Monday, February 11, 2019

The Glory of #VanLife

Ahhh, #VanLife in all of its glory! It can't always be good-looking sexy people on beaches at sunset cooking gourmet meals. Sometimes it's simply shades of grey and a good book. LOL! Here's to #RealVanLife 😎

Sunday, February 10, 2019

5 Days of Eros Writing Challenge Day 1: Hunger

I've taken up a writing challenge with Fleassy Malay entitled:


Day 1

"Eating Glass"
By Brian Ernest Brown

Sometimes I find myself eating glass in my dreams.

I feel an odd compulsion to take a bite and then another.

I watch horrified and yet transfixed at the very sight.

Wondering what the outcome might be.

My hunger for you is much the same as my dream of eating glass.

Deliciously alluring but most assuredly deadly.

And I intuitively know the outcome.

You would shred me from the inside out.

Even still, I ache with an insatiable craving for you.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Living Fully

"If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for." -Thomas Merton

Friday, February 8, 2019


By Brian Ernest Brown

You broke everything you touched
You broke everyone you touched
You had even broken yourself
Only I didn't yet know how badly

You broke cars
You broke glass
You broke dishes
You broke phones
You broke momentos
You broke furniture
You broke promises
You broke decency
You broke sobriety
You broke me for the first time

As time went by you broke others
You broke relationships
You broke hearts
You broke them
You broke trust
You broke jobs
You broke life
You broke her
You broke us

I should have known
You'd break me again
I should have known
You'd break me again

In my hubris
I thought I could
Unbreak you

In our breakup
You left me so broken
That I've lost my pieces
And I'm left less than whole

In your brokenness
You break anything and anyone
But it is you who is broken most
And I wonder if you can ever be whole

The real heartbreak is that
I'd risk breaking again
Just to help you
Put your pieces
Back together
If I could

The Indispensable Man or Splash All You Wish

The Indispensable Man
By Saxon White Kessinger

Sometime when you're feeling important;
Sometime when your ego's in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions, And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how much you'll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find that in no time, It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember, There's no indispensable man.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Life or Truth or Beauty

"Everything had changed suddenly—the tone, the moral climate; you didn’t know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. There was no one around, neither family nor people whose judgment you respected. At such a time you felt the need of committing yourself to something absolute—life or truth or beauty—of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules that had been discarded. You needed to surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life that was now abolished and gone for good." -Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Day 273 #VanLife: What Do I Do Now? or Chasing Seventy Degrees and Sunsets

When I started this #VanLife adventure I had a different life filled with family and friends, a house, and all the things that go with keeping a house.  It was a pretty standard life with all of the ups and downs I suppose and, for the most part, it suited me just fine.

Buying a van and doing a build-out to convert it into an RV was simply to allow me to set up at art and craft shows, selling my art glass across the country while avoiding the costs of hotel rooms. It also offered me the opportunity to see other parts of the country in the hope of relocating our household to a new community  in which I could more easily make a living as a glassblower and our little family could thrive.  #VanLife was a means to and end and not meant to be a way of life for me.

There's an old saying in relationships that "distance makes the heart grow fonder" and then, for some, there's a cynical addendum, "for someone else."  In a polyamorous or open relationship (a relationship based on consensual and ethical non-monogamy) which ours was, one would hope, and more accurately assume, that wouldn't spell the end of a primary relationship but it did for mine.

When I returned home from my maiden voyage in the van from exploring the Pacific Northwest, I came home to a world I no longer recognized and a relationship that had ended at some point while I was away.  Oh, there were several extenuating circumstances but because discretion is perhaps the better part of valor, let's just say that was the end of our twelve year relationship.

I left my home, family, and friends, heartbroken and feeling homeless and somewhat worthless.  Certainly, I felt less than and I felt very lost and completely alone.  That all happened this last October.

I naturally started doing a lot of introspection, soul searching, and otherwise trying to remake or discover what my new life was to be like.

Much of the time since then has been focused on my glassblowing.  I'm so very thankful that my career is as it is and that it afforded me the gift of distraction.  I've been able to focus, as much as one could with such a heartbreak, on something other than said heartbreak.  The roar of the torch is music to my ears and brightness of the flame helps illumine a very dark time for me.

In November and December I rolled into my Christmas show in a major mall in Kansas and poured all of my energy into making glass art and selling it to the Christmas shoppers. 

After Christmas I headed to the southwest for warmer weather and to meetup with the 2019 Rubber Tramp Roundup (#RTR) in Quartzsite Arizona.  Some five to six thousand of us camped out in the desert for fourteen days, sharing our lives and stories while making new friends.

Being out in the desert I had a lot of time on my hands to think and my thoughts seemed to follow a kind of horizontal spiral: How did everything go so wrong so fast? What did I do wrong? What do I do now? Where do I go? How do I live?What did I want the rest of my life to look like?  I had lots of questions with few answers.

After the roundup ended and we all went our separate ways I headed into Quartzsite proper to the annual RV gathering and setup on the main drag at a marketplace making and selling glass art to visitors, travelers, and snowbirds.

As a result of having been a glassblower, going on half of my life, being on the torch sculpting glass is very comforting and meditative for me.  Due in large part to familiarity and muscle memory, it allows my mind to wander and engage in a sort of free associative state.  If I'm not working out my problems on my bicycle, I'm working them out from behind the torch.

Currently I'm still setup in Quartzsite making glass and I still don't have many answers but I do have a few that seem certain: There seems to be no way to return to my former life. I am now, for better or worse, living full time in my van for the foreseeable future.  I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don't want to be cold anymore and I'm going to be chasing seventy degrees and sunsets around the country.  One more thing is just beginning to dawn on me, for perhaps the first time in my life, I am free.

If there is one bright spot in all of this, it's the reality that I've fallen more and more in love with my chosen career.  It has been the one thing that has brought me the most constant joy in my life and for that, I am deeply and humbly grateful.  Glassblowing for me is as a life preserver for a drowning man.

More than that, I really do not know.  At this moment, my most pressing question now is: do I get a dog? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Love Is

"The conclusion is always the same: Love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, February 4, 2019

Safe-Space Really?

About two months ago, the end of November, I made a post on Facebook and many of my friends thought I was speaking to them directly and there was no small amount of explaining to be done.  I told them that I'd make a more indepth blog entry about the offending post sometime in the future.  This is that sometime...

Prior to my offending post, a clergy friend asked an innocent enough and well meaning general question on their Facebook page and it was something along the lines of:
"To my clergy friends: Who do you seek out for counsel or goto for confession? A psychologist? Someone in the church? A Spiritual Director?"
As someone who had been involved deeply in the church for years and who had indeed reached out to several other clergy folk during times of difficulty or crisis in my life, only to have the situation made much worse by said clergy people, the question hit me wrong.

In fact I had, just the day before, experienced such a heartbreak and betrayal - that once again tore through my faith in clergy folk in general and certainly in this clergy person in specific.

Without getting into too many of the details, this last fall I experienced a crisis like few others in my life and I was in process when a clergy person I trusted enough to turn to, seemingly turned on me.

Now, in fairness to them, I was a raw nerve and perhaps they didn't mean to attack me but from my perspective, it sure felt like they attacked me none the less.  In anger, they faulted me with how I handled my crisis and said as much.  Unable to process their anger and my crisis at the same time, I recoiled from them in a self-protective sort of mode.

Now this clergy person was always one passing along "safe space" messages on their Facebook page and priding themselves on their ability to provide sanctuary to the hurting.   I remember thinking at the time of my own trials and troubles, "well, some safe-space they offer indeed!"

Shortly after this calamity, there was a post going around Facebook at the time for "Mental Health Awareness" month that went something like this:
"Reminder to anyone that my house is a safe zone. Coffee can be on in minutes, or if you prefer tea or soda, no problem. I will always be available - even if we haven’t talked in a while. Even if you think it's weird, or we aren't on speaking terms. Text me, call me, message me, anything. I will be there. I am always a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Nothing is worse than being alone and going through things alone."
The post, though it was originally posted on an innocent clergy person's page, hit me wrong and tore open an already wounded place in my heart.  I began to think about my various encounters with clergy folk over the years who claimed to offer "safe-space" but in fact offered anything but and I composed my own post for my Facebook wall with them in mind...
I rewrote a popular post going around this month to better reflect my own personal sentiment. 😉 🤣 
Hilarity in 3...2...1... 
Reminder to ANYONE that my house is not a safe zone because in fact, it's not a house but a van. I live in a 19 foot van. 😐 I don't do coffee so you're out of luck there. If you prefer tea or soda, I don't have a way to make tea either and I don't keep soda in the van. Regardless, whatever liquid you might find to drink would be the same temperature as it is outside because I have virtually no climate control. 
I'm not always available, or really at all. I keep my phone on silent and block calls from numbers not in my contact list. For that matter, I block most calls from people within my contact list anyway. 
If we haven’t talked in a while, please don't bother me now. If you think it's weird, or we aren't on speaking terms, these are good reasons to leave me alone. Text me, call me, message me, anything and you may or may not hear back from me but don't hold your breath. I'm not at your beck and call. 
If you need a shoulder to cry on and or an ear to listen, keep looking and good luck. Nothing is worse than being alone and going through things alone except having people continuously trying to dump their problems on you when you have enough of your own! Good luck! 
I felt my post was perhaps more honest than the endless and meaningless "safe-space" prattle offered by clergy across the Facebook platform.  What's more, I thought my renditionion very funny, in a tongue in cheek sort of way.

Oh dear...  So many of my friends thought I was talking to them personally.  To those of you who thought that, I apologize.  Sometimes my humor can be very subtle albeit stinging. What else can I say except, please forgive me, sarcasm is my native tongue.

To my former colleagues  within the clerical realm.  Please, if you are going to build your ministry upon a "safe-space" model please be sure that's what you're actually practicing and not simply offering lip service to a trendy phrase that looks good on your Facebook wall.  There are hurting people out there who need a safe-space and if you're not really offering such a space, you'll do more harm to your cause and to their heart than you know.