Three-Act Structure

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I’m two weeks shy of a year of daily posts. One more fortnight. I can clearly finish a year here, although the perpetual midnight deadlines have appeared more steep and perplexing in the back nine.

I’m also on the third night of my first cold in a year. There’s a familiarity to the body’s response and its three-act structure. A sore throat introduction, congestion to complicate things, and then chest cold before a final resolution. Each section you’d trade for the other, the different symptoms with their faults and excessive distractions.

But I used to be sick all of the time.

Entire years where it seemed more economical to count the days between symptoms, and short intermissions and pockets of good feelings.

So it’s a fair tax to pay, this occasional bodily function.

 

In Our Neighborhood

We sat down at the table, across from one another as we have now dozens of time, and the restaurant near the edge of the universe.

“Did you see the picture of the black hole?”

My head instinctively leaned to one side. I hadn’t looked at any media in days. But the way she asked, as if it was in our neighborhood, the photos of this natural atrocity of beauty. Like the homeless the woman who passed in the encampment.

Like, did a black hole pop up nearby, I wondered. Because the universe always wins.

Likert Scale

In a television pilot testing facility the black rows of screens are afixed with two morphine-drip like feedback buttons, in red and green.

It’s interesting to me that the likert scale only goes to 7, whereas the pain scale maxes out at 10.

Perpetual Twilight

We spent the evening looking down hallways. It had looked like an oasis of experiences, from out there in the desert. But the casino floors still bled you dry, sucking up coinage and moving earned value from pockets into coffers, an old and familiar game of luck shaded into padded cages. Something of the desert crept into the architecture of perpetual twilight, drying up the walls. There were no drinking fountains at the casinos. Which seemed cruel, like every other park at the human zoo.

Warm and Kind

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I was driving down from the Felton roads in the old truck for a second time in a day, just after rush hour, when Greg called me on the phone. He’d texted nearly a month early and I still hadn’t responded because anything less than two paragraphs would have been less than the full truth. I’d thought of responses at least a dozen times and held my fingers back. To tell him about what was going on was to really admit that things hadn’t been going well.

We spoke all the way back into town and I found a parking space overlooking the beach and with the beginning of twilight and hundreds of miles between our sunsets he presented, graciously and with love, his wisdom. Advice I needed not just to hear, but really listen to. Different variations of the same advice I’ve been harboring against, protecting the boat from ever again doing what it was designed to do — sail.

For the last few months I’ve been positioning myself toward a dozen translations of the same general advice: just take an action, and don’t wait. Waiting for perfection is a quixotic quest that bypasses failure; anxiety falls away in the face of movement; the world is generally kinder than my fears.

A white truck backed up into the fire lane next to me and five teengers in vans slip-ons  moved from the double cab onto the hard top of the truck bed and lay against one another and watched their spring break sunset. I wanted to be them, carefree. But their ease was an illusion — perhaps my smaller, phone embrace was just as warm and kind.