Tag Archives: Sam Shepard

Stories – St. Louis to OKC


St. Louis to Oklahoma City

– 6:35 PM, sat down in the back of the bus hoping to be left alone.  I was.   Digging in my backpack, I saw Sam Shepards’s new volume of stories purchased in New York.  Not even cracked.  Will filled my time the previous day.  Not wanting to sit in my own melancholy, I began to read as the bus pulled away.  The sun blushed on its fall behind the horizon.

The setting was perfect for this type of a read.  Mr. Shepard’s stories were of beheadings, long car trips and youth lost to a life long-lived.  A day ago, these would have been entertaining and possibly thought provoking but their deeper meanings lost to my linear need to find answers.

In his prose, Mr. Shepard seems to float in the past while remaining grounded in the present.  I, who feel out of time, need order.  He is Bird to my Soussa, able to float on riffs only he can hear while I march to the heavy beat of a bass drum.  My time with Will had broken my rhythm.  I was more accepting of this prose.  I did not always have to know a stories meaning but could now allow it to just affect me.

That’s what I did throughout the evening.  I read.  I read things unimportant to my work.  Things that made me think not about me but about life, about the living.  About what life is outside of my little sphere of experience.

I woke next morning, the book half read in my lap.  It was early and we were pulling into Oklahoma City’s blue and beige bus station.  I had about an hour layover and needed coffee.  Amazing, less than a mile away, I found a Starbucks.  And again, I passed a sports arena on the way.  Similitude, synchronous or just all down towns are the same?

I cleaned up a bit in the washroom and then bought a large coffee and some type of breakfast sandwich.  I sat and read while I ate.  Shepard is very bittersweet in this volume.  I was hit hard and fast by one story’s theme about the desperation of not being like one’s father.  I put down the book.  For the first time, I realized my whole existence was that of an orphan.

This may seem obvious to everyone else but right then, it struck me like a jolt from a live wire.  And then, I don’t know where they came from … tears.  Crying.  Me.  Into my coffee, tears dropped from my cheeks.  Luckily, I was in a corner and so turned away to regain control of myself.

I wanted a father.  I wanted someone to explain what life was all about from their own personal perspective.  Mr. Shepard’s narrator had railed against being like the man who sired him yet in the end, they were one and the same.  This was a realization I would never be able to come to terms with.  I had no father.  And this thought cut me so deeply, I wasn’t sure I could recover.

Then I met Beth and Sissy.


Journey’s Start

Moses has faxed handwritten notes.  I will attempt to transcribe here.  I apologize for typoes.  His handwriting is not the clearest.  More to follow.

M. Matthews


Notes to myself:

– I am on a 7 something morning train to New York City.  The day, it’s like sunshine and humidity rolled into a cigar of transit ready to be lit.
I watch the commuters around me.  They are trying to grab the last moments of self before disembarking at NY Penn Station and jobs and demands that support a life.

I, free, float, time flying past me unable to find perch, use these moments to see my old life one last time.  I will travel now.  Move in rhythms undefined yet foisting the lesson on me.  Lucky.   Yes.  I have money and freedom for this exploration.  But, I think I would trade my freedom for their cage.  They know who they are and what they fight for every day.  I follow whim and metaphor searching for answers to questions I little fathom.

– The train pulled into New York Penn Station on time.  As memory serves, for commuting  this is unique.  I stood in the middle of the large room, a
big board announcing all the departure gates hung from the middle of the ceiling.  Standing there, no clue what to do next, I thought, “This is what it is to be feral … wild.”

I had a backpack, cash, no cell phone and no direction.  So, I watched for a moment.  People scurried about with what appeared determined direction.  But to my observation, it seemed false.  I remembered rushing to meetings, to deadlines important then but meaningless now.

In retrospect, my next step was synchronous, a path laid prior to any decision of my own.  I walked out of the bowels of the train station and into the Border’s Bookstore.  Why, I don’t know.  At that moment the concept of a directionless pathway was almost paralyzing.  Two floors of books, videos and coffee was a momentary mooring for this waterless wayfarer.

My first impulse was to seek out the science section but whim spun me towards fiction.  I browsed down the aisle reading titles and author’s names.  At “Shepard” he jumped out at me like a snake surprised in a rocky crag.  Grandfather, or his earthly avatar, Sam Shepard had a new book of stories.  I pulled it from the shelf and his picture stared up at me from the back cover.  A picture I have used on my blog with that cat who ate the mouse grin and “I know things” twinkle in the eyes.


It appeared I was not on a journey or vision quest but rather a scavenger hunt set for me by the gods’ of chaos.  Flipping through the pages my next step became clear.  I bought the book and left the store.  Picked up a coffee as I walked up town.  My vision became tunneled as I moved north.  People parted way for me.  My crazed look comes in handy at times.


Week 1 Day 3

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