All I survey
Is my grand domain
Laughter and joy,
Chaos and pain.
The coffee is spilt
Breakfast is burning
But the hands on the clock
Keep right on turning
No time to recover
The kids are awake,
Fix one small crisis
Another they’ll make.
I feel myself slipping,
My control starts to fray.
How in God’s name
Will I survive this day?
Frustrated raised voices
Words tendered in pain
Add meals and appointments
It’s all quite insane.
Kids shriek and they cry
They beg and they fight,
There’s just twelve more hours
Until its good-night.
But hell or high water,
Through happy and sad
Despite what it sounds like
Parenthood’s not that bad.
It’s hard to remember
It’s not about us,
But about the Littles
That give us their trust.
So try some compassion,
This time is so brief;
They grow up so fast,
And then they will leave.
My heart goes exploring,
Outside of my chest;
And then comes the time,
I thought I could rest.
With chaos abated,
Let entropy reign
Until the next time,
When it all starts again.
With coffee and desserts ordered, the three of them retired to a canal side table to enjoy their repast.
The young man was the first to speak, naturally. “How did you…” He faltered, then began again, “What is that…”\
Looking flustered to the Writer’s practiced eye, the young man stopped, took a deep breath and exhaled forcefully, “There was not a door in that alcove before, where did it, and you come from?”
Nicole saved the Writer from a long and convoluted lie by simply diverting the young man, “You are of course, correct. The door was not there earlier, but tell me, what was the purpose of your observance.”
The Writer noted with admiration that Nicole deftly avoiding the mention he had been stark naked in a cold chapel, shivering while muttering to himself, a thoroughly foolish endeavor he thought, but then again, humans had come up with some truly maddening theories over the centuries.
Sulking slightly, the Writer turned only half an ear to the detailed explaination that Sir Rustichello da Pisa gave for observing and honoring the Holy Mother, his chosen saint, on the eve of his eighteenth year.
Rusty the Protagonist as the Writer was thinking of him now. If the patterns held true, and the plot could be trusted to unfold as it was supposed to, then Rusty would be the Protagonist. The Antagonist should be along soon, but there was time for all that, and in the meantime, beautiful music wafted on the currents, and there was Gelato and strong coffee to enjoy.
Nicole seemed to be enjoying her time talking with the Rusty the Protagonist, her eyes flashed and her cheeks flushed, and she was talking just a little too fast. The Writer noted that she seemed to have trouble keeping her gaze on Rusty’s face while talking, but rather her eyes kept drifting lower, lingering on his shoulders, his arms and … further down.
As the morning drifted to evening over the course of the next hour, wait, apparently it was mid-day when they landed. So, the Writer mused, they missed their mark, again. He pieced together that they were in Venice, sometime in the late 13th century, and a quick search in his notebook indicated that this was the young man who would go on to write the tales of Marco Polo. The day just got interesting, and unless he was mistaken, writers can often get their facts a little skewed, there was a war brewing, but it wasn’t here yet.
Dare he hope that this was going to be an uneventful stop for coffee in Venice? It would be too much to ask. He pulled out his fountain pen and started to scribble a few notes about what and where he was, never knew when he might get another spare moment, but his sonic pen started to fidget on him.
He held it up to the light, nib skyward, and peered at it. Nicole asked him what he was doing, and Rusty the Protagonist just looked on.
“Rusty the Protagonist.” The Writer blurted his nickname for Rustichello without thinking too much about it, but Rusty just froze.
“What, good sir, did you call me?”
The Writer figured it was as good a time as any to get it all sorted, at the beginning, when things got defined, rather than later on when it all gets muddled, so he started speaking, slowly, clearly, with flourishes of his pen every so often to punctuate.
“I am the Writer. I’ve always been the Writer, and I go around fixing other peoples stories when they get a little off topic or when the plot goes all wibbly-wobbly. This beautiful young woman you’ve just met and are falling madly in love with is my Agent, Nicole. You are the Protagonist of your particular Story, thus you are Rustichello da Pisa, or Rusty the Protagonist.” He stopped speaking at that point, waiting for it to sink in.
Just as Rusty the Protagonist was about to speak, he started up again, “Nicole wanted Gnocchi and coffee, so I set that in and spun the “I”m feeling lucky, surprise me!” dial and here we are, no Gnocchi, but some lovely Gelatto and some splendid coffee. My TARDIS must have picked up on your Story and landed me here, so we can hammer out the issues in the plot and you can get on with your life, important things to be doing, don’t want to die before those come about now do we?”
