July 16, 2019: Quotes About Writing and Emotions By Writers
July 15, 2019: Journal Entry #14
I’m writing this because there are a few people in my life who I consider mentors, but sometimes we fall very opposite when it comes to politics. There is one in particular who has helped me grow and still does, but unlike me who never voted for the second George Bush, either time, she did. She also voted for Donald Trump and will again in 2020. I intentionally stayed away from this subject with her because we all know how heated politics can make people. It was interesting to say the least.
I’ve been called a cunt by someone I no longer have on Facebook. He’s one of those loyal, diehard Trump supporters where he can’t do anything wrong. I understand you have to respect other people’s beliefs, even those that clearly can’t see the other side(s), but it’s hard to find any common ground with two polar opposite people. His principles and viewpoints are not mine and mine are not his. If you’re not a patriot (wearing the American flag kind) and my assumption also a hardcore second amendment advocate, then you’re open to his attacks. So, how do we find common ground between him and me? In this case, we don’t because passionate beliefs tend to get in the way of good discussion.
I’d be hard pressed to vote for anyone from the Republican party, especially nowadays, based on my core principles. I lost a few acquaintances on Facebook because of my belief in equal rights for everyone. These people don’t. They live by their religion. I don’t. One of them trolls people on the internet, in order to pick fights, as it gives her satisfaction. Why do I know this? Because she told me. I don’t judge her because it’s her thing. She has a right to do this. The intent of this post isn’t to agitate the already agitated, but if you believe this is the reason for it, so be it. I can’t make anyone read between these lines or see the bigger picture, which I’m realizing is different for everyone. The political climate is drenched in instability with friction found in every corner.
Social media users go from 0 to 60 in such a short amount of time. Every subject turns into a debate about politics without ever really having a true debate. It turns into a word slug fest without much respect or intelligence. My mentor expressed the need to see the big picture and how CNN lies about what’s really going on, meaning they purposely leave out positive facts about Trump. In her belief, he has done great things for American communities and has protected a country (not the U.S.) she holds dear to her heart. While there is a sliver of truth to this, it doesn’t erase the numerous blunders, viewpoints, and crudity that spills from his mouth. I really wonder how genuine he is and for this reason, he will never get my seal of approval. If I didn’t care for people with his attributes long before he became President, why would I support him now? The answer is I don’t unless he changes. Put another way, he is not my cup of tea.
We both don’t watch CNN. I watch MSNBC. She watches Fox News. So how are we able to have a semi decent conversation about Trump with a little bit of Obama and Clinton mixed in? It happens because she holds back and I definitely hold back. Is it good we do this? Yes because if not I could go to a dark place that allows me to attack someone on his or her beliefs. I don’t want to do this. She was trying to convince me to see the positive in Trump as a few others have I consider friends. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. I’d much rather have him succeed than not, but he hasn’t done much to persuade me.
Do I think he has the mental and emotional capacity to be a leader? No. Do I think he has the intellectual capacity to bring the highly divided country he partially created to an end? No. Do I think his compulsion to tweet morning, noon, and night is excessive? Yes. Would I rather have someone else in the White House? Yes. Will someone else elected in 2020? I sure hope so.
My roommate asked me a good question. Would I vote for someone on the Democratic ticket who was similar to Trump (lack of experience and personality) or would I vote for a Republican nominee of sound body and mind? This was hard because I used to be Independent before I forced to pick a political party when I lived in CA. I adhere to more Democratic values over Republican ones, but paraphrasing Nicole Wallace, the Republican party has become the Trump party. She doesn’t recognize it anymore and that is why in 2020 she will vote for the Democratic nominee. If you don’t know, Wallace worked under George Bush, Jr. (as I call him) and has her own show in MSNBC. She used to be a Republican. Is this going to convince more Republicans to not vote along their party line in 2020? Probably not. The glue has hardened already. Time will tell if a few cross back and forth on this red and blue line. I don’t think the Democratic party would ever nominate a candidate like Trump, but if they did, I might have to vote for the Republican nominee to not repeat what happened in 2016.
I have core values I will not sway from much like my mentor will not sway from her core values. She votes for the candidate who gives support to one country. On the other hand, I vote for the candidate (so far all Democrats) because they align with my principles of environmental conservation, equal rights, and a woman’s right to control her own body. Where do I fall on guns? Outlawing guns will never work. Should there be tougher restrictions on who can buy guns? Yes because someone who is severely mentally ill doesn’t need a gun and neither does someone who likes to rob stores over and over again. It’s called common sense. Do I get freaked out when I see people carrying guns? No. Do I think people who want to carry guns should be able to? Yes. Again, it’s called common sense.
While many of the people jockeying to win the Democratic nomination have a long ways to go, I’m still undecided on who I want. There should be fresh faces in any party, but we shouldn’t disregard the politicians who have been there for a long time such as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. When 2019 comes to an end, hardcore Trump supporters will remain that. What they like about him varies. Has Trump changed enough for me to vote for him in 2020 or ever want to meet in person? No, as he seems only to care about his base time and time again.
This discussion I had with my mentor was necessary as it had been brewing for a while. It is one of those agree to disagree moments, but as in the past, we have learned to approach with caution. Heated topics creates heated discussions. It’s easy to feel threatened and get personal. We did not do this. I respect her beliefs and hope she respects mine. This hasn’t been happening within the Democratic party and between the Democrats and the President. We definitely need less grandstanding among some and less silence among others. I hope in 2020 we get rid of the politicians collecting a paycheck without doing much. Mitch McConnell comes to mind.
Whether Trump gets elected again hinges on whether the Democrats can nominate a good, middle of the road, challenger. If government is to support those that elected them, it has a long ways to go. This is why Trump was elected. Some of us were getting tired of Washington advancing their own interests. The issue is we now have another problem although some don’t see it, others ignore it, and more justify it. I can’t do any of the three. The current institutions, while not perfect, don’t need to be chipped away even further. I haven’t seen much swamp draining, but I have seen things being exposed for what they are (in the two major political parties and with the President). Who people vote for in 2020 or if they even vote at all is up to them, but never did I think I would have to say I wanted a President who doesn’t mind reading. There’s always going to be small, medium, and big problems in the world. It’s a revolving door. I would love if the swamp was drained, but what good is it if what’s replacing the smelly, dirty water is equal to or worse?
July 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #13
I’ve been thinking lately about where drugs get their names and what’s with the wacky drug commercials. The sources for the topic of drugs is from International Business Times, Economist, and CNN. I will begin with drugs and how the they get their names. I think many sound bad and their commercials even worse. If you question why I’m saying this, check out the one below. The Chantix commercials aren’t much better either, but at least when I saw them it had Ray Liotta.
Surprisingly, there is a method to naming drugs. There are rules to follow as instructed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patented medicines and their generic brands. Have you wondered how drugs get their names? Here is a brief overview. Every drug has three names: chemical (let’s all agree consumers don’t really care about this too much), generic (consumers somewhat care about this), and brand (I’d say consumers pay attention to this the most because it’s the most recognizable). The biggest thing drug companies want are original drug names, but not too original. They want names that make sense, easy to pronounce, and have differentiation with other drug names. This is where creative agencies are pulled into the naming process and cost between $250,000 to $500,000 and take up to 24 months. This name is too similar to that name or this name is too exotic sounding are two things they aren’t looking for. Other things to keep in mind is not overstating a drug’s effectiveness or stigmatizing those taking the medication. The FDA has two departments, The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which accepts or rejects proposed medication names. Their purpose is to lower the errors made when prescribing drugs. The process starts with thousands of name possibilities and finishes with the most promising, and then nine are tossed out and one name is chosen. Think Celebrex, Viagra, OxyContin, Nexium, and Tamiflu.
Have you ever bought the generic brand to save money? I have and some medications work just as well. Other times I should have bought the more expensive brand. The most recent encounter of this is cough drops. Halls and Ricola are way better than the generic brands. I used to hate any kind of cough drops except Ludens because let’s face it, they are basically candy disguised as a cough drop. Now, I prefer the strongest kind of menthol cough drop made by man. I have a whole bunch of generic cough drops sitting in my bottom drawer. As a friend of mine says “it’s ass.” Yeah, it is. They don’t really help my coughing when my sinuses are draining. I will buy the generic equivalent to Advil, but not the Advil PM although I’m more prone to taking Melatonin now. Those ending in vir, mab, onide are indications they are generic. These drug names are approved by United States Adopted Names (USAN) and World Health Organization (WHO). While the pill will look different, it will have the same dosage, strength, stability, quality, safety, and route of administration. It should work the same way and offer the same benefits. The FDA reviews these medications with the same amount of attention as patented drugs.
Have you ever wondered by generic medicines cost less? It’s because they don’t have the same standards when it comes to repeated animal and clinical studies. Therefore, less animals are harmed and the application process (ANDA) from start to finish takes less time. Another positive to using generic drugs is it saved the U.S. healthcare system $1.67 trillion from 2007 to 2016 according to the IMS Health Institute. We want to be taking the right medicine prescribed to us. Nobody wants to be taking an antidepressant for a muscle spasm. I pay attention to detail so leaving a doctor with the wrong prescription probably wouldn’t happen, but if it did I would notice it at the pharmacy for sure. We don’t need more confusion in our lives as our our mind’s sharpness declines the older we get. This leads me to those instances where two similar names were approved like Celebrex and Celexa or Plavix and Paxil can get mixed up. Drug companies may need to spend additional money to change a particular drug name causing problems. For example, a pharmaceutical company needed to change one of their drugs because it was too similar to another drug for cancer. Introducing the new drug name is another part of this business while phasing out the old one. Switching gears a little bit, out of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson ranks 1st and Labcorp ranks 25th. If you want to see the whole list, click the pill below.
