I always wanted to tell her what I was thinking, and since she was a writer, I wanted to tell her in a way that had depth, meaning. She was constantly making references to something she had read, or a person she knew and could be accused of making cross references in her sleep.

She wanted me to know how important little things were, while admitting that everything was important to her, except permanence.

She wanted to put all of these currents down on paper and had the desire to make her perceptions of the daily breeze tangible for others. Her desire to make the transient, solid matched well with her realtionships, which were always strained and moving from real to past tense. It was like she could not expend the energy in both worlds. Almost as if she could not pour herself into the exercise of making small life events weighty and lasting and at the same time, keep her own world firm and conscious.

"Life gets in the way of words, not the other way around," she would say.

I was left with the other rough drafts, considered, but discarded.

I get to the new baby's house, to hell with her parents, we know who is in charge, and Anna opens the door and shoves the baby at me. The phone is ringing and something on the stove is making too much noise, not as much noise as Toccoa though. Anna says She's been crying for a while. See what you can do.

What I can do is apparently enough; seconds later Toccoa is hiccuping her way to a sleepy smile. I try to resist the smugness of Look, she likes me! and I fail.

This morning the phone rings and Alice answers. It is a good compliment when someone answers your phone automatically, as if it were her own. I smile in the kitchen. Alice says Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Um, we don't have one of those, sorry. Didn't think we needed one. I say Who was that? because Alice is laughing and laughing.

It was a survey, she says. Lady wanted to talk to the Man of the household.

The baby is sleeping and Anna decides to lie down too. Asleep as soon as she's down, arm around the baby in a safe boundary. Drew and I stand in the doorway and watch her, she is exhausted and of course she is beautiful. Drew says I feel. So. Lucky. He says it in a whisper.

I could be telling you these things or I could be stirring the risotto or I could be under a cool clean sheet with someone or I could be watching a girl grow up. You'll forgive me for setting priorities.

For allthesalt and others who passed this way seeking me out and finding me gone.

There is something to be said for carrying on, especially in the face of overwhelming odds. It is something I ask of young people every day. And yet, it seems, I have trouble recognizing the experience within myself.

Since quite literally the very beginning of 2007, my functioning has taken a great deal of damage. Since that time I have compensated and re-compensated but have not truly regained full functioning. I have dealt with the causes of my damage. I have faced down the demons that plagued me. The one element that has remained elusive is that attaining one's goals leaves a hollow emptiness that begs denial.

There is an ancient saying about how you can win the war after losing every battle. What this tends to omit is that even after you have coped with the lingering effects of losing every battle you still have to deal with having won the war. Loss brings recovery. It brings the need for change, the need for adjustment, and the need for forgiveness. Victory, especially a victory gained at a great cost, brings a new set of demons that must be dealt with in completely different ways, especially since you don't readily recognize the reason to deal with the pain of winning. Few people recognize that victory is painful. We see it as something to celebrate, but what if there is no recognizable reason for celebration?

There is also a sense of guilt in feeling sorrow in victory. I was sent on a mission nineteen years ago and I completed that mission, doing it against inconceivable odds. In the end there is nothing. There is an emptiness and an absence of purpose, even though when taken to task I realize I have more purpose than I ever did before. The structures have been removed and free will has replaced the mission I was sent on.

There is a dream I have had quite often over the past six years which has replaced the old dreams which haunted me. It involves working at a job on the first floor of a two-story building in a large city. I always feel like I have been there many times before and that I once worked for the company on the second floor. In the dream I am trying to get back to working for the company on the second floor but they will not have me. The company on the second floor does some kind of very important work. They let me join them for lunch from time to time, but it is clear that I now work on the first floor. In every dream I ask the company on the second floor to hire me back. They always refuse while telling me that my contributions were invaluable during the time I was there. Often we have Chinese food together.

The second floor represents my eighteen year journey, the one that involved finding three queens and changing the path of their journey through life. It is the mission I completed at great cost. It is the victory I achieved while losing every battle. Now I find myself in the same building, but on the first floor, where my missions are less intensive and less painful on a personal level but also have great value.

A journey never ends, at least a true journey, and I had an agreement. I fought it at every turn, but in the end I followed it and I completed it. For eighteen years I followed a path that nearly destroyed me more than once and I could not avoid following it. Some agreements are stronger than others. Some are signed in blood.

