2021W

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I’m working on the finishing touches with my first novel. I’m working on my second novel idea as well. I’m set to self-publish my first novel in mid-2021 and hopefully my second novel in 2022. My revamped short story collection and trilogy that will probably only be one book will come next. Don’t ask me when those will be self-published. I have a feeling it will be a while but not five years long (I hope). FF means Flash Fiction and JET means Journey Entry Type.

09/16/2021: JET #106: Very Early Thursday

I’ve been listening to music a lot more now that I have to commute to and from work. It has its moments where I listen to the same song being played over and over again. I have no idea who sings it and have to either look it up or ask someone who sings this terrible or weird song. I don’t get it. Many of the same current bands sound the same to me. I think the last great decade of music was over 20 years ago. With this being said, the one song I keep hearing and think is a combination of strange of good and questionable parts is by Twenty One Pilots called “Heathens.” It starts out pretty decent but then it disintegrates into weirdness. It’s like putting a head of cow onto the body of a horse. The music and singing seem disjointed. I never understood the appeal of many of the current singers. I just don’t and probably never will. If you want to hear great lyrics combined with great guitar playing, check out any song from Purple or Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. The DeLeo brothers are 150% great at their craft. Scott Weiland for all his faults was a great singer.

I’m slowly getting back into making progress on my second novel idea. I’m finding some light at the end of the tunnel and hope to be done by my first draft by the end of this year or early next year. I’m also learning to be patient when it comes to self-publishing next year (if everything goes as planned) and finding the motivation and inspiration to hunker down in the fall and winter to get this done. I know I won’t have as much rewriting to do so that makes me happy. There is no way that will happen because I’ve done it once and writing your first novel is always the hardest (for now since I’ve only written one). While my mind is thinking about many different things, ranging from things I’d like change to wondering why I had this particular dream last night, I believe I’m on the road to a better life. I used to think life would be ripe for the picking forever, that dreams do come true, but now I understand sometimes all the fruit has been taken and dreams sometimes end up as disappointments and turn into nightmares. This is where I believe many people are living. We are straddling between there and here, now and then, left and right.

Another song I heard was from Billy Joel was “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It reminds me of the political emotions and views these last five years. I get people are sick of hearing about the feuding between Democrats and Republicans. I’ve sort of thought that myself lately. If you have access to FB or social media, you really know any topic discussed will turn political in a heartbeat. People can say almost anything they want, but there is danger when it is clearly wrapped in a blanket of falsehoods and conspiracy theories. There comes a point in time, in order to save your brain from getting too mushy, where you need to step away and not care too much what it going on. Then again, if you stop caring or worse, lash out at your opponent just because you can, nothing gets solved. Since COVID started, as a collective whole people have rallied to help others but not all of us can help. It’s hard to when you have no pennies to pinch. What I find rather appalling is how some people go to great lengths to show they belong in the billionaire’s club. Each to his or her own, but if I had a billion dollars, I wouldn’t be hoarding it. This is all for today.

09/11/2021: JET #105: ALL I GOT IS SATURDAY WITH LESS SARCASM

It’s 9/11 today. The 20th anniversary year when the Twin Towers were hit by planes and then collapsed in NYC. I feel bad for those still struggling with the loss of their family members, friends, and co-workers who died that day or after that day due to injuries and suicide. Anything as catastrophic that fundamentally cuts your safety net out from under you is bound to send you back a few feet if not miles. Survivorship after something tragic happened is a concept that is very familiar to me and also foreign. I’ve never been one to have survivor’s guilt. I had the opposite. The other part of experiencing something horrific is trying to work through and around it. Basically, cope with how it affected you as an adult. While others may feel comfortable with their stories about mental illness and issues, it still bothers me when I’m talking about myself. This is probably why I’m procrastinating on returning to my second novel idea because it’s more personal. I haven’t figured out how to write the story the way I want it to be written where I’m completely satisfied. Something is missing within my mental outline on how it will be perceived. It will pack more of a punch, have more meaning as an autobiography, but with it comes less freedom for creativity. The emotional part of it seems too removed as it is currently written as a fiction story but it is necessary for me to do this. I suppose shedding my fears of making it too dirty, too horrible, too violent, too real for readers shouldn’t be what prevents me from writing it the way I want to even as a fiction story. So with this in mind, I’m waiting for the day to visit NYC in the future (have no idea when) and experience new things and maybe find some inspiration along the way. I’m reflecting on how I felt last year, how I wished things had changed in 2021, and what the rest of 2021 actually looks like. This is reality hitting me in the face with many caveats and no concrete answers. I’ve been living a life with non-answers for the last two years and while I wonder what will happen in 2022, a lot of my questions seems useless. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Sure, I have some control over my life but in many ways I have little. A part of me wants to thaw out and get back into a routine. The one I used to know and crave. A part of me thinks what’s the freaking point. Nothing seems to be going how I envisioned, very far from the mark, and while it could be worse, it doesn’t bring much comfort when I hear the words. That’s all I have to say for today.

09/08/2021:JOURNAL ENTRY #104: ALL I GOT IS WEDNESDAY AND A LITTLE BIT OF SARCASM

I have the words “ooga booga” stuck in my brain for some reason. I also have that song from NSYNC called Bye Bye Bye because it was on the radio when I was driving home from work. I can’t tell you how many songs I’d rather not have in my head these past two weeks. I’ve been trying to get on a schedule (what’s new, huh?) and I’m waking up earlier than before although not on a consistent level. I’ve had quite a few things going on in my life (again who doesn’t, right?), but this doesn’t minimize the irritations, agitations, frustrations, and any other tions that happens in one’s life. I’m currently prepping myself for a second drive cycle of my car so I can pass the stupid emissions test. I have never had this much trouble with one in my life and all because I had work done on my car recently.

I finally finished my journal so now I’m on #114 although I’m using a few of my other journals for other reasons so I’m waiting for the day until I’m going in order again. It will take a few years at the rate I’m going, but at least I’m finally using my Pennywise the Clown journal I bought shortly after the first remake came out in 2017. I’m always trying to beat my number of blogs the previous month in the back of my mind although now I’m lucky to even get a handful in and actually feel the motivation to blog. I’m still deciding on how to tackle my second story in terms of viewpoint. It shouldn’t be this hard, but obviously it’s giving me more headaches and stress than I realize. It’s a much needed story to write although difficult just the same. This is it for Wednesday as I’ve had blogs sitting there I meant to do last month. As the saying goes, they aren’t going to get done by themselves.

08/30/2021: JET #103: Really, He Said That?!

When you’re not feeling it, you’re really not feeling it. The thrill is gone. The spark is gone. Everything is gone. I’ve been doing a lot of mindless thinking (sometimes wishful), writing introductions (stupid, I might add), reading the short stories written by someone I know (in my free time) because I don’t want to do anything else. I haven’t even gone back seriously to my second novel idea since returning back to NV. My heart isn’t in it and that’s okay. I’m sick of certain things in life most decent human beings who have a heart still beating inside them feel (annoyed and irritated and angry sometimes). The biggest motivation for writing this is feeling guilty for not blogging nearly enough as I should and the baby now adult that was on the Nirvana cover of their second album, Nevermind. I refuse to say his name because I think it’s bullshit. For all the circus media of Chris Cuomo and his now brother, the ex-governor of NY, Cuomo hit it right on the nail. It’s a slap to the face of children who actually are forced into doing pornography and worse, forced into child-sex trafficking. You don’t get to scream foul when you posed underwater in the same position during the 20th album anniversary. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Someone once told me that her son had already gone through a lot of trauma in his lifetime because his grandmother died (naturally and in her twilight years). I thought to myself, lady, you have no idea what severe trauma is and what it does to a person. Sure, losing a grandmother when you are in middle school is not ideal and while it was probably traumatic to her son, it’s not the same as the level of traumatic experiences some children live. I say this because it just isn’t. A child can bounce back from many things, but some things never come back once they are gone. I see this lawsuit as nothing but a way to get money. This is hard for me to say because while everyone’s feelings should be viewed equally, this guy doesn’t have a leg to stand on in my opinion. He doesn’t for so many reasons. Maybe, I needed to respond to push me to get back to writing my second novel, my own story, my own horrors, my own trauma because I’m definitely needing something to get me back on track. Call is lazy, stubborn, or a combination of because it’s been hanging around for a while. Then again, having certain areas of my life be uprooted doesn’t help either but such is life.

08/14/2021: JET #102

I am hopelessly trying to keep up. I am hopefully falling behind. I find myself not having enough time to do anything anymore. I am tired and worn out by the time I get to the weekends. I’m not sure if I’m ready for 2022 yet. I’m not sure how long I want to have cable, but without it I feel as if I’m hiding under a rock. I will not get nearly as much done as I’d like to when the end of December rolls around. I find myself all over the place in terms of emotions, feelings, and thoughts. I haven’t even touched my second story idea since I finished my first story idea. A few people are reading it and one has already finished it. I’m not sure how often I will get to blogging because the more time I spend blogging (the precious little time I have left after work, eating, and soon exercise), I won’t have any time leftover to write my second story. After my quick visit to see my parents, I’m going to hunker down and get more on a routine. I need to do this for my body and mind. It’s screaming for a routine. Let’s just say everything I used to have and do has long passed me by and it’s time to regroup yet again. I’ve really thought about getting rid of my blog because not many people read it and the ones that do, well thank you for your loyalty and following. I sometimes feel who the hell am I really doing this for? I don’t think having a blog increased my book sales. The only people I know who read my novel are people I graduated with or worked with. A part of me is asking what’s the damn point in all of this. Seriously, what is the damn fucking point. I find myself very out of sorts in a way and wondering what I have to do to get more people to read my book. Then again, it isn’t like I’ve been really advertising my book. Frankly, I don’t have the time. I don’t know about the rest of you, but doing something that takes a whole lot of effort and money for basically half a peanut in a cracked shell as a reward doesn’t feel that good. Yet, Edgar Allan Poe died without getting the accolades he deserved. He was penniless, a drunk, and married his cousin. In more recent times, Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven and Anne Sexton locked herself in the garage. I’m not saying all great writers suffer from depression and suicidal ideation, but I do think all writers have resistance and stubbornness within them or else they wouldn’t keep going on. No one in their right mind would keep doing something that gives them little monetary reward and keeps them locked away inside, alone, typing while the majority of the human race is doing something else that is fun. Sure, parts of writing can be fun but at what cost? I’m feeling a little dejected but regardless of how I feel, I need to continue on with my stories. If anything my second story for sure because it not only will be my most personal story, but one I feel has the most promise in terms of catching the widest audience/readers. If this book doesn’t, I don’t what will. Maybe, my trilogy if I have the motivation to turn it into three books. I suppose anyone who reads any of my books, I should be happy, and I have thanked those who have bought my book. On this note, I’m going to do a little more blogging and then hunker down and begin my second story, no matter how terrible I feel it’s going because if I don’t start soon, I never will.

*******

Basically, I’m scaling back the bare minimum on my blogs until the end of the year. Not that I’m blogging all that much. I want to finish a large part of my second story sooner than later. Again, not that many people read this, but for those who do, I wanted to be as open and honest as possible. I won’t be away for long (considering I start feeling a little lost when I don’t blog), but adjustments need to be made. I guess I’m saying look out for shorter blogs, less drivel, and more of something new (whatever that is).

08/07/2021: THE PAINS OF EVERYTHING AFTER YOU WRITE/PUBLISH YOUR STORY

I knew I was going to be happy when I was finally done writing, rewriting, publishing my story. Trust me. I was until I realized the margins suggested to me by Amazon itself was messed up or maybe, I messed it up in the transmission of everything. This lead to me realizing a few things. One, I really wish I knew someone in any major publishing company or division of a major publishing company. Self-publishing, for everything it means, sucks big time. I was going to go with a different cover idea, but in the end, I used a photo that I already was familiar with. I understand the importance of having a good cover, one that is catchy to the reader’s eye, but damn, a person could obsess about this forever. I decided to say to hell with it and accept it was what it was. I’m not made out of money and this leads me to the second topic.

Two, I really wish writing was easy and quick for me. I’m not one of those people who can churn out a novel in a year and all its rewrites and then start another one the following year to be written and rewritten. I know most people realize how much harder it is to write a novel versus a poetry book or a short story. Trust me, it is, and no one can convince me otherwise. Unless that person is writing a 200+ page poem without any breaks in between, as that takes discipline and creative longevity. I’m currently stuck in my second story idea because I’m tired and my eyes hurt. I can’t seem to find a routine to follow and stick with because it seems time is always slipping away from me. When I should be writing, I’m reading. When I’m coloring, I should be writing. When I should be writing, I’m watching TV. When I’m staring at the wall, I should be writing. You get the point. The passion is partly there. The drive is waning away. I want to do it, but not doing it for some reason.

Three, I really wish I get the right quotations for my next novel, not wrestle so much with margins, get a better cover design too. It all comes to the beginning. I need to write my story. I need to get it out. I’m stressed with what I’ve written already. I’m struggling with what narrative I use (going back and forth between first and third person). Believe me, first person is always easier to write but third person allows the writer to distance him or herself from the story. I guess this is what the rewrite is for, but the issue is I don’t want to do nearly the number of rewrites I did as my first novel. This is a hell to the no, I don’t want to do this. A part of me feels as if I have to justify my writing and convince the reader and future readers all my novel ideas are quite different and even novellas will be different too. I hope, at least, they are seen for their creativity, ingenious, and honesty. Whenever I’m blogging, I need to have the TV or movie on that I won’t pay attention to. Right now, Jaws is coming to an end. The shark is dead. Quint is dead. Brody and Hooper don’t know what day it is. This is sort of how I feel. All my days are blending together. Night is not day but it feels like it because soon September will be here and then 2022. I suppose, in between now and then, I need to swim back to shore instead of giving up writing. I owe it to the people whose lives are no longer lives. Most of all, I owe it to myself.

07/31/2021: JET #101: TOASTER FOR THE WIN

I’m leaving the last day of July to finish my blogs I meant to finish last week. There’s been a lot of the same stuff going on in my life, recycling as you say, and to some frustration my stubbornness of not wanting to do the work necessary to begin my second novel idea again. I feel I need to do some outlining of it, which I absolutely hate because I feel it might be heading into no where man’s land territory. It basically means I spin my wheels over and over in my head and make my fingers hurt because I’m typing words and sentences that sound stupid or unfocused. I suppose I need to get over it and just put it on paper (so to speak). On a side note, I burnt my arm on the toaster because what I was toasting got stuck. It still hurts two days later and had to put ice on it while driving because it was still stinging.

I’ve still been watching the Olympics and will comment on that later. A lot has happened since the opening ceremonies especially in swimming and gymnastics. I’ve been flipping among the channels mainly for swimming, gymnastics, diving, triathlon, equestrian, boxing, judo, archery, badminton, fencing, rowing, shooting, skateboarding, taekwondo, tennis, and weightlifting. It’s a guarantee switching channels when baseball, softball, soccer, rugby, and volleyball appears (sorry for all the fans out there). I try to take comfort in certain things in my life although having to repeatedly pay to get my car repaired isn’t one of them. I’m also looking forward to flying on a plane again. I find the whole thing relaxing once I am in the air and able to chill by reading or closing my eyes.

