Welcome all Pretzel-and-Bullfighters, are you in for a treat! Fred Rutherford is our highlight for today and boy has he shared a lot. Find a comfortable spot, sit back and dig in. Here is a little intro I snatched from one of his blogs, Poetical Psyche. Fred says, “I’m a Poet/Screenwriter, amateur Philosopher and wannabe Artist interested in all things Literature and Language. I’m an avid reader, mainly non-fiction, reference, mythology and comics. I love wordplay, comedy and puzzles. I am constantly thinking and jotting ideas down for future exploration. I’m interested in all genres of music but Metal is what I love. Really enjoy Movies A-LOT and am a glutton for punishment, A.K.A life as a diehard Bills and Sabres fan.”
by Fred Rutherford
It may be impossible
Not to fall in love
Tell us a little about yourself, Fred.
Well, I come from what used to be considered a typical family. Both of my parents are still happily married, going on forty-six years now, and I have one sister, so they got the boy and girl, and then stopped there. I grew up in a small suburb (Kenmore) of Buffalo, NY. I have since moved back home, and am actually living in the same bedroom I had when I was younger.
As for my parents, well I can’t say enough about them. They’ve been anything I could’ve asked for out of something you truly don’t have any control of. One of the few things in life where you can’t make a choice. At first it was a “they give I take relationship”. Then, it became an “I give and they reluctantly accept” relationship. Now, it’s like three friends sharing the same house. Sure we get on each other’s nerves now and then, but that’s to be expected. Both of my parents have been retired for a while. My dad going on fifteen years and my mother on five. He worked sales and then even though he didn’t want to, in a factory. He taught me the honor in earning an honest living and doing what it takes to do what is necessary. He had been saving some money for years though and the last six years of his working he bought a convenient store and then sold it when he retired. My mother was a secretary for thirty years at a local church, and she really hammered in the importance of religion in your life, amongst countless other things.
My sister and I had your typical brother and sister relationship growing up.We still do. If you ask me, I’d say I love her, but she’s a pain. If you ask her, she’ll say she loves me, but thinks I can be a total pest. Fun sort of sibling rivalry. My sister is a teacher. She’s been married for about ten years now. She has two girls: my almost three-year-old goddaughter, Lucy, who I affectionately call the Goblin; and her sister, ten-month-old Scarlett, who I call the Pikachu.
Pikachu! Are you a Pokemon fan?
Used to be but always liked that character and thought it was a cute name for a baby, and goblin fits Lucy so well. They are actually misrepresented creatures and not vile like in movies they’re kitchen creatures who make a mess of it while sleeping and they love to eat, again fits my Lucy to a tee.
Sounds like your nieces are very special to you. They are adorable.
I just love them. Lucy was born when I was going through a severe, yet undiagnosed, depression and not that I was contemplating anything terminal, which I never would, in my code so to speak, but I was lost and didn’t really have anything to wake to. Then Lucy came, and since we watch her every day, I really had a great opportunity to get to know her, and to really watch as she’s grown which, btw, I can’t believe how she’s grown so quickly. But I think just having her around, that alone sparked something in me, and while my situation is still very conducive to depression, something changed and there was that feeling that there indeed was something to look forward to.
I don’t have any children, but I do have two dogs, Toby and Chelsea and now only one cat, an orange one, Chloe. My cocoa passed away in May, still saddened by that untimely departure.
Well, pets, like children, deserve a bit of bragging. Care to show us pictures of them?
My Cocoa, I miss him so much. He was a great cat. Found him in Virginia when he was eight weeks old. Some idiot threw him in a trash bin at the hotel I was staying at. Also put a cigar out on his leg. I brought him in, tried to find him a good home there and then in NC where I went straight to, but nobody wanted him. So I brought him home to NY with me, and had him with us for seven years, but cancer took him from us, something I still can’t wrap my head around, how God let’s people and animals go through such tough times in their lives, only to find comfort , home and family, only to take them too soon. Again, he was such a well behaved, special little guy.
So tell us more about what you’ve been up to.
After graduating college things got a little weird for me. In high school (HS), I was big into sports and had received a partial scholarship to Michigan State University; but, I was convinced to stay locally and chose to attend Buffalo State instead. I am the type of person that HS guidance counselors warned us all against becoming – – someone who likes a lot of things, and can’t narrow things down to one thing. That’s my college life in a nutshell.
What did you get your degree in?
I started off in Biology, switched to Psychology, then to Philosophy, then to teaching English. Eventually I decided to drop the teaching part, as I really didn’t like the student teaching experience and at the time thought I’d continue on with school endlessly and eventually teach collegiately. Well, I did receive my MA in English, but after eight years of school with most of them being the max amount of class work you can take, I was burnt out. I never did go back to school. During school I worked very infrequently. I DJ’d at a local station part time, and worked as a promotional rep, intern style, for Virgin Records.
Oh, my goodness! I can see why you got burnt out. So you didn’t start into your careers straight from college?
No. Instead I decided to take a few months off. There I worked some lower level positions, (debt collector, tech. advisor for Sony call center, retail, usher at local movie theaters, etc.) all part time pretty much. That’s when my parents wanted to throw me a graduation party, which I declined. Those types of things just aren’t me, never have been. So instead, they surprised me with a two month trip to France, where my sister was studying abroad at Sorbonne. That was a blast and there I caught the travel bug. During that trip I went to England, Belgium, all over France and a tiny bit of Germany. Actually I wound up staying an extra month than the original itinerary.
I bet you and Claudia have been to some of the same places. Not long ago, she shared with us her love of travel. What did you do after that?
From there, I was dead set on finding a job that would let me travel the US. I did that when I was hired as a Project Manager for a distribution company. I stayed there from 2000 to 2007; saw virtually every city large and small from the Atlantic to a zigzag line drawn down from MN to New Orleans. It was a lot of work, but I was great at it. Won several awards and honors, and in 2007 I was rated number one in the field. I had opportunities to leave many times over, as other companies tried to lure me away, but I’m loyal and I enjoyed that company. However, in 2007, my boss, who became a good friend, committed suicide.
I’m sorry to hear that, Fred. Suicide is such a horrible thing. As many of you know, I lost a dear friend to suicide several years ago and it was devastating.
I was in Savannah, GA when his boss called me and told me the news, and asked if I could finish that job up or make arrangements for someone to take over, as he needed me to temporarily run the department. That position was intense in the stress department, and frequently I would work eighteen-hour days. But I was really good at it, had been handling it, and it paid double what I was earning, which wasn’t bad to begin with. There wasn’t any more travel involved, but I was at a point where I thought maybe it was time to settle down. I was frequently complimented by the VP, who was my old boss’s boss, and thought it would be a slam dunk to making the temporary title turn into a permanent title.
Yet I was in for a rude awakening. They hired a person with zero experience in the type of work we did. He had oodles of experience in another field, which the company wound up combining the position I was manning and this other position to offset his large salary demands. I was down, but understood, sort of. After a month, I was still doing everything I had done before, with the exception of going to board meetings and reporting. This new guy didn’t know anything; I couldn’t discuss things with him because he literally had no clue. He actually told me, “I don’t need to know, all I need to know is that you know, which I am beyond confident that you do.” Well, loyalty only lasts so far, and despite his being a nice guy and all, I finally took one of those other company’s offers and worked it in so that I didn’t have to move my main location from Buffalo, which was ideal. I worked out of my house, ran projects throughout the east coast and then returned back home, only having to make a couple trips to their headquarters a year.
How wonderful to work from home.
Fast forward to 2008. I was running a job in Maine. Actually I was training a new hire at his job in Maine, when the President of the company called me, letting me know the CEO had retired and offered me the job. I was flattered but did not want to move to Knoxville. She understood and I helped this guy finish up his job before moving to mine. Here, in Portland, a mere three weeks from the CEO offer, wound up falling off a Semi truck where I was conducting end of day inventory. Long story short, turns out I herniated nine discs, yet somehow I finished my job. Actually, to be honest, I didn’t know I herniated anything because the Maine Medical Center diagnosed me without x-rays as having a shoulder sprain and prescribed ibuprofen. When I got home things were getting worse, which was when I saw a local doctor and found out the crux of my condition. I thought I would immediately go out on comp, but the new CEO loved my work and said he needed me to continue and offered me the chance to oversee my work from my house, using some of my regulars who travelled the country to work for me. This worked wonderfully. Jobs were getting done with minimal negative impact from my not actually being there. I was receiving treatment and the company was raking in the money.
