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Next contest.

Post  KindOfBlue06 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:03 pm

I've finally decided on a themse for this months contest. I will be choosing the theme as I won the last time, but adverseaffects will still be picking the winner, which means I'll still be competing with you guys. The theme for this months contest is Memior Writing, with an emphasis on Tone and Meaning. So, pretty simple, you pick a significant part of your life to write about and focus on using Tone(among the other literary techniques) to convey a deep sense of meaning. I thought this would be a fun theme because it will allow us to not only show off our literary skills, but to get to know each other a little better. Smile You have one month from tomorrow(Monday.) Let me know if you have any questions about the theme, contest, or Tone ect. I will be happy to clarify them for you. Good Luck and I can't wait to read some of your fine writing!

-Blue.

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Re: Next contest.

Post  OpRise on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:46 am

Nice theme! I'm in.. so excited to read everyone's memoirs!...
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Re: Next contest.

Post  adverseaffects on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:45 pm

It is unfortunate I can't win this contest seeing as I intend to slaughter it. That said, I think this is really playing to infp strengths so I'd like to see as many of you get in on this as possible! I'll revive the infp author thread and mention the heck outta ya'all to light a fire under your butt. Winner gets eternal glory, gets to decide the next contest, and once I get off my as* I'll think of something even cooler to add to the prize pile, like.. idk, a plaque. <3 Kudos to blue for the great prompt idea.

GET ON IT BBYS!
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Re: Next contest.

Post  OpRise on Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:54 pm

anyone else feeling the need for an extension? Wink
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Re: Next contest.

Post  KindOfBlue06 on Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:41 am

Well, seeing as how no one posted anything yet, I think an extension is in order. How about a week from today. The 18th. Good luck!

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Re: Next contest.

Post  KindOfBlue06 on Thu May 17, 2012 4:32 pm

I almost did not want to submit this, but OpRise convinced me that I should. Special thanks goes out to her. This piece is very personal to me, and I hope you like it. I hope you are moved in some way by it, and the message that you take away from it is one of hope. Without further ado...


The Blackest Years.

In the depths of winter, I finally realized that within me, there lay an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus.

From the moment I awoke in the hospital bed, I knew I was in a serious predicament. Immediately upon remembering the last events of the night, a feeling of dread came over me and I reached for my pants. Shuffling through my pocket, I found my phone, and a ticket. I looked it over and upon realizing I hadn't killed anybody, I blew a fleeting sigh of relief. Then I reliazed what awaited me. DUI were three letters that for the next three years would haunt and torture me. Still hazy from the night before, I shut my eyes and tried for a little bit to block out the present moment. When I awoke they had moved me up to the 4th floor, and to my susprise they had placed me on suicide watch. They must have thought I was trying to kill myself. I almost succeeded, as blowing a .42 is pretty near death. Had I not passed out at the redlight with my foot on the brake, I may have been dead, and taken more with me. The thought made me shudder. It was Sunday, the first day of June in 2008.

Finally, with trembling hands I picked up the phone and dialed home. My mother answered immediately. I took a deep breath and told her what happened. She was just glad that I was okay. She told my father, and when she did I heard him in the background screaming like I haven't heard him scream before or since. I can still hear his words. "I'M DONE WITH HIM. I'M DONE WITH HIM"

That first month, I was still in a daze. I was feeling so many things at once. Everything had a new brightness, and I was so thankfull to be alive. That first vacation, to the family cabin up north on the lake was the last bit if peace I would have for the next three years. I awoke every morning before sunrise, and walked out to the beach to watch the sun come up. For a whole week I sat every morning on that dock, looking out over the lake at the sunrise. I kept thinking to myself, I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't be alive right now. My parents should be in mourning, my friends should be remembering. But I wasn't, so there had to be some reason for it. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the reason was, but I knew there had to be one and I wanted more than anything to figure out what that reason was.

I was sentenced in July after completing an outpatient rehab program in June. My lawyer said it would look good for the judge so I went through with it. He said a lot of things. My lawyer scared me into honesty. Right before I was to report to my probation officer the first time, he warned me not to lie when she questioned me about my drug and aclohol use. He said "Listen, they can tell if your lying, and if you lie to them they'll make it worse for you, so just tell the truth and you'll be fine." So I told the truth, The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. They printed it out and gave me a slip to give to the judge to see. As I read it over, I noticed my Dad looking over my shoulder reading it as well. I know that he knew about the pills, and the weed and alcohol, but in a highlighted capitlized orange font were the words HEROIN and COCAINE. That, he didn't know about and I preferred to keep it that way. I told him I would prefer if he didn't read it and he said okay. To this day, I don't know if he read things he didn't want to read, but if he did he's never said anything to me about it.

