In this episode of This Is Me Being Uncomfortable, I mumble about launching a podcast by accident; why I decided to return to writing Jeremiah’s story; and how human beings are connected by story to one another, globally.
Recently, I spoke with the executive director of the Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Foundation about relaunching the Jeremiah Hamlett Memorial Scholarship Fund. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT AT 10:16, a memoir I began in July 2003, will be the vehicle which helps fund the scholarship in Jeremiah’s memory.
Getting this scholarship fund back off the ground is something I have had my heart set on for a while. Continuing our story of childhood and friendship is also something that has been on my mind for quite some time, and I’ve struggled mightily with how to share it with others but in a way that it is more than just a story—a way that gives it purpose. So, I decided to marry the two ideas in this initiative.
After all, it wasn’t until the summer of 2003, the night Jeremiah had his first seizure and subsequent diagnosis of brain cancer, that I ever began writing stories—WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT to be precise. Jeremiah’s diagnosis was also the reason I decided to return to college; and Southside, by way of a class assignment from Ms. Judy Lloyd, is where WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT really took off and went from a few random paragraphs in my green notebook to what it eventually became and is today.
Find out how you can help support this worthy cause by clicking the link below.
If I’m not being creative, I’m not happy. It’s that simple.
But whatever I am has its source back there . . . from which I left . . . and to which I never returned to live.
Nothing’s going to happen. You’ll be fine.
HE WOULD DO this little shimmy waist down, inching closer unbeknownst to you what the hell he was setting you up for, and by the time you realized it, it was already too late. He’d anchor the weight of his lead foot and mash it down on your helpless toes, and you were stuck there like a bug in mud, unable to retreat, and he’d take that sharp knuckled middle finger of his and bend it in his fist and drive that sucker right into the hollow point of your bicep and he’d dig a little at the end, twisting it as if a key opening a door, as he locked and loaded another round in the chamber.
We used to lay there, on our backs, on a tin roof the color of a sardine can, peeled back at the eave, black tar sealant spread like mustard on bread.
He wasn’t much different than you and me before the accident.
The urine and fallen hair at the base of the toilet were reminders of where my dad once stood.
On January 29, 2010, eight months after my dad died from leukemia, my depression reached its peak and I attempted to quit my job. That morning in an email to my manager and director, I wrote…
Grief is a fire that burns slowly. There are no flames high as with anger. The coals are hot just below the surface, smoldering.
Shortly after my dad died, I began sleepwalking and experiencing night terrors. Then my dad appeared to me in a dream.
My sister recently gave birth. It was her second—this time a girl; small, beautiful, long fingered. Upon visiting her in the hospital, I was reminded of how delicate a newborn is. Also, in this post, I digress slightly on the topic of grocery shopping at Harris Teeter with my son Henry
Now more than ever, my hometown of Phenix, Virginia, carries with it ghosts. The ghosts of my childhood. Almost fourteen years ago, I wrote these very lines.
Happiness as a state of being in the present moment.
Fragile, she lay in my arms, as my wife placed the medicine dropper to her mouth. Like nursing an injured little bird back to health, I thought. Against my chest, I could feel her compacted warmth against me. She wouldn’t take to my wife’s breast in the beginning, so this is how we fed her those first few weeks of life.
In the rearview, I glance back at my son Henry. He’s wearing a black t-shirt that has on its front drawings of insects, different kinds, beetles and flies—bugs that shout, “I am a boy!” He moves the toy truck into the air as if it has wings and glides on air.
“Do you know what my favorite thing to do with my dad was when I was growing up,” I ask Henry.
An excerpt from Sleeping Birds Do Not Sing, a novel about mental illness and friendship that I wrote a decade ago that only one person has ever read—until now.
In this episode of “This Is Me Being Uncomfortable,” I mumble largely about writing, creativity, and the influence of life (and death) experience on how you see the world.
Anorexia isn’t all about looks or beauty. There’s much more to it than that.