Thursday, January 27, 2011

The fortune cookie.

Always looking forward to growing up, I have never wished to be younger. Everyday that distances me from the fool I was makes it easier to deal with the fool I am. And, with a little humility, looking back starts to get easier. Forcing wisdom is like trying to read the fortune before you eat the cookie. So, while I sit here, rudely chewing with my mouth open, please consider the piece of paper in my hand. When it's over, when I have finally swallowed, and you no longer have to shudder at the bits of food stuck in my crooked teeth, please have faith. I am about to learn something special. Perhaps tomorrow I won't be so harsh. Maybe in the future I will have kind things to say. Someday, with a little luck, I could be someone like the man I hoped to be as a child. To the kid I was, thank you for hoping. To the man I'll become, I apologize for today. But, please be patient. I'm on my way. Kindest regards, NLC.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You wander, I roam.

I'm sure that you're covered in some slimy goo
They'll fill Hell up with snowballs before I find you
Nine times that you circle between darkness and light
On the great River Styx you float on through the night
Though I'd never give up even searching in vain
Maybe Axle or Slash took you off the Night Train
Search party full member I consider myself
Looked from city to pole like Buddy the Elf
There just isn't time or the words to relate
Just how I need you with me I can't wait
I'll carry ten rabbits feet for luck if you please
If you come home right now they're all yours
My dear keys.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monsters in the closet.

When I'm writing, there sometimes comes a dilemma that hinders my progress. When something awesome happens, when I find myself truly amazed, just how descriptive I should actually be gets a little murky. Too much and it gets cheesy, or worse, boring. Not enough and i will fail to properly tell the story I am trying so hard to convey. Tonight's story, however, can only be told one way, just like it happened.
Courtney and I stole a moment for ourselves on the deck while Sevyn ate dinner. She's been teething lately, so tonight when she showed genuine interest in her food we opened the door and disappeared so she could focus. Normally, while outside, we just stand there and zone out while watching the waves. But I happened to look behind us, over the hills, and had to ask Courtney very politely, "What the eff is that?" She looked too. On the top of the hill that separates Pacifica from San Francisco is a small forest. In that forest was the most brilliantly dazzling light. I thought it was a joke. I thought someone had recreated Clark Griswold's Christmas. The fog rolling over the tree tops glowed. Then it moved. Ever so slightly.
"It's moving," said Courtney.
"I don't know what's going on over there but I'm sure it's not moving," I replied.
"It's moving."
"You're crazy. It's... moving... What the hell is that?"
Neither of us would say so in person but I don't mind admitting it here, we were starting to get creeped out and undeniably a little scared. The lights got brighter. We were in shock. They were getting closer. Expletives were used. And then the most wonderful thing happened. Like the monster in the closet that threatens to end your life if you look away, then suddenly is a coat that you'd hung there in the afternoon. We had forgotten about the coat. Slowly, almost undetectably so, the fullest, most wonderfully bright moon ever beheld by any man rose out of the tree line. After that, the beauty and the awe are beyond my capabilities to capture.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seagulls and icecubes.

From our balcony I have a fine view of the Pacific Ocean. Somedays are more exciting than others and waves double-over-head are by no means unusual. Today rated somewhere in the middle weight class, between ankle biters and man killers.
Animals all seem to have a sixth sense about danger, be it man, machine or nature, and I've seen it proved time and again by the water fowl who so deftly fly along the surf, gliding up and down the beach. They cruise just inches from danger along the waves. This afternoon I had the pleasure of witnessing the anomoly.
A lone seagull, presumably shunned from his flock for being an insufferable show-off, was happily drifting up the coast when he finally got too close. I never saw him after he went under, a mid size wave to you and me is still like getting hit by a dump truck to a little seagull. The wave broke. The seagull screamed and was smothered in sea water. I laughed.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for karma to hit me with a wave of my own. My daughter is teething and I spent the evening handing her icecubes to avoid the tirades of a two year old cutting her first molars. I hope that covers it.

Life is better on Sesame Street.

I want to just excruciate
Like a pot of people stew
Be something so disgusting
That what I do is new.
I want a yacht in southern seas
Just loaded to the gills
With shackles and cuffs and other stuff
And treasure maps to fill.
But what about the cannibal?
No friends and so lonely
And pirates died out years ago
All hung from poor palm trees.
Maybe it's not for wondering
How strange can one man be
Frankenstein and Superman
Always seemed to have bad dreams.
So why do we want what's different?
What's great and fresh and cool
When everything for happiness
Is in our own backyards
Mine plays in a kiddy pool.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bath time and death threats.

There are around forty-thousand people that live in Pacifica, California. Which wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that I live in Pacifica, California. That mixed with a certain percentage of fellow Pacifica residents who are certifiably jellyfish-for-brains crazy makes concentrating on the simplest tasks a little difficult, nevermind finishing a novel. Every night at six pm my daughter takes a bath. Previous to that, every night, I make a trip to Safeway for our groceries. Tonight was different. The woman in line in front of me, attempting to buy a can of powdered cocoa, was unfortunately declined by her credit card company. Three times. "IF ANY MORE MONEY COMES OUT OF MY F***** ACCOUNT I'LL F****** KILL YOU, B****!!!" she screamed. "I'LL F******* STAB YOU!!!" She then ran out of the door and into the night.

When faced with the ugliest parts of human nature, and in this case a very ugly woman, it certainly makes the difficulties of washing a toddler's hair seem a little less traumatic. For most, trouble at the office means missing invoices and bad audits. But for me, when most of my work every night comes from my already overactive imagination, and life has thrown a little temper tantrum in the checkout line and in my bathtub, I am faced with the hardest reality. My hand is forced. But the solution is easy. "Dear writing career, just for tonight, screw you. Love, NLC."

My first time.

Personal inventory. Thirty years old: almost. Two year old daughter: not quite. Wife: wonderful. Life accomplishments thus far: See above. There isn't an exactness to a successful life lived like I'd thought there would be. Growing up I was sure that I would have won the lottery, achieved fame and fortune as a rock star, saved a thousand lives as a volunteer firefighter and been reasonably far along in my quest to become the youngest president in the history of the United States, all by the time I was thirty. I'm six months away from that birthday and I can't say my foot is in any of those doors. It was all not to be. On the bright side, if any one of those things would have happened to me I would surely have missed out on the life I am presently so fond of. I stay at home. I am a father. My wife works at job she loves. My little girl will turn two next month. I wouldn't trade any of that. Not for anything. But, like most people who find themselves later in life without insane wealth or superpowers and insist that the only respectable career doesn't exist anymore because NASA has stopped sending people to the moon, I have turned to that most sacred of last ditch efforts, the novel. I started writing when Sevyn, our daughter, was born. In the middle of the night while rocking her gently with my foot on the cradle, I began typing. It started as an attempt to fend of boredom. You would think they'd do something about the programming at three in the morning. Who told every single network that infomercials are all we want to watch from two to six am? But somewhere along the line it took it's first breath and a life of it's own. So here we are. Like anything worth doing I am not doing it alone. Actually all I really do is write. Everything else is done by friends I don't deserve. Who work tirelessly to read and to edit, to motivate me when I get tired and who prod me in the right direction when I get lame. I didn't even make this blog. The novel is a story about living in spite of Death's constant calls. It's a story about pretending. It's a story about selfishness and lies and murder and panic and trouble that finds you no matter what you were planning on doing that day. It's a story about body parts and breakfast burritos. It's a story about smoking cigarettes and bakesales. It's a story about dog barf and sunrises. And when it's all finished, it will be a story for them. Those I couldn't live without. Courtney, I love you the most. Sevyn, you're an extremely close second. Knottingham family and the Zeigler's, I would be lost without you. We're in the final stages of the process and will begin publishing in early June. The first books will be out by late July. My name is Nathan Lee Christensen. Happy birthday to me.