Writer's Rehab #18: Words Lost in the Rain

This is really where she wanted to be.

Typing away on some godforsaken ancient piece of hardware, if she was alive in the time of the dime store paperback she would be writing on a black-iron typewriter salvaged from some small town newspaper. And what words that typewriter would write, things the bored scribes of that small-town rag would never dare type or put together in sentences of such depravity and nastiness it would make their Sunday morning readers blush.

She speaks of sex and betrayal, love and loss, hate and remorse as if these were normal human emotions in this bottled up world. She watches people walk through life pretending they live in some cartoon fantasy world, afraid to offend anybody, and constantly apologizing for being alive. She knows where she lives, not in this fake world of suburban values, where the dream has died but people are still living it. Where no one can be rich, but we can all look down on each other like we are. This is where the dream runs dry.

The underbelly of the world. Nastiness in both raw emotion and the darkness in people's souls. How people really treat each other, what they really say behind each other's backs, and the dirt and grit of this world you just want to wash off your hands but you can't keep your eyes off of.

She is not writing for the best of us. Literate and cultured people shouldn't open the covers of these books. What's inside is raw and shocking. In the old days they used to call this salacious before the tabloids ruined the word in their chase of hyperbole and supermarket aisle dollars.

She revels in these places of rusted fences and storefronts built in the 1950's and forgotten since then. Where drunks fall off the wagon despite those who really care about them, and that drama of life sings its familiar yet sad song every day. With broken emotions and lost causes - this is where the road ends. This is where people are forgotten. This is where people never finish high school. Where people drop out of life. This is where history is forgotten, shamed, and discarded as and faux corporate fantasy takes its place.

She feels our legends and fables are being replaced with ones we have to pay for. Our culture and heritage is cut up like meat at a market and sold for profit. What was once passed down for free between generations is now remade by new owners, locked up behind the digital rights of the faceless, and payment demanded and due.

And we know the things we read and the things we watch on television are as hollow as the dream they sell us, but we still tune in because we have nothing else better to believe in.

This is the new chipped-paint and cracked-sidewalk Noir, where the rotting pulp paper of a discarded cereal box sits in the gutter and no one care to pick it up. A perfectly empty cartoon animal still smiles at us through the decaying paper, glib and happy to sell us the sugary processed foods we need to start each day and also that lifetime of obesity and drug dependence modern society needs to keep its perverse economy functioning. Somebody has to buy those drugs in the ads, and a society's bad health means a lifetime of profits for the big-money healthcare vampires lurking out there.

Yet everyone accepts it and nobody cares.

Please feed the beast.

Rainwater washes over the brightly colored remains of the box, just starting to peel off the recycled wood pulp base underneath. Cars pass by and nobody cares. People on their way to work and the grave with the same sort of indifference the next day brings.

We live in this discarded reality, this refuse pile of corporate slogans, click through contracts, discarded hot new things, angry voices, and garbage culture of people pretending to care more than one another but who could never be bothered to lift a hand helping anyone.

Forget fake news. Ours is the fake world.

Someone she really loved worked as a caregiver. This person would walk into an infirmed and disabled person's room, find that person lying in filth, and she took the time to wipe them, give them a bath, care for them, change the sheets, get them clean clothes, and make that person's life bearable and human again without a second thought. She didn't care about the smell of feces and urine or getting her hands dirty - she just did it because it was right. The next time she walked into that person's room she could tell the difference she made in that person's life just through their eyes.

Just through their eyes.

Imagine being the person lying there unable to help yourself.

Imagine someone coming in your filthy room and caring.

She feels we forget about those people. She feels we brush over the hardships of life because we don't have the time nor the will to care anymore. And these words, her words, cannot speak to the great things people like the one she loved and that sacrifice. Her words are nothing, and she is but a shadow of that person. She does not pretend to be better than anyone else by telling these stories, nor to tell you you should care more because she cannot change what is in your heart.

If you are, you are.

If you can't, you can't.

This is life. You are no better or worse than her. To profess she is better than you because she is raising awareness makes her nothing more than a charlatan who is more interested in raising her own self-importance on an altar of her own creation and telling others to worship it.

Faux fashion causes for a culture on a synthetic sympathy sugar high.

But there is life here down in the rain-washed gutter. Places shards of grass grow. Insects that crawl their way through the refuse of  garbage and pine needles. Places where the woes of the world do not pour down upon our psyches in tweets and memes. Places where life cares not about what's in the mail or who is screaming at who on the television. Places where the day's agenda is about building shelter, avoiding the rain, and finding food.

As the bug crawls over that cereal box cover she wonders if that insect's life is better than hers, filled with artificial sweeteners, artificial importance, and artificial concerns. The bug crawls across the rain swollen paper, across the cartoon character's face without concerns of the marketing team that Photoshopped the colorful beast, and the insect grabs a part of the paper and carries it away for its nest.

This is where she finds her center, in this gutter filled with the rain.

The people that walk by here every day on their way to work, and the people in that cars which drive by each day. What she does is for them. to help them forget. To help them reflect. To help them find a piece of something in this world of something they like. Something shared, thoughts, dreams, passions. An escape, at times, a reflection in others.

Meaning in the meaningless.

Books for people. Something more than messages and alerts and online videos. Words for the soul. Dreams for the mind. Worlds build of words for the escape. Pulp fiction, but not the movie, the real books you find in used bookstores stacked up by the thousands and waiting to enrich that next life, and that next set of eyes connected to a mind which searches for something beyond this world.

Words lost in the rain.