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  • I do hope, when the living, loving, vibrant community we’ve known as Cowbird, becomes a cold, dead, mothballed library of stories, all from the past, I do hope they retain the collections of stories that some of us have gathered up.

    Looking through mine, you will discover much of the life, the love, the beauty, the pain and the sorrow, the redemption and miracle of recovery from a real addiction that nearly killed me, the joys of travel, the wonders of discovery, and much, much more that reflects a life well lived these past five years. This place, this community, did not isolate me from life, like so many other cyber sites can and do – this place nourished and positively influenced my love of life, of really living, and I would love to rush back here at night, or more often early in morning, to tell you all about it. And it always felt like you couldn’t wait to hear all about it.

    I was the sixth of seven children born in the middle of the baby boom, and in my family, despite being afflicted throughout my pre-teen years with a most shameful problem, bed-wetting, I was well-loved by my siblings, who always vied for who was my “buddy”. Everyone wanted to be my buddy.

    It was such a loving thing to do, my siblings doing that, I’m not sure if they know how much that helped me to not hide away in shame at the fact that I still wet the bed up to the age of 9, almost 10, up until my beautiful Mom found recovery from a life-threatening illness known as addiction, and alcoholism. She got better, then I got over my bed-wetting. I never doubted the connection there.
  • Here, I experienced what I believe to be a miracle. I had a mother-fucking brain tumor – a real brain tumor, people – it messed me up in ways that could have really caused me to isolate from the world, I really just wanted to crawl off into a hole and die, many times, especially those first six months. If anyone has ever experienced vertigo, you know what I mean. I had massive, knock me out episodes of it every 10 days for an entire summer. It was fucking brutal.

    But, I didn’t crawl into a hole to die. I turned to you. You held me, you told me “there, there, Hawkeye Pete, remember to breathe, remember to eat right, this too shall pass, and while it’s happening, we are here, my friend, we got you, please tell us all about it”, and so I did. My collection “Hear This” is the REAL LIFE story of that terrible time in my life. But, if you read those stories, you will shake your head and say, “That doesn’t sound so terrible – he sounds like he’s having fun.” And, that’s because I was. You guys helped me to laugh at it. To deal with it in a life-affirming way.

    And, you know what? That mother-fucking tumor, after a year and a half, just up and disappeared, dissolved, died on the vine of my facial nerve, my 7th cranial nerve, in the tympanic region, it said, “Fuck this. I can’t gain any traction here in this idiot’s psyche. He’s laughing at me. I’m outta here.” It went the fuck away.

    I didn’t make it all up, people. I got pictures to prove that thing was there. I have sick days to prove that vertigo messed with my world when I was trying to move into a significant period of my career.
  • Oh, yeah – career. When I went through some real crises at work, you guys were there. I could tell you all about it. Who remembers Dallas? I thought the world had come to an end. It was the worst day of my entire 32 year career. In younger days, when I didn’t have such a community to support and nurture me, I would’ve walked after that. I did, many times, off of many jobs. But, when my world at work exploded in my face one day in Dallas, you guys were there. You read my story of the explosion, and you held me. You consoled me. It was a very cryptically written story, because I didn’t want to be too obvious, lest someone from work (like my boss at the time) might have read it. But, it helped me to stand my ground, and to hang in until the storm passed.

    This was not isolation. This, what you see in all these collections, is very real, my friends. Very healing.

    You know, I’ve been in government a long time. Many times, when someone’s come in and declared “we need to make the government smaller”, and just arbitrarily cut our numbers without bothering to look at where they cut them, and what value the American people are losing through some of the cuts, taking a set of data and numbers that support the cuts, while ignoring mounds of evidence that would show the value of programs that are being cut, I’ve learned to say, “Well, that’s life in the government. Another thougtless politician doing what they do.” You just suck it up, live with the cuts, and find another way to try to make the every day life of Americans better through your service to them.

    Never expected I would be doing the same thing here. I never expected someone to take a look at one set of data, numbers, and fail to see the value behind the diminished numbers, fail to see what they did to contribute to the diminishing, or should I say, what they didn’t do to make it better.
  • After the sheer brilliance it took to make this place that brought us all together, to hide behind the curtain and forget all about us, then one day show up, come down from the mountain, look around, and say, “This has lost its relevance. I think it’s time to reduce this living, breathing, loving community to a mothballed library of stories of a time that once was”, I never would have believed this would happen, here. Not here. This place is different. We made it different. All of us.

    And, you know what? Just because everyone didn’t continue to post stories every day, like some of us did, was a reflection of those people living their lives, not being addicted to life in this bubble, but really living. Me, I’ve done both – remained entrenched here, but always, always, continued to live a very full, functioning, thriving, yea-saying life out there.

    That life will be considerably diminished when you mothball this fleet of storytellers. We will continue to connect in other ways – we are, after all, a true community. We will survive this. But, you’re taking away our hub. You’re killing what has connected us. You’re killing me.

    It feels like it felt, when all my loving older siblings moved away, went off to college, to life, and left me and my little sister all by ourselves at home. We still saw them once or twice a year. We still wrote letters, made phone calls. But, I felt abandoned. It was never quite the same as when we were all together. I eventually got over it, and learned to live my own life, without all those buddies around to help me through things like bed-wetting, and first dates, and job problems.

    That was a natural state of life, of growing up, that it took me a suicidal period or two to get over. I am, despite my best efforts to be otherwise, a very emotional guy. When I connect with people, it is for real, and it is for as long as you want to stay connected to me. I’m not going anywhere. I need my buddies.

    Please stay – in my life. I need you all.
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