3 Essential Things

What are three objects you couldn’t live without?

This question makes it too easy to be a smartass. Water, oxygen, and food – durr. However, I assume – at least I hope – that the author (authors?) of this prompt doesn’t mean it so literally. 

On a superficial level, I am first and foremost a reader. A book junkie. And sometimes (most times), a book adulterer. While I’m reading an 800-page novel, I’m listening to a smutty audiobook on my walks, and a graphic novel when I need some down time. Factor in anything I have/choose to read for work and I’m a bonafide book slut. So it’s obvious which superficial item makes it first on my list – books. And this includes ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and literary publications – basically any reading material I have on my shelf.

The second item – or should I say items – on my list are basic writing contraptions. That’s right, I’ll need a journal (or loose-leaf paper if you don’t care for order), a pen, and maybe something to correct my mistakes with. Writing mistakes, that is. 

And the third item is something most people fantasize living without, but not me. No sir, ma’am, and non-binary individuals. The third thing isn’t the most important, but is still just as important. For it can hold my books and act as a writing contraption. But it can also keep me in touch with friends and family while also showing me cute videos and pictures of cats. That’s right: It’s my phone. 

Now, I can hear you already – “Gwimo, you can live without your phone!” 

Can I, Alice? Can I really? Do you understand how heavy 800-page books are? Do you understand that sometimes I want to listen to an audiobook? Do you understand that carrying around a journal and pen everywhere can be impractical? Sure, nothing beats physical books and journals, but there are times when I just need something that fits in my pocket. 

So there – those are my three non-smartass, non-essential essential objects that I can’t live without (though, I probably could).

Photo by cottonbro studio

“Unzip my body, take my heart out”

I don’t know when I’ll be ready to discuss the events of the last few months on this blog, but it will happen. It’s just the matter of getting the words down right. There’s also the matter of just reflection, you know?

There are moments in everyone’s lives that shape them. The cliché is as true as they come. What matters now is how we handle the world we’re dropped in. How we suss out the mess and move forward. More than a month has gone by, but the wound still feels tender.

And to learn that a college buddy of mine has also passed? Shit, it puts so much into perspective. Gives that existential crisis the kick in the pants to work overtime. There’s a lot in my head right now, and I’m just trying to make sense of it all.

Know that Shaun and I are still doing well. We’re both healthy.



Maybe One Day I’ll Be Brave Enough To Tell This Story

Found my college year journal. Post college mostly, since only the first year delved into my college antics. Memory is a funny thing. There’s a section in 2007 where I’m documenting the demise of the relationship. I also mentioned the things that led to it. The break up happened in 2008; on 22 December 2007 I wrote my first entry about the plastic bag. An entry from 5 December 2007 simply states, “Jyg’s in the mood of no longer dealing with me.”

I remember so much shit for those days; however, reading my account on the matter, I realized I left so much out of the story. I left out Tanya. Shit, I’d forgotten about Tanya.


This Will Make Sense Some Day. I Promise.

There’s a LunarBaboon comic I printed out, snipped, and taped into my journal. As of this posting, it’s a fairly recent comic.This will make sense some day. I promise.

It got me thinking a lot. About my grandparents. About the campfire stories shared in my youth. About the way, after a good rain and before the humidity began to sauna the world, we’d dig up earthworms from the backyard or the playground at school.

It got me thinking of family outings. Trips to the beach. Trips to the zoo. Carnivals and the rides on which I was too afraid to ride. Of movies we went to see at the Citrus Theater when Mom was at her Saturday job. Of driving to grandma’s house on a Sunday morning before church. Of sleeping by an open window. Of playing outside. Of creating these memories. Memories that are permanent, but not unbreakable.

I wonder what sort of memories Shaun will have of me, the struggling father who tries to keep a balance in the world. Who touches on depression like one would religion. Too tired to start the day, but manages out of bed. Who spends time playing a game he’s unfamiliar with. A game I’m certain has no actual point. And I wonder if that’s why I keep the journal. As a way to not forget. As a way for him to understand me when he’s older and happens upon it. Because I don’t know what the future has in store for me. Or him. A disease could eat my memories away, leaving  me a hollow husk of a man trying to remember a name.

Or a place.

Or a dream.

Struggling against the day, not wanting that night to set in. Who are we but our memories. The ones we have. The ones we’ll make.


The Problem of the Puer Aeternus

My mind is killing me. On the one hand, with Sertraline in my system, my mood’s improved significantly. While scientists haven’t found a cure (to my knowledge) for innate cynicism, I’m not as angry after work as before. Also my dips are spread apart (two since I started taking the pill in March), so that’s something to cheer for. But I’m still scatter-brained, if not more so. An idea popped into my brain (around the same time I started taking the pill) and, nearly two months later, I’ve not written one word on the subject. I have, however, taken A LOT of notes on the matter. I’ve used my journal more times in the last three or four weeks than I have in the three years since I started it. While I’ve ultimately decided that left pages are solely for note taking, I have filled quite a bit of the daily thoughts right page. And both sides are related to the idea that I had while reading (you guessed it!) the side effects to Zoloft.