Rusty the Protagonist closed his mouth with an audible click, just sitting and staring, then he reached a shaky hand to pick up his coffee and take a careful sip.
The Writer noted with interest that Rusty’s had stopped shaking just as he picked up the cup. There was more iron in this boy that anybody might guess from his public presentation.
Just then a long low boat floated past, and as it slid beneath the downstream bridge two hundred yards distant, the boat seemed to explode.
Nicole shrieked, Rusty jumped up and grabbed for his sword (The Writer noted that a sword would be useless, especially after things had blown up), while the Writer just went on sipping his coffee smiling to himself, thinking that -there- was the plot twist he had been trying to find.
Author’s note: This is Rusty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rustichello_da_Pisa
And this is a weird story, I have NO IDEA what’s happening, so bear with me, will ya? It could be fun.
The Writer scratched his head, then waved awkwardly. ”Hi, sorry to interrupt. The lady here wanted some Gnocchi and coffee, any chance there’s a good little cafe around here somewhere?”
The young man kneeling in front of the altar looked over at them confused. Then standing, he realized he was in fact not wearing anything and scrambled to garb himself in the robes hanging at the back of the church.
The Writer though bemusedly to himself that it was too little too late, but he was impressed with the composure with which the young man turned around when finally robed.
“You have invaded the Holy Mother’s sanctuary, and disrupted my personal ascension vigil. For what?” The boy looked more upset that he’d been interrupted than that he was caught naked as the day he was born. “For coffee!”
The Writer could feel Nicole flinch at the raised voice. She clung to his side, tightly. He spread his hands, showing they were empty, “We were looking for a bite to eat, must have landed wrong,” He gestured to his box, “She does that sometimes, puts us down not quite in the right spot.”
The young man closed his eyes and drew in a calming deep breath, “All is provided as it shall be, for Her purpose, not mine.”
The words had the sound of rote incantation to The Writer’s practiced ear.
The young man, having exhaled rather forcefully and intentionally, then opened his eyes with a softer expression, and repeated, “For coffee? I don’t know if they’ve got Gnocchi on hand at the place just across the way but they have an amazing selection of Gelato and some tiramasu that is to die for.”
Perking up at the mention of Tiramasu Nicole stepped out from behind The Writer and pulled him towards the doors of the chapel.
The Writer smiled to himself, wondering where this was all going this time, but he did have to admit to himself that the prospect of some good coffee had a sensual appeal right now, and there would be time later to figure out all the plots and words that were to come.
The Writer shifted, fidgeting with his tie. Wait, why was he wearing a tie? A bow tie? GAH! He felt like hew as being strangled as he contemplated it. His eyes widened, and his breathing quickened. He tried to calm himself as his fingers traced the knot of the bow-tie and started to unravel the rather simple knot. Hitting a snag and the knot tightened, his self control slipped.
He noticed Nicole move towards him. His breath caught, she was holding out a pair of small scissors, handle first. Mastering his trembling fingers, he reached out gratefully, taking the scissors and cutting the band of the tie and drawing a full deep breath.
Then he ran a hand through his hair. Hair! He had a full head of long hair. He lurched back to his console, darted left, around the viewer, catching and tearing his cuff on the raised edge of something. Finally, the irror, he pulled it down. He had long brown wavy hair, like a model, his face, a slight stubble along the strong square jaw, dimples, and ice blue eyes. Ears? He reached into the long hair, looking for ears. Yes, there they were, smaller than before, he thanked the universe for small blessings.
Turning around, he slid to the floor, knees to his chest, with his back against the console. He noted absently that Nicole had moved around the control room and was now seated, on the floor like he was, against the outer rail, watching him. He put both hands to his full head of hair, it’d been so long since he had hair.
He just couldn’t stop himself running his fingers along his scalp.
“Not bad for a guy rounding up on seven hundred now am I?” He grinned wryly.
He noticed that Nicole blushed slightly at his comment and his frank open look at her.
Something else was different… What was it?
He couldn’t quite place it. Shrugging a mental shrug, he figured it would come back to him sooner or later.
“Ok, when to now? Almost anything can be re-written, what story do we want to visit next?
Today’s Word: Regenerate –
1: to form anew or create again.
Let’s see what happens here shall we? It’s the daily word from the MW website at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can subscribe, get the same prompt and pick your own path to daily writing, let me know if you do, because that would be totally awesome, I’d love to read your work as well.
Premise, daily word, daily writing between 250 and 1000 words, just a quick writer’s stretch to get the juices flowing as it were.
Note – the chestnut hair beauty is the lady I love, so of course I included her in this flight of fantasy.
