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Throwing The Dice

“We may lose and we may win though, We will never be here again, So open up, I’m climbin’ in”  Jackson Browne/ Glenn Fry 

“Which of you to gain me, tell, will risk uncertain pains of Hell?, I will not forgive you, if you will not take the chance” Jerome J. Garcia / Robert C. Hunter

There is something said to play it safe and there is something said about taking a chance in life. But there is perhaps no greater sin than what might have been. 

Dice photoI recall a conversation I had while I was a busboy at a fancy restaurant. I was talking to the cook who told me that he was a drummer in a heavy metal band. The band played at a local club and that they had moderate success. He decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts while forsaking his rock and roll dreams. He pointed out that his bandmates were still living at home with their parents while he was happily independent.

The pros of traveling a conservative life are fairly obvious. There is a stability with doing something traditional. You may never reach heaven’s height or the top of the mountain, but you are secure somewhere on the plateau. The only problem is that as the years roll by the doldrums of life set in. Soon you will realize a couple of decades have flown by and perhaps a mid-life crisis might pop up. You might ask the question, what would have happened if I took a chance?

On the other hand following a dream is quite precarious at best. There are dues to pay and fierce competition. Of course, it takes a great deal of talent or connections. Even then success is fleeting and tenuous at best. Many have risen to the top of the charts and became a one-hit wonder. The movie stars are constantly getting divorced and checking in and out of rehab. There is no guarantee that fulfilling one’s dreams will make one happy.

So is it damned if you do or damned if you don’t? That’s not the good way to look at. A more mature view would be life is full of complexities. What seems to be glorious really isn’t. Life is hard and sometimes it takes being in the right place at the right time, that is chance and circumstance rule the day.

I began writing song lyrics about thirty years ago. I have all my lyrics neatly organized in notebooks with their PA forms with them. When I was young songwriting companies were listed in the yellow pages.  I sent one business about three or four lyrics. In reflection, they weren’t very good, but they weren’t all out terrible. One was called “Going For The Gold.” They replied to me with a very nice handwritten letter on their stationary. One of the comments was that if you were “going for the gold” you would have to leave your hometown. Of course, I never did.

Suffering from my mental illness was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, my independence was severely afflicted. I couldn’t go out on my own as I was a prisoner to my medicine. I needed the support of home. On the other hand, it afforded me time to think and to study a great deal. I used to read five or six hours a day.  I would read about seven books at once, each day devouring a chapter of each one.

I continued developing my writing over time. I had a handful of primitive demos made. About a dozen years ago I started writing prose. My hard work and perseverance paid off as I have been published by small publishers. But there is the story behind the story.

About four years ago, my wife, Sylvia began to severely suffer from dementia. As a result, she needed constant care. I could no longer work a conventional job so I turned to pursue a career in writing. I had cast my dice for fame and fortune, or at least a decent income, but hand had been propelled by forces beyond myself. It will be a great story if I somehow become extremely successful. If not the next poetry book I write will be called “Poems From Poverty.” Whether lightning strikes and by some miracle I succeed then great if not life goes on.

Here is my book of best poetry, “Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent”


By John Kaniecki

Blue is the coldness of snow
The curiosity for secrets we do not know
How high is the sky?
How deep is the sea?
Look intensely into my eye
Blue is the color you shall see

Red is the pains of sacrifice
The summation of suffering’s price
A crown of thorns upon His head
Red is the blood freely shed
Look into my heart
Red shall never part
Until I am dead

White is purity
Holiness and security
White is absolute
White is truth

Black is the color of imagination
The whispering sentiment of salvation
A nestled womb warm and secure
A vacuum of emptiness pure
Black is all that and something more

Yellow is the newness born
A child who has yet to mourn
Yellow is laughter full of glee
The hope of a better eternity

Gray is a cloudy day
A thought I can never say
The forgetting of how I walk my way

Green is the happiness of the queen
The mysteries of nature never seen
Green is the cleanest clean
Green is everything in between


Throwing The Dice

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Throwing The Dice. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 17, 2019, from


Last updated: 20 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Jul 2018
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