As you already know my first novel has been released and while I’m not sure how many people are clamoring to buy it, I’m so glad it is done. I’ve been slowly getting back into coloring and doing some exercise, but not nearly enough as I should be doing. It seems I’m running out of time and running out of excuses. I sometimes wonder how much a person needs to repeat something to her or himself before it finally sticks (in general). At what point does talking sound repetitive? At what point does one let go of the outdated usefulness of something? How do you keep mainstreamed and operate from a place of strength? How do you release all the confusing advice thrown at you when you never asked for it to begin with? I will leave you with these words. Too many people aren’t seeing their own hypocrisies and bathing too long in their own ignorance. We all have something to work on and it’s blatantly obvious when someone isn’t doing that. All the more reason for me to be committed in those things that insulate me and whatever happens outside of my jurisdiction is nothing that concerns me, for it isn’t my problem.

07/24/2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #100: EVERYONE IS GETTING OLDER

I have accepted the fact that everyone is getting older including myself. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me until later in life, like now, since I’m basically in my early middle ages. I can’t believe I’m saying that. Gone are the days of reckless, stupidity. Gone are the days of wanting to look cool and hip. Gone are the days of the grunge look in the 90s. Gone are the days of my youth. Good riddance. The only thing I miss is my younger body I used to have in the 1990s and I’d even go for my body in 2008 to 2010. Jeez, what a decade of changes. I can’t count them all. I severely need to see an eye doctor, get back into the gym, and start writing my second novel idea again. The Olympics are sort of getting in the way of me doing things. I suppose it’s a nice diversion. I’m surprising my parents by visiting them in about a month for a quick visit. I’m sick of this heat and wish it was cooler out. I’m more annoyed nothing seems to be cooperating with my mind and body. I severely need to reset and re-engage. Now that my first novel is written and published, I feel I can breath a little easier. That lasted for a day and now I must continue onto the next things in my life. I’m psyched to be on a plane again and even though I’m stopping in Chicago for an hour, at least, I can look out the windows and try to remember me being there over 25 years ago. Take one day at a time. There is no one right moment. I wish it was that way and in the meantime, I will try to enjoy the silence.

07/08/2021: JET #99: NOT KEEPING UP AT ALL

I am not keeping up at all with my blog. There are many reasons why. I will not go into all of them. I ended up writing seven pages in my actual journal today. I needed to get out of a lot of shit, as they say. I needed to digest everything that has been going on in my life, both creatively and uncreatively. Does that make sense? I’ve been thinking about my writing again, in general, and how much I can’t wait to get back into my second and third novel idea. I’m going to be working on both very soon, hoping within the next few weeks, because that means I will have my first novel self-published. It has been the complete thorn in my side and then some. I can’t wait until it’s all done. It’s taking longer than I had hoped. Better in July than never although June would have been better. It’s now July and still hot in LV. No one should be surprised by this. I’ve completed watching some shows, continuing on with others, and becoming increasingly annoyed at all the streaming services popping up everywhere. They have become the new Starbucks in the entertainment world. It’s like they are trying to push cable TV to extinction as someone recently said to me. This might not be a bad idea but it’s gotten so bad to the point of utter stupidity. I remember when you could buy Microsoft Office and upload it to your computer. Now you have to buy it every year as if it is never owned by you. Don’t get me started what Apple is doing with movies and music. I mean who cares if you bought the movie or album? That doesn’t mean it can’t go away in the future. Huh? Bottom line is to back up your shit that’s important to you, meaning that favorite movie you love, because you’re sick of all the clutter of owning actual movie discs and got rid of said disc. Now that I’ve said my peace with that, it’s time for me to move forward and onward. I’ve been moving like a snail’s pace it seems but the good thing is I get weekends off again, at least for a while, and what I call get it while it’s hot. So, yes, I’m not keeping up. Frankly, I don’t care. It’s my life and my decision. I don’t rely on my blog for money although maybe I should. Someone also recently said it’s annoying to have to sit through and watch all these damn advertisements on blogs. I’m proud to say there are none on mine or so I believe. I get that you make your blog/website more profitable with more clicks, but let me tell you there is a downside to it too. It could be an utter turnoff and people won’t visit your blog or website anymore. Have you ever watched a video where there is 30 seconds of advertisement? I skip these videos unless it’s something I really want to see. Otherwise, it’s not worth to me. I don’t want to make that time. So, this is all I have for now. Basically, as the second half of 2021 is upon us, I will be blogging less to make room for other things in my life although right now I’m not doing too much right now besides working, eating, sleeping, and reading. On that note, I will still be blogging and try better with shorter periods of time in between entries.

06/24/2021: Writing Exercise #2

Everyone whispered about the way she parted her hair, but no one had the courage to talk to her. If they had any guts to open their mouths and utter the truth, she would have realized it looked stupid. No one wore her hair like that anymore, not unless you wanted strangers pointing at you. This is what I did when I saw her bending over. She had dropped her keys on the sidewalk. As a joke, I kicked them out of her reach. Not knowing who the leg belonged to, she stood and faced me. Her eyes were the most unfriendly, but I deserved it. She spit in my direction. I called her a giraffe. She was tall. I imagined her long tongue trying to reach me. I told her I was doing her a favor, that I had guts. She slapped me and that was the beginning of our mutual understanding. We were not destined to ever become acquaintance and surely not friends by how things were going. I am a jerk. She was too. On top of her poorly parted hair, her clothes were worse. I kept at it, following her to the bus station. I had no intention of doing this. She would thank me later for what I had done. They always do, even the ones who did not have the guts to tell her the facts.

06/24/2021: Writing Exercise #1

That was the time he stopped believing in the stars in the dark sky. It had not shown its true brilliance in months. The constellations were mostly hidden by the clouds. They were different shapes and sizes. When he looked up at the stars, he wished for all his scars to heal. Every time he went in public, people stared. They seemed to knew what was hidden inside, underneath his layers of his armor. No matter what he did, he was exposed, truth and lie. None of this was his fault and yet people blamed him or their own misfortunes. One night all the stars disappeared, as their brightness waned, and the clarity came to him. The dark sky meant nothing at all. There was no meaning behind it. The thickness of the night came from deep within. It swallowed him whole as if it was a whale emerging from the deep waters. He was never seen again.

06/17/2021: JET #98: YOU HAVE NO IDEA, DO YOU?!

  1. There is such a thing as bad weather. (That is completely false. It’s called unbearable heat. Exclamation mark followed by another exclamation mark.)
  2. At least, it’s a dry heat. (Really? A dry heat? I get it though. There are different kinds of heat. Humidity is the Devil in the summer. It makes you sticky, gross feeling, and a shower is definitely necessary after a muggy day. Dry heat doesn’t feel good either. I never thought I’d live in the desert. NEVER, EVER, EVER, but here I am. Too bad I can’t have warm tea without using a stove or microwave in the winter because it definitely gives me that in the summer.)
  3. Hot weather makes you lazy. (I firmly believe that because it sucks the energy out of you. Then again, I used to purposely exercise in hotter weather to prove I could do it. I suppose there is an upside to hot weather from a punishing standpoint. Then again, I’m not that stupid anymore. This is what a gym is for, right?)
  4. I love the heat. (This gets another really? If you love it so much, then sleep outside in a sleeping bag! This is the same thing as saying it’s wrong to kill a mosquito. If you feel this way, you’ve never tried to sleep with one buzzing near your ear and biting you. It’s annoying to get up, try to find the mosquito, chase it around the room, wait for it to land on something, and try to kill it. Flies are even worse because they are less attracted to human skin.)
  5. We always want the opposite of what is happening. (I agree. When it is insanely hot outside, we want cooler weather. When it is cold outside, we want a little bit of warmth. I suppose that is what heaters and air conditioning is for. I feel bad for those who can’t afford it or are homeless. No wonder why people flock to CA because at least the weather is nice.)
  6. How hot it is there? (Hmmm, I wonder? It’s a comfortable temperature, much like a nice relaxing day with the wind blowing through my hair and chilling with an ice tea in my hand. No, never mind. The liquid running into my mouth is actually my sweat on my face that is dripping down into my mouth. And the glistening forehead I have is my natural glow when I’m happy. And the sweat on my neck means nothing could be any better than it is currently.)
  7. The best time of the year is the fall. It is crisp, cool, and comfy. (There is nothing good about such hot weather. The animals suffer. The humans suffer. The plants suffer. It’s worse when there is a lack of rain. It’s not like I gravitate toward complaining about the heat when it’s overly hot. Okay, maybe a little bit.)

06/10/2021: JET #96: I CAN’T BE THAT OLD!

I needed to handle something on my day off for work and decided to take in the sights and maybe go on a few rides. Being a weekday, it wasn’t too busy on the strip. At least the rides weren’t. I did see a wide mixture of people as you do in any touristy city. I stood behind four women dressed to the nines and the whole time waiting for the elevator were glued to their phones. I don’t mean texting or taking selfies. I mean looking at themselves as in admiring their gorgeous looking faces. Granted, one of the women out of the group was very pretty. It’s not to say the others weren’t pretty, but the one that stood out of the most was her. The other three women could have been basketball players based on their height around six feet tall. By the time I got to the top and looked around for a bit, I was thirsty but still didn’t get anything to drink. I ended up deciding to go on a few rides and if I could handle them, then I would sky jump off the tower. Needless to say, I only made it on two of the rides.

The first ride was good except looking down made me dizzy due to the spinning. This set me up for failure and wanting the second ride to be over. It was too jerky. I was legitimately dizzy and nauseous after I got off the second ride. I sort of wish the couple in front of me wasn’t there, but so be it. I also wanted to test myself to see if the height would bother me. Not really. I felt secure. Once it was over, I needed something to drink pronto. The ride home was longer than usual due to rush hour traffic and good thing someone was driving me home. I got home and popped two Advil, drank more water, and ate something. I feel better now or else I wouldn’t be writing this. My partner took a few videos as I couldn’t convince him to go with me. Switching topics, I’m looking forward to the next episode of Blacklist and The Handmaid’s Tale and writing reviews on them. I’m continuing to make progress with my first novel and dabbling here and there with my second and third novel idea. We also have someone staying with us for a night so there is that. I better get on with my life and be productive so until more later.

06/06/2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #95: INSPIRATION COMES FROM EVERYWHERE

I found these computer desktop photos and reminded me of the fantasy world you sometimes find in movies, tv shows, and games. I’m getting ever so closer to self-publishing my first novel. I’m excited for it to be done and for my next writing projects. I will have to churn them out about every other year to accomplish all of my story ideas. Good thing I still have time (I hope) although I’m definitely past my 20s and even 30s, but I’m nowhere near 60 but soon will be closer to 50. I know I’m not the only writer who can be thrilled at the thought of continuing a second novel and starting a third novel while at the same time dreading it. I better get back to my last stages of my minor editing. Stay tuned in later June when I plan to release my book. Until that time, I’ll be thinking and doing like I always do.

06/03/2021: Journal Entry Type #94: Hot on a Thursday!

  • These last few days or should I say seven days has been filled with working, watching Handmaid’s Tale and Blacklist, and hopelessly trying to catch up where I left off last year. I’ve been doing more reading despite my eyes and nose hurting like hell due to sinus pressure and allergies. I’ve never read Chuck Klosterman before but the book I’m reading now is SO refreshing to read even though it is eight years old. I’m also reading a handful of other books but not making much progress. I suppose reading 12 books at the same time, not including Chuck Klosterman, doesn’t make much sense when it comes to practicality. Have I mentioned now that it is officially June, the temperature where I live has definitely gotten hotter and can be considered HOT. It is 108 today and it hasn’t even reached 115 which it does get to in July, August, and September. It doesn’t even start to cool down until basically November. I mean even October it can still be in the 100s and high 90s. Have I mentioned how much I hate the heat? Don’t remind me of moving here because next year I will have to move again. The apartment complex I live in is trying really hard to be the wannabe CA apartment located in NV. Ever since new management took over, the price keeps going up and surprisingly I read millennials are one of the highest age populations moving to NV. Okay? I guess they like to suffer in the heat. Don’t get me started on NV drivers. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, they are some of the most competitive drivers I’ve ever seen. Never once in CA did I see a person go out of their way to go into the turn lane to get around you because s/he thinks you are driving too slow, go back into your lane for a split second just to prove her or his point, and then go right back into the turn lane again in order to make their turn off a freeway. You know who does this? Excuse my language. No, don’t excuse my language. I won’t apologize, but what in the fucking hell are you doing? Are you that uptight? You really need to one up someone because you think you own the road? Please! Get out of here with that!
  • I’ve been toying around the idea of writing a fiction book about my experiences of living in LA. Who knows. I know for sure I want to write a novel along the lines of Chuck Klosterman, Denis Leary, and Whoopi Goldberg combined but as a fiction book. I’m sort of flushing it out in my head, which is preventing me from sleeping at night. It might come after my second novel idea now instead of later. Who knows? The perks of being a writer. The perks of being a loner. The perks of being a creative person. The perks of having opinions. Don’t even ask me if I’ve made it to the gym yet! The answer is I haven’t. Don’t even ask me how I wish my air conditioning in my car didn’t crap out again! I really wish it didn’t. It’s hard to find the promise of life when you’re driving in such hot temperatures. I’ve sort of gotten used to it, but it sucks! I just dropped 900+ on my car a few weeks ago. Really? This gets a WTF. I’ve been moody lately when I see people turning everything into a political verbal fest on social media. I admit I get really angry, no rage is more the word, at certain politicians not doing their jobs or what I think is absolutely ridiculous. I’m not going to crap on celebrity views, but the one person I think is an absolute retard (sorry for the non-PC name here) is Tila Tequila. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing her in person. She has a big head (literally and figuratively) on a small body (literally). Any person, celebrity or not, who is seen and is a minority who promotes and agrees with white nationalism is more or less a first-class idiot, a complete and utter idiot. These are the people who honestly poison the human population. I recently heard someone say as a contributor on MSNBC state having the Republican party known as the White party and Democratic party known as the Minority party is not good for anyone. Sadly, it is becoming this way.
  • I’m hoping to get more blog entries in this month and also make headway into other territory. I’ve been trying to see the positive in my life although at times it is hard. I’ve been doing more justification for certain things than I’d like and keeping my negative thoughts at bay. We all do it because we are human. If I let loose and let all my worries, inhibitions, and responsibilities fall away, I’d be in a much different place. Then again, I would care about a lot less. I’d be a chain smoking creative thinking fool, chewing off the fat of the land, thinking she’s all cool and hip, and then dying alone in the wilderness somewhere but without the bandanna, tie-die, and Birkenstocks. The good thing is I’m not that person in terms of wanting of living a completely solitary life and smoking cigarettes. I’m not that proverbial wanderer. I like being in the comfort of my apartment with my useful and useless possessions. I feel something is missing when the cable goes out for an hour or two. I said to someone I’ve become more jaded the older I’ve gotten. With that in mind, off to continue on more blogs and then find my way back to rewriting and writing again and hopefully lose some of this jadedness.