July 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #12
It’s already July and after taking two weeks off from exercising due to reasons I won’t get into because no one wants to hear this crap, but I will say I have to work through my pain some days. I’m currently reading four books right now and one in particular which has to do with rewriting and editing is enough to make my head spin. I think of all the things I will have to do on my second rewrite of this never ending story I’m working on after I’m done with my first rewrite. I think, but more pray my second novel idea takes half the time to write and rewrite let alone the five others after it. The real issue is time management as there isn’t enough time in every week to commit to everything I want to do and put things on the back burner again like I’ve done with my puzzles for a good year. It doesn’t help that I need to color my designs once, twice, and sometimes three times to be satisfied. I’m prepping myself to devote time in 2020 about an idea my roommate and I have been tossing around the past five years. Ugggh, the research and work. I’ve been doing a lot of watching TV and some movies lately as a diversion. I’m going to keep this short as there is no reason for this to be long winded. Thank you to everyone who is followed my blog, new and old. Keep following your dreams, whatever they may be, because I still am.
June 14, 2019: Flash Fiction: Car Ride
Ethan wasn’t driving over to grandma’s house to eat her oatmeal raisin cookies at his mother’s request but driving to meet someone he had never met before. It wasn’t in his best interest to be so daring but staying in his apartment no longer suited him on this Saturday night. His mindset had changed after a good night’s sleep, actually it was a whole week of rest that pushed him into new territory. Nobody liked to hear his finger tapping or change jingling in his pocket when he was bored. His friend had given him a fidget spinner for his birthday a year ago, but eventually it found a home in the back of his closet.
This someone he was meeting was for a simple transaction. He would give her money for an hour of companionship. He doubted it would ever end up going beyond that, but it had been a secret of his to do this exact thing. He had wanted to know about this seedy lifestyle for a while. There had been a tiny bit of hesitation because nothing was failsafe, but there were ways to make it one’s business except his own. They had agreed upon a place to meet up, near a supermarket called Coulson’s, like two casual friends. It took five minutes of Ethan waiting and scanning the area from his car to be assured this was not a sting operation. The thought crossed his mind what his parents would think if he was caught with a prostitute. It almost convinced him to turn his car back on and get out of there.
He slammed the car door shut, making sure it wasn’t locked if he needed to get back inside quickly. It wasn’t good to leave your car unlocked, but he wasn’t going far. He could keep an eye on it. It wasn’t as if he left his keys in the ignition. With his hands stuffed into his pockets and after a few people glanced at him, he waited for that someone to arrive. It was a quarter past seven when she appeared. It was clear she was there for one purpose, but she was dressed nicely as if going to a dinner on a blind date. His eyes shifted to the area around her, looking one more time for any hint of cops.
After she exchanged her working name of Cindy for his actual name, they chatted about cost for her services. He was confident she wasn’t a cop when she agreed to go with him to a motel, but the further they traveled away from Coulson’s, the more anxious he became. When he looked in his rearview mirror, he noticed a car trailing behind him. It was close enough to not lose him, but far enough away to not arose too much suspicion. He wondered if this was normal anxiety he felt or a sign of something else. His gut reaction was to dismiss it, but he found himself driving around in rectangles and circles. When Cindy demanded him to pull his car over, he told her he didn’t want to.
“I don’t care,” she said.
“The only free space is red.”
“Do you always do what your mommy tells you?”
“Fine,” Ethan said, pulling his car over and putting the car in park in a residential neighborhood. He imagined mothers putting their young children to bed and fathers having one last go of whatever fathers did before their free time was up. He thought back to his childhood when he felt Cindy’s hand on his knee. It didn’t take long for her move her hand from his knee to his thigh.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?” she asked, her hand going further up his thigh.
“I mean with your mouth.”
When she leaned into him, he placed his hand on her forehead to stop her from moving closer to his crotch. “I mean words, words coming out of your mouth, like sentences.”
“I can do two things at once,” she said.
“I’m sorry, but I think I made a mistake.”
“Mistake or no mistake, you still owe me.”
“Yes, right.” He reached for his wallet and stopped himself. “This probably sounds silly, but I get the feeling you’re a cop.”
“Do you want me to be a cop?”
“Um, of course, not.”
“I’m not a cop.”
“I don’t want to go to jail.”
Ethan looked behind him. The car that was trailing behind him was nowhere in sight. This felt like a dream to him. He had no choice but to continue and hope he was still a free man by the end. He removed five twenty-dollar bills from his wallet. The second it left his hand for hers, he held his breath and waited for the ball to drop. When nothing happened, the joy of knowing he wasn’t going to jail overwhelmed him and blurted that he belonged to Mensa.
“Good for you,” she said.
“My ex-girlfriend didn’t believe I was smart enough to be a part of it, so I took an IQ test to prove her wrong.”
“Again, good for you.”
“She told me I was the biggest mistake she ever made, and I was a piece of shit. I was tantamount to a worthless person who should choke on a bone and die.”
“You’re the best mistake I made tonight, if it makes you feel any better.”
“It should,” she said, opening the door.
“I can bring you back to where I met you.”
“I have a ride.”
The car from earlier appeared and pulled to the curb. Cindy ignored the driver’s impatience and told Ethan to cut himself some slack, and he deserved happiness. He found his way back to the main road and not a few blocks from his apartment, he saw flashing lights behind him. He let off the gas after saying shit, but the cop moved into the other lane and zoomed past him with sirens now sounding. After he parked his car in the garage, he made a point to look up before walking to the elevator. He knew he was lucky this time. Maybe, the seedy part of life wasn’t for him. He wasn’t a journalist. He wasn’t looking for any career change. He was an average looking man with an above average IQ. He was what people called being a part of the mainstream.
June 10, 2019: Journal Entry Type #11
My blog posts have been few and far between because of this sinus pressure my face has been holding onto especially last week. It pretty much kept me unable to do many of the things I would’ve liked to do: writing, blogging, exercising, etc. My head feels like it’s in a fog and my eyes feel like they are being stretched in all directions. I try to go without taking medicine, but lately I’ve been downing Benedryl and using nasal spray. It’s time to bring out the humidifier and use warm wash clothes on my face on a regular basis. It’s definitely allergy season, and I know I’m not the only one having to sleep with cough drops in my mouth. I’m really hoping this subsides a little bit, enough where I feel like I’m not a useless human being. I did force myself to go out and have brunch with someone on Saturday and took a few pictures as I was leaving Bellagio of the flowers. I got a lot of Netflix/Hulu watching done as well as reading a little bit. I’m hoping for less pain next weekend. Please!
May 27, 2019: A.A. Milne Quotes
May 24, 2019: Journal Entry Type #10
The only thing that has worked for me to lose weight is watching what I’m eating, but I’ll be the first one to admit I love the food that is NOT good for you. I love popcorn (bad for my TMD and yes, I know corn is a carb), but if I was stranded on an island for a few weeks, I would be okay with only popcorn, ice tea, water, and mints. No one and I mean NO ONE takes my popcorn away. Even more important is not eating so much every day and cardio exercise where your shirt, shorts, and even your undergarments are soaked in sweat. This is the only way I know how to do it. Telling myself to eat small portions helps to an extent, but in the long run it doesn’t. If I’m not exercising (some days I push myself harder than others), then I know there is no way I’m going to be able to lose weight because I tend to eat poorly if I skip a whole week or two (bad, I know). I’ve read all about the different diets out there and how it’s a multi-billion dollar business. I’ve never tried any of them because my logic is I should be able to do that myself. There should be a clear line between living freely and living with rules. I know it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but I’m not a cookie cutter person. I’m the poster adult for starting and stopping behaviors that are good for me. I battle having to get to the gym to exercise despite growing up in an active family. The main reason I’m wanting to lose weight is to feel better about myself and be stronger physically, but also so I can live longer to get done everything I want to achieve in life. The other reason is I hate needles, and the main reason I had to quit donating blood. I don’t want to be poking myself with insulin later in life. Mortality has become more of a factor in my life since I’m a little over the halfway point in my life based on the CDC National Center for Health Statistics. The average life expectancy in 2017 for U.S. women is 81.1 years and U.S. men is 78.6 years. I guess what I’m saying is I’m sort of having a renewed sense of reason for living. I’ve read stress reduces one’s life, and I’m trying to have less of it. Let’s just say my eyes have become more open to the reality I will not be here forever and will be forgotten by the masses. Do I want to live until 100? Probably not and for many reasons. I only hope in my next life time I don’t have so much struggle in some areas and realize sooner being average is okay (to an extent).
May 14, 2019: Flash Fiction: George Does Something
George sat there not wanting to talk. It wasn’t because he couldn’t, but because he thought it would amount to nothing. He had misjudged his peers, thinking they were smart, when those in the room were the farthest thing from it. He called them nuisances, pond scum, crickets that wouldn’t shut up at night when he was in the privacy of his home.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful to the company he had worked for the past thirty years. He had fond memories of the days when he was fresh out of college, and thought the whole world was his oyster to not only catch, pry open, but to admire the pearl inside. As the days turned into years that turned into a decade, the pearl had been lost and the chance of finding it again was gone.
He looked at his co-worker sitting across from him. He believed her name was Cindy, but wasn’t sure. If it was Cindy, he thought it was a stupid name, as no parent should be naming their child such a girlish name. His name wasn’t original either, but at least it wasn’t as bad as Cindy. His co-worker who sat to his left was named Meredith. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and mainly kept to herself. His co-worker who sat to his right was Tom. He had a butt that kept giving long after he sat down. It was an unwritten rule that sunk in chair belonged to him and only him. He was a fat, millennial jerk who thought he had his life already figured out.
There were a handful of others in the room, but it was these three that George focused as his boss called his name.
“George, come up here, please.”
A combination of confusion and anticipation appeared on Cindy’s, Meredith’s, and Tom’s face along with everyone in the room.
His could care less stance had been replaced with this better not be what I think it is.
“If anyone knows the value of greatness, it’s this man. He started out a grunt at this company and worked his way up the ladder,” his boss said, patting George on his back. “He’s the epitome of what a person can achieve. His knowledge and leadership over the years have led to many valuable contributions. With this said, it’s my pleasure to present to you this achievement award.”
He watched his boss remove a glass plaque from a box and offer it to him. He wanted to grab it and throw it against the wall. He decided against it. There would be time to tell his boss how he really felt. When the plaque was in his grasp, his co-workers clapped long enough for him to feel dizzy. Half the room knew about the hidden meaning while the other half were too stupid to realize he was being forced out by someone he considered his friend. He hadn’t been sure if his boss wanted him gone, but it was clear now.
“Is there anything you want to add, George?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Alright, you heard the man,” his boss said. “The fun’s over. Everyone back to work. Empty seats are waiting.”
A short burst of laughter erupted.
George watched his co-workers file out of the room. He still thought the same about Cindy, Meredith, and Tom. They offered little to him in the last five years and would offer him even less in the next five.
His boss and himself were the last ones to the door. George almost let him go, but at the last moment, blocked him from leaving. He nudged him back into the room and shut the door.
“I’m ready to talk now.”
May 12, 2019: Journal Entry Type #9
You know what I would love not to have? There are a few things. One of them is called chronic sinus problems. The second one is called chronic TMD problems. The third one doesn’t have to do with my body but causes me just as much grief, and is known as car problems. I’ve never understood why people buy such fancy cars, but that’s just me. Even if I had millions of dollars, I still wouldn’t buy an expensive car because you get nothing for it except the label that you’re filthy rich. I know, each to his or her own, but I’d much rather spend it on something else and write a good story about me becoming rich in the way of a fiction story if it ever happens. Let me get back to reality. This nice three day weekend I had planned basically had the bottom dissolve away on Friday morning. Good thing I took a vacation day to lay in bed because that’s about all I could do with my face and eyes. I did the same too off and on for Saturday. There goes my plan on hiking and writing for that day. This leads to Sunday where spending more money on my car was unplanned. On a good note, my car doesn’t sound like a dying animal anymore, but on the flip side, I got nothing done I intended. I suppose this is what my next three day weekend is for, but pretty much chalk this one up to the loser pile. As soon as this week is gone, another one arrives. Need to see the good and forget the bad.
If you’re wondering what the top 10 most expensive cars are in 2019, they are listed below. The source is from DIGITAL TRENDS. If you want to see their pictures and the full list, click on the Bugatti Chiron photo. If you want to see the list of the 10 cheapest cars in 2019 by 20SOMETHING FINANCE, click on the Chevy Spark photo.
May 6, 2019: Journal Entry Type #8
There’s many topics to choose from: Tyra Banks cover on Sports Illustrated, the Duke and Duchess of Susssex’s baby, Netflix’s Ted Bundy focus/obsession, Donald Trump’s 1 billion dollar loss according to his taxes, and the costumes/outfits from the Met Gala. I’m covering none of them although I’d like to lose 30 pounds like Tyra did, glad I don’t have a baby to take care of, glad Ted Bundy is dead, waiting for the U.S. government to not be a shit show, and the fact some people really don’t like Lady Gaga including a few of my friends.
Ever since I came back from Los Angeles, I’ve been lethargic and not really having the motivation to do much of anything besides work and sleep. My eating habits slipped and now have to work on getting it back. I’m not really an emotional eater, but lately I have been. I’m not sure why. Honestly, I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t be overeating. Right? I haven’t exercised at all this week, which is not the norm because I’m trying to do 3 to 4 workout sessions a week. I’m up to jogging five miles, but if I’m ever going to get at a decent weight, I have to do a lot more than nothing like I’ve been doing this week.
My life has become filled with doctor appointments and other things that get in the way of my financial and personal freedom. This is life and yes, as much as I hate this word, “adulting” is hard. Also, when did the word, “mansplaining” come into our vocabulary? Never mind, I looked it up. It’s been a word since March 2018 according to Webster Dictionary. I’ve never had it done to me before (to my knowledge), but I don’t care to think that far back if it did happen.
My predicament right now is my pure laziness and not wanting to do much of anything because of countless things you don’t want to hear. I will say headaches tend to wreck your day in many ways and for me it’s been the last good 15 years. You learn to live and deal with it, but yes, it sucks ass. It also drains your energy, which is what I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. I’m hoping this ends soon. I’m working on more short stories, flash fiction, adding more movie and TV recommendations, and rewriting my first novel so I can move onto my second one I’m hoping takes half as long to write.
Sometimes, I get stuff done. Other times, very little. This will probably be half and half and the latter part of it is where I’ll get it done. On that note, I’m off to jog 5 miles and if I have the motivation exercise another 40 minutes. Stay tuned for more blogs, sooner than later, I’m hoping.
May 6, 2019: Shakespeare and Twain Quotes
April 29, 2019: When the Coffee’s Ready, You’ll Smell it
He was what you’d call today a little person, but back in those days you’d called him a midget. Either way he was known around here as Henry after he was kicked out of Tinseltown. I will spare you the nicknames he acquired during those days because this only soured his attitude whenever you mentioned it.
He used to view life as fresh and thought every opportunity was a gift from heaven when he arrived in this little town I had lived in since birth. Right up to his death, he still barreled down the stairs as fast as his legs would take him. Everyone knew he racked up more than a few problems that stayed past their invitation. I’m convinced it partially sent him to his grave early. God rest his soul. The rest was done by one or more people.
Henry had a brother named Corky, a nickname he had given himself at an early age, and one he insisted everyone use in his adulthood. With their parents long gone, no one was aware of his actual name except Henry, and he sure wasn’t about to mess with Corky’s pride. Unlike his brother, he was of average height and while he was known to be kind, there was no telling what might set him off. Some attributed it to him being dropped on his head as a child one too many times, but these were only stories told by others who thought they knew him.
The morning, roughly two weeks before his death, Henry barreled down the stairs as normal with his metal cup in hand. There were two things that either woke him up every morning: a gal by the name of Sofia or a cup of coffee. Sofia woke him up on special occasions. The coffee did so on a much regular basis. The routine for him was to climb onto the stool, in order to bang the counter with his palm, and within seconds the coffee was in his cup. It was black as coal, no sugar or milk. On even less occasion, Corky joined him while he watched Henry slurp his coffee. Henry and Corky had a bond like any brothers have, tightening even more as they got older.
One night after Henry went to sleep, Corky had a stern talking to with Sofia. He hadn’t liked her influence over him lately. She asked how she had changed him. His response was for the worse. She didn’t like that much. It wasn’t a good enough answer. She kicked him hard where it counted the most. He buckled over and managed not to fall to his knees. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to protect herself. If her survival meant the disintegration of another, so be it. She had paid her dues to society. It was her turn to be given respect. She made sure to take it whether it was willfully given or not.
Michael liked high pitched noises. It didn’t matter where they came from, human or object. When he found Henry, the person he regarded as his best friend, he screamed and kept screaming for two reasons. One, because he liked to hear his voice, and two, if you stopped before people realized something was wrong, there was no point in even opening your mouth. His screams continued until a large enough group was in the room. They rushed over, taking their turns to feel a pulse, but there was nothing but partially warm flesh to touch and deadened pupils to gaze.
As more people came to see the commotion, others left the room. It became a rotating dance of in and out except three people. Corky had lost his composure and fell back against the wall, periodically glancing from Sofia to Henry to Stewart to Michael and all over again but in a different order. Sofia was on her knees next to Henry. She cried the most and gave the appearance of a grieving lover. Sofia’s brother, Stewart, watched everyone mourn and gawk at the dead midget.
I knew none of them were responsible for Henry’s death even though I knew more than a half believed differently. I had seen the person who had killed him, his eyes not lifeless or deceiving. He looked like any of us, searching for a better life, in this small town. This person had poisoned the air we breathed and made us mistrustful of each other that day. While I didn’t know the person’s name, the face was imprinted in my memory. There would be no forgetting what he wore. His smell reeked of something I hadn’t identified. When I find him and I will, it will be more than words that are exchanged between us.
April 6, 2019: Writing Quote
April 5, 2019: Journal Entry Type #7
Let’s Talk About Anxiety
I recently asked someone if I’m more obsessive compulsive or anxious. Why? Because I tend not to think of myself as anxious. I’ve gone through most of my life having other emotions, the run of the mill along with some that stems from what happened to me a long time ago, but this isn’t the point of this blog entry. The point is I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, which is why I catch myself dialing it back once in a while. Sometimes, I think I share too much but then I wouldn’t be me. This was the answer I received. You’re more obsessive about getting things done, which makes you think about it too much, and this creates your anxiety. I never would’ve said this. I prided myself in being on an even keel as much as I can. I like a platform that doesn’t sway all over place. But now I do see anxiety does flare up inside when it comes to goals and the timing involved.
Let’s Talk About Flying
I’ve been on enough plane rides to know when the pilot flying the plane has put in many miles in the skies versus one who hasn’t. I was only on one plane ride where the pilot was new. The landing was the bumpiest I’d ever been on and mind you this was on a clear day. The sun was shining. The clouds were fluffy. Not a drop of bad weather. I would say it might have been his first flight. I can deal with this to an extent. Just don’t crash the plane, okay. The annoyance I can’t get rid of is my plugged up ears. No matter what I do, they plug up so bad I can hardly hear anything. Even gum doesn’t work sometimes. This when I have to relieve the pressure myself. I’m sure I look stupid, but it has to be done. No doubt I’ll be doing this when I fly back to Los Angeles for work. I’m looking forward to it because I feel this is a transition period for me. It sounds corny, but I have affinity for the places I used to live. It will be good to be in the city that opened and closed its doors to me.
Let’s Talk About Jury Duty
I got back from exercising the other day to find out when I checked the mail, I was summoned for jury duty. I’m not the first or last person to be called to this ever important duty as they claim. I half take the stance of “who cares” and half “what is this shit.” No use postponing it. I’d rather do this when it’s not 110 degrees. The week after I get back from Los Angeles, the following Monday I have to report to jury. The last time I did this was in Los Angeles, and ended up going to a much smaller place than downtown but still busy. The chance of getting picked is remote when you’re in the second pool. I got out after serving a day’s worth of my time. I’m hoping they don’t need me. The statistics are in my favor.
