Grief, Life, memoir

When You Ask A Man How He Is.

“I’m alright.”

A man says “I’m alright” when asked how he is because nobody cares?

I tend to disagree with the last line in the audio of the video that a man simply responds “I’m alright” because no one f&%king cares. I think others, men and women, do care.

The problem is we don’t always know how to care or show that we care. We don’t know what to do or say, especially men. We get uncomfortable with the feelings and vulnerability that this question invokes. Life is a struggle at times and no one is immune. Why can’t we acknowledge the struggle and the pain that we may be feeling?

Are you uncomfortable sharing your true feelings and if so why?

I think we have been programmed, again especially as men, to ignore our feelings of sadness, pain, regret and grief. And women are programmed to expect men to respond this way. Remember boys, and men, are supposed to be tough and strong. But why do we stereotype a man who is hurting and feeling as not being strong and tough?

What strength does it take to confront our pain and heal from it?

I talk a lot about expectations, real and perceived, that I accepted from society, family, friends when I was grieving. The impacts it has had on me and the struggles in my book – ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™—๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™š ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ช๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐˜พ๐™ง๐™ฎ.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

When you ask a man how he is and he says “I’m alright.” #CowboysAreNotSupposedtoCry #MentalHealth #Men #Healing #LifeAfter #Trauma #Pain #Loss #Grief

What emotions and feelings are you hiding from others?

Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 1 – Out of the Sun

Please note: This is the beginning of a series of posts where I will work my way through each chapter of my memoir, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, reflecting on what I wrote and other thoughts now that the book is published.

As I reread chapter 1 of my memoir the first thing that hits me is how naรฏve I was, but I guess we all were at one time or another. My youthfulness shows through my words and actions during that time of my life. The first meeting with Luka and our growing relationship. It took me almost thirty years to realize the doors she opened and lead me through into worlds I had never explored. There were many simple things you don’t realize how much they meant until much, much later.

“We lived in those moments that held special meaning to us but seemed so ordinary in their significance.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 24 – Mark W. Schutter

It’s those moments that seem insignificant that have the propensity to change our lives in hindsight. Those chance encounters with a stranger that lead to a deep and lasting relationship. Some that accompany us throughout the rest of our lives and others only stay for a while. Yet, the memories and the truths of each conversation stay with us and become touchstones that are the bedrock on which we stand.

I recall the music of the time when we first met and the music she introduced me to. Music I had never considered nor paid attention to before. It was a kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions that permeated and became the backdrop of our lives for those few short years. The music was so often prophetic as the lyrics seemed to hint at things to come. Some happy and some sad but either way they were harbingers of what may be.

“There was so much to live for, so much to look forward to, while a haunting voice whispered there will come a time when I will never see her again.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 25 – Mark W. Schutter

There were decisions made that were set on my securing my future as I slowly slipped into adulthood. Yet those decisions of college and pursing a vocational calling pale in comparison to the seemingly random everyday occurrences that I now believe were anything but random. Those moments and incidents that became part of the tapestry when our lives came together in a grand design until the edges began to fray, the material becoming thinner and eventually the fabric was torn in two.

The first glance when our eyes met, casual conversations, dinners under the fading evening light, hawks soaring high overhead, and sharing hopes and dreams of a future. I titled the first chapter of my memoir “Out of the Sun” as an ode to the following lyrics in the Al Stewart song ‘Year of the Cat.’

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations

She came into my life in late summer wearing sun dresses and sandals. And like a watercolor painting opened my eyes to a multitude of hues and colors in life that often dance just outside our vision. Watercolor paint has a special ability to morph from one to another overlapping in soft and hard edges. Then the colors run as the water carries them intermingling with each other until the distinctness is lost. It continues to fade until the image is completely gone. This is an analogy of our lives together, the brilliant distinctiveness, intermingling, and then the fading until she was gone.

There are many more lines from this song that also resonate with me but that is for another post at another time when I may break down the entire song. For now just remember that no matter what you do, time passes, and you have the choice to live forward despite those trials and pains that inflict us all.

