Coffee & Contemplation: New Book and Other Mishaps

So, I messed up last week. I scheduled my Fiction Friday post for last Friday along with my Flashback Friday post. Fiction Friday should have been today. I’ve had a weird couple of months, and I’ve been extra busy. A mistake was bound to happen at some point. Despite this mishap, I’m looking towards the future. I have many things in the works, and I’d like to share some of those with you all.

This past Tuesday, I released a new book. I didn’t advertise this much. It was more of a personal achievement. The book is called Mushaburui: A Mental Health Journey. This is nonfiction and autobiographical. I spent two years writing for a couple of blogs along with my personal blog. These are personal stories of things I was thinking and feeling at the time. I decided to publish them all together. I may write more and publish those as well. I wanted to see how far I’ve come. This will help push me to continue moving forward.

I still have a long way to go on this journey and writing has helped. I also have another collection of poetry releasing in January titled Cats, Coffee, Catharsis. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle. I have more details about this as we get closer to the release date. I’m also using some poems from past collections for a show I’m putting on in January. As part of the Tucson Fringe Festival, my show “Men Are Garbage” will feature poems from the collection of the same name. This is also helping me on my mental health journey as many of the poems are about personal experiences.

The show is on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 7:30 at Studio ONE. Get more details and tickets from the Tucson Fringe Festival’s Online Store. I’m both nervous and excited about this as I’ve never read my poetry for that long with no one else on stage. It will be an interesting experience.

The new year has a lot in store for me. I hope it does for all of you too. I hope you all enjoy the remainder of the year. Stay safe out there.

Flashback Friday Poetry: The Meaning of Life

many of us do not try
to understand the reasons why
why do things occur as they do
no one knows, not me, nor you
all we can do is live with life
for life is always an enduring strife
the only consistency is change
not often does something stay the same
money is the main focus for some
others prefer peace and love
how does one discover what life is about
experiencing life is one way to find out

Early poetry from James. From the poetry collection Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry.

Fiction Friday: Highway 491

I drove down Highway 491 in early June of 2008. My watch said 3am and I hadn’t seen any other cars for at least an hour. I started to get that uncomfortable feeling. The one you get when things don’t feel right; like something bad will happen. I looked out the windows up at the sky. I expected to see a bunch of bright lights flying around. I never believed in aliens, but for some reason I kept looking up.

I finally stopped looking feeling foolish. I put my eyes back on the road and I saw it. It felt strange that I didn’t see it before; a circus tent with cars parked all around. Some of the cars looked old, but shinier than mine; like restored classics. I couldn’t understand why a circus performed in the middle of the night. 

Is my watch broken?

I had driven for a while and needed the rest, so I pulled over. I at least wanted to see the old cars from all decades; as much as 80-years-old.

I never saw a circus themed car show. After looking at a few of the classics, I went inside to see what the show.

The smell of popcorn attacked my nose as I entered. I could feel something crunching under my feet though I didn’t hear it from the loud music. Peanut shells covered the ground. An elephant in the center ring balanced things on its tusks. No one stood at the entrance, so I found myself a seat.

Everyone in the audience wore clothing from different decades. I didn’t notice at first how strange people looked. When I saw a man with one of those curly mustaches throwing popcorn, I started looking at everyone. One section had a group of soldiers dressed in World War II uniforms. A bunch of flower power hippies threw flowers instead of popcorn in another section. No one noticed me or any other people around them. The performances in the three rings hypnotized the audience.

I leaned over and spoke to the man next to me.

“What kind of show is this?” I said.

The man looked at me confused and uncomfortable. Without answering he returned to watching the well-trained elephant. After the elephant, a group of clowns ran out from behind the trainer and started goofing around. I decided I had stayed long enough and began to leave.

A man in a candy-striped jacket and straw hat stood at the entrance with an over exaggerated smile. He put one of his hands up.

“You cannot leave.” He said.

“I’m sorry I didn’t pay, but no one was around.”

“Admittance is free, but you cannot leave.”

The wide smile on his thin face and shrill voice made me uncomfortable. 

“Why can’t I leave?”

He snickered.

“It is almost time for the finale. You do not want to miss that.”

He gestured for me to sit back down.

I returned to my seat but looked back every now and then to find the creepy man still standing there watching me. Before the clown act ended, I noticed a young man and woman walking into the tent greeted by the creepy man. I found it strange that the girl wore a blue shirt that said Clinton 2016. I took my chance and snuck out behind the creepy man while he spoke to the couple.

As I left, I could hear the Ringmaster on the loud speaker.

An excerpt from “Highway 491” from the short story collection The Morbid Museum.