And The Simpsons Marathon is Distracting Me, Too

I revisited my Nietzsche stories. You have the Coffee Drinker to thank for that one. You haven’t met her yet. Her post is stuck in the back burner of my mind. Not out of dislike or whatever. The words aren’t flowing, that’s all. Ecce Homo rests beside me. The covers don’t stay closed. The pages are marked. Underlining goes for several sentences. Brackets start and end passages. An Iggy Pop/Teddybears song plays on my computer. My mind is focused on writing a new draft of “Digging Graves.” My mind is prewriting “The Amie Story.” It’s rewriting “The Possum Tale.” It’s creating titles out of the phrases found in Nietzsche’s writing. And learning that reading Nietzsche at thirty isn’t like reading Nietzsche at twenty. More importantly, I’m learning a little about myself. I’m learning about my relationships with people.

This focus on writing these stories halted my attention span on any other kind of writing. A Clockwork Orange and Seconds lie in wait for my thoughts, my review. System’s Grey remains a skeleton and a pile of notes.

Outside of writing, there are other things placed into motion. I’m playing it all close to the vest.

I’m aware that these tiny updates don’t constitute anything important. At the moment though, for my few readers, it’ll have to suffice. I promise once I get through this, I’ll write my Coffee Girl post and my Of the Sea post.


Concerning Suicide (Or Fuck You)

I don’t take my coffee black. The taste reminds me of cigarettes. Any coffee, actually, has me patting down a nonexistent shirt or coat pocket for an imaginary pack. I always laugh inwardly, reminding myself that I was never much of a smoker. A few cigarettes here and there in high school, but that all ended when I turned eighteen and smoking became less cool. What’s the fun of doing something when you’re allowed?

The light caramel-colored liquid before me is something like coffee. Its steam dances before my eyes, tying and unknotting itself in tranquil hypnosis. Music by some indie band no one’s ever heard of pours silently from the speakers overhead.

I bring the cup to my lips, sucking in the heat. I’m overtly cautious about taking the first sip. I always burn my tongue.

“So how would you do it?” asks my cohort. I almost forget he’s there.

We’re on the subject again. We talk about it quite a bit. And I pour over the list: Hemingway made of mess of himself with a gun; so did Kurt Cobain and Hunter S. Thompson. Virginia Woolf lined her coat pockets with rocks and waded into the River Ouse. Sylvia Plath incubated herself within the oven. I don’t like the thought of making a mess. And Old Conrad said it best, “Let them think what they like, but I didn’t mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank—but that’s not the same thing.”

There isn’t an easy answer here. Both of us know that. A couple of nights before, I thought of hanging myself using my bed sheet. In 2008, I thought asphyxiation by plastic bag was a nice way to go. But I am from the water, and water is where I’ll return to.

It sickening to think that we live in a nation where most mental health issues are quickly written off as a cry for attention. We find ourselves in an era lacking empathy. Children are bullied until they crack. Adults suffering from depression are told to suck it up. Girlfriends and ex-girlfriends and best friends and family all have the same response for the issue, “There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s all in your head.”

It’s all in our heads until we’re dead, anyway. That’s the sum of things, isn’t it? The problem doesn’t exist until we’re huddled in the corner feeling isolated and alone and—regretfully?—take our own lives. And then we run the risk of being called a coward.

“Everyone has problems,” one person tells me. This belittles the depressed. It echoes that we’re somehow selfish. “I have problems, I don’t try to kill myself. People who kill themselves just leave the mess for someone else to deal with. They can’t have my sympathy.”

Sympathy for the decease is unnecessary. It’s always for the family. Calling someone they loved a coward is just, well, makes you less of a human being. You lack empathy. You can’t place yourself in their shoes. They’ve lost someone who meant the world to them in the one of the most tragic ways impossible, and you take it upon yourself to belittle that tragedy as an act of cowardice.

Depression isn’t selfish. Suicide isn’t cowardly. Your opinion is just a stain on this society. If you actually read something other than memes, you’d understand what goes on in the mind of someone who suffers it. Just because you’ve been sad sometimes, doesn’t mean you’re depressed. Just because the weight and worry of having to make your next car payment or mortgage, doesn’t mean you’re on par with those who find waking up in the morning a chore.

It’s not something you get over. And it’s not something that you can control. You can’t just “rewire” your mind or think happy thoughts and it goes away. It’s an illness. A cancer of the mind that spreads throughout your being. It pollutes your thoughts. All the love you receive from others, it doesn’t even register. You have no right to force your damn opinion on the matter if you’ve never stood on that hill, watching the electrical storm moving your way, and not being able to run for cover. Because that’s what it’s like for me. And when it hits, it’s crippling.

