Some way between sipping an overly sweet coffee and holding a Marlboro light I can still manage to type, however my mind wrestles with a disturbing catch phrase, “Depression The Other White Meat”. I began this journey long ago, in a basement, in a garden apartment building my Father managed. There I experienced many firsts’ for a mustering teenager. I logged many hours behind that gray metal door some alone, some with companionship. My adolescence was filled with shooting pool, listening to music and smoking a lot of marijuana. Not to mention many other illegal substances once referred to as recreational drug use. I didn’t know why I nested deep in the underground of a North Jersey basement for so many hours knowing that one day I will have to leave this place. Which is probably why I held on to it for so long?

Although I acquired many bad habits in my borough under the bricks and mortar and at times I completely lost my path, I did have moments of clarity delivered in many ways.

It may seem, I never rose from my hole, I did. I exercised social behavior as well; in light of my ability to score good dope. Seriously there were a few people in my life I did consider friends. Friends that actually enjoyed my company, each unique in their own way and now successful, my regret is never keeping the friendships alive. They are all just faint memories.

On the lighter side I experienced my first love. She was not your stereotypical New Jersey Italian girl, she was a natural beauty. She didn’t have big hair, tons of makeup and skin tight Jordache jeans oh no! She wore her hair mostly flat with a slight Farah feathered look, a little eye liner and that was it. She had green eyes and a wide smile. She was the one, until I fucked it up. Anyway we dated for 3 years we always attended each others family functions many of which were located in Brooklyn. We were each others first love. Needless to say I strayed and for the next three years watched her blossom into a beautiful young woman from a distance. We did have one reunion many years later after I moved to Florida, but it only lasted a few weeks.

I call her the one because she recognized my potential even when I could not recognize it for myself. Moreover, she saw a talent that I refused to acknowledge and one Christmas morning as I unwrapped a box that was extremely heavy I was planning my escape. In it was a brand new electric type writer. She told me to put some of my ideas on paper, of course at the time I didn’t want a type writer. I wanted new speakers for my car. It was our last Christmas together, she was graduating high school and I was going to college. She told me I have a gift for story telling and I told her what she could do with the type writer. This was my way of pushing the people I love away building a wall that still shadows over me today.

At the time, writing seemed stupid, believe it or not, I never connected writing and books. Until one day when my now estranged brother had a copy of Jaws on his dresser. I was intrigued by the cover of the nude girl swimming as the shark rose from the deep. The original illustration of the nude girl was extremely detailed and was later replaced by a blurred depiction. I watched as the book sat for weeks collecting dust until I finally snatched it smuggling it down to my layer. I read the bylines and preface and closed the book staring at the cover. Then I opened it wanting to know more about this girl and why she was in the ocean alone swimming naked. Three hours later I read the last words on the last page and I was hooked.

Jaws, was the first book I read from cover to cover and I was floored. During those three hours my body was sitting on an old couch in a basement that seconded as an opium den in New Jersey but my soul was on a wooden fishing boat off the coast of Long Island fighting with Sheriff Brody until the very last shot, “Peter Benchly had me at da dum.”

In my mind the connection was made, stories on paper equal books and people read books to escape. I wonder if the majority of avid readers are depressed. I believe any kind of compulsive behavior can lead to some neurosis and if reading helps depression label me depressed. Hell it’s better then popping Zoloft or Cymbalta until you can’t take a crap when you need too.

By the way, every woman in my life pushed the writing thing on me. My next steady squeeze offered a Brother Word processor which still has a few hundred pages of a story called The Seafood Business. Unfortunately, that Brother sat in an attic in Florida to long and the floppy disk is now permanently fused in the drive. My current ex-wife with whom I currently live purchased my first computer. Blazed on that silicone disk are also several stories frozen in time. Maybe one day I’ll pay to have them extracted. I have started many manuscripts always getting bored or thinking no one will want this crap anyway, why waste my time.

The reason for this blog is to say it’s OK to have regrets however regrets that are no longer on the surface can still eat away at our being causing irreparable damage. We may not remember every time we changed directions or left the people we were suppose to care about in our wake of discontent; later affecting everything we hold dear.

I know I have an extremely addictive personality. As a teenager I was high on something everyday. In my twenties, I drank like sailor and later discovered prescription medicine. Well all of that is behind me and I sit here today wondering if I wasn’t stoned most of my 47 years on this planet I might have been able to give more or become more then what sits here today. Well, it’s not too late; to whip it, whip it good. I still have my books and I have plenty of stories to tell. I just have to get my head out of the clouds.

It may have taken 30 years but …. Thank you, and I’m Sorry K. Arbeeny where ever you are.