There is Someone Among You Who…

There is Someone Among You...
and Indeed You are Not Alone
by Chad Campese

 There is someone among you who’s done terrible things. Held dark thoughts, treated people poorly, said and done things they’ll forever regret. The bodies buried in their basement are many. But maybe it’s best for everyone if we don’t start there.

An exquisite mystery. The epic thriller. We cherish stories able to transport us from the familiar, the mundane, and into worlds like no other. Worlds that hold us at the edge of our seat, grip our attention, force our eyes to flow through the pages at a furious pace. We identify with the protagonist. They need to be victorious, or at least die trying. Then, in an instant, the secret comes to light. Our questions are answered. The story always ends.

But what if it didn’t? What if the greatest prose holding our attention, the thriller that gripped our mind wasn’t in book form at all? What if the excitement could always lie in the very depths of our souls, in our own lives, far beyond where people normally look or are comfortable exploring? What if that next great thriller was really just life itself. Authentic life. Maybe it isn’t boring, or mundane at all. Your life. Where’s it going? Where’ve you been? How does it end? Why are you here at all? Can you be our protagonist?

Your highest highs. The lowest lows. There are things no one knows about you. What you think, what you believe, the secrets that drive you. They sit in a box in the corner of the attic, back behind the Christmas decorations and under the home movies layered with cobwebs.

In public, we’re just faces, faces sitting on headshots next to a glowing bio. Happy family photos are draped across social media. Faces of good times, vacations, parties with no end. They litter the landscape everywhere as we fall farther into the trap of living life in shallow ways, never really being known, and dying eventually forgotten.

Writing, and the industry that surrounds it, can be a lonely endeavor. Difficult to break into, even more difficult to see it for what it really is. We can be an unknown people hidden behind a computer screen, the next great novel, pages filled with red pen. The words that surround us are our only friends. The mask, the shell that covers you at work, around acquaintances, even with family, it puts forward your best self, hopes and dreams riding on fake assumptions of what people want you to be. What we think the world wants us to be. We sit, at times alone, unconnected, unknown, lonely. Or maybe it’s just me.

Who are you? What’s your story? Can you thrill us by simply being authentic? By simply being honest with people about your failures, your struggles, your fears and thoughts. Underneath, inside, after the public persona gets stripped away, the greatest mystery, the most gripping thriller, sits in the person beside you at a meeting, it serves your dinner as the waitress gets a bit too close while placing your plate, the energy shocks you as your eyes meet for the briefest second. So much more to who they are, to who you are. What’s your confession? What’s the one thing that’s never let you go all these years? The one experience, addiction, action, or regret that’s created who you truly have become?

Yes, I am someone among you, someone who’s done terrible things to, with, and for people. They haunt my mind. Whiskey used to be a friend that helped drown out their voices. Their words drove reactions and interpretations of life in ways I wish I could change. But I can’t. I’m a cop, doing and seeing and living things that people write books about. I’ve written my own. It was both the loneliest and most freeing experience of my life.

We all eventually just become a collage of all life has offered. For me, it’s created a man, a fraud, a shell of himself, but only if you knew the truth. Smiles, laughter, lighthearted banter in public, yes. But if you shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and held my gaze, you’d see more. There’s always more.

Peace. Calm. Freedom. They come with confession. They come as the mystery ends and the thriller is solved and all the questions are answered. They come when a person takes the deepest breath, finally steps out onto the ledge they thought was much too small. But then, suddenly, they find their footing and realize the ledge is really a porch, filled with flowers and warmth, and a chair that beckons relaxation. The confession brings a closure to the space haunted by everyday as we sit, our favorite drink in hand, toasting whatever lies beyond the cotton whisps above. Listening, breathing, and becoming honest about who we are. Becoming truly known. Connected with an authentic community.

This blog aims to be that porch, filled with whatever relaxation looks like through your eyes. We are many things. Writers, new and experienced, publishers, editors, lovers of books, and so much more. Let’s connect the community of Killer Nashville, authentically. There’s no time or tolerance for surface conversations here. It is reserved for people who know that honesty, emotion, and feeling are the fuel of life. True life. And while this idea may fail, as people question whether the promises of freedom are worth the sacrifice of exposure, I think it has a potential that outweighs the risk.

Allow me to start. I’m a police officer of eighteen years. Recently, confession has been the only thing that saved my family, myself, and the things I now hold so dear. Freedom has found its way to my home as my thriller moves past its climax and my family and I get to move forward into whatever’s next. I look forward to being the first to share details, kick off the confession, conversation, and remove my mask in my next post.

What’s your mystery? What thriller is locked away in the depths of the person no one knows beyond your mask? Who are you when the night sets in and the quiet engulfs? I’d love to hear it, to experience it, to meet you and connect with the authentic, and then to share it here, for the benefit of both you, and others, with your permission. Being known, being able to admit who you are while knowing you have worth and value and purpose, and seeing that no matter what it costs, the thrill of authentic community connects all in ways you’ve never imagined is freedom. And it bonds us in instances both mysterious and thrilling.

There is someone among you…and indeed you are not alone.

Chad Campese is a father, a husband, a police officer for far too long, and a man being led down a path he’s not entirely sure of. He might be a freelance writer, but hasn’t yet tried to get a gig. But he’s never been rejected! His first book currently sits with a few contests, so maybe one day he’ll have an award to speak of, or even perhaps have been published. He enjoys hanging with his kids, his wife, and his friends, as he comes to terms with who he really is while enjoying a drink by the fire and staring off through the evening sky. He invites others to open up about their honest selves in ways that bond us all as we blindly feel our way together through this thing we call life.