drp By: drp

Here. There. And Nowhere.

Many of you have been sending mail, leaving posts, calling, asking about my life since I haven't been around much. I thought it best to just reply here.


There's been a good deal of soul searching going on in these last few months, and if change is truly the only constant in life, then my life has been nothing but steadfast. I have come to realize in that time that everyone wants/needs/requires/has to have an answer to SOMETHING. Every aspect of existence is based on having some sort of resolution to an issue, and answer to a problem. People need a degree of clarity from others so they can go about their OWN lives. They need to know "where they stand." Thing is, there isn't one answer for everything, or everyone. Sometimes you just don't get one. And boy, does that bite it hard.


So, here I find myself in this place, this frame of mind, where I am trying to figure it all out...for MYSELF...and I decide to pull the rudder and turn the ship around hard, instead of keeping a brave face and sailing along smoothly so I don't rock the boat for everyone I've done for years...and of course they all get tossed off and want answers. Why did this happen? Is it me? Is it you? Why'd you do that? Truth is, I haven't been happy with myself or my life for a while now. And I am not quite sure why that is. I ask the same questions of myself that others do of me and I don't have the answers for ME, let alone them. All I know is that something doesn't feel right. My compass isn't true. There's a dull ache in my bones and my brain that will not cease. It's like a bothersome tooth you keep poking with your tongue instead of going to the dentist to have examined because you fear what needs to be done. You know something's wrong, you live with it, and under the surface it gets worse with time. Finally you decide to have it yanked, only to realize the pain is coming from somewhere deeper.


I've been to therapy, I've spoken with friends, I've read more than my fair share of ever-so-enlightening books...but what can they all tell me? Nothing. I have to have some small hope that I will discover what I need. It might take a week, it might take 5 years. I'm trying not to label it as some Zen quest to "find myself," because that just smacks of new-agey bullshit. I go through my routine every day, slog along, finish up and go to bed, and every single night I pray that tomorrow something will happen, or change, and bring me to where I need to be...that I'll find myself in a new place. That I'll be happy. Not just content with life how it exists, but actually happy. Imagine.


And yes, I know I'm not here to be anyone's savior. I don't have to do this alone. I don't have to go into exile. People care, want to help, want to guide me to those rascally, illusive answers again. But I do have to make this journey myself, because no one can for me. Am I being practical? Am I doing the RIGHT thing? Am I just being an asshole? Yes. No. Maybe. All the great thinkers talk about "walking that path." Only you can walk it, young grasshopper. As true as that may be, it blows for everyone that's been walking it with me. Now it's not the same road any more, it isn't even parallel. It's one of those gigantic clover-leaf things in the middle of the road that I've constructed for myself. So, I get carried by my own momentum into a direction, follow the curves. Stop. Start. Wait a second...where am I? It really is that unsettling feeling one gets when they are on a dark road and suddenly realize they are indeed lost. And I am. And I have been.


Originally I wrote that I sometimes wish this was a disease...At least with that, I could point my finger to SOMETHING, come up with a strategy, cure it, know it, live with it. Then my father got a report back from his doctor Tuesday of a biopsy done on his prostate last week. The finding: Dysplasia. Specifically PIN. From what online resources I was able to gather, it's a precursor to cancer. They do another biopsy in a month and see if there is any growth within that time. I'm not sure what any of it means.


You sit on a table in a sterile room, or press a phone against your ear, or read a page and THAT word comes out...cancer...and all of the air suddenly leaves your body, like you've been punched in the gut. Your heart stops. You immediately feel detached from your body.


For the past few days I've been walking around like a zombie. I'm numb. I don't sense anything around me. Sounds are muted. Food has no taste. I shower and get dressed and take the bus and train to work. I listen to the radio, watch tv, surf the web. It's all like I'm not the one doing it. I sit at my office desk and look up at the screen, and wonder who typed all of those words into a document.


I know a person shouldn't worry until they have a solid reason to when it comes to things like this. My father asked what "dysplasia" was. No one's told him yet. All he knows is that he needs a follow-up test. If he was made fully aware of the details, then existence from this point on would be an emotional roller coaster ride. I won't even mention how my mother would react to it.


For now life remains status quo. My parents will go through their days as if everything is normal, following a routine that's been in place for years. And there son will be a ghost, haunted himself by the reality that nothing in the world lasts any way.


So, I don't know what to say. I really do not. All I can tell you is that I am grateful for the love and generosity you all have always shown me. I've appreciated every small act of kindness more than you will ever know.


Where do I go from here?


That's a good question...

Roy M, Pandiyan V and 29 more people faved this
  • Rafael Ollero 9y

    Wish U the best...
    Take Care Duane
  • lil miss priss PRO 9y

    you have been missed Duane.
    I wish i had the words to guide you, words that didn't sound trite, or reminiscient of those catchy phrases one hears so often. All i can offer, from my own experience, is to take it step by step, and be true to yourself.

    Hoping that your father will be ok.
    warmest wishes of a much better today and tomorrow
  • Lauren Kennedy-Voves PRO 9y

  • karol m PRO 9y

    Wish I had some sage words of advice as given above, but you know you are searching, and thats half the battle....follow your heart and it will work out... As for means abnormal cell growth/changes....women hear this with PAP smears basically triggers the doctors to look closer and watch more frequently for future changes...I think it will be allright. I'm a I may have a clue. :-))
  • Mike McFarlane 9y

    Duane, I read your words and four things came to mind:
    - Zen quest - in Western terms if you treat it as a quest, then it is 'new agey bullshit'. Zen is a state of oneness that comes from acceptance. You can not force it.
    - Like me (and my friend Jonny who we have spoken about) you are deeply introspective. This is a blessing and a curse. You are doing the right thing in questioning your life and thoughts, but don't get bogged down in it. What makes you HAPPY? Cherish that.
    - Cancer - don't sweat it. The chances are good if they catch it early which it sounds like they have. If not, that's life. There is a fantastic line in the Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai (I know, Tom Cruise, great film blah blah, but it is good) where the emperor asks Tom to tell him how his favourite Samurai teacher died and Tom says "I will tell you how he lived". Very powerful. I know your life with your Dad has been difficult, but there are strengths and positives.
    - The best advice I ever heard was from my Mum, when I was about 10. I was having a crap day and I said to her when I got home from school "Is life always this bad?". Her reply - "Yes, it is always difficult, but just occasionaly you get a little ray of sunshine that makes it all worthwhile." Imagine being told that at age 10, what a mind messer. There you are with your whole life in front of you and bham. I went to see her recently when she was having a bad day and reminded her of this advice. We had a good cry and she remembered telling me this. Maybe it is a little bit self fulfilling, a little bit obvious, but it has turned out to be good advice that has kept me grounded. It doesn't keep the depression away, but it helps.
    Anyway, I have rambled enough. You are in my heart and mind Duane, strength to you and yours.
  • the phototherapist 9y

    hello sunshine.
    or should that be grasshopper?

    i just wrote two posts, both terribly long and without an ounce of sense between them.

    i think what i wanted to say was thank you. speaking it is half the battle and i needed reminding of that.

    the situation with your dad must be a real strain - all the doctor-y reassurance in the world wont dent that dull panic that i know the word cancer drags up. am thinking of you and hoping you are finding little rays of light each day.

    "traveller, there are no paths,
    paths are made by walking"
  • Derrick Tyson PRO 9y

    it is nice to see you are still around, even though i haven't been over here in a good amount of time.

    but, as always, i am always intrigued by the work that stimulates such a myriad of forms.

    this particular capture makes me smile. nature touches my heart, eats away at my soul, and it always helps that the trees speak to me.

    shine on!
  • btezra 9y

    ~I appreciate seeing you around, seeing your images, reading your thoghts, and no matter how rough & choppy the road travelled is I know you'll make it through unscathed and full of life...nothing but the best 2 ya~
  • Jane_W 9y

    So glad to see you posting but so sad to read all this - my thoughts are with you all...
  • Lou Rouge 9y

    Hope ;)
  • nagendran sandraprakasam PRO 9y

    perfect capture :-)
  • lunaryuna AGAINST CENSORSHIP 9y

    I know that nobody else but yourself can and hopefully WILL find the answers to your questions Duane! Like you I have read way too many "intelligent books" about other people's crisis and how to handle them. Now I believe that we can only find the answer within our selves, once we manage the bravety to accept the outcomes of following our inner voices! From what I have gathered from you, you got the strength and only your sense of social being and responsibility is standing in your own way. I so hope you'll find a way to balance the "equation" in a manner that will grant more satisfaction for yourself!! Hugs to you, my friend!!
  • Wind LaSS PRO 9y

    Not an anSwer,just to eVoke soMe hoPe in You =)
  • Carie Thompson 9y

    Sounds like you need a vacation.. I know this was written a few months ago, but perhaps you should come down to Nashville and I will take you out on the town. You never know what kind of refreshing thing I can be for a lot of people. They call me "Carie the Catalyst"... for a good reason too.
  • Close to Spectacular 9y

    its so wierd that i read this months later.
    i have been on the other side of a similar situation. i am one of the people that have "walked with you"..although not you literally.
    my boyfriend of 10 years just left me. got up and left me and the house we bought and our relationship to go "find himself".
    i think what you wrote may be similar to what he was/is feeling.

    it just sucks i walked this far because now i am lost.
  • Rachel Pace PRO 9y

    Hi Duane, How is your father doing? I think of him often?
  • Rachel Pace PRO 9y

    Hi Duane, Hope all is going well for you and your family. I discovered another flickrite that has an aging parent and she is keeping a photo journal. I hope you check it out!

    She tells a compelling story.
  • Noelle Smith PRO 9y

    Hello Duane, hadn't checked your stream for quite some time and wondered what I might find -- and not surprisingly, I discover another compelling read. As I read it, the music, and especially the lyrics to a new song by John Mayer popped instantly into my head, called Stop This Train - you certainly won't need my translation to understand what he's getting at, but somewhere in these words I find a certain comfort in their familiarity - a reassurance that we're all riding the same "train" together.

    No, I'm not colorblind
    I know the world is black and white
    Try to keep an open mind, but
    I just cant sleep on this tonight

    Stop this train
    I wanna get off and go home
    I can't take the speed
    it's movin in
    I know I can't
    But honestly wont someone
    stop this train

    Don't know how else to say it
    Don't wanna see my parents go
    One generations length away from
    Findin life out on my own

    Stop this train
    I wanna get off and go home
    I can't take the speed
    it's movin in
    I know I can't
    But honestly wont someone
    Stop this train

    So scared of gettin older
    I'm only good at being young
    So I play the numbers game
    I find a way to say that
    Life has just begun

    Had a talk with my old man
    Said help me understand
    He said turn 68
    You'll renegotiate
    Don't stop this train
    Don't for a minute change the place you're in
    Dont think I couldn't ever understand
    I tried my hand
    John, honestly
    We'll never stop this train

    Once in awhile
    When it's good
    It will feel like it should
    And they're all
    Still around
    And you're still safe and sound
    And you don't miss a thing
    Til you cry when you're driving
    away in the dark

    Stop this train
    I wanna get off and go home
    I can't take the speed
    it's movin in
    I know that I cant
    cuz now I see
    I'll never stop this train

    My best to you. :)
  • helenmarshall PRO 8y

    I really like this image. Would you submit this photo or more if you have them to this well known London gallery?

    Ever managed to photograph a ghost? Spooked by spiders? Surrounded by the number 13? The Photographers' Gallery is collecting photographs for an on-line archive of all things haunting until 13 November 2007. Artist Helen Marshall ( will then choose a single image of all submitted to create a web-based montage, composed of thousands of the other haunting photographs put forward.

    A prize draw for a £200 gift certificate from The Photographers' Gallery Bookshop will take place after the closing date for everyone who submits 50 photos or more.

    For more information or to submit visit
  • Sampath Bandara 7y

    its almost a one year later Im reading all those strange feeling gathered inside your mind ...So Im not hoping to give any advice or either make you so worried...but I ve been always having same kind of feelings some time back...I just felt to escape from every thing and be alone ...(it was rather a feeling like in the movie"in to the wild"
    ....but at last what we have to understand is, we just have to do what is right not because of any reason but because it is right....all the best with you.take care of your self
    sami writes
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Taken on September 10, 2005
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