The True Cost Of Sobriety

Never has my sobriety been more in question than it is this time of year.

Tis the season to be jolly.

Tis the season to be drunk.

And drunks have never been kind to me.

They are mean, vindictive, forgetful and self-centered to the max.

And they are totally familiar.

The luckiest ones are totally surrounded by loving, doting enablers. Those who tiptoe around said offender so as to keep the peace.


And what kind of peace is that I wonder?

The kind of peace that alienates the sober ones. The ones who have been there, done that and are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

The ones who have lost it all and are fighting to get it back.

And there are still losses but to be sober in a world of drunks is everything.

Nothing to them, however. They don’t even notice.

But I know something they don’t know.

Anything I put ahead of my sobriety, I am going to lose.

Especially at this time of year.

And I’ve already lost a lot.

The trick is to keep your dignity in tact while fighting, one day at a time to regain your self-respect, your sense of worth, your balance, your life.

I’ve never needed the ‘approval’ of drunks less than I do right here, right now.

I know what I speak of.

I’ve been there. And I wasn’t a kind drunk either. I was as mean, vindictive, forgetful and self-centered as the rest of them.

But I had lots of company back then. I fit right in. I was anonymous.

Which brings me to the point about the true cost of sobriety.

It’s about decisions that have already alienated me from those who are still on the ‘low’ road.

I’ve worked hard to stay sober, all these years, sometimes against incredible odds, the constant push of society to ‘have one for the road’, the resentment and fear of those less sober, and anyone who doesn’t understand the concept of the ‘compulsion’ to drink. The fact that I can have one, and then one after another.

But, despite the loneliness, the misunderstandings and the alienation, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Because I know the true cost of sobriety would be to lose it now, after all these years, and never get it back…


Where Does The Red Brick Road Go?

Perhaps my all-time favorite movie about returning home is The Wizard of Oz.

I loved it as a kid, and even more as an adult when I had a better understanding of all the movies’ subtleties and humour that I missed as a child.

It had a strong message about ‘home’ that was certainly not lost on me.

Dorothy understood the importance of family and friends and she never gave up hope despite the challenges she was presented.

Personally, the flying monkeys would have certainly done me in, I still have nightmares about those guys sometimes…

I’ve moved a bit, traveled some and left the city of my birth, only to return eighteen years later. and It was the last place I expected to be. I returned to my comfort zone, for sure, but soon began to realize that despite the familiarity of the ‘old neighborhood’, I was the only one here now.

Everyone else had moved on.

I felt like I was following the ‘red brick road’. The road ‘not taken’ and it certainly gave me a better understanding about why you can never really go home again.

I know why I returned. There was parts of me I wanted to recapture, re-connect with, understand better. And I did.

I came back to re-establish my sense of belonging. Of coming home.

Only it wasn’t ‘home’ anymore.

I doubt the house of my childhood has any memory of me at all.

Sometimes I bike past it and it looks so different and I know that is where I grew up, but it is not home to me now and I want to remember a time when it was…

I’ve decided ‘home’ is not so much a place, more like a journey.

For most people, home is where their family is, and my family isn’t here now. Only I am.

So my journey will continue and I will know when I’m finally home because it will have that familiar feeling of comfort, even if I’ve never lived there before.


Staring at Goats


For those of you who have ever wanted to stare at a goat, now’s your chance.

Go on then.

Give it a try.

Disclaimer: No goats were harmed in the making of this blog article.

That’s the good news.

Now…repeat 3 times FAST…


You know you want to…

If you can get the goat to say it with you…even better!

And that would certainly be incredible news and worth repeating…


Imitation: A Cheap Form Of Flattery

I’ve never really understood why imitation is what it is.

As a writer, I’ve always gone my own way, terrified of imitating anyone. That’s the reason I found Journalism so unappealing way back when. Too restrictive, exacting, factual, everything that I felt was going to stifle me as a writer.

Well, several years later, I  understand that a degree would have given me a career boost in some ways, yes, I know that, but even now I find myself too rebellious and undisciplined to plop myself down and flatter anyone through imitation. Seems rather fraudulent to me. And there’s always that fear that maybe, someone, somewhere, somehow did, had, will come up with the same brilliant sentences as I so gallantly struggle with.

HHHMMMPPPPPFFFFFFF! (Not a word, I am aware).

Paying homage however is something entirely different.

Awww, yesh, many great writers have started off as journalists, but I’m sure you have to be really awfully good as a writer to get into journalism school, the trick is to stand out.

I will only pay my homages in acknowledging their greatness. I cannot imitate. I cannot flatter. I cannot by any means, fraudulent or otherwise, pretend to be something, someone I am not.

Cannot, and will not.

But, I did mention that I admire the great works of others. My imitation of them, in any form would hardly do them any kind of justice I’m afraid. Only bastardize any attempt to flatter them and leave my readers shaking their heads in total dismay.

Too many to mention, there are tons of brilliant writers that have come and gone and I think about what made them so great and what still makes them great even now. It’s more than a way with words, their ideas or dreams.

Much more.

Its’ how they bring their characters to life, how they make you as a reader, part of the story, how they make you feel they wrote for you and you alone. That takes a certain kind of brilliance I am still working on. When I can write a story that ‘speaks’ to the individual reader, makes you want to know the characters, or at least feel like you do, or better still, feel like you may be one of them, then I will have attained the kind of writing ‘greatness’ that makes everyone else want to ‘imitate’ me.

Fingers crossed….

I’m writing as fast as I can but everybody knows:

‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’…

Now, where is my……?


This Just In: Heathers’ Pick

Finally, I have a bit of time to write a ‘real post’.

So, you know how you go into a bookstore and just kinda peruse…

Yup. I’m a peruser…I don’t walk around a bookstore, I become part of it.

I drink in the smells of paper, pot pourri, carpeting, dust, old paint and… well… body odour.

It is truly an experience. I think only a writer can take it all in the way I do. I hear the books calling me, and I go.

Sometimes I set off the alarm when I first walk in, must be the excitement of just being there. The bookstore can never find an explanation for it. I’m betting my bank probably can, but that’s another story.

So, question of the day: I keep seeing ‘Heathers Picks’ on books. Well, who is Heather?

I only knew one Heather, and I doubt she could even read….poor thing….but she sure loved to talk and cyber bully others…

Not HER, I’m guessing.

I’ve thought of asking the bookstore.

Can I meet Heather? I really want to know why she picked this book…did SHE even read it…ever?

How old might this ‘Heather’ be? Old enough to know better? Young enough to wish she didn’t?

Is she an employee, is she on the payroll, does she just drop in, like I do and if so…how do I get to ‘pick’ a book and have a gold sticker with MY name slapped on the front cover…

HEATHER, HEATHER, HEATHER, why is it all about Heather and what she picks? Perhaps it has something to do with that crazy movie ‘Heathers’ that came out in the 80’s. Maybe it’s one of them.

Maybe if you pick a ‘Heather Pick’, you are inducted into some weird cult, or whisked away, never to be seen again.

I’ve never picked a ‘Heather Pick’, I’m afraid if I do, I’ll be hit over the head with a forklift…

In the meantime, I’m going to pick some of this Heather instead….


Service With a Smile? Not Likely…

Daily Prompt: Are you being served?

by michelle w. on September 19, 2013

What’s the most dreadful (or wonderful) experience you’ve ever had as a customer?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SERVICE.

These daily prompts are starting to sound a lot like my blog….remember when I wroted this?

Consider This: there’s a reason your server is always down….

And Furthermore:


Deep Sixed

Daily Prompt: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

by michelle w. on September 10, 2013

Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SIX.

It will go something like this:

Question from the curious:

“What are you working on?”

Answer from Sleepless in Slumberland:

My NEXT article…


The Remains Of The Day

At the local coffee shop, if the paper is available, I always read the obituaries.

I study each one carefully, checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and content.

This makes some of those around me nervous. Like they think I am looking for them.

I am not.

Nor am I looking for me.

A well-written obituary gives the reader a glimpse into the life of stranger. It gives the newly deceased a bit of honour when they most deserve it and when they can least defend themselves.

It seems to me obituaries have changed a lot over the years. People were less materialistic. Their obituaries reflected that. They usually just mentioned the deceased and immediate family. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing wasted. A good life. A good death. A proper send-off.

Fast forward to our fast-moving, materialistic, ego-driven way of life where it’s more fashionable to keep up with the Joneses than help them raise a new barn.

We’ve complicated death. Made it more competitive. Less compassionate. The longer the obituary, the more important the life, so we think.

I always wanted to write obituaries. I would be honest, well-versed and the grammar and spelling would be awesome. However, I might not mention the raging alcoholic, the womanizer, the one who had it coming, or the crack-head and I’m pretty sure I’d leave out the fact they were hated by everyone, or wanted to die under the wheels of a beer truck.

I’ve never really considered my obituary. I guess it would be better if I wrote it. How can anyone know for sure what they are reading is based on opinion more than the truth.

I think mine should read: The rumours of this death are no longer exaggerated. Loved by The Cat, (we think).

Period. Keep it simple.

It’s less time-consuming for readers.

And I still have so many to get through before the coffee shop closes in a couple of hours…


Requiem For A Dying Wasp (First Haiku Attempt)

Hot summer day


dying wasp.


Subtle breeze

ants march by

wasp in trouble.


Black and yellow

visitor with wings

comes to pay respect.


Tossing and turning

leaves in the way

running out of time.


Warm sun

on my upturned face

wasp in cool shadow.


Stick subtly placed

to help wasp roll

cannot stay upright.


Minutes seem like hours

falling of night

wasp no longer moving.


Morgan Freeman is Narrating my Life Story

I’ve always been one to observe. Never lead. Not because I couldn’t lead, but because I prefer to watch someone else make a fool out of themselves. Never me.

I think my life, narrated by Morgan Freeman, of course, if available, would start off as a complete mystery with some fill-in-the-blank stuff, would develop rapidly into who-dunnit, and as my character grows and develops, the golden years would present themselves as a complete and utter un-romantic comedy.

The background music would be a bit of U2, some Queen and perhaps The Who or INXS just for variety, and a whole lot of Cat Stevens, just because….

The best actress to play me would be….oh, sorry can’t name names at the risk of type-casting anyone, you’ll have to wait for the movie to come out….

And after three cups of tea and a lengthy conversation with my newest Betta, Prince Charming…(the cat was asleep and didn’t join in)…the perfect title for the movie of my life, narrated by Morgan Freeman, (but only if he’s available,) would be: See sentence below please….

I’m Unable To Leap Tall Buildings, but I have a picture of one, in case anyone else can…just don’t jump to conclusions…it’s not over till it’s over….

And would there be a sequel? ABSOLUTELY  NOT, once is enough. Remember, I’m just visiting this planet, I never intended to stay…