05/27/2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #93: ALMOST THERE 

I’ve spent now a little over one month at my new job. I’m getting more acclimated to it. I’m thankful for this. The weather is definitely warming up. It’s going to be in the 100 range the rest of this week and all next week too. Summer is here in the Las Vegas valley area. I’m psyched because I’m not only working on my final stages of my first novel that still will be released either in June or early July. I’m working in my brain, at least, on my next two novel ideas, and getting out what else I want to include in Microsoft Word. I’m also feeling the urge to read again, which I’ve been doing although not as quick as I’d like.

The one downfall of my new job is the hours. I go to work in the early afternoon and it wouldn’t be so bad if I could sleep right away after I get home, but my mind and body for some reason won’t slow down even though I am tired. I’m hoping by going to the gym helps me get on a routine again, but I’ll have to see. I’ve definitely been more tired lately, which is another reason why I’m not blogging so much. I hired a editor for my first novel and while I know I should have one for every book I write, I’m doing some major thinking of not doing it for some of my novels. Now that I have a better understanding of it, well I’ll have to see how I feel and where I am next year when my next novel projected deadline will be. I never knew how much I’d have to make time to take a shower and wash my clothes as a part of being an adult. Let alone all the other things to do like groceries, recycling, and deal with the countless bank issues, medical appointments, and anything else that comes up. Yet, I find the time to eat when I shouldn’t and eat crap food I shouldn’t either.

Where did all the time go? It’s almost June and once that is gone, there is only six months left of the year. Again, where did all the time go? I’m deciding maybe writing another poetry book is not in my favor and focus on novels, novellas, and short stories. Without sounding bitter, it takes a special kind of person to understand the relevance of poetry and even more to read it. As I’ve heard, movie audiences want silly stupid where they don’t have to think. This may very well be the case for the millions of people around the world that gravitate toward such mindless movies and shows. I think Showgirls and Basic Instinct could make a killing if they were re-released today. It’s made me want to try my hand at fan fiction although I know many authors find it cheating like George R.R. Martin. This would come after I finish a bulk of my current novel and novella ideas or maybe not. Maybe, I want to write a really bad story compared to my other flushed out stories.

To me a writer who has a fan fiction book that is over 800 pages hasn’t done enough editing to weed out the dead leaves left in the gutter. Unless you are writing such a massive and complex story with so many characters, there is no reason to have that many pages. I get some writers are wordy. I’m not that way although if given the right subject matter, I could be wordy, I suppose. It dawned on me the other day as I browsed through more current fan fiction novels, how freaking long they are. I’ve never Stephenie Meyer, E.L. James, or Anna Todd when it comes to romance fan fiction. The original sources of fan fiction goes on and on and while I don’t have the attention span or time to research into it, let’s just say every story a writer writes has some kind of influence from somewhere. It takes a well-crafted writer to hide it better through his or her writing skills. We gravitate toward those writers we relate to or have something interesting to read about and with this in mind, I end this blog here.

05/20/2021: Journal Entry Type #92: A Hot Thursday 

I’m definitely not keeping up with my blog since I started my new job. My schedule puts a big dent in what I used to be able to do. I get home later now and when I try to fall asleep I’m still awake at 2 in the morning. It’s not like I can’t wake up early because I had to do that for my training and left by 7:45 in the morning. I no longer have weekends off but what am I going to? It’s not the end of the world. I’ve always been a night owl vs a morning person. It feels as if I’m fighting against myself to fall asleep by midnight and the latest by 1 am because I’m failing miserably at this. I’m hoping by getting back into a routine of exercising in the gym helps me although I have to force myself to wake up in time to exercise before I go to work. It’s getting hotter outside and Nevada consistently has 80 and 90 degree weather. I’m not looking forward to the 100+ degree weather. I get why people flock to CA for the weather. I’m finally feeling more settled in my job although there’s more to learn. Come June or July, I should have my first novel completely proofread and finished so it will be published. I also will be starting again on my second novel idea so I can finish the first draft by the end of the year. I think my brain and body is tired without really doing much these days. I think being cooped up inside since COVID like a hibernating bear has done something to me. I’m slowly coming out of my winter daze. That’s about all I have to offer for today until my next blog.

Posted on 05/09/2021: JET #91: I Still Want Oxygen and Balance

This will probably be my last weekend off for a long time. Due to working in a different industry, my days off are during the week now. At least I get two days off in a row. I know that some countries value long hours of working, but I’m not keen to work 60 hours a week. The most I’ve worked is about 53 hours a week and that was because I had no choice. I’d much rather work a 40 hour week job if I can with OT if necessary. When I worked from home, I was more willing to work OT. Now that I spend more time on the road although not too bad when it comes to commuting, I realize the need for me to have balance even more. I’m slowly getting there. I ended up taking Saturday off to partially relax and do some at home training without getting paid. I went to Lake Mead today and came back to finish up a few things before I started blogging. I am way behind, but honestly I only have to answer to myself when it comes to my blog. My current phrase is “you know what I mean.” I have a long laundry list of blogs to finish. Here are some pictures of my short trip of the trains on the way back from the lake.

05/06/2021: All I Have is a Branch 

Give them an olive branch. You know the statement. Here is my olive branch in the form of a few photos. Since I no longer work from home, my commute eats up more of my time as well as learning a new job. There’s a lot of information to learn and when I get home all I want to do is rest and sleep. I’m waiting for the day where things settle down and the job becomes easier. That won’t probably happen until 3 months from now but every day there is progress. The human process of learning something brand new is just what it sounds like and while I am thankful for this new job, I’m still keeping my options open. I hope to spend more time blogging this weekend and once two weeks is up (one more week left) after my second vaccine shot, I’m going to be much more busy and in the mindset to go, go, go. My life has been unsettled since COVID began as many others have experienced. Most everything still feels upside down and not quite right in terms of energy. Without rambling on for sake of time mostly, here are my photos I took recently.

05/01/2021: JET #90: 15 Questions

I got my second COVID shot a few days ago. I ended up with a sore arm, headache, dizziness, and mild fever. I’m still getting acclimated to my new job. There’s a lot to learn. I’ve been watching movies and TV and working since the last time I wrote a blog entry. I’m still in the training mode. I’ve been watching late night talk shows more. I recently saw Jimmy Kimmel with George W. Bush and Jimmy Fallon with James Spader. The 15 questions comes from Stephen Colbert as he calls it the Colbert Questionert (because he doesn’t pronounce the T in his last name). There honestly isn’t much else to say except my answers. I will find ways to express myself this month, I suspect, through my flash fiction, poems, and whatever else I write. I’m still not feeling the same way I felt before COVID happened, but I’m getting there. Slowly day by day like the world is opening back up.

  1. Best sandwich? BLT which is bacon, lettuce, and tomato with fake bacon
  2. What’s one thing you own that you really should throw out? Pants that no longer fit me from 20 years ago
  3. What is the scariest animal? Centipede
  4. Apples or oranges? Any kind of crispy apple but if only red delicious exist then blood oranges all the way
  5. Have you ever asked someone for their autograph? Once and that was Henry Rollins
  6. What do you think happens when we die? Depending on what we did and what we rectified or not, we will come back with a new set of tasks and/or some of the same ones
  7. Favorite action movie? The Fifth Element
  8. Favorite smell? Carbon copy paper
  9. Least favorite smell? Diesel gasoline
  10. Exercise: worth it? Yes but my body doesn’t show it right now
  11. Flat or sparkling? Water that is filtered with my Brita
  12. Most used app on your phone? Facebook
  13. You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it? We Built This City by Starship
  14. What number am I thinking of? I can’t really answer this without looking stupid
  15. Describe the rest of your life in 5 words? I have no freaking idea

04/25/2021: Journal Entry #89: It’s Been a While

It’s been a while due to starting working again and feeling the full effects of the wind. I sometimes think Sin City should be called The Windy City or at least a sister city to Chicago. When I was driving on Friday my car moved from the sheer force of the wind on the highway. I remember some nights driving where I hardly saw through my window and had to pull over because I had no clue where the car in front of me was and not being able to see the road clearly tends to freak people out.

The Academy Awards is tonight. I haven’t watched them in full since over five years. I guess I lost interest in them since I removed myself from Hollywood slowly over the years and especially now that I no longer live in LA. Honestly, while there is no evidence the Oscars are rigged although I’m sure cocaine is still being snorted among the rich and famous parties. I bring this up because I saw an episode where a drug dealer had to go to the Kodak Theater, now the Dolby Theater, to drop off an actor’s precious cocaine to fulfill his habit. Let’s just say, favors in Hollywood can mean the difference between the short or long road.

The same goes for UFC fights. I unsubscribed to ESPN+ because I was just wasting money. I can see the highlights after the fights anyway. If you didn’t see Chris Weidman break his leg in the first round and Uriah Hall win his fight without ever throwing a punch, I warn you it’s graphic. A leg shouldn’t bend that way. Jorge Masvidal and Zhang Weili fights ended in an unexpected fashion. Basically, the center of my life has changed rapidly since mid 2020 and definitely in 2021.

I’m internally trying to weed through the muck and really think about the possibilities of my future. I’m not quite there yet. Changing from working in one hospitality industry to another has been interesting and exciting. I’m learning new things, which is good for me. I went to the LV Strip today and even since 2018 there have been many changes and maybe even 2020. Anything and everything is possible regarding LV Strip and is a city that usually has something for everyone. If you’re wondering, prostitution/brothels is not legal in Clark County where Las Vegas and the strip reside or bigger counties. On the other hand, a smaller county like Nye (Pahrump) it is legal but only in licensed brothels.

The outside of Linq is different. Resorts World is opening in June of this year. Drew, Convention Center, MSG Sphere is under construction. There are a handful of casino/hotels in the planning process but haven’t broken ground yet. RW has 3,506 rooms. Compare that to the 6,852 rooms at MGM Grand. Every casino owner wants a piece of the pie. I usually start at the south end and work my way toward Circus Circus. I was able to take a photo of the Drive Carefully Come Back Soon sign instead of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada. Until I moved here, I never knew the strip is located in the towns of Paradise and Winchester and not Las Vegas.

04/18/2021: Journal Entry Type #88: Nostalgia for the 90s or Anything

I recently downloaded Jezzball and DX Ball for my computer. I’m more than a little psyched. I’m also moving my photos and files from my iMac that is ancient to my laptop. Needless to say, since I formatted my external for Apple, I can’t use it to transfer my stuff. It’s been a long process. I’m feeling sort of the excitement of getting back into the swing of a having a routine of work, exercising, writing, and other things. I’ve been looking more at my future opportunities out there for me in terms of ascending the ladder. There’s not much more else to say except this is definitely not the year to feel stable or settled. It’s been the opposite for me. I’ve been doing too much web surfing and reading about famous people dying. I have to say hearing Helen McCrory dying was a gut punch. I loved her in Peaky Blinders and will miss her dearly as Aunt Polly. She was much too young. I suppose with everything going on I’ve been less concerned about being in my best shape (not that I ever was) and less motivated to be the go-getter I sometimes am. I recently asked someone do you think it’s harder to paint a good painting or write a good book. He said paint a good painting. I tend to agree with this one. You aren’t given too many chances for a redo unless it’s an oil painting because acrylic dries so soon and forget about making a mistake on water color. This will probably be the last week of not working and while I should’ve used it to plow through my final rewrite of my first novel or write as much as I can on my second novel, I have done neither. I’m semi-okay with this because 2021 is my regroup year. I end with a few quotes.

That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

-GEORGE CARLIN-

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

-ROALD DAHL-

He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

-GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

04/16/2021: Flash Fiction: Lennixx

I haven’t written or rewritten much of anything since I was laid off. I’ve been headstrong on trying to find a job. I consider this job a stepping stone and will take it from there. I have no choice and in the hearts and minds of everyone struggling, I will keep it upbeat (at least this precursor to my flash fiction story). Actually, this is the first chapter of one of my novellas. It has been in the background stewing in my mind for quite a few weeks and while I have to finish my final polish on my first novel and continue adding 200+ more pages to my second novel, this needed to be written. I call it garbage needing to be polished so it doesn’t stink up the place anymore. If you don’t share your writing, then why write. I just hope people will buy my books too. I’m also needing to get in the habit of only putting one space in between periods. For over 40 years, I’ve put two spaces because that is what I learned. Changing this habit has been difficult. I’m sure every writer out there knows rewrites must be done and so this is a working first chapter that I will probably not go back to in a while. In the meantime, it’s something. Enjoy.

*******

It was still light out when Lennixx heard the owl. He imagined the owl was adorned with brown and white feathers. The brown would be the outer layer and the white could congregate under and around the wings.  When the owl lifted his wings to fly, Lennixx wished he had night vision goggles. If the owl actually did have that kind of coloring, he might notice the difference. The problem was he had the find the owl first, goggles or no goggles. 

These people were the ones he secretly wanted in his corner if he ever found himself in need of help. These were the people who often became doctors not lawyers or auditors not fraudsters. He did not think all lawyers were short in the attention to detail department, but he had seen more than enough to know money trumps specifics. 

Sure, he understood the desire to describe lawyers in a positive way. Everybody wants a fair representation of him or herself, but he was talking about professional reality. The reality was not everyone is given a fair shake.  Sometimes, the best person for a job gets shafted because he was not, she or vice versa.

People were great at displaying fictitious displays of principles such as hard work and results. Put in another way, these were the brownnosers. Lennixx called them  ass-kissers. The reality was he had seen many people not selected for no other reason than a combination of laziness and stereotypes. These unfortunate people could do nothing about it or could they. 

This was the million-dollar question everyone asked themselves when they filtered out of the front entrance and the doors to their company closed forever. He could see the bewilderment on their faces: their arched eyebrows, scrunched up noses, and lips parted enough to signal the reality had not set in yet. 

He knew because Lennixx was one of them. He asked himself the following: Should I have recognized the signs? How much in control of my life do I really have?  What do I do now? If I am in control of my life, why haven’t I gotten the things I most desire? What the fuck happened?

These desires were those things he had not told anyone about because it sounded stupid. He was not talking mentally stupid, as in IQ range, but courageous stupid where he is too afraid to stick his index finger through the bubble he was living in for fear of failure.

People like to say we have all been there and done that. We have all felt disappointment, heard anger, and seen madness. We know what reaching the bottom means. When our arms are not able to paddle to the top because they are broken, and our hands can’t possibly be strong enough, it is over.  Lennixx felt the only option was to drown. No one was coming to his rescue.  There was no life preserver. There was no rescue buoy thrown in his direction. There was simply nothing but a night sky above him and the owl that never flew away. It hooted all night long. Even if he had wanted to sleep instead, he would not have been able to since the owl was insistent on keeping him company in his misery.

