July 24, 2019: Book Recommendation: Revision & Self-Editing
“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit-detector.”
I did some soul searching this last weekend and this week as well. I’m not going to lie in that I’ve struggled lately with my rewriting. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to those following my blog. I’m not doing it consistently like I should for a handful of reasons. The biggest one is the criticisms I’m bound to get from some people such as you shouldn’t have done that or you should’ve done this. It’s sent me on the path of constant revisions and by the end of it, completely exhausted body, mind, and spirit. This need to be as close to perfection is not healthy, but I wonder if my writing is really all that great and just mediocre as they say. I’m not a outline kind of person as I formulate plots and different scenes I want in my head and then stew on them. It seems I’ve wasted so much time doing all kinds of things to preoccupy myself away from these thoughts, but never really being far away.
I’m really hoping this serves as a portal into what NOT to do for my next story write and rewrite. I’m hoping it takes half the time. I try to be as patient as I can with this, but this is driving me nuts. I just want this done, but I don’t want to stop short of reaching its full potential. There’s a breaking point, and I believe I’ve reached this point. At the advice of my roommate since I’m still in the same boat as last year, revolving through the rewriting door, I’m going to devote an hour each day on it and see where it gets me. Once I’ve reached the final page, I’m going to hand it over for him to read. I expect this to be done by the end of this year. I want it to be done by the end of this year. It should be done by the end of this year. It must be done by the end of this year.
I wrote 20 pages in my journal last night about a wide gamut of things to try to restart and revamping what I do in my free time so I’m not spinning in the same place year after year. My roommate asked me do I want to be a writer? Of course, I said YES because I believe that is one of my reasons for existing. His response was, paraphrasing, “maybe, you don’t because you spend a lot of time not writing.” Point noted, AGAIN. So, to make my head spin even more, I recently read this book and became overwhelmed in some ways. I’ve written a lengthy piece before, but that was for educational purposes It’s time to dig deep and get this done so I can do it again and then thirteen more times, but with less mental resistance. The bottom line is I really hope others don’t struggle as much as I do and if you are, then you’re bouncing back quicker than I do.
The main reason for this entry was to suggest this self-editing and revision book to fellow writers. It has a lot of great information and while any book can be rewritten again, there comes a point in time where one more time is the best option (and then maybe one more time for minor changes). This is where I’m at with it and come hell or high water the bulk of it will be done by the end of this year. Another great thing about this book is it gives examples on how to improve your writing and not just an author telling you to make it better or gives you minimal information we all know. Think what a paragraph looked like before and what it looks like after, and all in the effort to make it read and flow better. I was doing some of it already before reading this book but it goes to show there’s more to be done. Serious writers aren’t for the faint of heart. I won’t deny it’s hard to sometimes write when you have a full time job, work overtime, need to exercise, and have countless other bullshit things to do. This is life for most of us. Yesterday, my emotions were charged, like throwing 25 colors onto a canvas out of rusty paint cans. The rawest emotion one can feel is anger and that is what I felt for not meeting my creative expectations and not having enough time (what a concept). Today, not so much, but still a note to myself: GET THIS FUCKER DONE!
July 16, 2019: Quotes About Writing and Emotions By Writers
July 15, 2019: Journal Entry #14
How Do We Get Back to Normal? Was There Ever One? How Do Get There? What Will 2020 Look Like?
I’m writing this because there are a few people in my life who I consider mentors, but sometimes we fall very opposite when it comes to politics. There is one in particular who has helped me grow and still does, but unlike me who never voted for the second George Bush, either time, she did. She also voted for Donald Trump and will again in 2020. I intentionally stayed away from this subject with her because we all know how heated politics can make people. It was interesting to say the least.
I’ve been called a cunt by someone I no longer have on Facebook. He’s one of those loyal, diehard Trump supporters where he can’t do anything wrong. I understand you have to respect other people’s beliefs, even those that clearly can’t see the other side(s), but it’s hard to find any common ground with two polar opposite people. His principles and viewpoints are not mine and mine are not his. If you’re not a patriot (wearing the American flag kind) and my assumption also a hardcore second amendment advocate, then you’re open to his attacks. So, how do we find common ground between him and me? In this case, we don’t because passionate beliefs tend to get in the way of good discussion.
I’d be hard pressed to vote for anyone from the Republican party, especially nowadays, based on my core principles. I lost a few acquaintances on Facebook because of my belief in equal rights for everyone. These people don’t. They live by their religion. I don’t. One of them trolls people on the internet, in order to pick fights, as it gives her satisfaction. Why do I know this? Because she told me. I don’t judge her because it’s her thing. She has a right to do this. The intent of this post isn’t to agitate the already agitated, but if you believe this is the reason for it, so be it. I can’t make anyone read between these lines or see the bigger picture, which I’m realizing is different for everyone. The political climate is drenched in instability with friction found in every corner.
Social media users go from 0 to 60 in such a short amount of time. Every subject turns into a debate about politics without ever really having a true debate. It turns into a word slug fest without much respect or intelligence. My mentor expressed the need to see the big picture and how CNN lies about what’s really going on, meaning they purposely leave out positive facts about Trump. In her belief, he has done great things for American communities and has protected a country (not the U.S.) she holds dear to her heart. While there is a sliver of truth to this, it doesn’t erase the numerous blunders, viewpoints, and crudity that spills from his mouth. I really wonder how genuine he is and for this reason, he will never get my seal of approval. If I didn’t care for people with his attributes long before he became President, why would I support him now? The answer is I don’t unless he changes. Put another way, he is not my cup of tea.
We both don’t watch CNN. I watch MSNBC. She watches Fox News. So how are we able to have a semi decent conversation about Trump with a little bit of Obama and Clinton mixed in? It happens because she holds back and I definitely hold back. Is it good we do this? Yes because if not I could go to a dark place that allows me to attack someone on his or her beliefs. I don’t want to do this. She was trying to convince me to see the positive in Trump as a few others have I consider friends. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. I’d much rather have him succeed than not, but he hasn’t done much to persuade me.
Do I think he has the mental and emotional capacity to be a leader? No. Do I think he has the intellectual capacity to bring the highly divided country he partially created to an end? No. Do I think his compulsion to tweet morning, noon, and night is excessive? Yes. Would I rather have someone else in the White House? Yes. Will someone else elected in 2020? I sure hope so.
My roommate asked me a good question. Would I vote for someone on the Democratic ticket who was similar to Trump (lack of experience and personality) or would I vote for a Republican nominee of sound body and mind? This was hard because I used to be Independent before I forced to pick a political party when I lived in CA. I adhere to more Democratic values over Republican ones, but paraphrasing Nicole Wallace, the Republican party has become the Trump party. She doesn’t recognize it anymore and that is why in 2020 she will vote for the Democratic nominee. If you don’t know, Wallace worked under George Bush, Jr. (as I call him) and has her own show in MSNBC. She used to be a Republican. Is this going to convince more Republicans to not vote along their party line in 2020? Probably not. The glue has hardened already. Time will tell if a few cross back and forth on this red and blue line. I don’t think the Democratic party would ever nominate a candidate like Trump, but if they did, I might have to vote for the Republican nominee to not repeat what happened in 2016.
I have core values I will not sway from much like my mentor will not sway from her core values. She votes for the candidate who gives support to one country. On the other hand, I vote for the candidate (so far all Democrats) because they align with my principles of environmental conservation, equal rights, and a woman’s right to control her own body. Where do I fall on guns? Outlawing guns will never work. Should there be tougher restrictions on who can buy guns? Yes because someone who is severely mentally ill doesn’t need a gun and neither does someone who likes to rob stores over and over again. It’s called common sense. Do I get freaked out when I see people carrying guns? No. Do I think people who want to carry guns should be able to? Yes. Again, it’s called common sense.
While many of the people jockeying to win the Democratic nomination have a long ways to go, I’m still undecided on who I want. There should be fresh faces in any party, but we shouldn’t disregard the politicians who have been there for a long time such as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. When 2019 comes to an end, hardcore Trump supporters will remain that. What they like about him varies. Has Trump changed enough for me to vote for him in 2020 or ever want to meet in person? No, as he seems only to care about his base time and time again.
This discussion I had with my mentor was necessary as it had been brewing for a while. It is one of those agree to disagree moments, but as in the past, we have learned to approach with caution. Heated topics creates heated discussions. It’s easy to feel threatened and get personal. We did not do this. I respect her beliefs and hope she respects mine. This hasn’t been happening within the Democratic party and between the Democrats and the President. We definitely need less grandstanding among some and less silence among others. I hope in 2020 we get rid of the politicians collecting a paycheck without doing much. Mitch McConnell comes to mind.
