Creative Expressions

I found a prompt yesterday, and it read “You die. As you go up to paradise, you notice it seems to be in ruins. Then you find the corpse of God.” I found in on Pintrest, so I’m not sure who to credit it to, but the concept intrigued me. A lot. So I thought I’d post what came out of this prompt, in the hopes of some constructive criticism, or even your own answers to the prompt. I’d love to read them. Anyways. Here it is.


I thought death would be peaceful. Life had been a chore, a daily fight to live. It’s not as if I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to live any longer, not in that hell. Days upon days of pain, of drugs, of not knowing how things will be mere hours from now, it all creates a cycle of torture in which the only relief is death or life.

I could feel my body giving out. Breath started to get harder to find, minutes blended into hours, until I couldn’t be sure when I was. And they were all there, waiting, watching, mourning already, even though they tried their damndest to make sure I didn’t see. But I did. When you’re stuck in a bed, you can’t help but see.

They let my friends see me one last time. I’m glad they did, but I almost wish they didn’t. We were at the age of invincibility. To see me dying, well, it shattered the illusion of safety and promise they held around their lives. It broke them. I watched it break them.

One of the nurses helped me write my letters. She picked me out beautiful stationary, bought it with her own money, cream paper with a simple metallic navy border on the front. Every lucid moment was spent writing my goodbyes, to my parents, to my friends, to the nurses and teachers I had remembered. The hardest was the one to my brother. He’s only seven. He shouldn’t have to lose me yet.

So, yes, I thought death would be peaceful. That I would just drift away into nothingness. That there would be no pain. But there’s always pain. There’s the pain in blinking, knowing that this might be the last time your eyes open, that the last thing you saw would be your final vision. There’s pain in tears, in the too-tight grasp of a hand in yours. Pain in the way he fought to keep his eyes open, even though it was way past his bedtime, even though it was way past my time.

And then your eyes close one last time. Breathing starts to falter, hitch, fade into a final exhale. You would think that, once the eyes close, that’s it. But I hung on, blind yet feeling, struggling for each pitiful breath, hearing their sobs ripping out their lungs. I wanted to cry out, tell them I was still here, but even a single breath was difficult. And yet I lingered on.

A part of me hoped someone would beckon me into the beyond. That I would see my grandmother, holding out her hand, or my uncle that I barely knew. Maybe an angel, or a figure in white. Death himself, robe and all. A part of me hoped there was nothing, just blackness, a darkness that ate away consciousness, pain.

A final breath caught in my throat and faded, and I did as well. It is almost like floating, the experience, rising from your body as if on a wind. I hovered, watching my mother collapse onto me, my father face the wall, my brother stirring and crying out.

And then the world rushed past me, as if I was sucked through a tube, flashes of my life flickering past. My cat nuzzling my palm, my grandmother cutting off the edge of the cookie dough tube for me to eat, holding my brother for the first time, all pleasant images to whisk me away. And I felt myself crying, trying to reach out to the images, trying to look up and look away. The memories rushed by quicker, time convoluted and images scattered, no rhyme or reason to their organization, until they faded into a pleasant white that grew blinding, until ground was beneath me.

And here I am, standing before the gates of heaven. Though I’m not sure if I want to go in. They’re open, you see, and there’s no one around. They’re resting on a broken hinge. And the welcome desk is covered in blood. I didn’t know angels could bleed.

Travel’s End (Or, How I Ended Up Back Home)

One night in North Carolina. That’s all I spent there, searching and searching for something to do, something that would call my heart to explore, and yet wasn’t too far away from where I was. And that went spectacularly not well. I think a small part of me wanted to be home, in a place I knew, with people I loved.

I drove for a little while in North Carolina before making the decision to attempt South Carolina again. I wanted to see Charleston. I’m not sure why; my decision to see Savannah wasn’t a great call, and that’s because I’m not a history buff or interested in the aspects of these towns. And I drove through Charleston. It was beautiful, but again, I didn’t want to stop.

So I drove through Myrtle Beach. During its off season. When everything is pretty closed. And I drove away.

By seven or so, I was by the Florida border. I was going to stop for the night, I really was. But I didn’t. I knew how far of a drive it was from Jacksonville to home, I knew it wasn’t worth stopping. So I drove straight home. My final day of traveling was pure driving.

I saw some snow at the South Carolina border rest stop, and threw a tiny snowball. And I took a couple pictures, and I spent some time walking around. And I realized I loved nature as much as I hate it. I mean, I truly hate it. Spiders, bugs, lizards, frogs… all of it grosses me out, and keeps me from nature. But the beauty, the trees, the way the light casts, the stillness… that’s what makes me want more.

