Never tried blogging. Wrote a column while working as a journalist, but it’s about fiction now. Yet, my website goes live as I query literary agents to represent my novel, because today, an addictive platform can drive sales more than the writing it’s constructed to serve. So, here I am, and I need a hook. It’s gotta be more than, Hey guys, it’s me. Today it rained again and I didn’t mow the grass that hosts habitats in its towering neglect, but I am writing this blog, so please like me and follow me and I’ll write about brushing my teeth the morning after overdosing on corn on the cob, and when my novel is published, buy it, and I won’t have to write about mac-and-cheese constipation. No, I need a better hook. This is about me. Maybe: I was a child when my uncle told me his penis was a monster that could only be killed if I licked it in the tall grass…, OR, …My son’s got 1p36 Deletion Syndrome. That’s a mouthful. Bet you never heard of it. He knows maybe a dozen words, will probably always need me to change his diaper, can’t walk far unassisted and his heart is failing. He’s also the most honest person I know. He’s love, and when a heart surgeon said ‘We wouldn’t be talking transplant where I’m from. Not a contributing member of society,’ I wanted to say, ‘But look how much society’s broken. All we got backwards. He could teach us what we need to know most to survive and thrive, and isn’t that more important than a financial contribution’…, OR, …We stood in the briefing room, writers presenting stories, social-media tie-ins; photographers, corresponding photos, stand-alones; graphics, something important I don’t know a lot about but appreciate on-page; and I’m like, ‘My dick is huge,’ because when you’re manic, it’s perfectly reasonable to discuss penis size during a briefing (and lie while doing it)…, OR, “’Member that time I was homeless and livin’ in that hotel social services put me up in, with the drug dealers and drunk dudes hittin’ their wives? You know, me, my son and my daughter, and the girlfriend who has biplolar like me. How can you not remember? I fuckin’ left my job as a journalist, moved to another state, away from my son (who has a severe disability), packed my shit in that fuckin’ old freight trailer of that dude my sister knew and moved back the Monday after leavin’ Friday. I begged for my fuckin’ job back but instead ended up locked in the fuckin’ looney bin…,” OR, …My therapist says I need social connections. I tend to isolate. Is there an app to make friends? Like tinder, except instead of swiping to score, I swipe and we become best buds…
And there it is. Was it clever? Clever is fun. At least with words, though part of me also wants to be thought of by others as clever in a literary way. It’s not a ‘better-than’ thing. I could pick apart the cracked foundation the home of my desire (to be considered clever) is constructed over, with its fractured windows like eyes that alter my reality, but I ain’t needy for approval no more. I’m stable now. I pay my bills. I care for my son, who is the shit (also severely disabled), and I do it well. I just finished my third novel, the second I’ve attempted to publish, the first more like a premature ejaculation that left agents like, “Thanks for showing me you have promise, but I possess a stable of talented writers with real-deal big-bang blockbusters that leave me breathless from first to last word instead of tallying the tools you lack to close the deal.” I also work in an intensive-care unit where an eight-hour shift could include chest compressions, phlebotomy and bed-baths. It’s sacred. Caring for people at their most vulnerable. Point is, I like me.
Where was I?
Hope you’ve enjoyed my word-weaving. I could do it all day. Bring me food and water. Remind me to reposition myself so my ass doesn’t hurt, because I lose myself in my head and forget. Remind me to shower too. This one time I’m horny because my sexy goofball of a nerd wife is walkin’ ‘round half naked and my dick’s like, Let’s do this, except I smelled like the fourth layer of sweaty balls with the first layer gathered post-eight-mile run. You know, when you’re all grease and dried salt and the couch forming to your cheeks for three days is like, “You’re fucking sick man. Seriously, you got fucking problems. You sitting here has altered me in a way I’ll never return from, even after a professional cleaning.” Anyway, I adore all the ways in which words can be pieced together.
But ok. You twisted my arm. Let’s get concise with the biographical outline of currently-writing-this-blog-writer Stephen Bartlett. It’s precisely 6:13 pm on Monday, June 3, 2019. I’m sitting on a wobbly bar stool with the screws wiggling loose that I consistently neglect to tighten. It smells like coconut and lime because I remembered to shower, and the doors are locked in case someone pops in, though no one does, at least not to see me.
Where was I?
Right. The bio. Sorry. Graduated high school, five years in the Army, during which time: college, a daughter and marriage. Then honorable discharge and divorce and teaching in prison and slingin’ pizzas and another marriage and journalism and mental health stuff and a son and cheating (this in fact needs its own spot in the list, like jobs and marriages) and divorce and more mental-health stuff and fixing mental-health stuff and goodbye journalism and back to school and ‘look ma, now I’m working in a hospital and caring for people,’ and marriage again and a step-daughter and phew, I gotta catch my breath… But I’m not done, during all this, writing fiction, reading and finding time for hiking and kayaking and basketball - because I’m super competitive and it keeps me young - and lots of running, to remain lean and de-stress and stay sane and come up with story ideas.
My word vomit might seem manic. It’s not. I’m in a good place. One of the things I discovered several years back as I reached a degree of stability I’m grateful for, is I’m productive. This is the first blog. I plan to write one a week, about my current journey, pieces of my past. I’m gonna play around. Traverse unexplored expressions of my art. Each piece will be as good as I can get it in whatever format I’m trying to pull off. If you stick around, I’ll make you laugh, cry, scream, maybe get horny and fuck your lover, or yourself, or your doll, and I could stretch this sentence across pages with y’alls’ proclivities, but I’m stoppin’ here, because the point is, I’d love the honor of making you feel intensely, even if it’s light, because often it’s the most insubstantial that makes me the happiest. So, I guess this is my sorta hello to you. An introduction, so to speak. If you’re tempted to read more, I will be posting weekly.
Painting by Darby Bartlett
This lifestyle/memoir blog contains mature content, some of which could trigger some people. These posts are the author’s honest recollections to the best of his ability. He acknowledges that sometimes people remember things differently. Some names, locations and other identifiers have been changed to preserve anonymity. Author is not providing medical, legal or other professional advice, and all opinions expressed here are that of the author.