Whether Trump gets elected again hinges on whether the Democrats can nominate a good, middle of the road, challenger. If government is to support those that elected them, it has a long ways to go. This is why Trump was elected. Some of us were getting tired of Washington advancing their own interests. The issue is we now have another problem although some don’t see it, others ignore it, and more justify it. I can’t do any of the three. The current institutions, while not perfect, don’t need to be chipped away even further. I haven’t seen much swamp draining, but I have seen things being exposed for what they are (in the two major political parties and with the President). Who people vote for in 2020 or if they even vote at all is up to them, but never did I think I would have to say I wanted a President who doesn’t mind reading. There’s always going to be small, medium, and big problems in the world. It’s a revolving door. I would love if the swamp was drained, but what good is it if what’s replacing the smelly, dirty water is equal to or worse?
July 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #13
Drugs and More Drugs
I’ve been thinking lately about where drugs get their names and what’s with the wacky drug commercials. The sources for the topic of drugs is from International Business Times, Economist, and CNN. I will begin with drugs and how the they get their names. I think many sound bad and their commercials even worse. If you question why I’m saying this, check out the one below. The Chantix commercials aren’t much better either, but at least when I saw them it had Ray Liotta.
Surprisingly, there is a method to naming drugs. There are rules to follow as instructed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patented medicines and their generic brands. Have you wondered how drugs get their names? Here is a brief overview. Every drug has three names: chemical (let’s all agree consumers don’t really care about this too much), generic (consumers somewhat care about this), and brand (I’d say consumers pay attention to this the most because it’s the most recognizable). The biggest thing drug companies want are original drug names, but not too original. They want names that make sense, easy to pronounce, and have differentiation with other drug names. This is where creative agencies are pulled into the naming process and cost between $250,000 to $500,000 and take up to 24 months. This name is too similar to that name or this name is too exotic sounding are two things they aren’t looking for. Other things to keep in mind is not overstating a drug’s effectiveness or stigmatizing those taking the medication. The FDA has two departments, The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which accepts or rejects proposed medication names. Their purpose is to lower the errors made when prescribing drugs. The process starts with thousands of name possibilities and finishes with the most promising, and then nine are tossed out and one name is chosen. Think Celebrex, Viagra, OxyContin, Nexium, and Tamiflu.
Have you ever bought the generic brand to save money? I have and some medications work just as well. Other times I should have bought the more expensive brand. The most recent encounter of this is cough drops. Halls and Ricola are way better than the generic brands. I used to hate any kind of cough drops except Ludens because let’s face it, they are basically candy disguised as a cough drop. Now, I prefer the strongest kind of menthol cough drop made by man. I have a whole bunch of generic cough drops sitting in my bottom drawer. As a friend of mine says “it’s ass.” Yeah, it is. They don’t really help my coughing when my sinuses are draining. I will buy the generic equivalent to Advil, but not the Advil PM although I’m more prone to taking Melatonin now. Those ending in vir, mab, onide are indications they are generic. These drug names are approved by United States Adopted Names (USAN) and World Health Organization (WHO). While the pill will look different, it will have the same dosage, strength, stability, quality, safety, and route of administration. It should work the same way and offer the same benefits. The FDA reviews these medications with the same amount of attention as patented drugs.
Have you ever wondered by generic medicines cost less? It’s because they don’t have the same standards when it comes to repeated animal and clinical studies. Therefore, less animals are harmed and the application process (ANDA) from start to finish takes less time. Another positive to using generic drugs is it saved the U.S. healthcare system $1.67 trillion from 2007 to 2016 according to the IMS Health Institute. We want to be taking the right medicine prescribed to us. Nobody wants to be taking an antidepressant for a muscle spasm. I pay attention to detail so leaving a doctor with the wrong prescription probably wouldn’t happen, but if it did I would notice it at the pharmacy for sure. We don’t need more confusion in our lives as our our mind’s sharpness declines the older we get. This leads me to those instances where two similar names were approved like Celebrex and Celexa or Plavix and Paxil can get mixed up. Drug companies may need to spend additional money to change a particular drug name causing problems. For example, a pharmaceutical company needed to change one of their drugs because it was too similar to another drug for cancer. Introducing the new drug name is another part of this business while phasing out the old one. Switching gears a little bit, out of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson ranks 1st and Labcorp ranks 25th. If you want to see the whole list, click the pill below.
July 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #12
Halfway Through 2019 and Still Working on My Resolutions!
It’s already July and after taking two weeks off from exercising due to reasons I won’t get into because no one wants to hear this crap, but I will say I have to work through my pain some days. I’m currently reading four books right now and one in particular which has to do with rewriting and editing is enough to make my head spin. I think of all the things I will have to do on my second rewrite of this never ending story I’m working on after I’m done with my first rewrite. I think, but more pray my second novel idea takes half the time to write and rewrite let alone the five others after it. The real issue is time management as there isn’t enough time in every week to commit to everything I want to do and put things on the back burner again like I’ve done with my puzzles for a good year. It doesn’t help that I need to color my designs once, twice, and sometimes three times to be satisfied. I’m prepping myself to devote time in 2020 about an idea my roommate and I have been tossing around the past five years. Ugggh, the research and work. I’ve been doing a lot of watching TV and some movies lately as a diversion. I’m going to keep this short as there is no reason for this to be long winded. Thank you to everyone who is followed my blog, new and old. Keep following your dreams, whatever they may be, because I still am.
June 14, 2019: Flash Fiction: Car Ride
Ethan wasn’t driving over to grandma’s house to eat her oatmeal raisin cookies at his mother’s request but driving to meet someone he had never met before. It wasn’t in his best interest to be so daring but staying in his apartment no longer suited him on this Saturday night. His mindset had changed after a good night’s sleep, actually it was a whole week of rest that pushed him into new territory. Nobody liked to hear his finger tapping or change jingling in his pocket when he was bored. His friend had given him a fidget spinner for his birthday a year ago, but eventually it found a home in the back of his closet.
This someone he was meeting was for a simple transaction. He would give her money for an hour of companionship. He doubted it would ever end up going beyond that, but it had been a secret of his to do this exact thing. He had wanted to know about this seedy lifestyle for a while. There had been a tiny bit of hesitation because nothing was failsafe, but there were ways to make it one’s business except his own. They had agreed upon a place to meet up, near a supermarket called Coulson’s, like two casual friends. It took five minutes of Ethan waiting and scanning the area from his car to be assured this was not a sting operation. The thought crossed his mind what his parents would think if he was caught with a prostitute. It almost convinced him to turn his car back on and get out of there.
He slammed the car door shut, making sure it wasn’t locked if he needed to get back inside quickly. It wasn’t good to leave your car unlocked, but he wasn’t going far. He could keep an eye on it. It wasn’t as if he left his keys in the ignition. With his hands stuffed into his pockets and after a few people glanced at him, he waited for that someone to arrive. It was a quarter past seven when she appeared. It was clear she was there for one purpose, but she was dressed nicely as if going to a dinner on a blind date. His eyes shifted to the area around her, looking one more time for any hint of cops.
After she exchanged her working name of Cindy for his actual name, they chatted about cost for her services. He was confident she wasn’t a cop when she agreed to go with him to a motel, but the further they traveled away from Coulson’s, the more anxious he became. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he noticed a car trailing behind him. It was close enough to not lose him, but far enough away to not arose too much suspicion. He wondered if this was normal anxiety he felt or a sign of something else. His gut reaction was to dismiss it, but he found himself driving around in rectangles and circles. When Cindy demanded him to pull his car over, he told her he didn’t want to.
“I don’t care,” she said.
“The only free space is red.”
“Do you always do what your mommy tells you?”
“Fine,” Ethan said, pulling his car over and putting the car in park in a residential neighborhood. He imagined mothers putting their young children to bed and fathers having one last go of whatever fathers did before their free time was up. He thought back to his childhood when he felt Cindy’s hand on his knee. It didn’t take long for her move her hand from his knee to his thigh.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?” she asked, her hand going further up his thigh.
“I mean with your mouth.”
When she leaned into him, he placed his hand on her forehead to stop her from moving closer to his crotch. “I mean words, words coming out of your mouth, like sentences.”
“I can do two things at once,” she said.
“I’m sorry, but I think I made a mistake.”
“Mistake or no mistake, you still owe me.”
“Yes, right.” He reached for his wallet and stopped himself. “This probably sounds silly, but I get the feeling you’re a cop.”
“Do you want me to be a cop?”
“Um, of course, not.”
“I’m not a cop.”
“I don’t want to go to jail.”
