Doldrums

Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell

On the brink of death, you have a lot of time to think. You’re no longer working on the abstract sense of time that waking, living humans are accustomed to; you begin working on dream-time. The time where a single minute can span hours, even decades, of your life.

The writing bug has bitten me; you can tell by the amount of Iggy Pop music I’ve been consuming. And while this blog is on my mind, it hasn’t been in the forefront. Not for a while, anyway. Not since I left my job at the public library. Not since COVID forced us all inside. While I am writing a post for it, I don’t foresee it being published any time soon. My mind is running with ideas for the future, for my creative outlet. And I think the post I’m working out might be the first in a new outlet.

An old voice also visited me, which would explain the Iggy Pop. The above quote is from the story I’m writing. And I’m taking it from a different angle. A more Tim O’Brien angle. Mixing the story-truth and the happening-truth in order weave the tales I created post high school and during my college years. And rather telling it from the point of view of the character as it happened, but I will now tell it in my present voice.

So in the meanwhile, this blog will be filled with song lyrics, poetry breaks, and book reviews.

Personal

The Midnight Disease

Photo by Min An from Pexels

The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write…

Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

Have you ever gone back to read something you wrote in the past? Something at least decade ago, when the world felt like it had more promise. This is something I do whenever I’m stuck, which these days feels like a constant for me. Blame it on the distraction, or blame it on my inability to focus on any one thing without my mind bouncing around walls of my cerebrum.

As a writer – and I use this phrase rather loosely these days – I’m not allowed to believe in writer’s block. They pretty much beat it out of you in college creative writing courses. And any other writer that I know tells me the same thing. I haven’t written a short story in some time. The last thing I wrote – aside from blog posts – was a revision of the gravediggers story, something I’ve been toying around since the Bush administration.

Continue reading “The Midnight Disease”
Doldrums

I’m (un)Bored

I have forgotten how to feel bored.

With the endless source of entertainment at my fingertips, on my TV, and even on this thing that I’m currently typing on, it’s become nearly impossible to feel it. And we’re not doing anything creative with that lack of boredom. We’re just filling up the voids in conversation with minor chuckles to memes.

I typed the original draft of this post early in the day. A frenzy sort of typing because the temptation to check Twitter raged on. Even now, I combat the urge to open TikTok. Or see if anyone of my subscribed YouTubers have posted something creepy or interesting.

Boredom led me to writing. Led me to reading. A fraction of which is done on a screen. It’s why I chose something simple like a Kindle Paperwhite rather than the Kindle Fire. None of those flashy apps to rob my attention away. However, with a Kindle Unlimited subscription, other problems arise.

What’s worse: Owning several books and not finding anything to read, or having this unlimited number of stories at my fingertips and still not finding something to read. And don’t get me started on the amount of books priced under $5.

I tried writing something every day since COVID-19 has taken over the world. With nothing else to do, it seemed the most reasonable. But every time I start, it’s backspaced into oblivion. (Writing to complain about not being able to write is still writing, right? The mental gymnastics on that thought. I would have won the gold trying to suss that out.)

I’m off work for a week. I still get paid, which is more than I can say for others right now. Several people are out of work as business shutter their doors until further notice, leaving workers furloughed—which is something I still don’t quite understand, so let me take a break from my typing to look it up on the dictionary app on my phone.

Once upon a time, I wrote long hand on a whim. I crafted stories out blank pages with a phrase like shoulder meat echoing through my head. I wrote about people I passed on the streets, in hallways, at stores. People I’ve never met. I wrote about the world outside my window, something impossible considering the artificial night constructed within my bedroom.

Boredom led me to clean, which my bedroom desperately needs. It led me to explore things in my own thoughts. Draft characters. Create scenes. Influenced my wildest imaginations because I’d rather be there than whatever dull situations I found myself. I explored the horror, the beautiful, and the grotesque.

But every Super Mario coin chime robs me away from that. Every notification telling me so-and-so liked my Instagram picture or you-got-mail or my favorite creator just posted a new video plunges me deeper into a state of un-boredom. Where my thoughts aren’t being preoccupied with figuring out a solution to a problem, drafting dialogue. A state that leaves my thirst for attention unsated.

Doldrums

“You don’t have to feel this emptiness”

How does one get back into writing? I’ve taken such a long break from the task that anything longer than a blog post is just too much. And even these posts are sometimes muddied with the lack of…words that I can’t think of at this moment.

Like most of you, I’m in a state of self-isolation. While social distancing was considered my trade, much like writing, I’m not very good at it these days.

Last weekend was the start of social distancing. It was also my birthday weekend. What a way to ring in my 37th year on this planet. Global pandemic. Mid-age crisis has nothing on this.

I normally don’t celebrate my birthday, and it’s been some time since the old friends and I have celebrated birthday weekend (as three of our birthdays happen, usually, during the same week). But I do spend the weekends with Virginia watching movies or TV shows. However, her parents were down for her birthday (the day after mine) so those plans were already canceled.

When COVID-19 cases started popping up a long the area, we knew it was only a matter of time before things changed. During birthday week, restaurants were making changes to their dine in areas before closing completely. The library where Virginia and I both work announced it would be closed to the public.

The plan was to continue working until it closed completely. That all changed with the anxieties of others feeding mine. I requested a week off. And here’s the start of it.

It’s just me and my laptop and my writing skills. Which have remain dormant for some time, because I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything outside of PR and these blog posts.

How do I get back into the habit? There’s a lot of voices in my head craving for my attention, but I can’t get them onto the page. Is this all that I have to offer them? This morsel of attention by recognizing they’re there but not doing anything with them?

There’s so much going on. Not just outside, but in my head. All these thoughts just run chaotically. Because there’s something in the way she reacted that keeps playing in my head. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that chapter of my life isn’t over just yet.

Or maybe I’m just a fool and need to learn to let things go.

Work

Dear Diary,

Something happened. Something I swore wouldn’t ever happened. But it’s done. I’ve done it. It’s out there now and I can’t reel it back in. I created original characters and content for [redacted]. Which means, [redacted] now owns something I created. That’s how this works, right? You’re bamboozled into needing a job and the only people who want to hire you know you’re creative. And they spend years on you before they start asking for things here and there. It’s mostly PR related things, sure. But then the clincher happens and you’re asked to create something for them. Mostly because they’re afraid of copyright infringement. Which, they’re in the right to, because we’ve totally skirted the edge of that legality on more than one occasion.

While it’s been my intention from the get go to create new content, my goal was always to base it on characters my predecessor established. Just replace his writing flair with my own nuance.

But I adapted [redacted], a beautiful children’s book by [redacted]. And within my adaptation of the story, I added a new character that wasn’t featured in the original story? Why? Because I wanted to, that’s why. This character was voiced by V. And, sure, maybe I’m bias, but I loved her reading of the character. So when the director told me to stop using other people’s works for my puppet shows, I quickly thought, “Well, shit. I have a character already. Might as well use her.”

Thus R.F. was born. And today, I finished the first short story that I’ve written in ages. Mind you, this isn’t an original story. It’s based on Stone Soup, a folktale that’s been rewritten hundreds of times in different ways (most notably, by Marcia Brown).

If you don’t know the story of Stone Soup, let me give you the run down. So a new guy in town (usually three new guys in town) are hungry, but they can’t find anyone who is willing to just give them some food (shocker, I know!). So they settle down in the center of town and make a show of bringing out a big, old kettle. They fill it up with water and some stones, and light a fire underneath it. Of course, the townspeople are curious so they go an inspect what’s going on. No one’s ever heard of stone soup, of course, because it’s a flat-out lie. But the three guys sell it up. And people all want to try it. But there’s something missing. Potatoes. Someone volunteers that. Still, it’s missing something. And someone volunteers that. And the list continues until they made an authentic soup with the townspeople none the wiser.

But my story is met to set up a bigger tale with the characters created. While I won’t focus each new puppet show on the trio created for this rendition of Stone Soup, I do plan on using them a few times down the line. There are stories to be told and these just happen to be the voices that are speaking to me right now.

My only regret this work-for-hire business means I won’t be able to keep any of them should I leave [redacted]. We’ll see.