A New Chapter: Black Passenger Journals

Journal Writing - Thoughts from Black PassengerWith the roller coaster ride that is the republishing of Black Passenger Yellow Cabs still ongoing (follow my Facebook feed for up to date info on that), I’ve had less to write about on these pages for some months.

However, a new writing class that I’m undertaking right now asks me to keep a journal every day, so I thought why not share these entries with my much-appreciated readers and keep you up to date with my current thoughts on life, writing and, well, these first entries should give you the idea…


So I’m taking this writing class and I’m supposed to write every day. I’m supposed to write a journal. But how do you write when there’s nothing to write about? Usually I write when I have a story in mind, some specific plot. I don’t have to have it all planned out from beginning to end, but I have to have at least some idea what the story is about. But this is different. I gotta write, basically by the seat of my pants. Oh well, it can’t be that bad. But it most likely will be about sadness and unhappiness. ‘Cause that’s pretty much been my feelings since coming to LA a year ago and especially since the tsunami-quake in Japan in March. It’s sad that I can’t be there.

I’m always absent at the wrong time. I’m always not there when my help is needed.

It’s like my house is on fire and I can only watch it on the internet. Can’t do anything about it. I’m 7,000 miles away. Can’t even volunteer. Can’t even take any pictures or shoot any videos. I know I shouldn’t be thinking about photo opportunities in the disaster, but I do. And no, I don’t feel guilty about it. I get off on natural disasters. Since I was a kid. I get off on large scale disasters. I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with the death infested environment I was raised in. Every day someone, someone from the church, or some animal, some goat or dog or chicken was always dying. It’s like every Sunday I was on a funeral excursion. And they were fun. I got to leave the shanty and travel to the countryside.

My obsession with death and dying started going off the charts when I turned 40. And I mean really, it became like an obsession. What the hell is that all about?

It’s like my childhood obsession on steroids. I started thinking about death all the time. I guess it was my midlife crisis. I turned 40 and I don’t feel invincible anymore, like I did in my younger days. But the irony is, I spent my younger days, until 35 years old, wanting nothing more than to kill myself. What is going on? A few months before I left Japan for America, I started searching the internet for airline crashes. Then I found the motherload: the Tenerife air crash between the KLM and Pan Am 747s. Everyone died on the KLM plane.

Everyone, I mean everyone literally perished in a massive ball of fire. What must that have been like?

I try to put myself on that flight. No, I put myself on that flight, but I don’t die, I walk out unscathed, brushing myself of like Lee Majors in the Six Million Dollar man. I loved the Six Million Dollar man. I was obsessed with that show. Every time I ran I would make that bionic sound. When my mom sent me on errands to the store, I ran making that bionic sound, humming the theme song in my head. Sometimes even out loud. Whenever I looked at anything, I looked, effecting the bionic eye sound. Even as an adult, I walked out of my seven major car accidents, humming the six million dollar man theme song. It’s only after watching the KLM Pan Am crash over and over and over again, that it begins to sink in that, if I were on that plane, I would’ve been just as dead as those hundreds of passengers.

What were they thinking about at the very last minute? That’s what I wanna know. I want to be there, at that very moment when grim shows up. I wanna talk to him, “hey grim, what’s up? Good to finally meet you, heard lots about you.” But I don’t actually want to go with him. It would be exciting only to meet him. There’d be no thrill in actually going with him, I’d be dead and I won’t have any awareness of anything.

So I worked myself in a frenzy and pretty soon I was afraid to board the plane for that 13 hour flight to San Francisco. I don’t usually work like that, I’m usually calm and fearless. And just as to be expected, I landed at SFO without incident, not even turbulence. Recently I discovered air crash investigations on YouTube. And man, talk about a feast. I can watch episodes about widely publicized plane crashes, the Concorde crash, and scare myself shitless. So I do. I do marathons of air crash investigations. Times when I should be writing, I’m probably watching hours of air crash investigation. In fact, right now as I write, I’m thinking about episodes I could be watching or re-watching. Wanna see the one about the L1011 crash in the Everglades again. Can’t believe that a 12 cent light bulb can bring down a jet. But that was back then, back in 1972. No way that could happen now.

Another thing I started noticing when I turned 40, I’m 47 now, is how fast time goes. Before 40, one day had some 20 something hours in it. It took a full 24 hours to complete one day.

When I got to forty it seems the days, weeks, months, years whip by so fast. One day now has only about 7 hours in it. I am now 3 years away from 50. Fifty! That’s crazy. Fifty is the age for old people. When I was 10, grandma was 50. I thought that that was just an impossible age to get to. It was just some age that was way out there.

I used to look at my grandmother and think, how does one get to be 50 years old? Well, I’m gonna find out in a little over 1,000 days.

As I’m writing these regularly, there will be fresh material for these pages as long as the journal entries continues, so stay tuned.

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