And here he was and so it went, one man with little purpose and no dream left to his name. He had nothing to live for, his life was empty and would be forever pointless, but then someone interrupted Lennixx by talking to himself in the woods. In this dire moment, the intruder came across Lennixx and shined a flashlight on his face.

He wouldn’t find out the intruder’s name until the next morning. The owl had stopped hooting and was replaced by forest birds chirping. Lennixx never cared about the particular species. They all sounded the same. He paid no attention to detail or wondered why the cardinal bird was named that way. None of this mattered when death was the only option.

The moment he decided to get into his Volvo and pull out of the parking garage was when Lennix knew his life was officially over. As a promise to the countless writers before him who never made a penny while they were alive, he drove to the woods nearby and plotted a revenge on life.

This was how death was going to be. He was sure going to show life how stupid it had become. Taking his life meant every bad thing that happened to him was pay back. If God really did exist, he was going to make God pay for his shitty life. As a bonus, he would haunt those who wronged him while they were sleeping once gone. This was his grand plan.  His master of a plan that failed and all because Mr. Wonderful had to celebrate in his own way, outside and alone, on the same night Lennixx decided to kill himself.

04/14/2021: Journal Entry Type #87: Let’s Count All the Ways COVID Changed Our Lives

I recently found out ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres are closing down all their theaters across the U.S. If you’ve never been to one of them, they were by far the best theaters around. Of course, the price was high but they had the best popcorn. I don’t know what they did, but it was the best popcorn I have ever eaten and will probably never again get the chance the eat. When someone was on their phone, you either had two choices: turn it off or leave. This also means the Cinerama Dome has closed too. No more movie premieres. No more seeing Hollywood actors and actresses. The only one I saw was Giovanni Ribisi, but what was even cooler was seeing Illeana Douglas stopping at the corner, riding her bike. I digress.

In addition to movie theaters taking a massive hit and other forms of entertainment except for video games, salad bars and buffets are a thing of the past. They will never make a return in huge numbers. A favorite salad bar restaurant close to me will never be re-opened. People don’t feel safe eating exposed food anymore. Not enough people are getting the vaccine and this virus is so damn powerful, I don’t blame them. I still won’t eat in a restaurant until next year sometime although I was half-forced to walk into a mall a week ago. I suppose malls are making a come back now, but I see some empty spots where stores used to be over a year ago.

There are a handful of businesses that closed down many of their stores in 2020 and 2021. Some businesses permanently closed down their stores and establishments. Here are some of them and this is not an exhaustive list.

Permanently Closing

1. Century 21

2. Lord & Taylor

3. Stein Mart

4. Bed Bath & Beyond

5. Pier 1 Imports

6. Christopher & Banks

7. ArcLight Cinemas/Pacific Theatres

8. Regal (Cinemark)

Reducing Stores

1. Nordstrom

2. Neiman Marcus

3. J.C. Penney

4. Sur La Table

5. Gap

6. Godiva

7. Banana Republic

8. The Children’s Place

9. Disney

10. AMC

The COVID obviously hit the tourism industry like a knife plunging into someone’s body over and over again. The airlines, cruise ships, hotels, and casinos all took a beating like never before. I’ve heard this is far worse than what happened on 9/11 (regarding the U.S.) and I completely believe it. The attacks in NYC disrupted airline flights, but this virus has disrupted everything and anything. It has completely brought people to their death and if not death, then onto their knees except the uber rich who made so much profit I want to vomit. The unemployment rate overall is 6.0% in March 2021, but many states have a much higher rate such as New York, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Mexico, etc. One state is not like the rest in the U.S. Nevada had a 30.1% unemployment rate in April 2020 where Minnesota had a 9.9% rate in May 2020 and Nebraska had a 8.7% rate in April 2020. What does this all mean? It means the U.S. is nowhere near it should be in terms of COVID cases, vaccines, and unemployment numbers. This isn’t even accounting for those who stopped looking and aren’t counted.

On another note, Bernie Madoff is gone. I doubt anyone is missing him. Here are some other famous people who died this year in 2021. Some are more beloved than others, but they were widely known around the world or in certain pockets of society. This is not an exhaustive list.

Those Who Have Died So Far

  1. Jessica Walter (actress)
  2. Michael Apted (director)
  3. Dustin Diamond (actor)
  4. Hal Halbrook (actor)
  5. Hank Aaron (baseball player)
  6. Larry King (journalist)
  7. Cloris Leachman (actress)
  8. Prince Phillip (royalty)
  9. DMX (rapper)
  10. Cicely Tyson (actress)
  11. Larry Flynt (magazine owner)
  12. Christopher Plummer (actor)
  13. Yaphet Kotto (actor)
  14. Tommy Lasorda (baseball manager)
  15. Dearon Thompson (actor)
  16. Tanya Roberts (model/actress)
  17. Joseph Siravo (actor)
  18. Beverly Cleary (writer)
  19. Mary Wilson (singer)
  20. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (poet/bookstore owner)
  21. Roger Mudd (journalist)

There are many other ways COVID affected all of us, but the two outstanding ones are the economy and health. The death toll is 2.9 million worldwide so far and the U.S. has the most cases and deaths. Yet, we are making progress with vaccine shots. About 20% are fully vaccinated and 37% have one vaccination. In order to stop the spread of COVID, all countries need to be vaccinated. It’s a no brainer and I hope as a collective whole, we can get there.

April 6, 2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #86: THESE LAST SIX DAYS

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth although it feels like it. My emotions have been all over place since being laid off. Let’s just say I sort of knew it was coming, but when it did, it still felt like a gut punch. I thought I would be retiring at my now former work place. I thought I had finally settled into a job, challenging at times, but something that kept me busy and paid my bills. I suppose it was not to be. I know I’m not the only one who is still looking for a job and there are others from last year still looking for a job. I took a breather from writing and blogging in general because when your life is uprooted, everything else takes a back burner for me. I spent the last six days up all day and night applying to jobs. I was maybe a little too obsessed. My whole system feels out of whack. I guess this is what being unemployed feels like. Ever since I was on furlough, things quite weren’t the same for me. Mentally, I kept the prospect of being laid off out of my mind and thought positive about returning. Yet, even when you’ve accepted reality, it still affects you. Something that was once a part of my life is now officially and forever gone. There is a possible job prospect for me. It’s a job that pays less than what I did before and yet, I hope to be offered this job. It’s a stepping stone or so I’d like it to be. I won’t have as much free time on my hands and will run into the problem of trying to find enough time to fit everything into my schedule, but I’m looking forward to this again. This is all the sentences my brain can string together for today.

March 27, 2021: FF: Godzilla vs. Big Ben

(This idea came to me as I accidentally said Godzilla vs. Kong when referencing the newly released movie. It goes to show that ideas truly can come from anywhere.)

Forget the Kong, this is the story of the assault on Big Ben. You know the building with the Clock Tower in Westminster, London? The clock may strike at every hour, but Godzilla can strike at any time. He’s been lying in wait, ready to emerge from the deep waters, and swing his body and tail at whatever comes his way: planes, drones, cars, people. When he first came onto the screen, it was 1954. Lots of things have changed since then. We have faster cars, hand held phones, millennials, and space travel. The kaiju is known as the alpha monster, the king of all who doesn’t give a shit, a face only a mother could love. Too bad he’s one scaly gigantic monster you can’t ignore. People regard him as the monster who shows himself only when the world needs saving. This time he means business because he hates tall building and clocks even more.

I anticipate what most people are thinking. Who cares about a monster that attacks a defenseless historical building? There are much taller buildings for Godzilla to attack! Why attack this neo-Gothic masterpiece of a building? Does this monster really have beef with England? Let me tell you. The kaiju doesn’t give a rat’s ass what culture it represents. He only wants to destroy what he sees as wrong. While the British accent is widely loved by the world, Godzilla does not. He only speaks one language and that is a language humans will never understand, not even myself even though I’m one out of five who’ve had the privilege of touching his scales.

The day Godzilla attacked Big Ben was a surprise to all. All the news stations changed their itinerary to cover this breaking news. First, he struck the building facing the bridge. Next, he struck it from the opposite side. The destruction of its cultural symbols was brought down with each massive blow of his tail. His end goal was clear. The last remaining piece was the clock. I watched in horror and amazement as he smashed every bit of it to pieces. The sheer force behind his rage sent many of the parts flying into the Thames. I watched people jump into it to save as many pieces as possible, neglecting the ones on land. No one should blame them, not even I wanted to test my fate with an angry monster.

As quick as he made his assault, his body relaxed and leapt into the river. The level barely covering his legs. By now the reinforcements had come in and were making their way to him. Soon he would be surrounded and on the receiving end of a massive assault. He had destroyed a world treasure not of gold but monarchies past and present. Westminster would never be the same. For all the precautions the British took to preserve it, in less than five minutes it was gone. The chiming of the Clock Tower was officially gone and so was I.

March 27, 2021: JET #85: If a Door Closes, Another One Opens

With the recent news of me being laid off due to COVID, I took a few days to myself to digest the information.  It’s easy to freak out after losing a job, but there is comfort in knowing I’m not the only one.  There are millions of others that lost their jobs, way before I did, and still have the frustration of remaining jobless.  When I turned 40, I really thought my life was on an upward trajectory (in a way).  My life path is going to be what it will be and this is what I try to remember as I begin my search for a new job.  While I have officially been laid off, I’m still personally let go of my old job and moving forward and onward.  It’s the only thing I can do because there is no use crying about it.  It won’t change anything. 

I am hopeful of the situation improving related to COVID in the U.S.  We’ve had some increases in cases due to the negligent and careless reopening of certain states.  I’d like to advise everyone living in the U.S. and the world that we still have way too many cases of COVID.  Since re-opening and people are walking around without masks, the 7-day average of new infections as of Friday (yesterday) was 54,666 (Source: Johns Hopkins University).  While around 2.5 million people in the U.S. are receiving shots every day, some states have failed to reduce the number of daily cases.  Keep in mind also only 14.7% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and 27% with one dose.  The range to reach herd immunity was between 60-70% but due to the new variants it is more likely between 75-90% (Source: NPR).  The bottom line is get your freaking vaccine.  If you are anti-vax people, know that all of the past presidents including Trump got the vaccine.  He just did his privately with the former First Lady.  I’d like the deaths in the U.S. to reach not much more than we already have at 548,800 and globally 2.7 million people. 

It’s important to me not to lose sight of my personal issues as well as what is happening on the world stage.  Nothing is going to get back to normal regarding COVID (jobs, health, etc) if the majority of us are working against each other.  I’m afraid many of us are doing that because we’ve been ingrained to execute without any kind of rational thought.  The U.S. has always had a gun violence problem since I’ve existed and violent acts against minorities has plagued the U.S. as well.  I hope that more people can see there needs to be sensible gun reform laws and that outlawing all guns is not the solution.  I  hope when someone sees an Asian person being assaulted, that they step up and help that person.  A prime example is a challenge going around on social media in the San Francisco Bay area called “Slap an Asian.”  The level of complete stupidity speaks for itself.

While I do my best to focus on my own life, I write this to remind myself and others that even in the midst of turmoil, frustration, change (an upheaval of sorts), it isn’t the end of your life.  It’s hard in these situations to be positive and calm, but that’s what is needed.  Don’t get me wrong, I half watched TV and movies these past few days with the mindset of going full steam ahead of applying to jobs.  I’ve already applied to some jobs and I have many days ahead of me of job applications.  I have faith something is out there for me.  I’d rather get a job right now but there’s a great possibility it won’t happen much later.  Because of this, I surround myself with things that make me happy and know if I’m doing my best that is all I can do.  If a door closes, another one opens still is cliché but is true.

March 18, 2021: JET #84: Who Needs Sleep When You Have a Life to Live?

I’ve given up trying to stay on schedule since not working a 9-to-5 job. I’ve tried hard to wake up by 10 am and fall asleep by 1 am. I’m usually still up at 2 or 3 am and still having trouble falling asleep. I used to work the night shift 20 years ago. It looks like I have no issue staying up late although burning the midnight oil is not what I want to be doing. Yet, here I am still awake and it is 2 in the morning where I live. I’m making progress with my last rewrite of my first novel idea and can’t wait to self-publish it. I can’t wait to self-publish my second novel idea in order to feel satisfied I finished two novels from start to finish. I also can’t wait to prepare myself for my third novel idea so I’m basically been coasting in the writing lane on the creative highway. At least, I have cut down the 20 novels/novellas I want to write to eleven and at most thirteen. Let’s just say I continue on my writing endeavors the only way I know how–with some resistance and a whole lot of ambition (in theory). In a way, my life has turned into something I don’t recognize. I’m hoping this will pass too and I can get living the life I had before COVID. That is all I have to say for now and going to try to get some sleep.

March 18, 2021: JET #83: Writing is a Journey

I got my edited version of my first story back. The good news is that it isn’t as labor intensive as I thought it might be. The bad news is, if you want to call it that, is I have to do another rewrite. It’s a minor rewrite compared to the lengthy ones I’ve done before on this story so all in all it’s good. Either way, I have to do it. I can go kicking and screaming my way through it or admit the process and get on with it. I’m choosing the latter option. The also good news is I will not have to do as many rewrites on my second story. I’m on chapter 10 although I’ve been struggling a bit with finding the motivation and willpower to stay with it. I don’t mince my words when it comes to my own life progressions and right now I’m in the mud.

As I laid in bed last night, I thought about all the stories I want to write (what’s freaking new, huh?) and how much I would love to start my trilogy that will probably end up being one book. I thought about the huge accomplishment/achievement I will feel when self-publishing all my five novels. Then, I can move onto my novellas. My foolishness is thinking it will be easier to write them because it won’t be as many pages. It should take a shorter time, but in the long run, they may take longer. These stories aren’t as flushed out as well as my novel ideas but they have the most promise of being fully whacky and crazy, minus my fourth novel idea.

I try to reach and commit to personal deadlines as much as I can, but I also won’t sacrifice my writing for the sake of holding it in my hands when it’s not ready. The first book is definitely the hardest one any person will write (to an extent). Let me tell you, I can’t WAIT until it is finished. They should be all hard to write, in some ways, because if not, you aren’t challenging yourself. If everything goes the way I think it will, hopefully my second book will be self-published in 2022 or early 2023. It’s all become a game of timing and giving myself around 25 years to finish all my stories. I know I have it within me to do this, but the specifics of it all remains to be seen. I end with a quote about writing.

“A short story is a sprint, a novel is a marathon. Sprinters have seconds to get from here to there and then they are finished. Marathoners have to carefully pace themselves so that they don’t run out of energy (or in the case of the novelist– ideas) because they have so far to run. To mix the metaphor, writing a short story is like having a short intense affair, whereas writing a novel is like a long rich marriage.”

-JONATHAN CARROLL-

March 17, 2021: JET #82: A Good Reminder for Writers

            It’s easy to get into the trap of thinking I will write the next great American novel, or I will write the next great novel to be translated into hundreds of languages and bought in every tiny corner of the world.  The good news is that having this dream is a possibility although quite rare.  The bad news is publishing companies are shrinking and the variety of books has increased due to self-publishing writing platforms.  The chance of instant fame is tantamount to growing wings and flying on your own back in the day was slim and now it doesn’t hardly exist at all.  Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule but unless your writing is a cash cow, well it won’t happen.