I take a drink from the cup. It’s cooler now. The sugar’s settle at the bottom and the coffee is bitter. My hand reaches for my breast pocket and a chuckle.
“Well,” I say, “how would you do it.”

And the Voice looks me in the eye. It’s a personification of every fear, every doubt and anxiety, every moment when I look at the mirror and don’t recognize the face looking back me. It’s the Voice that reminds me of how worthless I am during those dark hours of my life. It’s the Voice that nudges my shoulder and tells me that maybe it’s time to stop fighting. It’s a battle I’ve fought for years now. My forever adversary. My burden to carry. And maybe one day I’ll lose the war.

But to call me cowardly? Well, fuck you.


A short post complaining that I’m blocked

It’s happened again. I’m stuck. Deep-in-the-ditch, sloshing-in-mud stuck. On my lap, rests my copy of A Clockwork Orange. I bought it because a friend of mine suggested it. It’s been on my to-read list for a few years now, I just never came around to it. And there is. Two chapters in and I want to write about her. The coffee drinker. The post I’ve started and restarted for two days now. Because every one in my life deserves a post sooner or later. And her time is now. Because our friendship is still new. And it’s still amazing that someone out there can capture my attention so quickly. And I can’t start the damn thing because the thoughts in my head are jumbled up. Yet, here I am. Writing about my block as if it were not big thing. Writer’s aren’t supposed to feel block. It’s a myth, isn’t it?


El Senor, Coffee, Camcorders & a New Idea

For Shaun’s first birthday party, I bought a camcorder. A few times at work, I used it to record our puppet shows so that Mike can upload them to his YouTube account. For the most part though, it just sits on my bookshelf unused. Its case has a light coating of dust which I brush off when I see it. I dropped about three hundred dollars for this camera. Now it just sits around, slowly becoming obsolete, much like its predecessor.

This morning, El Senor called me. I lay in bed, contemplating whether I wanted to start my day or if I just wanted to cover myself in blankets and fall back into a deep slumber. I realized that sleeping during the day leads to less dreams and thoughts about Jeanna than when I sleep at night. “You wanna get coffee,” he asks. “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

I scramble awake and throw on my pajamas. Brush my teeth. Grab last week’s blue jeans. Throw on my TMNT t-shirt. Brush my hair. Give up brushing my hair and throw on my hat. I grab my receipt-packed wallet and grab my keys. In the time that it takes me to find my shoes, he’s outside waiting for me. I’m out the door, greeting my aunt as she watches my uncle and cousins fix up my grandmother’s once jungle-like front yard.

“Starbucks sound good?” El Senor asks. My heart is usually set for Moonbeans, but he’s paying so I’m not complaining. We go over the usual things. We talk about each other’s children. We go over how much we miss campus life. I ask him about the Ebola scare. At the coffee place, he orders his black. I ask for a cookie crumble mocha frappuccino. It’s too hot in South Texas for a hot beverage. Besides, as Monica lovingly puts it, I like my yuppie drinks.

We go over our creative projects. He’s written four or five chapters of his book. Once something is legible, he promises to send me a few chapters for editing. Since college, we’ve been each other’s reviewers because we don’t hold back. We spare no feelings between us. I can’t recall the several times I’ve grumbled under my breath.

I tell him about my unfinished stories. “I start them and then I just stop.” My creative mind has taken a vacation. Maybe it has something to do with everything being about Jeanna. I discuss that issue, instead.

I notice a young woman, maybe in her twenties, studying us as we talk about my pariahism. The assistant director at work  has recruited me to wrangle up poets for our events. These people haven’t returned my earlier requests and invites since the mariachi and I got into it. “A mariachi hates me,” I mocked. “I’m living a damn Robert Rodriguez flick.”

I finished my drink and we head out. On the way home, he takes a different route. It has us passing the University of Pan American’s Catholic outreach building. Only a crucifix replaces the “T” in UTPA. “I have to walk this direction later and take a picture of that,” I said. And it hits me.

I keep the idea to myself because there’s still so much that needs mapping. First off, I have to search YouTube channels to make sure it doesn’t already exist. Because it’s such a broad idea, I’m sure it does already. The best part is, I now have a use for the camcorder again. Stay tuned.


I wrote and edited this post using the Hemingway app.