Personal

Things to Come

Nothing dull ever happens at [redacted] even though most days pass at a slug’s pace. Friday, however. Man, fucking Friday. We often joke that life at [redacted] could fuel a television series for years—I imagine a cross between Seinfeld and The Office (UK or USA). And if our work life were a TV show, it goes without saying that Friday was the cliffhanger season finale. Maybe, one day, in the distant future.

Back in February, I started thinking about writing again. Something other than this blog and press releases for work. I’ve written a poem here and there. Nothing major. Just lines on the page that I hope will grow into something more. Of course, this gets me thinking about returning to college for an MFA in creative writing. It’s a thought that’s popped up several times in the past, but my bank account just doesn’t see it in the cards. Besides, there’s my relationship with Shaun that can be affected. My time is already divided between work and him with a splash of social life here and there. Throwing school into the mix will just place more responsibilities in the way. And right now, I’m trying to figure some shit out.

Then there’s the whole rust factor. This December marks the ten year anniversary of my college graduation. And all I have to show for it is a couple of press releases published in a weekly that doesn’t even hold my byline, one short story published in a college literary magazine, an essay published in a newsletter, this blog that only a few strangers read, and a job at [redacted] that becomes uncertain as the days go by. I’m not complaining. Not really. But something needs to give, right?

And, again, the realization sets in—all I do is complain about it. Complain about this stagnation. No one told me to stop writing. I chose to. No one told me to stop going to poetry readings. I sheltered myself. No one told me not to spend time on reading old works for revision purposes. I hid them away. I created the creative block—this Trumpian wall—in my mind to hinder myself. I don’t need a muse—shit, I wrote volumes of work before Jeanna. Before I even got laid in high school. And, yes, inspiration is nice; it’s just no one said it had to be romantic. Shaun inspires me every day to do things. I’ve painted more since he’s been around than I have in the years prior. I’m not good at it, but that doesn’t matter. I still do it.

Writing has always been my thing. As has storytelling. In elementary, I penned my The Munsters/The Addams Family-esque short story about a haunted house in which a family of weirdos lived. In high school, countless of compositions books went filled (and unfilled) with bad poetry. (I still have several of these, but I’m too afraid to even open them.)

It seems the trouble, lately, is getting started. That’s where the outline comes into play. In the past, I stood firmly against the outline. Writing should be a wild ride, a road trip without a planned destination. For instance, at the beginning of this post? No idea that I’d end up here. Just look at the intro paragraph. And I’ll by no means change it because that would mean changing this paragraph and I’m already done with this paragraph.

Will the outline help me? Who knows. But I’m willing to try anything. Either way, even with a road map, writing will still remain a wild, wild ride. It’s just that now I have an inkling of where I want to get to.

Personal

The End of Phase 2 Pt. 2: Writing

Sometimes I wonder why I wanted to write. What inspired me? What set me on this tumultuous journey that drives me mad with passion and anger? I wrote down notes before I remember why I wrote down notes. I “published” short stories using blank sheets of paper stapled together. The word count didn’t matter during those days. Writing as a child was easy. Writing as an adult means making time to write. But writing, like the ornery child, does not wait for scheduled hours of the day (or, in my case, nights) for my attention. It screams out at me in the middle of the night, during my working hours, when I’m out with Shaun at the park, or in the middle of browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble. I kept journals. I’ve graduated from lined paper to blank sheets to quad pages. I jot down thoughts. I scribble quotes that catch my attention or poems that I want to recite by heart. Scrawl definitions to words just introduced to my vocabulary or ones that return to me like an old lover. In these pages, I etch in chicken scratch tales of romance gone amiss or fuck fantasies in which I come in the depths of teachers, professors, old and new lovers, or random characters I’ve fallen in love with.

There are times where the passion wanes (or is it waxes?). Where I think that the last piece—the last good piece—I wrote was my exit music for a film. I contemplate that maybe this whole training to hone my writing skills was really working in my editorial favor. What if I’m not meant to be a writer? What if I’m a editor in writer’s clothing? Isn’t it true that I’ve edited the works of friends and coworkers more than I have my own pieces? And like a tsunami of thoughts and ideas and plots and characters and voices and narrators, it drowns me and I’m back at the keyboard pounding away. I try to keep focus what needs and deserves it and a break in the massive wave comes in the form of, “Daddie luk!”

