Grief, Poetry, Stories, Writing

Separate Journeys – Why Do We Bury Our Fears?

A short excerpt from my upcoming memoir ‘Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry to be published by Christian Faith Publishing in spring of 2021 (emphasis below added).

“I only want her to not be in pain.”

He looked at me with a look of both sadness and resignation, his voice low and measured, “That is what I am focused on.”

I nodded in agreement, and he turned and walked away. I watched him stride down the hall his white lab coat flaying out at his sides. Standing for a moment alone, I collected myself midst the noise of the corridor.

Forcing myself to turn, I slowly walked back into the hospital room. I plastered a smile on my face and buried the fear so far down where I believed it could never be unearthed.

~Mark Wayne ©2020

What have you buried?

What if it were to be found?

Life, Stories, Writing

Book(s) Update – ‘The Chronicles of Faith’

Please note this is not the actual cover.

I have completed the ‘shitty’ first drafts and edits of each novel of the series – ‘The Chronicles of Faith.’ Each book was completed in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November where the goal is write 50,000 words. If nothing else NaNoWriMo motivates you to get a story out of your head onto the paper.

I wrote the first book:

  • ‘The Beauty of the Stars’

Back in 2014 and then let it sit. My wife and daughter both persevered through reading the rough, I mean rough, first draft and encouraged me to continue the story. (Truth be told I didn’t let them read it for a couple of years, it just sat collecting dust.)

Thus, in November of 2018 and 2019 I wrote the next two books in the series:

  • ‘The Stars are Falling’ and,
  • ‘The Judgment of the Stars.’

The title of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ came to me for few reasons. One, I love Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Second, I have always loved the idea of writing a series myself. Third, the main character’s name is Faith and she, as well as other characters each go through their own journey of faith.

The Chronicles of Faith – book quotes                                                                         

Beauty is all around and our pain distracts us from seeing the truth. (The Beauty of the Stars – Coming soon Book 1 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

Falling is inevitable and only fatal if we choose not to get back up. (The Stars are Falling – Coming soon Book 2 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

Judgment finds us all, the only question is when and how. (The Judgment of the Stars -Coming soon Book 3 of the series ‘The Chronicles of Faith’ by Mark Wayne)

A Snapshot Teaser

Faith is a loner and she knows she is different. As an evolving drone technology is unleashed on an unsuspecting populace she longs to find connection. Charles Davidson, head of The Group, is intent on building an empire, letting nothing stand in his way. Faith and Charles are both driven and their fates intertwine in ways neither understands.

Supernatural powers are driving an agenda of epic proportions. Forces of good and evil collide inside the human hearts of two people who seem to have nothing in common. Others join Faith in her quest to kill Davidson, while each is forced to answer the questions of who they are and are they good enough? The destiny of each hinges on the challenging choices that each must make, especially Faith, and the consequences of which affects them all.

Please note this is also not the actual cover.

So What’s Next?

I am leaning towards self-publishing the book series in the near future. If you have any advice or resources for me I would welcome that. Please either leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com

In the meantime I am hard at work writing, actually editing my memoir. The book captures my experience of grief and loss as a young man. The book will be for anyone who has experienced loss and who hasn’t? Grief will touch us all and changes everything.

Stay tuned for future updates on both my novels and my memoir.

Grief, Life, Writing

She Comes Out of the Sun – “Hello”

“Hello” it was that simple little word that started it all in the fall of 1984. I remember the girl with long brown hair, tanned skin wearing a summer dress and espadrille sandals approaching the art table where I sat as the lyrics to the Al Stewart song The Year of the Cat rang through my mind.

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running – Like a watercolor in the rain https://youtu.be/tqW4xIr7nj0 Al Stewart “The Year of the Cat”

My voice trembled and I heard myself say with great effort, “I only want her to not be in pain.”

“That is all I am focused on.” He stated his voice low and measured. He gazed at me with a look of both sadness and resignation before turning and walking away.

Memory flooded back as I stood in the hospital corridor, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles chorusing through my mind.

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a billion stars all around

I get this feelin’ I may know you
As a lover and a friend
This voice keeps whisperin’ in my other ear
Tells me I may never see you again

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay Against your skin so brown – And I want to sleep with you in the desert night – With a billion stars all aroundhttps://youtu.be/NjofshOBV5s Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling”

This post is excerpted from my upcoming memoir, tentatively titled – There is Always Hope.

My first wife died of breast cancer at the age of 26 after battling over the last three years of our short five year marriage and yes, cancer sucks.

Over twenty-five years have come and gone and still there is not a day that something does not remind me of her. The twinges of memory flit across my mind as a butterfly haunts a flower.

