Personal

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.

Doldrums

Awkward

"Be silent, and sit down, for you are drunk, and this is the edge of the roof." –Rumi
“Be silent, and sit down, for you are drunk, and this is the edge of the roof.” –Rumi

An old friend visited me at work the other day. Someone I haven’t seen in a while, but it wasn’t as awkward as most reunions. Several years ago, I re-acquainted myself with a girl I crushed on. She never knew how I felt about her, so when I told her, it got silent. Understand, this was years after the fact. It still felt a little weird. Awkward silence. “Well, I should be going.” “Yeah. Yeah. Nice talking to you. We should do this again sometime.” “Yup. Just give me a call.” “Whenever you’re free, I am.” “Nice seeing you.” “Bye.” “Bye.” Haven’t heard from her since.

There are moments in life that are just awkward. I do my best to avoid such moments. When I see a family member at a store, I quickly duck behind the closest heavy-set man until they’ve passed. This has become increasingly harder as the years have proven I’ve become the proverbial heavy-set man to hide behind.

You say I went to school with you? Oh. Wow. That’s great man. How’s it been? Shit. I’m sorry, my phone is ringing. You didn’t hear it because it’s on silent. How did I know? Bitch, who you think you are? FBI? Do I need my Miranda Rights read?

I’m not a fast man, but ninja skills are acquired when I see an ex-girlfriend. Well, that one’s not true, because I’ve maintained a healthy, post-relationship with most of my ex-girlfriends (there aren’t that many).

The king of awkward moments came tonight, though. And it didn’t involve me. In fact, I don’t consider it all that awkward. Earlier, Jyg’s mother was getting ready to go out with some friends. Apparently, someone was setting her up with a friend of hers. Long story short, I get a text message. Sometimes living in a small city has its perks. You can tell a story about a friend, and the person who’s listening will perk up and say, “Hey, I know that guy.” And it’s a little bizarre. Like having dwarfs throwing pickles at you or having midgets kick you in the shins. Other times, it’s receiving a text message with the words, “It’s your brother.”

G’nite everybody! [Exits stage right]

Doldrums

The Child(ren) of Ennui

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You know, it’s a strange feeling fatherhood. It’s nearing six months, and I’m still adjusting. His smile. Every time I look into his eyes. The reflection of me. He has my expressions. My emotions. My irritation when he can’t do something. Every moment I’m with him, I’m a different person. The world doesn’t matter.

I once told Jyg that as long as I had her around, I wouldn’t miss the world. Now that’s changed. As long as I have them, every one else can drop off the face of the world, and I would not shed a tear.

Doldrums

“A man had a son who was an anvil.”

Meet Shaun Damien

Let me tell you something about my mother. She has intuition. She successfully predicted the sex of all three of her kids – all boys. She successfully predicted the sex of all six of her grandchildren – we’re still on the fence whether she really predicted the first. So when I announced that Jyg was pregnant and she said – without missing a beat, it’s a girl.

Leave it to my son to prove her wrong.

Wait?! You’re Pregnant?

After of months of secrecy, we dropped the bomb on the social network. Previously, I was censored from saying anything on Facebook and Twitter. I took to Tumblr with the news because – let’s face it – no one really reads Tumblr. I dropped the not-so-subtle hints here, as well, finally coming out with the news when I posted my about me page, which I’m sure several of you rushed out to read.

I can’t explain Jyg’s need for keeping it under the table for so long, but I’m glad we finally came out with it. We’re having a baby. It’s probably the most greatest accomplishment to date (should’ve mentioned that in the interview yesterday).

What’s in a Name?

I don’t know where Shaun came from really, just that I knew I didn’t much care for the spelling S-H-A-W-N. The name always sounded hick-ish to me. And I’ve been one who wanted to push for more cultural names. But when you’ve known a dozen Joses, Marios, Reys, Miguels, Franciscos, etc. you realize that maybe you want something a little different, at least in the area.

I always assumed the fall back name was Michael. Shaun Michael. Apparently, I was wrong. It was William. Shaun William sounded too much like paint.

Damien because it’s my late cousin’s name. Only problem, when we did the name selecting game, we were far from getting pregnant. That allowed enough time for my sister-in-law to birth a son whose middle name is Damien. Jaycob Damien. Nice one.

But cousins can have the same middle name. There’s no rule in that, is there?

Departure from Emma Leigh

Let’s face it. Somewhere deep down I was really looking forward to having a daughter, if only to make Jyg happy. I still love my son just the same. But all those daydreams and images of me holding my first-born are in the process of being edited in my imagination. Still, this is only part of the adventure. Besides. It’s not written that Shaun will be the only one. There’s time yet.

Letters to Shaun

I originally took two urls on WordPress just for safe keeping. One was Letters to Emma and one was Letters to Shaun. Now that I know the sex of the my child, we may commence the show.

The title comes from “The Changeling” by Russell Edson.

Writing & Writers

“I feel like falling asleep while you scream”

"I'm gonna jump in. I'm gonna begin. I'm not gonna wait. I'm gonna be brave."

I cleaned the mess I call a room this week. While doing so, I found two short stories that never made it passed the first draft. Both were, oddly enough, titled after Bob Dylan songs. “Not Dark Yet” is about a man who flashes back to his childhood on his way to his father’s funeral. On the journey home, he attempts to rationalize the betrayal he felt. He attempts to understand his father’s actions, while never fully forgiving him. In “Things Have Changed,” I introduced a college aged man whose long-term relationship is falling apart, and all he can do is remember is his father’s infidelity. These stories were written a year apart, but there’s a clear message of both. Homie’s got daddy issues.

“David”

“David” is the first and last story I have ever published. It appeared, of all else, in a student literary magazine that’s put out once a year. It received an honorable mention by the issue’s staff. It’s about man whose relationship with his son is so broken, he doesn’t realize the person he’s talking to is his flesh and blood. And while the narrator – whose name is never revealed in any of the stories he’s featured in – never mentions the man is his father, I hoped that the subtle hints would present themselves. Very few people understood, which is understandable. Most people thought I was paying homage to Ernest Hemingway and William S. Burroughs, which was only half-true.

I wrote the story the year after my failed attempt to reconnect with Javier, whom David is loosely based on. In the end, I fantasized the father figure so broken, he returns home and shoots himself – Hemingway reference to the point that I even made him a writer, which my father, to my knowledge, never was.

With a little big of maturity under my belt, I’ve retired “David” from my reading list.

Memories

My brother, Jay, remembers one incident about my father. When I was just a baby, my parents got into a fight that led to my father grabbing me and a knife and threatened anyone who got near. Thing is, my brother repeated the act with his own child several years later. A desperate need to prove how important father is? To show the world how much one cares by threatening anyone that gets near? I’ll never know.

My father was two men: the sick man recovering from surgery who used to paint wooden animals to pass the time and the abusive alcoholic who gave up his family for his addiction. After my father left, I saw him sporadically. There were the typical broken promises, missed birthdays, etc. In the end, I learned that I didn’t need him in my life, despite the emptiness. I grew up just fine without him.

Recognition

On two occasions, I stood in front of my father without realizing who he was.

Rumors of a Broken Family

My ex-girlfriend, whose family is possibly the most stable – though far from sane (a joke, sorta) – once asked if I was going to be insistent about family portraits because most people who come from broken homes are. I never thought about it. Mostly because I’m not too photogenic. A lot of people say that, but seriously – I don’t do well in pictures. I have a nervous twitch that causes me to make a face.

Now with the new era of my life in the horizon, I’m asking myself the same question. Will I become the father who puts so much importance in family things? While I’ve never been very good at it as a son and brother, what happens with the third title is bestowed on me? Every year, I’ve been the host of the familial Thanksgiving dinner. And every year, I say it will be the last. And last year’s promise might just be kept.

My mother plans to go to San Antonio this Thanksgiving to see my cousin get married. Jyg has offered me her family – my brand spanking new family. And while I love them to death, I have this nervous twitch in which I’m forced to judge everything that is not conventional in my family. And it’s not silent judgement, it’s more of a passive-aggressive thing. And I’m not doing it because I disagree with it, or even hate it. I do it because it’s a nervous twitch. Like tearing paper into tiny bits. Or bouncing on one’s legs while sitting down during an important meeting where you’re forced to make some sort of public statement that will be the growth or death of your goals.

I’m reassured by several friends and family that I’m going to do great with this. But the nagging critic in the back of my head is reminding me of all my fuck-ups. And I begin to wonder how much different life would be had Javier stuck around and been a dad. But life’s too short to focus on this what-if. And if anything happens, I could always write a story to make sense of it, couldn’t I?

How to Save a Life

 

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.