Archive for February, 2011

“Is this heaven?” he asks?

February 23, 2011

Clearly I am in a holding pattern, while dust settles on several fronts around me. Charley continues to keep silent vigil, while I take care of other sections of my life and for that I am grateful. This will be a difficult time for you dear readers, as I will not have opportunity to sit and write for several days. Cardboard calls and I will be very busy taking apart one house and re-piecing myself into another. I will be thinking about you all though and pondering my latest visitation.
The other morning, just before dawn, I dreamt about one of the last scenes from the movie, “Field of Dreams” where Terrence Mann is telling Ray the reason why he was chosen to go out into the ‘cornfield’ with Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other players.

I paraphrase:
‘… There was a reason why they chose me, Ray. I once wrote a story about Ebbets Field… the one that charged you up and sent you all the way to Boston to find me…’
‘I’m a writer, Ray. It’s what I do.
‘What’s out there?’ he asks.
Terrence replies, ‘I don’t know; but if I’m brave enough to go out there… ‘ he pantomimes a headline.
‘Shoeless Joe Jackson comes to Iowa! What a story that will make!’

I try to comfort myself with those words as I worry I have somehow missed out because I do not have visions. I’m a writer- that’s what I do. R is a psychic- that’s what she does. This dream sequence, I believe was in response to my asking the cosmos why I could not see Charley the same way R does. Why she gets to see him smile or wink. Why she can talk to him and I must ask questions through her?
I feel a bit like the character Ray Consella sometimes. You know the… ‘What’s in it for me?’ syndrome. ‘Hey-That’s my cornfield they’re living in out there! That’s my corn!’ I hear myself yell at the sky.
Well, kind of. My office is like my cornfield and every once in a while I wonder why I can’t see Charley and my parents the way R does. Why R sees Charley and can talk directly to him and all I get are just impressions or intuitions?
I know that what I do matters; that it is important because this story will be written by me. They will be my words and my descriptions. But some days, I just wish Charley would come talk to me. That he would walk right up to my desk, sit down next to me and say…”Hey, let’s chat.” I envy R and yet I cannot begrudge her anything. Charley does talk to me through her and so do my folks, so I really cannot complain and I’m not really. I just wish I could see him one time- to know this is all true. To know that the connection is real and that I have not pieced this all together from shoestrings and paper clips. I have a formal report to author and so very much rides on what it is I say and do from this point forward, and I guess I just would like further confirmation that I am on the right track and that I am doing right by all concerned.
So here you are Charley! My personal invite from me to you… come see me Charley and let me see the man I have been championing for over 18 months now. C’mon! Grant me an audience!
(I’m shaking just a bit inside my sneakers as I write this because he may just do so.) I think about taking back the request the instant I make it. The petty words make me feel small and whiney. It’s not that I am not happy with what has transpired- that I am ungrateful. I just wish I could see him… once. To know that it was real. That it mattered. I wait and the 8 x 10 is silent. I feel like a schmuck, but can’t help myself. He has been such a huge part of my life this last two years… Hell, he practically has been my life these past two years! I just wanted what any other person would want- a chance to see him smile. I calm myself and know that there was a reason I was chosen and it wasn’t to do R’s job. It was to do my job- to write. Why? Because that’s what I do. Just like the character of the writer, Terrence Mann. That’s why I am a part of this. Humbled, I remember the final scene from the movie as Shoeless Joe squares off with Ray, trying to help him understand that his father appeared to ease his pain and not the other way around.

And so it goes…
“So what are you saying, Ray?” Shoeless Joe asks.
“I’m saying… what’s in it for me?”
“I really think you should stay, Ray.” he replies.
“But you guys are guests in my corn! You’re living in my corn! Why can’t I go with you?”

The silence fills the air as one lone player begins to gather up his things.
“If you build it… he will come…”
“Go the distance…”
“Ease his pain…”
“It was you Ray… it was you…”

It was for me that Charley came, so that he cold ease my pain. My pain was the loss of my parents and the unbalance in my life they left in their wake. In my grief I lost my true North- my internal compass was so off mark I could not see the forrest for the trees anymore.

I built it… he came.

I cried… and he went the distance to ease my pain. Charley not only gave me his story, he gave me back a way to reach my parents and for this I will be eternally grateful. So with baited breath, I wait at the metaphorical fence and pray that my ‘John Consella’ appears, so that I may talk with him and share one more catch as the sun sets so that I might find peace with my new path!

The lone player takes off his catcher’s mask and reveals the face of Ray’s father as the young man he was before Ray was born.
“Is this heaven?” he asks?
“No… this is Iowa.” Ray replies, confused. “Is there a heaven?”
“Oh yes… there’s a heaven. It’s the place dreams come true.” he responds with absolute certainty. He looks around and sees the green of the fields, the streaks in the evening sky… the family upon the porch swing. “Funny, I could have sworn this was heaven…”

Ray searches his fieldd of vision and sees his wife, his child, his home and his life… “Maybe this is heaven” he sighs.
I shall try to stop a moment later tonight and survey my new world, just as Ray did and if I am lucky… I will begin to find my new world can be heaven too.

Missing you already…

February 20, 2011


I think Charley is right. I think we have a reached a point where most of the questions that are truly important have been answered and what has been discovered since this all began is beyond astounding. How silly I must have sounded in the beginning, when all I could think about was finding the identity of the shooter. Now in light of all, his comment that his death was just the tip of the iceberg makes much more sense. Oh Charley…how could I have known? Who would have guessed everything that had led up to it and then after it? Well… there are a few we know. Those who are still very much alive- they could have guessed it all and more. I imagine that is why they found me such a source of amusement back then. I mean really- how could you have pulled a bloody rabbit like this out of a hat and been right?

The book begins with a reading from R and I know it will eventually end with one as well. Charley still sits atop my writing desk, but while he visits less often… I know he is still here when I need him. Unlike R, I do not receive those direct communications- at least not the way she does. But I know when he is here with me. I do. There is a gentleness that comes across the features of his 8 x 10 when he is in residence. His eyes soften and the Mona Lisa smile tugs its way into a slight grin. I confess I miss his company on days when I cannot feel him near. He has been constant these last 18 months and I have become accustomed to his companionship as one becomes accustomed to the background noise of trains in the night or cars passing over a nearby bridge. We are inseparable now… Charley and I. Forever we will be bound to one another by his death, his children and his grandchildren and this book.

When I look back… I see all the strings and pieces that pulled us all together through the years and I am amazed that all was orchestrated with such deliberate ease. A move here, a shift there… a meeting by chance and a chance to meet… and in the end, nothing left to chance at all! No…you and I, Charley? We were before the stars; always destined to help one another from either side of the fence. I owe you a debt of gratitude for answering a child’s multitude of questions. What lies on the other side? Can you see me? Will you remember me? Will I be forgotten?

Carly Simon wrote a song that I always loved about the death of her mother. She wanted to know things like…Does Benjamin Franklin dance on the face of the moon? Does the rain still make you sad? Clearly she had questions too she hoped her mother could answer from the other side.

On my phone I have two saved messages from my father. One is from Thanksgiving and the other from just before he died. I had called him for his birthday and he had missed the call. When he called back, I missed his and so to make a long story, short… telephone tag ensued and finally a voicemail gifted me this: he thanked me for the call and for the “remembrance” of his birthday. At the time I thought it an odd expression. He died shortly after his 82 Birthday; just 4 days after he had come to see a production of mine. It is the last time any of us have him on film. I loved and love my father and was gifted a great many years with him; although I will say most candidly that I got to know him best the years after my mother’s death. His great gift of empathy and his caring ways were amplified in her absence. Caretaker without his charge, he was lost among the living- just going through the motions of life until he could be with her again. He could have gone sooner, but I believe our mother encouraged him to stay so that we might mine the gifts he possessed before he left. All this to say, I am sorry that Julie was denied such. Parents often teach us how to grow old with grace and dignity and with both hers now being gone and compromised by tragedy- she will travel this road alone without guardrail of mentoring.

So Charley, dearest friend… I thank you for the time you have shared with me. Do not stray far, but do not hold yourself back for want of a better place for me. Just promise to visit every now and then. Guide me as I write your story. Help me be effectual in your cause and pray that you have chosen wisely the vessel of your justice.

I am spent…missing you already.

They are speaking to you …

February 18, 2011


I dreamt last night that I was having a conversation with someone who I knew; yet could not seem to identify from my conscious associations. We were reviewing a list and at the end of that list was the word: information.

I was told I already have the information I needed and when I asked why I could not seem to access it, I was informed…
“You will be directed when to access.”

This was after a day filled with numbers everywhere! Highway signs, street signs- house numbers, faces on clocks… 10:10, 11:11, 1:11, 5:55…
License plates that read 2222, 555, 111 and 888…

When I awoke this morning, I looked at the clock…Bingo! You guessed it!

555 = “Huge changes are rumbling through every section of your life…”

Still think the universe doesn’t communicate with you? Listen to your guides. They are speaking to you through the sacred and universal language of mathematics.

Branded by each hot breath…

February 15, 2011


The cardinals outside my window have been singing for two days now. A crow crossed the sky yesterday morning. Crows are messengers and Cardinals harbingers of important news.

There is much afoot in the cosmos this day. Pay attention dear friends… can you not hear the hoofs of the painted horse approach as the Grim Reapers begins to gather his minions and circle the camp? Each circle getting smaller and smaller till at last he divines we must square off- he and I. I can feel the thunderous reverberation of determined hoofs as they make each pass- branded forever by each hot breath of his steed as it pulsates against the back of my neck as he slowly begins to close the gap- teasing with my resolve. One revolution at a time… he weaves the darkness into his sheath, each pass getting slightly closer and closer.
I wait centered with Charley; he the gallant one stoic at my side… ready to do battle with the living. He calls out into the swirling darkness- “An eye for an eye- a tooth for a tooth, Grim. I am here to take you back to Hell. One truth… one lie at a time… till justice is all that stands between us.”

The painted horse stops in its tracks to consider the warning- his rider fidgets with the brittle reins now feeling the bite of an eternal flame. In the distance the wind chortles amongst the trees. It’s laughter has brought a new chill to the air and the ragged breaths from the horse’s mouth now frosts in mid-air and falls to the ground.

Another sound rises above the horizon. The steed pricks up his ears in the direction, but cannot decipher the code. It is truth. Unrecognizable to the dark side.

Can you not hear the apocalypse that is coming, Grim? One blade thrashing through the night sky after another- slicing through the air to make it bleed with the truth? Another one is dead. The crowd of conspirators thins each year, like the hair on the heads of the old men they now are. Soon you may be standing alone. Each comrade that has fallen has already met his maker with blood stains on his hands. Do you not know the heavenly fear they felt convulsing under their earthly bravado? Did you not see them quake at the edge of their graves when they realize the pit before them has not floor upon which to lay their weary bones… for they see no end to the fall and now know the endless realm of Hell they now descend into?

Guilt knows no bounds- its rancor no margin.

The painted horse pants and chomps at the bit to charge. The rider poised on the edge of reason considers his immediate options…

To slay or be slain?

“Another day… another day,” he sighs, while his painted steed snorts its frustrations in unison. The Grim Reaper decides. The odds are no longer in his favor. He will make the ride again another day. And Charley and I? We will still be standing here waiting- centered in the truth, centered in ourselves-ready for the fight.

Beware the Grim Reaper, for he rides a painted horse…

February 15, 2011

It came…it came! The call of calls!
The game begins- the pawns in place now wait for the direction of their master.
Queen’s Rook to Knight’s four- a sagatious sally into the hinterllands sets us forth on a dangerous journey. Beware the Grim Reaper for he rides a painted horse and uses your fear for a riding crop.
Oh yea of little faith- I promised this day would come and now that it has, I can scarcely catch my breath. It is real… it is real. The path begun, first steps taken… I now wait with baited breath for instructions on how to follow.

I’ve been waiting for you!

February 12, 2011


You think the universe doesn’t listen? Do no be so foolish- it listens! The other day I sent a message to R asking why Charley had gone AWOL on me. She insisted Charley had not gone AWOL- he was waiting for me to learn a lesson; stating I may not even know what that lesson is yet.

Life brings us lessons everyday, so in my eagerness to appease… I began to try and discern what other lesson I should be learning that was so significant that Charley felt he had to step away for a bit from me. Ego came first to the table- was it not enough that I had publicly performed an act of contrition for any unrealized slights? The answer came back… maybe that’s not the lesson you were supposed to learn, you schmuck!

Maybe… just maybe… he was asking that I begin to walk the rest of this road alone. That I learn I can trust my instincts more and keep my vision focused- but not myopic- as there is a difference and that he no longer needs to hold my hand each step of the way. To be sure, the previous catharsis carried weight. Of that I have no doubt, for that very afternoon I received the call I have been waiting for, for over three months and also…in the end of the message he said I had figured everything out, but that my fourth choice was wrong. Now, all along I had felt solid on three of the four in flannel- the identity of the fourth gave me fits. Why? Because the field of suspects opened up into a freaking buffet of who’s who, who wanted Charley out of the picture-that’s why! The fourth in the, four in flannel could have been a number of folks- each fitting into the slot- round peg, square hole. None a perfect fit and try as I might, Charley would not confirm a one of them. Sooooo…. like a woman in a shoe store, I tried on every shoe that looked right- but felt wrong.
But Charley took pity on me and gave me one final clue that painted a red target on this suspect’s ass like a neon “Come and get it” sign! The man who smoked the strange smelling pipe!
Go back… do you remember back when I was desperate to find the man who smoked a pipe with mint tobacco? His nickname popped up every time Charley spoke- but then he shared this nickname with 6 other people who ran throughout this entire cover-up and even though now it means I must make minor adjustments here and there within my summation- I believe I finally have it right. The identity of this person even gives new importance to the $3.00 lighter Charley bought at Morris’s Pawn Shop.

In 1966- you didn’t have throw-away lighters. You invested in a real lighter- especially if you were a pipe/cigar smoker. It all seems to fit now; bringing the information full circle. The man with the red hair- the go to guy that told the shooter what to do that night. The man with the red hair, who was there that night at the gun swap… The man with the red hair who was as intimate with the porn ring as the other three. The man on the inside who helped with the $$$… and maybe even held the keys to the gold colored box # ******. Not a mailbox!
Not a mailbox… but maybe a bank vault?

Hmmmmmmm…. we shall see! We shall see!

Well… welcome home #4. I’ve been waiting for you!

What happens when the world…

February 10, 2011


Recently I asked Charley to come back again, stating that we had much work to do. Truth was…he was just fine. It was me who had much work to do.

What happens when the world and all its chaos invades your space for so many hours, for so many years that you literally begin to think of its intrusion as natural; the white noise that you allow to become the substitute for the real music in your day to day life?

I can tell you…

You forget what real music sounds like. You forget that silence is not just the absence of that music, but the absence of everything that you allow to keep you from hearing your own thoughts. You forget that not everyone shares your passions or your dedicated sense of sacrifice… and perhaps you sometimes listen to the dead, more than the living. You forget that though you are there to solve injustices, you are not also granted the authority to pass judgments and divine punishment for them. You forget that although humanity is capable of such evil- that it is capable of such grace and beauty as well. You forget that while there are those who achieve great things with great efforts, there are those who achieve small things with just as much great dedication and great effort. You forget for whom it is you may be serving.

Is it difficult to remember all these things while you are deeply under deadlines and personal calendars?

Difficult? Oh my…yes.

Ambition; even altruistically motivated can be a run away car that leaves tread marks on all those who are innocently thrown within your path while you chase it. There is a fine line between granting forgiveness and asking for it. One takes compassion and empathy… the other takes courage and humility.

In my pursuits of interest, I am dogged in my approach. Like a pit bull, I dig and drag and poke and prod and then muscle my way around obstacles- all the while with altruistic intent, but sometimes without ennobling results. And I must be reminded some days there must be compassion too- even in such singular pursuits.

Sooooo… in these days of emotional tug of wars and challenging career pursuits I must learn to stop and not only smell the roses, but pick a few and hand them out to people who have graciously allowed me entrance to their world as way of thanks.