Ethan looked behind him. The car that was trailing behind him was nowhere in sight. This felt like a dream to him. He had no choice but to continue and hope he was still a free man by the end. He removed five twenty-dollar bills from his wallet. The second it left his hand for hers, he held his breath and waited for the ball to drop. When nothing happened, the joy of knowing he wasn’t going to jail overwhelmed him and blurted that he belonged to Mensa.
“Good for you,” she said.
“My ex-girlfriend didn’t believe I was smart enough to be a part of it, so I took an IQ test to prove her wrong.”
“Again, good for you.”
“She told me I was the biggest mistake she ever made, and I was a piece of shit. I was tantamount to a worthless person who should choke on a bone and die.”
“You’re the best mistake I made tonight, if it makes you feel any better.”
“It should,” she said, opening the door.
“I can bring you back to where I met you.”
“I have a ride.”
The car from earlier appeared and pulled to the curb. Cindy ignored the driver’s impatience and told Ethan to cut himself some slack, and he deserved happiness. He found his way back to the main road and not a few blocks from his apartment, he saw flashing lights behind him. He let off the gas after saying shit, but the cop moved into the other lane and zoomed past him with sirens now sounding. After he parked his car in the garage, he made a point to look up before walking to the elevator. He knew he was lucky this time. Maybe, the seedy part of life wasn’t for him. He wasn’t a journalist. He wasn’t looking for any career change. He was an average looking man with an above average IQ. He was what people called being a part of the mainstream.
June 10, 2019: Journal Entry Type #11
Time to Bust Out the Humidifier!
My blog posts have been few and far between because of this sinus pressure my face has been holding onto especially last week. It pretty much kept me unable to do many of the things I would’ve liked to do: writing, blogging, exercising, etc. My head feels like it’s in a fog and my eyes feel like they are being stretched in all directions. I try to go without taking medicine, but lately I’ve been downing Benedryl and using nasal spray. It’s time to bring out the humidifier and use warm wash clothes on my face on a regular basis. It’s definitely allergy season, and I know I’m not the only one having to sleep with cough drops in my mouth. I’m really hoping this subsides a little bit, enough where I feel like I’m not a useless human being. I did force myself to go out and have brunch with someone on Saturday and took a few pictures as I was leaving Bellagio of the flowers. I got a lot of Netflix/Hulu watching done as well as reading a little bit. I’m hoping for less pain next weekend. Please!
May 27, 2019: A.A. Milne Quotes
May 24, 2019: Journal Entry Type #10
Are You Okay With Being Average on a Friday?
The only thing that has worked for me to lose weight is watching what I’m eating, but I’ll be the first one to admit I love the food that is NOT good for you. I love popcorn (bad for my TMD and yes, I know corn is a carb), but if I was stranded on an island for a few weeks, I would be okay with only popcorn, ice tea, water, and mints. No one and I mean NO ONE takes my popcorn away. Even more important is not eating so much every day and cardio exercise where your shirt, shorts, and even your undergarments are soaked in sweat. This is the only way I know how to do it. Telling myself to eat small portions helps to an extent, but in the long run it doesn’t. If I’m not exercising (some days I push myself harder than others), then I know there is no way I’m going to be able to lose weight because I tend to eat poorly if I skip a whole week or two (bad, I know). I’ve read all about the different diets out there and how it’s a multi-billion dollar business. I’ve never tried any of them because my logic is I should be able to do that myself. There should be a clear line between living freely and living with rules. I know it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but I’m not a cookie cutter person. I’m the poster adult for starting and stopping behaviors that are good for me. I battle having to get to the gym to exercise despite growing up in an active family. The main reason I’m wanting to lose weight is to feel better about myself and be stronger physically, but also so I can live longer to get done everything I want to achieve in life. The other reason is I hate needles, and the main reason I had to quit donating blood. I don’t want to be poking myself with insulin later in life. Mortality has become more of a factor in my life since I’m a little over the halfway point in my life based on the CDC National Center for Health Statistics. The average life expectancy in 2017 for U.S. women is 81.1 years and U.S. men is 78.6 years. I guess what I’m saying is I’m sort of having a renewed sense of reason for living. I’ve read stress reduces one’s life, and I’m trying to have less of it. Let’s just say my eyes have become more open to the reality I will not be here forever and will be forgotten by the masses. Do I want to live until 100? Probably not and for many reasons. I only hope in my next life time I don’t have so much struggle in some areas and realize sooner being average is okay (to an extent).
May 14, 2019: Flash Fiction: George Does Something
George sat there not wanting to talk. It wasn’t because he couldn’t, but because he thought it would amount to nothing. He had misjudged his peers, thinking they were smart, when those in the room were the farthest thing from it. He called them nuisances, pond scum, crickets that wouldn’t shut up at night when he was in the privacy of his home.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful to the company he had worked for the past thirty years. He had fond memories of the days when he was fresh out of college, and thought the whole world was his oyster to not only catch, pry open, but to admire the pearl inside. As the days turned into years that turned into a decade, the pearl had been lost and the chance of finding it again was gone.
He looked at his co-worker sitting across from him. He believed her name was Cindy, but wasn’t sure. If it was Cindy, he thought it was a stupid name, as no parent should be naming their child such a girlish name. His name wasn’t original either, but at least it wasn’t as bad as Cindy. His co-worker who sat to his left was named Meredith. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and mainly kept to herself. His co-worker who sat to his right was Tom. He had a butt that kept giving long after he sat down. It was an unwritten rule that sunk in chair belonged to him and only him. He was a fat, millennial jerk who thought he had his life already figured out.
There were a handful of others in the room, but it was these three that George focused as his boss called his name.
“George, come up here, please.”
A combination of confusion and anticipation appeared on Cindy’s, Meredith’s, and Tom’s face along with everyone in the room.
His could care less stance had been replaced with this better not be what I think it is.
“If anyone knows the value of greatness, it’s this man. He started out a grunt at this company and worked his way up the ladder,” his boss said, patting George on his back. “He’s the epitome of what a person can achieve. His knowledge and leadership over the years have led to many valuable contributions. With this said, it’s my pleasure to present to you this achievement award.”
He watched his boss remove a glass plaque from a box and offer it to him. He wanted to grab it and throw it against the wall. He decided against it. There would be time to tell his boss how he really felt. When the plaque was in his grasp, his co-workers clapped long enough for him to feel dizzy. Half the room knew about the hidden meaning while the other half were too stupid to realize he was being forced out by someone he considered his friend. He hadn’t been sure if his boss wanted him gone, but it was clear now.
“Is there anything you want to add, George?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Alright, you heard the man,” his boss said. “The fun’s over. Everyone back to work. Empty seats are waiting.”
A short burst of laughter erupted.
George watched his co-workers file out of the room. He still thought the same about Cindy, Meredith, and Tom. They offered little to him in the last five years and would offer him even less in the next five.
His boss and himself were the last ones to the door. George almost let him go, but at the last moment, blocked him from leaving. He nudged him back into the room and shut the door.
“I’m ready to talk now.”
May 12, 2019: Journal Entry Type #9
You know what I would love not to have? There are a few things. One of them is called chronic sinus problems. The second one is called chronic TMD problems. The third one doesn’t have to do with my body but causes me just as much grief, and is known as car problems. I’ve never understood why people buy such fancy cars, but that’s just me. Even if I had millions of dollars, I still wouldn’t buy an expensive car because you get nothing for it except the label that you’re filthy rich. I know, each to his or her own, but I’d much rather spend it on something else and write a good story about me becoming rich in the way of a fiction story if it ever happens. Let me get back to reality. This nice three day weekend I had planned basically had the bottom dissolve away on Friday morning. Good thing I took a vacation day to lay in bed because that’s about all I could do with my face and eyes. I did the same too off and on for Saturday. There goes my plan on hiking and writing for that day. This leads to Sunday where spending more money on my car was unplanned. On a good note, my car doesn’t sound like a dying animal anymore, but on the flip side, I got nothing done I intended. I suppose this is what my next three day weekend is for, but pretty much chalk this one up to the loser pile. As soon as this week is gone, another one arrives. Need to see the good and forget the bad.
If you’re wondering what the top 10 most expensive cars are in 2019, they are listed below. The source is from DIGITAL TRENDS. If you want to see their pictures and the full list, click on the Bugatti Chiron photo. If you want to see the list of the 10 cheapest cars in 2019 by 20SOMETHING FINANCE, click on the Chevy Spark photo.
- Aston Martin Valkyrie at 2.6 million.
- Laferrari FXX K at 2.7 million.
- Bugatti Chiron at 2.9 million.
- Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio at 3 million.
- Limited Edition Bugatti Veyron by Mansory Vivere at 3.4 million.
- W Motors Lykan Hypersport at 3.4 million.
- Lamborghini Veneno at 4.5 million.
- Koenigesgg CCXR Trevita at 4.8 million.
- Mercedes=Benz Maybach Exelero at 8 million.
- Rolls-Royce Sweptail at 13 million.
May 6, 2019: Journal Entry Type #8
There’s many topics to choose from: Tyra Banks cover on Sports Illustrated, the Duke and Duchess of Susssex’s baby, Netflix’s Ted Bundy focus/obsession, Donald Trump’s 1 billion dollar loss according to his taxes, and the costumes/outfits from the Met Gala. I’m covering none of them although I’d like to lose 30 pounds like Tyra did, glad I don’t have a baby to take care of, glad Ted Bundy is dead, waiting for the U.S. government to not be a shit show, and the fact some people really don’t like Lady Gaga including a few of my friends.
Ever since I came back from Los Angeles, I’ve been lethargic and not really having the motivation to do much of anything besides work and sleep. My eating habits slipped and now have to work on getting it back. I’m not really an emotional eater, but lately I have been. I’m not sure why. Honestly, I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t be overeating. Right? I haven’t exercised at all this week, which is not the norm because I’m trying to do 3 to 4 workout sessions a week. I’m up to jogging five miles, but if I’m ever going to get at a decent weight, I have to do a lot more than nothing like I’ve been doing this week.
My life has become filled with doctor appointments and other things that get in the way of my financial and personal freedom. This is life and yes, as much as I hate this word, “adulting” is hard. Also, when did the word, “mansplaining” come into our vocabulary? Never mind, I looked it up. It’s been a word since March 2018 according to Webster Dictionary. I’ve never had it done to me before (to my knowledge), but I don’t care to think that far back if it did happen.
My predicament right now is my pure laziness and not wanting to do much of anything because of countless things you don’t want to hear. I will say headaches tend to wreck your day in many ways and for me it’s been the last good 15 years. You learn to live and deal with it, but yes, it sucks ass. It also drains your energy, which is what I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. I’m hoping this ends soon. I’m working on more short stories, flash fiction, adding more movie and TV recommendations, and rewriting my first novel so I can move onto my second one I’m hoping takes half as long to write.
Sometimes, I get stuff done. Other times, very little. This will probably be half and half and the latter part of it is where I’ll get it done. On that note, I’m off to jog 5 miles and if I have the motivation exercise another 40 minutes. Stay tuned for more blogs, sooner than later, I’m hoping.
May 6, 2019: Shakespeare and Twain Quotes
April 29, 2019: When the Coffee’s Ready, You’ll Smell it
He was what you’d call today a little person, but back in those days you’d called him a midget. Either way he was known around here as Henry after he was kicked out of Tinseltown. I will spare you the nicknames he acquired during those days because this only soured his attitude whenever you mentioned it.
He used to view life as fresh and thought every opportunity was a gift from heaven when he arrived in this little town I had lived in since birth. Right up to his death, he still barreled down the stairs as fast as his legs would take him. Everyone knew he racked up more than a few problems that stayed past their invitation. I’m convinced it partially sent him to his grave early. God rest his soul. The rest was done by one or more people.
Henry had a brother named Corky, a nickname he had given himself at an early age, and one he insisted everyone use in his adulthood. With their parents long gone, no one was aware of his actual name except Henry, and he sure wasn’t about to mess with Corky’s pride. Unlike his brother, he was of average height and while he was known to be kind, there was no telling what might set him off. Some attributed it to him being dropped on his head as a child one too many times, but these were only stories told by others who thought they knew him.
The morning, roughly two weeks before his death, Henry barreled down the stairs as normal with his metal cup in hand. There were two things that either woke him up every morning: a gal by the name of Sofia or a cup of coffee. Sofia woke him up on special occasions. The coffee did so on a much regular basis. The routine for him was to climb onto the stool, in order to bang the counter with his palm, and within seconds the coffee was in his cup. It was black as coal, no sugar or milk. On even less occasion, Corky joined him while he watched Henry slurp his coffee. Henry and Corky had a bond like any brothers have, tightening even more as they got older.
One night after Henry went to sleep, Corky had a stern talking to with Sofia. He hadn’t liked her influence over him lately. She asked how she had changed him. His response was for the worse. She didn’t like that much. It wasn’t a good enough answer. She kicked him hard where it counted the most. He buckled over and managed not to fall to his knees. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to protect herself. If her survival meant the disintegration of another, so be it. She had paid her dues to society. It was her turn to be given respect. She made sure to take it whether it was willfully given or not.
Michael liked high pitched noises. It didn’t matter where they came from, human or object. When he found Henry, the person he regarded as his best friend, he screamed and kept screaming for two reasons. One, because he liked to hear his voice, and two, if you stopped before people realized something was wrong, there was no point in even opening your mouth. His screams continued until a large enough group was in the room. They rushed over, taking their turns to feel a pulse, but there was nothing but partially warm flesh to touch and deadened pupils to gaze.
As more people came to see the commotion, others left the room. It became a rotating dance of in and out except three people. Corky had lost his composure and fell back against the wall, periodically glancing from Sofia to Henry to Stewart to Michael and all over again but in a different order. Sofia was on her knees next to Henry. She cried the most and gave the appearance of a grieving lover. Sofia’s brother, Stewart, watched everyone mourn and gawk at the dead midget.
I knew none of them were responsible for Henry’s death even though I knew more than a half believed differently. I had seen the person who had killed him, his eyes not lifeless or deceiving. He looked like any of us, searching for a better life, in this small town. This person had poisoned the air we breathed and made us mistrustful of each other that day. While I didn’t know the person’s name, the face was imprinted in my memory. There would be no forgetting what he wore. His smell reeked of something I hadn’t identified. When I find him and I will, it will be more than words that are exchanged between us.
April 6, 2019: Writing Quote
April 5, 2019: Journal Entry Type #7
Let’s Talk About Anxiety
I recently asked someone if I’m more obsessive compulsive or anxious. Why? Because I tend not to think of myself as anxious. I’ve gone through most of my life having other emotions, the run of the mill along with some that stems from what happened to me a long time ago, but this isn’t the point of this blog entry. The point is I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, which is why I catch myself dialing it back once in a while. Sometimes, I think I share too much but then I wouldn’t be me. This was the answer I received. You’re more obsessive about getting things done, which makes you think about it too much, and this creates your anxiety. I never would’ve said this. I prided myself in being on an even keel as much as I can. I like a platform that doesn’t sway all over place. But now I do see anxiety does flare up inside when it comes to goals and the timing involved.
Let’s Talk About Flying
I’ve been on enough plane rides to know when the pilot flying the plane has put in many miles in the skies versus one who hasn’t. I was only on one plane ride where the pilot was new. The landing was the bumpiest I’d ever been on and mind you this was on a clear day. The sun was shining. The clouds were fluffy. Not a drop of bad weather. I would say it might have been his first flight. I can deal with this to an extent. Just don’t crash the plane, okay. The annoyance I can’t get rid of is my plugged up ears. No matter what I do, they plug up so bad I can hardly hear anything. Even gum doesn’t work sometimes. This when I have to relieve the pressure myself. I’m sure I look stupid, but it has to be done. No doubt I’ll be doing this when I fly back to Los Angeles for work. I’m looking forward to it because I feel this is a transition period for me. It sounds corny, but I have affinity for the places I used to live. It will be good to be in the city that opened and closed its doors to me.
Let’s Talk About Jury Duty
I got back from exercising the other day to find out when I checked the mail, I was summoned for jury duty. I’m not the first or last person to be called to this ever important duty as they claim. I half take the stance of “who cares” and half “what is this shit.” No use postponing it. I’d rather do this when it’s not 110 degrees. The week after I get back from Los Angeles, the following Monday I have to report to jury. The last time I did this was in Los Angeles, and ended up going to a much smaller place than downtown but still busy. The chance of getting picked is remote when you’re in the second pool. I got out after serving a day’s worth of my time. I’m hoping they don’t need me. The statistics are in my favor.
Let’s Talk About Wellness
This brings me to the point of trying to improve two areas of my life. If you haven’t realized it yet, health and writing, continues to be the focal point of my existence. It will until the day I die. I’ve been trying to find the time including the motivation to make the time to do both. My deadlines are still written on more than one piece of paper. I’m definitely learning to go with the flow more. I’ve been jotting down a few things I want to do every day instead of five to ten. I ended up playing a game where strategy is the key. It’s not as complex as chess and a lot more fun. I was told I played dirty, but I can’t when I didn’t even realize what I had done until halfway into it. Nevertheless, I won. My overarching goal is to have variety in my life and try new things. I’m sort of doing this.
