“Hey boys, how ’bout y’all makin’ yer Ma some wind chimes?”
The group of boys sprinted off around the property to search for materials. Ages six to seventeen they were nearly a full baseball roster.
Many of the local folks wondered how it was possible for there to be eight boys in a row with no girls.
Some say Ma dabbled in the dark arts. Others, thought she was a luck charm and would travel from far away to have her bless their bulging bellies for a boy.
That night Ma walked around the porch admiring the children’s fine work.
Two sets of chimes were made of rusty tractor parts. Four sets were made of sticks and cones. One set was made of old bones and feathers. One set was made empty soup cans.
The ninth set, a set of upside down daisies, silently swished in the cool night air.
Ma shot a rage filled glare toward the loft of the old barn as she ripped the flowers down, grinding them to bits under her bare feet.
A tiny set of eyes darted from view, followed by the faintest glint of long blonde hair.
Danny Machal June 23rd, 2015
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women…
Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir…
Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. …
There are always two things we treasure.
Most people would agree the immediate things we treasure fall into the realm of the next bite of a delicious meal, an orgasm during sex or a sentimental object we are holding forcing us to replay the exact memories that made it so.
Popular bigger picture treasures include friends, family, your dog, your kids, your god, your job, ‘you know,’ -all of that popular shit you see scrolling by your Facebook feed on any major holiday.
When I think about what I treasure I feel like Commodus from the movie Gladiator in the brilliant scene where he kills his Father (Marcus Aurelius).
Commodus: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.
Marcus Aurelius: Oh, Commodus. You go too far.
My macro treasures include things like validation, imagination and creation. These are the things I covet the most. Proficiency in those areas is what I am always seeking in myself, my work and other people.
…these are not treasures in the way I see it but more “purposes of being.” A purpose of being is more powerful than something you treasure because it will control your immediate primal actions. I find it hard to treasure that which is hardwired. Does that make the love I have for my family disingenuous? No. That is impossible. The love generated for my family/friends is happening naturally and I don’t have to work at it. (You can’t control who you love. Remember?)
When your family is provided for, safe and loved what do you do with the rest of your mental power?
It is unfair for you to spend your life in servitude of the “idea” of family. This isn’t television. You owe it to yourself to live a full life and do the things you want to do. Not just the things you have to do. If this involves your family every step of the way, “Great!” That is the way to go as long as it is genuine. A real choice.
However, many people willingly cast themselves aside for some sense of duty to their tribe. It isn’t a crime for you to NOT remain an individual for fear those you love will feel betrayed. Even in the choking death rattle that going to necessary job can create there is space to find that which you treasure most. There is always time for you. Maybe that YOU time is your Family time. For me there must be separation in all things. It is just how I am built inside. Yes, I am aware it is a very unpopular way to operate.
You should not blatantly neglect your family. That makes you an asshole -not an individual.
Writing is something I am drawn to because it is the hat trick of all my treasures.
Some unforgiving soul cursed me once when I was young and impressionable. They said, “Danny this is good.”
I could have been a simpleton grave digger or worked on an assembly line happy as a clam waiting for that 5 o’clock whistle. But no. This individual took it upon themselves to believe in me and set me down one of the most wretched rewarding paths one can be on. My very essence of being was carved out and reforged that day.
I created something, I moved someone and they liked it. I treasure that.
What do you treasure?
Danny Machal May 2nd, 2015
“Are you laughing at me?“
John grumbled blinking his eyes open from a nap. Mary held up the small mirror to her husband’s face trying to hide her sniggering. His eyes got wide.
His lips had been transformed into blood red and his cheeks a light shade of maroon. There were dark rings around his eyes like he had just gone the distance in one of his old MMA fights.
The muscle bound white t-shirt he was wearing began to expand as the thick sinew strands of his chest filled with blood in a rage. Someone had attacked him. An old rival maybe? Was the family okay?
Jumping up to a fighting stance he was met with the big blue eyes of his little girl. Her tiny hands were covered in red lipstick and blue makeup powder.
“See how pretty you are now Daddy?” she giggled. He melted.
Danny Machal April 29th, 2015