Clothing Optional

coffee-clothing optionalI’m sitting at my desk staring at a lineup of toys.  They’re mostly horror related with one or two minor exceptions.  Edgar Allan Poe’s head bobs from side to side as if to say, “What are you doing with your life, son?”  In sublime agreement, the other monsters and aliens stare with dead eyes.  And here I sit, staring back with my own dead eyes.  I reach forward and poke Poe’s nose, causing his bobble head to bounce around with renewed vigor, and even though I had encouraged his head to nod, it fell right back into a dissenting shake.

There is probably a lesson here.  Something about not letting a bobblehead judge your life choices.  On the other hand, the judgment isn’t really coming an inanimate object; it’s coming from within.  (And did Poe just start nodding at that statement?  I think he did!).

Maybe this is self-reflection.  Or maybe it’s boredom.  Either way, it has prompted a look inward, which in moderation can be a good thing.  The long winter has found me spending too many hours on the internet, wasting money on things I don’t need.  Yes, I like to collect horror memorabilia, but it’s a guilty pleasure.  No sooner do I add an item to my collection do I regret having spent the money and consider reselling it.

I find myself embroiled in these internal debates because I am a fractured man.  Part of me is a reclusive outdoorsman.  He fancies himself a borderline-Buddhist.  A person who needs no more than a small cottage, some farmable land, and a few chickens.  It’s that same part that likes to retreat into the forest with a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.  He likes to carry a tiny notebook and pen everywhere he goes, because surely his thoughts are quite important.  So important that any missed opportunity to jot down a random idea could mean the loss of an entire volume of critical essays.  Surely this rugged individual–who lights campfires with a flint and striker rather than a match–has much to say about daily living.

Of course there’s the other side.  The side that watches horror movies instead of reading Hemingway.  The side that purchases vintage toys instead of chickens.  The side that chooses to play a video game when a perfect opportunity for a hike presents itself.  Can that man really work a sustainable plot of land?  Can he shed the hefty weight of materialism?

I don’t know the answer.  Maybe it’s a compromise.  Maybe my two halves can “make nice.”  I’ll set up a play date.  They could frolic together through a field of severed heads, or hike up a mountain of dread.  I’ll take all the pieces of clay that make up Tony and smoosh them together.  I’d be a well behaved–if not grumpy–golem.

Perhaps this is simply the price one pays for remaining undefined.  Like my writing, I’m a discordant conglomeration of genres.  Horror, romance, science fiction, bizarro, splatter punk, minimalism.  Blur those lines, I say!  And just like that, I’m again embracing ambiguity.  Where one moment I bemoan my sorry fate, I now come around to celebrate individuality.  Manic?  Perhaps.  Bipolar?  Possibly.  But those are worries for another day.

clothing optionalLet me clear something up.  There is no message here.  No call to action.  No final this is about coffee metaphor.  Some days I’ll ramble along the muddied path with no destination in mind.  There are times when I just like to feel the keys tap-tapping under my fingers.  When this happens, I fictionalize and fabricate.  I only want to elicit curiosity.  To have your minds wander as mine does.

We too often skim the surface of words.  Instead, stay a while.  Take a dip.

Clothing is optional.