            Don’t lose hope if you are a writer because now that I’m in my forties and not getting any younger, I’ve learned and accepted my fate.  I will probably die a self-published writer.  I will be lucky to sell 250 to 300 books before I call it quits and hopefully write all my story ideas.  Not all self-published writers have a gigantic platform on which thousands of people will buy their books.  I’d say less than a quarter of those followers will even think once of buying a self-published book, but as humans we try anyway.  It’s hard enough to be writing a book and getting it out there.  Who has time to read a book?  Seriously, who has the damn time when you are a writer yourself, but it’s important to read. 

            Self-publishing doesn’t come cheap either.  If you want a decent novel, you need to pay for editing.  If you want a decent novel, you need to pay or create a cover that doesn’t look gaudy.  All your hard work may amount to a few book sales so it’s more important than ever to really believe in your writing but more believe in your need to write your novella or novel.  Nothing is guaranteed especially book sales.  This sounds quite realistic but it’s the best advice I’ve learned and that is to keep your expectations low on what you sell and think about ways to drum up interest around your book(s).  With most anything with lasting influence or rewards, you need longevity within yourself and loyalty among readers/buyers.  We truly are our worst critic and while you ask yourself why I can’t be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, well you probably could.  The better question to ask is are you up for the task.  Are you ready for the many rewrites and deadlines that comes with it?  It’s easy to get down on yourself for not being in the same spot as any one of the richest authors in the world, but then you wouldn’t be you.  We can’t all be famous and rich writers, but we can all be writers if we want to be.

            I’ll always remember what someone told me.  He said the smartest person he ever met was a homeless man.  It reminds me of a classmate who was poor and book smart.  He easily could’ve gone to an Ivy League university but because of his upbringing, he ended up not continuing his education.  It’s a shame so with this in mind, I’m more committed to executing my goals.  It might not lead to the perfect outcome I’ve dreamt about, but I will not stop from pursuing my interests and passions either.  I’m meant to be writer and if a few of my books can impact the readers, I will have done my job. Forget the millions of profit you could get from book sales. It probably won’t happen. Forget the millions of books you could sell at the end of your writing career. It probably won’t happen. The measure of success comes in many forms. Write good stories and whatever is meant to happen will happen.

            If you’re dying to know who some of the richest writers are, those still alive, they are below.  I looked on some web lists and these writers were often repeated. The sources were Forbes, Money Inc, The Richest, and Wealthy Gorilla. If you become one of them, I’ll be the first one to congratulate you and add you to the list. Keep living, keep dreaming, and most of all keep writing.

France - Elisabeth Badinter               
United Kingdom - J.K. Rowling
United States - James Patterson
United States - Stephen King
United States - Nora Roberts
United States - Danielle Steel
United Kingdom - Barbara Taylor Bradford
United Kingdom - Nigel Blackwell
United States - R.L. Stine
United States - John Grisham
United Kingdom - Jeffrey Archer
United States - Dan Brown
Nigeria - David Oyedepo
United States - Dean Koontz
United States - Stephanie Meyer
United Kingdom - Paul McKenna
United Kingdom - Christopher Little 
United Kingdom - Jack Higgins 
United States - Deepak Chopra
United States - Janet Evanovich
United States - Suzanne Collins
United States - Clive Cussler
United States - Meg Cabot
United Kingdom - E.L. James
United Kingdom - Ken Follett

March 16, 2021: JET #81: Balance is the Key to Life

Once in a while I check in with myself to see what I need to focus on on a more spiritual/earthly sphere. I’ll be the first one to admit I’ve been trying my whole life to have balance. I find it in different ways, some days more successful than others, and other days it’s a complete bust. Reminding myself of the person I am is something I need to do once in a while. This goes behind the physicality of having legs and arms even though they have too many scars (I scar really easily). It gets to the center of my being, what is inside what has not been paid attention to, and what is yearning to be heard. I offer the reminders given to me through meditation and cards. Take them as suggestions and nothing more.

  1. The phrase “do no harm” is often cited but rarely do we do no harm to others especially ourselves. Most people are aware of the mind/body connection. Does what propel us forward might be rooted in negativity? I hope not but there’s bound to be a few not so positive reasons.
  2. Everybody changes over time whether they realize or not. Those that have the courage and strength to change internally is what we are deep inside. Knowing where your boundaries are and when to stretch them to satisfy your hunger is the challenge of all people.
  3. Usually at the beginning of the year, we have a sense of renewal where dreams are revisited and resolutions are often broken within the first week. Humans should seek their ambitions all year round and see where it takes them.
  4. This is probably the greatest thing I’m working on which is not to deny my strength at the cost of being reactive and unhealthy. We often live in a fear based society and while it is good to be observant, it isn’t in anyone’s best interest to let that fear overwhelm you.
  5. Allowing yourself to grow naturally is very hard for most people. Everybody has their own rhythm and it’s easy for me to make it go faster when it’s not conducive to the situation.
  6. This is the second thing I’m still working on although it crops up here and there. What I’m talking about is toxic thoughts whether guilt, regret, and misunderstandings concerning others and myself. It’s not easy to release negative patterns but it’s worth it.
  7. Being a serious person, I rarely have fun. Even if I have fun such as watching a funny movie, I’m usually thinking and working on something to keep me busy. Watching a movie alone is not enough for me and I need to work on this.
  8. We should be open to new ideas and inspirations. Trying something new is good for the soul. I plan on doing new things or things I haven’t done in a long time due to the pandemic.

March 11, 2021: Short Story: Phone Call

I started writing this short story about a week ago. It allowed me to finish my journal and start a new one. My first short story in 2021. Don’t get used to it because I will soon have to rewrite my novel and try to finish my other novel by the year’s end. This story is about the fictional struggle of living in a big city and then moving to a smaller town and the annoyance of telemarketers calling. Enjoy.

The city people of today move too fast and proud. Nobody has time to help others when in the darkest of days. When he came to this part of the state, it was alarming to his eyes and ears. George was just as uptight as the character George in Seinfeld. but this city was very far from New York. Anyone with knowledge would not call it a cityscape but a town where everyone thinks they know each other. It is in this small-town family members pretend their neighbors care for them as much as the reciprocate onto them.  If they knew what was written in secrecy in chat rooms, behind computer screens, about these same people, it would cause a major rift within the town.

George’s real name was Arnold. No matter what his name was it never stopped the mental assaults since arriving in this small town. Arnold had tried to keep his thoughts in check and was able to experience a few days of peace. Each thought rapped on his head as a broken spring triggered by an imbalance.  All his past grievances flooded into his mind, and he became enraged by those who had wronged him.  It was not in his imagination these wannabe city people who came from small towns had become his biggest nuisance.  It was bigger than the mice making a home in his kitchen.  No number of traps would kill his thoughts.

Wanting to get revenge on those he despised, at 2:30 in the afternoon he made up his mind.  He was going to write anonymous letters and send them to those who wronged him.  Before he could start, his phone rang.  He looked to see who it was, but it showed no name or number.  He answered anyway, knowing it was a telemarketer.  He looked forward to unleashing his rage onto the person who had the guts to call his unlisted number. 

“Hello, sir.”

“You don’t even have the decency to say my name.  It’s fucking George.”

“If you would’ve given me more time, I was about to say it.”

“Well, then, fucking it say it.  Are you stupid or something?”

“No, sir.  I have your name as Arnold.”

“So what!”

“Is that your actual name?  Arnold?”

“Fuck off and never call me again!”

George disconnected the call and threw his phone across the room.  It bounced off the hardwood floor and landed face down.  His anger was a residual effect of living in a big city.  He kicked his phone across the floor.  It ricocheted off the wall and landed face up.  The screen was cracked in the middle and spread outward like a spider’s web.  This was the fifth phone he had broken in the last ten years. 

Arnold picked it up and it rang again.  Hardly anyone called him except those who wanted his money he did not have since he quit his job.  It was another unlisted number and no name appeared either.  It was probably the same stupid telemarketer.  His rage got the best of him and he picked it up.

“Hello.”

“This is Mary Pat.  I’m from the company Better for You.  I would like to offer you our introductory price of our entitlement package at a great value of twenty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents.  In addition to the happiness pills, it includes our bounce back pills for those days when you’ve had a rough day.”

“Let me stop you right there, Mary Pat.”

Mary Pat kept speaking.  “If this package does not sound right for you, we also have our exhilaration package for five dollars less.  Everyone deserves to have a little exhilaration in their life, don’t you think?”

“Who do you think I am?

“You are Arnold Brown of South Page, Nebraska?  Am I right, sir?”

“Is this a joke?  What kind of horse crap is this?”

“I can assure you, sir.  This is not a joke.  These are real products I’m selling.”

“You can’t find happiness in a pill, lady.”

“There are a few instances where it isn’t as effective, but overall—”

“But nothing.  There’s no buts about this.”

“You’re right.  There’s no buts, only eyes.”

“What?”

“You need eyes to see the pills you’re swallowing.”

“How do blind people see the pills, then?”

“I’m not going to argue with you over your eyes, but what I can say is you’ve been selected by our company for a very important reason.”

“Enlighten me, Mary Pat?”

“Interesting that you say that because we have a package too called enlightenment.  I’m also Mary Jane, sir.  Pat is on with another caller.”

“You all sound the same, lady.”

“Would you like her to call you back?  If you would like to work with her instead, this is fine with me.  A sale is a sale either way.”

“Oh God, no.”

“I’d be more than happy to call you at a more suitable time based on your needs.”

“Don’t bother lady.”

“It would be my pleasure to help you in any way I can.”

“Don’t you take no for an answer?”

“If you decide you want to know more information about our products, please call at us eight, zero, zero.”  Mary Pat paused.  “Five, five, five.”  She paused again.  “Nine, eight, six, seven.”

“Yeah, I got it.”

“Please call me at your earliest convenience.  You have a great rest of your day, sir.”

“Whatever.”

Arnold hung up and put his phone on silent.  He should have let loose on Mary Jane.  He held back as he had learned when he lived in the big city.  He rarely made the same mistake twice except this was not really a mistake. It was his guilt that was bothering him.  He had slowly turned into a true city person and was unable to shed its scaly skin.  He still moved too fast, was too uptight, and too rigid. 

He wilted to the floor and yelled into the empty space.  Everything he wanted to say in the last ten years tumbled out of his mouth.  It wasn’t my fault.  You were too stupid to see it.  You made me your enemy.  I’ve heard all the stories. You know what that makes you?  A loser.  A big fat loser that hides behind a mask.  I’m glad to be out of your clutches.  I only have one more thing to say to you and that is you will always be pathetic.

He got to his knees and punched the air as he stood.  He wished his wife could comfort him.  He had too many moments of need since moving and there was no one to help him.  Whenever he got the nerve to release his frustrations, newer and more menacing thoughts took their place.  He was sick of carrying this extra weight.  Living in a slow-paced town should have gave his mind some peace as he was promised.  Whether he was driving on empty freeways or stuck in rush hour traffic, it was still there.

Looking around his empty living room with boxes hugging the walls, Arnold grabbed his phone and dialed all the numbers except the last one Mary Pat had given him.  He disconnected and soon after the phone rang in his hand.  He let it ring three times before answering.

“I’ve been waiting for you, whatever your name is.”

There was a pause on the other end.

“You still there?”  Arnold asked.

“Yes, I am but—” Mary Luz said.

“Just give me your little pep talk and get on with it.  I’m ready to swallow those pills, whatever color they are. How much are they, again?”

March 8, 2021: JET #80: So, It’s International Women’s Day?

This year it took me several reminders that today was International Women’s Day. First, my partner, told me. Then, I got a text from a friend. Then, I saw Joe Biden speak about it on the news. Then, I read about it online. Then, I thought back to the time when one of the schools I attended I was charged less for a drink. Needless to say, I’ve been busy with other things like reading, writing, and trying to fit activities into my daily routine I’ve not been incorporating. Therefore, having International Women’s Day on my mind wasn’t a priority. Next, I thought about my biological mother and the hell she went through and then my adoptive mom who is a feminist in her own right. She’s the woman who wouldn’t buy me a Barbie doll. We understand each other a lot more now.

I made headway on my second novel, still typing away, and now starting chapter ten. My first novel idea should come back to me in a week. I’m a little anxious with how much I will have to rewrite when it comes back. I’m trying to prep myself for the task and hope it isn’t massive. This is the first time I’ve had a stranger read my work. While I struggle with my teeth falling apart as my filling needs to be replaced and my arthritis in my hands getting worse as the days go by, I wonder how I’m going to fulfill all my personal needs when I’m older. Getting back to my second novel idea, it’s been a journey, and it’s a kind of further exploration of my past and present. It will be the most personal and while I’m enjoying writing it, I’m also kicking and screaming at having to write it. Beware, I will do this with every freaking novel I write.

With this being said (a repetitive phrase I use), I end with my frustration at not being able to follow other bloggers. I don’t understand why I have this problem. If you know how to fix it, let me know. I need to see if I can’t get it to work again on my iPhone. So, here’s to another day of being a woman and as I posted on another social media page, people who post generalized thoughts without any kind of research amounts to nothing more than gross negligence. I don’t exclude people for having different views, but it’s clear to me too many people stand by their posts like it is a badge of honor, like they won a medal because they fought a war, and they have done neither. So, fight your battles but don’t hide behind your screen thinking it doesn’t have any gouges on it. Trust me, it does.

March 4, 2021: Journal Entry Type #79: Forget My Life for a Day or Week but No More Than That!

I made the decision to go out in nature and do a little hiking today. I brought someone along with me so I couldn’t go as far and that was probably a good thing. I kept putting it off this week because working on my Yoda puzzle is so much more exciting. Okay, yeah right. The puzzle is damn hard for not being deemed a challenge puzzle. Basically, I drove us the 40 minutes there and back. We hiked four miles and they actually put markers up this time. I look forward to exploring hiking areas like I had wanted to do when I first moved here but never made the time to do it. Note to self to do that when COVID is officially under control. I haven’t written in over a week and this week I said to myself, “screw it.” I forced myself to grocery shop and get a few other things I’ve been putting off. I hiked in 64 degree weather. I was sweating so by the time I got more into the belly of the mountain, it felt cool because there was shade. The creek was basically non-existent except for a little bit of water due to the snow already melting. I took some deep breaths along the way and when I reached the stopping point, I took more deep breaths and released everything pent up within me (for the most part). I wonder how I will fare when I go back to work. My life will be more hectic with a lot less time, but I’m looking forward to it. I need to hunker down for the next few months and re-focus and concentrate on my writing. I took a few pictures and here they are although nothing out of the ordinary. I’m trying not to fall off the rock into the water in two of the pictures but the rest are self-explanatory.

February 28, 2021: Flash Fiction: The Right Answer

It was a time when the only choices you had were A, B, C, and D.  Your eyes glazed over, a few times crossed, and I knew you were asking yourself where the other choices were. The ones of 1, 2, 3, and 4. This was the test you had prepared for, not some test created by small-time kooky sideshow freaks.

You raised your hand and quickly put it back down before the instructor noticed.  You painstakingly filled in the ovals, pausing to bite your pencil in between your head scratching.  This was the test of all tests.  The test that never rests.  The test that bested you from beginning to end. 

I watched you leave the room in frustration. The following day, we saw our scores. They would not let you progress and would keep you another year with the clowns and jugglers. As for me, my test was more maybe than no but not enough of yes.

February 28, 2021: Flash Fiction: Don’t Jump on the Bed

It’s snowing outside. I can’t sit still. Don’t want too either. This day should’ve been a mystery. Give me something to solve besides math problems in my worn-out book. I want to go outside but mom won’t let me. This winter vacation sucks.

“You have a cold and need to stay inside,” she tells me.

The worst of it is having to blow my nose and the rest of me feels fine. I don’t even have a fever. See, look at the thermometer. She doesn’t look and ends with telling me a hot cup of chicken noodle soup is the only thing I need. I’m glad when she leaves. I can jump up and down on the bed again, go as high as I can go. My legs spring off my mattress and my fingers touch the ceiling every time. I’m committed and there’s no stopping me.

She returns carrying a portable tray of soup and crackers. The aroma of the soup fills every inch of my room. I like watching the steam come off the bowl. It’s a good feeling but I really want to go outside. My mom notices the bed spread is messed up. She gives me a disapproving look. One where it’s clear she is the boss and I better do what she wants.

“Quit jumping on your bed,” she yells.

When I plop down, she sets the tray over my legs. After the incident where I knocked her hand hard enough to tip everything on the tray including the soup, jello, and can of opened 7-Up, she leaves me to place it where I want it. I scooch the tray closer to me, break a few crackers into the soup, and slurp up a spoonsful before putting it down again.

“Can’t I open the window for a few minutes?” I ask.

“No, you can’t,” my mom says. “The only thing you should be doing is resting.”

“You’re ruining my day,” I say with emphasis.

“You’re telling me. I thought I’d have a nice day curled up on the sofa myself. Your father is gone and here I am doing my motherly duties. I knew I shouldn’t have let you go to that birthday party. I’m positive that’s where you got sick.”

She watches me eat and leaves with the tray when I’m done. I wait until I hear her going down the stairs and jump out of bed. I open the window, not caring how much she yells at me later. I can always lie and tell her I felt lightheaded and needed fresh air. I close my eyes and envision myself sledding with my friends down the hills near Jefferson Avenue and Jackson Parkway. If I’m still in bed by tomorrow, I will know someone is punishing me. I open my eyes and close the window.

Back in bed, I hear my mom rattling around downstairs. I imagine she is wondering what my appetite will be tonight. I pull my covers up to my chin and stare at the ceiling fan. I wonder when my dad will be back. I’m envious of my sister being able to be out of her room. The room is chillier. It makes me happy. I take a deep breath and exhale. A smile forms on my lips. I don’t know why. I pick up my Batman comic sitting on top of my math book.

Ah, the life of a ten-year old. Can’t beat that, cold or not.

Febuary 28, 2021: Journal Entry Type #78: I Don’t Know Where the Beginning, Middle, or End Is, Do You?

My life isn’t as bad as the guy in the hourglass, but sometimes I do feel as if my life is spinning. It’s not spinning out of control but full of the same motions. By this repetitive motion over and over, I sometimes feel very lopsided where my life is passing me by. I know it isn’t. I’m breathing and living it. This month is almost done which means I’m giving myself four months to finish my second novel idea. This will bring me to the end of June. I know I’m not giving myself as much time as my first novel. For the love of everything good and bad, I doubt I will ever take that long to write a story as that one did. I’m surprised that I’m propelling forward as much as I am on my two sisters story. Even better that I’m on chapter nine although I hoped to finish it last night. Lo and behold, I did not and after I ate. It’s amazing how much a body gets tired after eating. It’s amazing how much this pandemic has wrecked so many people’s lives. I can only speak for myself and the country I know all too well but this pandemic has split families and neighbors apart because it’s been politicized to the point of stupidity.

I’ve been trying hard to focus on the things I have control over, my own personal life, but I’m becoming much more unwilling to accept those things that the average person (with a brain) recognizes in society. Trust me when I say that the Republican party has a lot more holes to fit your hand through than the Democrats. I keep hearing of disaffected Republicans like Michael Steele saying it’s no longer the party of Lincoln. While I think Lincoln is a fascinating person, I personally don’t want to go backward. I want to go forward. The Republican is still the Trump party and the current CPAC attendees are also calling it TPAC. Solidarity behind a candidate is nothing new but solidarity behind a sitting president who fails to accept loss hurts everyone including Democrats. The most noticeable is in the unwillingness to work with Democrats to pass legislature that is widely accepted across the country and the willingness to curb voting opportunities in battleground states. In other words, Republicans are playing dirty and this game of back and forth continues. The worst of it is that a core part of the Republican party is submerged in a tank of white supremacy. Forget putting on your wetsuit and jump in feet first without looking to see how deep the water really is. Be careful not to break your ankle along the way or worse. Sure, I could keep my mouth shut about all of this turmoil happening in U.S. politics but for what purpose? What good is it to be alive if I can’t express myself in a tactful and honest way.

While I go on with my secluded life because of COVID and who the hell knows when it will be my turn to get the vaccine, I continue living somewhere in the cycle of beginning, middle, and end. I sort of recently wrote a poem about cancel culture but please do not see this as a statement that I am a Republican. I am not and yes, there are decent Republicans out there that don’t share the same disgusting views as some of them lining up like soldiers to overturn the U.S. government. Again, this doesn’t make sense because Trump is now part of the establishment in Washington D.C. He is a former president. He is part of what they are trying to destroy. These homegrown terrorists want anarchy. I wish more people could see this. My fears of this threat ebbs and flows. I really do hope that in the next decade things normalize and this part of U.S. history becomes just that, history. We should never forget the struggles between good and bad, micro and macro, and recognize the difference between strengthening a few versus many.

I’m looking forward to next week, a new month, and getting out in nature for a few days. I’m looking even more forward to traveling to places near and far when the pandemic is over. A weight lifted from my shoulders when January 2021 started. I’m willing to lose even more but more I want to get to that point in my life again. I want to freaking walk down the Las Vegas strip without a mask. Being the creative thinker I will always be, in the meantime turn on more lightbulbs than less and replace them when they burn out.

February 9, 2021: Journal Entry Type #77: Birthday Cards and Loud Kids

I spent last weekend going headstrong into my second novel. I decided to change it from first person to third person. Needless to say, I stayed up way too late, past midnight making the changes. I’ve been on a routine that resembles nothing when I had a full-time job. I miss the schedule I used to have. My stupid neighbors still insist on letting their kids stay up all hours of the night. I had to tell a parent I was trying to sleep at 11:30 pm. His kid was whacking shrubbery right outside my window while he was in the garage doing whatever the hell a parent does in the garage at 11:30 at night. They left shortly after I told them I was sleeping, but I was up until 3 in the morning. Have things changed that much where a ten year old doesn’t need any sleep? COVID needs to end so kids can get back into classrooms. My old neighbor who played his music all hours of the night left only to be replaced by obnoxious kids and parents who seem not to give a damn about neighbors. The story of my life.

Then something happened where it disrupted my personal life, what’s leftover during COVID, and I still searching for answers to certain questions about my life. I’ve gotten some but still others don’t make sense and whenever I ask the primary question, the answer still doesn’t make sense. It’s something I’ll have to rectify at another time but it makes me want to scream, like really, really loud. My life goals keep piling up and I need to put some things in perspective. I can tell I’m more stressed out than normal. My eyes are hurting me beyond the usual. The biggest thing on my mind lately is the fact no one lives forever. Someone asked me to do something and it freaked me out a little bit. Death is a part of life. I ended up then deciding to write my own obituary. I might as well get a head start. This person means the world to me and I have a few book ideas I want her to read before she goes. Hence, the pressure I’m feeling and putting on myself. Again, something I need to release because it will consume me like a whale shark consumes plankton. If I get the first draft written by the end of this year or beginning of next year, I’ll be on track. Time to put on my big girl shoes and relax.

I also like to collect birthday cards, post cards, and blank cards. I recently sent this card to someone. Certain things make me feel better about general life and puts thing upright instead of upside down. I call this organizing and doing mundane things most people would find a complete waste of time. I’ve thought about lists I could make, as it gives me a sense of calm, but I don’t want my life to be all about one thing and not have any balance. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to exploring Nevada once COVID ends and after I get my vaccine. It can’t come soon enough. It looks like I won’t be able to get back to work until the summer. I suppose I’ll sign off with the reminder to everyone I have great intentions to write more blogs (the titles already typed up and ready for me to finish). We’ll see if I get them all done but if not, there’s always the next month.

February 4, 2021: Book Writing Exercise: The Best Thing That Could Happen

The best thing that could happen to me is I come across a whole lot of money. You might think this is very materialistic of me. Who cares! Money can buy happiness when you are already grounded. I would like to think I’m grounded. I try to be as much as possible. I try to find happiness in most everything my hands touch. I try to find gratitude in most everything I do. What really gets me going are those that say money can’t buy happiness. How rich is that coming from someone who already has a buttload of money! I know I can’t literally buy happiness with money. It’s subjective and not objective. Duh! Don’t tell me the obvious.

I know you can’t put happiness into a measuring cup and say it is half a cup or two cups full. What happens if you can? What happens when you have room for one cup only and you have two cups of happiness inside you? Do you let the rest spill out onto the counter if it is liquid? Or, if it has the consistency of baking powder, let the particles fly into the air before it settles onto the floor? No, you don’t. You fill the cup to the one cup marker and put the other cup of happiness somewhere else. So, based on that principle, why can’t I put my other one cup of happiness into the stack of 100 dollar bills I might come across on Tuesday?

Don’t get me started. I’ve heard it all. You won’t win the lottery. You’re just wasting your money. Everyone thinks it will be them. Let me save you the misery. It won’t happen. It won’t be you. You aren’t that lucky, and neither is the person halfway across the state, in another house, with a different wife. He wants the big money like you. He wants to be the big spender like you. He wants to win the one billion dollars. You would settle for millions of dollars. Guess what? You will both be wrong. It will be someone who already lives in a nice house who wins. The billion-dollar prize winner? It won’t be you. It can’t be. It has to be anyone else but you. The only person I can think of to replace you is me.

February 4, 2021: Book Writing Exercise: The Worst Thing That Could Happen

That would be very simple to answer, the worst thing that could happen to me already did happen. It happened a long time ago although to compound the worst thing would be for something similar happening again. It would be the most terrible, raw, and emotional situation I would ever face as an adult. I don’t know if I would be able to survive again. It would be similar to having something ripped from my body and never being able to stop it. It would be someone cutting me open while alive but without drugs. It would be someone I couldn’t see, the mysterious and sinister presence, removing the organ that helped me live all these years. It would be leaving me there to die, that would be the worst thing that could happen. It would mean evil barged in and knocked the door down after all these years.

It would be the countless things I couldn’t get out of my head that would make it worse. It would be a revolving door or a continuous loop of scary images. The images that make me not want to close my eyes because I see them clearer when it is dark in my room. The outlines of those far away. I can’t see their eyes, but I can see the tops of their heads. They are moving around, close to each other in great synchronicity, almost like dancing. They are having fun from my view above, but I know deep down that is no celebration. They are huddled now, concentrating fully on the problem before them, and wondering what the next step should be.

The problem remains before them and not knowing the outcome is as dangerous as taking action. They come to me from time to time, telling me they haven’t forgotten, and still they aren’t willing to tell me anything more. I suppose that is the failure among us. Their inability to move beyond the line is also my failure. They can’t stop themselves from repeating the same tragedy over and over. They let themselves go so far and turn back. This has to be a precursor to our stunted ending. Sometimes questions aren’t ever meant to be answered.

February 1, 2021: Journal Entry Type #76: Nerding Out and Kicking Something

I had all intentions of writing more blog entries in the end of January. I kept saying to myself, there’s three days left. Then three days left became two days left and two days left became one day left. Sunday, I spent most of the day putting together Lego Yoda. By the time I’m done with it, it will look like the below. I plan to put Yoda on the top of my bookshelf.

I finally did some grocery shopping along with about five other things I’ve been putting off. I’ve started my second story although I’m trying to get through the 100 so pages, I’ve already written and see what I can use and what I should throw away. I basically need to force myself to do a rough outline chapter by chapter. I have my journal ready, so I fill the remaining pages and start a new one. Enough with the blue peacock, already. I want a new design to look at until I get sick of it.

I recently had more lip balm and lotion sent to me for my severely dry skin. No one believes me at how insanely dry skin I have. Since moving to the desert, it’s only gotten worse. I’ve acquired really bad eczema and my lips crack even more. My skin looks terrible. If anyone else is going through what I am, check out Eucerin for your hands, Cortibalm for your chapped lips, and Clotrimazole for your angular cheilitis. Vasoline and Vitamin A+D also helps for angular cheilitis.

This is about all I have for the first day of February. The shortest month of the year and if January hasn’t been enough of an indicator of how 2021 has been going, have faith in the rest of the year. For all the disheartening news (not fake news) and deaths happening (people I know from other illnesses and those around the world due to COVID), remember the average life expectancy ranges from mid 50s to mid-80s.

Don’t squander your days but don’t stress yourself out that you have a hard time finding purpose and meaning in daily life. I recently saw this man who turned 100 and as his wish he wanted to jump out of an airplane. He got that wish and it was awesome to see because a lot of people don’t live to that age and those that are much younger don’t have that adventure and drive. Without sounding repetitive, go out there and do your thing you were meant to do.

January 27, 2021: Flash Fiction: A Tub of Fat

In all the wrong places, in all the wrong angles, I sat there. I barely could keep my butt on the tiny seat underneath me. It was as if it was built by a tiny craftsman. One that didn’t understand how to make a chair for someone as fat as me. Forget about the muffin top bursting out of my pants. Forget about the rolls hanging over the expandable material. I was uncomfortable in all the wrong places. I imagined this craftsman laughing as he was making his tiny chair, a masterpiece as he referred to it. You know what I call it. A tiny heap of matchsticks whittled down into smaller matchsticks. You know the ones sharp enough to poke into my butt and inflict pain.

As I shifted on that tiny seat, my mind kept going to one situation I experienced long ago. I was only fifteen at the time, still fat but not as fat as today. How much a person weighs shouldn’t reflect on the way I tell my story. Those viewed as most educated as often the cruelest. I used my experience as an introduction to the classes I taught after I graduated with the necessary credentials, but students stared more at the size of my gut than the words coming out of my mouth. They simply couldn’t believe a fat man knew as much as I did. Besides this negative part of my job, I had not wanted to ever leave the classroom. It was my sanctuary. It made me feel at home.