Not long after my court date and sentencing, I began having panic attacks. They came to me whenever I tried to relax, to sleep, to dream. And on nights when I finally did sleep I began to be haunted by vivid nightmares. Nightmares of watching my father die in a car wreck, of my mother growing old and senile -wilting before my eyes. Dreams of being shamed and shunned by both family and friends. I remember waking in a cold sweat, on the verge of tears, slowly remembering that it wasn't real, that it was just a bad dream. And upon realizing I had just been dreaming, I wished to return to it, for my waking state was just as hellish, and I tried in vain to fall back alseep, to shut out the blackness of the world. Nightmares turned into daymares and I soon became very depressed, very angry and lost. I hated the people who threw that party I was at, hated how I let myself drink too much, hated the courts, hated God for putting my through this hell. I hated having to call every day to see if I had to go in for a drug test, hated the fines I had to pay, hated the way my parents looked at me whenever I came through the door.

Weeks turned into months in that monotonous zombie state of despair. The daily calls for drug tests. Todays colors are bronze, copper, gold, peach, and jade. Safe for another day. Todays colors are bronze, tan, Aqua, teal and scarlet. Upon hearing aqua, I knew I had to drink a full cup of water about 2 or so hours before I went to test(anything after that would dilute the sample and make it "untestable" which meant I would have to come back and pay another $12.) Most of the time I would be sweating, not out of fear of testing dirty, but fear of getting a speeding ticket and being delayed even further, because I didn't want my piss to be so watered down, so I waited untill my blatter was good and swollen to head out. And when I finally arrived there, I had to suffer through a long wait -these people that worked there took their sweet little time testing people, filling out the nescessary paperwork, busying themselves with trivialities. Meanwhile, I sat there with my legs crossed, my muscles tight, biting my lower lip trying to conentrate on not pissing myself while I waited for them to call me. When I finally did have the luxury of relieving myself, often times it was a flambouyant gay man(women watched the women piss, men watched the men) who eyed my cock in the mirrored wall of the bathroom to make sure I wasn't doing anything fishy to cheat the test. What a humiliating experience; driving all the way down there, watching my speed constantly, making sure my bladder didn't burst, only to have to wait in a long line of deadbeats to have a gay man ogle my cock and then demand $12 per visit. And I had to put up with this fiassco 4 times a month! The total came to $48 a month not including gas and the times when it was deemed untestable and I had to shell out another $12.

This weekly occurance was accompanied by the 3 day a week AA meetings the court ordered me to attend. What a sideshow that was! I went in with an open mind, but after the outpatient rehab I attended between my accident and when I was sentenced, I had somewhat of an idea what to expect. I sat down, gave my real name, and said I was an alcoholic. I spoke when spoken to, I nodded at the things they said, I listened to their stories. It took me about 3 meetings to realize these people were some of the most broken, saddest, trainwrecks I'd ever seen. There was Larry, who talked for a good 20 minutes about how he was raped by a nun as a boy, Tom who drank half a fifth and street raced a cop on a motorcycle, Caroline, who gave up drinking after pissing her bed for the third time.

After a while, I started to imagine these people at their alcoholic prime. I imagned Joe, sauntering into the bar and ordering a Cuervo on the rocks, clinking glasses with all the boys. I Imagined Nick talking in endless circles right before last call. I imagined Suzie, entertaining the dinner guests, and sneaking back to the kitchen to refill her half full wine glass. I would walk into a meeting smiling from ear to ear, knowing I had a bottle of liqour or a 6 pack in the back seat of my car. I smiled, knowing I was to play a little game. Each time it was a different game. Some nights it was do a shot everytime they mention or quote the Big Book. Other nights it was have a beer for every time they say "sick and tired of being sick and tired" "put the plug in the jug" "one day at a time" or some other AA catchphrase. As redundant as they were, they were not all bad however.

Sundays were my favorite meeting of them all, about a 15 to 20 mintue drive, and all decent people -minimal wierdos. I even volunteered to make the coffee one month. The meeeting was at 7:00 and so after work, I'd get home around 3 in the afternoon, have dinner, and then a short nap. Upon waking, I would read on the couch with the setting sun coming in through the blinds. Then off to a meeting, to tell the same story, talk about the same pains and struggles, put on the mask of an acloholic and pretend to be in recovery. They loved me there, mostly because I was the youngest peson at the meeting most of the time. The older women especially liked me. "You have such good looks, such a nice spirit and demaneor, don't ruin it with alcohol" they'd tell me. One woman even told me that I reminded her of her ex cocaine dealer. "Your so beautiful, your face looks just like him. He died in an overdose" then she began crying and ruined my mood. What the fuck should I say to that? I said nothing.