Let’s Talk About Wellness
This brings me to the point of trying to improve two areas of my life. If you haven’t realized it yet, health and writing, continues to be the focal point of my existence. It will until the day I die. I’ve been trying to find the time including the motivation to make the time to do both. My deadlines are still written on more than one piece of paper. I’m definitely learning to go with the flow more. I’ve been jotting down a few things I want to do every day instead of five to ten. I ended up playing a game where strategy is the key. It’s not as complex as chess and a lot more fun. I was told I played dirty, but I can’t when I didn’t even realize what I had done until halfway into it. Nevertheless, I won. My overarching goal is to have variety in my life and try new things. I’m sort of doing this.
Let’s Talk About Survival
With certain age comes wisdom and for me that is focusing on myself is the best thing to do, all the while disengaging, at times, from the negative and chaotic chatter and issues going on around you whether it be work, family, politics, or general public. This doesn’t mean you have to be cold to others, but it does mean your basic necessities and emotional well-being should and must come first. It’s about remaining strong in areas you already are and gaining strength in the ones you lack. I’m talking mental and emotional strength. Taking a good look at weak areas is always beneficial. I’ve recognize patterns I hadn’t seen before. Saying no and standing up to people is part of this. We say sorry too much as a whole although some could stand to say it a little more. For all the mail that comes in from organizations asking for donations, I’d be a whole lot richer if I could find a way to use all the wasted paper for a monetary benefit.
Let’s Talk About Future
I’m currently reading four books. One is about mental health and the current person sitting in the Oval Office. I’m only 50 some pages deep, and already offers good insight and information. While it covers Donald Trump, it is much more than that. This is a type of book where you find yourself comparing yourself and others to what they are saying. I’m interested to see what else it says. I’m curious where my life goes too. I have my ideal timeline of what events I want to happen in what year. This is the planner and plotter in me. I also have a realistic timeline that isn’t so adhered to any year. It’s taken me a while to not think in black and white or the glass is half empty or half full. There really is an in between.
Let’s Talk About Reality
Looking back, I had lofty dreams and it even included kids at one point (must have been at a time when I was delusional). I no longer want to live in a ten room house with four kids (what the hell was I thinking). I no longer want to live on a hobby farm when I retire. It’s nice not having to take care of a dog, cat, or rabbit anymore. I no longer want to smoke cigarettes and write all night long when everyone is asleep. I no longer want to live the life of a starving artist or writer. Now, I have dreams but of another kind. It’s called reality. I want to be able to retire at a decent age, pay off my loan, and enjoy the little things in life have to offer. And of course, get to a weight I can stand and write my seven novels. Then if I get that done, write my eight other book ideas. I’ve broken them up into two parts. The same goes for blogging. I’m more than likely giving up something tonight so I have time to blog. See, I have improved and can bend a little bit.
April 1, 2019: Journal Entry Type #6
When I write in my actual journal, I usually start it with something along the lines of “Well, another week has passed and dealing with the same shit.” or “Today is Wednesday, and I haven’t written in a while.” I’m writing as if my journal actually understands what the hell I’m talking about when it has no clue. I write about all the things usually bothering me that day or did bother me in the week so it doesn’t build up. I write about the messed up dreams I’ve recently had I neglected to write about the day it happened. Or, I write about the things I don’t have and wish I had. I write about not having those feelings and emotions that don’t serve me well. I also write about those things going well in my life, but realize saying “just think positive” doesn’t solve all my problems. As much as I want life to be that easy and actually am ready for it mentally now, it usually never happens.
I used to justify the amount of time or lack of time I spent on my blog for one reason or another. It wasn’t fun anymore and saw it as a chore about a year after I signed up. It felt I was saying the same thing over and over. I mean how many times can I write different poem with similar words and moods? How many months pass where I don’t write a short story because frankly I can’t churn them out like some writers nor do I feel like writing at the moment? A writer who doesn’t want to write. Imagine that! I’m not willing to burn the midnight oil as much anymore, but realize I need to refocus on my rewrite.
As April is upon me now, I have three months left to finish my rewrite. My goal is to have it done by the end of June. The good thing is I took some days off coming up to dedicate myself solely to it. I want it to be 400+ pages, but I’ll be lucky if I make it to 350. Quality versus quantity is what I’ve been trying to do instead of mindless quantity concerning my blog. The same goes for my novel ideas. In other areas of my life, I was supposed to have lost 15 pounds by now, but only lost 10. My knees aren’t so strong as they used to be, but will take them while they are still in their 40s. Do I have a choice? I just found out my vision has changed again so I need new lenses. The fun never stops.
So where is the 100% icon? I’m not there yet. I’m not the best blogger out there when it comes to new content every day and sometimes I let it lapse for a whole week, but I appreciate everyone who has followed my blog at one point or another. With this in mind, I hope to do a little more browsing and reading of other people’s entries this month because it seems only fair.
March 27, 2019: When the Teeth Grit
Beggars can’t be choosy when you are left with nothing to do, but daydream of maybe getting out. I came here when I was fifteen and while that might seem young, it wasn’t to me. I had lived a life that people twice my age will never have lived. The bad thing is I experienced those things that puts wrinkles on your face for all the wrong reasons. I made bad decisions outside of this place and inside too. I’m not sure if I can ever be let out again, not where I could function properly. I’ve become what they call “institutionalized.” The sad thing is many of these people in here do belong. Why? Because they have no issues killing and we all know killing is bad. If they got out, they’d kill again without losing any sleep. I wasn’t one of them who killed, but I did enough things for me never to walk the streets of any city again or at least, I thought.
In the beginning it was easier because naivety takes hold of you. You think you will stay clean on the inside and your hopes are high you will change. The reality of the situation comes raining down on you when you find your life in jeopardy. You realize how much people like to make you pay for your sins on both sides of the fence. When I was told to get off the bench and go somewhere else, I had to do that without delay. Those who questioned the authority got unnecessary punishment, if not at that time, then later when they least expected it. After a fair amount of rebellion because I was ready for the challenge, the point came when my sturdy legs weren’t willing to subject themselves to the next level. Everyone breaks eventually in this place, in some way, and I did that. My inner resolve to survive became part of me.
I learned there are those who aren’t satisfied, and they are the ones who like to leave marks on your flesh. They want you to suffer, and hate to lose power. You grit your teeth every time their fists connect to your ribs. You reach deep inside to not scream and think about how strong you were when you first entered. You convince yourself you’re still a good person. You are as strong as them is what you keep telling yourself. I lost pride along the way, but I was better for it. I learned to grab the rope when it was offered. It’s been almost 30 years since I came here, and now I’m leaving today. I’m not sure how long it will last, but long enough to walk the streets one last time.
March 27, 2019: Book Writing Exercise
Begin writing with the following sentence: “That was the time he stopped believing ———-.”
That was the time he stopped believing all was going as planned. It wasn’t his fault although others close to him would later say it was only his fault. He had grown up in such unusual circumstances, but was it really all that unusual. He had a mother and a father who loved him dearly. He had siblings who looked out for him as his name was etched deeper and deeper on the sports plaques and awards and once out of high school, his father’s Alma mater opened its arms even wider. He was captain of every team he took part of and was what you’d call a success by the time he graduated. He worked his way up the ranks of his father’s company. He was everything a parent desired and everything he received after that was earned although some thought otherwise Jealousy is found within those you least expect. They come out of the woodwork stating how much they despise the golden spoon.
His scrunched up face, combined with his open mouth, meant the news was startling. At first he thought one of his brothers or parents had gotten into a car accident, but then he recognized the voice. It belonged to a woman he had dated not too long ago. She deserved a man who could make her happy, as much as he deserved another suitable woman. He thought that chapter in his life had closed as their parting had been mutual. It had not as he asked, “what are you going to do?” The question every man asks when he finds out the woman he once had a relationship with is pregnant. She didn’t answer him right away, but when she did her voice was full of raw emotion.
“What do you mean? What am I going to do? I’m going to have this baby and raise it like any good person would!”
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It sounded that way.”
“Don’t get upset. I’m just surprised, that’s all. I haven’t talked to you in over a month, and now you tell me I’m going to be a father.”
“It wasn’t what I was expecting either. I’m not even sure you’re father material.”
“Have you thought about other options?”
“There’s many parents who can’t have children of their own.”
“I’m not letting someone else raise my baby. Who knows how he will end up?”
“We’re having a son?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You said how he will end up.”
“I meant it generically. I’m hoping for a girl.”
“So, adoption is out?”
“Yes.” There was a long pause before she spoke again. “I don’t know. I can’t think about that right now. I basically called to tell you the news.”
“We need to talk about this more.”
“I know, but not right now.”
“Maybe, next week.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for your call. Do you want me to stop by later?”
“No. Just wait ’til my call.”
“Are you sure?”
“You sound stressed out right now.”
“Wouldn’t you be?”
“If I come over, we can discuss this more.”
She hung up, leaving him wishing the call had been about a car accident. In this situation, he knew what to do. Being the youngest in his family, he was the one who convinced his older brother to give his marriage another shot. He was the one who made the calls for his parents’ 50th anniversary. He was the one who kept his composure during tense situations, but not on this day. There was no rushing to the hospital to talk to the best doctors money could afford. Surgery wasn’t required, and there was nothing to take away what he was feeling. The anxiety and loss of independence he knew would still be there no matter how many pills he swallowed. He had to convince her it was too early for him to be a father. If that did not work, he looked down, almost in shame for what he thought. It didn’t stay with him long, but long enough to remind him his life came first.