“She believed… there was a far better place, a place that existed out past the sun, where it rained colors and memoires never faded, where the last became first and the pain became joy and you traveled via the slipstream, a place where we can let go of the pain, the loss, and the death of this world.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 27 – Mark W. Schutter

So don’t bother asking for explanations cause she just might tell you that she came in the year of the cat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ God bless! This is your ‘life after…’ don’t miss it!

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My memoir is available in print and e-book. Order your copy today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ as a gift for some else in time for the holidays. PAY IT FORWARD!  

You can also reach out to me here on my website to purchase signed copies.

Life, memoir

I’ve Got 2 Days to Find This, Help!

Yes, it’s the week of Thanksgiving in the US. As we scramble for things needed for Thursday’s meal I have been unable to locate this at any of the stores. It is highly needed to make our turkey dinner the best it can be. ๐Ÿฆƒ It’s ‘flavor fresh!’

Anyone know where I can purchase this item? ๐Ÿค”Thanks in advance!

And don’t forget my memoir ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™—๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™š ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ช๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐˜พ๐™ง๐™ฎ is available on Amazon as well as other online retailers!

If you are hurting or know some one who is this would make a great present I reckon. Just saying!๐Ÿ‘Š

There is ‘life after…’

Grief, memoir, Stories

Cowboys … Cry?

Vulnerable transparency post!

My just released memoir is titled:

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

So why is that the past few days I have been on the edge of tears?

There is so much going on in my life right now both personally and professionally, more to come on that later.

Not to mention the chaotic and confusing world we find ourselves living in right now. But like the Ringo Kid (John Wayne) said in Stagecoach

“Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from. “

My friends I am not running but I am being wise as every warrior must be if they are to survive and thrive. May God bless you. Stay strong and remember sometimes even the strongest cowboys cry.

The print copy of my book (memoir) is available now on Amazon.
Grief, Writing

COVER REVEAL! “Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry”

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

And the Best Thing You Can Do with Death Is to Ride off from It?

After over three years of writing, rewriting, editing and rewriting again, I signed with Christian Faith Publishing last fall to publish my memoir. After further rounds of edits, proofreading, typesetting, interior page design and finally the cover design you see above. My book is almost a reality. I am waiting, somewhat patiently and anxiously for the first print copies of my book to arrive for review. I should be receiving them in the next couple of weeks and then it is onto publishing with a press release, video trailer and social media package. It is hard to believe the reality of it all.

So tell me what you think of the cover? And please share the tweet below, thanks!

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry
And the Best Thing You Can Do with Death Is to Ride off from It?
#Memoir #CoverReveal #UpcomingBook #WritersLife #WritingCommunity #Author

#LiveYourDreams

Grief, Writing

Memoir Teaser! Interior title page, Part 3 -Redeeming the Future

Title page, Part 3 โ€“ Redeeming the Future from my upcomingย #memoirย โ€˜๐ถ๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ฆ๐‘  ๐ด๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘†๐‘ข๐‘๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐ถ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ.โ€™

I recently sat late in the evening watching my beautiful wife crying while reading an early copy of my upcoming book. I love her heart and I am blessed. I can’t wait for you to read it also, for it is a story of hope and healing. The cover design has been approved and the book will be published later this summer.

It chronicles my journey of carrying grief and healing while navigating personal and societal expectations around men and grief. Though it is written from a man’s perspective, ladies I encourage you to read it also and recommend it to the men in your life.

How can you support the book when it launches?

  1. Buy the book (hardcopy and e-book), read the book and share on social media, post a review on Amazon, Goodreads etc.
  2. Buy the book (hardcopy and e-book), read the book and share on social media.
  3. Buy the book (hardcopy and e-book).

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement!ย ~Mark (Exodus 15:3)

To view my post aboutย Part 1 โ€“ Reconciling the Pastย clickย here.

To view my post about Part 1 – Embracing the Present click here.