A sort of life

The needle and the damage done

RICHMOND, Va. — I shredded my nails today like I haven’t done in quite sometime. I tore through them. Now my fingers hurt. It’s not the good kind of hurt. The kind of hurt virgin tips get after a day on the six string. Not that kind of hurt. My fingers hurt on the top. Like I’ve got shit stuck up under the cuticles. They hurt when I close my hands into a fist. They hurt when I stretch them out. The hurt intrudes on an otherwise peaceful night on the couch. On the television.

The slow drizzle outside calms. The finger hurt excites.

I’m feeling a sick coming on. The kind of sick one gets after walking with wet hair on a cold windy day. The kind of sick one gets after the first swim of the season. The kind of sick cured only by soup and a warm body to lie next to. I’ve got water in my ears, and an ache across my shoulders.

But I’ve got nothing else. No soup. No body. I do have a cat, but that just makes the whole thing just a little more pathetic. That and my flat smells like a dirty sweat sock. That doesn’t help.

But what can one do? What can you do?

I ran into Stu Butler today, and he looked really good. Little scrawny, but good. Stu is a workmate of mine, and a real cool guy. I know a lot of people, known a lot of people in my day, and most of them are not cool. Stu is cool.

On New Year’s Eve Stu decided to take a dive from his balcony. Apparently hit his head on the pavement. I’m not really aware of the particulars — I haven’t had a chance to quiz him about it (and maybe it’s in bad taste) — but basically there was a party and the next thing you know he’s on the ground either one or two floors down. Anyway, there was broken bones and comas and a real touch and go type of situation for a while. When I first heard about it I fully expected him to be in the hospital for months. Months. Maybe longer.

But Stu had a tremendous recovery. He left in about a month or so, and now he’s beginning the process of easing back into work. Pretty damn remarkable when you think about it. So today I guess he came back to work to have a look around. And he looked pretty damn good.

So I’m just saying welcome back Stu.

I’ve been writing more lately. Not too much. More. Not as much as I’d like. Ultimately it’ll make its way up here. I have about 30 unpublished drafts going. Probably six or so in the last week. In fact, this thing is one of those drafts I’ve been nibbling at for a few days.

So, I’m writing but it’s not clicking. The words are rough and I’m not really feeling it. If you hadn’t noticed already, this piece is shit. You know it, I know it, and that’s just the way it is after basically taking more than a year off from writing.

Since I quit this place, I’ve been working a job that’s very analytical. Very clinical. Things have loosened up the last few months and so I’m feeling the desire to write creep in again. And eventually I’ll get the groove back. Once I find my muse I’ll paint this thing red.

“The needle and the damage done” is from Volume One: Frank’s Wild Years (1983–2009). Written between 2003 and 2009, Volume One was this author’s attempt to find meaning from life as a young twenty-something. While this endeavor would ultimately fail, what remains is a comical tale of loneliness and debauchery.

When I let go of what I am I become what I might be

When I let go of what I am I become what I might be

A mess of hand written pages and bulk mail scattered on the floor of the Floyd Avenue apartment in Richmond, Va. on Sept. 22, 2006.

On New Year's Eve Stu decided to take a dive from his balcony.