Stories, Writing

A Conversation – What is truth?

Sharing a piece of writing I did recently below, let me know what you think in the comments.

“What is truth?”

The words like honey slowly covered me in the air around me. He sat quietly, his eyes soft and inquiring. Simply waiting as if he had all the time in the world, which he did.

I averted his loving gaze as my feet scraped the linoleum floor beneath the table. I fidgeted in my seat and running my hand over my head and through my hair before looking back into his clear eyes. Eyes that carried so much emotion, strength and power. Like the ocean waves that never ceased washing up on shore it was hard to look away once our eyes locked. My upper teeth bit into my lower lip as it curled inward and I swallowed hard. I felt the lump in my throat like a huge wad of dry bed I could barely get down.

And still he waited his hands clasped in front of him, fingers intertwined, as they rested on the table top. I stared across the dark wood of the table and took a deep breath and exhaled loudly. His expression did not change. My voice trembled as I began to speak, the tone carried none of the sarcastic authority that I had intended.

“What is truth?”

He continued to stare, his eyes softening a little at my remark causing my anger to rise and leaning forward I spat out the words.

“You quote those words back at me like I am the villain here? You have no idea what I have been through. How hard this is.”

I sat back in my chair as shame washed over me as soon as the words had let my mouth and hung in the air between us. And yet his loving gaze never changed. My mind swirled and I felt myself feeling light headed. I grasped the edge of the table to steady myself before softly saying.

“I don’t know what you want from me.”

He only stared, as small smile played at the corners of his lips. We sat staring at each other for several seconds, his eyes never leaving my face before he said in a soft voice.

“You can trust me. You know that don’t you?”

I swallowed hard again my throat was dry. I reached for the glass of water on the table and before I could reach it, he swiftly reached out his hand and gently pushed it towards me. I smiled through clenched lips and nodded a thank you as my fingers closed around the cold glass. Bring it to my lips I drank deeply the cool clear water cascading down my throat like a waterfall over the edge of a cliff.

I set the glass down heavily back on the table with a loud thud as it slipped from my grasp. I quickly glanced up at him in surprise at the sharp clack of the glass with the wooden table top. His expression still did not change and as our eyes met, he said.

“You have not answered my question.”

I feigned what I hoped was a surprised ignorance and spoke in a voice that I hoped conveyed a non-interest, “What question is that?”

“I did not come here to play games with you. Time is short and there is much to do.”

His response was immediate and pointed his voice rising only barely from the soft-spoken words of earlier. Although, I could feel the emphasis that emanated from his comment. I hesitated knowing he deserved an answer to his question but afraid of my own response. He sat back in the chair and continued to speak and although subtle his tone seemed a shade softer.

“You remember the stories I have told?” He questioned, continuing not waiting for me to reply.

“I use them to communicate truth. I know, I know we are back to the beginning now. What is truth? Right? The age-old question that has haunted man, driven him to seek, and even caused him to go against his very nature at times in the quest for truth. There truly is no depth of depravity for the truly wicked. But that is not what we are here to discuss. So, I let’s get back on topic, shall we?”

He paused for a moment staring intently at me. I nodded slowly, my throat was now dry again and I glanced quickly at the now empty glass on the table top, licking my lips as I did so. He continued to stare at me and if his gaze had not been so unobtrusive it would have been unnerving but rather it felt oddly comforting.

“I am, and all I am asking if for you to believe and if you trust me.”

I felt the swell of anger explode like a volcano spewing lava and clouds of ash into the air as I grabbed the table edge hard with my hands and shouted.

“What is truth? Do you trust me? Why the questions, why the damn questions! I am so tired, tired of trying and yet, I don’t know what else to do. I am seeking this truth you mention and also trying to trust. I least I think I am but it gets me nowhere. So, I ask you who do I trust? If I trust you are there others also? What then? What then!”

“Is it too much to ask that I find some solace and answers to my questions. Living in this dungeon of mystery is almost too much. The darkness seems overwhelming and suffocating. I wander through the days each no different from the one before and on and on it goes.”

“You say trust me, what then? You are the only one I trust and still… it seems to get me nowhere. You see that don’t you? How could you not understand? How could you sit there just staring like it doesn’t matter? What is wrong with you? I always believed you cared, I always wanted to believe that you cared. Now it seems I don’t matter? What am I supposed to do with that?”

“Every inspirational Hallmark card couldn’t make this better nor fix things. It is what it is.”

My voice trailed off as I shrunk back in my chair exhausted from my outburst my eyes averting his gaze. Finally, after several seconds of silence I slowly looked up and the love and concern emanating from his eyes overwhelmed me. The strength of his gaze would have knocked me to the ground if I had not been sitting in the chair. As it was, I felt my back press tighter against the wooden slates behind me.

“I only ask that you trust me. The rest is often irrelevant and often inconsequential to this story. Your story. For you see you can only read a book one page at time, on word and one sentence at a time. This also applies to your life. For it is only lived forward, not backwards and not all at once. One step, or one page at a time. And we don’t see what is on the next page until we get there.”

He smiled and I felt the warmth of his love wash over me. I nodded suddenly so weary it was all I could do to hold my head up and keep his gaze. Leaning forward he reached a tanned arm across the table and gently took my hand in his. It was warm and comforting, soft and rugged at the same time. I bowed my head, my chin to my chest as the tears began quickly rolling down my cheeks and falling onto my leg causing dark blue spots on my jeans.

Continuing to hold my hand he said nothing. I cried, the tears flowing easily and effortlessly and I let them come. It was cathartic and if I had wanted to, I don’t know if I could have stopped them. After a few minutes the tears ceased to flow and I lifted my head to see his eyes still staring at me with the same look of compassion and love. I heard the sound through the open window of the last autumn leaves rustling in the trees. It was a melodic wind chime sound of nature. For a moment I was transported.

The meadow in front of me was vast, the tall golden grasses waving in the breeze. On the far side of the meadow was a stand of aspen trees. Their leaves were still in full glory and they flashed as golden coins suspended at the end of each small whiteish branch. The sky overhead was a canvas of blue as the sun was sinking behind the mountain range far to the west. I scanned the scene reveling in the solitude and quiet. Nothing here that troubled me mattered and all was as it should be. I felt the last rays of the sun’s warmth on my arms and I relished the embrace. I stood motionless listening to the soft rustling of the grasses. It felt like home, or at least what I imagined home to be like, for I had never known what a real home was.

Warm, comforting, and inviting.  Most of safe, a place where one could go to retreat to escape to and also to move forward. My soul yearned for just such a place and I felt the warm tear roll down my check before it touched my lips and I tasted the salt on my tongue. The voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once. It surrounded me and held me fast in an embrace.

“Do you trust me?”

I slowly nodded my head as and heard the shriek. Quickly glancing up into the sky I saw the red-tailed hawk soaring high overhead across the meadow. He circled once before flying off towards the aspen grove and disappearing over the tree tops.

“If you want to know, what truth is you must trust me.”

My eyes shot open and he was still staring at me with love and concern. As I stared into his eyes, I would have sworn I saw a hint of sadness there also.

God, Grief, Life, Writing

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry – A Memoir

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

So excited, I received the first physical copies of my memoir and upcoming book today! 👊

Shows me, the author, holding the first physical copy of my upcoming memoir - Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry
First physical copy of my upcoming book! (8/11/2021)

Thank you Jesus, and my family, and friends for all the love and support, and my publisher Christian Faith Publishing. The story of my journey carrying grief and healing will be soon be available. I pray it blesses and helps others dealing with the pain of loss.

𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑩𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝑪𝒂𝒏 𝑫𝒐 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝑰𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝑹𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒐𝒇𝒇 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒊𝒕? #CowboysAreNotSupposedtoCry #Memoir #UpcomingBook #WritersLife #WickedQuestions

#LiveYourDreams – Exodus 15:3

Watch for a soon to be announced release date and opportunities to be part of the launch team!! This is how my story begins.

“𝐀𝐬 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞,…”

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

Just this… don’t question how it begins.

Where it all began.

Just this… where the premise for my memoir ‘𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮’ started over three years ago. Ideas slamming into my brain and hastily scribbled on a 3×5 card.

I dived deep into my past and the pain to write my story over the next few years. Encouragement came in numerous ways from family and friends. I signed with Christian Faith Publishing (@christian_faith_publishing) last fall to publish my manuscript. Now my story has been edited, formatted and the cover design completed, to be published very soon for the world to read.

Cover Design Teaser!

Never give up on your dreams no matter what. God gave you those dreams for a purpose to make a difference in the world. 👊 #LiveYourDreams

#LiveYourDreams

‘𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮’
Grief, Life, Stories, Writing

Memoir Update – Signed Publishing Agreement!

It’s official!

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

Exciting news!!! I have signed a publishing and distribution agreement with Christian Faith Publishing for my memoir. I submitted my manuscript to their review board, they accepted the draft and want to publish my book. Woo-hoo! 😁

Signing the agreement with my daughter!
  • It has been a long journey for sure to get to this point, never stop chasing your dreams!
  • Expected publication date is still to be determined, sometime in early 2021.
  • Lots to be done before then – editing, proofing, typesetting, cover design etc.

I have been busy drafting my author bio and the book blurb. That is harder than writing the actual book. Who knew? 😳

Book teaser >

When did we come to believe the best thing you can do with death is ride off from it? In Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry, Mark Wayne tells his story of living a life with grief beginning in his mid-twenties. #Memoir #AmWriting #UpcomingBook #WritersLife

I hope to post some excerpts from the forthcoming book as I go through the editing process as well as other updates here on the blog. So be sure to hit the follow button and sign up for email notifications to get the latest.

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

I would love to hear your initial impressions or thoughts. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help guide efforts as I move forward in publishing and marketing.

#LiveYourDreams

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

Adventure, Art, Writing

Dreaming a Dream

As I walked into the room, my fear and apprehension covered me like an invisible cloak.  Heads turned as the door snapped closed behind me.  My presence now known, I forced a smile I hoped hid my unease.  Smiles were returned by the few gathered there, welcoming me with what appeared to be genuine warmth.  My eyes searched until I spotted her at the far side of the room.  Standing with two friends she had been talking but the conversation had stopped when I entered.  She was looking directly at me as our eyes locked.  I thought I saw a spark of light flit from her eyes not sure if that was only my wishful thinking.

 My legs felt heavy but with a concentrated effort and an unnoticed deep breath I started across the room towards her.  She stood still her long blonde hair hanging down gracefully just past her shoulders.  She was wearing a simple flower print sleeveless cotton dress that hung loosely but also clung to her body in only the right places to accentuate her most stunning features.  As I approached the color in her eyes seemed to become brighter.  The blue-green of her eyes shone brightly like pure ocean water reflecting soft ripples caused by the breeze.  I was not sure exactly why she had invited me here but I knew that she would be here so I had come.  Our relationship had slowly begun to grow into a friendship solid in its foundation and beautiful like the opening of a rose.

 I could feel others staring as I walked hiding my uncertainty as I was unknown to most in the room but my eyes were locked on hers.  It was as if she was a lighthouse beacon guiding me home in the dark.  As I approached she easily disengaged from her two friends and slid gracefully away calling me with only her eyes to follow her.  She walked down a long hall and I followed, walking through a doorway and entering into a simple yet tastefully decorated room.  It appeared to be a guest room of sorts with a bed and furnishings for overnight guests.

 Kicking off her sandals she easily climbed onto the bed, sitting sideways and propping herself on her left elbow and hip with her legs stretched casually to the right.  I immediately noticed the tanned smooth brown skin of her legs as they extended from under the folds of her dress in an artistic display.  Her countenance was relaxed and self-assured, a confidence reflected in her movements.  She knew she was attractive but never used that as a weapon to control others nor allowed it to make her proud.  Her sense of acceptance and belief in herself made her all the more attractive to a misguided world who often did not understand her.

 I walked to the edge of the bed her eyes never unlocking their hold on me.  I hesitatingly reached my hand towards her and lightly traced my finger from her ankle up the side of her calf to just past her knee as if reaching for forbidden fruit.  She never flinched only continued to smile as I marveled at the simply physical beauty and perfection.

Her arms were tanned and brown as well reflecting an almost ethereal glow.  With her right arm which had been resting on her hip she reached towards my hand clasping her fingers in my own and gently pulling me towards her.  Our lips met in a passionate softness as she kissed me without reservation in a way that held me in the gentleness and strength of the moment making my heart race.  Her kiss lingered on my lips as we parted and I stared into the eternity of color in her eyes.  I felt for the moment my destiny was assured.

Looking down at my hands I saw the scars and age of the years, each line and wrinkle held the stories of my life.  I sat back in the chair and wondered at the thought of memories past and future, while knowing that dreams are a prophecy of what was and is to come.  I rocked slowly back and forth as the minutes ticked by, recalling the dream knowing that all was well and I was right where I belonged.

Maleko ©2013

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The above writing was inspired by a recent dream; I will let you decide who the woman and the man are in the story. What are your dreams? ~M