Let’s Talk About Survival
With certain age comes wisdom and for me that is focusing on myself is the best thing to do, all the while disengaging, at times, from the negative and chaotic chatter and issues going on around you whether it be work, family, politics, or general public. This doesn’t mean you have to be cold to others, but it does mean your basic necessities and emotional well-being should and must come first. It’s about remaining strong in areas you already are and gaining strength in the ones you lack. I’m talking mental and emotional strength. Taking a good look at weak areas is always beneficial. I’ve recognize patterns I hadn’t seen before. Saying no and standing up to people is part of this. We say sorry too much as a whole although some could stand to say it a little more. For all the mail that comes in from organizations asking for donations, I’d be a whole lot richer if I could find a way to use all the wasted paper for a monetary benefit.
Let’s Talk About Future
I’m currently reading four books. One is about mental health and the current person sitting in the Oval Office. I’m only 50 some pages deep, and already offers good insight and information. While it covers Donald Trump, it is much more than that. This is a type of book where you find yourself comparing yourself and others to what they are saying. I’m interested to see what else it says. I’m curious where my life goes too. I have my ideal timeline of what events I want to happen in what year. This is the planner and plotter in me. I also have a realistic timeline that isn’t so adhered to any year. It’s taken me a while to not think in black and white or the glass is half empty or half full. There really is an in between.
Let’s Talk About Reality
Looking back, I had lofty dreams and it even included kids at one point (must have been at a time when I was delusional). I no longer want to live in a ten room house with four kids (what the hell was I thinking). I no longer want to live on a hobby farm when I retire. It’s nice not having to take care of a dog, cat, or rabbit anymore. I no longer want to smoke cigarettes and write all night long when everyone is asleep. I no longer want to live the life of a starving artist or writer. Now, I have dreams but of another kind. It’s called reality. I want to be able to retire at a decent age, pay off my loan, and enjoy the little things in life have to offer. And of course, get to a weight I can stand and write my seven novels. Then if I get that done, write my eight other book ideas. I’ve broken them up into two parts. The same goes for blogging. I’m more than likely giving up something tonight so I have time to blog. See, I have improved and can bend a little bit.
April 1, 2019: Journal Entry Type #6
When I write in my actual journal, I usually start it with something along the lines of “Well, another week has passed and dealing with the same shit.” or “Today is Wednesday, and I haven’t written in a while.” I’m writing as if my journal actually understands what the hell I’m talking about when it has no clue. I write about all the things usually bothering me that day or did bother me in the week so it doesn’t build up. I write about the messed up dreams I’ve recently had I neglected to write about the day it happened. Or, I write about the things I don’t have and wish I had. I write about not having those feelings and emotions that don’t serve me well. I also write about those things going well in my life, but realize saying “just think positive” doesn’t solve all my problems. As much as I want life to be that easy and actually am ready for it mentally now, it usually never happens.
I used to justify the amount of time or lack of time I spent on my blog for one reason or another. It wasn’t fun anymore and saw it as a chore about a year after I signed up. It felt I was saying the same thing over and over. I mean how many times can I write different poem with similar words and moods? How many months pass where I don’t write a short story because frankly I can’t churn them out like some writers nor do I feel like writing at the moment? A writer who doesn’t want to write. Imagine that! I’m not willing to burn the midnight oil as much anymore, but realize I need to refocus on my rewrite.
As April is upon me now, I have three months left to finish my rewrite. My goal is to have it done by the end of June. The good thing is I took some days off coming up to dedicate myself solely to it. I want it to be 400+ pages, but I’ll be lucky if I make it to 350. Quality versus quantity is what I’ve been trying to do instead of mindless quantity concerning my blog. The same goes for my novel ideas. In other areas of my life, I was supposed to have lost 15 pounds by now, but only lost 10. My knees aren’t so strong as they used to be, but will take them while they are still in their 40s. Do I have a choice? I just found out my vision has changed again so I need new lenses. The fun never stops.
So where is the 100% icon? I’m not there yet. I’m not the best blogger out there when it comes to new content every day and sometimes I let it lapse for a whole week, but I appreciate everyone who has followed my blog at one point or another. With this in mind, I hope to do a little more browsing and reading of other people’s entries this month because it seems only fair.
March 27, 2019: When the Teeth Grit
Beggars can’t be choosy when you are left with nothing to do, but daydream of maybe getting out. I came here when I was fifteen and while that might seem young, it wasn’t to me. I had lived a life that people twice my age will never have lived. The bad thing is I experienced those things that puts wrinkles on your face for all the wrong reasons. I made bad decisions outside of this place and inside too. I’m not sure if I can ever be let out again, not where I could function properly. I’ve become what they call “institutionalized.” The sad thing is many of these people in here do belong. Why? Because they have no issues killing and we all know killing is bad. If they got out, they’d kill again without losing any sleep. I wasn’t one of them who killed, but I did enough things for me never to walk the streets of any city again or at least, I thought.
In the beginning it was easier because naivety takes hold of you. You think you will stay clean on the inside and your hopes are high you will change. The reality of the situation comes raining down on you when you find your life in jeopardy. You realize how much people like to make you pay for your sins on both sides of the fence. When I was told to get off the bench and go somewhere else, I had to do that without delay. Those who questioned the authority got unnecessary punishment, if not at that time, then later when they least expected it. After a fair amount of rebellion because I was ready for the challenge, the point came when my sturdy legs weren’t willing to subject themselves to the next level. Everyone breaks eventually in this place, in some way, and I did that. My inner resolve to survive became part of me.
I learned there are those who aren’t satisfied, and they are the ones who like to leave marks on your flesh. They want you to suffer, and hate to lose power. You grit your teeth every time their fists connect to your ribs. You reach deep inside to not scream and think about how strong you were when you first entered. You convince yourself you’re still a good person. You are as strong as them is what you keep telling yourself. I lost pride along the way, but I was better for it. I learned to grab the rope when it was offered. It’s been almost 30 years since I came here, and now I’m leaving today. I’m not sure how long it will last, but long enough to walk the streets one last time.
March 27, 2019: Book Writing Exercise
Begin writing with the following sentence: “That was the time he stopped believing ———-.”
That was the time he stopped believing all was going as planned. It wasn’t his fault although others close to him would later say it was only his fault. He had grown up in such unusual circumstances, but was it really all that unusual. He had a mother and a father who loved him dearly. He had siblings who looked out for him as his name was etched deeper and deeper on the sports plaques and awards and once out of high school, his father’s Alma mater opened its arms even wider. He was captain of every team he took part of and was what you’d call a success by the time he graduated. He worked his way up the ranks of his father’s company. He was everything a parent desired and everything he received after that was earned although some thought otherwise Jealousy is found within those you least expect. They come out of the woodwork stating how much they despise the golden spoon.
His scrunched up face, combined with his open mouth, meant the news was startling. At first he thought one of his brothers or parents had gotten into a car accident, but then he recognized the voice. It belonged to a woman he had dated not too long ago. She deserved a man who could make her happy, as much as he deserved another suitable woman. He thought that chapter in his life had closed as their parting had been mutual. It had not as he asked, “what are you going to do?” The question every man asks when he finds out the woman he once had a relationship with is pregnant. She didn’t answer him right away, but when she did her voice was full of raw emotion.
“What do you mean? What am I going to do? I’m going to have this baby and raise it like any good person would!”
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It sounded that way.”
“Don’t get upset. I’m just surprised, that’s all. I haven’t talked to you in over a month, and now you tell me I’m going to be a father.”
“It wasn’t what I was expecting either. I’m not even sure you’re father material.”
“Have you thought about other options?”
“There’s many parents who can’t have children of their own.”
“I’m not letting someone else raise my baby. Who knows how he will end up?”
“We’re having a son?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You said how he will end up.”
“I meant it generically. I’m hoping for a girl.”
“So, adoption is out?”
“Yes.” There was a long pause before she spoke again. “I don’t know. I can’t think about that right now. I basically called to tell you the news.”
“We need to talk about this more.”
“I know, but not right now.”
“Maybe, next week.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for your call. Do you want me to stop by later?”
“No. Just wait ’til my call.”
“Are you sure?”
“You sound stressed out right now.”
“Wouldn’t you be?”
“If I come over, we can discuss this more.”
She hung up, leaving him wishing the call had been about a car accident. In this situation, he knew what to do. Being the youngest in his family, he was the one who convinced his older brother to give his marriage another shot. He was the one who made the calls for his parents’ 50th anniversary. He was the one who kept his composure during tense situations, but not on this day. There was no rushing to the hospital to talk to the best doctors money could afford. Surgery wasn’t required, and there was nothing to take away what he was feeling. The anxiety and loss of independence he knew would still be there no matter how many pills he swallowed. He had to convince her it was too early for him to be a father. If that did not work, he looked down, almost in shame for what he thought. It didn’t stay with him long, but long enough to remind him his life came first.
March 26, 2019: Elizabeth Bowen Quotes
March 23, 2109: Journal Entry Type #5
I live with someone who thinks I should listen to more music. He’s probably right. I should. I no longer have my CD player that most everyone had as they graduated high school and went off to college or worked a job somewhere. The CD player eventually stopped working, but the cassette player was still fine. I seem to be stuck in the 90s as that is the decade I was in high school. Maybe, I’m just missing those years and having some nostalgia. Why? I don’t know. The Reality Bites movie was all the rage and Winona Ryder still hasn’t won an Oscar although people have clued into the weird faces she has the ability to make. A recent poll asked who was the best grunge singer: Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, or Kurt Cobain. My roommate asked me this all important question. We had the same answer and in the same pecking order. Two minds think alike even though he’s a Millennial and I’m a part of Generation X. And if you’re wondering what the answer is, it is should be this: Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Eddie Vedder, and Kurt Cobain. Sorry, Kurt but Chris blows your voice out into outer space and then some. Sure, Eddie Vedder has that voice, but Chris Cornell really had that voice. Does anyone remember Layne Staley? I sure do. Don’t get me started about the current singers, pop stars in particular, although K-Pop is an interesting phenomenon. Do I listen to it? No. Will I give it a try? Probably not. This brings me to the Millennials. They get a bad rap and while some of it might be true, a lot of it is not. Unfortunately, I have adopted some bad Millennial stereotypes myself such as being glued to my iPhone too much and addicted to social media at times. I catch myself being too absorbed with what is going on with the British Royal family although lately I’m like enough about the supposed fights among the members and then by way of that seeing the boneheaded things certain reality stars are doing or not doing. I call it social media pollution where I have to ask myself again, “who the hell gives a crap about person X or person Y?” Or another question, “why the hell does this bother me so damn much?” Or better yet, “why am I looking at this?” I try my best to give everyone a fair shake and forgive those who I feel are severely lacking, but for a select few there isn’t much they could do to change my mind. They take up precious oxygen that could be used by others who need it more.
This brings me to the purpose of this blog, I suppose, and that is how much should a person fight for the things they believe in and when do they let go of the fight when it clearly isn’t working in his or her favor. I used to get amped up more back in the day about topics I was passionate about, but now it’s like “I’m no longer in my 20s or 30s and while I’m not freaking out that my life is passing me by (okay maybe a little bit), I’ve taken a more “not give a rat’s ass attitude and get on with my life as best I can.” I might sound a little jaded here, but I’ve lived a life trying to better myself in every which way possible and while sometimes I failed miserably, other times I didn’t. I plan on writing a humorous, sarcastic, realistic, and maybe somewhat emotional book later about what it means to have my brain. I think it could be fascinating and entertaining at the same time. Someone once told me it must hurt to have my brain because I think so damn much, and at this point in my life, I doubt I’ll change that much. Yet, when it comes to the power of my brain and its overload, in some ways I have because I can now learn to think “fuck it,” say “fuck it,” and do “fuck it” in the sense of fucking scrap everything I had planned on a certain day and just exist. Some days I need to just exist and not have a massive plan written down on paper and in my head and just live. This is what my life has always been, constantly trying to catch up and as my roommate says, “jam packing a thousand things into one day.” As you can probably guess, this isn’t such a great way to live, let alone healthy. It causes great stress among other things such as pressure. So, as I inch closer to 50 although as of right now I’m closer to 40, it won’t be that way forever. This begs the question of why some people think it isn’t right to ask a woman her age. My response to this is “I don’t care if people know my age,” because I would hope you’d be able to ballpark it given how the more than a few strands of white hair on my head are clearly visible (still not sure how I feel about this) and the lines on my face that used to not be there are definitely there. For the first time, I admit that if I had an unlimited supply of money I might do something to decrease the size of my pores and the wrinkles on my face, but this is vanity speaking. It’s better to think about the things I don’t have in terms of illness and focus on the things I want in life that mean way more to me than losing my wrinkles.
I’m at a point where I’m subtracting crap that doesn’t work for me (mainly mentally and emotionally) and hopefully working to add stuff I desire (mainly physical and monetary). I live a life of plotting, editing, and sorting enough that writing without much planning is a good thing. I call it diarrhea of the mouth. I also call it a reminder to get my ass back in gear with my rewrite because my life is a circle of continuous action and non action. I don’t have time for sharp edges like triangles and squares anymore. I don’t have time for overly caustic people who can’t even put themselves into another person’s shoes. I’m not asking for a week’s length of time, maybe a few minutes, but I find this lack of commonality alarming. I get humans are different people because of race, class, and values. We all don’t have to think and act the same. We seem to be in conflict as a collective whole where people minimize important issues while exploiting others that are taken way out of context. We’ve never reached the middle ground as a society, and while I’m a loyal supporter of a few causes and beliefs (being you will never convince me that dog fighting is a good thing or that you will never convince me to sit down for a complimentary paid lunch at the fanciest restaurant LA can offer with any of the Kardashian family including Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner), I think it has to be there somewhere. It’s hard given the current political atmosphere to remain quiet all of the time, and while I might post something that will irritate some people (those hardcore supporters that will go down in flames defending their beliefs), I’m not going to be silent because of fear I will upset someone. I consider myself respectful in most circumstances, but I’m not a shameless agitator either. I realize the political climate is fragile and not just in the U.S. although from where I’m sitting, it seems the U.S. is dominating world headlines for all the wrong reasons. I often wonder how the world views the U.S. as a collective whole. As I’m learning not to carry the weight of others and world issues on my shoulders, I’m curbing my need to also not over think these issues either. My focus has been more inward, on what I have control over and can change. With this in mind, I think it’s time to crack out any one of my CDs collecting dust and crank up the tunes and forget about labels and get shit done without pressure. You know how it goes, right?
March 20, 2019: Late Night Writing
It’s late and I should be in bed. Soon, very soon, as I have an appointment tomorrow morning. I plan on doing more rewriting of my book this weekend. I’m trying to keep up with my exercise and get over the fact the car mechanic that worked on my car left grease all over my mats and interior doors. I need to go back to the garage for another reason, but it’s all in a day’s work outside of work. Good night, everyone.
March 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #4
Here is my fourth journal entry type. So, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and am mainly honest with where I am in life including my struggles, my successes, and my hopes and dreams. I’ve had this push and pull with being healthy as much as I can and find jogging/running is the only way for me to lose weight. It works for me time and time again, but I’ve never have really been able to keep it off. My weight fluctuates year by year and as we all know your metabolism decreases as you get older and have to work a little harder (in my case a lot harder) to get even minor results. I think finding the time to have balance in one’s life is what I’m going through now, and when I don’t get through my list, then I spread it out into the week so I don’t freak out or get down on myself. So far, I’ve been able to adjust my thinking to being okay with not jam packing everything into one day or even one week. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling people do to themselves whether through words or actions. I’m a person who tends to put pressure on herself so I other people putting pressure on me is usually not a good thing. Living a well rounded life takes work. I really needed to have to put my running shoes on today in order to jog/run for 4 miles because my goal is to lose weight, not gain it. I decided to not go as hard and fast as I did the other day as I needed to give my knees a rest and let’s face it, I’m still starting getting into an exercise routine again. So, as March is now here, I’m continuing to match my future goals with current actions as much as possible. Everything has it’s time line, and finding that happy medium where pushing yourself just right is a good thing. One day is only one day from a certain angle, but from another it is something different. I guess today I looked at today from a different angle.
February 18, 2019: Writing Book Exercise
Jot down a list of things that make you angry. Some of them make me legitimately angry, but others are just pure annoyances. I will list ten of them although I’m sure I could make it longer.
- People who expect everything to be perfect when they order any food or beverage item as if they were dining at a high-priced establishment
- People who feel the need to jingle change in their pockets, which doesn’t happen so much anymore since debit and credit cards have become a staple for most of us
- The way animals are abused in factory farms
- The amount of damage white collar crime can have on victims and their families
- Economic inequality among individuals
- People who drive without any regard to others around them
- The amount of unnecessary coverage about the English royal family including Meghan Markle and her family
- TV reality shows especially those involving any kind of housewife and the I wish they would stop being so relevant Kardashian family
- People who are overly narcissistic and/or have no empathy for others
- The fact my body is getting older and causing more problems
Write about one thing on the list. I wrote about people who drive without any regard to others around them.