I may not believe in god or anything mythical and magical, but my son cements my belief that we are capable for such beautiful miracles. As we stick our tongues at each other, I am reminded of the Dr. Manhattan monologue paraphrased as this: Of all the possibilities, he was the strongest outcome. That I met Jeanna and convinced her to love me and…well, you know…led up to him. Of all the people who could have stood in his place, he was the one who won.

Or maybe the Richard Dawkins quote is better:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

I love this quote so much that I’m now requesting my friends (who are surely reading this post) to read it at my funeral should I not be the last one standing. (Future friends, in case I am the last one standing in my current circle, take note of this request.)

wpid-2015-04-07-13.19.24.jpg.jpegMuch to the disappointment of every one of my creative writing professors, I don’t think I’d mind it if I never get published. I enjoy this thought process. I love the feel of pen to paper. My cock gets hard banging on the keyboards of my laptop or desk top. I come to the sound of a typewriter doing its damnedest to keep up with my prose. Okay, none of that is essentially true. It’s figurative, not literal.

I’ll end this with an anecdote (as oppose to an antidote). A short while ago, I snapped the picture to the right (or left, I haven’t decided where to place it yet). I sent it to Monica because we’re having an ongoing feud of who can find the best For Dummies or Idiot’s Guide to books. She quipped how we’d both benefit from the book. I think the only relationship I managed to keep afloat is the one with writing. It’s far healthy, though. Far, far from healthy. But what’s any relationship without complication? Superficial. Oh. That was meant as something rhetorical. I’m not even sure if this is considered an anecdote.

Personal

Excavation

As I mentioned last night, I cleaned my study. While doing so, I excavated several rough pieces I wrote in the past. This was before my college education in creative writing. I collected the pieces in a binder and I’ll read through them later, salvaging what I can for future stories.

I tried to finish cleaning, though there is still so much to sift through before I can announce that I finished. You heard here first, folks. I might be going through my books and putting together a good old fashion book sale on Amazon. What I know won’t sell, I’ll give to my niece to for her garage sale (she’s currently trying to raise money for new shoes—expensive, over the top shoes for her cheerleader outfit, so it’s not that she needs them).

As for NaNoWriMo, well, surprise surprise, I stopped doing it after the first night. Oh well. There’s still a lot of the month left.

Infamous binder plus an erotic anthology I was supposed to review months ago.
Infamous binder plus an erotic anthology I was supposed to review months ago.
Doldrums

Where Have I Been

I am a stranger to you as you are to yourself

I’ve not abandoned the blog. Not yet, anyway. It should be noted that I have also garnered the moniker the Gypsy Blogger for reasons I’ll never understand.

Who Reads These Posts, Anyway?

Aside from the handful of loyal followers, I don’t think this blog gets a lick of attention. Who needs it? I don’t. I’m over here attempting to make stuff happen, looking for work, trying to weasel my way back into school – I studying for the GRE people! – and, all in all, trying to become a model citizen not go insane.

That Section Made No Sense

I’m going through the change, people. My mind is scattered. I haven’t a single ounce in me to organize my thoughts. Which is part of the reason of the 5 or 6 posts I started, only none of them will get published. Anytime soon, anyway. Each of them directed at certain things that have come up – from double standards to how I’m not ashamed anymore about my snobby behavior, my holier-than-thou attitude and I will not fucking be ashamed for my education!

That aside, what am I studying you ask? Well, the plan was always to get my MFA in creative writing. And I’ve been painstakingly writing that damn letter of intent plus have a goddamn story ready to submit and blah blah blah. I was on my last nerve. It was to the point that I didn’t want to back to school. Truth is, writing and I seem to be on a break. Separated for an indefinite amount of time – hence my not keeping up with this blog.

So What Then?

It came to me like an epiphany. I was at a job fair and I had an inquiry about two positions at the library. Sadly, they were open only to people with their MLS – state requirement.

At that moment, it was as if some inner part of me – long dormant – yawned awake. The heat of clarity swept over me. And for the first time since I decided to become an English major – I know what you’re thinking, “This guy’s an English major?” – I felt clear-headed. All the tension that came with thinking about applying for the MFA program swept away – crumbs on the dirty table. Because I’ve done my creativity. I’ve proved what I was capable of. Maybe it’s time I put aside that dream and work on this new one. Because while writing and I are temporarily on a break, we’re not divorced. And I’m sure we still love each other. It’s just time to see other people/subjects.

