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        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



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All Content © Mil Scott                                                                                                         www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The 1st Anniverasay
Issue of Mil Mania!

  Volume 2, Issue 9, October 2006


Music Mayhem    


As noted in the December edition of Mil Mania, I will continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com.  In addition,  for each issue I will also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, of course, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist...is an album instead!   Hey, you know how unpredictable we “crazies” can be. 


Of Love and Hope: Soundtrack from the TV series, Beauty and the Beast


     If you’ve visited the
television review page of
my website, you already
know this all too brief blip
on the small screen was a
big favorite of mine as it
not merely shared the
story of a great yet impossible love, but it did so with the art and creativity of classic literature — which it, incidentally, also used to set the beautifully lyrical tone of the show itself. 
     In searching for something noteworthy to share with you this month, this soundtrack fairly popped out of my CD collection to remind me how completely it embodies the link I indeed believe exists — or can and
should exist— between literature and music.  In fact, I daresay I have long believed music is literature, merely in a form sung rather than “simply” read.  And, in the case of this CD, it’s also literature that’s spoken with word-defying effectiveness.
     Featuring orchestrations to complement the written works of Frost, Rilke, Shelley, Shakespeare and others, as “performed” by “the Beast”, Ron Perlman, this CD not only perfectly captures the spirit of the world in which this character lived and the love he shared with “Beauty” Catherine Chandler, it truly thrills with evocation and the timeless meaning of great poetic language… culminating in the most memorable and moving rendition of E.E. Cummings “Somewhere I Have Never Traveled” one could possibly imagine. 

     Listen and decide for yourself, “if this be error and upon me proved”.  If so, I declare, “I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

     I warn you, though, copies of this long out of print work are a bit hard to come by...even where they make the claim regarding anything tangible (and probably some things not), “you can get it on ebay.”  You can, at the moment, however, Buy it Here from Amazon.com. 




Third Eye Blind makes an
autumn return to the stage again
for a couple of East Coast dates. 
And, of course, we all await the much
talked about new album.  Other than that, I’m afraid I have no “new” news at this time. 


Brian Fitzpatrick likewise has been very quiet musically of late.  Here’s hoping for some “hot off the press” Brian Fitzpatrick music and accompanying tour dates soon!

Michael McDermott too has been hovering just below the radar since the September issue of Mil Mania was sent out — although it should be noted he recently had a song appear in the television show, “Three Moons Over Milford”...and, of course, he continues to share new music via Monday Morning Musical Madness.  His schedule heats up again in November, however, when he plays Schubas in Chicago for solo and band shows on two consecutive nights.  And, he’ll be taking his act on the road to St. Louis in Dec., before heading back to the Windy City for a pre-Christmas concert at the House of Blues.  Check out Michael’s page at myspace.com for more info.

Ravings of a
        Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.


Although  I’m herein commenting on a written work this month, you can go to the Movies page of artisinsane.com  to check out a review of the DVD new release, The Lake House.


As for this month’s book selection:
A Rat’s Tale

                                           by Tor Seidler


     Normally I would leave a volume of this genre to be reviewed by Molly in her column since, like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH which she “raved” about last month, it’s a “fantasy” for young readers in which the main characters are indeed kin of her kind.  As the saying goes, however, all in life is timing, and the fact I completely penned the “You May Think I’m Crazy, But That’s Just It” article (from Sept.’s “Temp-orary Insanity” column) prior to learning this book actually deals with themes closely related to the ones that piece discusses, I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to share a bit about it and (without giving too much away) touch on that correlation.

     Actually, given the main character is an artist with the surname “Mad-Rat”, one would almost think the author had written the work with my own philosophy and nomenclature of “Artist Insane” in mind.  And, of course, I can’t begin to express my joy at happening upon such a delightful and meaning-filled “tale” as a result. 

     To briefly summarize, young Montague Mad-Rat is a painter; his father is a sculptor, and his mother a maker of hats.  It’s his assistance with the last of these pursuits by combing New York’s Central Park for feathers and berries that leads to the discovery that not all rats find the arts so worthwhile nor the lowly creatures who (gasp) “make things with their own paws” worthy of their society.  Unfortunately, it’s a lovely female rat who has introduced Montague to this heresy.  And, the fact he’s instantly smitten by her makes him question his own value, and that of his family — for a time.    But when the wharves in which his new lovely and the other more “gainfully employed” rats reside are threatened, it’s the artist rats who (albeit unknowingly) hold the key to their survival.

     Filled with wit and charm, not to mention clever innovation of language and detail — the rich rats live in a “democratsy”, decorate their walls with “commemorative postage stamps” as paintings and have a ham tin for a bathtub — the story seems at first a mere fanciful bit of imaginative fluff.  Gradually, though, the most significant events unfold, and leave in their wake a host of lessons for both the rich and poor of ratdom...and a new sense of appreciation as to “individual” status.
     The book also serves as its own gentle debate regarding the “value” of art, the reasons behind its creation, its ability to pull even the most narcissistic creatures from undue focus on themselves, and the power of giving — from which it’s difficult to estimate whether gift or giver truly receives more.

     This book may have been written with a 9 or 10 year old audience in mind.  But, having come to both it and Mrs. Frisby only recently as an adult, I daresay I’ve been given a new appreciation for just how greatly certain “children’s literature” weighs in on the “literature” end of that equation.  With that in mind, I’m writing this review to strongly recommend this book to any and all readers of Mil Mania, regardless of age.  For, some lessons we’re taught as kids are indeed intended to be carried with us throughout life.  And, when others — such as the distinction between practiced workmanship and art...as described in such a way I began to wonder if Tor Seidler doesn’t also know and despise Jon Franklin as much as I — are presented as “artfully” as they are in A Rat’s Tale, the reminders of the rest  seem that much more profound.

     That said, what are you waiting for….start scurrying to your local library, bookstore or online retailer  right now.  And, see if you don’t find a new appreciation for some arguably “mangy” characters — and maybe a few rats, too!

     After all, “ART and RAT are made up of the same letters.”


P.S.  The illustrations by Fred Marcellino are absolutely wonderful and a perfect complement to the beautiful vision created by Seidler’s words.

                                (If you haven’t met me yet, you might want to
                         read the
Dec. ‘05 issue first.)


Dear Molly,

I'm a lover of language.  Getting myself lost in great writing is the best.  I ponder the thought that went into stringing the words together, the rhythm created, stunning couplets and seductive alliterations, keen repetition and proper use and reckless misuse of "rules," all that provoke my imagination to run wild.  Speaking of running, this morning during my pre-dawn run on the treadmill (my favorite time of day because my mind is yet free from all the day's clutter), I latched onto Bono's lyrics in U2's "Miracle Drug" streaming into my earphones.  The whole song is a lyrical waterfall of imagery.  But this bit struck me:  "Of science and the human heart/There is no limit." The power of the human heart? I thought.  I'm here every morning working my heart hard to break my new average of a 10.2-minute mile.  I just hadn't been able to go lower.  Then Bono follows up with, "There is no failure here, sweetheart/Just when you quit." Not going to argue that, I thought and picked up my pace.

Molly, while I'm thinking on the physical strength of the heart, I'm wondering about your thoughts on its other matters.  What of its capabilities of growing weary and quitting and breaking and what about it healing? All of these stages determine its physical strength, would you say?  I paid less attention to the next few songs and mulled this as I pounded the treadmill.  At my 3-mile mark I checked my time.  Yes!  I averaged a 9.8-minute mile.  We'll see what my heart can create tomorrow.


                                                              A Strongly Curious Heart


     Now this is a tough set of questions to chew on.  And, once again, I’d have to say they tie in very well with others previously presented, such as last month’s matter of hope and the prior one’s dilemma of whether all’s “in Godly hands or up to us to choose”.  And, as I’ve done in the past, I’m again turning to literature for examples to illustrate – and indeed help me figure out – my thoughts. 
     The literary characters who scamper to mind in this case are Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Hamilton as depicted in Margaret Mitchell’s
Gone With the Wind.  And, the reason I think of them is the line (regarding Melanie) spoken by the complicated and dashing hu-man Rhett Butler near the end of that novel (which is so big I’m right now using it as a desk!), “She hasn’t your strength.  She’s never had any strength.  She’s never had anything but heart.”
     The thing about that quote is it talks about two very different hu-women and their differing physical endurances – the irony of which lies in that Scarlett is the one always perceived to be the stronger;  however, it’s a truth she herself only gradually comes to understand that one of the greatest sources of this strength is really Melanie’s heart.  In fact, while Scarlett’s childish infatuation with Ashley Wilkes had instilled in her an automatic resentment and dislike of this Mrs. Frisby-type (i.e., according to Scarlett “mouse-like”) creature who had so wrongly taken her place as Ashley’s wife, at a key moment of their joint struggle for survival during wartime, Scarlett suddenly realizes, “ ‘Why – she’s like me!’  [Scarlett] saw in a flash of clarity untouched by any petty emotion that beneath the gentle voice and dovelike eyes of Melanie there was a thin flashing blade of unbreakable steel, felt too that there were banners and bugles of courage in Melanie’s quiet blood…the kind of courage Scarlett honestly knew she herself did not possess”…“intangible, unspectacular”… “a quality Scarlett did not understand but to which she gave grudging tribute.”  (My my my, she really
was like Mrs. Frisby!)

     And, as in dealing with past questions, again I’m brought to the point of how one’s strength of heart, either physical or intangible, is used determines its measurement in terms of value to oneself and others.  Although Melanie never in her (far too short) lifetime possessed much at all in the way of physical stamina, yet she lived every day as a beacon of light to those around her, a champion of unwearying love, support and faithfulness that brought about a healing so complete it extended even to the determined resistance Scarlett put up for years against that very love.  Unfortunately, in Melanie’s case, it couldn’t be translated into a physical strength that might extend her life – which brings us back to those inexplicable circumstances that do lie “in Godly hands”.
     Scarlett, by contrast, proceeded from the belief you mentioned Bono singing about, “There is no failure here, sweetheart/Just when you quit,” (words Melanie lived by, too) but Scarlett did so as a means of acting almost invariably in
her own selfish interest.  As a result, she indeed proved the power of the human heart as she stood against hunger, fear, poverty, literal invasion by enemy forces, and all manners of tragic loss.  Unfortunately, she ultimately tested not the power of her own heart’s limits for wearying, breaking, healing, etc., but the hearts of those who loved her – and who she should have used everything in her power to love in return.  As a result, she indeed built her physical strength to almost boundless levels, and earned similarly boundless earthly wealth and “success”.  But, in “gaining the whole world, she lost her own soul” or at least her “soulmate”, Rhett Butler.  For, although he began with what seemed a heart unbreakable, incapable of the failure known as quitting, Scarlett’s disregard of that powerful heart proved stronger.  And, his love “wore out”…or so he says at the end of the book.
     Of course, Scarlett even then refuses to quit, and vows to get him back.  Whether she does or not, however, is a mystery for each reader to determine.   But that’s neither here nor there in terms of practical application to your life or mine.  What I do know from my own experience, then, is that
with heart (used properly) the whole body is capable of greater physical endurance and trials than one might imagine – such as a little single mom-to-be rat withstanding a March snow under the meager shelter of a mailbox before finding her way “home”...and, of course, a slightly larger hu-woman unexpectedly running a 9.8 minute mile.  Indeed, we shall both see what our hearts can create tomorrow.

    For today, though, I’ll just finish the delectable Frosted Cheerios I see the boys left in the food bowl.  I’ve heard they lower cholesterol in hu-men and hu-women…so maybe for rats, too…mmm – good for the heart!

     Thanks so much for writing.  And, as always, keep those letters coming!



                           Molly Madvises 

                      (by... Molly, of course!)




















Click Here to check out more of “The Great
Pumpkin” and my other little “monsters”
in their trick-or-treat “disguises”! 

Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the September issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

“I did love Molly's reply to last month's 
 thought.  I imagined her like the critters
 in Mrs. Frisby--in her tank, sipping some
 tea, getting  hopping mad and churning
 out her thoughts!”  

“Thank you very much for another issue
 of your Mil Mania.  Just wanted to
 let you know how I enjoy it and I particu-
 larly like your movie reviews...much
 more in detail than the ones you hear on
 TV/Radio or read about.


“Read your newsletter and really enjoyed
 the essay on writing.”                   
