Because at the tail-end of 2015 I decided to dedicate 2016 to exclusively reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction, I’ve been reading A LOT of Lovecraft mythos and any related texts. A story here. A story there. And the more I left myself drift into the world, the more the idea was fed. And while I don’t have one single clue where I want this idea to lead, I do know that a story (or several) can come of it. Revision, I’m told, is the greatest thing a writer can do to his stories, and a lot of my old tales and back burner ideas are coming to fruition with a twist.

And while journaling gives me a sense of control of my ideas, I wish I could focus on a project at a time. That’s not, sadly, how my mind works. I’m brainstorming stories, poems, essays, and the layout of my and Shaun’s backyard garden. Trying to figure out how to finance the renovations that my home so desperately needs. Trying to figure out if getting a manufactured house is a better deal. Figuring out if I’d actually use a bench swing in the backyard, right smack in the middle of our garden, beneath the large mesquite tree. I’m looking into things that would help my kiddo learn his letters, his numbers, his shapes, and improve his speech. I’m trying to make this blog more interesting, but I don’t have a niche and I don’t think I’m ever going to have one. Is that so wrong? I’m paying to keep my journal public. Let’s face it though, none of this is edited or matters to the average reader. Most of you just come to read the old posts about Bailey Jay or Izzy Hilton (only to be disappointed by the fact that none of those posts have to do with porn).

Then there’s work. And I don’t really want to get into the cha-cha-changes happening at [redacted] because my level of apathy has reached all new heights. I haven’t heard a single word about the other library job in such a long time, I’m sure that it’s just a pipe dream. I’ll start looking for employment in other venues because I don’t know how much of the dramatic bullshit I can take (well, when it involves me).


This is My Journal; Please (Do Not) Read it When I’m Gone

From Journals by Kurt Cobain
From Journals by Kurt Cobain

“What are you doing?” I ask. We’re in the backroom and R begins to thumb through what most people have come to call my bible. I can’t imagine there is anything of interest written on the quad pages, but these are still my thoughts. My summaries to stories I mean to write. Fragmented essays I plan on stringing together one day.

He ignores me. Or he doesn’t hear me. Or both. “What? Are? You? Doing?” I repeat. I snatch the journal from his hand and toss it into my backpack.

 “Oh come on,” R protests. “It’s not like you don’t want people reading it. You go on stage and talk about your penis in front of other people.”

“I’ve never once talked about my penis,” I quip. “I talk about other men’s penises.”

I rode buses to and from Brownsville every weekend for a year. If I boarded a next-to-empty bus, I took whatever available seat I found in the back. Resting my head against the window, I memorized the different routes each bus driver took to reach Brownsville. A few times, I spoke to other passengers. Several of them spoke only Spanish and most of these stories were lost in translation. On these transits, I scribbled down notes and poem journal entries.

There came a day in December when I noticed a few passengers sitting down in front. From McAllen onward, these passengers spoke in whispers to each other. At Harlingen, they walked off into the cold wind and vanished inside the station. Few nights later, on the news, I saw one on TV. The news piece focused on the homeless issues in both the cities of McAllen and Harlingen. Turns out when one city wanted to handle its homeless population, they shipped them over to the next.

“People don’t keep journals for themselves. They keep them for other people, like a secret they don’t want to tell but want everyone to know.” —Marilyn Manson, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.

My journal consisted of index cards that I left lying around the room. Quotes from books I read or characters I created. Pros-and-cons lists about joining the Peace Corps. Most of these are gone. Thrown away or lost in some bag I carried at the time. As a gift on one of our anniversaries or maybe a birthday present or maybe just an I-love-you-and-trust-you present, I gave Jeanna one of my journals. Unfinished, but I felt there was some sentimental value to the idea.

I’ve read from my journal during a few poetry readings in the past. And I can foresee myself getting on stage and play confessional to an audience of priests.

I found someone’s blog the other night. I didn’t intended on seeking this blog out any more than I would seek out this person’s private journal. Insomnia laid its blanket over me that night, so I took to scrolling through Tumblr. Tag hopping because that’s what I do. When I came upon a tag for some cartoon show that I’ll never watch, but is all the rave on Tumblr. Gif after clip after photo essay after fanfic later, I stumbled upon a familiar username. My midnight mind brushed it off as coincidence. The greater part of me wishes I would have stuck to that conclusion.

I didn’t read the blog because that’s a violation even my curiosity knows not to cross. Reading the description was enough to sate my need to know. I couldn’t keep this secret though, so I mentioned it later via Facebook messenger. I hope this explanation puts to rest any anxieties that I may have created with my little confession. Your secrets are still yours to keep.

I started reading short stories. At the moment, I’m thumbing through Drown by Junot Díaz. This is in hopes that my writing habits return to me. There’s a project that I want to work on, though I don’t have the resources right now. I might enlist the help of local writer friends. There’s still much to suss out.