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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Row Principle

4th June 2015
Dear Cassi,

I ran into an old memory the other day in preparation for something, and felt I should share it with you. It’s funny how the world works like that, and something just pops back into my head after so long.
When I was in middle school, after my pool exploded and my mother passed away I got very out of shape. I couldn’t run ten steps without getting winded and I felt old. Funny to think you should feel old at eleven, but I felt old none the less.
Now I went to middle school and had P.E. once a day like every other fellow and so had to do with a P.E. teacher I’ll call Row. He kind of reminded me of an old crow carved of withered wood, but I’m going to call him Row so as not to offend that bird. I couldn’t spell his real name off the top of my head but what does it matter?
In any case, we were running the field one day and I was dead last with the old Row pacing me. I kept my speed even though it hurt like hell, and I had to close my eyes from the pain. I was out of breath and aching but would give him no ground. 

To add injury to insult his knee stopped working, and he ran with one stiff leg but could have out ran me at any moment. Somehow we were talking. I couldn’t give you an explanation for that, but mostly he was talking.  He told me how he won track meets as a coach by pacing the worst runner and making them keep running.

“The last runner gets down to a slow trot,” he told me. “I keep telling them not to give up. Come on, pass just one more kid.”

Row would focus on his weakest point, and this would make the largest impact on his work. It’s a funny way of looking at things until you break it down. Like I said for my projects, “if you have a car with a good engine but a bad transmission it still will never run.”

If you want to paint and you can’t paint clouds maybe you should paint clouds until you get it right. If you’re bad at something work at it until you get it right.

I will call this the ‘Row Principle’ your weakest point is where you can most improve.

Never give up, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, November 7, 2016

Love for Pools

2nd June 2015
Dear Cassi,

I’ve always had a love for pools which is no wonder in the state of California because of the heat, but did I ever tell you about the pool I had as a kid? It was one of those above ground jobs with steel sides and an uneven bottom. I loved that pool. I would come home from school and jump in wearing nothing but my jockeys and for most of my young life the water went up to my chin making me prance around.

I did very little swimming, but I loved the water so that I would just do laps walking from one end of the pool to the other. There was a time that the pool was heated, but the heater broke, and then we took it apart. I remember it being full of dust and old plastic bracelets. The base had been made of loose red bricks which became toys once unearthed.   

I used to build temples and army bases of those old bricks. A few I crushed back into dust, but why I couldn’t tell you. I never knew how sick my mother was until I was nine, and she never had the time to be there for me. I remember my happiest moments as a child being alone with my thoughts. I was a world onto myself back then and in a way we all are now.

You can figure that’s part of my keeping to myself now days, but there is much more to it than that condition. In the darkness of our lives we should let our mind grow distinguished and wise but keep our hearts young and able.

Well, one day I came home to find the side of my pool burst open and the back lawn teaming with insects floating in the chlorinated water. That was the worst day of my life at that point, but I didn’t know it yet.

Know what you have, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Friday, November 4, 2016

Mental Health Facility Cover Letter

12th January 2015

My Dear Friends at (Mental Health Facility),

I take interest to your position as a Residential Counselor because of its relevance to my occupation of the last four years. I worked with young adults in a homeless residential setting. In this setting I dealt with vomit, urine, and other body fluids and was often told that I handled the worst parts of the job with grace and professionalism.

I can say with honesty that many of the clients commented that I was a patient and kind man who could always be relied upon to help them no matter what their problems. I took a great deal of pride in my work.

I also hold a BA in Psychology but sadly have taken few units in early development. I believe I’m good with children, but in honesty have rarely worked with them.

Thank you for your time,

Richard Leland Neal

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Not a High One Wants to Get

22nd December 2014
Dear Cassi,
Today I got some bad news with my lab results. It would appear as though my blood sugar is too high. It was bad enough when my work required me to take a health evaluation and now I have ‘health coaching’ to endeavor to keep my medical benefits at some reasonable price.
My work required a lab for this and my doctor insisted this be a fasting lab so after twelve hours of fasting, a morning of calling and rushing to get lab results, and making myself sick over things I learn that my blood sugar is one hundred and one. Four points into the pre-diabetic range.

So this is sobering but not unexpected. I have a love for soda and I eat too much junk from the machines. When you’re fat like me the world looks at you like you grew a second head, but a high of four points could just be an anomaly. Other than this and the fat I’m in perfect health.

Wish me well, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Going Green

I recall writing this as a suggestion to management at the homeless shelter I worked at back then. Then I remembered that I hated them and they treated me like crap so I never really finished the correspondence. You tell me if it was a good idea.

Sometime in November of 2014

Going green,

As a homeless rehabilitation program we always have a great need to both reduce costs and improve public relations. One angle that may be effective is to approach donors and volunteers with a desire to improve the campuses water consumption rate by planting drought tolerant plants, adding water crystal to lawns and installing water soil moister sensors. 

This would reduce our water bill providing more funds for other needs and appeal to both advocates for the homeless and environmentalists. Expressing a desire to become the greenest shelter in California may also bring us welcome public attention.

As a shelter we could then express that we assist the homeless in a responsible and environmentally friendly way. After all, what good is helping the homeless if there is no world for them to live in once they’re back on their feet?

Donors seeing or hearing about this can then feel confident that their money is well spend, and that their donations have a direct impact on the well being of all Californians.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

No Bed to Sleep In

2nd November 2014

Dear Cassi,
For so long in my life I’ve had this image in my head. It’s of a dark universe dotted with stars, but in this darkness there is an abyss. I see a star falling into that abyss and feel it on the cusp of becoming nothingness.
The other stars go dim and all hope vanishes for the little speck. The darkness closes in and all light is gone. Then there is a flash and the speck rises from the nothing. It holds itself against the velvet blackness and births and infinite number of stars. To me this has always been the symbol of hope from hopelessness and triumph from defeat. Then you could chock it up to me being eccentric.
Over the weekend I’ve run my normal loads of dishes but added in the work of clearing out my bedroom with the hope of removing the smell of cat poop and placing back in this room my entire bedroom set. My bed is now in pieces across two rooms waiting for me to reassemble it once I’ve cleaned and dried the carpet. I cannot clean the carpet until the morning so I must take my rest on the floor tonight.
In other news, my novel received no reviews over the last month and it should have been rejected. For some reason undisclosed the publisher granted an extension. What another month will do for me in their system of review I couldn’t say. In thirty one days no member took the time to read and review my work and another month may be just as fruitless.
This is a moment of darkness for me. I have no bed to sleep in and my hope is lost in the darkness. Oh well, I do as I have before and square my shoulders to the task ahead.

March on, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal