The street beneath my feet Has never let me down Unlike the people Who think they own this town I tried my luck But the cards were cut When I complained I was told to shut up Goodbye black, hello blue What happens next depends on you I miss the world I thought I knew Goodbye black, hello blue I gave myself to you But then you lost your nerve I was your army Always ready to serve You cut me off And you burned my flag I surrender In peace I pack my bag Goodbye black, hello blue I'll spend my life forgetting you I'll miss the dreams that won't come true Goodbye black, hello blue So I'll be off Until who knows when I'll see you in the stars Until the broken heal again Goodbye black, hello blue What happens now we can't undo I'll miss the love I never knew Goodbye black, hello blue (c) Frank Howson 2017 Title suggested by Chris Thomas.
I don’t know where I’m going
But I’m starting here
I dueled with my demons
And conquered my fear
I’d reached a place
Where I was at peace with myself
And the joy that that brought
Meant more to me than wealth
To sit in the garden
and feel the sun on my face
Was to reach an unknown destination
And yet to know this place
But you crashed through my door
With your bag of moods
And a bottle of water
That you’d stolen from Lourdes
Escaping from a man
That’d unfriended you
And his songs of misery
That’d all come true
I don’t know where I’m going
But I’m starting here
All the things that I treasured
You smashed them, my dear
(c) 2015 Frank Howson
Imagine, if you will, eternity in darkness, with darkness all there is in front of you. That was God’s lot in life. Those of you who’ve experienced short periods of meditation may be able to grasp just how chilled and cool God is. Sometimes His mind can wander for centuries. He apologises profusely for any inconvenience this caused during the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades.
Anyway, at some point during an eternity of darkness and nothingness, God got really bored. Really bored. So bored He created stars. Diamond pinholes in eternal night. Some of them he gave names to like DeVinci, Beethoven, Lincoln, Chaplin, Welles, Tesla, Bell, Hawking, Turan, Picasso, Einstein, Elvis, Beatles, Dylan – oh, and Kanye West.
When interviewed by Neale Donald Walsch, God stated that His “…greatest creation was free will.” He gave it to us as His gift to make our own way through the darkness as best we could and to experience, hopefully, in a smaller way, the joy He experienced in creating something from scratch. Trouble is, He said, “…although I’ve given you complete freedom to make your own decisions, as soon as something goes wrong, you blame me!” God is now in therapy thanks to us. And, like a poor person, Hs only option for therapy is to talk to Himself. Sometimes in that magic hour, in the silence just before dawn, if you listen closely you may hear Him.
When asked why He invented suffering, He replied, “It is necessary to pass through hell before you can fully appreciate heaven.”
During that same interview He, a little impatiently, addressed the concern regarding apathy and boredom for those of us who toil below in the wastelands, “Look, I gave you music, Broadway musicals and Bob Dylan didn’t I? You think you’re bored, try living alone in total darkness for eternity!”
Yes, He has lost his patience with us on many occasions. Read the Old Testament and you will find God in a very bad mood who, like all youth, is angry, impatient, revengeful, and quick to judge. By the New Testament, with the help of some therapy and much soul searching, we have an older, more understanding God who’s able to look past our ignorant day-to-day mistakes and embrace the bigger picture. He sent His son to herald this new age and inform us of the “good news” but unfortunately there were those amongst us who weren’t ready for the outrageous and angst-making concept that “we should all love each other and try to get along for the betterment of all” – and they killed him. God has sent us many other messengers in the years since who’ve attempted to give us the same message, ie., Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, etc., but, unfortunately, we killed them too. It seems if you preach hate you’re as safe as milk and will die in your bed of old age. But have the audacity to peddle love and understanding and your days are numbered.
This loss of his own son caused God to withdraw from the world and to distance Himself from us. It is indeed a revealing fact that any ensuing visions to bring us messages from the other world have been in the form of Mary. Not Jesus. And, just like a woman, she still attempts to see the best in us and loves us despite our flaws and hurtful, destructive actions. The miracle of unconditional love.
In contrast, Jesus thinks we’re a bunch of idiots with a thirst for blood who haven’t learnt a thing from the past 2000 years, or his death. Word has it He has given up on us and spends most of his time gardening.
For those amongst us who hate God because they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, spare a thought for His suffering. He had been alone for eternity, living in darkness with no one to love. Knowing full well what it was like to feel like an orphan, God gave birth to a huge family and tried to send us to school to learn a few things to prepare us for our final home. He now knows the pain of having had that family, in main, disown, slander, and hate their father for being the cause of their existence.
Perhaps that is why God created a miracle called forgiveness. He lives in the hope that we will all find it. As He has.
When asked if He ever worried about our future, He replied, “No. Not at all. I worry about your present but never the future for the I know outcome and what, ultimately, awaits you. You see, at the end of your journey all roads lead to me. And, like any parent that loves their child, regardless of what you’ve done, you are greeted with forgiveness and abundant, unconditional, love. And welcomed home.”
Jesus, on the other hand, although a lovely soul, may take some time to warm to you.
(c) 2015 Frank Howson
A friend asked me to pick my 10 fave books of all time. The 10 best of anyting is a hard ask but here’s goes. I have chosen those 50 books that moved me the most and had the biggest influence.
1) THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
2) GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens.
3) THE DISENCHANTED by Budd Schulberg.
4) THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde.
5) NODDY IN TOYLAND by Enid Blyton
6) A LIFE by Elia Kazan.
7) CRAZY SUNDAYS – F. SCOTT FITZGERALD IN HOLLYWOOD by Aaron Latham
8) CHRONICLES by Bob Dylan.
9) THIS IS ORSON WELLES by Orson Welles & Peter Bogdanovich.
10) A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway.
11) THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
12) IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
13) A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens
14) HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain
15) WHAT’S EXACTLY THE MATTER WITH ME by P.F. Sloan
16) DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller
17) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
18) TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
19) POWER WITHOUT GLORY by Frank Hardy
20) PETER PAN by James M. Barrie
21) DIARY OF AN UNKNOWN by Jean Cocteau
22) ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE by William Goldman
23) THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD by Ron Hansen
24) SCOTT & ERNEST by Matthew Bruccoli
25) THE POWER OF MYTH by Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers.
26) ERROL FLYNN – A MEMOIR by Earl Conrad
27) ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVE by Alan Jay Lerner
28) DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD by Eric Burdon with J. Marshall Craig
29) OLIVIER ON ACTING by Laurence Olivier
30) THE MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD by David Johnston
31) FREE ASSOCIATION by Steven Berkoff
32) THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE by Robert Evans
33) MARILYN by Norman Mailer
34) HITCHCOCK BY TRUFFAUT
35) A MOVEABLE FEAST by Ernest Hemingway
36) JOURNAL OF A NOVEL by John Steinbeck
37) PICTURE by Lillian Ross
38) HOME BEFORE DARK by Ruth Park
39) TINSEL by William Goldman
40) PORTRAITS by Helmut Newton
41) THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT by Quentin Crisp
42) THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell
43) TEN GREAT PLAYS by William Shakespeare
44) FINISHING THE HAT by Stephen Sondheim
45) W. C. FIELDS – HIS FOLLIES AND FORTUNES by Robert L. Taylor
48) THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN Volume 1 by Mark Twain
49) IN HIS OWN WRITE by John Lennon
50) THE ENTERTAINER by John Osbourne
I had gotten to an age where it didn’t matter anymore. Nothing mattered. I’d travelled such a long way without my parents now and wondered, sometimes, what they would think of me. Would they even recognize me? Would they have ever thought I’d be so alone?
I’d realized quite recently that I wasn’t mad. The world was. Every day mad situations came to my door and forced me to write about them.
The girls that craved love but were incapable of giving any. That was always good for a story.
The men who thought it was smart to rewrite their life with every lie they told. They’d obviously never listened to Woody Guthie in their growing years or found any beacon of honesty to guide them. And now they spent their time smashing up the lives of everyone they came in contact with, always departing back into the delusion that they were good people and everyone else was to blame. They made me ashamed of my gender.
And then there were those who just plain wasted your time. They were the worst killers of all.
Sometimes I feel I’ve passed my “use-by” date and perhaps I am suffering from having seen too much and worn out my heart and spirit. Is it possible to have become what Fitzgerald called an “emotional bankrupt”? Once you’d used up your quota of feelings there was nothing left? Being cursed with feeling things too deeply could pay your bills for a time but was ultimately a death sentence.
In 1936, Micheal Mok, a reporter for the New York Post, interviewed F. Scott Fitzgerald in a sanitarium about his crack-up. “So papa got depressed, and started to drink a little.”
“What happened?” asked the hungry young reporter, smelling blood and vulnerability.
“One blow after another,” Fitzgerald said, “and something snapped.”
And so it was with me. Just when I thought I’d survived everything and taken the hardest blows Life could throw, something inside me snapped and fell away. It would never be found again, and perhaps that was a good thing. I was now an empty vessel, lost at sea, and free at last. I had no destination, no home, and felt I wasn’t needed anywhere. That recurring dream of falling through space had finally revealed the ending. If you were brave enough to stay asleep until you hit the ground, your soul was released. A sense of calm engulfed me. The fear I’d carried since I was a boy was gone. All our fears are based on losing what we have. If I lose my money, I’m no one. If I lose my family, I’m no one. If I lose my home…my job…my career…my love… Well, once you’ve lost all those things there’s no longer anything to fear. “Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!” Jesus knew the secret. He wandered around with his pals, no money, no possessions, no designer clothes. Those whom befriended him did so for no ulterior motive or agenda. Suddenly, true genuineness flowed.
One summer in Los Angeles I found myself in the same circumstances. What followed would be a revelation, sometimes scary and sometimes so beautiful it would bring tears to my eyes. I no longer could afford fear…or pride…or ego…and in the process I found humanity through humility.
(c) Frank Howson 2014