Text Box:         As always, feel free to drop by 
                      my “space” at


        In retrospect it seems a bit ironic that last month’s issue should briefly pay tribute to a “friend” who’d then recently passed away – Steve  Irwin, “The Crocodile Hunter” – an event which filled many the world over with the sadness of losing someone most of us “knew” only through the magic of television.   This month, however, I want to pause to commemorate the life of a friend with whom my husband, Andre, and I were indeed firsthand acquainted for the past ten years.  As some of you know, the duality of art’s “real” vs. intangible value as expounded on recently in this very column is to be blamed – or thanked, all depending on one’s viewpoint…or, more accurately, perhaps, my mood on a given day(!) – for the fact I’ve worked as a landscaper – yes, literally in “the field” (or shrubbery beds, lawn, etc.) for the bulk of my adult life…contrary to the impression it seems I inadvertently give that I “sit on the couch and eat bonbons”, as someone, I kid you not, actually said to me one day (uh...thanks?). 

     Anyway, the point is that the friend of whom I speak was also a landscaper, and it was this commonality that prompted him to introduce himself to us in the beginning (his acquaintance, incidentally, serving as just one proof I was in no way being facetious when noting there is much to be thankful for in having this particular “day job”), along with one other “surface” commonality: the discovery we shared a surname… a circumstance I think very appropriate as a reminder that family is really far more a matter of people who flow continually through our hearts and lives rather than one of literal blood flowing through our veins.

     The funny thing about that is, it’s also not a matter of planned events and conscious efforts that result in such a bond.  In fact, other than to jointly meet with clients to whom we’d recommended him for hardscaping services to complement our plantings, we never went out to dinner or ever made the slightest commitment for seeing each other throughout that whole decade.  By both working and living in the same area, however, we were forever just “running into each other” – at a place we’d stopped for lunch, on a job site he drove past, the grocery store, etc.  And, invariably, John would stop to talk and, because he was always smiling, joking, and generally simply wonderful to be around, he would also invariably brighten our day.

     The last time he did this was only days before he so unexpectedly passed.  We were just about to leave an Italian deli at which we’d grabbed a bite when a truck pulled up daringly close beside us, and we looked over to see John.  He was with one of his employees, and of course, wore a broad grin.  He joked and talked for a few minutes, and we subsequently watched, smiling ourselves, as he walked into the deli.  It was the most ordinary of days, and the most ordinary of occurrences – right down to the characteristic impression John had never in his life put a comb to the coarse blondish mane always sticking in umpteen directions.  Little did we know we were witnessing history, living an event we would never repeat again.

     On Monday of last week, we pulled into a gas station to fill up on our way home.  Another acquaintance happened to be there at the time, and called over to Andre, asking if he was related to the “John Scott from Washington” who was listed in that day’s obituaries.   Shocked and at first partly disbelieving Andre explained briefly our acquaintance – asking, of course, first and foremost if it said he’d been a landscaper.  As it was merely the preliminary announcement, it gave no details, and (in the absence of being able to call his house and ask something like, “Uh, your husband didn’t happen to die did he...?”) we spent much of the evening attempting to learn more, to no avail.  The next morning I went online to check out the local paper and discovered the unthinkable had indeed occurred.  And, in later visiting his wife (whom we’d never before met) we further learned he had simply gone to bed with her Saturday night as usual, and never woke up, a detail that sparked the thought, I must confess, “thank God for small miracles”.  For, as horrifying as that must have been for her, it’s still surely a comfort to all that he clearly never suffered…passing in a measure of the peace his life had passed along to everyone with whom he came in contact.

     Having shared so much of this very personal tale, I at last get to the point that ties it to an art-based newsletter and once more to last month’s column.  Given there are no words at such a time, and yet the undeniable need within to say something remains a nagging dilemma, I reacted at last in the only way I know how – by turning to “the work of creation as an act of love”…expressing the things I thought and felt in the form of a poem which I sent off to John’s wife.  I haven’t heard a word from her in response, and in no way did I wish her to feel obligated to do so.  After all, this is hardly an artistic endeavor for which payment of money, praise or any other form of remuneration is expected or desired.  And, frankly, I mention all of that because I believe that’s the spirit which should prevail in the sharing of all art, including that created from the greatest joy, not merely the deepest sorrow…the very same spirit that prevails in the sharing of true friendship – i.e. the spirit of the gift that was our joyous friendship with John.

Temporary Insanity









The pen, more mighty than the sword,

With words the weapons in this war,

Through passion victory's assured

As soldiers do their souls outpour...

Their shield, vulnerability...

Their armor, only bravery.

Their javelin, blunt honesty;

Closed-mindedness, their enemy.

Their fight is not to conquer land,

But quell unrest so close at hand

By helping others understand

The forces under their command...

Historically a ragtag lot

With names like Dumas, Poe, Alcott...

Their outward uniforms match not,

But uniqueness these all have got.

A special force that's been comprised

Of those mentioned herein with pride

Who’ve walked among us, side by side;

Through centuries they stand allied.

But need they be named here, at last

To their identity unmask?

Their mission unchanged from days past:

To serve mankind, with love, their task.

A literary group, 'tis true...

Though painters, sculptors fit here, too.

Their work provides insight -- a clue --

Into themselves...and me and you.

Text Box: A Brief Added Rave…
     Congrats to Mil Mania subscriber Jordan Krause and his Rebel Minds Productions, whose 60 min. film, Presence, was selected as a finalist at the American Artist Film Festival in Kansas City. Read the full interview/article here.  
     Good work, Jordan and company!

                                          Can you believe it?!?!  One
                                 whole year has passed since this
                                 experiment in insanity was
                                 launched.  And, how it’s grown in
                                 the meantime.  Thanks so much to all
                                 of you who signed up sight unseen

                                 at the outset, and thanks as well to
                                 everyone who’s come on board
                                 since.  I hope you’re enjoying this
                                 journey as much as I am...and that
                                 we all continue to do so for the next year — and maybe even the next...and the next...and the next after that as well. 
     As far as this particular issue goes, you’ll see it contains a mad mixture of happiness, solemnity, fun, facts, fiction — and links to more of the same...only different! 
    More specifically, the “Spotlight” section is back this month, with what one might call a slightly alternative take on “Beauty and the Beast” in terms of the wee “beasts” whose natural “beauty” is being costumed.  And, that same title is covered as it pertains to yet another form in the “Music Mayhem” section...wherein we meet a fictional beast likewise beautiful and hugely misunderstood.  Come to think of it, I suppose this theme might even be said to extend to this month’s “Ravings of a Mad Woman”, where I’ve reviewed a most unusual “novel” choice I challenge all inclined to dismiss as not their cup of tea to consider at least tasting nonetheless. 

     Of course, the struggles of Joshua Gray also continue to be recounted in “Writings From the Asylum”, and Molly’s back to give her take on a thought-provoking letter about matters of the heart.  And, included as well are a couple of tributes: 
one a joyful offering of kudos for a job
well done by a
Mil Mania subscriber...the
other, unfortunately, a remembrance of a
friend’s recent and unexpected death.

     Lastly, I just want to remind everyone
that this publication continues to be a work-
in-progress, and as such I can’t express
enough how greatly appreciated are your
thoughts and suggestions.  So, as Molly
continually encourages, I too urge you to
keep those letters coming! 

     Thanks again for an exciting and madness-
filled year.  And, make sure to pat your-
selves on the back for being a big part of it.

               Happy 1st anniversary to us all!


                     Newsletter Spotlight                     

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the prose “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall.  While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place shortly after the funeral…(you can catch up on all prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

                                  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),
       Chapter 10 Part 2   “Another Morning After, cont’d”


     Josh took his beer to the couch, swiping the remote from the coffee table before flopping down wearily and falling into his accustomed routine of surfing through the channels to arrive at nothing, anyway.  As every Sunday, the bulk of programming consisted of sports, certain of which he followed, but with little more than passing interest.  More keenly aware than he’d ever been of “compe-tition”, however, and the confusion one might blame the concept for causing recently in both the personal and professional aspects of his life, he felt vaguely cynical toward grown men making a serious business out of running around like kids…and far too often acting out like the very worst of spoiled brats…not that he’d ever allowed competition to affect him so negatively…like stomping out of a diner because a bandmate seemed to mean more to a girl that he might want to mean more to than he did – or should.  Yeah, he was mister frickin’ angel baby, right?  So, how come he couldn’t find his halo.  But he sure could find the stabbing of devil horns through his brain easy enough.  Or maybe that was just the perpetual hangover and lack of sleep he’d long since accepted as part of the new, far from improved Julie-less Josh.

     Switching off the TV, he tossed the remote back toward the coffee table.  It missed the edge, landing with a slight plunk on the carpet below.  Making no effort to retrieve it, Josh suddenly realized Sultan wasn’t lounging as usual in just that spot, and after polishing off the remaining contents of his beer, decided to go seek out his furry friend.