And I realized I loved being on my own, nothing but a car and a dream. Yes, it got lonely, and sometimes all I wanted to do was call someone and have some human interaction. But I would gladly trade it all in to keep traveling with no worries.

I don’t think I’m ever going to be a world-class traveler. I don’t think I’ll ever truly leave Florida. But I’m not going to stop traveling. I’m not going to stop dreaming. And I’m not going to stop writing about the world as I know it.

Day Unknown

It has been a little while since I have updated, and I wish I had more substantial reasons why. I traveled; it was so nice, on my own, the car and the music and the land the only company I had. And yet I came home, where I sit now, wondering at what steps come next.

I don’t want to give up traveling. I think I know that for a fact, because I loved it. I have never been an adventurous wanderer, but now I itch to explore. Nor do I want to go back to where I was. I have grown from there, and to go back would be to step back in my own life. And I can’t afford to do that. If I want to find myself and my place in this world, I cannot go backwards, no matter if I miss it or not. And I do miss it, in a sense. I miss my coworkers, the kids, everything. But not the stress and not the other aspects.

So I sit here, back at home, trying to find a course of action. Which is why I stepped away for a little while. I had high hopes for this blog, for my adventures, and the idea of not meeting those hopes scared me. But if I allow myself to step away from writing and something that makes me happy, which this does, then what did I learn? So I’m back, and the world wide web is stuck with me, because I’m going to keep posting content here.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about the ends of my travels, and how I ended up home. And then, I don’t know what I’ll post. Maybe some stories, true and fiction. Maybe some crappy poetry no one wants to read. Or else I’ll continue to ramble on as I attempt to make something of myself in this world. Numbering days is over. From now on, I write without a destination.

1/8/18 – Day Six

I wanted to go to Savannah, but I ended up in Lumberton, North Carolina.

I did make it to Savannah. I drove through it, even. But I didn’t stop. The city didn’t call me; nothing there made me want to stay, not the buildings, the history, the ghost tours I could’ve taken. The Interstate called me. And so I followed it.

It took less than half an hour to reach South Carolina. It took around two hours to drive through it. And it took maybe twenty more minutes to find a hotel and food.

I honestly thought I would stay in Georgia. I loved Macon, and there were more things I could have checked out. But I needed to make it this far, to see if I could. Granted, I don’t particularly like it here so far. I think I glorified the idea of North Carolina so much that, arriving inside its borders, I was let down by my own ideals. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like North Carolina; it’s beautiful, and I’d love to explore it more. But I don’t want to stay here like I did in Georgia. Maybe it’s because I’m closer to family there, only half a day away. I’m not sure. Maybe I’m glorifying Georgia.

I did, however, get to see the Whistle Stop Cafe. I might have been expecting more, but arriving before noon on a Monday doesn’t give an option for many people to be present. I will say, their fried green tomatoes were the best I’ve had, and I don’t even like tomatoes. But it was a piece of history right in front of me, and it felt nice to see it. I did love the movie and the story.

I don’t know where my plans go from here. Home is tugging at my heart, a need for the old way of life is nudging at my mind, but I don’t want to leave without checking the area out a bit. Who knows. Maybe I’ll fall in love with a state all over again.

1/7/18 – Day Five

I’m still in Georgia, but away from Atlanta. I do like it here, and I like the feeling of winter. Winter is a season that Florida forgot, but here and now, it feels fresh and new, bitter and stinging and cold. And I love it.

I got lost in Atlanta today. Not terribly lost; phones and GPS have a knack for finding directions.  All because I turned left instead of right. And yet, I’m glad I got lost. I wasn’t afraid, I kept my head, and I walked more than I have in a while. My legs itched, my hands were cold, my face turned a splendid red, but I made my way through a city that looked forgotten as everyone focused on a game. And I stayed safe; I only walked along busy streets, never took a side street, and yet I hesitate telling this story. Some close to me might not like to hear that I got lost. But I did, and I didn’t, and I made it through the day. I even found my car much quicker than it took to leave it.

My goal was the World of Coca-Cola. And I spent a couple blissful hours there. And it was beautiful. I also might have gotten an addiction to Surge, years too late, but it’s a better Mountain Dew and I am in love with it. There might be a can in my bag right now. This place, it was beautiful and wonderful and filled with so much art and memorabilia, and I wanted it all.

