August 10, 2012

This Story is About Telling You Stories

The house is crap, although you can see that for yourself. Surviving eighty-plus Michigan winters punishes mankind’s endeavors, and the summers don’t offer much relief. The sandpapery asphalt siding is potato-chipped into curls. My back porch cants at a ten degree angle downward toward the lake. Anywhere else on earth, this place wouldn’t be rated for so much as lawnmower storage. Here on a bluff overlooking white sand beaches it’s a different prospect. I just made a joke.

Every fair morning, I shuffle outside with my coffee and survey the day’s possibilities. My mug is full of fucking decaf. You always visit on Wednesday but I never know the precise time of your arrival. I write notes on a pad of paper, and doodle while I wait for a spark to jump the gap. You pick your way along my pinecone-loaded gravel driveway that resembles well-used kitty litter. I tell you stories and you listen. The stories are always about me, and usually begin with me as the main character and end heroically.

In the daytime, I speak of blistering-hot beaches, and fish killed by algae, and storms wheeling across Lake Michigan’s darkened arena. Wind is always present in my narratives, hissing as it does through tall grasses set in sand. I describe to you the cessation of commercial fishing here, and the struggles of the canneries on the shores. In every instance, I am a boat’s captain, a fire department squad leader, or a capitalist. You seem to listen quite intently.

Sometimes the tales are set in the evening, because that’s when I tell them. The words appear one at a time as if they are the stars that bloom after dusk in an ink-soaked sky. I listen to the sound of my voice (which, as you know, I never tire of doing) and when I take a deep breath, I resolve not to inhale any insects.

I don’t dread the day yet to come, the one when you arrive and I’m not here to greet you on my porch. Instead, I fear the Wednesday that closes without your appearance and I’m left with phrases stuck in my mouth and nothing to do but wash them away with this shitty coffee.

Each of the days between your weekly visits passes quickly. Think of drawings at the bottom corner of a notebook, advancing incrementally, animated by a blurry succession of pages. A brief sequence of images given life through motion.


I’ll keep doing this and this until y’all get organized and figure out a way to stop me.


  1. rick neece on August 11th, 2012 at 6:12 am

    MGS. Don’t you EVER stop.

  2. Sheila Ryan on August 12th, 2012 at 10:49 am

    We’re never gonna get organizized. We don’t even want to.