I’ve been known to speed, which is much easier to do in bigger cities, and not get caught. Trust me when I say the LAPD have bigger fish to fry than someone speeding 5 to 10 miles over the limit. I do my best to follow the rules, but people in LA tend to have lead feet. There are two options: drive fast or faster. I’ve been honked at for driving too slow, in the slower lane, and one time had a woman slam on her brakes because I pissed her off for not driving recklessly. If you’ve never been to LA, you will find that you will have little choice but to turn left on a red light or else you will never get home especially after work. The only time I saw a cop pull someone over was when I was driving back from some road trip. If I was driving 75 mph, the guy way ahead of me must have been driving 120 to 130 mph because when I looked in my rear view mirror, my heart skipped a beat. This cop had to be driving around 110 mph because he swerved around and zoomed off like no one’s business. When I finally got to where he was, he was already walking toward the car he had pulled over. So when you see the signs that say the highways are being watched, trust them that they are being watched. The bottom line is to be mindful of your surroundings and yes, I’m including myself here. While I may not be the best driver out there because putting your hands in certain areas of a steering wheel is ridiculous. I’m more wanting people to pay attention to the road and not make assumptions. I’ve saved myself many a car accident by not gunning it even when the person behind me thinks differently. Since moving out of LA, I found that traffic can be just as congested here too. I found that out by driving during rush hour. Never again. So while this might not be the most original thing to write about, I can say my driving skills and patience has increased because of LA. It’s a whole different beast out there and can’t wait to go back.
An estranged mother and son who haven’t seen or spoken to each other in a more than twenty years meet in line at the post office in December, arms full of packages to be mailed. What do they say to each other?
Tory smiled at the woman in front of him who had turned around when the child behind him had made a fuss about standing in line. They glanced at each other long enough to know they both wished they were somewhere else. He thought she might say something to him to pass the time, but she never did. She turned around and went back to looking at her phone.
When he had looked over his shoulder earlier, the line was almost out the door. It was chilly outside and hoped the line would speed up to not let the cold air inside. This was when he noticed a woman in a red and white hat. Her face was not close enough to get a good look at it, but there was something about her mannerisms that kept his attention. Worse, the hat reminded him of his childhood.
As the line slowly crept forward, Tory was finally on the other side of the partition. This gave him a chance to look at the woman in the red hat again. She was in the process of taking off her hat when the boxes she was balancing on her knee fell. People moved out-of-the-way as they took up already limited space. She cursed loud enough for everyone to look in her direction, and it was at this boiling point when Tory realized who was in the same room with him.
It was his mother. The one who had deserted his father for another man and raised another family. The one who had drunk herself into blackouts when she should have been cooking dinner. The one who never sent him even a birthday card or called him when he had graduated high school. It was too bad his father was not with him now. He would have some words for her. Tory had long ago stopped thinking about her, but here she was opening his wound again. She was always good at leaving a situation worse than when it began.
He knew she hadn’t seen him yet. Her red and white hat served enough preoccupation, but once she stuffed it in her coat, something else would take its place. He hoped it wouldn’t be him, but the closer she got to where he stood, the more she kept looking at him. He turned away from her, trying his best to conceal his face.
“Are you too good to even say hello to me?” He ignored her, hoping she’d leave it alone.
“I know you heard me. If you had any decency, you’d at least say something. I’m still your mother.”
By now people were curious what was going on, including the woman who he smiled at earlier. She was the next person to be waited on, but still she looked behind her at the commotion. He apologized to everyone to himself and set his boxes down if she had the nerve to get close and shove them out of his grasp.
He faced her and said, “I’ve gotten by 25 years without you, and I know that bothers you. So, you have any decency, you’d deal with it later and shut up because I don’t want to hear anything from you.”
“You call yourself a son.”
“I’m not your son. You gave that up when you decided to have another family, and don’t think for a second that I don’t know what you did besides leaving my father. A zebra never loses stripes, if you know what I mean.”
“I should wash your mouth with soap.”
“I see you’ve never lost your great mothering skills.”
“You ungrateful bastard.”
Tory knew he had gotten under her skin, and felt a sense of pride. He had finally gotten to tell her most everything he had written five years ago, but never got to her because she had sent it back to him. As he waited for his turn to be called to the counter, he saw movement behind him. He didn’t need to look back. She was leaving out of embarrassment and a probably twinge of guilt. Either way, he was sure the people who witnessed this would call her the red hat lady with the boxes, which caused him to smile.
February 14, 2019: Journal Entry Type #3
I’m a homebody. I usually don’t leave the apartment except to exercise and grocery shop. Otherwise than this, you can find me sitting on my futon reading or coloring. Or, if I’m being really lazy on my bed watching TV, Netflix, or Hulu. Or, maybe taking a short walk to get an ice tea. This year I have made a promise to myself to get out more. So far, a few strides have been made, but definitely not enough. Time has become a slimy creature to mess with me. It leaves me spinning around and when I stop I’m not sure what direction to follow: start fresh or continue on the current path. The dilemma that I feel day in and day out. There’s not enough time for every interest and action. In terms of space, I need to find a place to store my 3000 piece puzzle when I put it together. The good thing is I have a while as it won’t happen until I finish my 1000 piece puzzles.
I’ve been looking back on my years and wondering what I have really accomplished that you can measure. Sure, I’ve grown up quite a bit. Sure, I went to college. Sure, I’ve gotten better keeping things in check. Sure, I’m not freaking out to so much. Sure, I’ve learned from my mistakes. It’s not a good thing to dwell on regrets, but it’s still there to deal with when they crop up. Have I finally hit my mid life crisis now that my 25th high school reunion is coming around the corner? All the things I wanted to do by this age but haven’t. I see people starting their lives whether in their 20s or even early 30s and wonder what they will think when they are my age. Will they have the similar views as mine regarding age? Will they be 95% happy with where they are in life or a lesser percentage which is where I’m at currently. I can’t help but wonder if I had made different prior decisions where I would be today. Should I have studied something different in college? Should I have stayed in the Midwest? Should I had kids? Okay, scrap the last one especially.
There are certain principles and codes I live by and know to be true regarding my life. These elements are the things I’m trying to capture in my writing, artwork, and elsewhere. This is the primary reason for my existence as I am today, but I feel I need to branch outward even more. I think it’s time to not shut the doors so quickly on things I’d rather not think about. I think it’s time to view myself in another way, and not in such a way that leaves little room for other growth. I think it’s time for me to lessen the grip on what I know about certain topics, and challenge myself on other viewpoints. This is the other part of me, the one where my measurements are not so much in dollars (although I would love to have more), but on the processes that occur when any change is made.
Here I am having to put my trust in things I sometimes have trouble completely trusting. This is where I am at life, being okay again with living a boring life and not giving a crap so much how I’m not living up to my own ideal standards. Do I ever get fearful of my future and where I’ll end up? Hell yes. Do I get down on myself for my lack of inaction at times? That is also a hell yes. But, I’ve also done things too that others haven’t done and experienced things that not many will ever go through. So on that note, I am getting out this weekend by eating on the strip and hopefully hiking as well so I guess there’s that. Cheers.
February 10, 2019: Journal 111, 112, and 113
I should’ve gone into a job requiring sorting, cataloguing, and organizing. I got a few more journals today. Here they are, and mind you that I put three back.
February 7, 2019: Agatha Christie Quote
January 31, 2019: Book Writing Exercise
Put two characters, each of whom wants something from the other, in a room together. Neither of them is allowed to ask for it straight out. Give them five minutes with only dialogue to get what they want.
“Is there something I can do for you?” (Woman A)
“No.” (Woman B)
“Okay but you’ve glanced in my direction a few times.”
“Sorry, I’m a little tired and forgot to brush my teeth. I hope you don’t smell my breath.”
“You’re sitting far enough away.”
“It’s probably bothering me more than you.”
“It wouldn’t have been too bad if I had gum or mints. I asked my husband to buy me both on his way home from the office. He came back with nothing. To top it off, my eight-year son somehow got sick and was vomiting half the night.”
“My daughter manages to get sick at the worst times too. It’s always fun cleaning the carpet at two in the morning.”
“You’re telling me. God forbid my husband ever wakes up to help. He sleeps through everything now. I’m beginning to think women are unhappy in their marriages for good reason.”
“I’d say some of them.”
“Forgive me if I’m sounding heartless.”
“Trust me, my husband isn’t perfect, but I knew there was no one else out there for me.”
“I thought so too, but the more the days go by I think I married Mr. Wrong instead of Mr. Right.”
“We live in a time when mothers are expected to keep everything under control including her marriage. It definitely isn’t easy by today’s standards.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
“Sometimes, you have to entertain all possible options even those society frowns upon.”
“Maybe, we should exchange numbers and talk more over coffee.”
“Today is pretty full, but definitely let’s make plans soon.”
