The Rain Comes Down

This is a rewrite of the original draft, which remains private. This post has been redacted to protect the innocent. I wish I could give you more. Maybe someday.

In May 1984, I recorded a series of audio tapes intended to express the complexities of my life in college. They are less expressive and more self-indulgent than I hoped at the time.
In May 1984, I recorded a series of audio tapes intended to express the complexities of my life in college. They are less expressive and more self-indulgent than I hoped at the time.
Journal, July 1985
“I just had a vision of myself without creativity, and I am nothing.”

It was a hard year. I was lost and alone.

Follow-along music playlist for this entry

  • No Inbetween, Supertramp
  • Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You, Stevie Nicks
  • Talk to Me, Stevie Nicks
  • Life in a Northern Town, Dream Academy
  • Silent Running, Mike and the Mechanics
  • The Confessor, Joe Walsh
  • Broken Wings, Mr. Mister
  • Know Who You Are, Supertramp
  • Fool’s Overture, Supertramp

Lame, I know. Cut me some slack. I was 22.

“You know I’d rather be alone than be without you…” ~Stevie Nicks

Journal, August 26, 1985
In case you were wondering, it’s all been an impressionists view of my summer. It’s been very emotional and very new to me. It’s the summer of private drama.

“And the rain comes down; there’s no pain and there’s no doubt…”

When someone  says, “I will always love you,” take note: I later sifted that clue and found nothing.

All I wanted was to feel the softness of her hair. Now, in the latter day, I feel my wife’s soft hair every night, and it is everything I imagined and wanted it to be, and more.

Sometimes I look back at it and wonder how I survived. I remember that time, but in a way that I am almost viewing it as a stranger inside myself.

This is one of the last images of me without a beard, sometime in late 1984. I am posing with Anna, with whom I was fairly close friends at the time. She went on to married David Martin who pens the blog "The Mohedrus."
This is one of the last images of me without a beard, sometime in late 1984. I am posing with Anna, with whom I was fairly close friends at the time. She went on to married David Martin who pens the blog “The Mohedrus.”

I won’t say it was the loneliest time, but I will say it was my most lost time.

A lot happened to me in 1985, and almost no one except myself witnessed it or knew it happened. I took a trip to New York City, I worked at the daily newspaper at the college, I got kicked out of my rooming house, I worked as a stringer for the Associated Press. In the late fall I got a job at the newspaper in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

That was the Autumn of Ice. I’ll come back to that.

That summer, though, was … well, it was named “The Summer of Private Drama.” It started out like just another summer. School was out and I worked a summer job at the daily newspaper at the college. I wore cut-offs that weren’t very well cut off.

In July, I drove to Missouri to see an ex-girlfriend, and when I left for home after that visit, about as awkwardly and uncomfortably unwelcome as I even felt, I stopped shaving, and have worn a beard from that day to this one.

This is me with my long-gone Nikon FM, and the also long-gone 105mm, circa 1982. Over the years I owned three 105mm lenses.
This is me with my long-gone Nikon FM, and the also long-gone 105mm, circa 1982. Over the years I owned three 105mm lenses.
This is me in August 1985, at my desk in a rooming house in Norman, Oklahoma.
This is me in August 1985, at my desk in a rooming house in Norman, Oklahoma.

By November I had my first full-time newspaper job, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I still lived in Norman, about 50 minutes drive from Shawnee, and commuted for a while in my 1973 VW Beetle.

The heat in that car  didn’t really work, and it was cold every day. Several ice and snow events struck during that time, and I remember driving that tiny car all those miles with my only coat zipped all the way up, listening to Dream Academy and Mr. Mister and Tears for Fears … whatever was on the radio.

This was my first car, a 1973 VW Beetle. Scott Andersen and I drove it to New York City and back home to Oklahoma in 1985.
This was my first car, a 1973 VW Beetle. Scott Andersen and I drove it to New York City and back home to Oklahoma in 1985.

The song that takes me right back to that cold, lonely November is Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You by Stevie Nicks. That album, Rock a Little, was one of the last vinyl record albums I bought.

Listening to that song brings me all the way back, crashing back, to those lost days all those years ago.

“… it was easy to say
I believed in you every day…”

Yes, The Autumn of Ice. I said I’d come back to that.

Journal, Nov. 22, 1985
I wonder sometimes if my journal isn’t just my idea of an excuse to myself for what I am.

Sometimes it all comes down to the weather. In just my second week at The Shawnee News-Star, I was assigned to shoot the Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State football game in Stillwater, a contest that turned out to be one of the most memorable in college football history, the “Ice Bowl.” I wore a yellow rain suit I borrowed from Michael, and used a 600mm borrowed from the Associated Press. The rain came down, turning to ice as it landed on the field, on my equipment, on me. Between quarters, we walked up to the Lewis Field press box and thawed our cameras with blow dryers.

She was there that night, and I tried to talk to her, but she was eager to sit with her friends, and didn’t really want anything to do with me…

Journal, November 30, 1985
She looked cold, dressed in black, with no gloves. Funny things came to mind as I walked up to her. Is it really her? Please, please let her be glad to see me. I tapped her on the shoulder and she spun around. She didn’t recognize me with my beard. ‘You’ve changed,’ she said. ‘I didn’t answer your letter,’ she added.

I try to look at it from different angles, but it still looks the same. I wrote and rewrote this entry dozens of times, and it still isn’t coming out right. When I read it and listen to the music, it all comes back to me as clearly as if I were there. I know when you read it, it doesn’t. Maybe someday.

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6 Comments

  1. Is that my now Nikon to the left in the photo with the sweet aviators? You totally look bad ass! If so, it lives in my living room now as a reminder of adventure and a potential weapon when the zombies arrive.

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  2. “I wrote and rewrote this entry dozens of times, and it still isn’t coming out right… I know when you read it, it doesn’t. Maybe someday.”

    Oh, I know that feeling, to be sure. It’s not that it’s difficult to express emotions in words, though it can be. It’s that emotions from memories are often too tangled to separate in the writer’s mind. If you attempt to untangle them, then it doesn’t feel right anymore.

    Lost in a pool of self-doubt, mixed in with wondering why the universe seems to reject me at every turn — forcing me into a strange path not of my choosing… (Yeah, it’s close, but…) And the feelings, at least for me, ebbed and flowed, in reality not one constant line in a graph, because: life. There were unrelated moments in the midst of it that seem oddly out of place and detached from the power ballad memories. And those inexplicably normal moments make it harder to correctly describe the angsty ones.

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