January 5th, 2006

Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation.

Approximately six hundred and sixty miles west, or about ten hours drive at an average speed of seventy five miles per hour from Burlington, Vermont... is Neverland's exact parallel universe. We call this place the Twilight Zone, or, Garrett County, Maryland. And if ever you find yourself on a long drive west, through the states in route, I recommend strongly that the wheels of your car and the balls of your feet and the slightly mischievous tendencies of your otherwise average lifestyle do not experience the soil of this bizarre place.

To Garrett County, Maryland, the average is unacceptable and the exciting may as well be illegal. Half of it belongs to the family restaurants and their homemade pies of every fruit and flavor. Inside these restaurants is dirty carpeting, fat bellies (but not from beer--from all the pie), more family recipes than someone like me would have any clue what to do with, and a Southwest accent, even though we're only in Maryland here. The waitresses call you Hun and put their hand on your shoulder when they ask how everything is, and it seems nobody knows how to treat the odd stranger.

The other half of Garrett County belongs to the Courthouse. No seriously, this courthouse literally takes up about half the town. And with the way they practice their definitions of lawful and unlawful, the size seems not a square foot too large. Law in itself is a little dance that the lawyers do with the judges; all a game of mice in a maze and those smart enough to spot an untied shoelace can only sit back and hope it doesn't turn to mayhem with the trip of another fat and jerky lawyer falling at the feet of the fat and pretentious judge. In a place like Garrett County Maryland, onlookers only hope for smooth sailing in the court room, because the slightest misstep is jail time. Possession of cocaine is jail time. An unregistered car is jail time. Resonated pipes are jail time. Dreadlocks are jail time. Breathing loudly is jail time. In a quick conversation with another guy who was to be in attendance at the courthouse at the same time as my sister, we were instructed not to come back to this place unless it was absolutely required, because the slogan of this small town in Maryland was well-known as "Come on vacation, leave on probation."

And such a reputation makes sense, as on a quiet Wednesday in humble Garrett County, half the town and about thirty people from elsewhere, United States, occupied the courtroom and smelled the wafting of their sweaty underarms while the judge ripped at them for committing a crime that was, in most cases, the elementary school equivalent of sticking chewing gum underneath the desk. What a weird place it was, and we dared not condemn the seriousness of their system or speak of our massive urge to smoke a fat joint until we had safely ventured a few miles past the "Now Leaving Garrett County" sign. In the five hours spent in the Twilight Zone, I witnessed a place where unruliness is simply not tolerated, and there is less lenience on the streets of Garrett County, Maryland, than in jail itself.

Travelers, consider yourselves warned.

(no subject)

A muse is a rare thing. Daily inspirations, although sometimes magnificent, cannot compare to the magnitude of the presence that lurks over your shoulders while you sit at your page and sprinkles something awe-inspiring onto your fingers. Your fingers become idle and uncontrollable, but in the most convenient and exciting of ways. Suddenly the world bows at them, and anything you want, you can have. Anything you dream, you can live. Anything you think, you can write.

Muses, to me at least, have been seemingly completely random people that I come in contact with. I've only had two to date. One was the Jock-o Allstar of my high school class. Rick Nold, the perfect boy of all the perfect boys, the boy with a world of baseball scholarships in the shape of pretty blond virgins calling his name with the most pleasuring and appealing of screams, the boy that for some reason showed up in at least one of my classes every semester to bewilder me for most of high school, inspired something that later titled the Rick Nold Monologues. He came from nowhere, had no considerable involvement in my life, inspired me madly, twisted my entire mind around, and suddenly completely ceased to inspire me a second further on a random day that struck that Winter. I was incredibly bizarre the randomness of all of it, and how attached I had grown to something that had little to no interest in my existence, and then how suddenly it just stopped and I found nothing special about him anymore. But I digress. Those Monologues are over, and there is a new muse to speak of in the land of dirt mountains and big yellow underscore bulldozers.

I cannot be blamed for not noticing the presence of a muse in my life until it is practically gone. That fact usually doesn't become apparent to a writer until they're able to sit down and realize that there is a being present here that is making them do things they do not typically do; bigger things, better things. At that point, its presence doesn't much matter anymore, and all that's needed at this point is a conclusion. The life has come and gone and one can only appreciate it for what became of it; a compilation of the writer's and the muse's inner-workings, and every last detail of their unrecognized affair. As writers, we simply do not realize who is controlling our fingertips when that saint whispers the secrets of the universe in our ears as we write. It is merely there, rare, sweet and necessary.

I will be typing the series of entries that I have been hiding from the public in my book. Most of these entries will be locked, but everything will end up being there, and I will post them over the coming few days. I will then compile everything I've ever written about someone you know as Ben Danger, title my compilation, and see what becomes of a series I wasn't aware I had created until it was nearly completed. I have taken the Troy Swain approach of making something valuable out of the twisted nature of a twisted relationship, and although I can't draw a comic remotely comparable to his means of venting, I can confidently say that the coming writing will hopefully entertain nonetheless.