Valley of the Shadow of Death, Tales of Darkness intro.

These dark tales are as true as they need to be. Working daily with the most brilliant minds never known, even to their own families, have forced my mind to find examples of my own excellence in order to relate. As Tom Hall sings: A man ain’t writin’ if he can’t relate to the things that he sees in his life.

Tales of darkness emerge during the search, desired or not, for the excellence of my experience and of my soul. Darkness lives everywhere you most desire NOT to look.

Careful. Don’t look inward. Stay with me. If true soul searching – and finding bothers you, this series may not be for you.

If human frailty, humility, shattered dreams, and the hope that ignorance and superstition are real bothers you, STOP. READ NO FURTHER. On this blog and most others, you will find light-hearted and hope-filled fancy.

If not one person reads this, it is OK with me. For those of you who have faced your demons or are currently exploring the labyrinth of your most true psyche, you will relate. Read at your own peril or, perhaps, a relatable link to your own salvation.

I will write these stories from first person though there is no need for you or I to claim or pretend that any of these experiences are at all my own. You will believe and relate as you will. I will write as if, as if….. these experiences are mine and mine alone.

Depending on the ages presented I will insert the geography and the people that were in my life, at that time, and in my own current timeline. The casual reality lacks drama that will haunt certian aspects of your mind to wonder if… can this much human darkness truelly live behind the sparkling eyes and bright, happy-go-lucky smile of one human being? Oh yes, and much more that will never be written, because, as an ancient man in a 9th Street dive once commented,”Don’t ever repeat that. If you do the White Coats will find you and you might never escape.”

Again, relieve yourself of the need to dredge my psyche for clues of my mental health. I am only the author writing as if, as if…. These experiences ARE most truelly my own.

One last warning: This chronological writing of a Tale of Darkness leaves out the decades of happiness, love, fornication, money-making, friendly jokes, child raising, spiritual studies, more fornication, TV watching, and sleep. If it included all that it wouldn’t be Tales of Darkness now would it.

The story begins in a farm house that Grandad rebuilt in the 30’s in South East Wyoming. But first I have to go riding dirtbikes out in the desert today. It is sunny and windy with a few clouds offering a light sprinkle. I’ll be back in a few hours.



8 thoughts on “Valley of the Shadow of Death, Tales of Darkness intro.

  1. Aaarrrrggghhhhh!!! Somehow I suspected you were going to do this…. Score:…author 1… Reader 1/2 for reading clear through… You are too good for your own britches,Young Man…. This “Lady” will be anticipating….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Convert,

    I can identify with your ideas in this post. So true that some people will never read dark things. It upsets them and they want their days to be fun. Is this part of a WIP? A few years ago I set out to write about events in my life that put me on the wrong side of people. My fall gave me an advantage, maybe not physically, but mentally. So I wrote about lying, or leaving somebody, stealing, taking advantage. Maybe I bet on the dying, cheated at cards, or disappointed a friend. It is interesting when you recall those events and try to put them down. Most people try to drive them out of their minds. Of course, making writing “informed fiction” helps. It gives you the opportunity to hide real people and maybe expand or diminish certain things. My first publisher wanted journalistic accounts of my life. Every time I tried to write the “truth,” I couldn’t do it. It seemed too dry and confining. I have found a negative spin on characters and events helps me. It also opens up the possibility of self-deprecating humor, which most people like…let’s laugh at the poor bastard, he deserves it. Anyway, like I say, your writing strikes me as authentic and that puts you way ahead of most of the people in the vast wilderness of WordPress. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is a work in progress. I’m going to write a series of short stories, true stories that highlight the darkness… without judgement. Without further explanation. Sometimes darkness is enough.
      A wonderful friend one time described The Dark so vividly that it latched onto my mind and captured my imagination.
      Yup, this is just the intro. I hope the stories are as interesting in print as they are in my head.
      (It took awhile to figure out what WIP meant)


  3. Hi Convert,

    At the risk of totally fucking up your comments section, I took the chance to post this short story by R. Brautigan. Some critics call it the best short story ever written in America. Well, maybe not, but it’s pretty good and like I say, he has the same sort of thing going on that you do. Thanks. Duke P.S. This was the only way I could get it to you. Also, his books are kind of hard to find unless you order them from Amazon, and, of course, Amazon is trying to steal the future of green grass.

