In the Darkroom

I laughed as slid the slim folded grey stack of accordion-ed paper out of it’s box. I was only kidding to my wife when I joked that the new ‘blinds’ we bought were going to be nothing more than folded paper with double-sticky tape stuck to the top. It wasn’t a joke, but it was silly. We bought folded paper and stuck it into the flaky paint of the window frame.

As part of our bedroom re-model last weekend, we got new blinds and curtains. The one we replaced was apparently made of a grey-brown faux fur. Fuzzy and soft, these old mini blinds were long overdue to hit the trash can. We also moved the furniture around. We consolidated and reconfigured our stuff. The room is the nicest it’s ever looked. It still doesn’t have one thing hanging on the wall. No nice headboard or matching dressers, but much much better than it used to be.

One thing about this fancy folded paper ‘blind’ that we installed, is that this room stays DARK. Sunshine just on the other side, doesn’t make it through our paper accordion. This was a good thing, as last week, I spent several sleepness nights up with a cough. Then as the cough faded and the new blinds kept the light out, I have been re-catching up on sleep this week. Plenty of it.

The first real night of rest didn’t end till 10:30 Monday morning. Wow. In the darkroom, I was dead to the world. I have gotten used to it since then, and haven’t quite spent that long, but the mornings are quite peaceful behind the $3.00 sunshade.

Right now, in fact, I am typing in the same room. It is dark now too. No light on, just the whizzing brushing sound of the fan, and the padded thumping of these keys.

I also bought a new laptop computer this week. I figured I would give it a try while blogging, or hanging in the hammock. Neither one, I have done. I am now clicking away on the trusty old keyboard that I began my blogging journey with. This computer I am using at the moment, has been with me to Colorado, to the Flaming Gorge of Utah, it went through Yellowstone, and to Oregon’s gorgeous coast. I took it with me in the smooth grey-washed sky in the very northernmost ocean drives of California, and to the sunny desert too. It typed out my first blog,

Yes, even with a brand new computer in hand, I reverted today back to old trusty.

Thinking this morning about my writing, I was reminded of some famous authors, and the way they chose to work. I think it was Steven Pressfield, who rented a nondescript office space and used a basic old laptop to write with. He had even superglued shut the Ethernet port, and broken the wireless network card. Another author, George R.R. Martin, of the Game of Thrones, talked on a late show, about using an 80’s model computer to type out his wildly popular stories. It was a very vintage model, and he loved that it didn’t have spell check. All his names and places were made up words, spellcheck would have killed his progress…

Progress, is what I’m getting at here. In this dark room, with my old laptop, with the wireless network switched off, I have one thing in front of me to do, and one thing only. I cannot click quickly over to facebook. Youtube is not ready to show me a quick clip from the Tonight Show, or even the new episode of Roadkill that I watch religiously each month. This progress I am now making on this here blog, is a bit easier without the distractions.

Just like sleeping in late in the darkness, I wasn’t distracted. I needed that rest back early in the week. I hadn’t slept well in several nights. It was time to let everything else fade away. I need to write this story this morning. I need to make this blog progress forward. It is something I am called to do. I can’t let the distractions, or the lateness of my schedule stop me. I must find a new way to make it happen, each and every time.

This day I will try, what I have heard worked for others. Maybe next time I won’t. I do now this. I have a ping-pong, flittering and quick-switch consciousness. I usually can’t make myself focus, with the world’s entertainment at my fingertips. Using this old laptop with the broken keys in a dark room, seems to work today.

This week I passed a personal milestone. It’s been 3 years since the day I got a message from God. It was that quiet, calm and peaceful voice. It came through a heavy hangover on a Saturday afternoon. It said “God can only use me if I’m Sober.” It hit me like a ton of bricks… made of feather. It was such a toss, such a floated easy idea, that I didn’t run screaming away from it. I pondered it, but it was a deep and considerate ponder.

I talked with my Pastor, I shared this news with Christian Men. I was supported and encouraged. To this day, I haven’t had another drink of alcohol. That seems like so long ago. Many times, and I mean thousands of times, I have thought about it. Sometimes it seems, the internal pressure was too much, I was going to cave in. I just wanted to slip into a mellow glass of vino. I wanted the richness of that tart dry taste to wash over me. I wanted to release the suffering of trying to deny myself… It happened a lot, when I was anxious, sometimes in social situations, always it is hard hard hard to say no.

I now live in a dark room. I don’t expose myself often to social moments where I will feel that internal pressure. I don’t appreciate the distractions. They are counter-productive. I do work at a bar, I am there every day, yet I don’t want it too much there. I can see the reasons not to drink, hanging out with some that overindulge. I prefer sobriety while at work.

Anyway, I am in a dark and quiet place often. I am not out among the bright colorful social world that I used to be. It is harder, and I don’t always like it. I miss it.

Progress though, is happening, here. I am doing something new for me. I am making things occur, that didn’t used to. I feel more purposeful, an almost indictable current of momentum moves me now. Sometimes it is so slow, I hope it’s leading me somewhere good. It sure isn’t as fun, I can tell you that part too.

I appreciate the support, the ‘likes’ on my links. I hope that if you too, feel the call, the tug of some challenge, that you will consider it. Maybe you have a purpose or a place that someone else needs you to be, even if you never imagined yourself there before…


Aaron Nichols

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