“Well, my number is 262-223—”
“Hold on, let me get my pen.”
So what did Woman A and Woman B want?
Woman A wanted to gain Woman B’s trust (at one point for a good reason and another point a bad reason as I was writing it). Woman B wanted Woman A’s sympathy about her lousy marriage (and indirectly her approval to get a divorce).
January 28, 2019: Journal Type Entry #2
My second journal type entry for January. Most people say I wear my heart on my sleeve and can be brutally honest with my life. I have for the most part although there are other things you have to keep to yourself. Yet, I opened myself up to possible misunderstandings back in my twenties with certain things. For the most part the people were understanding and supportive. There is nothing great about having to admit your biological parents weren’t the best. In fact, they were of the worst kind that brought me confusion, anger, fear, and later sadness. I plan to include parts of it in one of my fiction books. Maybe, this is a way to prep people who might read my future novel as much as it is a way to prep myself for the task I hope to begin the latter half of this year. I believe in this novel idea and not because I’m personally attached to it, but more it has the potential to be a powerful story. I want to make people cry and laugh within the same chapter because that is what I’ve had to do to survive. There’s a lot of ugliness in the world, but for all the bad shit, there is equally good too. I’m reminded and now need to fully realize it’s really time for me to leave as much of the emotional past in the past. When there’s nothing more to know, no amount of wishing is going to make new information appear. I’ve gotten all I need from it, and now time for me to mold this information into something else for a better purpose.
January 21, 2019: Cut from a Different Rock
I took my time, but when I got to the top, it was a sight to see. I had climbed for three hours without any breaks. I took a few pictures when I noticed movement up ahead. I lowered my camera and that is when I saw something hiding behind a rock formation. It didn’t appear to be a person or animal. I had heard of these creatures before.
It knocked me down with hardly a touch. The only thing I saw was its large head. It had the shape of an onion, and its neck was skinny and long. It blended into its upper torso and when I turned to get a good look, its hand with long fingers rested on the top of my head. It suspended me in the air for a few seconds before moving me to its home.
When I opened my mouth, nothing came out. It heard my intention anyway. The large head was even bigger than before, and beads of moisture clung to its flesh. Its skin glistened under the operating light above me as it inspected my face. It touched my forehead and backed up.
I watched it peel back his eyelid to reveal another eyelid. It peeled that one too until a tiny eye remained. He did the same with his other eye. I heard the sound before I saw it. His eyes had become little puncture tools. They twisted around and reached out to my face. I screamed when it entered my cheek, but no sound was heard. It was temporarily blocking the sound. I screamed again when it drilled into my other cheek.
It inspected the holes with his fingers gripping my jaw before putting his eyelids back in place. I passed out from the pain because when I regained consciousness, my mouth had been forced open with a device, and it was gone. I was drooling and hardly able to breathe. My arms and legs were secured in several places, and I felt a large cold strap around my chest and hips. I was now fully exposed.
There was enough slack to move my head a little bit, and when I did, pain started at the base of my neck and went through every inch of my face. It had put rods through the holes in my cheeks and connected them to through holes it had made in my arms, legs, and feet.
I heard the words “cut body” from behind me. I thought of what I could do to convince them not to cut into me. I waited what seemed forever, but had to have only been a few minutes. The same creature with the onion shape head appeared. It raised its hand and moved it over my face. My pain went away and my body became tired. I fought to stay awake.
When I came to again, I was back on the mountain top. There were no holes in my face, but I felt my body chemistry had changed. I looked down at my bare feet. There were no holes in them either, only scars. The time on my watch chimed. Fifteen minutes had passed. I knew it was much longer elsewhere.
As I took my first step down, I wondered what kind of undercover assignment the government had me doing.
January 11, 2019: Writing Book Exercise
(Tell a story that begins with a ransom note)
When Sally read the note, she couldn’t believe what she was reading. Here was someone asking for money she didn’t have. How was she supposed to get five million dollars when she wasn’t allowed to work? She hadn’t worked a single day in her life. The only job she had was being the proper wife and loving mother. After her children were sent off to the best schools, she spent her free time usually chatting with her friends over hot cups of coffee with no creamer or sugar. As her children went onto the best universities money could buy, she found herself in a place she relished although was lonely at times.
She was never given any access to her husband’s bank accounts, and while it might bother some, it never did for her. Her first son, Leonard, was the next in line to make sure her needs were taken care of when her husband died. Her husband, also Leonard, thought of most people as dolts, but would never tell this to their faces. He needed them to keep earning money as they were his business partners. On the other hand, Leonard Jr. wasn’t so quick to judge others as stupid if they disagreed with his decisions. He was too young, in her opinion, to take over her husband’s wealth and she worried the board of directors would try to dethrone him from his rightful seat. Yet, he was old enough to have a wife and child.
She did what any dutiful wife would do in a panic. She called 911 even though the note specifically told her not to call 911. It also told her they’d know if she had called the cops. It didn’t even register that it was more than one person involved, any composure she might have had left her as she punched the three numbers on her phone. She had to dial the number five times because she kept pushing too many ones. When she finally got someone on the line, she spoke too quickly for the operator. He had to raise his voice a little bit, forcing her to calm down. The moment he heard the word “kidnap,” the words spilled out of his mouth a little quicker. Time was of the essence and urgency could be heard as he recorded their conversation letter by letter with his fingers.
There wasn’t anything Sally could do but wait. She had waited much of her life. She waited for her husband to come back from his business trip, waited for her son to come back from prep school during Christmas, and waited for her daughter to come out of her belly as she was a week past her due date. Much of her life belonged to her family and now she could not get in touch with her children and her husband was somewhere unknown. Her mind went to a dark place. She thought of all the things that might be happening to her husband. Maybe, the kidnappers had snatched up her son and daughter too. Her son never turned off his phone. Her daughter always picked up by the second ring.
There was too much silence. Her anxiety and fear boiled over. She went to the bathroom and took a few pills from her prescription. She might have broken her arm a year ago, but the phantom pain still hung around. She left the bathroom feeling a little better and waited three minutes before the police arrived. She graciously let them in and showed them the ransom note. It was typed instead of handwritten. There was no postage on the envelope and it was one that already had adhesive attached to it. The average person might think of the missed opportunity for DNA but not Sally.
She eyed the officers with hesitation and mild suspicion. They gathered as much information as they could from her, but there wasn’t much for her to give. She had not seen her husband in five days. He was on an important business trip. She convinced herself her children were with her husband and were safe. Having them all together was better than them separated.
When her phone rang, she flipped it around. It was an unrecognizable number. She threw it to the officer closer to her. He caught it and brought it back to her, gesturing for her to answer it. She didn’t want to. He pressed the button and shoved it into her hand. Her voice was timid when she spoke.
“Are you the wife of Leonard Sr?” a man asked in a disguised voice.
“Yes, I am. What do you want?”
She heard him breathing and that’s it. She asked him again what he wanted.
“What the fuck do you think I want, lady? You have one hour to get my money. No funny business, got it. One whiff of a cop at your place and your husband’s dead.”
“I need more time.”
“That’s all you’re getting.”
“Wait,” Sally said but the man had disconnected.
She stared at the phone, then at the officers. The taller one was on the phone to his commander and the other was speaking to her, but she didn’t hear him. Where was her children? Where was her husband? Her knees felt like jello and her legs weakened. The space in front of her darkened. The last thought as she lost consciousness was what did have I done to deserve this.
January 10, 2019: Journal Type Entry #1
This is sort of my first journal type entry I’ve been wanting to do more of so here it is. I find myself doing a lot of inner dialogue concerning my life. It’s easy to get into a rhythm of head space and personal demands. It’s been a weird time of wanting more, but being lucky what I have.
I find myself getting into the rhythm of exercising to lose weight (first and foremost) and to get out my frustrations that build up along the way (second and also important). I’m finally getting into the mindset of really wanting to work out which is a good thing most each day, but keeping it going to be the hardest part. I don’t jog fast enough to call it running yet, but I’m getting there. I did the HIIT method last night, which is rewarding and hard as hell at the same time.
As I plug along and the weeks are going by pretty quickly already, I’m trying to live in a more fulfilling and balanced way. I’m not so much tripping over my feet and relying on myself mentally, meaning to release things that don’t go as planned as quickly as possible and move on with my life.
I’m seeking to gain confidence in neglected areas and strengthen the weak ones as I get deeper into 2019. I’m wanting to be more comfortable in my skin as whole including being okay with my decision-making processes. I’m basically learning to have a voice that matches the way I was supposed to be from the start. I’m finding myself able to get back into actually living my life, which is always a good thing. I will end it as it began.
Good luck everyone on wherever you are on your learning path.
NEVER STOP LEARNING.