Regardless of your belief system, all people have a system of belief. There is a faith in something that keeps them going. It is impossible to believe in nothing, although I once made this claim. It pre-dated my suicide which was intended to end the pain of disappointment in expectations that I was to succeed in certain ways or write myself off as a failure. Expectations are a thing of faith. We believe in their importance and their necessity. Those placed upon us by others are one thing, but if we take them upon ourselves, making our own expectations for ourselves, then they become a matter of belief. This is our faith, and loss of faith is a horrifying thing more difficult to adjust to than anything.

My expectations before 1994 were mostly standard human expectations involving a great deal of success in career, relationships and financial stability. After my death in 1994 the expectations that came with the mission I was sent on involved sacrificing all of these things. Most of all it required a sacrifice of stability in life. I had to become transient and give up a stable and happy lifestyle more than once. I had to give up jobs, relationships and financial stability to pursue the necessary course to complete the mission. It hurt like hell but it was worth it.

Life gets in the way of words. I'm finding my way again as a stranger in a strange land. This is the same world I knew, but the rules have changed. It is as if there are no longer rules, but the truth is that these are the first floor rules instead of the second floor rules.

In dreams some time ago my angel Anastasia told me, "You have access to Angel One now. You no longer need me."

There was a great and painful vision. It was the fall of the Third Kingdom. In my personal mythology this was representative of both the completion of the mission and the need to accept that my efforts to change the life of the third queen more than I was destined to had failed. The sisterhood, which was something I built along the course of my journey, took me out to the desert where I could see the place where my mission had begun. In the distance I could see that the world I found in death was thriving in spite of itself, outside of the three kingdoms I had built, and that everything I had done along the way had meaning.

Everything we do has great meaning. So often I say, "I know not why I have done this, but it is very important that I did." All people need to think this way. They really, really need to think this way. There is no greater joy in existence when you understand what it means.

Rancho Nuevo is a world that exists within my soul. It is the place I went to when I died and it is the place I was sent back here from. It was the product of my lack of faith. It began as a desert but now there are forests, rivers, and people struggling to find their way amidst a confused mythological past. In the wastelands there is a saloon where the bartender is still the man I was when I died and he remains there forever. His memories are more painful than mine. He went through far worse when what is worse is measured by perception. He waits for my arrival. He waits for the day I sit at his bar, order tequila and tell him he is far more than he ever believed he could be.

I need to reconcile with him as much as he needs to hear from me. On some level we all have the same understanding between who we once were and who we are now. Mine is just more severely marked.

This morning I was cursed out by a teenage girl I had given consequences to for her behavior.

"What the fuck do you know, anyway?"

"Eh, I don't know anything, but I want you to write that essay so I can read it tonight. I've given you 150 words to explain why your way is better than my way."

"You don't know anything!"

"Yeah, I know."




"That's Mr. Asshole to you, thank you very much."

We know things, but not one amongst us has any real grasp of the truth. The truth is elusive and it isn't real. Perception is nine-tenths of reality and everything in life is about changing and focusing perception. We don't exist in some simple hive mind collective where we all see things the same way. We exist as individuals with our own perception of the world around us as colored by our experiences and our prejudices. We align ourselves with certain ways of thinking because they appeal to us and reject those that conflict with our worldview. It has always been this way. We form alliances. It is a very human thing.

Life gets in the way of words. I found faith again in a woman's belief in me, in her belief in my ability to change lives. And yet she rejected my attempts to be a part of change within her life and she returned to the ways she had accepted before. This was the loss in the final battle that also represented my victory in completion of the mission I had been given in death. That was a difficult thing to reconcile. I wrote to her from my soul, pouring every powerful word and idea at my command into her head, but it was not enough to cause her to reject devotion to a man who treated her like an object he could turn away from at a whim while still expecting her loyalty. Something like that can cause you to lose faith in your words.

And then, brave friends, something else happens. I went eight months without logging on to this account here at E2. I didn't believe I was TheDeadGuy any longer. I didn't believe I could live up to his reputation and his name. Then I signed on to find messages from a dozen people, mostly people I had never met, who sought me out. They wanted to tell me they had read my words and that I had meant something special to them. One of those people signed on here and hung around for a month waiting for me to return after having read my words as Guest User for a decade. She wanted to know I was real and I never showed up to tell her that I was.

I am here. I can't go away. I was wrong. I created something and I cannot turn away from it. My only apology is to tell you that sometimes life gets in the way of words. I have more. I'm just not sure what they look like yet.

Forgive me.

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