Windber Memories: A Walk After Supper

Harper and I have taken
to trolling the dusty streets
of our old coal mining town
after supper before
it gets too dark.
We walk the rusted railroad tracks
weeds pushing up the gravel
between the ties.
Past the ghosts of the Grand
Midway Hotel where the last
great American screenwriter
click-clatters his latest
sorrow-infused creation
skulls watching his lone passion.
Harper and I wind our way
through town, where
trains once puffed
daily, hauling coal from mine
40; I turned 40
the other day, I think
to myself. Like us,
father and son, the
boxcar-hopping Jack K. and crew
comes to mind, finding kicks
wherever they can be found.
Before we ate
I had to explain as I
came downstairs with tears
in my eyes, how
I could be happy and crying
at the same time…”Daddy, sad?”
I had just read
an award-winning essay by
my intellectually disabled son.
Competing against 200
disabled and non-disabled peers statewide,
He placed third.
That ranks right up there
with my proudest moment
as a man. The day
when Harper rode his bike alone,
without training wheels
for the first time.
That was the best day
of my life. Until now.
I still feel that protective urge
to help, to save
him from harm.
Just as that day
I had to let him fall, so
too, do I have to resist
holding his hand as we cross
the street. “Walk, self!”
He walks ahead of me,
peering into the acid
runoff of Paint Creek.
I want to usher him
across Graham Avenue, as
I have tried to steer
him through life
without pain. But
I guess he needs
the hurt just as much
as I do.
He picks up trash
“Reduce, reuse, recycle”
one of his favorite mantras
from the radio.
As he makes his
dumpster deposit
he peers excitedly
into the detrius
just as I did
when I was young, hoping
for hidden treasures.
We go to the grocery
store for cat food,
the last stop on our journey
before heading home.
He is getting so independent,
“Push cart, self!”
I cringe when he
wants to walk
down one aisle and me
another; “Meet you, Daddy!”
He is growing up and
must walk his own path.
We gather our purchases
for the short walk home.
Streetlights now twinkling
pinpoints against the dark
sky, like memories of
his childhood standing
out from the backdrop
of my heretofore sad sack life.
As we approach our stoop,
He says “Love walk….
more walk, Daddy?”
Tomorrow, Harper,
we always have tomorrow.

New guest blog post!

Julie A. Fast is a recognized expert on bipolar disorder.. she writes: “Guest blogger Andrew Turman lets us into the world of how people with bipolar disorder manage rapid cycling mood swings. He’s an artist, a thinker and an advocate. I read this post and thought- wow, he is just like me! That is because bipolar is an illness and nothing personal. We can live with these symptoms. We can be artists, writers, partners and good friends! Julie”


Post-Inauguration thoughts…

When someone tells you to suck it up, it is over… remember this date: November 6, 2018.

That’s the date on which 33 senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, and 14 governorships will be up for re-election.

Put it on your calendar now and be prepared to be an informed voter.

If you are worried, concerned, angry, disappointed about the direction the government is going, this is the most effective way to make a change, to start planning.

Remember the president is only one cog in the government machine, and you can make effective change through voting for your local and state representatives, this is the check that can balance this situation.

You may not like it, but Trump is the President. Stop whining and do something about it!

New paint!


Doing a 30in30 challenge. Here is today’s piece. Running a special 50% off on this one. PM me if interested.

Days in a a professional way…
acrylic on canvas, 16″ X 30″
Wm. Andrew Turman, 2017img_9519

Substance Abuse

Many persons affected by bipolar disorder turn to the use and abuse of substances. This is a catch-all term for anything with psychoactive properties, whether it be alcohol, street drugs, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, caffeine, or nicotine. Often substance use is done in an attempt to self-medicate, where one tries to manage the highs and lows with the use of non-prescribed substances.

This can easily slip into the abuse category if one is not careful. Once a person has started down the slippery slope of substance abuse, it is easy to get lost in the recesses of one’s mind. Psychological dependency is much more prevalent than physical dependence. When someone has established a pattern of behavior, it is often difficult to break.

As one of my literary heroes, Wm. S. Burroughs, has said, “once a junkie, always a junkie.” Relapse is a really grave problem for any person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, especially for those dually diagnosed as “chemically dependent.” I have difficulty with being labeled as chemically dependent. I freely acknowledge that I have substance abuse issues, but I am not, nor have I ever been, physically dependent on anything.

My wife believes it is not even an issue of being psychologically dependent, but rather an issue of behavior that can be controlled. I am often driven by my primitive, or “lizard,” brain. The part of the brain that controls the pleasure centers is not the cerebrum or higher brain functions. Driven by primitive desires, or the libido, I seek instant gratification, which for me is accomplished by getting high on marijuana.

Being a junkie is something I have to guard against every day of my life. I do not wish to return to those behaviors again, ever. Most days are easier than others, but I know it is something I will always have to deal with. I have casually used alcohol and marijuana, every once and a while, but I know that it is a dangerous proposition. I choose to use, but I do not choose to abuse. It is a very fine line, a tightrope that I do not wish to tempt myself with very often.

I know that my views on this are not popular, especially with fellow addicts, but I can only speak from my experience, which is, unfortunately, vast. I am not a big fan of twelve step programs, for many reasons, but they do have a place in the treatment of bipolar disorder. I do not like the fact that some individuals seem to substitute meetings for drugs, often going to several meetings a week, or even several meetings per day. However, when faced with the alternative (drinking or drugging), I guess it is preferable. Some groups, like some chapters of Narcotics Anonymous, are against all drugs, including prescribed drugs used for the treatment of BPD.

Wm. Andrew Turman (Zen Daddy T)
Monday, September 26, 2005


Friends, fans an fellow travelers: Happy 2017!

I am caught up on my Christmas commissions and look forward to a great year in art. This month, there is a 30in30 challenge, to paint one painting every day of January. Also, if you have jangle still left in your pocket, I am now taking commissions in two categories:

1. Your favorite song, as interpreted by Zen Daddy T. The premise here is simple. Just give me a song and I play it while I create an abstract expressionist interpretation.

2. The “Ekphrastic” process is a bit more complex. Give me your favorite bit of verse. The words will influence my artistic process. I will even inscribe your words on the back of the canvas. It can be original work or a classic quote.

PM me and we will start the process.

Have a wonderful 2017!CB detail