Be sure to click the follow button and subscribe and be one of the first to receive email updates about the forthcoming book and other happenings. I would also love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment. You can connect with me on Twitter @mwschutter, Instagram @mwschutter or Facebook @mwschutter

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople #YouMatter #BeAWarrior

Poetry, Stories

Promises to Keep – A Memoir

My 25 word memoir of grief.

As I work on my full length memoir I have read several books, both how-to and memoir’s as research. In the book “Braving the Fire” by Jessica Handler, she mentions the shortest story of grief attributed to Ernest Hemingway, who is said to have written the following six word memoir

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

Six words, that’s t leaves the reader wondering with unanswered questions.  I haven’t gotten mine down to six words yet, but I will keep working on it. 

In the meantime I continue working on the ‘shitty‘ first draft of my full-length memoir. I will be posting excerpts here on the blog soon, watch for more information to come and be sure to subscribe via your email to make sure you don’t miss any updates.

And remember grief is a shared human experience that we all must face. Grief is a natural extension of love and the lie is that we are either destined to live in utter despair forever or we somehow are completely healed. This is nonsense for grief irrevocably changes you, how could it not? You carry the experience with you for the rest of our life. 

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Adventure, Life, Writing

Searching… it’s all shit!

Warning: Honesty Post!

*All my posts are honest, but this one is a clearer look behind my curtain and who I am. If you are not ready, or willing to hear, my truth (and just possibly the truth others cannot voice, although I would never presume to speak for anyone else) please stop reading now. I do not wish to offend anyone in this time of overwhelming political correctness and safe places, well time to get over it.

I sit here on a quiet Sunday morning; only a week removed from our two week adventure to Yellowstone National Park and it all seems like shit! I told you honesty and that’s the word that fits – shit!

I am blessed, I know that.

A family that loves me, friends that care and so much more. I’ve been granted opportunities and worked my ass off at times sacrificing to accomplish what I have. Looking in one might say I have been and am pretty successful.

So why, as I sit here on the other side of my life’s mountain with less time before me than behind me do I feel this way, and not just this day but on most days?

Stuck! Marginalized! Lost! Uninspired! Disconnected! Lonely! Fatigued! Discontented! Overwhelmed! Anxious! Uncertain! Afraid!

I have dreams. We all do. They taunt me and haunt me. So, what good is a life that leaves nothing behind? To let go of the expectations of others. The responsibilities of who they think and want me to be.

It is all so exhausting.

I feel I have lost myself. Oh, there are moments, real and true, that speak of a greater reality, and they are just far too few. I often wonder who I am, or was meant to be but also there is a melody woven through my life that sings if only I would stop and acknowledge that truth.

My dreams of passion and purpose dance at the edges of my days before quickly fading into the duty and obligations that chain me. To make a difference in the lives of others. Yes, shining a light into the darkness.

My self-imposed obligations and responsibilities weigh me down. Drowning out that still small voice inside that would inspire and lead me higher. I am grounded with useless wings.

My search, for what I often am not sure, seems so fruitless and empty. I do not hear from God, a voice crying out in the wilderness. The silence of the unending heavens as I stare at the night sky.

I spent two weeks traveling and camping, visiting some of the most awe inspiring animals and natural wonders ever created and yet…

Is it the simple things?

Those fleeting moments that leave a lingering feeling as they are too quickly gone. And then we crash back to reality wondering, hoping to recapture those moments of magic.

That is where the bullshit often lies!

I stare into the darkness of my heart, knowing that I cannot change the world. But maybe, just maybe I can help one person who can then help another. Ripples you know?

Is that what life is about, each person uniquely created to fill a certain destiny that only they can fill. Why does it never seen to be enough? My doubts and fears, my insecurities of letting others down and not being good enough. Not being perfect.

Can good enough be good enough?

I feel my rambling coming to a close and I realize there are more questions here than answers. Oh well…. It is time to get my ass up, put on my jeans and dusty cowboy boots, carry a flame and bang that drum for myself and others. Cause God is not done with me and I will trust in my time of uncertainty and silence.

One small, seemingly insignificant pebble can start a landslide or send out ripples, even as it silently falls through the dark depths of anxiety.

So, these are words I would most likely never say out loud, so thank you for reading and carpe diem my friends!

