RSS

A Fond Farewell (Letters from Beena)

Hey Gang!

I hope you are all doing marvelously! It has been quite a while since I posted on this blog and I couldn’t figure out why. I would think of something to write, sit down to write it, and then nothing would come out. It felt forced and I felt like whatever  I was going to write would, honestly, be complete shit. It was incredibly frustrating. I loved the community surrounding this but it felt like something foreign. It felt like I was a different person; someone separate from the person who posted these words.

Once upon a time a great man said, “Writing is simple, you just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” Bled I did or at least tried to. I wrote as honestly and truthfully as I could as a young man just trying to figure life out. I was in my mid twenties when I began this blog. It bloomed incredibly early and I was not ready for it. I felt like I had to write in a specific way. I began to deviate from that and I understand that some didn’t like that. I was telling my truth at the time. I went through highs and definite lows in the waning years of my twenties and my creativity fell away.

It was the stress of adulting too hard, I suppose. However, that was a person outside of whom I am now. It doesn’t seem fair to negate what I wrote and the trials I went through in my twenties. I am about six months from 30 and I must admit that I have a new outlook. A better outlook. It is much different than the pensive and sometimes nihilistic outlook of my younger visage.

I am happy and sad to say that this is my last post on this blog. Herein are my emotions, triumphs, and pitfalls. I loved this blog and community so much and still do. I remember getting an email with a woman thanking me. I remember she said, “Thank your for your writing. Reading it makes me feel less alone. Keep writing.” It was the most beautiful thing I have every read and I wanted to thank her! I felt so connected.

I am moving and I found something that broke my heart. I had a penpal I met through here named Beena. We spoke over e-mail and decided to send letters back and forth. It was a fun friendship! I loved opening my mailbox and seeing my friend’s handwriting scrawled on the front of a letter. Her personalized cards were beautiful as well. One day the letters stopped and it made me sad. We lost contact and I lamented. As I moved boxes recently, I found the letter I thought I sent to her years ago. The one I thought was never responded to.

To her I say: Beena, you are a fascinating and wonderful human being!

I would also like to say thank you to three other amazing people on this blog: Sweet The Sound, Fencing with Ink, and Margaret (hopefully those are still accurate!). You were both amazing and constantly made me think from giving your points of view.

It is with regret that I say goodbye but I will leave this blog open for someone, years from now, to stumble upon and hopefully find a grain of beauty, peace, or  something close to it.

I have created a new blog called thirtiesshmirtiesblog.wordpress.com if you would like to follow along with my misadventures in a way separate from what I touted in this one. Less anonymity and more life. More color. More beauty for the sake of beauty and not in the face of tragedy. At least not wholly beauty in tragedy. Tragedy is always around the corner for all of us. However, the light within the tragedy is what is important. That is what continues our growth.

I shall end this with how I should have began it; a brief introduction.

Hello, my name is Christopher Noel. I am a writer, a son, a brother, a friend, a dreamer, a believer, and a lover of life. All life. Your life! Use it well.

-Christopher Noel

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The RV Stalks At Noon

motorhome-820593_1920

 

Hey Gang!

 

I admit that I have an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I have been creating these overt, elaborate plots of nothingness for no reason. For example, I once went for a walk on a trail in the back woods with some friends. Along the way, we found barrettes, a small pillow, and a blanket. As a precursor to my revelation, this is adjacent to a campground and fishing; well-travelled it is, as Yoda would say (did you read that in his voice? J). What then unraveled in my mind was that there was a serial killer on the loose in the woods, killing people while they sleep and burying them along the trail…and we were next! Completely true story! Not the murders, the imagination.

Another instance is that, on a date,   we sat and made up stories of all the people around us. We sat next to kings and queens, spies, and everything under the sun. It was a fun night and rare that you meet someone who shares that imagination with you. I understand that my imagination is ridiculous but it is fun and makes the mundane seem like a festival. However, it does get to me. I get uber-paranoid because I let my imagination run. For instance, I was driving through town and the car behind me mirrored every turn that I made. It was unnerving because I thought of every Creepypasta and episode of Alfred Hitchcock that was even remotely similar and it made me freak out. I started going faster, and they matched my speed, I slowed down thinking they would go around but nope, they stayed behind me. I finally whipped into my parking lot to see them speed past and into the distant night. I let out a long exhale and contemplated my sanity.

Fast forward to now. I come to work and every day there is an RV camped out in our lot. We share a rather large parking lot with a couple other corporate buildings. This isn’t your average RV; this is the watch-the-back-windows-for-someone-mouthing-“help” type of RV. It has not moved in 2 months and I have to say, it is a bit creepy but it is bringing out my inner sleuth. I have seen a balding man come out of it once and walk up to the building. The next time I saw him place something on the back bumper and then hop in a little S10 with filing cabinets in it and drive away. Below are the theories I have come up with:

  1. He works there and is having an unfortunate circumstance where he cannot afford a house
  2. He may be in the movement of not planting roots.
  3. He is a murderer that is on the move and needs to be mobile to finish his awful deeds
  4. He is using the RV as a kidnap shack in the open because he secretly wants to get caught
  5. It broke down after he was traveling the world, making it by ship from Russia and is too attached to just leave it
  6. He is a member of a secret society that only live in RVs used in ‘80s horror movies
  7. He is Illuminati….
  8. He may or may not be a vampire, which means I am living the real version of Fright Night
  9. He is a meth dealer who used to be a chemistry teacher and now has cancer but this is his way of paying for the bills and not leaving his family in debt (followed closely by his sidekick, Jessie).
  10. I need to get a life.

It’s definitely one of these!

-Chris

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day (Conclusion)

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day (Conclusion)

Hey Gang!

(Continued from Previous)

Sleep was hard. I had gotten taller since I last camped, which meant my torso was completely exposed. This caused a problem as a snap cold front came through and it dipped down into the low 30s. I was freezing. I put on all of my clothes and my hoodie, yet I still shivered. I used my hiking backpack as a pillow and shivered the whole night. I woke up with the sun around 5:30. I had to pee but it was about 10 degrees colder outside than in my tent. I did what any good man would do, got on my knees and urinated out the door of my tent. Not glamorous but it worked.

We had to move our tents the next day as we had accidentally camped at the wrong site. This other campsite was close to the old one but in a less glamorous area that was downhill. We repeated the steps and night came again. Chad regaled us of why we should fear the night and I listened to that voice in my head that grew. It screamed, “You will be eaten!”

I literally jumped into my tent, zipped it fast, and breathed a sigh of relief. Obviously, a creature could not penetrate a zipped tent door nor the material. I hear the laughter from a campsite near and it kept me sedated. I played a game on my cellphone until I fell asleep. I had come to realize that my imagination was just playing with me. Life is a lot more than silly stories.

I AM AWAKE.

I heard something outside my tent. It cracks as it moves around me. It moves to the front of me and begins hitting my tent’s door. Bigfoot. He is here. I stayed silent. The great beast moved on from me and began rummaging through the make-shift, all-in-one kitchen we erected. I knew if I moved, I would be killed.

“Hey, get outta there,” Chad yelled from outside my tent. “Why you little son of bitch!” I hear as his tent unzips. The beast scurries away with a clang. Chad zips his tent up and I fade back to sleep after a long silence.

I found out what happened the next day. An even bigger raccoon had made its way through our camp, tipped over our psuedokitchen, and tore apart our trash. It was like a terrible horror movie when the monster turns out to be a cute-looking fuzzy bandit. What was better was on my tent’s door I found….muddy claw prints….dun-dun-DUHHHHHH!

The next day I woke up early and essentially did the same thing the raccoon did to me to Juan. I pawed at his tent and he punched at the air. This went on for longer than I care to admit. We went home and the sun set on our adventure. I am not sure there is a moral here or but there is a lesson: My imagination scares me more than nature. Which is also scary.

Here’s to my next camping trip and yours!

-Chris

 

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day

Hey Gang!

I decided to go with some friends to this beautiful campground close by last year. We drove the 30 minutes or so to the lake where our campsite was. The trek to the location was somewhat far in, about a quarter of a mile. This made it quite difficult to lug all of the equipment to the campsite. I am very much a minimalist. I enjoy having a tent, a sleeping bag, matches, a hatchet, and gumption. All of which failed me, but I will get there later.

My friend brings a multi-tool furniture contraption that is a sink, a stove, a wrack for dishes, and a waste disposal. This, as you can imagine, weighed a ton. It took us around 30 minutes to get everything set up. I put my tent together in no time, situating it near the clearing facing the water. It was beautiful and blue, shimmering with the setting sun. I wanted to watch it each morning as the yellow rays crept over the gentle ebb and flow of the water’s motion.

Chad puts his tent up rather quickly. It is a one-man tent. He has all the bells and whistles: sleeping bag, inflatable mattress, in-tent warmer, three fleece blankets, and three pillows.

“Nice hotel,” I scoffed.

I am man! I went to the woods to chop wood and fish. To scour the land and rough it. The thought of having “amenities” was deplorable. Plus, why the heck would someone need three blankets when it is 80 degrees out?

Juan was unfortunate enough to not have a tent. Chad gave Juan his spare tent, which turned out to look more like a coffin. It was only suitable for lying down. Seven feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet high. Perfect for sleeping or practicing being dead, your decision. He put his up with some help and we decided to wander. The day was filled with amazingly uneventfulness. The wood gathered was from a bin near the front for 10 dollars a cord. Most of the time was passed by sitting in silence as the trees swayed and the sounds of nature surrounded us. Nature is beautiful and I love being in it, however, being in a hot forest while bored is not conducive. I walked down some trails, which led to other people’s campsite. We saw each other and the immediate response was, “What the hell are you doing in my woods?” I have no idea why but it feels instinctual to stake claim in wooded areas. “This is my area, that is yours. Keep it that way!”

I eventually find some downed trees and take a stick. You guessed it! Carved wood. I tried to make a spear for fishing. It just sounded right. In the woods, I could only imagine a bigfoot coming out and killing me. Irrational, I know. I admit, I have a flair for looking into paranormal stuff and cryptozoology. Urban legends, folklore, and cyberlore are my favorites as well! (Maybe I should post a few of my favorites…) So, I became obsessed with the fear of possibly seeing a mythical beast. I mean there have been sightings in the area…in the 70s. On top of that, Chad would give little quips about “creepers.” Those people who surprise you or you catch watching you. Basically, a boogeyman in real life. I already have an overactive imagination and had just started reading stuff about the dark net. Not conducive to being in a tent alone.

Night comes and I have freaked myself out. We look up at the stars and they are amazing. Massive out in the woods. I enjoy it but I hear those sounds of the night. Wood creaking and people at campsites in the distance. Guitar carries across the water where a lantern glows. A sound cracks from behind us and we walk over to investigate. Nothing. We go back to the table and talk about nothingness. Another pop followed by thrashing of paper. We shine a light and see a raccoon as big as a medium-sized dog shredding through Juan’s tortilla chips bag. Its eyes glistened a greenish white.

“Hey! Get the hell outta there!” Chad screamed into the night and the little booger ran away. We laughed about it for a while and made sure to secure our food before heading to sleep.

(To be concluded…)

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A lot like gravity.

A lot like gravity.

Force

Hey Gang!

I recently had the privilege of being the best man for my closest friend of nearly 15 years. I wanted to share the speech I wrote. I wrote it because it rang true about he and his wife from my point of view. When I was done with it, I wanted to share it with my gang because I think it is really about what we all want at the end of our story. What follows is the original words I used, with errors, I am sure. I hope you enjoy.

*****

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love storytelling in any form. I love reading them in books and telling some of my own. However, my favorite story isn’t my story but I will tell it anyway.

I don’t want to take up all of your time because, ya know, open bar but it is a story about a boy and a girl.

The boy was a bit of a troublemaker some 15 years ago when I first met him. We had our own adventures for a long time. We grew up together.

Eventually, the boy went to college here at ISU. We would talk every once in a while and he told me about these amazing characters who sit around me at this table and in this room now.

However, he would frequently tell me about this girl. He always talked about how funny she was and how she was like his best friend. I remember the first time I talked to the girl, it was over the phone while they were at Goodwill and found a picture that be known as T-bear for years. I knew then that this girl meant a lot to my friend.

Years pass and their friendship grew. Like any good story there were the ups and downs, the will they or won’t they get together moments.

Spoiler alert: they did.

They loved each other but then they fell in love. They were in love across town, they we in love from city to city, and their love spanned hundreds of miles to Georgia.

Like any good story, the boy too a leap by writing a few words on an egg.*

Now, we are here and the boy and girl are together as man and wife.

This isn’t the end of my favorite story however, it is just the end of that first book in a series of books.

Like any good story, there is a moral her. And I believe it is this:

There is a pretty famous book that says “love is patient, love is kind” but I think there is something more here. Robert Frost said he took the road less travelled and it made all the difference.

These two unintentionally took all of the right turns, out of billions of turns, to get to one another.

You can call that fate, or serendipity, or kismet. But I like to think there was something more there. A force that made them naturally drawn together. That had to be in each others’ space, in each others’ orbit.

These two people are together and bound with love. I think the moral of the story is that love is a lot like gravity. It cannot be denied. When it happens, you can’t fight it, you just have to fall.

So please, raise your glass with me as I make a toast. To gravity, to love, and to my two favorite characters.

Cheers!

*****

I hope you enjoyed. I got a lot of thank you afterward. Many told me that they cried during it, which was not my intention. I wanted to get across the idea of love being something that is hard to define, merely experienced.

I hope you have experienced gravity such as this as well.

-Chris

*Author’s Note: The words on the egg is a reference to how he proposed. It was on, or near, their first Easter living together. They were coloring eggs and he showed her the one he was working on that read: “Marry Me?” I know, it sounds too good to be true but that is how it went down. As I said, my favorite story.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Say Anything…

Say Anything…

say-anything-02-001

Hey Gang,

It has been an insanely long amount of time since I posted. A lot has happened in my personal life and professional. I graduated, you may now officially call me Master Chris, and I got a job. Here is the thing that I have learned in a relatively short amount of time.

Lesson: You are youer than you.

You probably recognize this from a quote by Dr. Suess. I know most people wouldn’t quote Dr. Suess in a fashion such as this, but I find that it is true. There is a point when you have to reevaluate the steps you have taken in life, the baby ones and the strides. This can be as simple as what you ate for breakfast (Was that too high in calories?…Great, straight to my butt!) or it can come from a deeper place (Is this the ‘forever’ person?….Am I fit to be a parent?). Either way, there is something that we all have to do when we come to crossroads such as these. I did this as well.

I am working at a relatively easy job, with decent pay. It is actually incredibly relaxed as it is a non-traditional role. However, I must admit that something is missing. One of my favorite musicians died not too long ago. BB King had an amazing record called “The Thrill is Gone”; this is how I feel about this new job at this new point in my life.

I ask myself, “If it is all so new, why does it feel so old.”

I am sure you have experienced this too, dear reader. Maybe even as you are working and reading this. Whatever activity you did today, there may be that feeling of deja vu. This feeling of being lost in the woods and suddenly you see a tree but it gives no solace as you have seen that tree multiple times but you are still lost. You realize you have just been going in circles. Maybe this melancholy harkens to you now or some other time.

It is funny to think about it. In this new role, I watch the person who does my same job work fervently as they get things done, a rigorous pace that is on track to cause hypertension, anxiety, and even death. I try to speak of life and things that follow but they talk about work. To everyone, they speak of work. I know that work is their life but it is a fairly simple role. It is only made difficult because you seek a challenge where none can be had.

I realized not too long ago that I need stimulation on a deeper level. It is much like dating in that way for me. You do a job and you find out it isn’t the right fit for you so you have to have an awkward break-up with them. (“I’m happy working this organization but I feel like we have grown apart.”, “I’m sorry but there’s some employer else…”, “They’re not better than you, just different…they have dental.”)

I have chosen the next step. To get my PhD. It just makes sense for me. I loved teaching, as it was the only thing that made sense to me. It is a far cry from the professional role I am in now that has some esteem to it. I realize now that money is meaningless. Fact: Joy can only increase, due to income, until one reaches $75,000 annual salary. After that, it levels off. I realize that money is meaningless to me. You can’t buy the feeling you get when you see a student finally understand a concept. Work dozens of hours and get those worksheets done, but you have missed the silent beauty of the world. You missed some incredible even in a forrest. You missed watching the sun rise and set on a day that will never return. The inescapable cycle we experience regarding work is the hardest pill for me to swallow.

Say “mirror,mirror on the wall, how can I be happiest and end this living life withdrawal?” I think once you hold that mirror up to yourself and you see the person you are, you are able to say, “This is the person I am trying to be” or “This is the person I hoped I wouldn’t be”. The latter is mine. However, remember that the person in the mirror is tentative, fleeting. Tomorrow is a new day but you are youer than you and that is truer than true.

Being you should be a gift. You are all beautiful. Be organic and be truthful. If something isn’t working, make sure you look in the mirror, as I always do, and be honest with yourself. The person in the mirror waits for directions, it waits to be what you feel you want to be. All you have to do is speak the words and put it to task. A job, a love, a longing, an addiction, anything. Just say it. Say something. Silence kills the thing we want to become, the reflection in the mirror stale if you neglect the nectar of life, which is the true you.

You have to say something to that reflected you.

Say anything…

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Campfire Tales Part 2: Creepy-Crawlies and The Scream That Ended The Trip

Campfire Tales Part 2: Creepy-Crawlies and The Scream That Ended The Trip

This was the first time I had ever camped, except in my ninja turtle tent in my bedroom floor as a tot. I feel like that doesn’t count.

I know one thing, the dark is pretty terrifying. Let me clarify, what is in the dark, or the possibility thereof, is terrifying. I use this preface to go on about when our noses started to run. We had no toilet paper, tissues, or paper towels. However, in the darkened exterior of the camp, about 50 yards away, was the public restroom. Ben essentially made fun of me when I proposed we both go look for toilet paper. It didn’t bother me. At least this way, when the three-eyed beast came to eat me, I wouldn’t be alone in its stomach!

I carried my gas lantern as Ben led the way to the outhouse. It was impossibly dark only three feet away from the lantern. This made my mind go to places I didn’t know possible, which is kind of impressive for me, no?

We get to the bathroom and he opens the door. I peek around inside, slowly lifting the lantern up to illuminate the small, dark space, and notice cockroaches all over the bathroom. Ceiling, floor, and walls were covered by long, dark insects. I was blown away from disgust.

“Got it,” Ben says as he takes a roll from the bathroom.

He passes in front of me. Now, the entire time he was in there, all I saw was the left side of his body. As he passes, I see the right side of him…which is now home to about four massive cockroaches. I try to emote but it comes out in stumbles.

“Er.. You..On your back…Cockroach! Dude! Dude!”

Now, there are two versions on what happened next. Ben’s recounting and then the real story.

Ben said it freaked him out that I was yelling. That’s why he jumped.

What really happened:

He had a look of shear horror as he ran into the darkness swatting cockroaches off his back. I was dying laughing at this point. Grossed out and laughing.

He skulks as he is visibly embarrassed. We go back to the fire and blow our running, cold noses as the fire dies out. It is then the cold sets in but above us are stars; billions of stars unlike anything I had ever seen. We stood there looking upwards in the cold for quite a while.

Ben then decided he needed to go back to the truck for something. I thought, “Oh god…I have to be by myself in the dark with a broken lantern (lantern broke, I guess a breeze blew by and knocked it over. I blame karma).”

He went off and I became hyper-aware of my surroundings. My ears perked up and I could hear every insect landing on a leaf from 10 meters away. It was terrifying for no real reason. I felt like I was being watched the entire evening and now, by myself, it was amplified. He finally skulked back but the feeling never left me. We stood there growing colder but still in awe of the heavens above us for a while longer.

That was when we heard the lack of frogs croaking. It was silent. I remarked something to him for a moment, I can’t recall right now, and that is when we heard this blood-curdling scream coming from where we fished not but a few hours ago. We looked at each other in shock. The scream continued and moved up towards us as if it was coming up the hill. We were immobile. It then sounded like it went through the woods, which Ben’s back was to, and then flew over head and away. Its scream drowned out as it flew into the distance.

“So, go to sleep?” I said.

“Umm, yeah,” he quickly retorted.

We dove into the tent and set up the partition between us. We joked about the sound for a bit, calling it a witch, and then went to sleep. The next day, the boredom and monsters finally got to us. We decided to fish one last time in the main river and head home.

I guess that’s how most people camp, right? Fear and boredom?

Stay tuned for my next campfire tale: Mr. Raccoon has his day!

-Chris

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: