Blog

Deadwood Gulch, Dakota Territory


Well, my time came, there in the gulch of rotting gold mines, smoke and dead wood i turned the ripened age of twenty eight. I don’t feel any older. I dont’ feel aged at all. I reckon  i’ll stop recognising my birthday as time goes on, feels a little like i’m living on a timer. It’s not an attempt to escape the daunting journey of old age and perspiring into the casket — more a case of saving my brain from feeling like its got so much to accomplish and far too little time to do it in. I don’t expect to grow old much anyhow.

This year my birthday was something out of this world, something more fitting of the old world we all left behind — a world most of us choose to forget because we’re too scared to face how cruel we could be. Jack surprised me with a trip to Deadwood, South Dakota, a place i’d always wanted to see. I wanted to walk to the badlands, sculk around Chinatown and stay at the Bullock Hotel on Mainstreet with its ghosts and windows looking into the old thoroughfare. All of which we did. Together the best way i know how to be.


We rode the Cheyenne to Deadwood Stagecoach around town and made fast friends with the drivers. They asked us to move into the house down the street and start working the town with them. And that was only the first hours of our first full day, my birthday.  We found a new favourite haunt in the Wild Bill Bar, the original number 10 lot on discovery where Wild Bill Hickok was shot by Jack McCall, with a buckboard full of dead animals nailed to the wall and red lantern lights hanging from the embellished bar frame; we couldn’t resist the place. I hope to make it there often even though it’ll soon be nine to twelve hours away. I shall never forget my life, though brief, when it was in South Dakota.

We visited Mount Moriah where Hickok, Calamity Jane and many other familiar names rest in peace, at least for the most part. Seth Bullock and his wife rest on top of the hill (its actually a god damn mini mountain haha), forever looking over Teddy’s tower somewhere beneath trees on the other side of the gulch. It was murder for me getting up that damn hill but it was worth it, i of course insisted on wearing my finery, to see my sweet Calamity and pay my respects to her and her supposed lover of time gone by, all of which consisted of boots, linen shirt with long sleeves, my good felt hat and my best jeans.

I see a lot of myself in Martha Canary. I suppose all my years i always had been a little different. I cut off my hair and i dressed as boy for most of my youth, and even once my hair grew back, and to this day, im still largely mistaken for a man. The cussing and such dont much help on that account. All this while i was dreaming of living in a place where it always felt free and everything else was unnecessary. It was a dream i didn’t believe would come true. The difference between her and i, is that my choice of self neglect is not juicing the corn, i have long since made the decision not to drink but that didn’t hold up all that long in Deadwood. No. Its a place where the folks are good, the nights are something to aware of but the Black Hills are scared land and i have never in my life seen anything as beautiful. There were fresh water creeks laced with wild bank flowers of all colours. Red deer danced and pranced through life all safe and fine. A little ways away you’ll even see mountains and hills full of buffalo. Right now their babies are all red, small and unsteady but perfect. Anyway, Calamity to me is who i am by day, all cussing and unladylike.  However when my depressive state  and sad sad suicidal ideations take over i believe i become more like Joanie Stubbs. Thats what i’ve named the dark side of my life. Joanie and Jane. I don’t mean that in some weird fan obsession in regards to the show or movie, i mean that as a survivor and that is something that helps me keep on.


Deadwood for me was always going to be a game changer, i just had that feeling you know? And in my previous blogpost where i mention coming to the end of our travelling days, the end of finding some foreign state to live in being done. Well i don’t know.  I could move yesterday to be amongst the Black Hills. Its holy ground to the Indians, the red nation, whatever they prefer. We’ve caused a lot of harm on that land, any land, but to me that land is a powerful, a spiritual place and something i can never un-feel. It all lives there on those hills. Though we may never move there, its a place to come as often as a wage allows.


Theres something wild and strange about meeting real like minded people who just fit into your life like puzzle pieces created millions of miles apart. The folks doing the street and bar shows took to us quick and fast. They were all like us and they impressed us as i believe we impressed them. I never have had the feeling that i wanted to interact with people, because i always felt that my head and my heart were some place else. Somewhere i’d never find anyone worth talking to who was the same. But i found  folks in Texas, and i sure as shit found some in Deadwood to boot.

For now i believe thats all i have. Im trying to juggle a lot lately. Training LeDoux, working full time, packing house, keeping appointments and writing and reading. Sadly i dont believe i’ll have my photo editing time till im in my new place in Texas. We’ll see.

our travelling days

Well, we’re coming to the end of our life in Wyoming. Our travelling days toward a brighter tomorrow are taking one last trek along the American frontier. Down to the deep South where it all began like a midsummer nights dream of lovers and fairytales and foolish fools. With our bundles packed and LeDoux in tow we’re making our way home. To Texas. The God Of All Places. Truly.  I’m sad to see Wyoming go, but i’m proud to say i lived here and that i love the state. Forever i will. 

 But life is too damn short for long winters and 9 months of hermitting beneath blankets by a tiny nordic stove. Besides, I’m ready to settle on down and build a homestead with corals, barns and film sets. Horses galore and rescued burros. Im ready to live writing and making short films for the end of time, rescuing critters and driving around in new trucks. 

I will miss the cactus in the deserted plains of Laramie valley, the antelope prancing on the plains and the wild mustangs — how dear to me they are. Of course. I had hoped that Wyoming would be it, but whenever im away from Texas something is nagging at me. 

 I’ll miss the vistas and remember them fondly. And i shall forever be mad that i missed my chance at getting a good close up photo of a moose and that i never did see those grizzly bastards with the mean dispositions. There are many things i didn’t see that i wanted to, mostly because the winters are so harsh meaning we have only really had a month or two so far that hasn’t been snowing. South Pass city (the one i’m most bummed about not seeing), Jackson hole, the hole in wall, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are for another time. Another go, maybe another life if thats how it all looks. Thats alright. Im learning to let the world go a little. 

We’ll return to Wyoming one day and what i did experience i am grateful for. I don’t believe i would’ve ever finished my novel in New England, and when i lived in Texas i was in a much younger mindset than i am today. That girl up there is still a dumb toddler but now she’s a little more devilish and easy. I found the place i gotta go, and now im going. For good. Thank you for the memories Wyoming, and im sorry to cut our little love affair short. But when the Lone Star State calls — you gotta go. 

jlit

the big horns



I believe that the world owes nothing. No debt to pay or government to over throw. The earth will keep on keeping on long after I’ve kicked the bucket. Same as you. The big horn mountains will still stand. The ridges may be different, but they’ll be there. Out by a fire in the middle of no place where the space is vast and full of opportunity. That’s where I go. When I’m done I move on. Carrying what little I have to my chest close as kittens. Mostly photographs, writing, old books handed to me by my grandfather and that’s all — aside from memories.
I live in my own world, because that’s where its safe. Everyone is equal there and left to themselves. It’s quiet. Smells nice to boot. Fresh grass along the streams. The desert has its time to sing. There’s nothing to worry on, except what I concoct over a fire after midnight myself. But its free. I am grateful for my chance. I don’t rub it nowhere. I don’t regret. I don’t forget. I belong where the western winds blow. I belong under the skies so deep and clear that I could paint my hearts true conviction for beating.
And all this time I’ve wondered why I wasn’t like everyone else. Why I carry a burden the way I do and now I know. It is those who suffer and keep suffering that will always, somehow, find a way to survive. Then one day, when I’m old and dying by my fire, perhaps some young good looking kids will sit by me and ask. “You’re a long way from home ma’am. How did you come to America all those years ago?” And I’ll look into my fire and smile.

what they don’t tell you about when you finish your first book (part 2)

♡ You will HATE reading your first draft. I will tell you — it really is a terrible experience.

♡ You will try to find excuses not to pick it up and edit it.

♡ You will lose your writing routine because you want to avoid working on your work, because you need to edit now. Not writing in a flow.

♡ You will cry. You will cry at almost everything.

♡ The prospect of finding an agent in this too big world will be the first thing to set you off.

♡ The second is the amount of rejections you need to mentally prepare yourself for, whilst continuing to believe in your work enough to get it published.

♡ You will want to start book number two to prove to yourself you can still write and the first one can wait. FALSE. By all means take notes if you have a grand idea for book two but pull through and finish the first, first. You can do it.

♡ You will spend every night trying to find publishers, read agent profiles and wonder how the hell the business work.

♡ You will cry because you don’t know the business works.

♡ You will cry because you’re sure you can’t handle rejections. Trust me. You can, and if you can’t you better get into practice.

♡ You will compared yourself to any book you read while working on your own. Just because yours is different doesn’t make it shite.

♡ You will eventually get through your novel, and start feeling a weird sensation. This is your confidence coming back — you made it. You’re on your second draft.

♡ You will start re-writing and it’ll seem like you knew you what you wanted to say to your reader from the very beginning. You just needed a little mental push and self doubt to get you to that point.

♡ You will cry because the agent business is coming awful close.

♡ You will cry because penguin wont immediately sign you.

♡ It is all worth it. Trust me. This entire process has been out of this world.

————– And so i bring you to the stage that i am at currently. Right now i am continuing my writing exercises daily, setting aside a time and having my phone send me an alert when i forget. I work on at least one chapter a day of re-writing my manuscript and working on my notes from my read through. Right now i’m very excited with where its going. I feel positive, excited and pleased with myself. I almost believe it could be a great little novel. Thus far i have reached chapter eight of my re-write. Only thirty more to go.

Basil’s gift & saving LeDoux // our rescue story

Hand holding a dog paw.
Love.

I lost my heart when Basil walked on without us. I feel that since that time i have barely been holding on, struggling to care or breathe or live. It was gut-wrenching. I would always enjoy my favourite things a little less, i’d always feel i could’ve have done better by him. Been more patient, less this that and every other god damn thing under the sun. “Forgive me forgive me,” i’d scream in the shower, on the floor by the bed with my head in his blanket. I was going through hell. Real hell. The kind of hell you don’t make it back from, and i’ll never be the same because that love cannot be replaced. It wont be. Basil, Jack and i were a small force. We fought, we struggled but we had a love like no other. He will always be my sweet velvet cherub and the dog who saved me, stayed with me and kept me going. Because that was who he was. He protected me even though he was small, he was mighty. I will never let him go, and im not scared of dying because he’ll be waiting. As you can tell — i am still very much in the first phase of grief and i believe i shall stay here forever.
-HOWEVER-
Basil was with us yesterday and Basil had a gift.

Lunch at Sonic. Number 8. Unsweet ice, a large water and a lemon slush.

I was awake all night. Jack was snoring like a son of a bitch and my pills for insomnia barely touch the problem some nights, but i dont dare to take two incase i don’t wake up. Thats the anxiety talking whereas the depression would try to persuade me to take them all. I pulled my ass into the living room and re-arranged all the western blankets and fluffy pillows to make a den to sleep in. However i ended up just playing Hogwarts mystery on my phone whilst i watched forensic files. Thats usually how the nights tend to blow over for me. The next morning , after i caught an hours sleep, i got up to make breakfast. The coffee started dripping whilst the bacon danced in the pan. I buttered the toast with some difficulty. Fuck un-spreadable supposedly spreadable butter. Jesus. After my toast incident i made sure Jack was up. We had to be in Cheyenne by 10.30am.

Crotch shot.

I’d been looking at petfinder for about a year or more; since before we left New England. I felt guilty for looking, but i had to have some hope for something. Dogs came and went. I don’t know exactly what i was looking for. I didn’t want another beagle because it would feel like i was trying to fill a Basil shaped hole with a beagle. So i searched for any hound; plott, coon, black & tan, bluetick or fox. As long as it was a hound it would be ok. After discussing the idea with my doctor and my counsellor they both believed a dog would help me with my depression. I was honest with them, and they obviously realise my problems wont disappear but it can be helped. Im on a lot of medication these days and my farts smell like the devil smoke shit & acid in the same stogie. Jack and i were already discussing how an ESA could help me, so when both medical professionals confirmed it would be a huge help. I really started to look, but i still didn’t know what i was looking for. I wanted a hound but as soon as i applied either the descriptions lied, or the foster parents decided to keep the dog. Through my searches Jack had pointed at one dog.

“He’s cute, what about him?”
“You like him?”
“Yeah, don’t you?”
“I do, i just was’t expecting  you to like him too.”


The truth was that i had come back to this dogs profile on petfinder maybe a hundred times, i thought he had such a lovely face and i adored his name. I had planned on more of a hound dog, because i wanted something with a similar personality to a beagle. However i really was open to almost anything. All i knew was that i wanted a big dog.
And i got big dog named LeDoux.
LeDoux means “the sweet one” in French.
After Jack and i discussed it i went ahead and put in an application. It couldn’t hurt and if it didn’t work out at least i could cross him off my list so to speak. I was prepared at the prospect of having to meet several before i met the one. I communicated back and forth with Janet from Yola & Boogy Fund in Wyoming Cheyenne. And as i said before — we had to be in Cheyenne at 10.30am to meet LeDoux.

                                

I didn’t get any pictures of me during the first meeting, these are the pictures taken by Janet as she was so happy and surprised with how LeDoux acted with us. He loved us straight away. It was so amazing. I still haven’t stopped smiling. I wish i’d known LeDoux & Janet would be standing in the field together waiting for us to drive up, because i would’ve filmed seeing him for the first time and his reaction to us. Having said that i’m also glad that i didn’t. It was a special moment that Jack and i share – thats more important. Anyway there he was, this big red dog and he was so excited to see us. He ran right up to us and within a few minutes Jack had started teaching him to play fetch. It was truly meant to be. He needed some training and to learn a few things, but he’s very eager to please. Already today he’s starting to figure out Shake, Stay and Down. All very slow but often. This weekend we’re mostly letting him relax and take his time and find his place in our routine, so far so good.  He’s one year and three months old. A hound, boxer & pit bull mix.
He’s perfect.

Man and a rescue dog. Ready to get in the car and go home.
Ready to go home.

Janet took LeDoux back with her while we ran some errands. We picked up new toys, training treats, natural shampoo and a nice big comfy bed for his crate (we leave the gate off in hopes he’ll learn that it’s his safe place to sleep, but he get in and out if he wants to). We weren’t planning on bringing him home yesterday even if we did like him — we planned to discuss it for a week and see what we thought. But that changed. Guess who wanted to take him home immediately. Moi. Jack didn’t take much persuading either. Ha.
On our way back to take him home we grabbed sonic for lunch, we’d already grazed through our healthy picnic that i’d packed for the day, and just like that LeDoux was ours. As you saw he stuck his head out of the window and had so much to see. It felt like he knew we were his and that we were coming to get him. It was magic, simple and better than i could have hoped. I asked Basil to help me find someone that needed a home and that would be good for us. And as always the little guy answered. Thanks Buddy. Sounds like hooey but i choose to believe it, the only kind of faith i had is in that dog, Jack and now LeDoux.
 

About to get in the car and head towards Laramie!

Janet actually gave us the leash, blue harness and the lovely turquoise dog collar. She was a very nice person, clearly she loves what she does and every animal she helps.

Dog with his head out of car window enjoying the sun.
Sunshine & car rides.
Dog sleeping in car.
Making himself at home in the car on Happy Jack Road.
Hand holding polaroid of dog.
LeDoux on his first trip to Vedauwoo.
man walking dog
First national park adventure.

Between Cheyenne and Laramie is our favourite park Vedauwoo, we decided to take a short walk with LeDoux to see how he liked it and i think he rather enjoyed it. The hound in him certainly showed with him following tracks and sniffing about. I took pictures and polaroids. I really was on cloud nine. Nothing settles a troubled soul like taking a walk with a dog. Believe me. The best antidepressant. He’s also a fantastic car dog. Bonus!

Happy man & happy dog.
LeDoux with Jackdad in Vedauwoo.

When we arrived home he settled right in instantly. He walked around with us, ran around the yard and kept coming back for hugs. When we came inside and he had his food — instantly on the couch where he stayed till bedtime.

Happy dog.
Happy to be home.
A beautiful dog.
Handsome fella.

We don’t know a whole lot about LeDoux but apparently he was a stray as a puppy and got hit by a car, he didn’t receive any medical attention on his back foot so it grew together leaving a big lump. It doesn’t bother him at all aside from an occasional limp. Eventually he ended up in an animal shelter in Casper when Janet picked him up. She cared for him, took him to the vet and got his shots and whatever else. He’s a very happy and healthy boy. We’re surprised how sweet and gentle he is, doesn’t hold a single grudge or worry about a damn thing.
He’s just our happy LeDoux.

Dog.
Relaxing in the sunny afternoon and showing him around the neighbourhood. (Please note his beautiful dotted tail on the far right.)

Over time as he figures everything out in his own time he’ll be my ESA companion. From now on its easy living for this boy, lots of love and adventures.

Dog loving his new year.
LeDoux Flynn.

And thats the story thus far. We welcomed him to our very small family and it was meant to be.

LeDoux was adopted from the Yola & Boogy Pet Fund.