A FEW EFFECTS OF IMPAIRMENT
by Fred Rutherford
A tightening stirs
Immobilizing in pain
The joints frozen—stained
In locations as they were
Before the adjustment came
Emblazoned by a whisper
Harboring the fugitive
Corruptions we all possess
Opens wider then the jamb
Allows the entrance
Of paralysis, trapping
The frozen center alone
A broken word is
Never different than a lie
Except, a promise
Never can atone aptly
For the distrusting seed sown
Upon barren soil
Ironically weeds find light,
To the arthritis within
Where locked you stay, motionless
The spine’s rigid grip
Encompassing all things known
Blanketing your surroundings
In a coal scented
Terror, alone you can feel
Others may suggest,
But they feign recollection
Betraying their ignorance
By indicating such
Knowledge acquired, lies breed
Like the primal flame
Searing a dishonesty
Into this facade flesh wears
Dreams of future live
Not in imagination
But through naïve eyes
For a soul untainted, is
Hope resides in thought
Connected to times before
When truth was enough
And faith, never burdensome,
But intrinsically sought for
Views of paradise
Can shift spatial boundaries
When grace is allowed
Entrance to your garden path—
Bestowing bounty in bliss
He who is hindered
May find himself limited
Of harnessing acceptance—
A concentrated skillset
Suffers in disabled hands
Too obscure to contemplate,
The many depths fathomed in
Infect cervical tracts, past,
And can alter confidence
To obfuscating borders
Thoracic mornings early
With destructive grins,
Screaming, writhing, begging for
A semblance of relief
Lumbar’s distressed touch
Violates the cord caressed,
Fluidity begs for release
A return to freedom’s past—
Before the dirge struck,
Therein restricting all thought—
An addiction to those hurt
Freeing compression’s coiling
The constrictive malady
Of nerves compacted by spine
Teach effects of pain
Fast forward to 2010. The CEO couldn’t handled the pressure and quit. I wasn’t offered it this time around. The new one wanted to re-regionalize and told me I would have to begin traveling again, which, of course, I couldn’t do. End Job. Hello Comp.
Anyhow, I’m still in the same situation I was back then. But, I like to take a positive out of everything in life.
Everything does happen for a reason, doesn’t it? And trying to see the positive side really helps depressive types like us. What did you do next?
I began to write poetry again. I used to write all the time in HS and in college, but had gotten away from it. So I began again, and like a bike, you don’t forget.
While life didn’t turn out anywhere remotely close to how I had envisioned things when I was a kid, I have a world of experience to draw from, extensive locations, characters and cultures I was blessed with becoming close to. I feel this all has aided my writing, whether it be in poetry, in screenwriting, or in fiction.
I agree. Life experience is wonderful inspiration for our muses.
That all said, my influences are everywhere, my past experiences, the experiences of others, observations, education etc… But I like to write abstract, with a ton of metaphor, a tone of symbolism. So I’m not sure exactly where I fell in love with that type of writing poetry. But it happened and is my primary love.
Do you have any favorites?
I don’t actually have a favorite poem. Don’t do well with favorites. I do have favorite poets though. Poe, Baudelaire, the old Norse Eddas to name a few. Mythology is something I am really into, all of them, but the Norse tales are my favorites. I enjoy reading poetry, any poetry, and even if some consider a poem or a poet to be below average or poor, I’m still able to pull something from in each piece and bring it back to my own life.
I’m sure you love to read like most of us, right?
I read voraciously. Mainly Non-Fiction. I love learning and go from topic to topic, learning all I can about that subject before moving on. Right now, I’m reading An Acrobat of the Heart by Stephen Wangh and The Miracle of the Breath by Andy Caponigro.
Do you have any burning desires?
Currently Acting is my passion to learn about. Screenwriting is still a major love, which I have written two screenplays, yet to be picked up, but that’s fine, I’m actually glad, as the more I look at them I find more areas to edit. Songwriting, Philosophy are a couple other topics I’ve read through.
Where can we find you, Fred?
I greatly enjoy posting to my blogs. I have Poetical Psyche, my main poetry blog, Apercus of Apperception on WP is another poetry blog I run. This one started out as a place I could write more abstractly, yet has sort of turned into my place for short form writing. A spinoff is a book I’m working on, of Haiku and other shorter forms of verse. Sqwerm is my art blog. Fractured Landscape is a place I don’t get to post to as much as I like to, but it’s a site I write some philosophy and other musings. Both of these last two sites are on blogger. Over at Tumbler, I have the Daily Bark, a site of jokes, haven’t posted to in a few weeks… the jokes are pretty terrible, but just something to have fun doing.
I also enjoy photography and while I don’t have a set blog for that, I post my pictures to my Pinterest page.
See, I told you I was that kid who couldn’t decide on one thing to enjoy 🙂
Thanks so much for visiting with me, Fred.
Now if anyone has a question for Fred, please ask in the comments.