The Bone Pile

“Hold her down. I’ll get the wolverine.”

I wrote that in a notebook sometime between 1989 and 1990, if memory serves. I am not sure what possessed me to write that, but I do know that I was proud of it at the time. It was not like the nasty stuff I used to scrawl in the margins of textbooks back in high school. Nor was it like when I wrote “Hail Satan!” on a random page of a Gideon bible in a Bishop, CA motel room in 1988. Those were done to mess with other people. The wolverine-rape bit was for my benefit only.

Looking back, it is tempting to dismiss such flippant misogyny as a mere defense mechanism against the fear of rejection. Certainly, I was more insecure than anyone and a way of dealing with the prospect of being unlovable was to keep a fantasy world of sexual atrocities playing out in the back of my mind. This was not a pre-internet version of the online rape threat that follows an OK Cupid thanks but no thanks. I imagined myself neither as the wolverine nor his handler. I was a much nicer guy than that. If I really to see how nice I was, I could watch Bloodsucking Freaks. Neither Sardu nor Ralphus could hold a candle to me in the niceness category.

There was more to it than that though. These were my words. There were not a lot of them, but mine nonetheless. I believed that there was a writer of some importance inside of me that would someday emerge. There were people who said I wrote well. I wasn’t sure why they did, but I chose to believe them because it made me feel better about myself. I knew I could not write a cohesive story, so maybe it was my turn of phrase people liked. I made it a point to jot down anything that popped into my head in the hope it could be repurposed into being part of something worthwhile.

I am not sure what happened to that notebook where I wrote that line about the wolverine. It has either been thrown away or so thoroughly buried in my personal clutter that it might as well have been tossed in the trash. The notebooks that followed were personal journals, not a place for random stuff that popped into my head. I still have many of those old spiral notebooks, but I don’t look at them these days. I seem to recall them filled with my getting worked up over things I don’t really care about anymore.

Recently, I have started jotting down random nonsense once again. This time, I eschew the spiral notebook and type them into the Samsung Notes app on my phone. It is a lot more convenient, especially when most ideas come to me during my sleepless periods in the middle of the night.

Nearing retirement, I am looking to fill my free time with something other than day drinking and suicide ideation. Writing seems to a more fulfilling hobby than most. I actually do know how to write a story now and have a bunch of unpolished stuff (including five novel drafts) that needs serious revision before unleashing it on the public. That is enough to keep me busy, but I do want to churn out some new material as well.

That is where the jotting comes in. When the time comes for me to want to write something new, I don’t want to be staring at a blank page with no idea what to do next. With my notes at the ready, that won’t be an issue. In dominoes parlance, they are my bone pile, something to reach for when I cannot make my next move. I used to post these bits on social media. Ultimately, that practice was like prematurely giving birth onto a hot sidewalk: amusing for the moment, nothing to show for it long term. I think this way is better.

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