Writing & Writers

“I feel like falling asleep while you scream”

"I'm gonna jump in. I'm gonna begin. I'm not gonna wait. I'm gonna be brave."

I cleaned the mess I call a room this week. While doing so, I found two short stories that never made it passed the first draft. Both were, oddly enough, titled after Bob Dylan songs. “Not Dark Yet” is about a man who flashes back to his childhood on his way to his father’s funeral. On the journey home, he attempts to rationalize the betrayal he felt. He attempts to understand his father’s actions, while never fully forgiving him. In “Things Have Changed,” I introduced a college aged man whose long-term relationship is falling apart, and all he can do is remember is his father’s infidelity. These stories were written a year apart, but there’s a clear message of both. Homie’s got daddy issues.

“David”

“David” is the first and last story I have ever published. It appeared, of all else, in a student literary magazine that’s put out once a year. It received an honorable mention by the issue’s staff. It’s about man whose relationship with his son is so broken, he doesn’t realize the person he’s talking to is his flesh and blood. And while the narrator – whose name is never revealed in any of the stories he’s featured in – never mentions the man is his father, I hoped that the subtle hints would present themselves. Very few people understood, which is understandable. Most people thought I was paying homage to Ernest Hemingway and William S. Burroughs, which was only half-true.

I wrote the story the year after my failed attempt to reconnect with Javier, whom David is loosely based on. In the end, I fantasized the father figure so broken, he returns home and shoots himself – Hemingway reference to the point that I even made him a writer, which my father, to my knowledge, never was.

With a little big of maturity under my belt, I’ve retired “David” from my reading list.

Memories

My brother, Jay, remembers one incident about my father. When I was just a baby, my parents got into a fight that led to my father grabbing me and a knife and threatened anyone who got near. Thing is, my brother repeated the act with his own child several years later. A desperate need to prove how important father is? To show the world how much one cares by threatening anyone that gets near? I’ll never know.

My father was two men: the sick man recovering from surgery who used to paint wooden animals to pass the time and the abusive alcoholic who gave up his family for his addiction. After my father left, I saw him sporadically. There were the typical broken promises, missed birthdays, etc. In the end, I learned that I didn’t need him in my life, despite the emptiness. I grew up just fine without him.

Recognition

On two occasions, I stood in front of my father without realizing who he was.

Rumors of a Broken Family

My ex-girlfriend, whose family is possibly the most stable – though far from sane (a joke, sorta) – once asked if I was going to be insistent about family portraits because most people who come from broken homes are. I never thought about it. Mostly because I’m not too photogenic. A lot of people say that, but seriously – I don’t do well in pictures. I have a nervous twitch that causes me to make a face.

Now with the new era of my life in the horizon, I’m asking myself the same question. Will I become the father who puts so much importance in family things? While I’ve never been very good at it as a son and brother, what happens with the third title is bestowed on me? Every year, I’ve been the host of the familial Thanksgiving dinner. And every year, I say it will be the last. And last year’s promise might just be kept.

My mother plans to go to San Antonio this Thanksgiving to see my cousin get married. Jyg has offered me her family – my brand spanking new family. And while I love them to death, I have this nervous twitch in which I’m forced to judge everything that is not conventional in my family. And it’s not silent judgement, it’s more of a passive-aggressive thing. And I’m not doing it because I disagree with it, or even hate it. I do it because it’s a nervous twitch. Like tearing paper into tiny bits. Or bouncing on one’s legs while sitting down during an important meeting where you’re forced to make some sort of public statement that will be the growth or death of your goals.

I’m reassured by several friends and family that I’m going to do great with this. But the nagging critic in the back of my head is reminding me of all my fuck-ups. And I begin to wonder how much different life would be had Javier stuck around and been a dad. But life’s too short to focus on this what-if. And if anything happens, I could always write a story to make sense of it, couldn’t I?

How to Save a Life

 

Doldrums

Once More. With Feeling.

