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A Wounded Heart, Who Can Bear?
Stranger in my Shoes de?·cep?·tion Function: n...
Working with Broken Machines
Riding the Earthquake per·se·vere Function:...
The Winds Come mon·ster Function: noun Etym...
A Scratch on the Glass mar Pronunciation: 'mä...
Pulling Aside the Velvet Curtain
Finally, the Sound Turned Off lull Function: ...
Having Your Heart Caressed By the Creator
Whispers of Sundays Past rem·i·nis·cence Func...

Click to go to the most current Cliff Between the Lines
Life, viewed sideways. Emotions, amplified. Answers, questioned. Me, between the lines.




- A Wounded Heart, Who Can Bear?
- Drowning Under a Tidal Wave
- Clawing My Way to the Sunlight
- Yes, Santa Claus, There Is a Virginia
- Fugu
- Touching the Spirit
- A Hole in the Universe
- Riding on the Dreams of Others
- Turning Into a Shark
 - A Heart, Ripped Asunder
- Surrendering to the Roller Coaster
- Hunting in the Jade Forest
- Dodging the Shark
- Dancing With Invisible Partners
- The Captain and the Harliquin
- Courting the Devils
- The Captain Makes His Mark
- Mad Dog to the Rescue
- Innocent in the Big City
- Dropping the Ball Briefcase
- Scrambling Brains
- Cheating the Reaper, Again
- What If the Man Behind the Curtain Is No Wizard After All?
- All of Us Have a Soundtrack
- Working With Broken Machines
- Happy Anniversary, Baby
- Standing on Stars
- Running the Film Backwards
- Identity Crisis ("Who am I?")
- Can We Ever Really Admit the Desires of Our Heart?
- Forgiveness is a Rare Thing
- Having Your Heart Caressed By the Creator
- Working With Broken Machines
- A New Leg to Stand On
- The Real Spirit of Christmas
- Chatting With Infinity
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
- We All Have a Great Capacity for Loss
- Brushed Lightly By Might Have Beens
- We See the World Through Our Own Looking Glass
- Every Storm Passes Eventually
- Accidents Can Introduce Destiny Into Our Lives
- Freedom Depends on the Walls Around Us
- Pulling Aside the Velvet Curtain
- Riding the Razor's Edge
- Dying With Strangers
- In Your Face
- Between the Lines
- The Bobcat
- Angel With a Coffeecup
- Innocent in the Big City
- Chains of Gossamer
- Playing With Knives
- Stumbling Through Memories (Ooops)
- Picture This
- Running the Film Backwards
- Playing the Score, Tasting the Music
- Coins and Corals and Carved Coconuts
- My God, I Confess
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 1, Speechless)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 2, Taxi)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 3, The Pan American)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 4, Guano)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 5, The Andes Express)



 
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"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."

Walt Whitman (1819-92)




"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."

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Monday, December 01, 2003
 

Drowning Under a Tidal Wave

dread
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English dreden, from Old English dr[AE]dan
Date: before 12th century
transitive senses
1 a : to fear greatly b archaic : to regard with awe
2 : to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face
3 : junior high school life for Cliff


OK, picking up where I left off here, we'll see how far I get this time.

Junior high school.

Such a turmoil this period has in my mind. There are victories, defeats, misery, elations, I ran the gamut. And all while my body was going through that hormone frenzy they call "puberty." I hated that part.

Let's start with the music, shall we? That's one of the happy parts of this.

I had always liked music. I sang in our church choir, and started taking guitar lessons when I was ten. I was in a "band" when I was in fifth grade and we played for the school talent show, playing the song "Louie Louie." No, I didn't play guitar, a friend of mine did that, I played tamborine. He played guitar and sang, a friend named Ken played drums, and I just stood there going "ching ching ching." I was not really the "front guy" for the band.

But by the time I got into junior high, my guitar playing talents had gotten pretty darn passable. I was taking weekly lessons from a guy named Earl (my dad still insists on calling him Earl the Pearl, I have no idea why.) Earl lived in an apartment in my grandparent's house, so every Saturday my dad and I would go over there and I would have a guitar lesson while dad visited his parents, then grandmom and granddad would join dad and I for lunch, usually corned beef hash on rice. Man, I could eat my weight in that stuff.

I usually did, too.


At the same time, like I mentioned earlier, my body decided it was high time it made the transition from baby to adult at light speed. So all of a sudden I was living in this body that seemed to want to do all these odd things like smell bad, sweat, itch, have a mind of its own in the wrong situation, you know the score. It was a pretty miserable time from that direction.

It didn't help any that the junior high school I was zoned into had been old when my mother attended it. The word was that they had even stabled horses in the basement once. I don't know how true that one was, but the place was always hot and dirty and had holes in the walls and filth just everywhere. It came to the point where I would shower each day when I got home, I felt so cruddy from just sitting there. And I so dreaded going to school each day.

Back to the music.

The choir director there was a lady named Mrs. Williams, a dedicated and extremely talented black lady who really was one of my favorite teachers of all time. I now had enough talent on the guitar to play backup for the chorus. And she asked me to play in the school talent show.

So I picked the song that was my showpiece song at the time, titled "I'm in Love with a Big Blue Frog."

Somehow, sitting in my grandparents house that sounded like a much better idea than it actually WAS.

I got teased about that song for the next five years. Some people STILL remember it.


The bullying got nothing but worse. One of my teachers was even a bit of a bully, which did not help matters. He used to make us sit on a live radiator if we misbehaved. Imagine what they would do to him now.

In January of that school year I was one of the acts at the Myrtle Beach Canadian-American Folk Festival. I had chosen a song called "A' Soulin" by Peter Paul and Mary which had a rather difficult hand picked guitar part. I was gonna blow them away.

So, the day comes and I get up there in front of about 5,000 people and statewide live TV, and start playing.

And I mess up just a little, which causes me to TOTALLY forget ALL of the words.

I scrambled to remember them, slurring my voice when I couldn't, and stumbled through the song as best I could. I got some polite applause when I left the stage, terrified as a 14 year old boy could be.

But there is something about the stage, the crowd, at least for me. It terrifies me, but it drew me like a magnet draws iron. I could not stay away.

Besides, after that, how bad could it get?

More later.

Do not try to solve all life's problems at once -- learn to dread each day as it comes.
Donald Kaul


Permalink: 12/01/2003 03:38:00 PM |
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