Happy New Year…I hope

Hi and Happy New Year, to each of the three of you who actually read my blog.  I appreciate the nearly three hundred of you who are signed up as followers, and the two who sometimes say you like what I write, even though I know the actual truth about my writing.  I really, really do.  Because I follow a lot of blogs, I know there’s  significant temptation to read if you think it might be interesting, and then click the delete key for your email notices to go away before they cross the 20,000 unread emails mark.  I prefer other authors, myself, because other authors show more promise, improvement, or even better, actual talent.

It’s January 2, 2017, because I didn’t write anything for New Year festivities.  You’re welcome.  Soon to be January 3.  To you readers it means one or two less things to parse through to figure out whether I’m being half-assed amusing or being half-assed stupid or half-assed irritating or a combination of these, OR, if I’m being full on annoying…  Rage seems a common theme herein.  And those word things that Deon likes that no one else really gets.  Or they get it but they realize it’s stupid and they “like” it anyway just so he doesn’t feel more dumpy.    Not three hundred likes though; I don’t write for the “likes” anyway.  I write to get the shit out of my system.  Sorry, readers.  It’s not brilliant linkdumps like another brilliant author named Ulla used to favor us with.  Here’s to you, Ulla, loved beyond the stupidity of my feeble words attempting to encourage, and now gone  to her afterlife.  My writing?  It’s just dumps, mostly.  But it is January 2, and I just want any curious readers to know I’m still here even though I wrote a lot less over the holiday season than I might have.  Maybe I had fewer triggers making me write, so maybe the less I write, the better.  Am I right, readers?

Yes, Deon.  Please write less.  Really.  The world can only stand so much Mumple-ing.

There were a couple of good things in the message at church Sunday, which surprised me.  I didn’t find it as annoying as I sometimes do.  Maybe our speaker left off stepping on my sore toes for a little while.  Or maybe my soul is on a better trajectory of some kind or another.

What happened was, I tried to sleep in but knew I’d be better off if I went, even if just for the soul open-and-purge.  If it happens it’s in the music, not the message.  Music moves my soul toward God and toward other people.  It connects me to a better reality even if it’s The Doors or Led Zeppelin, a few very old groups for me, or Metallica, an old group for me or Halestorm, a new group for me.  Groups come and go, fads in music and worship come and go, but so far I stand by my fondness for Third Day.  The worship band didn’t do a single song by Third Day but I enjoyed the experience.

People are different, and everyone gets something different from worship because, I believe, God catches us off guard and gives a lyric or a word to touch our hearts.  To motivate us to prayer, to encourage when our despair is soul-deep.  It happens sometimes, not always.  Sometimes when listening to the speaker, sometimes the music, sometimes in prayer.  And sometimes I get nothing, but maybe someone I saw and said hello or whatever, needed the human connection.  I never know but I trust it’s better to go than to not.  And there are Sundays when it’s too hard and I just want to be home alone.

The message was more a pep talk than I like, but it was something for the new year, so I anticipated a little of that.  At the beginning of the message he said something about working toward success with personal resolutions instead of daydreams about money, and in the notes where he said “money does not bring happiness,” I wrote “but I’m willing to give it a shot.”    He taught about “straining for what is ahead,” from Philippians 3, which was all right.  He also said “sin brings problems,” usually true.  And then he said he believed “sin brings depression,” to which I added in my notes, “so does mental illness.” At the end of the message, I took the liberty of adding a final comment in my notes, which finally brings me to the point of today’s blog entry.

The last thing I added to my notes was, “gotta muddle through.”

One of my readers who actually commented said to talk more about my faith.  Quite by accident, I’m doing that today.  My normal reaction to being challenged like that is to do the exact opposite, but fuck it.  I’m on a trajectory.  So here you go: The word up for dissection for today is “Muddle.”

First to jump out is the word itself:  Muddle.  Dictionary.com says the word has its’ origin around 1540-50, coming from mud + -le, meaning, “to make muddy.”  Which suggests strongly that coddle must mean “to make coddly.”  Coddle may be the opposite of muddle, as you may have heard the expression, “cleanliness is next to coddliness.”  I may have that slightly mixed up, or “muddled,” if you will.  Mud and complication does NOT improve life, nor does mud-pie taste any good at all.  I never suffered from the craving to eat dirt or sand or mud, or shit, and no seasoning or spice can fix the flavor for me.  Of course you’re all acquainted with the word “huddle,” often used in football, and meaning “to make huddy.”

“That’s ridiculous, Deon!”  all two readers who are left, exclaimed.  “There’s no such thing as ‘huddy.'”  Maybe not, but ridiculous would be another word worth dissecting.  Muddling is not ridiculous.  Muddling is “mixing,” in a sort of clumsy and messy fashion, hence, a mint julep, which I’ve never had, is done properly by muddling fresh mint in a julep. I don’t think julepping is a good idea, since it involves ruining a perfectly good bourbon, by adding sugar, and also ruining a perfectly good simple syrup recipe by first, not cooking it and second, by adding mint. It’s NOT that I don’t like mint, it’s just that I know where mint goes:  1) sliced into a very thin chiffonade and used gently as a garnish over the minced jalapeno and apple jelly dappled lamb under a layer of tzatziki sauce, all laid over warmed pita bread, or 2) mysteriously blended with some secret, highly addictive chemical substance and baked into delicious “thin mint” girl scout cookies.  The last thing I muddled was oatmeal cookie dough.  It did not include mint, or bourbon.  I know where bourbon goes too:  1) neat, and poured straight into the cook, presuming that’s me, or, 2) muddled and baked into a chocolate bourbon pecan pie.   The muddled cookies turned out fine, which is the life lesson.  We’ll get to it in a minute, I promise.  Trust me.

I followed a different recipe than my normal one.  Instead of using my grandmum’s, I tried my sister’s recipe she had hand-written into my cookie book.  I followed it and it was almost a disaster, except I tasted the dough and realized two things:  1) this dough is wrong, it tastes bland and awful and 2) why the fuck didn’t she include cinnamon and nutmeg, or something as a substitute.  So I added the cinnamon and nutmeg and re-tasted.  Not bad.  I didn’t add the raisins, because I didn’t have any, but I don’t really like raisins too much.  I like grapes when they’re either fresh, or made into wine.  I almost added molasses, which in afterthought, would have been excellent.  Note to self for next time:  do NOT skip the molasses.  Instinct as a cook IS something to be trusted.

Here’s the lesson I’ll take home.  You HAVE to muddle through life, because life is muddled.  It’s mud, it’s sweat, there’s dirt on the floor and food particles on the dirty dishes.  There’s not enough money for bills, not to bring up how expensive vodka and bourbon are.  It frequently looks like someone really fucked up.  Anyone who can carry off making their life look neat and orderly does one of two things:  1) never sleeps, or, 2) hides the dead bodies and shit a lot better than the average human, because Life. Is. Muddled.  People who make it look easiest usually have enough money to deal with their shit a lot better than others can.  Or hire a clean-up person.  That someone whose life looks like someone really fucked up, is writer, Deon Mumple.  I do a shit job of hiding the battle scars, wounds, dirt, feelings, under a layer of money, because I don’t have enough cash to frost the cake deep enough to cover the holes and burned sections.  Life is frequently awful; it’s extremely intimidating; it scares the living shit out of me, but it’s not all entirely bad.  I just wish I had a little more control over it.  Who am I trying to kid?  I want a LOT more control over it.

I do have some, however tiny, influence over this muddled mess of a bland-tasting recipe called life.  It’s got a bitter taste, like there’s too much vanilla and baking soda meeting the butter and sugars, and it’s got flavor but it’s just bad.  I have to contribute even when I don’t really want to.  I always try to bring the forgotten ingredients- the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Occasionally ginger, just for a little better bite.  Which makes the recipe, both for me and for others, not as bad.  Especially after dividing a rather muddled life into small, bite-sized portions, and baking until just-brown-edged, or not-quite-burned, depending on whether you like your life, or your cookies, crispy or soft-baked.

I think all my life’s recipe needs is molasses.  Or bourbon.  It tastes ok some of the time, but usually it’s bland, it’s bitter, it’s off.   I just have the feeling something REALLY important is missing, but I can’t quite figure out what.  So I need enough cash to pay the bills and clean up the shit, and then figure out what that secret ingredient is.  And then, ongoing cash flow so I can enjoy the muddle, and the cookies.

If your cookies, or your life, are bitter, I hope you all figure out whatever the missing ingredient is in your recipes, too, and then I hope you can afford it in the new year and for years to come.  We need to be able to fix the recipe to make life better.  I’m bringing the cinnamon and nutmeg, and hopefully some molasses to the next batch.  Bourbon sounds pretty good too.  Until I can afford the spirits to lift my spirits, I’ll make do.  We’ll all muddle through.

I hope only blessings for you and your 2017, and in the years to come.

~Deon

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