Chapin City Blues

Writing is writing whether done for duty, profit, or fun.

“And it’s so pretty and so lonely”

May 8, 2015


I’m frustrated. I’m sorry. That’s an understatement. I’m Sheldon Cooper when Leonard, Howard, and Raj cut him off during his talk about tapioca pudding. Brimming at the top. A fountain of emotional venom and damage. It’s one part work. Two parts personal baggage. A splash of the mental illness I’m to stubborn to seek help for.

Unlucky are those who follow me on Facebook. These poor suckers receive the brunt of my emotional tirades. I sought comfort in the arms of the Status Update. There’s a chance that those status updates are just small cries for help. I’m not a psychologist, nor do I see one. It’s the only conclusion that makes sense. To me, anyway. These thoughts are better kept in my journal for a later date.

A lot of things hint toward the inevitable reinvention. My inability to write anything creative. The inability to lose myself in a book. A lack of passion in my work. The fact that there are four boxes of unread comic books. The unquenchable thirst to spend money on things that aren’t needed. A short temper. Opting to watch Family Guy over doing almost anything else. A week is passing without my daily routine of going for a walk/jog. Second guessing myself. Finding myself agreeing with Sam Harris.

I don’t like this. This person I am. This person I allowed myself to become. Seemingly overnight. Somewhere the ennui—the weltschmerz—conquered. I’m on automatic. Going through the motions. Fragmented thoughts and ideas that are born and decay with short breaths. In short—I am a mess.

In the past, I used Buddhist philosophy to rebuild my psyche. I feel that wouldn’t work now. So I’m going to do something I’ve been too stubborn to do in the past. (And Rene will agree with me on this.) Fixing myself is just editing. It’s finding the comma splices. The grammatical errors. Removing the excess. Killing adjectives and adverbs and clichés. That’s not enough to save a failing story. Sometimes the only key is revision. To see the story from a new angle, a new perspective.

With phase three, I hope to resurface from my writing hiatus. The frequency of “Posts by Shaun” will increase. I’ll work in prose and verse poems written on index cards somehow. After reading an article in the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest, I’m inspired to step out of my writing comfort zone. The same issue revived my passion for flash fiction. Buying a copy of the current issue of Noon sealed the deal. I’ll work flash fiction—in conjunction with my dime-store fiction—into this site. A return to book conversations—because I still can’t write reviews. And ending the post with music videos. That’s something I already do, but I wanted to add it anyway.

I can’t guarantee that I won’t slip back into my hole. I’ll try my damnedest not to. Until phase three, keep doing you. Yeah. I didn’t know how to end this. Sorry.

The End of Phase 2 Pt. 4: Friends, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Human Race (sort of).

May 1, 2015

Last November—during my annual Brovember movie month—I watched 21 Jump Street. I caught the movie in the past on FX, always allotted for time and always censored. I don’t remember much from the movie. It’s not that memorable. Although, it did raise a question I had never thought to ask before: How do adults become friends?

When I met my long-time friend, Meester Binx (obviously not his real name), it was on the playground during our years at Sam Houston. Now Binx will argue with me until he’s blue in the face about that we met in first grade. I know that we met in kindergarten. We were walking in opposing directions and crossed paths. I hopped to my right and he hopped to his left. I moved to my left and he moved to his right. “Cut it out,” one of us said. “Cut what out,” responded the other in classic Dave Coulier fashion. And of course the squeaky, broken voice of typical childhood bashfulness broke the routine we found ourselves in. “Do you wanna be my friend?” This is another thing Binx will argue. In his version of the story, I asked it. In the true version of the story, we both asked it because we were obviously destined to be hetero life mates a la Jay and Silent Bob.

In Junior High (now referred to as Middle School), things changed a bit. The dynamics were the same. Chance introductions led to brief or lifelong camaraderie. And high school dragged those Junior High friends through the mud and I met their girlfriends and reunited with old elementary chums. In summation, I have never been without friends.

Post high school/college, most of my acquaintances were made because of the dire need of having classroom friends in case I missed a day. Those are the ones who “throw away” after the semester is over. If you so happened to share another course together, well, it saved you the trouble of having to make another friend. The friends that I made in college—the real ones—came from being a part of Sigma Tau Delta. And even those are just people have become just faces on social network.

The digital age has altered the term friend viciously. I catch myself several times during conversations. My Internet friend. A friend from Tumblr. This Facebook friend. The word follows or is followed by an adjective, the name of a website where we commune. Some of these people I can say I love. I love Samantha. I love Ashton. I love Jason and all his bearded glory. I love Jenn. I love that bastard Eddie. These are people who I could talk to. Who I’d go out and grab a drink with if I drank. I don’t drink. Don’t invite me out drinking. I’ll only ruin your night. And I’ll probably steal your keys. And your cell phone. Because I love you and I want you safe.

My adult friends are comprised by friends I’ve known all my life. There’s Binx, of course. There’s Monica, and there’s Miranda. There’s Jeanna. There’s Esmer and Jerry, who I met because of Jeanna. Monica and Joe go way back to kindergarten where Miranda came about in high school.

Then there are the work friends. These are the weasels who snaked into my life while I wasn’t watching. I go into every job saying that I won’t make friends. Before I know it, there are new people in my life that I actually enjoy talking to. That I enjoy hanging out with. That I can be a complete idiot around. Who’ll laugh when I need them to laugh at me. Who’ll make a joke to cheer me up. Who’ll invite me to places or force me to attend parties against my will. These are the people I don’t mind talking to, confessing to, confiding in. These are people I’d go out and have a drink with if I drank. I don’t drink. Don’t invite me to go out drinking with you. I’ll only snap embarrassing pictures of you and broadcast them on Tumblr and Instagram and Facebook and my blog (which you’re reading).

Somewhere we stop asking the question. Maybe it’s understood. We don’t need to mimic Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street and sheepishly ask the guy we bullied in high school if he wants to be our friend. We just know. And I love that.