Dreams...
“A Dream” Photograph of a Montana ranch tucked away in a little valley hidden high up in the mountains that we stumbled on while driving dusty back roads. Mark W. Schutter ©2017

Poetry

Blood Stains

Swallowing the last gulps
he set down the now empty can.
Balanced precariously on the corner
of the old dark coffee table.
There was the hoped for solace
that drink normally brought.
This night it evaded him,
drifting away on the wind.
The exhaustion remained
as the eternal night dragged on.
And sleep resided on some
far away distant shore.
The silent darkness of a house
that used to be called a home.
Persistent voices screamed loudly
driving him into the black of night.
He stood next to the tree
barefoot in the cold grass.
Houses dark lined the street
the world asleep in peace.
His right hand on the baseball bat
as if an old man in need of a cane.
Thought of why flashed in his mind
and were just as quickly gone.
This bat she had placed near
the front door in case of need.
A weapon close at hand she argued
just felt comforting and right.
Holding the handle with both hands
enjoying the feel of the wood.
Fingers curled around the handle
as he felt the violence rise within.
His heart beat loud in his ears
blood coursing through his veins.
Surges of energy careened in his body
his muscles tensing in silent expectation.
The world slowly faded from view
and before him stood only the tree.
The trunk stretched upwards yet anchored
by roots hidden deep in the ground.
Branches of leaves alive others dead and dry
stories of a life’s experience and dreams.
Each branch and leaf a turning point
of moments cherished and regretted.
The leaves held tight the emotions
accompanying each memory remembered.
Lifeless branches revealed little
of faded memories over the years.
He stared up into the tree’s canopy
branches morphing into memories of a life.
Built on hope and desire for the future
then wholly lost as fate conspired against.
The frozen silence was then shattered
a loud crack as the bat struck the tree.
He swung the bat over and over
as each memory blazed before his eyes.
The tree quivered so slightly at each blow
strong against the vicious onslaught.
Each swing fueled by grief and rage
over what was lost, never to return.
Memories flashed as the bat sliced the air
until his shoulders began to ache.
The repeating collisions of shame and loss
blows of wood on wood slowly splintered.
Continuing as the fury rose inside
a volcanic eruption long held in check.
From within the depths of the earth
driving him past the limits of exhaustion.
The cascade of blows finally slowed
the strength waned as the bat fell.
Gasping for breath his head down
the bat lay motionless in the grass.
The tree silently mocked his unsuccessful
and feeble efforts at destruction.
He fell to his knees in despair
before resting his back against the tree.
The trunk had willingly absorbed the blows
of the merciless rage and anguished attack.
He sat quietly through the night
a husk of a body physically shattered.
Fatigue blunted the throbbing pain
a small respite from the voices.
The sun soon began its ascent
as light crawled out of the dark.
Revealing the dawn of a new day
he sighed and moved so slightly.
Shoulders throbbed, hands and fingers
stiff and aching clenched in claws.
His mind and heart laid naked
to nonsense questions with no answers.
The mornings light grew brighter
unhindered by a sorrowful heart.
Looking down at his stained hands
covered in murky crimson of dried blood.
Staring he heard the angels whisper
of innocent blood that was once shed.
The ultimate sacrifice long ago
to revive the crushed hopes of man.
A small smile played on lips as he raised
his face to the warm glory of the rising sun.blood-stains

~Mark Schutter ©2016

*This was originally written as a short story or flash fiction if you will in October 2011 and I have revised it into a poetry format. Thanks for reading. (The original story can be read on my previous blog > Tree of Memories – Maleko ©October 2011) 

Poetry

The Undiscovered

image

He dreamed of the undiscovered,
of a place that might lay beyond the distant hills.

Longing for mystery and adventure,
promised by a voice that beckoned from beyond.

She in stoic beauty stood silently by,
watching him as he quickly turned to go.

He took nothing with him and yet,
not knowing he was leaving everything behind.

He failed to count the cost of his quest,
  a far too high of price that he ultimately would pay.

For he believed there were battles to fight,
and it was adventure his heart sought to find.

He did not see her as she stepped aside,
letting him go for his eyes were on his believed destiny.

Blind to the true battle before him,
for he would never discover the mysteries of her heart.

Her heart beat madly within her chest,
for it was he that could have saved her from the dark.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

Where does your true adventure lie, are you missing the truth for want of something else? Lord, help us to truly see the beauty and glory in front of us. May you see the adventure that waits for you and pursue with all your heart.

Poetry

Two Doors

I found myself standing before two doors.
Tall and strong they stood.
Above each door hung a small sign.
In simple script one read,
Joy and Sorrow
And the other,
Pleasure and Pain
Hesitatingly, I approached to peer through the small peephole of each door.
In shock I gasped, astounded by what I see.
Each room holds a mass of the most wondrous sights shining brightly.
And horrible grotesque ugly things I had never dreamed could be.
This was an odd assortment of characters,
some that glowed in beauty untold and others that reeked of evil misery.
The uproarious laughter and joy of some shone pure grace and mercy.
In stark contrast to the wretched screams of those who writhed in pain unceasingly.
Easily my decision was made, I reached for the doorknob with a shaking hand.
With a pounding heart and no regret,
I slowly turned the knob of my chosen door,
the one less used,

and to borrow words from Mr. Frost,
that has made all the difference.

~Mark Schutter ©2015

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (blue and red doors Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (blue and red doors Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons