The Death of Trent Lewin

close up photo of skull
close up photo of skull
Photo by Mitja Juraja on

It’d be easy to kill him. You just wipe him away, and there he goes. Erase him, and call him something else. Give him a new voice.

I’ve thought about doing that. Who am I, anyway? Writing, writing, writing, as though I’m good at it. Like I have a place in the world. I’ll tell you, the easiest thing to do would be to give up me and turn into the expected, the familiar, the warm and the welcoming, putting together words that are pretty reliable into formulations that are eminently predictable.

It’s kind of hard to do that, though. I can do it for a few days at a time, but then I regress into who I am. A committed writer, unknown and faraway from dreams, writing into a void that never fills up. I used to post stories on here, but won’t any longer, because the instant feedback of this place is an addiction that I have to break. Surely, I can be more patient. Work the words more, until they say what I really want them to say, no matter how weird or out there.

Trent Lewin is six foot two, darker skin, muscular, clean-shaven, black hair, a birthmark on his inner thigh. He’s from a different continent, and likes science. Not an easy guy to kill.

The other guy looks about the same, but is a hair shorter. You wouldn’t recognize him. In the coldness of the corporate world, he’s done pretty well for himself, but it’s never enough.

To kill one or the other… that’s the question. Which one do you go with? Who am I? And who are you, anyway?

Or, more easily, you just push to fill that void. Push in a way that you haven’t before, because you’ve been afraid. Or because you don’t believe that you’re an artist, or even a writer. You thought yourself a hobbyist, and hated the taste of that word, but adopted it. But you can push harder. You can etch around the frame of this person you are, and try harder. Kill your darlings, the sweetest sentences you’ve ever made: discard them so that you can reveal the actual story. Kill the man and become someone else, if you want. It’s up to you.

Dream hard, rage hard.

28 thoughts on “The Death of Trent Lewin

  1. I like to get to know writers, and what makes them tick. For me it is important that there is some kind of truth in their writing, even in fictional writing.
    I happen to have some big gaps in my education. However, I like meaningful stories, that everyone can understand; even peple with very little education!
    I am very old. I reckon, old age is a great leveller! Maybe younger people should think about it, that it is very likely, that one day they might be very old too. And what is important then?
    Some people cannot remember a lot of facts in old age. But there are people, who absorb a lot of facts throughout their lives, and also still in old age! It is very rewarding, to get into contact with people like this. Also very interesting is, to get to know people that are very art orientated. Overall I am mostly interested in human relationships. πŸ™‚
    You say “reveal the actual story”. I couldn’t agree more! I think, this is, what it is all about. To my mind, every human being has an interesting story to tell. My feeling is, that you’re well equipped to help others to tell their stories! πŸ™‚
    Just be happy, that it is given to you, to write about a lot of facts, and also about the feelings of a lot of different people! :-“The instant feedback of this place is an addiction”. I believe, that this is so, It can lead to an addiction. But don’t be discouraged. Keep going to the best of your ability. My best wishes are with you!
    Sincerely, Uta Hannemann
    from NSW, Australia πŸ™‚

    1. Uta – I love hearing from you. You are always so positive, in a world that seeks the opposite to wallow in it. Someone told me once that storytelling is like sculpting. You start with a block of misshapen stone and hammer at it to reveal what’s actually inside. And you can keep hammering, refining, making the vision clearer. Just reveal the thing that’s already inside us, waiting to take shape. I love that analogy.

    1. Shall always do so. Now more than ever. I’m really tired of my own need to place myself somewhere, to hedge myself into expectations. If people don’t want my voice, that’s fine. But it’ll be my voice, ridiculous as it is at times.

  2. Who am I?
    I look in the mirror
    and there is no reply…
    you reflexively grin when I grin
    now slowly I see
    I am as always
    the unfurling story
    inside my own head.

    1. The unfurling story… that’s beautiful. The thought that the story is right there, just needs to be uncovered.

      I’m in Baden by the way. The coffee shop here. Amazing place if you’ve not been.

  3. I like it when the β€˜I am this or that’ gets stripped away and I’m left with only β€˜I am.’ I like it even more when the β€˜I’ falls away and I’m left with only am-ness.

    But then you have to wonder, who or what is the β€˜l’ that says it likes that?

    Don’t worry about being you or not you, Trent. Neither one is you anyway. The contradiction is not you either. Take a step back and laugh at the whole thing. Then take another step back and ask who’s laughing. Then another, and ask who’s asking. Keep going until you find the amness with no I.

    I’ll shut up now.

    1. Don’t shut up, Walt. You’re wise, and you’re right. Step back, laugh at the whole thing, and plunge the hell into the deep end of the pool with no idea of what’s going to go on. Swim funny if you must, sink for a bit before kicking for the surface. I love it. amness. that’s a great term.

      I hope you’re well, my friend. last i heard, you had graduated with a new degree and are moving on with new aspects of life – how is that going?

      1. It’s going well, Trent. Slowly, but well. We’re coming up on October, which used to be the time I would spill horror all over my blog, taking advantage of the season to cleanse my innards, and inviting others to do the same. But I’m feeling pretty cleansed these last few years and don’t feel called to do that anymore, that Halloweeny thing. I really appreciated getting to do it, but I can’t write like that anymore. I don’t have it in me. Or maybe that gate is closed. I’m practicing psychotherapy now, which is challenging, but most rewarding. The world is f$&Ted up enough as it is. I’m glad to be spending my time helping fix things. I can’t fix this broken system down here in the U.S. of A., but I can help fix broken people. And mayble some of them can go on to fix what I can’t. That’s how I’m seeing things right now, anyway. I’ve become a big fan of letting things unfold how they want to unfold, and going along with whatever the plan for me is, as opposed to me trying to plan it. This seems to be what I’m supposed to be doing. Things seem to be unfolding as they want to. By that I mean I’m not working towards an end, just going with the flow. Turning the straw in line wtih the stream, as you once alluded to doing in your writing. Seems to be working out okay. The way it should, at least. Thanks for asking. And rock on, good sir.

        1. Walt, you say you can help fix broken people.
          This is great, that you have it in you to want to help these people who do need so much help. I hope a lot of people can be helped if they do get the right kind of support.

        2. We, the broken people, appreciate that you’re part of the solution, and are helping. That’s all that matters, Walt – that we’re contributing in some way to a better world. You’ve put in your time, and I’m so happy to see that you’re doing this (challenges and all).

  4. Well, you can’t say that this feedback is instant, that’s for sure. I put off reading this because the title gave me pause. I can’t imagine a world where I couldn’t read a story written by Trent. Quite frankly I don’t want to imagine it. As always, I think you should do what is best for you. You are the one who counts here. For purely selfish reasons I hope some how, somewhere there will always be more Trent Lewin.

    1. I hope this Trent character continues to exist. He’s so stupid and ridiculous and untamed. He doesn’t quite fit anywhere, and that’s a struggle, but he does fit in his own mind, a cobwebbed place where LED lights blink in Christmas colours. It’s warm in there. And, Michelle – there’s always scotch.

  5. Trent,
    I struggle to keep nose above water, do far too many things and get told to stop. I sleep too much, count dollars and years left to save. Mourn my house and life before, divorce and choices I fought to stay afloat.

    Last year and this, I am paying too much for courses on writing to help myself complete a memoir. It may be a bad idea.

    I spend too much at thrift stores and work hard to tune out lingering words and phrases. That life now six years gone; sixteen if you count the ten he left us walking gingerly around his claimed spaces in a shared house. We are healing.

    Death takes many forms. Digging down on finding who I am has been challenging, and name choosing really is a thing. Some days I want to reclaim previous names, maybe just for writing. Maybe not.

    I’m not always here when you need me. I’m not always functional when I need me. The body breaks slowly and I’m learning to be kind. Sleep in odd spurts, eat, write, go to work. It’s not a beautiful life, but I chose ‘not dead’ to achieve it.

    If and when I eventually publish beyond local, I may regret that choice. I know the exhaustion of expectations far too well. I will read your posts still to centre myself and remember who I am. It cost a lot to be me; a lifetime investment. I choose to believe it’s worth it. That cost a lot too. Faith, I guess.

    1. My goodness… you could take this response and write a whole book of stories around that journey. The investment in ourselves (or amness, as was mentioned here), the degradation of the body but the elevation of the spirit. The Elevation of the Species. It’s the sequel to the understanding of our biological selves, that we have human spirits undaunted by physical limitations. I’m pulling for you in your journey of publishing. You have at least one person right behind you, always. I hope you remember that.

  6. What a lament, Trent absent intent. (The residual writer’s soul in me still loves word play like that.)

    I used to think I was a writer. Loved doing it. Didn’t know how I could not write. Now, I write very little. I can’t explain why. I do know that when I on occasion do write, I find it very satisfying. I have more time now that I work very little but seem to have less time to do what I want, including writing when I get the bug. I guess that means I’m not a writer by external judgments.

    I used to write daily. It would take 5 or 6 days to put together a 2000+word post with images that gave it a magazine appearance. But who reads magazines anymore? Who reads beyond 3 to 5 hundred words anymore? Not a reason to not write, but a reason to not be read if that is how you write.

    I do know this though, When I do write, I love what I write. My writing can be quite eclectic and the diversity of topics has little to do with a conscious effort to appeal to a mass audience. If my writing does, so much the better of course. It is difficult to write in a vacuum where no one comments or no one likes.

    It seems to be the way things are now. When I read here and there I see much fewer likes and comments than in years past. I wonder if people are afraid to commit to responding for fear those who later read will find their remarks somehow offensive and harmful and unleash internet damnation upon them? IDK. I do know that most everything that used to be pleasurable in my life is now being crowded out by economic, political, social and environmental concerns.

    Perhaps that is a reason to begin writing again: to write of things that buoy my spirit and perhaps those of others. I find it difficult to duck issues though. You can’t solve a problem you won’t recognize and address.

    I have no idea who the hell you or I are but I do know this, writing is the best and cheapest way to find out. In the past, the more I wrote, the more I came to discover and know me. I liked that guy. I think I’ll go find him again; even if nobody reads, comments or likes. You do the same is my counsel.

    1. Dan! It’s been a long time, and I’m very glad to hear from you! Listen, blogs are not the rage anymore, so much less engagement. Makes me initially think that means my writing sucks but it’s not so. We just need different forums to place our words. There are so many reasons to write again, my friend, especially if you do have more time. I figure once you start letting it pour out, that love you feel when you write will propagate itself until you’re big snowball coming down an unfathomably large mountain. And the thought that writing leads us to an awareness of ourselves – yes, absolutely. Self-awareness is so hard. But this is one tangible way to get there, and that by itself is meaningful.

      Keep writing, my friend. Pick it up again. Roll on down the mountain, with a big scarf flapping, and a hot chocolate waiting in the chalet.

      1. With mini-marshmallows, please?

        Beyond learning of myself, it is the engagement I miss most. Back in the day, if someone took the time to read they often would take time to interact with you and/or those in the community. It was that exchange with like-minded people I enjoyed most beyond the discovery from writing.
        I don’t mean that they were always in agreement, but that they were curious people who read and wrote in a reasoned, intelligent fashion.

        I do realize it is my resistance or possible inability to change my style that does not help. Years ago I tried to create a category dryly named “Quickies-When Size Doesn’t Matter” in which I would write much shorter posts to appease the sound bite generation and draw them in. Little did I realize anything over 50 words was not short to them. They want to do drive-by reading and the same with comments, if replying at all. Even the quickies were 500 words or more though not 2-2.5K. That was a fail at it’s intended purpose.

        I too began to wonder if my topics or style of writing either no longer appealed or were not to technical muster. Like you, I decided not so. It is likely a simple matter of continuing to hammer away building a body of work and building the blog as I did in the beginning. I used a selective technique to suss out and vet potential members to pull together a quality community and always referred to it as “our” community, not “my”. I wanted them to feel a sense of ownership and thus a greater probability that they would participate. It worked but my writing paused and the blogosphere changed and here we are now; socially more connected but less communicative, especially if at odds.

        “And so it goes,” as Linda Ellerbee said when closing out her NBC newscasts.

        1. I would appreciate reading you, but I think we have to be clear that WordPress is not much of a platform for publishing writing anymore. It’s in decline, I think. But there are other places to put writing, and I hope you keep at it.

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