sydney mines, vol. 1

We're too much of laundry and past-date sour cream and power bills and the broken camera and the abandoned yoga practice and the sneaking suspicion that we are, in fact, a 72-year-old recluse trapped in a 36-year-old body.

Did you know, says a friend, all the old ladies in nursing homes drink nothing but tea, because who says no to tea? and they end up dehydrated, and they're put on tea rationing.

I pause for mathematics. Six teas in one day, each with two heaps of sugar. One bottle beer. Zero glasses water. But the house is peppered with a string of forgotten mugs, a trail of tepid Yorkshire Gold that represents nothing more than scattered sips. Adding up to one, maybe one and a half. Reasonable. No need, yet, to begin playing bridge. Still, such a rash of mug misplacement can't factor well in the reckoning of senility.

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We trudge. God, how we trudge. Each of us forgets to look sidelong at the person next, the person behind, all trudging souls.

Woe!
but for more hours, more started, more finished
more of what I want
more of what I need
more of what I deserve

And there we are, caught in the snare of our own trickery. Restlessness seduces. What is it to feel unrealized, other than strangely exquisite? It is the soul's plea to matter. It is the exhausting submersion of caring for others, sometimes at the expense of our own creative spark. It is age and mortality settling upon us like a kneading cat, prodding us to Hurry up and do something. Make something. Be something, before they start rationing my tea.

What do you see? I see a kid whose every adventure is already written. All his loves and words and chance encounters carved into each and every bone, waiting for him to notice. I see the force that made him, and it smiles.

You have everything you need. You have fortitude. You have stories. Be quiet, be still, until they slink out from underneath forgotten freight to sniff around your ankles like feral cats.

Never mind the trudge. Everybody trudges. Just keep going. But be sure, as you do,

to listen.

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Sydney is on fire. He illustrated The Dread Crew (due to arrive any day now from the printers for shipping to retailers, and then to you) and he's been uploading new stuff and I accosted him and said oh my god please let me brag about you and he replied only if you mention the private jet.

He said okay. And so every now and then I'm going to sit here with a glass of wine and stare at one of his drawings for a while, something wholly unconnected to what he did for the book, and I'm going to write a bit.

Swear to god I am not on the pot. It's better than pot. It's Sydney.