March 26, 2019: Elizabeth Bowen Quotes
March 23, 2109: Journal Entry Type #5
I live with someone who thinks I should listen to more music. He’s probably right. I should. I no longer have my CD player that most everyone had as they graduated high school and went off to college or worked a job somewhere. The CD player eventually stopped working, but the cassette player was still fine. I seem to be stuck in the 90s as that is the decade I was in high school. Maybe, I’m just missing those years and having some nostalgia. Why? I don’t know. The Reality Bites movie was all the rage and Winona Ryder still hasn’t won an Oscar although people have clued into the weird faces she has the ability to make. A recent poll asked who was the best grunge singer: Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell, or Kurt Cobain. My roommate asked me this all important question. We had the same answer and in the same pecking order. Two minds think alike even though he’s a Millennial and I’m a part of Generation X. And if you’re wondering what the answer is, it is should be this: Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Eddie Vedder, and Kurt Cobain. Sorry, Kurt but Chris blows your voice out into outer space and then some. Sure, Eddie Vedder has that voice, but Chris Cornell really had that voice. Does anyone remember Layne Staley? I sure do. Don’t get me started about the current singers, pop stars in particular, although K-Pop is an interesting phenomenon. Do I listen to it? No. Will I give it a try? Probably not. This brings me to the Millennials. They get a bad rap and while some of it might be true, a lot of it is not. Unfortunately, I have adopted some bad Millennial stereotypes myself such as being glued to my iPhone too much and addicted to social media at times. I catch myself being too absorbed with what is going on with the British Royal family although lately I’m like enough about the supposed fights among the members and then by way of that seeing the boneheaded things certain reality stars are doing or not doing. I call it social media pollution where I have to ask myself again, “who the hell gives a crap about person X or person Y?” Or another question, “why the hell does this bother me so damn much?” Or better yet, “why am I looking at this?” I try my best to give everyone a fair shake and forgive those who I feel are severely lacking, but for a select few there isn’t much they could do to change my mind. They take up precious oxygen that could be used by others who need it more.
This brings me to the purpose of this blog, I suppose, and that is how much should a person fight for the things they believe in and when do they let go of the fight when it clearly isn’t working in his or her favor. I used to get amped up more back in the day about topics I was passionate about, but now it’s like “I’m no longer in my 20s or 30s and while I’m not freaking out that my life is passing me by (okay maybe a little bit), I’ve taken a more “not give a rat’s ass attitude and get on with my life as best I can.” I might sound a little jaded here, but I’ve lived a life trying to better myself in every which way possible and while sometimes I failed miserably, other times I didn’t. I plan on writing a humorous, sarcastic, realistic, and maybe somewhat emotional book later about what it means to have my brain. I think it could be fascinating and entertaining at the same time. Someone once told me it must hurt to have my brain because I think so damn much, and at this point in my life, I doubt I’ll change that much. Yet, when it comes to the power of my brain and its overload, in some ways I have because I can now learn to think “fuck it,” say “fuck it,” and do “fuck it” in the sense of fucking scrap everything I had planned on a certain day and just exist. Some days I need to just exist and not have a massive plan written down on paper and in my head and just live. This is what my life has always been, constantly trying to catch up and as my roommate says, “jam packing a thousand things into one day.” As you can probably guess, this isn’t such a great way to live, let alone healthy. It causes great stress among other things such as pressure. So, as I inch closer to 50 although as of right now I’m closer to 40, it won’t be that way forever. This begs the question of why some people think it isn’t right to ask a woman her age. My response to this is “I don’t care if people know my age,” because I would hope you’d be able to ballpark it given how the more than a few strands of white hair on my head are clearly visible (still not sure how I feel about this) and the lines on my face that used to not be there are definitely there. For the first time, I admit that if I had an unlimited supply of money I might do something to decrease the size of my pores and the wrinkles on my face, but this is vanity speaking. It’s better to think about the things I don’t have in terms of illness and focus on the things I want in life that mean way more to me than losing my wrinkles.
I’m at a point where I’m subtracting crap that doesn’t work for me (mainly mentally and emotionally) and hopefully working to add stuff I desire (mainly physical and monetary). I live a life of plotting, editing, and sorting enough that writing without much planning is a good thing. I call it diarrhea of the mouth. I also call it a reminder to get my ass back in gear with my rewrite because my life is a circle of continuous action and non action. I don’t have time for sharp edges like triangles and squares anymore. I don’t have time for overly caustic people who can’t even put themselves into another person’s shoes. I’m not asking for a week’s length of time, maybe a few minutes, but I find this lack of commonality alarming. I get humans are different people because of race, class, and values. We all don’t have to think and act the same. We seem to be in conflict as a collective whole where people minimize important issues while exploiting others that are taken way out of context. We’ve never reached the middle ground as a society, and while I’m a loyal supporter of a few causes and beliefs (being you will never convince me that dog fighting is a good thing or that you will never convince me to sit down for a complimentary paid lunch at the fanciest restaurant LA can offer with any of the Kardashian family including Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner), I think it has to be there somewhere. It’s hard given the current political atmosphere to remain quiet all of the time, and while I might post something that will irritate some people (those hardcore supporters that will go down in flames defending their beliefs), I’m not going to be silent because of fear I will upset someone. I consider myself respectful in most circumstances, but I’m not a shameless agitator either. I realize the political climate is fragile and not just in the U.S. although from where I’m sitting, it seems the U.S. is dominating world headlines for all the wrong reasons. I often wonder how the world views the U.S. as a collective whole. As I’m learning not to carry the weight of others and world issues on my shoulders, I’m curbing my need to also not over think these issues either. My focus has been more inward, on what I have control over and can change. With this in mind, I think it’s time to crack out any one of my CDs collecting dust and crank up the tunes and forget about labels and get shit done without pressure. You know how it goes, right?
March 20, 2019: Late Night Writing
It’s late and I should be in bed. Soon, very soon, as I have an appointment tomorrow morning. I plan on doing more rewriting of my book this weekend. I’m trying to keep up with my exercise and get over the fact the car mechanic that worked on my car left grease all over my mats and interior doors. I need to go back to the garage for another reason, but it’s all in a day’s work outside of work. Good night, everyone.
March 3, 2019: Journal Entry Type #4
Here is my fourth journal entry type. So, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and am mainly honest with where I am in life including my struggles, my successes, and my hopes and dreams. I’ve had this push and pull with being healthy as much as I can and find jogging/running is the only way for me to lose weight. It works for me time and time again, but I’ve never have really been able to keep it off. My weight fluctuates year by year and as we all know your metabolism decreases as you get older and have to work a little harder (in my case a lot harder) to get even minor results. I think finding the time to have balance in one’s life is what I’m going through now, and when I don’t get through my list, then I spread it out into the week so I don’t freak out or get down on myself. So far, I’ve been able to adjust my thinking to being okay with not jam packing everything into one day or even one week. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling people do to themselves whether through words or actions. I’m a person who tends to put pressure on herself so I other people putting pressure on me is usually not a good thing. Living a well rounded life takes work. I really needed to have to put my running shoes on today in order to jog/run for 4 miles because my goal is to lose weight, not gain it. I decided to not go as hard and fast as I did the other day as I needed to give my knees a rest and let’s face it, I’m still starting getting into an exercise routine again. So, as March is now here, I’m continuing to match my future goals with current actions as much as possible. Everything has it’s time line, and finding that happy medium where pushing yourself just right is a good thing. One day is only one day from a certain angle, but from another it is something different. I guess today I looked at today from a different angle.
February 18, 2019: Writing Book Exercise
Jot down a list of things that make you angry. Some of them make me legitimately angry, but others are just pure annoyances. I will list ten of them although I’m sure I could make it longer.
Write about one thing on the list. I wrote about people who drive without any regard to others around them.
I’ve been known to speed, which is much easier to do in bigger cities, and not get caught. Trust me when I say the LAPD have bigger fish to fry than someone speeding 5 to 10 miles over the limit. I do my best to follow the rules, but people in LA tend to have lead feet. There are two options: drive fast or faster. I’ve been honked at for driving too slow, in the slower lane, and one time had a woman slam on her brakes because I pissed her off for not driving recklessly. If you’ve never been to LA, you will find that you will have little choice but to turn left on a red light or else you will never get home especially after work. The only time I saw a cop pull someone over was when I was driving back from some road trip. If I was driving 75 mph, the guy way ahead of me must have been driving 120 to 130 mph because when I looked in my rear view mirror, my heart skipped a beat. This cop had to be driving around 110 mph because he swerved around and zoomed off like no one’s business. When I finally got to where he was, he was already walking toward the car he had pulled over. So when you see the signs that say the highways are being watched, trust them that they are being watched. The bottom line is to be mindful of your surroundings and yes, I’m including myself here. While I may not be the best driver out there because putting your hands in certain areas of a steering wheel is ridiculous. I’m more wanting people to pay attention to the road and not make assumptions. I’ve saved myself many a car accident by not gunning it even when the person behind me thinks differently. Since moving out of LA, I found that traffic can be just as congested here too. I found that out by driving during rush hour. Never again. So while this might not be the most original thing to write about, I can say my driving skills and patience has increased because of LA. It’s a whole different beast out there and can’t wait to go back.
An estranged mother and son who haven’t seen or spoken to each other in a more than twenty years meet in line at the post office in December, arms full of packages to be mailed. What do they say to each other?
Tory smiled at the woman in front of him who had turned around when the child behind him had made a fuss about standing in line. They glanced at each other long enough to know they both wished they were somewhere else. He thought she might say something to him to pass the time, but she never did. She turned around and went back to looking at her phone.
When he had looked over his shoulder earlier, the line was almost out the door. It was chilly outside and hoped the line would speed up to not let the cold air inside. This was when he noticed a woman in a red and white hat. Her face was not close enough to get a good look at it, but there was something about her mannerisms that kept his attention. Worse, the hat reminded him of his childhood.
As the line slowly crept forward, Tory was finally on the other side of the partition. This gave him a chance to look at the woman in the red hat again. She was in the process of taking off her hat when the boxes she was balancing on her knee fell. People moved out-of-the-way as they took up already limited space. She cursed loud enough for everyone to look in her direction, and it was at this boiling point when Tory realized who was in the same room with him.
It was his mother. The one who had deserted his father for another man and raised another family. The one who had drunk herself into blackouts when she should have been cooking dinner. The one who never sent him even a birthday card or called him when he had graduated high school. It was too bad his father was not with him now. He would have some words for her. Tory had long ago stopped thinking about her, but here she was opening his wound again. She was always good at leaving a situation worse than when it began.