    1/3, 1/3, 1/3 By Richard Brautigan

    It was all to be done in thirds. I was to get 1/3 for doing the typing, and she was to get 1/3 for doing the editing, and he was to get 1/3 for writing the novel. We were going to divide the royalties three ways. We all shook hands on the deal, each knowing what we were supposed to do, the path before us, the gate at the end. I was made a 1/3 partner because I had the typewriter.

    I lived in a cardboard-lined shack of my own building across the street from the run-down old house the Welfare rented for her and her nine- year-old son Freddy. The novelist lived in a trailer a mile away beside a sawmill pond where he was the watchman for the mill. I was about seventeen and made lonely and strange by that Pacific Northwest of so many years ago, that dark, rainy land of 1952.

    I’m thirty-one now and I still can’t figure out what I meant by living the way I did in those days. She was one of those eternally fragile women in their late thirties and once very pretty and the object of much attention in the roadhouses and beer parlors, who are now on Welfare and their entire lives rotate around that one day a month when they get their Welfare checks. The word “check” is the one religious word in their lives, so they always manage to use it at least three or four times in every conversation. It doesn’t matter what you are talking about.

    The novelist was in his late forties, tall, reddish, and looked as if life had given him an endless stream of two-timing girlfriends, five-day drunks and cars with bad transmissions. He was writing the novel because he wanted to tell a story that had happened to him years before when he was working in the woods. He also wanted to make some money: 1/3.

    My entrance into the thing came about this way: One day I was standing in front of my shack, eating an apple and staring at a black ragged toothache sky that was about to rain. What I was doing was like an occupation for me. I was that involved in looking at the sky and eating the apple. You would have thought that I had been hired to do it with a good salary and a pension if I stared at the sky long enough.

    “HEY, YOU!” I heard somebody yell. I looked across the mud puddle and it was the woman. She was wearing a kind of green Mackinaw that she wore all the time, except when she had to visit the Welfare people downtown. Then she put on a shapeless duck-gray coat. We lived in a poor part of town where the streets weren’t paved. The street was nothing more than a big mud puddle that you had to walk around. The street was of no use to cars any more. They traveled on a different frequency where asphalt and gravel were more sympathetic.

    She was wearing a pair of white rubber boots that she always had on in the winter, a pair of boots that gave her a kind of child-like appearance. She was so fragile and firmly indebted to the Welfare Department that she often looked like a child twelve years old.

    “What do you want?” I said. “You have a typewriter, don’t you?” she said. “I’ve walked by your shack and heard you typing. You type a lot at night.” “Yeah, I have a typewriter,” I said. “You a good typist?” she said. “I’m all right.” “We don’t have a typewriter. How would you like to go in with us?” she yelled across the mud puddle. She looked a perfect twelve years old, standing there in her white boots, the sweetheart and darling of all mud puddles.

    “What’s ‘go in’ mean?” “Well, he’s writing a novel,” she said. “He’s good. I’m editing it. I’ve read a lot of pocketbooks and the Reader’s Digest. We need somebody who has a typewriter to type it up. You’ll get 1/3. How does that sound?” “I’d like to see the novel,” I said. I didn’t know what was happening. I knew she had three or four boyfriends that were always visiting her. “Sure!” she yelled. “You have to see it to type it. Come on around. Let’s go out to his place right now and you can meet him and have a look at the novel. He’s a good guy. It’s a wonderful book.” “OK,” I said, and walked around the mud puddle to where she was standing in front of her evil dentist house, twelve years old, and approximately two miles from the Welfare office. “Let’s go,” she said.

    We walked over to the highway and down the highway past mud puddles and sawmill ponds and fields flooded with rain until we came to a road that went across the railroad tracks and turned down past half a dozen sawmill ponds that were filled with black winter logs. We talked very little and that was only about her check that was two days late and she had called the Welfare and they said they mailed the check and it should be there tomorrow, but call again tomorrow if it’s not there and we’ll prepare an emergency money order for you. “Well, I hope it’s there tomorrow,” I said.