     Glancing through the bedroom doorway there was no sign of him on the bed or floor nearby, so Josh walked over and knelt down, pulling up the dust ruffle that hid the plain metal bed frame – and more importantly, the otherwise unbounded “horizontal storage closet” beneath – a perfect hide-away for a cat in the mood to be alone…a thought that prompted a wry grin from Josh as he wondered briefly whether he might fit under there sometimes as well.  Pushing aside his spare guitar case, he thought better of the idea when he spotted Sultan, who had clearly not wished to be found, eyeing him with that uniquely feline disdain and thumping his tail in a slow boil of annoyance.  Having felt pretty much the exact same way when Tommy forced him out of his own unkempt “closet” a week ago, he was reminded anew that humans are nothing more than another form of animal, after all.

     “No problem, bud.  I’m outta here,” Josh assured Sultan, dropping the ruffle back into its place and rising, then absently taking a seat on the edge of the bed as he looked, unseeingly at first, at the room around him.  Focusing at last on the desk where he’d recently found Julie’s notebook, he went over to it and started rifling through.   As expected, if not entirely hoped, he discovered more of these volumes, likewise labeled with the names of various college courses, and picked one nearly obscured by loose papers, a stapler and other assorted stationery items from the back of the bottom drawer. 

     Opening it tentatively, he saw the first few pages were indeed dutifully printed notes on the fascinating topic of “Statistics” – one of those words that had taken on a whole new meaning in recent weeks since Julie, to the world outside, had regressed into nothing more than one of them…as in some other category, he supposed, had he.  He wondered vaguely how “predictably” he was comparing to others in his “population”.   Were all “survivors” of these “incidents” holing up in their closets finding more to relate to in their cats than other people?  Not that he had any reason to feel sorry for himself, he knew.  Most of them didn’t have a record contract waiting to hand them “success”.  He had no reason to feel like a loser.  After all, in one of the toughest competitions -- at least on the young American male musicians’ continent -- he was a big winner.  Oh, yeah, he was a winner all right…in one of those scratch-off ticket lotteries where you just keep winning a bunch more scratch-off tickets.  More work, more hope, more disappointment.  Congratulations… LOSER.

     Getting back to the notebook, the notes ended and a series of blank pages followed.  Further in, writing resumed, only here it was part printing, part script, part scribble.  There were bits and pieces of journal entries, paragraphs representing mere beginnings of short stories, and haphazard sprinklings of unconnected lines and verses — one of which fit so closely with his current thoughts, he suddenly felt a chill, as if Julie’s ghost were in the room, fully aware of all that he was thinking – and the thoughts he was trying unsuccessfully to quell…


“Perhaps words can’t explain just where I am and why I’m not;

My refusal to bemoan what it is I haven’t got.

Don’t want to look ahead lest I see me left behind;

Powerful incentive to leave this page white, stay blind”.


     Maybe that was the whole problem after all.  Things were hard enough; what if, God forbid, by moving forward, they got worse? He’d thought it at the hotel in San Francisco, the night he learned he’d both gained and lost everything he’d fought for in the drop of a hat…uh, well, in a “drop”, anyway.  Most people feared failure.  Maybe he feared success.  After all, being at the bottom just means that many more steps up to be grateful for.  Being at the top means the only moves are sideways or down.  Maybe he just wanted to move sideways while down for the moment.  It might not be the most fun a person could have.  But, at least, the fall wasn’t likely to kill you…especially, if someone else’s already had.

     The problem, of course, was that Tommy was right.  He wasn’t in this alone.  And, he wasn’t the only one whose future was on the line…or who had worked hard to make it a brighter one.  And, he was undoubtedly the one who benefited most from all their efforts – at least in terms of “glory”.  Just another way in which life really was unfair.  But they weren’t the ones complaining.  So, who was he to do so?       

    He stood up and laid the notebook on the desk, kneeling down and lifting the ruffle once more to check out Sultan still scowling from behind the guitar case.  Smiling at his own reflection in smaller form, he couldn’t resist asking, “You want a beer?”…an invitation met with the unchanged expression of disgust only a member of his slightly buzzed and bereaved “population” could find comforting. “That’s cool,” he followed up.  “Maybe some other time.”

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