The same routine went on month after month untill my birthday came. It was bittersweet. Here I was, the only day I will turn 21 on the 21st, and I couldn't even drink because I had to do 5 breathalizers the day of and the morning after. At the same time, it felt new, as all special occasions did from then on because I knew what it could have been like had I died that night in June. I got myself so worked up thinking about it, imagining what my parents would have been doing. I pictured my Mom nustling her tear stricken cheek into the nook of my Dad's shoulder, and I pictured him holding her, his head on hers weeping as well. "I miss him so much" She would say between tears. "I miss him too. My little buddy..." He would say and squeeze her hand. My sister would go alone in her room not knowing what to say or feel. We were never close. Maybe she would mourn in her own way. I pictured my friends, at the bar. "I can't believe he's gone." "I know man, it's so fucked up." They'd say to each other. "Here's to Klotz" they'd toast. Maybe they'd even order me a CC on the rocks and leave it at the table undrank, so I could be there in spirit. Or maybe they would have allready forgotten me by that point.

In between my late November birthday and Christmas, I did my court ordered community service by volunteering at The Detroit Institite of Arts. I had to do a lot of hours, but the 12 hour shifts went by fast some days, and slow other days. Mostly I walked around and looked at the paintings, trying to forget my troubles if only for a few hours. After a week I knew the whole place like the back of my hand, and it was a peacefull time, looking at art, the snow falling ouside. It took me away from my troubles and I enjoyed it immensely.

The first Christmas, my thoughts turned to the ones I loved most, my family. It would have been the first Christmas without me, and I knew that since I was here, I wouldn't let it go by without doing something special, something grand and meaningfull. I wrote a letter to my mom,my dad and my sister, telling them how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I read them the letters on Christmas Eve after we had all opened our gifts. I read my Mother's letter to her first, and I thought I could make it through without tearing up, but my voice began trembling after the first sentence. "The first memory I have is of love..." Soon we were both in tears. I read the letter to my Father next, and then my Sister's. The more they wept, the more I wept and soon we were all embracing each other like we hadn't embraced each other in years. They never saw it coming, and I was glad knowing that if I were to die that night, I will have at least told them what is truly in my heart. I slept like a baby that night, the first real sleep I'd had in months.

The next year brought more of the same. The weekly meetings, the weekly tests, the weekly bloody knuckles from punching walls when I really lost it. The weekly court appionted visits to a therapist who I thought to be the most timid, meek, pussy of a man I had ever met. I couldn't take anything he said seriously, and yet I had to go and tell him about my week. Same old same old. "I hated the meeting I went to, I was pissed off tuesday, I'm still depressed..." Some days I just sat in my room and stared at the wall, not moving, trying not to think, not to feel. Some nights I just lost it and cried myself to sleep. Other nights I weighed the options of offing myself but making it look like an overdose, to spare my family and friends shame and to not look as weak as I felt.

Money was also tight since the economy crashed and with all my fines, it really took a blow to the finances. Often times I would hear my Dad and my sister arguing over money. I would lie down in my room, the door half cracked so I could hear them speaking.
"Why are we so poor?" she would scream.
"I didn't choose to be poor!" my dad yelled back at her,
"We had a family emergency and we needed to use some of that money to help out." my mother chimed in.
"What? like helping out Aunt Shell who's allready on wellfare?"
"Some things have happened and we had to make some hard choices."
"We are so poor it's not even funny." She would scream and storm off to her room. I knew at that point, that she didn't know what had happened to me. I was relieved that she wouldn't see me in a worse light than she allready had. Then the guilt seeped through me. Had I not been as wreckless as I was, perhaps she wouldn't be having this conversarion right now. Perhaps she wouldn't have to hustle for scholarships. Maybe my Dad's business wouldn't be hurting as bad either. It made me sick inside, knowing that I had caused this. It was like a
black cloud that hung over everyone's head, another big dark secret that no one dared talk about. Once again, I assumed the role of the black sheep.

