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Everybody Dance Now

storm cloud over New Mexico

Raining somewhere if we let it

The old dude marched across the sagebrush-covered mesa, scuffing his boots in the dust and marveling (once again) that he was all alone under God’s big sky in the middle of nowhere that was somewhere in his heart or else he wouldn’t be there. Scuff, stride, pant. It was hotter than it should have been, he thought, by Earth time only 10:00 a.m., but the hot blade of the sun at seven thousand feet could cut through anything. He wasn’t hot so much as microwaved; no blood or blisters, but the marrow bubbled softly in his bones and had nowhere to run.

The sweat that soaked his hat ran down his face as he remembered. Everywhere he looked inside his thoughts were fine young dudes who neither knew nor cared about the titanic struggles of his youth, the wars and lusts and glorious adventures he’d had to keep inside his heart, but there was nothing he could do except keep moving. He understood the game but started late and knew he’d always feel this way, unless the past exploded or was eaten by a cloud.

Thirty miles away, a giant floating peacock of a New Mexico storm pissed a little rain. The old dude watched a foot-long skink scurry to the shade behind a sagebrush and wait for him to pass. All he wanted was a second chance, and all the lizard wanted was him gone.

The Helen Chronicles: When Your Mother Falls Apart

Let’s try this GIANT image just for fun

My latest book, The HELEN CHRONICLES, (32,788 words) is now live at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, the free Kindle app (see sidebar at that link) works with everything else. Even better for this Apple fanboy, it’s available on iBooks, too.

Behold the introduction from the book:

The HELEN CHRONICLES is an annotated, chronological collection of blog posts that tell the story of my mother’s chaotic last few years under the influence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, paranoia, schizophrenia, delusions, and hallucinations. (If that says “family” to you, you’re in the right place.) The events described took place between August 7, 2008, and April 7, 2012. My original accounts, no longer available online, were sometimes rough, emotional, and repetitive. Over the top is also fair. I’ve cleaned them up as best I can and added notes.

This is not the story of her life—that would be quite different—but the drama at the end, the clang and shudder of the final rolling train wreck, presented in real-time dispatches through the eyes of an oldest son who tried to do the right thing out of love and duty at great risk to himself. The reader should also know that for the thirty years preceding the time frame of this book, my adult relationship with Helen was difficult at best. There was never a single visit without a crisis or eruption in the first few hours. My father died in 1987. By August, 2008, however, when the action in this book begins, I hadn’t visited Helen for about five years, and she lived just six hundred miles away.

A few essential details did go missing at the time or had to be suppressed. Please see the epilogue, “The Untold Story of Helen’s Capture,” written especially for this book, to learn how touch and go it was. One way or the other, Helen made it impossible for us to help her, as if she’d really moved on years ago and left us with her shadow. We all did the best we could, and this is how it happened.

It makes a damned good story, too, one I hope never happens to you. If it already has, then at least you know you’re not alone. This is the thing I had to do before I could do anything else, and I want it public. It’s my way of saying good-bye to a whole bunch of things and hello to the unknown.

Blogging will recommence, and there are other things to write. I have a lot to say.

Buffalo Gal

goddamn buffalo

St. James Hotel, Cimarron, NM

Here’s a pretty lady under a goddamn buffalo. Hope it’s screwed in good. Don’t bother me, I’m finishing a book. (See the revised About page.) Just a few more days!

Wall of Wonder

building in Cimarron, NM

Must be bigger ones inside

This is also Cimarron, New Mexico. You think you’ve seen it all and then some artist years ago (?) produced this and you intersect. I may have seen a gallery at the other end, which stands to reason. Fascinating place. At 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, the big wide street was quite deserted, by the way.

The larger wheel is quietly sublime. I need to go back there and look around some more, get close-ups of the art. Maybe the guy or woman is still there. Maybe all they do is make these wheels and levitate Cimarron late at night. You’d hardly notice anyway if you were driving through.

Cimarronland

Visitor Center in Cimarron, NM

For some reason this photo makes me want a cinnamon roll

I love this picture. Notice the New Mexico state colors. I’m also thinking that it’s quite a deal for a town of fewer than a thousand souls to even have a visitor center. And you see how bright it looks? How strong the sun must be? Well, it was, but by 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the temperature was still under 70 °F with a pretty good breeze. All you need for June or any other month, though the women may desert you if you roll the window down too far.

»Buy This Photo!«

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