Consider this then, not only my writers lament, but an apology and an early Valentine’s Day gift to you all…

That while I spend so much time in my head, I must concede that at the end of my day… there is no one else there but me and I can neither expect others to see what I see, know what I know… nor feel what I feel… unless I tell them.

If I am to nobly serve both living and dead in this quest- I must be mindful that I owe each a debt of gratitude for their willingness to comply in this venture. For any previous lack of recognition, I beg of you forgiveness and bid you each a heartfelt thank you and a promise to try to spend more time in my heart and less in my head- regardless of deadlines or outcomes!

The Coffee Pot Conspiracy and its exercise of evil!

February 6, 2011


I know you’re looking for something more… I am too. Charley has fallen silent for the better part of this month while I deal with more earthly issues and much as I have hated the loss of thread- it was better to clear these kinds of issues from the docket so that I can move forward with a new outlook and a cleaner slate. Also, the course I am currently taking may be just the edification and margin of guidance I need to do this right. It is a continual struggle to keep mindful that he has greater scope and understanding of the necessary process to bring this to successful fruition- but I remand myself daily of such to bargain away the perceived pain of unintentional slight. In one sense it is always hardest to be both teacher and student, as I invoke the impressions of my higher self to guide where my consciousness might blunder. Therefore, with patience and a keen eye towards learning I must tarry behind and ask that the lesson be both clear and swift when most appropriate. I do miss the banter and frantic nature of some of the information. I can liken it only to the poignant parting scene at the end of Dorothy’s visit to the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, when with tearful reverie she tousles the curls of the Cowardly Lion, telling him that now that he has found his courage… she is going to miss the way he used to blubber and cry for her help.

Charley too has become brave enough to help himself and begin to walk away… and he should. For who would wish to be condemned to an eternity of such silence and heart wrenching existence as he has suffered for these last 44 years?

Last night in tender angst I sought his marbled eyes of gray and asked that he not wander too far as I still- with tether in feeble hand- have great need of further mentoring. The case is beginning to wrap around itself; the bulk of it’s mystery now known and tucked in both my head and plastered amongst a million notes and papers that dot this cottage floor- but there is something still not right with all. I have need of further insight about the finer details of execution- the words just prior and the circumference of involvement involving the peripheral threads of those who pulled the strings from the shadows near.

The man of counsel who allegedly got a young girl pregnant and then faded into the night while others took care of his problem. The same alleged man who grew into his black robe as quickly as others pulled him out of it. The man who cried foul play for Hazel from the rooftop while he wallowed in the shadows of hidden guilt within his own. The man who borrowed the truth and then twisted it for his own use to protected others, in order to protect himself. Who built the walls of suspicion opposite of common denominator, then applied the gavel to its mortar of lies in an attempt to tear it down one brick at a time to construct something else. Files that went missing in the night…pages that no longer saw the light of day and the awkward shred of decency played out from fingers begging for redemption from beyond the grave who gave them back.

The long walk to the house of love and the even longer walk back from the halls of justice. The man who counseled the men who wore suits by day, then donned rubber boots at night while brandishing stainless steel shovels like swords against the damsels in their last moments of distress. He, the blind face of justice with contorted smile and weighted scale, who protected the men who would roll female bodies in the moonlight for passion, then roll them silently back into water before the dawn for protection. Men who were bought and paid for…women who were just bought and killed. The scale of justice that was tipped low enough for the men who took the law and warped it into something evil and seductive…whose currency flowed from stills and road the rails NW out of Valdosta to buy more power and influence in town after town. The men who sat in gilded chairs in the city of Margaret Mitchell, who fondled woman the same way, they fondled diamonds and rubies with  calculated measure and cold  fingertips. The courier who acted both as pigeon and bait- whose web was so wide and so thick that men got stuck in every corner and bled freely for her gaze-oblivious to every other anemic victim at their side. Weak, greedy men who thought with their manhood and lived by their guttural interpretation of the world they surveyed.

Route 44…
The four in flannel…
The necklace…
The diamond and one ruby…
The small white kitten…
1439 blue oak…
The black dog…
The red fingernails…
The long and winding road…
The red sports car…
The two bedroom house…
The lake beside the road…
The pool upon the hill…
The card with his name written clearly in ink…
The golden box…
The hut with shingled roof…
The rail cars that rush NW…
The three men at the rails…
The blood on his hands…
The bloody shovel and compass…
The Fort …
The Daniel Ashley Hotel…
The special fence with the carving is burning hot…
The coffee grounds upon the floor…
The thermos full of coffee three weeks after…

Then man who stands at the fence beside the hay roll… he has more information for you!

The Coffee Pot Conspiracy and the exercise of evil!

Come back to me Charley. We have much work still to do!

At the very least?

February 4, 2011

What I have learned this day is that while kind people can do evil things… evil people can do kind things. The world is a crazy place where we do our best to navigate and survive what the universe throws our way. Some lessons are learned at the expense of others and sometimes even at the greater expense to ourselves.
The task then?
To rise above… take the high road when others bend their lowest and when they have reached a decent you thought not possible? Try to move forward by offering them a hand up from out of their pit.
At the very least? It will mess with the heads!

I feel as though I am cheating on Charley…

February 1, 2011


With so much going on in my life, I feel as though I am cheating on Charley in the chaos of it all. I have two productions underway- with no assistant… school has started back and classes are already overwhelming…my job description is morphing into something still unknown and on top of everything else…I am relocating! My life seems to be tucked in between the pages of books and pressed cardboard and in between it all I cannot seem to find Charley. Glimpses here and there of fleeting shadows he presents for my folly tease tenderly, but I find I long for the comfort of solid and steady connection. He has become my touchstone to higher purpose. Still, I suppose this is the kind of static silence between friends… the kind that occurs when individual lives take on greater focus and due diligence required just to survive the onslaught of excess. All that being said; I just flat out miss him.
All my other connections bend to the pressures and appear on track- husband, children… co-workers and fellow comrades in life all fine and pushing forward. They are constant and it’s good. I just miss Charley and his subtle antics. I miss the flow of information and his idiosyncratic curiosity on the things I do- or do not do that seem to intrigue him so. In the interest of jumpstarting the evolution of my higher self again, I have tried to do as much reading as writing of late. But the imbalance while certainly enlightening, has left me slightly off kilter cerebrally. Ingesting so much information at one time sometimes creates an overload and when one has need of purging- the time has escaped you and you cannot. Homework demands attention- life begs of it and in the tug of war- the writing for love of writing must always take a second seat.
Here in my cocoon- I understand the mode of survival. I must breathe deep, look out onto gray skies and know in my heart that the pen calls and waits patiently not to be denied because it and I are as one. So with joy I settle easy into chair, adjust the light and ponder for one moment the mysteries of just being a writer. To understand the lure of the laptop’s steady hum, the memorizing waves of steam from morning coffee that seem to dance and bow before an imaginary muse that beckons and calls sweetly to my secret soul. I miss these things in the same way that I miss the soothing voice of a treasured friend, an inspirational passage from a worn and well loved book… the painted features in an 8 x 10 that greets me each morning. It is a love affair with the human mind.
This winter has brought many blessings and surprises. A country drive on a snowy day beside a lake has brought a new address into my Rolodex- mine. And in my haste to be prepared for this recently divinely inspired and insanely quick decided move- I have packed all upon this desk but lamp, various texts of academic fodder and my dearest friend in all the world- or in the other world, as it may be- Charley. In fact most of who I am now resides in boxes labeled with bits and parts of my day to day life. Though removing everything else reduced the clutter I am known for…when considering packing his photo into the larger bins that held the rest of his life, I paused. The very thought of removing him from sight left the area too barren to consider. So here at my side, whether it be break of morning, or pitch of night… my dear friend with the steely gray eyes must keep silent vigil and bolster me for the road ahead. And even though I know as I bend untested bindings of academic tomes- or gaze among the stars that guide me in my path- I know when I look into those eyes that there is order and purpose to this life. Charley reminds me to be confident that in the grander scheme of things I am no longer alone in my quest for understanding of the universe and the journey of the soul.

Now, with coffee in hand and friend to govern my heroic efforts to achieve, let’s move onto Chapter 3, “Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion” and what it will teach me in order that I can be of better service to you.

This is for you Charley- all for you and for the next soul that cries out from the cosmos to find their justice from beyond as well.

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