The more it clawed at me, the more depressed I became. I still went out with my friends and joked and laughed but inside I was rotting. Inside was a black hole where I stuffed my pain, my anger and my hurt. I envied them, because they didn't have a care in the world it seemed. I pittied them because they didn't seem to appreciate how prescious life truly is. I hated them because their whole life they never had something to be down about. They had no clue what real pain was, what real despair was. They had no clue of the shit I was going through on a day to day basis. I felt isolated and alone around them. Even my best friend, the only friend I could really talk to about my true feelings, even he couldn't understand what constant misery I was in. No one could fathom the real depths of my sorrow.

At the lowest point, I started to turn inward. I became very spiritual and thanked God whenever I could for giving me another chance at life. When I wasn't thanking him I was asking him to send me strength. Or hope. Strength to get through another year, another setback, another charge. Hope that one day I will emerge from this dark place somehow transformed. I became very sensitive to all things. The slightest thing would set me off. I would become teary eyed looking at the trees swaying in the breeze, thinking about how beautifulll it is to be alive and experiencing this. A quote, a picture, a scene from a movie; everything seemed to arouse in me something profound and moving. Along with this new sensitvity came something quite unexpected -a new found confidence. I had begun working out to help combat my depression and my body was getting stronger and tougher. My music was also taking off during that time and I was writing some of the greatest things I've ever written. Sometimes when I was playing, I could tell the music was coming from some previously hidden place; it was coming from a dark deep place within me and whatever pain I was going through was being transformed into the most beautiful, raw, passionate sounds. That music gave me chills, and still does when I think back on it.

Finally, the day came the first week in January of 2010. I awoke that morning when the stars were still out, before the birds began chirping. I got in my car to drive to my last drug test. There was no one on the road at that hour, and I took my time savoring the dark stillness of the city, everyone asleep, dreaming. My windows were cracked and though them drifted the swirling smoke of my cigarette and the soft music of AIR. I thought back on the past three years. I was relieved to be done with them. I was to finally hammer the last nail into the coffin, and bury it for good, but like all things burried, the black clawing hands were to reach out of the dark chasm to claw at me for months and even years after. Even now as I write this, there is something dark that still clings to me, the way a drowning man clings to rescue, that reminds me of the days where the shining sun failed to awaken a sense of life in me, the way it does in spring; for even when the world was blooming, there was a deep wound in my soul that was festering. As the world was being born again, there was some part of me that was dying. Some part of me died that night, on the cusp of June. Some part of me that I was never get back. But in the dark womb of those years, there was
another part of me being born -a stronger self. A fiercer self. Some unknown part of me was being awakened. Before June 1st, I was just coasting through life, living as if I was immortal, never second guessing, never questioning the dignity and value of life; looking through rose colored lenses. But all that had changed now, and as I drove to that final test, I knew I was a different person than the person they pulled out of the car that night. That was the first time I really believed in myself as a person and as a Man. I had gone through hell and back. I had a court system who doubted me, friends who didn't know what I was going through, and parents who didn't believe in me. But when I was on the ropes, and when no one believed in me, I believed in myself. I believed in myself and I perserved. Somehow, I managed. Somehow I got through it. I rose from the ashes with a great fire burning inside me, a great incandesce smoldering in my very marrow. I was transformed. I flicked the cigarette out the window and drove on in the night, the pride welling up in me, a smile slowly forming on my face.

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Re: Next contest.

Post  krentz on Wed May 23, 2012 5:32 pm

Wow... KOB, I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for posting that. Truly. I think that, in some ways, we are very different people. However, there is a raw humanity in the depth of your suffering and striving, and something very inspiring and relatable in the way that you turned to your insurmountable inner strength against seemingly impossible circumstances. You see, I come from the other side of the fence. However, reading that was enlightening for me, and I think it's fair of me to say that it could even have helped to redefine the entire way I view people. I've never felt so awful for my dismissive and premature judgments... even if they were borne out of an inability to understand. It's so easy when you are locked in the narrow frame of mind engendered by your own challenges that you sometimes fail to see what really lies beyond them. However, the frankness with which you explored these sensitive subjects, the sheer abandon in your attempt to follow the rabbit hole as far as it goes... that must have taken a lot of courage to do. Out of respect for that, I won't risk detracting any further from your writing with my comments.

However, all things considered, I too would like to post a belated entry. I'm not interested in winning anything. However, it is an excellent prompt, and to be honest, it would feel good to make an attempt to write something properly, again. (It's been two months since I joined ffs. Razz) I don't think in this case I can compete, however, but I know that's not the point. I just felt I should say something, somehow. Confronted with such a powerful piece, it would feel almost criminal not to.

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