sacrificial bonfire


So often it ends long before you stop playing. You’ll get to a final point, stop, breathe, and look back; you can place it, the day and time. Yet you soldiered on, because you weren’t going to let fate get the best of you, nobody was going to tell you when it was time to quit.

You were licked. And yet hope springs eternal, I mean, it has to, or else you wouldn’t have been there in the first place. So you redoubled your efforts in an attempt to obfuscate the obvious, as if some sort of superhuman effort – even in the wrong direction – was going to be the fix. You wanted to hit that 3-pointer at the buzzer, but when the buzzer sounded, you never even had the ball.

You remember the day it happened. It was a tiny moment, or maybe a huge one, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Both are one and the same in your world, an Escher painting of stairs going the wrong way and water flowing upwards, and besides, you stopped telling the difference between whispers and screams a long time ago.

You have one thing to remember. Every time the earth goes around the sun, you get to start over, and there is no bleeding. The draftsman yanks the paper away, crumples it in the basket, and starts a fresh page. You may be an amalgamation of your failures, but you’re also powered by the light valence of your victories, and the only battle you have left is knowing which part of yourself to set on fire.

0 thoughts on “sacrificial bonfire

  1. grumphreys

    Hey, you just described a career as a recording artist! By the way, we have a new CD now available at Itunes, Emusic, Rhapsody et al.
    Cheers, Ian – you’re not the only one that hits the wall, my friend. The creative field can be a thankless, brutal, feast-or-famine experience, but you’re correct that there is no bleeding.

  2. tregen

    I had that exact realization back in my “young and foolish” days….. right after my third hit from a triple chamber bong.
    “Don’t give up on us, baby
    Lord knows we’ve come this far
    Can’t we stay the way we are?
    The angel and the dreamer
    Who sometimes plays a fool
    Don’t give up on us, I know
    We can still come through”
    David Soul…. from back in the day.

  3. DDrake

    Cool! Something poetic. I like it.
    Usually the only articles of Ian’s I really get in to have the word “crud” in them, are about Carolina, or feature something obscure from the 80s.

  4. Metropolitan

    That applies to more than just the traditional ‘creative’ occupations. I’ve seen more than one person hit that wall, have hit it myself, and gotten to start anew with a different context.
    The most difficult part is leaving the emotional plaque from the last gig/project/whatever where it was formed, like the pad of coffee-stained Post-it notes next to pens that may or may not work in your drawer. That stuff won’t help with the next time.
    Creativity lives in most professions, practiced by those who have a passion for it, forgotten by those who are simply biding their time until retirement/dismissal/layoffs. When that fire fades in anything, it’s definitely time to ask ‘who am I here? why am I here?’. Living to fight another day is the only way to win, and one’s own happiness is the only way to measure that winning.
    Good luck, Ian. Lessons come in all kinds of packages, don’t they? Your time to rock will play out again, and rock you shall.

  5. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I thought this entry was about Tom Cruise. The third time is the charm, Tom! This marriage will last FOREVER!

  6. Ruth

    hi, Ian…your comments made me remember a poem I wrote years ago when I held a job at “one of the Top 10 best places to work for….”….good luck!…Ruth (one of the Dobson twins from UNC; my sister is Caroline)
    A Personal Cruise – September 2000
    I wake up to find that I have been adrift on a new corporate sea.
    This body of water being more gentle, my boat much
    more comfortable, the sky and horizon eerily clear, with friendly sea goers in my path, I wake.
    Having stepped onto this boat, eleven months ago, the ride has been smooth. But now, as I open my eyes and strain to feel the direction of my craft, I see that the chart is still not clear.
    Have I, am I taking charter rides through life? I’m struck by the profound idea that I need to steer. But my, how cozy and comfortable my rest has been in the closed cabin of my recent days. Potential recognized is one thing, but potential acted upon is another.
    Like Rip van Winkle, I have dozed through days and left the best parts of me to rest, while I’ve labored through my assigned tasks and played on board. Somehow I know that if all of me had been on deck, then my voice would have been jumping, signaling to others on the open sea that I’m alive! I am looking for the courage to walk the plank, to fly and to soar like the free gulls over the waves and over this boat.
    And where does the hand of the Almighty fit in? Like a dead man’s float, I shall surrender my soul, cradled in the hands of my Father. I shall listen for His beckoning in the distance and wear faith as my windbreaker as I uncover the true captain of my soul.
    He is my harbor, but I am my course. Knowing this, I am excited and I am free to be me, if only the world will let me. It is a fight. It is a struggle. It is a life.


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