it just becomes and obvious facade, an act, and you got to wonder who it’s for exactly. Them or the rest of the world. Who knows? Who cares?

But hey, people should be allowed to adopt whatever phony persona they like, right.

What was more annoying than that was the patronizing pity because. To wit: “I’m sorry you’re unhappy.”

To which I retorted: “I’m not unhappy.”

Confused silence. Followed by: “Um…okay…if you say so.”

“I did.”

“Did what?”

“Say so.”

More silence.Then Vivian transitioned into the positive lessons she’d learned from her failed marriage and ugly divorce. She didn’t say what she learned exactly. And being curious/skeptical by nature, I asked. “What did you learn?”

Her response was an awkward mash-up of cliches and platitudes and half-vague sentiments that amounted to little in my opinion. But who knows what passes for wisdom for some people. She then asked me what I’d learned.

After considering for a moment, I said, “Well, I learned that people are essentially selfish and self-serving. And they will do most anything to get what they want/need. Others be damned.”

Again I got the patronizing pity. “I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

“Well, because….that sucks.”

How astute, I thought, but did not say so.

From there she proved my assertion that people are selfish even after disagreeing with it by dominating the conversation, barely allowing me to get a word in edgewise. She yammered on about:

  • The books she was going to write, entitled something like The Horror and the Humor, about her marriage and divorce and ex blah blah blah. I wanted to tell her that it sounded terrifyingly bad, but I was in a charitable mood, as much as I am capable of such a thing.
  • How her step-sons loved her and loathed their mother. Apparently, they pleaded with her to move back to Michigan to be near them blah blah blah. I didn’t have the heart to refute this delusion, even if I had she wouldn’t shut up long enough to allow it. Despite what any step-kids says to their step-parent they will never stop pining for their shitty parents’ love and acceptance. Trust me. I’ve seen this twisted pathology play itself out first hand.
  • Her job — I forget what she did.
  • Her family — drawing a blank on the details here a well.

Truth is after awhile it just became noise, and I tuned it out. I was tired and just wanted to get to bed so I could get up and get in my car and drive to West Virginia in the morning.

Driving long distances is therapeutic. For me anyway.

Summer of the Zombie Novel

My daughter has been working on a zombie novel. She is very excited about it. It’s a about a kid named TJ and begins with him day-dreaming in school about this girl, Debbie, that he kind of likes. After that the structure gets a bit fuzzy, but still it sounds cool.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that maybe it is time I started work on my own zombie novel. I’ve been kicking one around in my head for awhile now.

Here is the opening:

For the past thirty-seven hours I have been trapped in my ex-wife’s attic. And I can still  hear them down there. By them I don’t mean my ex-wife, Carolyn, or her new husband, Roger, or my daughter, Melanie.

No. I mean the zombies. That’s right — zombies, undead, walkers,  biters, ghouls, legends of the undead. Whatever the fuck you want to call them. They are down there.

It happened. The dead came back to life. I don’t how it happened or why. I just know that it did. And I don’t know where my daughter is. I need to find her and make sure that she’s safe.

What do you think? Does it grab you?

I thought this could be a project for the summer, for my daughter and I — we could work on our stories together.

Emotional Vibrator

Emotional vibrator is a phrase I used in my last post in regards to Gigi, the most recent lady of the online night to take her leave of me. And really, who can blame her, right?

I thought it quite clever myself, although I’m not sure I coined the phrase. In any case, it seemed to me what Gigi wanted me to be for her, an emotional affirmation machine to help soothe her through her most recent break-up blah blah blah. But of course I was unwilling to do that because it seemed a one-sided and ultimately losing proposition for me. I don’t expect a sure thing – although I did like that 80s movie with John Cusack;

but let’s face it I dig any movie with John Cusack in it (and a chick like Nicollette Sheriedan), man I can’t wait to see the new movie with him about Edgar Allen Poe….wait, what was I talking about.

Oh yeah, vibrators, of the emotional variety.