He knew she hadn’t seen him yet. Her red and white hat served enough preoccupation, but once she stuffed it in her coat, something else would take its place. He hoped it wouldn’t be him, but the closer she got to where he stood, the more she kept looking at him. He turned away from her, trying his best to conceal his face.
“Are you too good to even say hello to me?” He ignored her, hoping she’d leave it alone.
“I know you heard me. If you had any decency, you’d at least say something. I’m still your mother.”
By now people were curious what was going on, including the woman who he smiled at earlier. She was the next person to be waited on, but still she looked behind her at the commotion. He apologized to everyone to himself and set his boxes down if she had the nerve to get close and shove them out of his grasp.
He faced her and said, “I’ve gotten by 25 years without you, and I know that bothers you. So, you have any decency, you’d deal with it later and shut up because I don’t want to hear anything from you.”
“You call yourself a son.”
“I’m not your son. You gave that up when you decided to have another family, and don’t think for a second that I don’t know what you did besides leaving my father. A zebra never loses stripes, if you know what I mean.”
“I should wash your mouth with soap.”
“I see you’ve never lost your great mothering skills.”
“You ungrateful bastard.”
Tory knew he had gotten under her skin, and felt a sense of pride. He had finally gotten to tell her most everything he had written five years ago, but never got to her because she had sent it back to him. As he waited for his turn to be called to the counter, he saw movement behind him. He didn’t need to look back. She was leaving out of embarrassment and a probably twinge of guilt. Either way, he was sure the people who witnessed this would call her the red hat lady with the boxes, which caused him to smile.
February 14, 2019: Journal Entry Type #3
I’m a homebody. I usually don’t leave the apartment except to exercise and grocery shop. Otherwise than this, you can find me sitting on my futon reading or coloring. Or, if I’m being really lazy on my bed watching TV, Netflix, or Hulu. Or, maybe taking a short walk to get an ice tea. This year I have made a promise to myself to get out more. So far, a few strides have been made, but definitely not enough. Time has become a slimy creature to mess with me. It leaves me spinning around and when I stop I’m not sure what direction to follow: start fresh or continue on the current path. The dilemma that I feel day in and day out. There’s not enough time for every interest and action. In terms of space, I need to find a place to store my 3000 piece puzzle when I put it together. The good thing is I have a while as it won’t happen until I finish my 1000 piece puzzles.
I’ve been looking back on my years and wondering what I have really accomplished that you can measure. Sure, I’ve grown up quite a bit. Sure, I went to college. Sure, I’ve gotten better keeping things in check. Sure, I’m not freaking out to so much. Sure, I’ve learned from my mistakes. It’s not a good thing to dwell on regrets, but it’s still there to deal with when they crop up. Have I finally hit my mid life crisis now that my 25th high school reunion is coming around the corner? All the things I wanted to do by this age but haven’t. I see people starting their lives whether in their 20s or even early 30s and wonder what they will think when they are my age. Will they have the similar views as mine regarding age? Will they be 95% happy with where they are in life or a lesser percentage which is where I’m at currently. I can’t help but wonder if I had made different prior decisions where I would be today. Should I have studied something different in college? Should I have stayed in the Midwest? Should I had kids? Okay, scrap the last one especially.
There are certain principles and codes I live by and know to be true regarding my life. These elements are the things I’m trying to capture in my writing, artwork, and elsewhere. This is the primary reason for my existence as I am today, but I feel I need to branch outward even more. I think it’s time to not shut the doors so quickly on things I’d rather not think about. I think it’s time to view myself in another way, and not in such a way that leaves little room for other growth. I think it’s time for me to lessen the grip on what I know about certain topics, and challenge myself on other viewpoints. This is the other part of me, the one where my measurements are not so much in dollars (although I would love to have more), but on the processes that occur when any change is made.
Here I am having to put my trust in things I sometimes have trouble completely trusting. This is where I am at life, being okay again with living a boring life and not giving a crap so much how I’m not living up to my own ideal standards. Do I ever get fearful of my future and where I’ll end up? Hell yes. Do I get down on myself for my lack of inaction at times? That is also a hell yes. But, I’ve also done things too that others haven’t done and experienced things that not many will ever go through. So on that note, I am getting out this weekend by eating on the strip and hopefully hiking as well so I guess there’s that. Cheers.
February 10, 2019: Journal 111, 112, and 113
I should’ve gone into a job requiring sorting, cataloguing, and organizing. I got a few more journals today. Here they are, and mind you that I put three back.
February 7, 2019: Agatha Christie Quote
January 31, 2019: Book Writing Exercise
Put two characters, each of whom wants something from the other, in a room together. Neither of them is allowed to ask for it straight out. Give them five minutes with only dialogue to get what they want.
“Is there something I can do for you?” (Woman A)
“No.” (Woman B)
“Okay but you’ve glanced in my direction a few times.”
“Sorry, I’m a little tired and forgot to brush my teeth. I hope you don’t smell my breath.”
“You’re sitting far enough away.”
“It’s probably bothering me more than you.”
“It wouldn’t have been too bad if I had gum or mints. I asked my husband to buy me both on his way home from the office. He came back with nothing. To top it off, my eight-year son somehow got sick and was vomiting half the night.”
“My daughter manages to get sick at the worst times too. It’s always fun cleaning the carpet at two in the morning.”
“You’re telling me. God forbid my husband ever wakes up to help. He sleeps through everything now. I’m beginning to think women are unhappy in their marriages for good reason.”
“I’d say some of them.”
“Forgive me if I’m sounding heartless.”
“Trust me, my husband isn’t perfect, but I knew there was no one else out there for me.”
“I thought so too, but the more the days go by I think I married Mr. Wrong instead of Mr. Right.”
“We live in a time when mothers are expected to keep everything under control including her marriage. It definitely isn’t easy by today’s standards.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
“Sometimes, you have to entertain all possible options even those society frowns upon.”
“Maybe, we should exchange numbers and talk more over coffee.”
“Today is pretty full, but definitely let’s make plans soon.”
“Well, my number is 262-223—”
“Hold on, let me get my pen.”
So what did Woman A and Woman B want?
Woman A wanted to gain Woman B’s trust (at one point for a good reason and another point a bad reason as I was writing it). Woman B wanted Woman A’s sympathy about her lousy marriage (and indirectly her approval to get a divorce).
January 28, 2019: Journal Type Entry #2
My second journal type entry for January. Most people say I wear my heart on my sleeve and can be brutally honest with my life. I have for the most part although there are other things you have to keep to yourself. Yet, I opened myself up to possible misunderstandings back in my twenties with certain things. For the most part the people were understanding and supportive. There is nothing great about having to admit your biological parents weren’t the best. In fact, they were of the worst kind that brought me confusion, anger, fear, and later sadness. I plan to include parts of it in one of my fiction books. Maybe, this is a way to prep people who might read my future novel as much as it is a way to prep myself for the task I hope to begin the latter half of this year. I believe in this novel idea and not because I’m personally attached to it, but more it has the potential to be a powerful story. I want to make people cry and laugh within the same chapter because that is what I’ve had to do to survive. There’s a lot of ugliness in the world, but for all the bad shit, there is equally good too. I’m reminded and now need to fully realize it’s really time for me to leave as much of the emotional past in the past. When there’s nothing more to know, no amount of wishing is going to make new information appear. I’ve gotten all I need from it, and now time for me to mold this information into something else for a better purpose.
January 21, 2019: Cut from a Different Rock
I took my time, but when I got to the top, it was a sight to see. I had climbed for three hours without any breaks. I took a few pictures when I noticed movement up ahead. I lowered my camera and that is when I saw something hiding behind a rock formation. It didn’t appear to be a person or animal. I had heard of these creatures before.
It knocked me down with hardly a touch. The only thing I saw was its large head. It had the shape of an onion, and its neck was skinny and long. It blended into its upper torso and when I turned to get a good look, its hand with long fingers rested on the top of my head. It suspended me in the air for a few seconds before moving me to its home.
When I opened my mouth, nothing came out. It heard my intention anyway. The large head was even bigger than before, and beads of moisture clung to its flesh. Its skin glistened under the operating light above me as it inspected my face. It touched my forehead and backed up.
I watched it peel back his eyelid to reveal another eyelid. It peeled that one too until a tiny eye remained. He did the same with his other eye. I heard the sound before I saw it. His eyes had become little puncture tools. They twisted around and reached out to my face. I screamed when it entered my cheek, but no sound was heard. It was temporarily blocking the sound. I screamed again when it drilled into my other cheek.
It inspected the holes with his fingers gripping my jaw before putting his eyelids back in place. I passed out from the pain because when I regained consciousness, my mouth had been forced open with a device, and it was gone. I was drooling and hardly able to breathe. My arms and legs were secured in several places, and I felt a large cold strap around my chest and hips. I was now fully exposed.
There was enough slack to move my head a little bit, and when I did, pain started at the base of my neck and went through every inch of my face. It had put rods through the holes in my cheeks and connected them to through holes it had made in my arms, legs, and feet.
I heard the words “cut body” from behind me. I thought of what I could do to convince them not to cut into me. I waited what seemed forever, but had to have only been a few minutes. The same creature with the onion shape head appeared. It raised its hand and moved it over my face. My pain went away and my body became tired. I fought to stay awake.
When I came to again, I was back on the mountain top. There were no holes in my face, but I felt my body chemistry had changed. I looked down at my bare feet. There were no holes in them either, only scars. The time on my watch chimed. Fifteen minutes had passed. I knew it was much longer elsewhere.
As I took my first step down, I wondered what kind of undercover assignment the government had me doing.
January 11, 2019: Writing Book Exercise
(Tell a story that begins with a ransom note)
When Sally read the note, she couldn’t believe what she was reading. Here was someone asking for money she didn’t have. How was she supposed to get five million dollars when she wasn’t allowed to work? She hadn’t worked a single day in her life. The only job she had was being the proper wife and loving mother. After her children were sent off to the best schools, she spent her free time usually chatting with her friends over hot cups of coffee with no creamer or sugar. As her children went onto the best universities money could buy, she found herself in a place she relished although was lonely at times.