* * *
The Writer rubbed his face, the fresh skin where his calluses should have been feeling odd. He turned and looked over at the chestnut haired beauty who stood by the rail of the TARDIS, looking scared, and astonished.
“Sorry, that was probably quite a surprise wasn’t it?” His voice sounded odd as well, fuller and deeper than the frail tenor he had worn previously.
The young woman nodded. Mutely pointing at his face, at him.
“Oh, I know, I’m still me, but the suit has changed hasn’t it? New face, new body, new voice. Same old man. Memories are shot however. If it’s not too upsetting, who are you again?”
That one word triggered a cascade of memories, his head started spinning, he leaned forward onto the console again, pressing his head against the cool metal, seeking relief, the rush of memories threatening to drive him to tears again. With a few measured breaths, he pulled his head up again and looked at Nicole.
“So, we survived, and they are..”
“Gone.” Nicole’s voice sounded like it was about to crack to him. She was on the edge of hysteria. He understood, it had happened so often in the past when he regenerated in front of a new companion. Time Lord physiology was hard for beings constrained by standard mortality to accept. He stood, and walked carefully around to the far side of the room, picking up a cup of tea that was cooling on the railing. How did the TARDIS know when to have a cup ready? He offered her the tea and retreated again, waiting for her to adjust.
Waiting for the questions to start. They always did, but it was usually ok, humans were remarkably adaptable in so many ways, that’s why teh Writer loved humanity so, if only they could get past their conceits and conflicts…
It’s always coming back to open, non-aggressive honesty.
Opening note, this post is totally unscripted and not trying to preach one right way to do anything, but I need to get thoughts out so I can move on with today and if you can glean anything from it then by all means, enjoy. And you, my dear reader, are given a glimpse into the madness that is a self-employed, stay-at-home father of four boys, who’s also battling depression, stress and anxiety issues, and he just burnt his hand on the fireplace.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that the above list is not exhaustive, and that it’s also not relevant, but the truth is that it’s all relevant. Life is often overwhelming, and we are not immune to other’s mayhem and feelings either. Especially if they’re close to us or matter to us.
But as I have been trying and trying to impress upon my three oldest boys that it’s the choices we make (the youngest is only 19 months old right now, self-awareness is only emergent in him). Our feelings are important, but to live entirely by our feelings, to run entirely on reaction, is to follow the path charted by a madman, heedless of the destination. I can’t expect the boys, who are ten and younger, to completely get this, to follow it. They’re kids after all, not mini-adults.
So being the shepherd of these sheep, often wild, out of control and maddening, I get to try to guide them into a more healthy mode of thinking. Often I get overwhelmed by doing so, and often I DON’T model the best behaviour choices, but in making those slips, I get to model another behaviour that I want them to learn. Honesty.
Nobody’s perfect. Period. I don’t care how much you make, how pretty your are, how perfect you might seem, nobody’s perfect.
And yet, we are all just absolutely perfect in who we are. Everybody has flaws, everybody has issues. Even Jesus wanted respite when nailed to the cross. His will imperfect but he deferred to the will of God.
Luke 22:42 King James Version (KJV)
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Wow, that went deep fast. Wonder where I was actually heading? Today’s what could be considered the first real day leading up to the BIG Day when The Man Arrives, and The Saviour is Born. There’s so much to try to load into every point of every day, meanings and significance, attention and devotion… Why do we do this to ourselves? Right now my beautiful wife is out with her sister and maybe her mom, looking to round out the perfect items for The Day, so that the little’s won’t be disappointed. Then later on, after a good day of feeding and happiness mayhem, we have a quick presentation for the church, and then a church walk, maybe hot chocolate at Grandma’s and then… home for stories and bed. I need to start doing stories and set bedtimes again… I really need to do that.
It would be good for me… Ultimately it comes down to finding the methods that work for us, coping in healthy ways not destructive ways. I could, and used to bottle things up, carry those resentments against my wife, my kids and against God, I’d tuck them inside my heart and keep them safe, until I exploded. Now, like this morning, when she called, I simply opened up a little, said how I was really feeling, [overwhelmed and stressed, feeling that it was unreasonable to be asked to …. by her when I was already dealing with …] instead of simply saying ‘fine’ and making what she wanted to have happen, happen, but resenting every moment of it.
Small victory. But life is about Small victories. Day after day, one day at a time, and often one hour at a time. I need to learn to leave one hour behind and move into the next. Excuse me, but I’ve housework to do before things get out of control again. Wish me luck and Don’t Forget to Be Awesome.