Conclusion

Sorry if this made little sense. The state that my mind is in…well, I cannot for the life of me explain. So many new things tossed in there. It’s like a human emotional smoothie.

Conclusion Part II

There’s a book giveaway happening over at the book blog. People should probably check it out.

Writing & Writers

The Day The Whole World Went Away

...in his voice I heard decay

I had that dream again.

The crescendo heard a world away – Mackie awoke to the sound. Sweat – cold? – slicked his body. Beside him, Angel – who slept soundly even during the loudest storms – traversed parallel dimensions. Cobey should’ve called by now.

Autumn was in the distance, Mackie saw looking out the painted window. A shit job. Make a note never to allow anyone other than myself to create an artificial night.

“Come back to bed,” the voice said. “There’s nothing to see here.”

“It’s like I relive it every day,” Mackie said. “And I cannot erase it from my memory.”

“Come back to bed,” the voice repeated. “It’ll be okay when you wake up.”

Shot glass by the typewriter spilled over. A few empty bottles of pills – dietary? sleep aids? over the counter medications used as narcotic substitutes? the fuzz was cracking down on things like that. you couldn’t buy anything without showing an ID and the pharmacist writing down your information down in a little book.

Freedom with a price, isn’t that what they said? After the horrible sounds. Were we ever free in this world, or was that all imaginary?

“So where were you?” The question asked around the world. Followed by, “What were doing?”

“I’d just awaken,” he’d say. “It was hard for me to sleep, even in those days. I closed my eyes and just tried to drift off, but something kept calling me to turn on the TV.”

“And?”

“And I saw the footage on a continuous loop.”

“What did you think?”

“Must really suck to work there.”

Doldrums · Writing & Writers

Important, Life-Changing Events First

If a little is not enough for you, nothing is. -- Epicurus

“Why do you say such a sad, depressing thing?” she asks. The words fall from my lips because if I say them aloud, I somehow validate my fears. Sad, depressing things, however, have been my life’s bread and butter. I didn’t get this far being cheerful and optimistic. Lately, though, I don’t know. A new emotion has fallen into place. The void, the vacuum where my theoretical heart should reside has been filled in with something I cannot fully explain. So forgive me, please, if I fear that one day I will wake up and find all this was just a dream. Was just the imagination of a writer’s hope and I was never happy.

April 09, 2005

I meet Amado Balderas for the first time. My creative writing professor – his friend – Rene Saldana, Jr. does the honors of introducing us to each other. We’re at some poetry pachanga, something that’s been happening all day from my understanding. Something I wouldn’t have thought of coming to, but I had plans to be present. Perhaps for extra credit for a class I have no need for it. I’m supposed to be here with a friend, but she’s – for one reason or another – decided to ditch me.

Several months later, Amado forces me on stage to recite my poetry at his diner/cafe. And in the light, I swallow whatever fears I have and stand there and my mouth opens…

Cut-Ups

Multi-screen viewing is seemingly anticipated by Burroughs’ cut-up technique. He suggested re-arranging words and images to evade rational analysis, allowing subliminal hints of the future to leak through…

I’ve mentioned this before. Someone once asked me how I do it, let loose with my emotions, my thoughts. How do I managed with such lengths of exposure? There’s no secret to it, really. You just write, shutting your inhibitions off. There’s a bit more, for those who are still having trouble. Write without writing. Sorta of speaking without speaking. Or acting without acting. If you’re good at it, you’ll pour out your meaning without letting anyone know. Like let[ting] the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural.

I’ve started this blog as a way to find my place in this world, create something while continually writing. I may not edit my posts as often as I’d like – or revise them before hitting post (at least, not all the time. When I do, it’s very rare. This acts more like the journal I left out on the coffee table, with the cover opened, begging the finder to turn the pages and read) – but does that part really matter? The whole purpose is to never stop writing, never stop giving up. Keep on reading.

So convey without conveying. Use the cut-up theory. Just do.

Or you can be painfully obvious and hope that no one realizes. Here’s an example:

I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.

Sad, Honest Truth

I’ven’t any confidence in myself, anymore. My writing’s gone to shit. My life, mood, (fictional) self-esteem rely on others. Mostly, they rely on Jyg’s love for me. Without that, I am nothing.

Notes and References made in this post:

  1. Cut-Ups quote from Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  2. “Let[ting] the air in…” reference is from “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, the master of saying things without actually saying things.
  3. The example poem is “Metaphors” by Sylvia Plath.