I remember shopping at Beaver Lumber when I was a kid. I used to go in there with my dad so that he could pick up things like dry wall screws, drill bits, and shelf hinges. Not exactly a ten year old kid’s idea of an exciting day out! To kill the time and create some sort of entertainment for myself, I once dared my younger sister to fill her pockets with things like double sided Velcro, paint stir sticks, an exacto knife, some nails, and whatever else she could fit in there. These were the days of consumer trust, where there were no security guards, no cameras, no security gates, and stealing was as easy as having the balls to do it.
I think it was this same need for excitement that caused me to be such an outcast and have such an extreme personality as an adult. Things are never Grey with me. It’s either Black or White. I’m either exhilarated with more passion and excitement than I know what to do with, or I’m sinking like a submarine in a pool of self-loathing and despair. I never have an “okay” day. I either have a fucking incredible day or I have a day where drinking myself into a sloppy oblivion is all I can do to stay sane. This type of black or White mentality coupled with the raging alcoholic British drinking genes I have… Is not a good combination. I always have to keep myself in check.
But I don’t… And when I do something, I do it to the extreme. I can’t do anything with subtlety. Why? Because I am so far from subtle that I wouldn’t even be able to get an aerial shot of it from space if I wanted to. It’s just not within my grasp, my vocabulary, my consciousness, or my universe.
So maybe that’s why I can’t be happy working a 9 to 5 job. Maybe that’s why I always feel like a fucking Black Sheep who desperately needs to be sheared, out in the field with all the well-groomed White sheep who don’t seem to be conflicted or complicated and who appear to be happily grazing away in the grass.
Maybe that’s why I had a drug problem for all those years. Maybe it’s why I find myself perpetually trying to understand myself and why I write out of compulsion, obsession, and complete and utter need! I don’t know how to not write. I don’t know how to live without writing. I don’t know how to be anything other than a writer, and if I am anything other than a writer, I’m probably not very good at it. I am not even sure that I am good at writing… But it’s the only thing I know with complete certainty that I am meant to do. And it’s the only thing that I know with certainty that I HAVE to do.
And it’s memories like that day in Beaver Lumber that come back to me and make me laugh, and make me think about how oblivious I was at the time, and how much simpler things were. But at least now I can appreciate the sense of humour that the owner of BEAVER LUMBER must have had!