For quite a few years I used to get up every morning, do my morning ministrations, dress in suits, shirts and ties and pack onto crowded NYC subways with thousands of others to go to some gleaming tower in Manhattan, sit at my cubicle and push a mental, financial, legal pebble uphill. Don't get me wrong from my description of this special level of Dante's Inferno, I learned a lot. I enjoyed being out and about in the world, trying new things for lunch and dinner and well, affecting a professional appearance in the big city. Then something happened...a spiritual awakening, intensifying, enlightenment if you will and I shifted out of being a corporate cog about 12 years ago. I'm surprised---it's really been about 12 years that I got off of that path and I've embarked onto this one.
I look up old lovers. Why? Because Facebook, superior technical and investigative training from my corporate days, and several powerful computers in my home allow me to do so. Sometimes I look up old crushes. Once or twice a nemesis or two. I was expecting....fame, fortune, perhaps even hoping for ruin. No, what I was really looking for was the path that they were excited about when I knew them---whether that had manifested. I was comparing not my life exactly to theirs but their lives to their former projections---if that makes any sense.
I seem to have slept with, befriended and nemesis-ed a fucked up lot. They ain't done much.
Let me rewind to my year of this online Colombo game I've been playing. I'd published articles and short stories for almost two decades since I was a teen but had held off from publishing a book. A full book. Fiction, I expected them all to be. There are literally a dozen manuscripts in print and on my pc waiting---have been waiting off and on for years. Some have been to publishers and editors back and forth with recommended tweaks. But I just never got around to pulling the trigger. It would be dishonest to say I was frightened or some dark childhood secret....meh. I was busy trying other things out and learning about business. And in this paragraph some of my neurosis about being prodigious, creative and having generated massive amounts of creative work are apparent between the lines.
I've always been smart, since I was a child. Let me re-codify that---I've been testing at a 12th grade level since about the third or fourth grade. I was able to actually sit out the 6th grade after my parent's divorce and a sojourn to North Carolina for 6 months, walk into the last few weeks of the 6th grade and test right into the 7th. My mother didn't want me to skip grades, as many as I could've for fear of social alienation. I'm still on the fence about whether I agree with that or not. I can see all sides. Also that's a pun on how my intelligence works---I can see all sides. I see all possibilities.
Like a holographic probability machine if you say "Let's steal a car." my mind instantly absorbs, assesses, calculates, re-calculates, checks the wind speed, considers your ankle injury, looks at my present hunger, notices the two potential witnesses at the corner---and then I have maybe three or four outcomes to our action or inaction. Sounds cool but really I've had to develop belief systems and a level of confidence in order to make choices---because I see ALL of the choices, at once. Seeing so many choices can create crippling doubt. At the same time I generally see the outcome of a situation, pretty much when I first meet you. I have a mental notation of how long our relationship will last and how and why it will end---because I'm integrating all of the info between us in such a short period of time and calculating. I've even said to friend or two one of the outcome possibilities, they generally don't hear or believe me....but it always comes to pass. Foolish, hurt feelings, death, betrayal, all of it I see like little Post It note possibilities on a blackboard and slowly as time goes on, the ones least likely to occur fall away leaving more and more of what will occur. But from that, from you, I can also extrapolate your possibilities, where you're going, what will and won't become of you.
I know, spooky, right?
(Ironically, it's a talent--forecasting, arbitrage, strategic thinking and planning that made me useful in the corporate world.)
Back to my look ups of folk. There were moments as their lover, as their friend, even as their nemesis when they said they wanted to be a writer or a dancer or a CEO or a business owner or a Rolling Stone magazine journalist when my "superpower" looked at them, into them and considered it---calculated the probabilities and saw it as possible or not possible. I think because my work, manuscripts, a dozen spinning into publication now and a hundred more published, it's BIG....bigger than I have a concept of how to articulate but I see it's effects on others---I'm considering so many I've known. Also a lot of my published writing now includes multiple timeframes in my life. Some short stories are all the way back from 1992 to manuscripts created in 2013. It's like I'm traveling through time, in my own lifetime (Quantum Leap!) as my work comes out. Maybe the work itself is a solidification of that timeframe now. Like a book as a time-brick to 1992, 1997, 2001, 2013...?
I know sometimes I speak or write in multiple frames of referencing reality to abstract to concrete. It's how I think. Indulge me, that's partially why I created this blog---to have a space besides private journals where I sort of shared without the usual social "clean up" I do to hide, clarify or make my intelligence, my thinking, palatable to others.
That's what it feels like for me being smart. And further, the stuff I said I'd do, I've accomplished. When they look me up on LinkedIn and Amazon and Facebook---it was an odd path but I've arrived at being an author, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur. Most of them took my place in those little cubicles in Dante's Inferno---varying titles they all have, but cubicles they are. But only one young lady, Jennifer Karmin became the writer, poetess, published, world traveler that she aspired to be. It's funny because she was so committed but not overly ambitious, much like myself, I think in retrospect. We did the work, focused, we're a bit obsessed and oddballs compared to all the "cool kids" and all the cool kids?---Dante's Inferno cubicles.
I keep hearing Diana Ross's "Do You Know Where You're Going To? Do You Like The Things That life Is Showing You...........do you know? playing in my head as I write this. But I'm pretty clear on mine. I think maybe I'm looking at all those folks I've known, lovers, friends, even family and their disintegration into a sort of banal life. I'm watching other people's dreams die. Maybe that's the reverse scribble on the backs of the mental Post It Notes I had as the possibility for them.
Their dreams die. They die unfulfilled.
Can one be sad for people in the past, now in the future?
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