This Cabin Thing

General Butler State Park.

This is my writing refuge. The place I go where there is no other place for me to go. The chaotic swirls of my life don’t find their way here. I am not sure why. I do not question these places.

And yet I don’t always trust the quiet solitude. I fear the aloneness. Before I get here, anyway. Because so much of what can go wrong in my life I try to tie to the people around me. I look at the people who have been shed throughout the last 18 months of my life, at least the ones who brought so much negativity into my existence, and I know that our lives are better alone.

And yet.

There is a still a fear that comes with my solitude. The fear that I am the issue. The fear that those people shed were only part of a much larger, more sinister story. One where they feed into The Dragon. Food for my own self destructive tendencies.

These thoughts float through my head in the days – the weeks – leading up to my excursion to the Butler. Those morbid thoughts that allow me to visualize stopping by the nearest liquor store (In fact, there is one directly across the street from the park entrance. Two if I’m being honest.) so that I can bring back a bottle of Jack Daniels, a 2-liter of Coke and a good bottle of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.

These are not the idle fantasies that have plagued me throughout my life. The ones that sift into my waking moments where I imagine myself to be something much more than I am. The ones that derail me by creating that sense of entitlement. The sense of inevitability. The sense of want.

These are the once-floating thoughts that can turn instantly into action. The opposite of recovery. The swirling force that always threatens to derail me from moment to moment.


People have at various times asked me why I am so public about my recovery. I have even been accused of (gasp!) narcissism on this matter.

I have no good answer for them. In no small measure because the questions are usually asked in such a manner that my answer is irrelevant anyway. These are my least favorite types of questions and rarely elicit a response that the questioner will find tactful.

I have no time for such things. If you’re mind is made up, I should think you might want to tell me your opinion instead of couching your attitude in such passive-aggressive ways .

This is the difference between my kind and their kind. I am openly an asshole.

This seems healthier to me.


My writing has been sporadic these last few months.

This is not a good sign for me. Surely I have been busy. But I’m always busy. This is simply the nature of the life that I have chosen to lead. I quite enjoy it.

And yet.

My openness. My time to write. My expression of the thoughts that reside within my head, whether personal or professional, need to spill onto the page. When they don’t, those seemingly fantastical thoughts suddenly feed on my reality. The fantasies that require some societal debt to my existence take foothold. My decision-making skills erode.

I become the problem.

While sobriety certainly helps with such matters, I’ve found sobriety is not the entire answer. The answer is much harder. The answer requires that daily affirmation, the moment-to-moment affirmation that The Dragon exists within me. That my life is small and infinitesimal. The my life is simply the sum – and no more – of those daily moments.

They are not some grandly designed plan. Some fated event within the universe. That my decisions at every step shape the who and the what that I am.

These are the things I forget when I don’t write.


This cabin thing is not a luxury in my life. It is not a place where I go to unwind. To relax. To commune. Although these things happen here.

This cabin thing is something much more than that for me. It’s a time to remember, to viscerally interact with and feel, the damage that I have done. To myself. To those around me. To the world.

Which itself sounds grandiose, I understand. All I can assure you is that it is not. It is about the little moments that come out in my writing, the emotions that I can finally place in the stories I tell, the realizations I come as I work through the literary problems inherent in any story.

Sometimes this leads to amends. (For this trip, I already know there are two that will happen immediately after I leave.) Sometimes this leads to insights.

Sometimes, it simply leads to the next moment. 

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  • Megan November 24, 2009   Reply →

    I'm giving you a cyber smooch. Hang in there (writer/asshole) buddy.

  • Brad_King November 26, 2009   Reply →

    Oh you know I'm good kiddo. I appreciated the cyber-smooch. You're a good egg. I hope we get to see each other when you're not teaching 4,000 classes.

  • Brad_King November 27, 2009   Reply →

    Oh you know I'm good kiddo. I appreciated the cyber-smooch. You're a good egg. I hope we get to see each other when you're not teaching 4,000 classes.

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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