Of course, this is not just a woman thing. Men do it too (though in a slightly different way I suppose), they seek out women to soothe them emotionally, and when they are done being soothed, they clean up, dispose of their emotional self-healing toy and move on.

I’ve been called out for doing something like this, being told – no, not just told but literally chastised: “I can’t fix you!” All for expressing the fact that I was feeling sad and missed my family. I didn’t expect this particular woman to fix me. In fact, the very notion was laughable; she was so fucked up herself.

That’s part of why my date the other night was so cool. I could actually talk about my ex – good and bad – and was not punished for it – some women will come right  out and tell you they are not interested in hearing about it, others will simply glaze over and check out, others will get an irritated look on their face, still others will pretend to listen and simply disappear later. But that was not the case. My date spoke of her ex, in both good and bad terms. And really that should be allowed, up to a point. And I think because I was allowed to express a few things it was easy to simply shut up about it…more or less.

But that is not where I was planning on going with this. No. My intention was to bring up the phrase Emotional Vibrator (you know, even though  I may not have coined it, I wonder if I could still copyright it? Is that possible?) because it gave me an idea for an App.

The App would of course be called: Emotional Vibrator. Or perhaps even better  Your Emotional Vibrator. And it would work like Siri on the iPhone 4. You could lament and complain and bitch and piss and moan and whine an gripe to it all you wanted and all it would ever do is offer you positive affirmation and support, agree with you, soothe you. And it would never get tired of your pathetic bullshit like everyone has.

There could even be a PlusVersion of it that has an actual vibrator attachment that you can…..

Let’s just be friends

Yeah. I actually got that speech yesterday. I wasn’t even aware that people still tried to parlay that garbage but apparently they do.

It wasn’t even a speech. It was a text. But then….

Well, let me back up a bit and give some context.

I met this woman online. Let’s call her Gigi. I met her on eHarmony. During the three-day window that she was actually on the site. She’d signed up but decided within three days to cancel her account thus allowing her to get a refund in full, unlike myself who signed up for a full year some months back and am on the hook for that entire amount….but that’s not my gripe today, so let’s just take that little tirade and put it in a pocket for later, shall we.

Suffice to say Gigi and I met and we seemed to hit it off, via email and chat and text anyway. Of course as we all know the real test is the face-to-face meet, which we did and which went quite well I think. It’s a good sign when you end up making out for an  hour in the backseat of her car in the parking lot later, right? Well, I took it as a good sign. Gigi is a great kisser, and perhaps that, along with what seemed like an incredibly strong connection, was the problem.

We moved too fast. I won’t go into the gory details, as much as I’d like to, since Gigi has stated that she is an incredibly private person; I’d probably catch hell for divulging this much online, but meh. It’s my life. In any case, it caused complications and things got downshifted pretty quickly. As a result we moved into this place where we were texting and sometimes talking on the phone but the situation was tortured. Suddenly both of us were unsure, had doubts. It seemed like it could be really good but there were thing…things…things….suddenly there, popping up like Tribbles in that Start Trek episode. Boink! Bonk! Plop!

Finally, we decided we needed to take a break to reflect, a week we decided. Well, Gigi did not even need a week. And Oingo Boingo yesterday I got the text message. And of course, she hoped their would be no ill feelings. Well,  hope in one hand shit in the other, see which one fills up first. Of course, there are going to be ill feelings. I feel bad. I feel sad and disappointed. But I’ll get over it. Trust me.

Mostly though, now, I feel annoyed. At the the whole “I think we are better off as friends.” Not “I’d like to be friends if you’d like that” Or “I hope we can still be friends.” No, I think it is significant that Gigi stated it as an assumption and not a request because to be honest I think this is what she’d been angling for for some time. Even though I told Gigi that I had not desire to be relegated to the Friend Zone. I don’t know how other people feel about this but I find residency in the Friend Zone to be humiliating and degrading. I’ve been there before and I have no desire to go back. Ever. Perhaps you’ll say this is just my wounded pride talking, my ego. Maybe so, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Frankly, I am of the opinion that people say let’s just be friends as a way to assuage their guilt or to cushion the blow of the bad feelings they feel when they break up with someone, because it is rarely the person being dumped who says this sort of thing. Or if they do it’s really just an attempt to hang out in some way, which is whole other kind of pathetic. And the problem is that it can create an unhealthy dynamic in which one person is always pining for the other. Trust me, I’ve seen this sort of thing first hand, watching my Ex do this to a male friend for years only to be supposedly totally surprised when the poor sot professed his undying love to her upon my exit from the marriage. Of course, she was the only one surprised — I saw it, her family saw it, friends saw it. Apparently everyone saw it. It must be nice to live in this kind of oblivion, thus allowing one to take advantage of all the perks that come with having someone smitten with you while all the while feeling no obligation to their feelings or well-being.

Anyhoo… my point is that I think that their is a segment of the population out their that seem to require such attention. Not only do they desire and like it, their egos seem to need it, even demand it. And frankly I have to say that I think this is a particular syndrome of very attractive women who are used to a lot of attention from men. They’ve had it their whole lives and they get to the point where they have to have it. And thus they manipulate circumstances, whether consciously or unconsciously, and use people to get what they want. They don’t see it or just won’t admit it, but it is what they are doing.

Bottom line: people are selfish and go about getting what they want by almost any means required. I’m not saying I’m better, I’m not saying I’m different. I’m not better, I’m not different. I’m not even saying it makes people bad for being this way. People are people — they do good things and bad things. What I am saying is that one need not put themselves in a position to be used for someone else’s purposes, which is all a long-winded way of saying, Bye Bye Gigi. Best of luck to you. I’m outie.

Did I mention I had a date last night. Didn’t go so well, but I have another possible date tonight. Bazinga!

Which came first, the batshit crazy woman or me? …and other scotch-induced reflections

A jumble of blog post ideas clanking around in my head tonight. Plus, been sipping the Johnny Walker Red again, so look out.

Where to begin…?

Well, first today it was pointed out to me by several people that I seem to have a penchant for attracting batshit crazy chicks. This was pointed out me by someone I’ve known for only 6 months, a woman I work with, as well as an old college friend whom I’ve known for years. And upon scotch-induced reflection I have to say they have a point. It was true in college. It was true before college. It was true after college. It was true in grad school. And after grad school. And now. Apparently.

The question one has to ask is, do I attract batshit crazy women or are batshit crazy women drawn to me? Or are they normal (and by normal I mean just regular crazy) until they mix it up with me and then go batshit crazy? Who knows? Maybe I am the catalyst? Maybe I am the final straw, the missing factor that really sends them over the edge? Or maybe I’m the one who is batshit crazy? Only the shadow knows. …Muh ha ha ha ha ha. Come on shadow, tell already…..you dick!

On the upside it seems to be raining women for me as of late. Sure, a date cancelled on me on Saturday (and thank God for that too, eh), but I managed to find another date that same night. And I met another woman online Sunday morning. We were going to hang Sunday but it never happened. We made plans to meet tonight but she had an accident, fell and hurt herself, and swore it wasn’t cold feet or her pulling a Peter Brady. I guess I believe her. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Cancelled dates are par for the course, I’m learning. Get over it. What are you gonna do? Fucking cry about it? Yeah that’ll work wonders for you.

Anyway, it didn’t phase me because I’d spent the day chatting online with another woman that I’d met on eHarmony, which suddenly is producing for me. In addition, I had email messages from two other women. Although one lives in Ontario, Canada, which is of course within my 25 mile range, but I can’t help wondering how that would work — dating someone from another country? Granted it’s not China or Brazil but still. What would happen if it got serious? One of us would have to move to other’s country. And I’m not moving to Canada, sorry. Guess we’ll find out. I should update my passport in any case.

Then tonight I find myself chatting via OkCupid with three different women, one of whom got frustrated with the slow response time of the chat option and wanted to talk on the phone and handed out her number pretty readily, which I don’t think is a good idea, but she’d only been on the site for two days and may have been an online dating newbie entirely. We texted a few times and then she disappeared. So did one of the other women, which was cool by me because the woman I really wanted to chat with stuck around. Booyah! Sorry, though, no serious details. Dat’s da rules.

And now for something completely different.

Well, not really. It is still dating related. It’s about STDs. From a post by a very sexy, wild lady. Check it. Respect it. And condom up people.

Oh yeah. I know what else I wanted to jibber jabber about — ex talk. Everyone tells you never talk about your ex on a date. Never never never. It the subject comes up, give a short sweet answer and move on. I, of course, have a hard time doing this. It was an issue with the first woman I dated after my divorce. She gave me a pretty good talking to about it. But the way she did it kind of pissed me off and should have been a red flag. Hell it was a red flag, I just fucking ignored it. Look, I got no problem with a woman telling me that I talk too much about my ex but there are better ways to do it. Such as this: I don’t mean and disrespect but it seems to me that you still have some healing to do. Still, though, the message is, I don’t want to deal with your problems, which I’m sorry come with a person. Better get fucking used to it. You can’t expect that issues with my ex are never going to back up on me, especially  when your relationship was a clean break because you were never fucking married and only dated for three fucking years or you divorce didn’t involve kids. Life is messy, like a porno set after a full day of shoot (pun very fucking intended) sometimes, get used to it.

And anyway, the woman I chatted with online tonight told me she enjoyed chatting about this stuff. Of course, that could be a whole other kind of red flag. Who knows? We’ll, see. Because I intend to find out. She’s smokin’ hot, baby.

Thus endith tonight’s drunken blog post.

Don’t blog drunk, you say. Ha! I don’t need your rules. I’m a blogger. SPLAT!

Now what…?

I started this post last night but I was sipping Johnny Walker Red and things kind of spiraled out of control  weeeeeee…… So why don’t we try this again, shall we….

I realize that I have been derelict in my blogging duties, mildly disappointing at least 3 or even 4 semi-faithful readers on a random basis, but what can I tell you… I have a job dammit, that’s what.

I was going to blog about my new job, which is pretty interesting actually. I work with some cool people. Plus, we get free slushies and popcorn. Grape is my favorite. However, despite these fascinating facet I haven’t managed to muster the enthusiasm to post much about it. Perhaps it is just work after all.

But then this weekend I wondered if it might possibly be worthwhile to blog about my recent online dating experiences. No one has ever done that before, right. It’ll be gold, I tell you. Gold! Or at least Gabby Hayes big.

Anyhoo….

Of course, like most people who don’t have their head up their butt, I was familiar with the concept of online dating but also I suppose like many people I was reluctant to try it, never mind that I know of at least three people who met their current spouses online and are quite happy. Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that in the wake of my divorce I was still pretty raw and simply not ready to date at all. I needed time.

Flash forward: a little more than a year after my divorce was official. I didn’t even put that much though into it. I just happened to be kicking around online and I was feeling pretty good — I had a new job after being unemployed only two months, quit an accomplishment I thought in this economy and job market, especially here in Michigan, and since I’d moved back in with my parents in order to help them out (they are in their 80s) as well afford me the opportunity to save some money so that I might buy my own house one day (ex got that in the divorce), which is the best way for me to get back more equal time with my daughter — and I thought why not check it out.

So I did.

But there are so many sites to choose from.

eHarmony

Match.com

AdultFriendFinder.com – Yikes!

POF (Plenty of Fish)

Are you interesed (via facebook)

Which to choose?

It was quite a dilemma.

How did I resolve it?

Tune in next episode and find out.

Don’t you fucking hate cliffhangers?

Stay Awake: stories

I haven’t written anything in awhile.  I had planned to write about my new job, working in an office that is an interesting mix of Gen X and Millennials, with a few Boomers thrown for good (or not…) measure, but that hasn’t really happened, now has it.

Yesterday, though, on my way home from work, I had to stop at the bookstore — Barnes and Noble because there are no more Borders (B-o-o H-o-o) — to by a copy of “Stay Awake,” a new collection of short stories by Dan Chaon.

I have been waiting for this book to come out ever since I first learned of it’s existence, which was some time ago, although how long exactly I can’t quite recall. No matter. It is here.

I have been following Mr. Chaon since his very first collection of short stories, “Fitting Ends,” was published in 1995 by Triquarterly Books.

I  was still a graduated student in the MFA program at Western Michigan University, hoping to be a writer of short stories myself some day. I must have come across this book at John Rollins bookstore in Portage, MI, right up Westnedge from Kalamazoo, where WMU is located. That was a great independent bookstore. But I’m not sure it exists anymore. A google search does not turn it up. <sigh>

Anyhoo…. I recall being so taken by the stories in “Fitting Ends” that I wrote to the publisher in hopes of contacting the author, Mr. Chaon. This was before it was so easy to track someone down via the internet. To my surprise, the publisher passed on my letter to Dan and he eventually wrote to me. For a time we exchanged letters and emails, which was a fresh technology at the time. Eventually, though, the correspondences ended and life moved on.

I remember I was in the Borders on Woodward in Birmingham, I’m pretty sure, when, scanning the shelves for something to read, I came across Dan’s second collection of short stories, “Among the Missing.”

I remember sitting and reading it but ultimately not buying, perhaps because it was in hardcover and I was a new father and concerned about money and therefore didn’t feel right about dropping that kind of cash on a book (huh, if only my ex had felt the same sense of fiscal responsibility when it came to her hair or clothes). But later I did buy it in paperback.

A few years later, not long after I started my job at the Baldwin Public Library, one of the hot fiction books at the time was Dan Chaon’s first novel, “You Remind Me of Me.”

I spent my early lunch hours absorbed in this exceptional novel.

And of course I was super duper excited when, years later, still working at the library, I saw that Dan’s new novel, “Await You Reply,” was to be released. I counted down the days until the book was available. And immediately devoured it once it was. Of course, because I was the main copy cataloger at the library I was the first one to get my hot little hands on this novel. I had the first hold.

In fact, I believe I wrote a blog spot about it.  Ah, yes. Here it is. In it I identify Dan Chaon as a GenX write, a label he agreed with, you’ll see in his reply to my post. Of course, I was tickled that he’d managed to find my meager little post on my meager little blog.

I remember being exceptionally fascinated with the premise of this novel, at least in part because it was about characters who “just walk away” from their life. I made a comparison to the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank” because it deals with the same sort of thing with John Cusack’s character, who had walked away from his life abruptly one day. I can’t help wondering now if that interested me so much because at the time I secretly wanted to walk away from the life I was living — the oppressively soul-crushing marriage to a narcissist part NOT the being the father to the sweetest little girl in the world part.

Anyhoo…. this brings us back to Mr. Chaon’s new collection of short stories, “Stay Awake,” which, after reading the first two stories, I am sure is going to be exceptional from beginning to end, and which is going to be on of my favored collections for years to come, if not eternity. Well, my eternity anyway. I wonder. What will my daughter do with all my books when I am gone? Will she just donate them? Toss them? Keep perhaps a few? I should probably discuss this matter with her at some point. But probably I should concentrate on getting her through middle school and adolescence and all of that first, hug.

These stories, so far, are hard stories. Harsh. In fact, there almost seem like horror stories in a way. Very grim. Unsettling. But I love them for that very quality. Unlike the  reviewer on amazon who didn’t like the collection because people suffer in it, because it troubled him. This is an attitude, frankly, that I don’t get. What do people want? Short stories are not TV shows; they are not meant to make you feel good so that you’ll be in a receptive mood for whatever advertising comes between portions of the show. But…everyone is entitled to his/her opinion….for good or ill.

What really struck me about the first two stories in the collection  — The Bees and Patrick Lane, Flabbergasted — was how for each main character there is this confusion between what is really happening and what is just a trick of the mind or perhaps a dream or even something else, something unexplainable, and how these worlds, real and imagined and otherwise, mash and mix together. It’s the kind of thing that I like to experiment with in my own writing from time to time, particularly in a longer piece (novella length) that I have been working on.

Having said all that, perhaps far too much at this point, I am eager to get back to the book now.