She was never given any access to her husband’s bank accounts, and while it might bother some, it never did for her. Her first son, Leonard, was the next in line to make sure her needs were taken care of when her husband died. Her husband, also Leonard, thought of most people as dolts, but would never tell this to their faces. He needed them to keep earning money as they were his business partners. On the other hand, Leonard Jr. wasn’t so quick to judge others as stupid if they disagreed with his decisions. He was too young, in her opinion, to take over her husband’s wealth and she worried the board of directors would try to dethrone him from his rightful seat. Yet, he was old enough to have a wife and child.
She did what any dutiful wife would do in a panic. She called 911 even though the note specifically told her not to call 911. It also told her they’d know if she had called the cops. It didn’t even register that it was more than one person involved, any composure she might have had left her as she punched the three numbers on her phone. She had to dial the number five times because she kept pushing too many ones. When she finally got someone on the line, she spoke too quickly for the operator. He had to raise his voice a little bit, forcing her to calm down. The moment he heard the word “kidnap,” the words spilled out of his mouth a little quicker. Time was of the essence and urgency could be heard as he recorded their conversation letter by letter with his fingers.
There wasn’t anything Sally could do but wait. She had waited much of her life. She waited for her husband to come back from his business trip, waited for her son to come back from prep school during Christmas, and waited for her daughter to come out of her belly as she was a week past her due date. Much of her life belonged to her family and now she could not get in touch with her children and her husband was somewhere unknown. Her mind went to a dark place. She thought of all the things that might be happening to her husband. Maybe, the kidnappers had snatched up her son and daughter too. Her son never turned off his phone. Her daughter always picked up by the second ring.
There was too much silence. Her anxiety and fear boiled over. She went to the bathroom and took a few pills from her prescription. She might have broken her arm a year ago, but the phantom pain still hung around. She left the bathroom feeling a little better and waited three minutes before the police arrived. She graciously let them in and showed them the ransom note. It was typed instead of handwritten. There was no postage on the envelope and it was one that already had adhesive attached to it. The average person might think of the missed opportunity for DNA but not Sally.
She eyed the officers with hesitation and mild suspicion. They gathered as much information as they could from her, but there wasn’t much for her to give. She had not seen her husband in five days. He was on an important business trip. She convinced herself her children were with her husband and were safe. Having them all together was better than them separated.
When her phone rang, she flipped it around. It was an unrecognizable number. She threw it to the officer closer to her. He caught it and brought it back to her, gesturing for her to answer it. She didn’t want to. He pressed the button and shoved it into her hand. Her voice was timid when she spoke.
“Are you the wife of Leonard Sr?” a man asked in a disguised voice.
“Yes, I am. What do you want?”
She heard him breathing and that’s it. She asked him again what he wanted.
“What the fuck do you think I want, lady? You have one hour to get my money. No funny business, got it. One whiff of a cop at your place and your husband’s dead.”
“I need more time.”
“That’s all you’re getting.”
“Wait,” Sally said but the man had disconnected.
She stared at the phone, then at the officers. The taller one was on the phone to his commander and the other was speaking to her, but she didn’t hear him. Where was her children? Where was her husband? Her knees felt like jello and her legs weakened. The space in front of her darkened. The last thought as she lost consciousness was what did have I done to deserve this.
January 10, 2019: Journal Type Entry #1
This is sort of my first journal type entry I’ve been wanting to do more of so here it is. I find myself doing a lot of inner dialogue concerning my life. It’s easy to get into a rhythm of head space and personal demands. It’s been a weird time of wanting more, but being lucky what I have.
I find myself getting into the rhythm of exercising to lose weight (first and foremost) and to get out my frustrations that build up along the way (second and also important). I’m finally getting into the mindset of really wanting to work out which is a good thing most each day, but keeping it going to be the hardest part. I don’t jog fast enough to call it running yet, but I’m getting there. I did the HIIT method last night, which is rewarding and hard as hell at the same time.
As I plug along and the weeks are going by pretty quickly already, I’m trying to live in a more fulfilling and balanced way. I’m not so much tripping over my feet and relying on myself mentally, meaning to release things that don’t go as planned as quickly as possible and move on with my life.
I’m seeking to gain confidence in neglected areas and strengthen the weak ones as I get deeper into 2019. I’m wanting to be more comfortable in my skin as whole including being okay with my decision-making processes. I’m basically learning to have a voice that matches the way I was supposed to be from the start. I’m finding myself able to get back into actually living my life, which is always a good thing. I will end it as it began.
December 17, 2018: Pumpkins Need to Eat Too
Believe it or not, I started this as a short story in 2016. My goal was to write about human eating pumpkins in a sort of Grimm’s fairy tale kind of way. It never got to that point, but here it is as flash fiction.)
I know what you’re thinking. It’s something along the line of “no way, there are not human eating pumpkins. They don’t exist. Quite fooling around.” Trust me when I say they do exist. You don’t have to believe me. I don’t really care. I know what I saw. I know what I heard. I know what I felt. I know what I smelled long after the pumpkins banded together and left the remaining victims to die. There were few survivors, and if you haven’t figured it out already, you can lump me into that pile.
My name is not important. I’m not handing it out so you can’t stop wondering if I will say it. I’m never giving it to you no matter how much you beg either. All you need to know is there are some pumpkin patches that like the taste of flesh. I’m not going to say they prefer one type of skin over the other. They are equal opportunists. They don’t care what color you are. They don’t care how tall you are. They don’t care how heavy you are. They only care about catching someone and like it when you hear your own bones crunching between their large teeth.
If you live anywhere near a tiny town called True Wisdom, start being afraid. This is where my parents were born, where I was born, where my siblings were born, and where my children will be born if I ever make it through another year. You ask yourself why I don’t move. Tell me where? How? When? With who? Besides, I’m too comfortable here despite having to fight to stay alive during the last day of October. You see this is the time when pumpkins are given free rein to eat as many humans as possible. Call it a compromise. Call it weeding out the weak so the strong get stronger.
Some pumpkins die every year, but the survivors come back with a vengeance. The one that chased me was about at big as I’ve ever seen and it moved faster than the previous year. Luck was on my side when it didn’t see the pitch fork. It ran right into it at such a high-speed that surviving it wasn’t going to happen. I watched its insides spill out, and as it was moaning I gave it a good kick in the head. A dead pumpkin makes this town a little safer. Only followers want leaders, and I’m their new leader now. It’s always been that same. You either live or die. There is no middle ground.
December 17, 2018: I Wanted a Sunny Day
(This is the first time in a long time I’ve just written something without thinking about it. I didn’t edit throughout nor will I edit this. Another flash fiction.)
It was dark that day. Actually, it was really dark that day. The sky wasn’t letting any sunlight through the clouds. Sure, it had rained prior to this, but when it remained dark each morning I realized something was wrong, like really, really wrong. This wasn’t one of those shrug your shoulders and move on with your life wrong. This was what the hell is wrong with you, what the hell is wrong with your head, and what the hell made you think you could do that moment.
This was that dark day when I found out the person I thought would remain loyal to me forever wasn’t so loyal. He wasn’t the person I thought he was and while it was foolish of me to think he had an ounce of good in him still, the lesson still had to be learned whether I liked it or not. I didn’t know him when we first set eyes on each other. I wondered about him yes, but not enough to want to talk to him. It was him that made the first move, him the one to say hello, and him the one to use up my precious time.
It was innocent from the get go, but as time went on I didn’t like what I saw or heard. He wasn’t vicious outright, but he had a mean streak to him. He was someone you didn’t cross when he was angry or happy for that matter. He had a type of walk that intimidated people because they knew if you stepped too close, there would be a certain kind of hell to pay. He was good at dispensing it however he felt. This I know because I was at the receiving end of it. My whole body was hurting from all his wrath on that dark day.
Because of this experience, I have a hard time trusting people now. I’m not sure if I will ever trust anyone again. I very much doubt I will, but if a day ever comes again when I do, I will have him to thank for it in a twisted sort of way. I’m not there yet, but time will tell. People who go through this are resilient types. I have to be one of those. I think I’m one of them. I hope so as I continue to sit in my own darkness, in the dark, in the darkest depths of singular pain. Sometimes the absence of an apology is just that, sometimes it means much more, and sometimes it’s all in your imagination.
November 27, 2018: Some Dreams Don’t Come True
(This is based from two dreams I had recently. You can decide how crazy they are.)
It all started with a sugar glider. Actually, it started with a dream of a sugar glider. I was minding my own business on my way to the hospital. My best friend was having a necessary surgery, and I was the one to pick her up. She was busted, if you want to be utterly frank. Her parts weren’t working. It wasn’t as if she cared about them because she was always the type of person not to give a damn about this kind of stuff. If she stood next to a person with his arm ripped off and he didn’t ask for help, she’d glance at his pool of blood and walk away. She only helped you if you asked, and even if you asked for help, it didn’t mean she would spend a few minutes of her time with you. Often, she thought it was a waste. You could call her a nihilist in some ways, but since I popped into her life, she isn’t so boastful anymore. I’m hoping during her recovery, she isn’t so brutal with her words.
I learned a long time ago not to expect her to be aware of my needs. My other friends wonder why I stick around and why I keep her as a friend when she clearly is mentally absent when I need a shoulder to lean on. I thought about this, but concluded it wasn’t that big of a deal when you have nothing else going on in your life. I was a giver, not a taker so on that night when I locked eyes with this nocturnal marsupial, I couldn’t look away. His eyes were big, tempting me to come closer as if speaking to me. Actually, they might have been speaking because it came out sounding like one letter at a time.
I had made the decision to scoop him up and bring him home if he would let me, but the longer I studied his face, the more it blended into the face of someone I recognized from my past. A past boyfriend? My crush in high school? Was my mind playing tricks on me now? I wasn’t certain because this seemed like a dream, and people aren’t supposed to have dream when they are awake. I turned away from him, not sure why, and when I turned back he was even closer. He walked onto my hands when I put them out, staring at me with his black eyes.
