BY Michael

10/01 Direct Link
Find me a place. Find me a round hole for my square peg. Iíll make it fit. Iíll ignore the pain as my corners are shaved off. We all like to think of ourselves as different. Well, maybe not all, but certainly many of us do. We like to be special even if it is that awkward kind of special. And I do, I really do, know about awkward, about unconventional. I think about this as I sit rubbing my burning eye, my timers lined up on the desk in front of me. One of them is counting down now.
10/02 Direct Link
Just what the heck am I going to do with that 100 watt led bulb in my in basket? The in basket is a real basket, a wicker basket with one handle ripped off and dangling. The 100 watt led bulb was the bulb that was in the floor lamp that I tipped over into the plasma screen destroying that. The new TV has not been a suitable replacement. Oddly enough you find the sound more objectionable than the picture. I donít know how to fix the sound for you which is annoying because sound is my area of expertise.
10/03 Direct Link
It is important to keep moving despite the pain. Sometimes it seems that pain is the purpose of life. We frame the pain and give it a place to grow and flower. That would explain this meaty substance we call bodies. Pain was here first. Pain is God. Pain created us to recognize and worship according to his plan. I can move away from this line of thought now. Just a little. I put a small space between me and it but pain snaps back to me, eliminating the space. I meditate. I focus on the pain. All is pain.
10/04 Direct Link
I had thought about something I had written, but I have forgotten it now. It was about insects, little furry Praying Mantis arms raised in contemplation. No it was not about insects. It was the sound of a door opening downstairs, the sound the door made as it ripped away from the weather stripping. No, it was not that either. Was it about my father? I cannot remember. Not about my mother. I rarely if ever write about my mother. Why donít I write about my mother? Is it because she made fun of my writing? Is it something else?
10/05 Direct Link
I am afraid. I have piled up emails like sandbags in a square around me. They are thinner than sandbags so it took more of them. Fortunately, I have a lot of them in my junk folder, so around me they went. I worked on my fortification three to four hours, finishing with an ache in my back and my head soaked with sweat. Now, here I sit, surrounded by my pile of emails. What if my fortification is overrun? Will I be able to defend then? Do I need defense? I must. The world is full of offensive words.
10/06 Direct Link
I sweat and stumble trying to write. I trip over the point of the spade as I hurry to push it into the rocky and muddy soil. The tip of the shovel buckles. It is a cheaply made tool. There are so many cheaply made things for sale these days. There are shirts that rip as you put them on, phones that explode, andóoh what else have I seen fail like that lately? Switches that do not work out of the box. Take them back to the store and exchange them for more new switches that do not work.
10/07 Direct Link
I wonder if I have the volume turned up too high on my headphones. I could turn it down. I donít want to damage my ears more than they are already damaged. I donít want to damage my body any more. But, well it seems that damage is a daily necessity. Parts wear out and nothing lasts forever. But that doesnít mean we should give up. We should make the thing last as long as possible? Question mark. Hello, Question Mark. You have shown up here today for a purpose havenít you? There you are again. What are you suggesting?
10/08 Direct Link
Itís raining. I still have raindrops lodged in my eyebrows from when I took out the garbage earlier this morning. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I only got a little wet. We tend to be a little hysterical about rain with our umbrellas and galoshes. Whatís the harm in a little rain? I have known people to immerse their entire bodies in water with no ill effects. The harm in the water comes to our homes which are made out of things essentially soluble in water. Alone, they can be washed away.
10/09 Direct Link
The apartments we found were carved into solid mud lining the face of the cliff. It was a blueish grey mud. The apartments each had windows with arched tops. There was no glass in these windows, just the heads and torsos of figures watching out of the windows. In most cases there was one figure per window. In some cases, there were two figures, although the windows were tight which made a tight fit for two figures. One window was empty while the window below it displayed three figures. As evening fell you could see lights on in the windows.
10/10 Direct Link
I want to laugh. I want to scream. I want to run down the street until I am completely exhausted. This would not take very long as I am in poor physical condition. Maybe I should do this running down the street thing. Should I bother to put on running shoes? Should I bother with shoes at all? Should I just go laughing and screaming into the street in my robe and house slippers, clutching my headphones to my head as I go? Do you think anyone would bother to call the authorities? How many people do this every day?
10/11 Direct Link
I can smell the burnt sausage coming up the stairs like some ghoul creeping slowly toward me. I suppose you donít have to think about sausage and where it actually comes from before it turns ghoulish. We live by eating other living things. We may as well be vampires. How can there be any redemption for lives such as these? Yet they say such is a sin of pride, pride that you are too evil to be redeemed. I forget the word. It doesnít matter. I forget so many words these days. I am about to be turned to earth.
10/12 Direct Link
I am calming. Calming down the storm. I can hear the neighborís parrot screeching. Wickety-wack, way in the back. Way in the back of my brain I am screaming. The storm is coming again. I was just calming the storm. Sometimes calming the storm is so much work. It is all I can do to keep the swaying frothy from flowing out my ears. I want to call my daughter, but I donít know what to say. I cannot call her and scream. That would be what would come more naturally. I have to be careful about what I say.
10/13 Direct Link
Itís still morning. The light still comes in at a low angle, full of steam and radiation. I am alert, perhaps. Up north, way up north my fatherís cabin may still stand in a field of tall grass framed by the maples. I wonder if anyone has built a house there yet. I remember the year, 1968, scrawled into the cement stoop outside the cabin. I have found pictures and they remember it differently than I do. They remember a tar paper shack. I donít think he ever got around to putting siding on it. He is just now gone.
10/14 Direct Link
The things you write are placeholders for thoughts. Without these placeholders you would get lost, your feet grabbed by a hopeless tangle of brambles, and you would not get so far. I am not getting so far this morning. It is because I am not putting in the correct placeholders. The thing is that the placeholders I had in mind seemed to not be correct. I did not want to put in incorrect placeholders. Our brainsÖwell my brain is such a stew of disconnected thoughts and images, it is nearly impossible to sort anything out to see your way clear.
10/15 Direct Link
Itís later than I think. The minute hand on the clock has ratcheted nearly twenty minutes past where it was when I last looked. I woke up creeped out by some dream where I was back in some over-crowded high tech workplace. I had been called in to fix some problem. I didnít know what the problem was and I had a strong feeling that they had called me in by accident thinking I had fixed a similar problem at another site. I had been to another site in the same dream but the problem had been fixed by accident.
10/16 Direct Link
Dear 100 Words writer. It has come to our attention that your 100 Words submissions have become what we think of as substitutions for submissions. You no longer carefully craft your submission but just scribble whatever is on your mind. We strongly suspect you cribbed your October 23 submission from the Wall Street Journal. In addition, it is also grossly apparent that you are not writing and submitting daily but are throwing a bunch of gibberish together at the end of each month to keep up. You are not writing. You are taking up space. We request that you cease.
10/17 Direct Link
I sink into the velvety cushion of my headphones and turn on the weekly Hearts of Space radio show. I am not so sure. This one is a Halloween special. It shows a picture of a screaming face buried in a glowing ash heap. This might be more than my timid brain can handle. Music often goes to places where it does not intend, so I will give it a try. I take a sip of coffee. The cup is almost empty but I donít get up to refill it. I donít even want to get up to eat breakfast.
10/18 Direct Link
There are brown things swimming around in my field of vision. I donít know whether this is something bad or something normal. Maybe I am seeing critters from another dimension trying to crowd into my reality, maybe meat eaters. Of course they are meat eaters. Arenít we all meat eaters? They will continue to come on, more and more until they fill the room. Until I can no longer see my cup of coffee or the table on which it sets. They will clot my eyes and fill my ears. They will fill my mouth when I try to scream.
10/19 Direct Link
I am OK here. I really am. I am allowed to sit up in the morning and write. I am not required to be doing something else, something useful. That, of course, is not what I feel. I feel the pressure of requirements unfulfilled, of things undone, of chores waiting my hand. Still I will keep on with this, because it is what I want to be doing and because it soothes me. How can I say it soothes me when I sit here thinking about those things undone? Shouldnít I get up and tend to them? I type on.
10/20 Direct Link
Sometimes, yes, sometimes. Sometimes it is hard to think beyond immediate sensations. Sometimes I think about that or even that. Sometimes I think about my father. My thoughts of my father have changed now that he has died. My thoughts of myself have also changed since my fatherís death and I am now more focused on my own mortality and really I thought that was not possible. I had always assumed that I had the worst case of mortality fever possible. But I was wrong, of course. It was an obvious case of hubris. Sometimes I think about these things.
10/21 Direct Link
The owl was supposed to glow at night. I donít think it does any more. It has an led bulb inside and some sort of rechargeable battery connected to a small solar cell. You bought it. I remember the ad said it was eight inches tall. I think the eight inches included the length of the spike that holds it upright when impaled into a flower pot or just the ground. It could have said eight feet when properly inflated. It would have had a little rubber nipple for inflation. The solar cell could have been part of the fabric.
10/22 Direct Link
I can breathe. Perhaps the steam in the shower unclogged my perpetually stuffed-up sinuses. Itís cold today and the trees are definitely changing colors. Iím taking a minute here, perhaps many minutes, because this exercise soothes my brain. It has, I think, something to do with the organization of thoughts. Organizing the thoughtsóharnessing them seems to continue the metaphor and to bring them under control. Without this they fly out on their own and I do not even know them. They are just random projectiles with the capacity to injure. You canít see them; donít know what they are.
10/23 Direct Link
You had said you wanted to go to Planet Fatness around 2:00. I could go now, but the thought makes me feel all whimpery. I will write here a little bit before leaving and calm the storms passing through my brain. I should take my afternoon meds too. They help, although I think I shouldnít come to depend on them too much because I have a new doctor and where the old doctor tended to pile on more meds with each visit, this doctor tends to take them away. I like the reduction approach although it leaves me feeling naked.
10/24 Direct Link
Itís been raining all day again. The trees are slicked with rain and leaves are being knocked off, down to the curb, down in the sewer and we all know what happens in the sewer where brown shapeless monsters splash in the dark and we cannot escape them no matter how fast we run. Not that I can run so fast any more. I am 68 now. I know it is not so old as far as things go, but several of my friends have already passed on and the fact is that I can no longer run so fast.
10/25 Direct Link
The system was down this weekend. It came back up this morning and I played catch-up. It was not so bad. I had documented my work well enough that I breezed through the catch-up. It was mostly a cut-and-paste operation with some checking of boxes here and there. I bet I finished that part in fifteen minutes. The prep for tomorrow took a bit longer. I had the slows though. Iím not sure how much that affected my speed. Not sure how much I had the slows then as opposed to having them now. Mostly Iím sleepy Iím pretty sure.
10/26 Direct Link
Michael Jr. and I insulated the top part of the basement this weekend. There is a word for that part of the house, but I have forgotten it. Actually we caulked and re-insulated it because someone had insulated it before. They just didnít do a very good job and they didnít caulk. I think we did a better job. We used two rolls of insulation, eight tubes of caulk and three cans of spray foam. We filled three contractor bags with old insulation and burnt-out caulk tubes. It took us about six hours total. Junior did most of the work.
10/27 Direct Link
I think we need a new trash can in the basement. I am pretty sure you will disagree with me, so I donít bring it up. Trash cans is something we donít agree on. I think we need big trash cans. You favor dainty ones. You canít get mush trash into a dainty trash can and who knows, it may be because I am a man that I want 55-gallon trash cans in every room with heavy duty contractor bags lining them to catch all the debris. I should have worked at McDonalds. I would have gotten my fill there.
10/28 Direct Link
The neighbor broke her ankle in four places stepping over a dog gate. She is going to have to have surgery complete with pins and screws to fix it. She will be facing a long convalescence. The older you get the more perilous life gets and falls are the worst thing that can happen to you. My mother, 93 years old, was on a step-ladder this morning adjusting her clock for daylight savings. ďMom,Ē I said. ďDonít do that.Ē ďWhat was I supposed to do? Ask the man who came to take me to church to set my clock?Ē ďYeah.Ē
10/29 Direct Link
My son Tom was on the train when I called him this morning, on his way to Scotland. At first I thought he was on a plane. The seating was so close and uncomfortable. He said he had about a six-hour train ride. My mother was just home from church. I had forgotten about church when I called her. She was thinking about what she was going to fix for dinner for herself, for her dog, and for her cat. My daughter Amanda was in Florida and on her way to the airport to fly back to Syracuse, New York.
10/30 Direct Link
We cleaned up the basement this morning, the mess from the insulation project. I avoided starting on it for the first couple hours. It takes me two hours to wake up in the morning. Don't ask me how I do my work in the mornings. I think not very well would be the answer. I went down and started in with the vacume cleaner, getting the larger part of the mouse turds, spiders and bits of insulation. You joined me later with the broom and dustpan. I had cleared the worst of it. I think you couldn't have handled it.
10/31 Direct Link
One more 100 words entry and then we go to the supermarket. I have the list in my pocket on my smart phone. I am not sure what is on the list. Maybe some paper towels and radishes. I remember those two things. Nuts. I wanted to get some more cashews as well. You will steer around the store on one of those electric carts while I follow behind, checking things off the list. Your knee is not getting so much better it seems to me. I donít have the faith you do in the doctors and their stem cells.