I left Atlanta then, drove away from the city with it in my wake. Partially because I’m not a fan of the city, but mainly because of the big game tomorrow. I’m not sure what game, or who’s playing, but I knew it was football and I needed to put a good amount of distance between me and football fans. Growing up with parents who are in love with the game gives me enough warning to know what I’d expect from a game like this.

Tonight I’m in Macon, and I love it here. The small-town vibe as I sit outside of the city, the front desk guy who told me about a retro arcade in downtown Macon that I have to visit at some point, to the knowledge that I can keep driving towards Savannah and other places, and enjoy the world around me. I feel happy here. If I could sleep in a hotel for the rest of my life and explore places, I think I could do that. If I had to settle down here instead, I think I could do that too. But I think I have a couple places to visit first. Then maybe, just maybe, I could find “home”.

1/6/18 – Day Four

I’m sitting in a hotel in Georgia now, looking back over the last few days. The Keys were nice, but not what I wanted. I felt out of place there; I felt like a tourist. And though I loved the ocean views, the salt air scent, the sunshine and sand, I had to leave.

So I went home for a day. Even though I had only been gone for less than two days, it felt different, like I didn’t fit anymore. And as much as I wanted to be there, to go back on everything I decided to do, I knew I couldn’t do that. I have to try to find my own way in this world, or else I don’t think I could go back to the way things were.

So I came to Georgia, and I stopped outside Atlanta, in a decent hotel right outside the airport, where every time it feels quiet another plane leaves or takes off and rattles the building around me. I briefly explored the city, and I hated it. It was too big, too confusing, too much of an urban area filled with aspects of cities I hadn’t come across in Florida.

And yet, driving up through the lower parts of Georgia, I think I fell in love. The way the trees lined the interstate, sparsely green and somehow still alive. The way I didn’t recognize gas stations, or saw restaurant chains I hadn’t seen before. The way the drivers seemed more laid back, not as much in a rush. The way I sit here, hands freezing, enjoying temperatures not reached in Florida.

Tomorrow I explore more. I want to see the World of Coke. I want to drive backwards and see the Whistle Stop Cafe. I want to visit my cousin, even for just a little bit. And I want to see a more rural Georgia. Maybe this is where I’ll be happy, maybe not. But I have time to explore, and that’s what I want to do.

1/3/18 – Day One

This is hard. Packing up my car and driving away is hard. Driving for ten hours is hard. Being in a new place, one you’ve never heard of before, is hard.

And yet it is exhilarating. For the first time in my life I am completely on my own, making my own choices, staying where I want to stay, seeing what I wish to see. There is every emotion rushing through my body at this moment, fear and confusion and joy. But the dominating feeling is determination. Because I can do this, and I will.

I drove all the way to the end of the Keys just to drive away. I wanted to watch the sun set, but it seems like the whole world did, too, and I don’t have the patience to figure out parking and walking and crowds. Instead I drove over the bluest water I’ve ever seen, a deep teal, the color of sea glass. I saw destruction and devastation and rebuilding. I saw chickens crossing roads as if they owned the place. I watched the sea turn the color of storms, until all was black around me.

I drove across Alligator Alley, and I saw more turtles than I have ever seen lying on the side of the roads. And I pitied them, to an extent. We invaded their homelands, and we carved up the land. But there were fences across almost the whole stretch, on both sides, and yet the turtles still tried to get across. And I admired their determination, though I pitied them for it. And I wish my luck to the next turtle who tries to cross over.

I conquered a strange fear and drove over the Skyway bridge. Years ago, I had a strange recurring dream where I had to drive over a bridge that was incredibly steep, and was only wide enough for one car. It was pretty much a roller coaster, and if you wavered at all, you would fall. And in my dreams I had to drive it a few times, because I would forget something, and each time I remember feeling scared. Now, as I drive more, each time I get to a bridge that seems steep, I am both excited and scared. I think my fear is that I will pull a Princess Diaries, and my car will roll back down and I will cause a wreck.

And yet, this bridge is the steepest thing I’ve had to drive. I felt like a kid driving up it. If there weren’t cars in front of me, I probably would’ve coasted down, watching my speed but throwing caution slightly to the wind. As it was, it felt like a roller coaster I controlled. And I can’t wait to drive it again to go back up the state.

So now I write this in a little motel, anxious and excited and tired. I think I thought there would be more deep thoughts here, but there weren’t that many. Instead, I accomplished more. Maybe tomorrow there will be deep insights into the world and myself. But for now, there’s only turtles and a bridge, and a teal sea beneath me.