    Next to the last sawmill pond was a yellow old trailer up on blocks of wood. One look at that trailer showed that it was never going anywhere again, that the highway was in distant heaven, only to be prayed to. It was really sad with a cemetery-like chimney swirling jagged dead smoke in the air above it. A kind of half-dog, half-cat creature was sitting on a rough plank porch that was in front of the door. The creature half-barked and half-meowed at us, “Arfeow!” and darted under the trailer, looking out at us from behind a block.

    “This is it,” the woman said. The door to the trailer opened and a man stepped out onto the porch. There was a pile of firewood stacked on the porch and it was covered with a black tarp. The man held his hand above his eyes, shielding his eyes from a bright imaginary sun, though everything had turned dark in anticipation of the rain. “Hello, there,” he said. “Hi,” I said. “Hello, honey,” she said. He shook my hand and welcomed me to his trailer, than he gave her a little kiss on the mouth before we all went inside. The place was small and muddy and smelled like stale rain and had a large unmade bed that looked as if it had been a partner to some of the saddest love-making this side of The Cross.

    There was a green bushy half-table with a couple of insect-like chairs and a little sink and a small stove that was used for cooking and heating. There were some dirty dishes in the little sink. The dishes looked as if they had always been dirty: born dirty to last forever. I could hear a radio playing Western music someplace in the trailer, but I couldn’t find it. I looked all over but it was nowhere in sight. It was probably under a shirt or something. “He’s the kid with the typewriter,” she said. “He’ll get 1/3 for typing it.” “That sounds fair,” he said. “We need somebody to type it. I’ve never done anything like this before.” “Why don’t you show it to him?” she said. “He’d like to take a look at it.” “OK. But it isn’t too carefully written,” he said to me. “I only went to the fourth grade, so she’s going to edit it, straighten out the grammar and commas and stuff.”

    There was a notebook lying on the table, next to an ashtray that probably had 600 cigarette butts in it. The notebook had a color photograph of Hopalong Cassidy on the cover. Hopalong looked tired as if he had spent the previous night chasing starlets all over Hollywood and barely had enough strength to get back in the saddle. There were about twenty-five or thirty pages of writing in the notebook. It was written in a large grammar school sprawl: an unhappy marriage between printing and longhand.

    “It’s not finished yet,” he said. “You’ll type it. I’ll edit it. He’ll write it,” she said. It was a story about a young logger falling in love with a waitress. The novel began in 1935 in a café in North Bend, Oregon. The young logger was sitting at a table and the waitress was taking his order. She was very pretty with blond hair and rosy cheeks. The young logger was ordering veal cutlets with mashed potatoes and country gravy. “Yeah, I’ll do the editing. You can type it, can’t you? It’s not too bad, is it?” she said in a twelve- year-old voice with the Welfare peeking over her shoulder. “No,” I said. “It will be easy.”

    Suddenly the rain started to come down hard outside, without any warning, just suddenly great drops of rain that almost shook the trailer. You sur lik veel cutlets don’t you Maybell said she was holding her pensil up her mowth that was preti and red like an apl! Onli wen you take my oder Carl she said he was a kind of bassful loger but big and strong lik his dead who ownd the starmill! Ill mak sur you get plenty of gravi! Just ten then caf door opend and in cam Rins Adams he was hansom and mean, everi bodi in the thos parts was afrad of him but not Carl and his dead dad they wasnt afrad of him no sur! Maybell shifard wen she saw him standing ther in his blac macinaw he smild at her and Carl felt his blod run hot lik scalding coffee and fitting mad! Howdi ther Rins said Maybell blushed like a flower flouar while we were all sitting there in that rainy trailer, pounding at the gates of American literature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thank you.
      I was looking for his books and found silly price tags so I figured that some where along the way I’d stumble on to some of his work.
      This made it a heck of a lot easier. It’s true, I like this kind of story.
      Thank you for you interest in my stories. It is easy to TELL a story and then back away if someone responds negatively. Once you write it down though, it’s out there.
      Also, my pride wants to make me a hero you know, always be kind and always do the right thing but that hasn’t always been the case. When you’re living life at the speed of life, sometimes what you do or don’t do is what you get.


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