These are not resolutions

December 25, 2016


The dry spell isn’t over. 2016 brought so much and gave so little away, creative wise. And it’s difficult to remain optimistic about the dawning new year. So many poor decisions were made this year. It started with the decision to only read books of a certain genre. It quickly derailed. Much worse than the year before. 2017 will be a low number goal for books, but do I promise to budget my time between TV, books, and, most importantly, being a father.

And exercise—shit! I forgot about exercise! Earlier this year, it was the first to go when things began to look bleak. Just cast aside after months of fighting with the Zombies, Run! app and my phone’s weak signal (just Sprint’s way to remind me it’s time to upgrade!). And with exercise, comes better eating. Having to watch your sodium and sugar intake isn’t fun at 33. Most things dietary aren’t fun at 33. Things aren’t fun at 33. And it’s necessary to stop expecting instant results. More so, it’s important to know that it’s not something a person can jump into headstrong. One needs to ease into it, otherwise, you’re bound to lose hope and enthusiasm. No diet books. No starving myself. Just better, healthier choices.

And spending time with friends. It’s beneficial to make time for yourself to spend with friends. No matter the activity. After binge watching The Big Bang Theory (don’t you dare judge me! We all have our vices), I brought up the idea of incorporating Dungeons & Dragons into our game night. We’re all nerds, after all. Why not take it to the next step? From the starter kit, purchased for $20 at Barnes and Noble, to purchasing the three main guides from Amazon (thank you Humana Vitality!), Duckie and I have been pouring over everything in order to make decent characters and stories. Of course, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and Betrayal at House on the Hill are also included in our reindeer games—plus whatever board and card games purchased in the new year. But the activity doesn’t matter in the end. Games or movie marathons or a TV show binge. The effort needs to be made at least once a month (twice, if you’re feeling randy).

And writing. After swearing that 2016 was the year that my creative process would resurrect itself, nothing came to fruition. A few jotted notes in my “bible” dealing with story ideas, quotes from stories and books read or skimmed through, snippets of science and astronomy and mythos lore—nothing that amounted to anything. I won’t say 2017 will be my year. But damn, I’ll need to put more effort into my craft. And not just my random thoughts in a journal or on this blog. But serious, hardcore writing.

And returning to the garden. I started a small garden for Shaun this year, but after the summer incident I lost enthusiasm. I always meant to spread the garden until it encompassed a large chunk of the backyard. And after watching Fuller House, I have an idea how to go about it. But it’ll cost money.

And finally, adulting. I haven’t figured out how to do this just yet. But I will.

The Problem of the Puer Aeternus

April 27, 2016

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).

The End of Phase 2 Pt. 3: Notes.

April 25, 2015

From the pages of Thought Processing (my handwritten journal):

Purchase a copy of Yes Please by Amy Poehler and highlight the shit out of that book.

Screw the partnership. Start writing posts for the books we carry and hopefully others will follow. Maybe ask local writer friends to write a post about their favorite book (the one that said this is it. I’m a writer/reader/book lover). (Michael Jones, Richard Sanchez, Anne Estevis, etc.)

Start working on “Stories for Shaun” in lieu of “Letters to Shaun.” Regular WordPress blog?

What’s phase 3? More about life and writing? More books? More posts about being a father? Bug Ashton about new banner.

Write. Write. Write. Never stop writing.

Possible post titles:
1. Lessons in Letting Go
2. Letter to Jeanna—”The Greatest Bastard” Damien Rice.

Stop being so afraid of moving forward, goddamnit!

Find “gift of fear.”

“They are not long, the weeping + the laughter.”

There are shards of memories I want to share with you. Maybe to put together, or maybe to bury. Truth is, I don’t know what I want to do with them. The only thing we can be certain of is that these pieces aren’t meant to hollow a path to return to us. They aren’t bread crumbs from a crumbling romance grown stale and moldy. They’re simply shards of memories. A declaration. A proclamation. Just reminders that it was never in my intention to let you down.

Sometimes I forget [illegible] There are times when you don’t get a rejection. Sometimes this [illegible] rejectionlessness eats you up more than a no would. You begin to feel that you are so unworthy of anything

There are times when you don’t get a rejection. And, at times, this may seem worse than if she had just said no. A part of you There’s nothing you can do about this one. Asking again is just a set up [for] ridicule. If you were clear of your intentions the first time, a second time will not garner you an answer.

Never expose yourself to the world [illegible] Several people will say personality trumps everything else. However, I’ve noticed the vanity of those around on a day to day basis. This is not to deter you from trying to meet someone who is “out of your league.” There are no leagues. Just shallow and the deep. Shallow people are the here and now. They say things like, “Can you blame me for They create superficial high standards. They care only about chiseled features or unnaturally large tits. They worship cosmetics like a Christian Catholic on Easter Sunday.

[…]

I wonder when I grow old, my face will remain scowled. As if my expectations of the world have left me perpetually disappointed.

I Just Want to Know You

February 14, 2014

There’s always a jolt of panic before a reading. I’ve done this hundreds of times in different venues, in front of different faces. It never fails that moments before I even set foot inside the venue, I become a lyric from an Eminem song. A blast of anxiety rushes through my head the moment my name is read off the list, and I’m introduced. I approach the podium/mic stand with caution, folder in hand with a collection of writings and musings, blog print outs and random things scrawled out on anything from emergency room brochures to napkins—my greatest hits, as I sometimes jokingly call them. My body moves along with my words, something that could be mistaken for nerves and jitters. But without the dance, the story would fall flat and it’s message lost in anxiety of my voice.

Carol & her uke

Carol & her uke

Tonight wasn’t any different, outside the ceremonial upchucking. The only difference that, for the first time in all my history in poetry readings, I brought someone into the group. And in a sea of strangers—with the exception of Richard Sanchez and Julieta Corpus—I had someone in the crowd that was a familiar face.

Nearly a decade ago, I was a staple in the poets/writers community. I traveled from venue to venue reading my words. And it got easier with time. I carried the nerves with me, but I managed them better. However, something in my life happened and I just dropped out. I declined requests and invitations and friends became strangers. When I started working at [redacted], I attended one poetry reading and had a falling out with the Alpha male poet—a pompous poser who calls himself a mariachi (and that’s all I’ll talk about on the subject)—and I vanished from the scene until Amado returned to host his Nueva Onda readings. And we had a good run until he vanished on us. I can’t say I blame him, though. Sometimes life gets in the way.

Tonight, at the Love & Chocolate reading, I thought about my good friend Amado as I watched Julieta Corpus introduce a somewhat nervous Carol Noe because that was me what feels like a life time ago. I still remember the night that I entered the dimly light Nueva Onda Poets Cafe off McColl and sat down watching the musicians play while the owner, a friend of my then-creative writing professor, Rene Saldana Jr., crouched down beside me and asked if I wanted to read. And after much reluctance, I agreed to place my name on the list. He assured me that it was only if I wanted to. No pressure. And, of course, the man lied through his teeth because it wasn’t but ten minutes later that I sat on the stage peering down at the audience and reading in front of a crowd for the first time.

When the assistant director asked me if I knew the young lady who played guitar last time, I shook my head. While I knew who he was talking about, I hadn’t a clue what her name was or how to contact her and Googling “Female guitarist who wears a hat” was getting me nowhere. And while I conceded to defeat that I’d never find her, I remembered that I met a guitarist a month prior. So I shot Carol a quick text asking if she would be interested in performing and she liked the idea enough to agree.

As she began the opening cords of Taylor Swift’s “Everything Has Changed,” I couldn’t hide my smile. Her voice coming out of the PA filling the meeting room and spilling out through the open door into the rest of the building, she attracted a crowd at the onlookers standing outside the twin doors. “She’s really cute,” my director said. “She’s good.”

Carol, who moments ago said she’d keel over dead and play as a zombie, was killing it at her first appearance at one of the events. And while I’ve never seen her play before, I knew to expect nothing less than a stellar performance. And as Julieta Corpus introduced me for the first time in a long time, I took a breath and spilled the lines. I might have missed up on the poem, but I won the audience with my best-of-piece, “Note to my Twelve-Year-Old Self.”

And after the nerves have resided the only thing I can think of is, when do we get to do this again?

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