It stoked my ego on many levels and crushed it on others.

This moment of constant rejection by those I was hired to teach thus began my new image. I sought to incorporate ways to change my views about food and exercise. I found ways to overcome my stubbornness, laziness, and procrastination. I simply wanted to attain what others I considered friends would never reach. They were too busy huddling together every Monday night, complaining about how others made fun of their endomorphic bodies, and plotting out revengeful plans on how to outsmart their ectomorphic enemies. They dreamed of the day to become mesomorphic models. I was able to reach that mesomorphic status, but it too became too much for me to handle.

My students did not know how to react to my new body. Not one congratulated me for my hard work or recognized the struggle it took to go from eating a whole pizza to half a pizza to a few slices of pizza once a month. It never dawned on them how their rejection hurt me. I eventually gave up. The healthy lifestyle was not of interest anymore. I quit teaching. Progress was fruitless. I quit learning. Loneliness was enough. I quit caring.

Moral of my story.

Give up if you want to. No one will stop long enough to pull you back up. Don’t rely on others. They don’t exist. I lived my life and now it is near the end. A tub of fat will always be a tub of fat. The question is will you take me as inspiration or failure. The second question is doing any one of my previous students learn anything from me. The third question is there any guilt for being insensitive. The most important question of all is will they feed on the weakness to continue as they always have or find the strength to surrender as I once did.

January 23, 2021: Journal Entry Type #75: Get it Together! Your Face is Counting on You!

I still don’t understand Twitter or Tiktok and yet, I find myself looking at both despite not having either one. I refuse to be ruled by social media even more than I already am. I finally finished my rewrite and going to be sending it to be proofread to someone early next week. I can’t state enough how glad I am to be done with it. It’s about damn time and the little changes made won’t be so drastic that I hope to have it published by the end of April. That will give the person I’m hiring February to do what he needs to do, March for me to do what I need to do, and April to create my cover.

I could go headstrong into my next story idea which is my two sisters idea. The novel I most want to write because it will be not only the most emotionally significant to me but so ever rewarding. I’m sure I will say this about my third novel idea, what I hope will turn into a trilogy as that was my original intent, but first things first. I revamped the order of my story ideas to write and yet, before I can do anything, I need to get more centered. I’ve been putting off so many things such as reading short stories I promised my roommate I would critique. I’ve been putting off my Yoda puzzle begging for me to start and now my Yoda Legos tempting me to build.

The last week of January is almost here and no longer can use my birthday as an excuse to relax. God knows, I’ve been relaxing for much of the last three months in many ways. I consider this a long vacation although not really what I wanted under the circumstances. All I can say is I look forward to reuniting with things remaining elusive while I try to balance my life. A little less looking at stupid things on the Internet might help but it’s all in the name of learning new things, right? I’m forever trying to commit to ways that bring me a feeling of being centered. It comes down to knowing what I need to do versus taking the time and energy to do them without getting ahead of myself.

When I’m jogging, I think about reading. When I’m reading, I think about reading something else. When I’m rewriting, I think about the next story I want to write. When my feet are cold, I think about the last time I showered. When I watch TV, I think about my lack of blogging. I hope I’m not the only one to have a combination of an overworking mind during the day and sluggish and tired mind during the night or vice versa. I’m at the point of my life where I need to reign it in and not by injecting a sedative into my brain (in a crazy kind of way that only a writer can identify with or someone who creates things), but in a way where it isn’t coming from self-destruction.

There’s been much debate with the tortured artist/writer/creator. It exists in most of us in some fashion. It’s only those that let it consume them does it manifest itself in negative ways. One only has to look at anyone who has committed suicide or dealt with suicidal tendencies (not the band). It’s something within the core of many of us that never truly dies (pun not intended) and yet, it can be great sources of creativity for any writer. The territory of juggling my life is often tied to how I feel about my own life’s pace and situation. For all the time I could’ve been writing and rewriting in the past twenty years, I could’ve had already five or ten books under my belt. I could’ve had even more time to write and ended my writing ambitions with a few more titles to my name. I took a major detour and one, I believe will help to me write my next story in less time and chore of rewriting in even lesser time.

Still being a novice writer hangs over my head. How much inspiration should I gain from the books I read? How much should I discard and banish from my brain? How much should I divulge in my next story? If I’m writing it from the heart and not the hip, how much should I obsess on how it should be written and what to include and exclude? These are the writing questions keeping me up at night. I would think other writers do the same, no matter how skilled or how many books they have written. Or is it just me that can be completely entrenched in the pre-writing, writing, and post-writing process? All writers need discipline, ideas, patience, and humility. I think most of all writers need a thick coat of armor for rejection/criticism. It takes guts to put yourself and your work out in the public. This is what I’m prepping for and good luck to those who make the world a better place one story at a time.

January 21, 2021: Journal Entry Type #74: The Future for All

I watched the 46th Presidential inauguration like many others did in the U.S. and around the world. I really hoped nothing catastrophic such as riots breaking out all over and thankfully, they did not. It seemed the massive amounts of the National Guard and Secret Service deterred this kind of activity. My interest in politics went from a crawl to a fast sprint when Trump became President in 2017. The U.S. in recent history especially has jockeyed for power among the two major parties (Democrat and Republican) of those who can sway either way (Independent). This time it was the Democrats who secured the Presidential win along with a slight majority in the House and basically a tie in the Senate (also making 2021 already contentious).

As I set my alarm to wake up in time for the major inaugural events because I’m on Pacific time, I understood many were excited and thrilled and relieved. Others were sour, depressed, and angry/pissed their person did not win. I’ve never been a political nerd until as of late. I’ve been feeling more national pride in the U.S. than in all my years combined for the what if, could be, and now that I’m in my 40s for some of the young people who will be the future. As I watched the President-elect taking the oath, the President and Vice President at Arlington National Cemetery, and the awesome fireworks above the Capitol, what equally captured me was the inaugural poem by Amanda Gorman. Everything about her recitation of her poem called “The Hill We Climb” was mesmerizing.

These last few days since the inauguration I’ve slowly been getting back into the routine of my own life. While I will never aspire to the greatness of present and past historical leaders, I do what is great concerning my own abilities and aspirations. I will never have the fashion sense that anyone of the people dressed at the inaugural had, except may for Bernie Sanders. In all seriousness, I end this with the reminder to use everything and anything as a platform to better myself, even if it comes in the weirdest ways. I hope everyone else strives to do that as well in the world. Unity was a theme in the inaugural address but so is responsibility. I believe 2021 is going to be a personal reckoning and awakening for some and for others finding the courage to do one or both.

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast; we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. And the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow, we do it. Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

“We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.

“And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

“And so, we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew; that even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.

“Scripture tells us to envision that ‘everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.’ If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade but in all the bridges we’ve made.

“That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it, because being American is more than a pride we inherit – it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

“In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. So, while once we asked, ‘how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,’ now we assert: ‘how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

“We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our enaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

“Our blunders become their burdens, but one thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.

“So, let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west, we will rise from the winds swept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rinsed cities of the midwestern states. We will rise from the sunbaked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.

“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

January 17, 2021: Flash Fiction: Her Name

Her name was a name like no other. Her name was a name I don’t remember. Her name was a name her mother must’ve thought at the last minute. However, her face brought a different kind of emotion. It was one of fast relief. It was one of strong joy. It was one that her father could not deny. She was a strange little child, but boy did she make random eyes stare inappropriately.

She grew up to be a beautiful teenager and much too young to be thought of in such a vile way. She could’ve been a model with those long legs. She could’ve been a basketball player with those long arms. Her father begged her to join the high school team and it disappointed him greatly when she took no interest in his love of sports. She answered his statements with questions.

Who is Larry Bird?

Who is Michael Jordan?

Who is Karl Malone?

Who is Shaquille O’Neal?”

Why would I care that Pearl Jam’s lead singer wanted to name his band Mookie Blaylock?

By the time she graduated high school, she had quite the following on social media. People swooned over her videos on Instagram. People enjoyed her snappy comebacks when haters attacked her on Twitter. People liked her Facebook posts all hours of the day and night. She had become a worldly sensation. Her future had become an opportunity of social media bliss.

So, it was a shame when the effects of her narcissism knocked at her door on a fall day. She had gone through many phases in her short life and now it had come full circle. The rapping got louder.

“Keep your pants on,” she yelled.

She opened the door and found a man in a long coat. “You need to come with me,” he said.

“The hell I do.  Who are you?” she asked.

“That shouldn’t concern you,” he said.

He clamped one of the cuffs on her wrist and twisted it enough she had no option but to comply.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she screamed.

“I’d advise you to shut your mouth. You’re only making it worse,” he said.

She failed to pick up her feet as he ushered her toward the door.  He picked her up by the scruff of her collar and took her outside to his car.  Her curious neighbors looked out their windows and took pictures with their cellphones.

“You’re going to be sorry.  My dad’s going to have your ass.  He’s a powerful man in this city,” she said.

“Not as powerful as the big eye in the sky,” he said.

 “I’m fucking innocent,” she screamed.

 “That’s what they all say.”  He shut the door before she could say another word.

January 7, 2021: Journal Entry Type #73: Two Yokes Equals Good Fortune?

Okay, so 2021 is off to a great start. I wish I had many things on my list to back it up. I suppose it’s a mediocre start to a New Year. The U.S. keeps starving for unwanted attention and showing how stupid we are when it comes to handling our differences and losses. I can’t believe I wrote my last journal entry type only two days ago. The U.S. got the results of the Georgia election but that was overshadowed by U.S. insurrectionists. Mind you the last time the U.S. Capitol was overtaken by a group of people was the War of 1812. I won’t say anything more about this. The whole world has seen and heard enough.

Because of all this drama, I took the last three days including today not writing and trying to remain calm during the storm. I made more of a resolve to incorporate things to relax today. I thought of simple images I could design and color to relax after my rewrite. I did a favor and forced myself to stretch my body for 30 minutes. I suggest this to anyone as stretching is good. I’ve jogged a few times since January 1st and did yoga that almost killed me because I’m not used to it anymore. I finished my puzzle I said I wouldn’t start until after I finished my rewrite. My justification is that it’s only 500 pieces.

This morning it dawned on me how crazy it was to have two yokes in my egg after I cracked it. I made fried eggs, and this is the first time I’ve come across this. I had to look it up. It’s a rare occurrence with one out of 1,000 chance. I’m not that superstitious so it’s a good thing it won’t result in death, but I will take the good fortune whatever that means. What’s the purpose of this blog? It might be don’t take yourself too seriously all the time, but let others be serious when necessary (what happened at the Capitol not included). More bad things will happen in 2021, but so will the good things. 2021 is a resetting in many ways for people. Take it because it’s yours.

January 5, 2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #72: SO ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES

I have to say it’s really hard not to stay tuned to the news when the U.S. is still in the midst of their election (one state, Georgia, in a runoff) and then the Congressional counting of the Electoral votes (House and Senate) on January 6th. There’s going to be objections from both House and Senate Republicans. While this is nothing new, it holds a different kind of spotlight in 2021. The phone call done by Donald Trump should answer for itself, but as many Americans like myself, I just want the whole damn thing to be over. I have never been more glued to the TV as I have in the last four years. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I want politics to normalize a little bit, but I’m not naive to think Republicans will stop their schtick or more seriously, their seditiousness when the House rules that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. I’ve been going as strong as I can in my rewrite to finish it up. I’m closer than I was a day ago and have about 50 pages left before I send it to someone to proofread.

I could say so much more, but I’m less inclined to rattle on and on because I’m tired. When I say I’m sick of the shit show happening on the political stage in the U.S., it’s an understatement. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to help regular American folks who are literally waiting in food lines to feed their families. It really bothers me and yet there isn’t much I can do. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head and that my unemployment hasn’t run out, but if my unemployment runs out and I’m still not working, well you know the outcome of that. I struggle and then some. I try not to think about the what ifs, but the reality of the situation needs realistic viewpoints. If the U.S. leaders (both corporate and governmental) could get their heads out of the sand, maybe things would change. I’m going to tell you right now; the U.S. is not number one in the world for many reasons. Sure, we have a great military, but what good is that when we can’t even give some of our citizens the basic needs to live. And please, spare me the label of being a liberal snowflake, which I’ve been called before. I take it in stride but now is not the time to be flinging stupid names around. So yes, this far into 2021, I’m a little frustrated at the struggles most Americans are going through and the unnecessary struggles the ones in power thrust upon us.

With all my talk of politics in this blog, trust me I’m looking forward to speaking less about it. I really think America has been in a do or die time for a while. The powers need to restructure, recalculate, and make the changes necessary so the U.S. doesn’t fall further into becoming a democracy disguised as some other form of government. There was a splintering of the Democratic party when the Progressives made their voices heard in 2016 as there is now a splintering in the Republican party with those who are objecting to the 2020 presidential election. The most damaging outcome is Donald Trump blatant goal to undermine the success of any administration other than his own. I hope Washington, D.C. can accomplish something in the next four years, but if not, I would also hope people realize it takes all parties to tango. Some a lot more than others and right now, it’s clear to me who is the more stubborn moving party. Maybe we need to change the power of the two-party system in America? Maybe I need to change my views and say get rid of the electoral voting system? How can it be that a handful of states dictates who wins the Presidential election four years after four years? That doesn’t seem very representative. I’ve exhausted all I needed to say and thanks for reading this if you did. I’m going to go jogging now (my second time this month) to let of some steam and get more energy.

February 1, 2021: Journal Entry Type #76: Nerding Out and Kicking Something

I had all intentions of writing more blog entries in the end of January. I kept saying to myself, there’s three days left. Then three days left became two days left and two days left became one day left. Sunday I spent most of the day putting together Lego Yoda. By the time I’m done with it, it will look like the below. I plan to put Yoda on the top of my bookshelf.

I finally did some grocery shopping along with about five other things I’ve been putting off. I’ve started my second story although I’m trying to get through the 100 so pages I’ve already written and see what I can use and what I should throw away. I basically need to force myself to do a rough outline chapter by chapter. I have my journal ready so I fill the remaining pages and start a new one. Enough with the blue peacock, already. I want a new design to look at until I get sick of it.

I recently had more lip balm and lotion sent to me for my severely dry skin. No one believes me at how insanely dry skin I have. Since moving to the desert, it’s only gotten worse. I’ve acquired really bad eczema and my lips crack even more. My skin looks terrible. If anyone else is going through what I am, check out Eucerin for your hands, Cortibalm for your chapped lips, and Clotrimazole for your angular cheilitis. Vasoline and Vitamin A+D also helps for angular cheilitis.

This is about all I have for the first day of February. The shortest month of the year and if January hasn’t been enough of an indicator of how 2021 has been going, have faith in the rest of the year. For all the disheartening news (not fake news) and deaths happening (people I know from other illnesses and those around the world due to COVID), remember the average life expectancy ranges from mid 50s to mid 80s.