And she beckoned me to follow

Patter. Patter. Sounds resonating from somewhere in the depths of being. Patter. Patter.

The old man: I have always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come. Perhaps I have outlived my religious feeling.

A man drifts into the sea. His body never is recovered. Sinking below. The drops of rain upon his frozen skin. Patter. Patter. Into the depths of all eternity. Patter.

Why I Am Not A Christian

Love they neighbor, unless he is different. Thou shalt not kill, unless your government or religious leader absolves you first. Do not covet what is your neighbors, unless its the slick black economy. Thou shall not worship any gods before me, unless he states that he is my voice.

Some may say it’s the hypocrisy that drove me down this road. The religious will state it was an act of being tempted by Satan. As a child, I was told by a bible class teacher that I would burn in hell for killing a mosquito. I decided my damnation would be on my own terms.

I’m not a Christian because I was raised Catholic.

Why I Am Not An Atheist

To believe in nothing is just a hard concept for me to grasp that the sheer faith of something. Morals aside, Atheists are on the same level as the righteous Christians. Rather than allowing others to continue on with their beliefs, they are headstrong to “convert” believers into nonbelievers, labeling them delusional.

I’m guilty of such arguments, but only when I’m driven to it. I am the devil’s advocate. “Prove to me there is a god,” the nonbeliever will say. “Prove to me there isn’t,” the believer snaps back. Neither have evidence to the contrary. They argue in circles. Rather than allowing each other to believe what the choose to, they have an urge to prove the other wrong.

Humans and their religions. Such pathetic swine.

But why?

In the season premiere of Dexter, he takes Harrison to a Catholic preschool for an interview. The nun asks what denomination Dexter prescribes to. He doesn’t believe in anything. When he asks Angel Batista why religion is important and to what evidence does one have to proving the existence of a higher power, he receives a confused answer. Truth is, there is no evidence in faith. If there was, it’d be called fact. Faith makes no room for reason or logic. Faith is a drug. It alleviates pain, calms the mind and brings inner peace to its user. I see no harm in it, except when faith takes the place of common sense. Praying that a higher power will spare you from a natural disaster will not cloak your house in god’s force field. Making proper preparations, on the other hand, makes more sense. Prayer can be used to ease one’s fears, sure. It just cannot take the place of rational preparation.

No matter how hard Angel attempts to explain his answer to Dexter, the outcome is the same – Faith makes no sense.

Philosophy

Agnosticism isn’t a religion just as Atheism isn’t a form for faith. They are anti-beliefs. I don’t believe in the god, but I also allow the possibility of one to exist. I’m not going to live my life by a set of rules that are based on archaic practices. Besides, morals and ethics do not stem from religion. They stem from common sense and social contract. People should be allowed to live as they see fit as long as they do not enforce their ideals and beliefs in others, or cause them harm.

Despite The Ugly, There Is Beauty In This World

The old shell of hate doesn’t fit right anymore. This new suit of skin fits just right. My life is been one disguise after another, jumping from role to role. We all wear masks, it just depends how long we hide behind them. Patter. Patter. Not rain. No, those are the walls of my anti-faith crumbling. No a religious waking, but an Agnostic Enlightenment. Patter. Patter.

I was once told by a friend that I became disenchanted with being disenchanted. Patter. Patter. That I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. Patter. Patter. That I blamed myself for things outside of my control. Patter. Patter. For years, I carried the blame of my cousin’s death. If only I could have done things differently, then maybe…just maybe…Patter. Patter. The shell crumbles around me. The sky is clear overhead. Patter. Patter. That sound of breath. That cool breeze? That is a new life. A new mentality. Patter. Patter. Sometimes we have to let go of ourselves, no matter how much it hurts. Patter. Patter. Because there is so much to live for. So much worth fighting for. Patter. Patter. Here it comes. Hold on. The sky opens to swallow the earth below. We are one. We are one. The sound of everything breaking. Reshaping. Creating. Ever lasting. Patter.

Patter. Patter.

Pitter.