Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Fear...


Fear is the mind killer, it only holds us back.

We can’t let it influence us, control us, for to do so is to lose track of that which makes us human.

Our hope.

Our ambition.

The willingness to make grand leaps of faith.

And without these things, what have we? What are we? What can we possibly accomplish in this too short life?

We have nothing, we are nothing, if we give ourselves over to fear.

Unfortunately, tear gas, truncheons and bullets kill the body, and without it, the mind dies too.

And so our fear, for now, remains...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Age

http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com/?p=26333


The Club
By Christopher Munroe

I still hit the club.

I’m not THAT old.

It’s every other week or so, but I still go. I’ll never be this young again, I deserve every moment of happiness that comes, and I can still be counted on, come last call, when I go, to be dancing.

Don’t mention that “the club” is a painstaking recreation of a bar I loved in 1998, I don’t want to remember that, but yeah, I still go.

You’re only as old as you feel.

And, at the club, I feel eighteen again.

The next day, I feel seventy.

Still, I go…

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Rule for Life


A lover is like a good book.

Or rather, I should say, a lover OUGHT to be like a good book.

If it’s an old lover, or book, it should be comfortable, comforting, but still able to reveal, as you go back to it time and time again, new layers, unexpected moments, depths and details you’d never suspected might be there. It should unfold anew, and much though you might have believed that you knew it, in its unfolding show you more than you’d ever possibly imagined, teach you things about yourself you’d never suspected, show you things about itself you would never have guessed.

This is what makes for your favorite books. Or favorite lovers.

If it’s a new lover, or book, on the other hand, then every moment of it should be a surprise, a revelation. It should be impossible to predict as the process unfolds, until it brings you to a place that, when your experience together began, you could never possibly have foreseen.

This is the thrill of a new, exciting book. Or a new, exciting lover.

And both, in their time and their place, when they come, are wonderful things. The old, the new, the comfortable and the thrilling. That which affirms and celebrates what you always knew about yourself, about the world, and that which shocks, which shakes you out of your comfort zone, which takes you to places you never thought might have been possible.

These are the things that life is made of, both in terms of great literature and great acts of physical love, and each in its place deserves to be appreciated for all that it is worth.

Because while life is short, it is still more wondrous than words could ever possibly express, and it demands at every moment to be celebrated.

Because you deserve to be celebrated. Every aspect of you, every quirk and kink, and to do less is to do yourself a grave disservice.

So find a good book, or a good lover, either old or new, and throw yourself into life with as much passion as you can muster….

…also, if you leave one splayed out, wide open and face down, bent over a table, for too long, you risk damaging its spine.

This too is true both of lovers and of books.

Still, there are times when it’s worth that risk; otherwise you might lose your place…

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Media

http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com/?p=26289


Something New
By Christopher Munroe

In lieu of a story, I’ve written a speech.

Then hired a band to set the speech to music.

A technician will light the speech and set off lasers, strobes, flash pots and fog machines whilst I deliver it.

A filmmaker friend of mine will be shooting a short, surrealist piece that’ll be projected overtop me as I deliver the speech, and it will be broadcast live via webcam as I give it.

In short, it’s an over-elaborate, multimedia spectacular, and rest assured, I cannot afford the production.

Like, at all.

So a 100-word story it will have to remain…

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The New Job


I’ve recently taken a position at a local addiction-counseling clinic.

Essentially, my job is to sit on a couch in the waiting room and, as clients come in, make conversation as they wait for their sessions. The conversation needn’t be in any great depth, I’m not actually a therapist after all, it’s mainly small talk, the sort of nonsense that people who are friendly but don’t really know each other might exchange. Sport, entertainment, grand unifying theories ultimately signifying nothing, that sort of thing.

It’s a style of conversation I’ve found over the course of my lifetime that I’m quite good at.

This is, for alcoholics especially, a vital part of the healing process. Because addiction, you see, isn’t just a chemical dependency. There’s a culture surrounding alcoholism, and giving up drinking can take a person out of perhaps the only world he or she has ever felt truly comfortable in. Which, in addition to the actual withdrawal symptoms, can quickly reduce a person to a withered husk of what once they were.

In short, alcoholism is as much about the place, the people, the smiles and bullshit bar conversations that go around in circles without ever really arriving at any concrete conclusions, as it is about alcohol. And while addiction counseling can treat the disease, it can’t provide any substitute for the arrogant, long winded prick holding court in the local pub about whatever might cross his mind.

Until now.

So now, five days a week, I’m in the waiting room, striking up conversations with recovering addicts on topics about which I know very little. Eight hours a day, I talk about how Marvel Studios has made basically the same movie over and over again since Iron Man, about how the Roughriders will win every Grey Cup forever and why the rest of Canada should be okay with that, about what to do about crises in countries I hadn’t even heard of until their crises made the news, about Drake hitting Chris Brown in the face with a champagne bottle, and I’m attacking each conversation with loud, opinionated gusto.

It’s basically the best job I’ve ever had.

And from what I’m told, the clients arrive for their counseling or group therapy sessions calmer, more relaxed and more open due to the experience, so I’m also giving back to the community. Which is a wonderful thing.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I’m part of a process through which people can overcome their demons and make themselves whole and healthy again, through hard work, intense introspection and arguments about whether Guardians of the Galaxy has basically the same plot as the Lego Movie, and it’s a process I couldn’t be prouder to be involved in. I’ve found my place in the world, my contribution, at the clinic, and that’s something I hadn’t even known how much I’d needed until I had it.

Now, if they’d just get off my fucking case about coming into work hung-over…

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekly Prompt Story: Limbo

http://oneadayuntilthedayidie.com/?p=26268


Limbo
By Christopher Munroe

Every limbo boy and girl,

All around the limbo world,

Gonna do the limbo rock,

All around the limbo clock,

Jack be limbo, Jack be quick,

Jack go under limbo stick,

All around the limbo clock,

Hey, let’s do the limbo rock.

The song plays on its eternal loop, and I know there’ll be no rest, no escape, no moment of respite.

This is my purgatory. Punishment of sins insufficient for hell, but enough to leave me here, alone in the void, with not but one song for company…

Limbo lower now,

Limbo lower now,

How low can you go?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Monday


There was a pair of crutches in the alley outside the bar as we left poetry slam, propped up against the brick back wall of the place, and we took a moment as we passed to wonder how they might have gotten there.

Crutches, we agreed, weren’t the sort of thing that were easily forgotten. If you had them it was because you needed them, and without need you had none to lose. So, we pondered, how came they to be abandoned so?

Though obviously we didn’t phrase it like that. Poetry slam or not, nobody talks like that in real life.

Perhaps we ought.

Turning the matter over in my mind on the drive back home, I couldn’t shake the image, a man on crutches, hobbling through a darkened alley, when from the shadow comes a stranger with kind eyes and a wizened, wrinkled face. The stranger smiles, placing a hand along side the man’s face, drawing him in close, a mouth to an ear, the whispered word “Heal” and then back into the shadows without even offering a name.

And in this way the Jesus of the Wine Bar works his miracle, crutches fall to the ground and the man walks forward into his life, healed and whole once more.

It’s a beautiful thought…

…more likely, he was on crutches already when the car hit him, and in the confusion the paramedics didn’t notice to bring them along.

But that’s kind of a downer.

I like my version better.