Don’t squander your days but don’t stress yourself out that you have a hard time finding purpose and meaning in daily life. I recently saw this man who turned 100 and as his wish he wanted to jump out of an airplane. He got that wish and it was awesome to see because a lot of people don’t live to that age and those that are much younger don’t have that adventure and drive. Without sounding repetitive, go out there and do your thing you were meant to do.

01/27/2021: FF: A Tub of Fat

My second flash fiction story in 2021. It’s sort of dark but completely written on the fly.

In all the wrong places, in all the wrong angles, I sat there. I barely could keep my butt on the tiny seat underneath me. It was as if it was built by a tiny craftsman. One that didn’t understand how to make a chair for someone as fat as me. Forget about the muffin top bursting out of my pants. Forget about the rolls hanging over the expandable material. I was uncomfortable in all the wrong places. I imagined this craftsman laughing as he was making his tiny chair, a masterpiece as he referred to it. You know what I call it. A tiny heap of matchsticks whittled down into smaller matchsticks. You know the ones sharp enough to poke into my butt and inflict pain.

As I shifted on that tiny seat, my mind kept going to one situation I experienced long ago. I was only fifteen at the time, still fat but not as fat as today. How much a person weighs shouldn’t reflect on the way I tell my story. Those viewed as most educated as often the cruelest. I used my experience as an introduction to the classes I taught after I graduated with the necessary credentials, but students stared more at the size of my gut than the words coming out of my mouth. They simply couldn’t believe a fat man knew as much as I did. Besides this negative part of my job, I had not wanted to ever leave the classroom. It was my sanctuary. It made me feel at home.

It stoked my ego on many levels and crushed it on others.

This moment of constant rejection by those I was hired to teach thus began my new image. I sought to incorporate ways to change my views about food and exercise. I found ways to overcome my stubbornness, laziness, and procrastination. I simply wanted to attain what others I considered friends would never reach. They were too busy huddling together every Monday night, complaining about how others made fun of their endomorphic bodies, and plotting out revengeful plans on how to outsmart their ectomorphic enemies. They dreamed of the day to become mesomorphic models. I was able to reach that mesomorphic status but it too became too much for me to handle.

My students did not know how to react to my new body. Not one congratulated me for my hard work or recognized the struggle it took to go from eating a whole pizza to half a pizza to a few slices of pizza once a month. It never dawned on them how their rejection hurt me. I eventually gave up. The healthy lifestyle was not of interest anymore. I quit teaching. Progress was fruitless. I quit learning. Loneliness was enough. I quit caring.

Moral of my story.

Give up if you want to. No one will stop long enough to pull you back up. Don’t rely on others. They don’t exist. I lived my life and now it is near the end. A tub of fat will always be a tub of fat. The question is will you take me as inspiration or failure. The second question is did any one of my previous students learn any thing from me. The third question is there any guilt for being insensitive. The most important question of all is will they feed on the weakness to continue as they always have or find the strength to surrender as I once did.

January 17, 2021: Flash Fiction: Her Name

Her name was a name like no other. Her name was a name I don’t remember. Her name was a name her mother must’ve thought at the last minute. However, her face brought a different kind of emotion. It was one of fast relief. It was one of strong joy. It was one that her father could not deny. She was a strange little child, but boy did she make random eyes stare inappropriately.
 
She grew up to be a beautiful teenager and much too young to be thought of in such a vile way. She could’ve been a model with those long legs. She could’ve been a basketball player with those long arms. Her father begged her to join the high school team and it disappointed him greatly when she took no interest in his love of sports. She answered his statements with questions.
 
Who is Larry Bird?
 
Who is Michael Jordan?
 
Who is Karl Malone?
 
Who is Shaquille O’Neal?”
 
Why would I care that Pearl Jam’s lead singer wanted to name his band Mookie Blaylock?
 
By the time she graduated high school, she had quite the following on social media. People swooned over her videos on Instagram. People enjoyed her snappy comebacks when haters attacked her on Twitter. People liked her Facebook posts all hours of the day and night. She had become a worldly sensation. Her future had become an opportunity of social media bliss.
 
So, it was a shame when the effects of her narcissism knocked at her door on a fall day. She had gone through many phases in her short life and now it had come full circle. The rapping got louder.
 
“Keep your pants on,” she yelled.
 
She opened the door and found a man in a long coat. “You need to come with me,” he said.
 
"The hell I do.  Who are you?” she asked.
 
“That shouldn’t concern you,” he said.
 
He clamped one of the cuffs on her wrist and twisted it enough she had no option but to comply.
 
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she screamed.
 
“I’d advise you to shut your mouth. You’re only making it worse,” he said.
 
She failed to pick up her feet as he ushered her toward the door.  He picked her up by the scruff of her collar and took her outside to his car.  Her curious neighbors looked out their windows and took pictures with their cellphones.
 
“You’re going to be sorry.  My dad's going to have your ass.  He’s a powerful man in this city,” she said.
 
“Not as powerful as the big eye in the sky,” he said.
 
 “I'm fucking innocent,” she screamed.
 
 "That's what they all say."  He shut the door before she could say another word.

January 23, 2021: Journal Entry Type #75: Get it Together! Your Face is Counting on You!

I still don’t understand Twitter or Tiktok and yet, I find myself looking at both despite not having either one. I refuse to be ruled by social media even more than I already am. I finally finished my rewrite and going to be sending it to be proofread to someone early next week. I can’t state enough how glad I am to be done with it. It’s about damn time and the little changes made won’t be so drastic that I hope to have it self published by the end of April. That will give the person I’m hiring February to do what he needs to do, March for me to do what I need to do, and April to create my cover.

I could go headstrong into my next story idea which is my two sisters idea. The novel I most want to write because it will be not only the most emotionally significant to me but so ever rewarding. I’m sure I will say this about my third novel idea, what I hope will turn into a trilogy as that was my original intent, but first things first. I revamped the order of my story ideas to write and yet, before I can do anything, I need to get more centered. I’ve been putting off so many things such as reading short stories I promised my roommate I would critique. I’ve been putting off my Yoda puzzle begging for me to start and now my Yoda Legos tempting me to build.

The last week of January is almost here and no longer can use my birthday as an excuse to relax. God knows, I’ve been relaxing for much of the last three months in many ways. I consider this a long vacation although not really what I wanted under the circumstances. All I can say is I look forward to reuniting with things remaining elusive while I try to balance my life. A little less looking at stupid things on the Internet might help but it’s all in the name of learning new things, right? I’m forever trying to commit to ways that bring me a feeling of being centered. It comes down to knowing what I need to do versus taking the time and energy to do them without getting ahead of myself.

When I’m jogging, I think about reading. When I’m reading, I think about reading something else. When I’m rewriting, I think about the next story I want to write. When my feet are cold, I think about the last time I showered. When I watch TV, I think about my lack of blogging. I hope I’m not the only one to have an combination of an overworking mind during the day and sluggish and tired mind during the night or vice versa. I’m at the point of my life where I need to reign it in and not by injecting a sedative into my brain (in a crazy kind of way that only a writer can identify with or someone who creates things), but in a way where it isn’t coming from self-destruction.

There’s been much debate with the tortured artist/writer/creator. It exists in most of us in some fashion. It’s only those that let it consume them does it manifest itself in negative ways. One only has to look at anyone who has committed suicide or dealt with suicidal tendencies (not the band). It’s something within the core of many of us that never truly dies (pun not intended) and yet, it can be great sources of creativity for any writer. The territory of juggling my life is often tied to how I feel about my own life’s pace and situation. For all the time I could’ve been writing and rewriting in the past twenty years, I could’ve had already five or ten books under my belt. I could’ve had even more time to write and ended my writing ambitions with a few more titles to my name. I took a major detour and one, I believe will help to me write my next story in less time and chore of rewriting in even lesser time.

Still being a novice writer hangs over my head. How much inspiration should I gain from the books I read? How much should I discard and banish from my brain? How much should I divulge in my next story? If I’m writing it from the heart and not the hip, how much should I obsess on how it should be written and what to include and exclude? These are the writing questions keeping me up at night. I would think other writers do the same, no matter how skilled or how many books they have written. Or is it just me that can be completely entrenched in the pre-writing, writing, and post-writing process? All writers need discipline, ideas, patience, and humility. I think most of all writers need a thick coat of armor for rejection/criticism. It takes guts to put yourself and your work out in the public. This is what I’m prepping for and good luck to those who make the world a better place one story at a time.

January 21, 2021: Journal Entry Type #74: The Future for All

I watched the 46th Presidential inauguration like many others did in the U.S. and around the world. I really hoped nothing catastrophic such as riots breaking out all over and thankfully, they did not. It seemed the massive amounts of the National Guard and Secret Service deterred this kind of activity. My interest in politics went from a crawl to a fast sprint when Trump became President in 2017. The U.S. in recent history especially has jockeyed for power among the two major parties (Democrat and Republican) of those who can sway either way (Independent). This time it was the Democrats who secured the Presidential win along with a slight majority in the House and basically a tie in the Senate (also making 2021 already contentious).

As I set my alarm to wake up in time for the major inaugural events because I’m on Pacific time, I understood many were excited and thrilled and relieved. Others were sour, depressed, and angry/pissed their person did not win. I’ve never been a political nerd until as of late. I’ve been feeling more national pride in the U.S. than in all my years combined for the what if, could be, and now that I’m in my 40s for some of the young people who will be the future. As I watched the President-elect taking the oath, the President and Vice President at Arlington National Cemetery, and the awesome fireworks above the Capitol, what equally captured me was the inaugural poem by Amanda Gorman. Everything about her recitation of her poem called “The Hill We Climb” was mesmerizing.

These last few days since the inauguration I’ve slowly been getting back into the routine of my own life. While I will never aspire to the greatness of present and past historical leaders, I do what is great concerning my own abilities and aspirations. I will never have the fashion sense that anyone of the people dressed at the inaugural had, except may for Bernie Sanders. In all seriousness, I end this with the reminder to use everything and anything as a platform to better myself, even if it comes in the weirdest ways. I hope everyone else strives to do that as well in the world. Unity was a theme in the inaugural address but so is responsibility. I believe 2021 is going to be a personal reckoning and awakening for some and for others finding the courage to do one or both.

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. And the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

“We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.

“And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

“And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew; that even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.

“Scripture tells us to envision that ‘everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.’ If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade but in all the bridges we’ve made.

“That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it, because being American is more than a pride we inherit – it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

“In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. So while once we asked ‘how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,’ now we assert: ‘how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our enaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

“Our blunders become their burdens but one thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.

“So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west, we will rise from the winds swept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rinsed cities of the midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.

“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

January 7, 2021: Journal Entry Type #73: Two Yokes Equals Good Fortune?

Okay, so 2021 is off to a great start. I wish I had many things on my list to back it up. I suppose it’s a mediocre start to a New Year. The U.S. keeps starving for unwanted attention and showing how stupid we are when it comes to handling our differences and losses. I can’t believe I wrote my last journal entry type only two days ago. The U.S. got the results of the Georgia election but that was overshadowed by U.S. insurrectionists. Mind you the last time the U.S. Capitol was overtaken by a group of people was the War of 1812. I won’t say anything more about this. The whole world has seen and heard enough.

Because of all this drama, I took the last three days including today not writing and trying to remain calm during the storm. I made more of a resolve to incorporate things to relax today. I thought of simple images I could design and color to relax after my rewrite. I did a favor and forced myself to stretch my body for 30 minutes. I suggest this to anyone as stretching is good. I’ve jogged a few times since January 1st and did yoga that almost killed me because I’m not used to it anymore. I finished my puzzle I said I wouldn’t start until after I finished my rewrite. My justification is that it’s only 500 pieces.

This morning it dawned on me how crazy it was to have two yokes in my egg after I cracked it. I made fried eggs and this is the first time I’ve come across this. I had to look it up. It’s a rare occurrence with one out of 1,000 chance. I’m not that superstitious so it’s a good thing it won’t result in death, but I will take the good fortune whatever that means. What’s the purpose of this blog? It might be don’t take yourself too seriously all the time, but let others be serious when necessary (what happened at the Capitol not included). More bad things will happen in 2021, but so will the good things. 2021 is a resetting in many ways for people. Take it because it’s yours.

January 5, 2021: JOURNAL ENTRY TYPE #72: SO ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES

I have to say it’s really hard not to stay tuned to the news when the U.S. is still in the midst of their election (one state, Georgia, in a runoff) and then the Congressional counting of the Electoral votes (House and Senate) on January 6th. There’s going to be objections from both House and Senate Republicans. While this is nothing new, it holds a different kind of spotlight in 2021. The phone call done by Donald Trump should answer for itself, but as many Americans like myself, I just want the whole damn thing to be over. I have never been more glued to the TV as I have in the last four years. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I want politics to normalize a little bit, but I’m not naive to think Republicans will stop their schtick or more seriously, their seditiousness when the House rules that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. I’ve been going as strong as I can in my rewrite to finish it up. I’m closer than I was a day ago and have about 50 pages left before I send it to someone to proofread.

I could say so much more, but I’m less inclined to rattle on and on because I’m tired. When I say I’m sick of the shit show happening on the political stage in the U.S., it’s an understatement. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to help regular American folks who are literally waiting in food lines to feed their families. It really bothers me and yet there isn’t much I can do. I’m thankful I have a roof over my head and that my unemployment hasn’t run out, but if my unemployment runs out and I’m still not working, well you know the outcome of that. I struggle and then some. I try not to think about the what ifs, but the reality of the situation needs realistic viewpoints. If the U.S. leaders (both corporate and governmental) could get their heads out of the sand, maybe things would change. I’m going to tell you right now, the U.S. is not number one in the world for many reasons. Sure, we have a great military, but what good is that when we can’t even give some of our citizens the basic needs to live. And please, spare me the label of being a liberal snowflake, which I’ve been called before. I take it in stride but now is not the time to be flinging stupid names around. So yes this far into 2021, I’m a little frustrated at the struggles most Americans are going through and the unnecessary struggles the ones in power thrust upon us.

With all my talk of politics in this blog, trust me I’m looking forward to speaking less about it. I really think America has been in a do or die time for a while. The powers need to restructure, recalculate, and make the changes necessary so the U.S. doesn’t fall further into becoming a democracy disguised as some other form of government. There was a splintering of the Democratic party when the Progressives made their voices heard in 2016 as there is now a splintering in the Republican party with those who are objecting to the 2020 presidential election. The most damaging outcome is Donald Trump blatant goal to undermine the success of any administration other than his own. I hope Washington, D.C. can accomplish something in the next four years, but if not, I would also hope people realize it takes all parties to tango. Some a lot more than others and right now, it’s clear to me who is the more stubborn moving party. Maybe we need to change the power of the two party system in America? Maybe I need to change my views and say get rid of the electoral voting system? How can it be that a handful of states dictates who wins the Presidential election four years after four years? That doesn’t seem very representative. I’ve exhausted all I needed to say and thanks for reading this if you did. I’m going to go jogging now (my second time this month) to let of some steam and get more energy.

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