Chapin City Blues

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

Things to Come

June 5, 2017


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.

The End of Phase 2 Pt. 2: Writing

April 25, 2015

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.

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 …

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 They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing–these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. –Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried “The thing about a story,” wrote Tim O’Brien in “The Lives of the Dead,” the concluding short story in his …

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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. …

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