My watch chimed. He jumped. It was two o’clock and my friend was ready to be out of surgery soon. I decided my sturdy legs were good enough to run the rest of the way. I cupped him in my hands and hurried to the nearest window when he clawed at my palms. He turned his head to a bigger window a little further down. I went to that window, hoping people wouldn’t think I was crazy, and lifted him to the top. Good thing I had parents who were tall. Hesitant to let him go, I did. He could’ve been laughing all the way down, and when it was done he had the biggest grin on his face although it might have been my imagination. Standing on his hind feet, I told him my friend was expecting me.
He turned and scrambled his way up the brick wall. I watched him slide down until he contorted and landed on the ledge. He had that goofy smile again. He scrambled his way up again and slid down but faster this time. This sugar glider was a user. It warranted a disapproving look. His face blended into a dark circle and begged me to come back tomorrow. I was never one to question the oddities in life, but this one remained with me as I opened the hospital door.
November 26, 2018: The Secret Within
(In order to get these done and not have them sit in my queue for another year, I’ve made these short stories even shorter so they are basically flash fiction. I warn you they are written without really any planning in mind. Let’s just say they won’t go down as being one of my strongest writing examples.)
I have a little secret. I have never told it to anyone for fear what people might think of me, but it’s time to reveal the authentic me. Everyone thought I was such a nice person. There were no bad bones in my body and no evil bones to break in others. You will find out I am not nice, and I break bones. In fact, I had most of my family fooled including my parents. I fought the urges, becoming what I am today, but an impressionable child will covet the wrong toys because they need them to become the rotten adult with power.
Family friends and strangers grew up thinking, quite stupidly, their well-being was my highest priority. I twisted the truth in every encounter, far and near. They ate out of my palms willingly. I shudder to think how easy it was to get them to do things they never would think of doing had it not been for my influence. They feared and hated me, but never realized why. Observers with their curious expressions came to me for answers, only to be disappointed when they arrived home that the emptiness inside them was still there.
People told me they knew things. They boasted how many languages they spoke. People told me they owned expensive items. They hopped in their high-priced cars only they could afford, cutting off others because they drove jalopy cars. Speed doesn’t matter when you’re a fraud. These people will never be aware of the truth during any part of their life. It isn’t written in books or passed down from generation to generation by speaking. This wisdom can only be spread and that is by looking inward. If you don’t know how to kill something inside you without a pained look on your face, then you will never be ready to kill something around you when it escapes.
This had become a certain kind of survival from man-made establishments. We all seek to gain independence from these people who I hope to destroy one by one. There can be no change without destruction of the cowards acting as victims. Good judgment is hard to come by these days, and I hope to change this even if it means alienating every friend and crushing every foe. Power is a silent best friend or your worst chattering enemy. I never believed my purpose until you shoved your way into the spotlight. First prize went to you. Second prize to everyone else. Waiting is one of my strong points. Open your eyes and you will see. I will not only take third prize, but every ribbon that already has been cut.
November 25, 2018: Rewriting Can be a Lonely Place
I’ve reconnected with my rewriting after a long hiatus. I’ve learned a few things even in the time it went on the back burner. Because I’m a slow writer, it takes longer than probably the average writer to churn out something people want to read. I’ve done an equal amount of rewriting this story idea and even more obsessing about it in my head. Jeez, the mental spinning I can do will make anyone want to stick a pencil in his or her eye. Many times I have wanted to give up and do something else, ANYTHING ELSE BUT REWRITING. Yet, if I didn’t commit to this task to the end, then I will be even more pissed because I gave up. I wouldn’t have taken the risks of putting my hard work out there. I want to take the risks. Yes, there will be critics. I know there will be. Probably too many of them. I’ve had many conversations about this with my roommate and how certain people are pegged into being the poster child or adult for a cause, and even worse if they don’t want this kind of attention. I’m not saying I will forced into this category, but I’ve played defense in possible scenarios because the subject I’m writing about might come across as cliché. I’m hoping it won’t be viewed this way, but if it is, then so be it. I am my own worst critic and I am the only one who I answer to at the end of the day (human wise). The passion has always been there, but as my writing goals including the number of stories I want to write change, the end result is the same no matter if I’m rewriting, writing, or journaling. Be confident in your decisions and try to straddle your life with as much ease as possible. Sure, shit doesn’t get done if you don’t do it. Shit also doesn’t get done if you stew about it day and night. I’ve been known to do both. I can be lazy as all hell, unmotivated to the core, but I can also be energized and have the desire to kick the stones out of the way. So on that note, carry on with your writing endeavors because if you’re anything like me, you won’t stop because you can’t stop when all is said and done.
Update: I’m still rewriting it, but it’s for the better. I hope to be done with the rewrite by the middle of 2019 and hopefully self published by early 2020. This is why even if I could get an agent, I probably wouldn’t. Too many deadlines. Not enough time.
Update: This will be written after I’m done with the working title (The Forever Stairs). I’m hoping it doesn’t take so long to write this story, but doing more internal debate on how to write it than I’d like. Time will tell.
Update: This won’t happen until I finish my Jagged Korean Lines story. I need to go back and see about my outline, make some changes, then write it. I’m hoping to start writing this in later 2020 or early 2021. Two years for each book so 2021 to 2026. This will bring me into my early 50s or early grave when I’m done.
Update: I plan on writing this after my trilogy. This will be my nod to the circus world and all that came and went.
Update: This will be my last need to write story. The below now belong into the category of maybe.
November 9: 2018: Possibilities, Action, and Success
November 9, 2018: Time to Get them All Done
I’ve decided to push out my short stories and make them short, short stories (also known as flash fiction). I plan on writing a lot of them, starting this weekend, so I can finish them and be done with these ideas once and for all. Then, I can focus solely on my rewrite and then have the guinea pigs I’ve already asked to read it/critique it before I decide what to do next. I’m not sure if it will ever be released beyond those closest to me although it might a shame for others not to read it after all the hard work I’ve put into it. I will say I hope my next three story ideas/trilogy/four story ideas/last three ideas move a lot quicker. Yes, I’ve broken down my stories in segments. Cheers and happy writing.
October 22, 2018: Spare Tire
I bent over and looked at my flat tire. I was officially stranded. I wasn’t about to admit, not yet, I was lost. What I wouldn’t have given for anyone to hear me. Not even the animals showed their concern, but what can a few squirrels do. They didn’t have any special powers, but neither did I. This was just my luck to be in stuck in a state I wouldn’t be caught living in.
I sat down on a log, thinking what I could do, but more hoping the ants wouldn’t come close to me. I hated ants back then. I hate them now. This was the time before cellphones were glued to everyone’s palms. I wasn’t into watches back then and was too angry to check the stereo clock.
I had no idea how much time had passed when a truck came into view. It was one of those trucks with larger than life wheels. You know the one with the stereotype of the driver who wears a cap with a phrase like ‘I’m a redneck and proud of it.’ I imagined the truck had a Confederate flag somewhere, but when it was close enough it was just as bad. It was a decal of a woman holding onto a wrench with one hand with her body positioned in a suggestive pose.
The truck slowed down as it approached. When it stopped, a man about six-foot three got out. His boots kicked up dust with each step. He crossed the road to get to me. It appeared he had a tiny belly, almost not worth mentioning because it might have had to do with the angle of his shirt. His trimmed mustache wasn’t the best option for his face although his large hands complimented his long fingers. Either way, I wasn’t impressed and didn’t like that he had stopped.
He couldn’t have been older than twenty-three when I got a good look of his face. His skin was youthful, but there was a scar on his cheek. His black and blue cap with white stitching hugged tightly on his head. Surprisingly there was no catchphrase on it, but he was getting much too close to me.
“Looks like you’re having trouble,” he said.
His finger ran over the deflated rubber that used to be a functioning tire. I stood up, brushing away the remnants of dead wood from my pants.
“Have a spare in your car?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“You should always carry a spare. You never know when you might need one.”
“I already used it when my tire went flat a few weeks ago.”
“This’s some bad luck you’re having then.”
“That’s why I don’t gamble.”
“Except with tires.”
“Have any ideas on how to get my car up and running?” I asked with an edge to my voice. He probably didn’t mean anything by his last comment, but still. I wanted to ask who the hell was he to criticize me. He might as well have let the air out from my other tires too at the rate he was going.
“If you drove a truck, there’d be no problem. I got a spare in the back,” he looked through my car’s windshield, “but since you seem to prefer convenience, I’ll have to go to my buddy’s shop. Don’t worry, it’s not too far away.” He pointed in the direction he came. “Just around the bend. You can join me, if you want.”
My father’s lecture of not getting into cars with strangers came flooding back, but I wasn’t in first grade anymore. Going with him would break up the boredom of waiting, but my life was more important. I didn’t want to die by the hands of a reincarnated Ted Bundy. His dress style wasn’t refined in any sense, but his face was attractive enough to get by with his looks alone. I could see how a gullible woman might hop into his passenger seat, thinking it was an adventure, but blind to becoming number 78 on some violence statistic list.
“I better stay here.”
“It’s your call. Don’t worry, I’ll get a cheap tire for ‘ya. Good enough to take ‘ya where ‘ya need to go, but you’ll probably want to replace it once you’re home.”
“I don’t have enough to pay you, but if you give me your address, I’ll send you the money once I’m back.”
“Consider it a gift. Besides, you look a little frazzled by the whole thing.”
“I want to get back on the road, and I will pay you. Cash is okay, I take it.”
“No need to pay me. Where you headed?”
“Visiting a friend.”
“I see, catching up.”
“She’s getting married.”
“Ah, the old ball and chain.” He must’ve expected me to laugh because when I didn’t he took a step back. “I’m only kidding.”
“I got that.”
“Listen, I think we got off on the wrong foot,” he said, stretching his arm out to shake my hand. When I didn’t reciprocate, he gave a slight nod. “My apologies.”
Halfway back to his truck, I heard him shout, “Last chance. You comin’ or stayin’?”
My answer should’ve been obvious. I should’ve stayed put and waited for the tire. The only thing nagging at me was what if he didn’t come back. I might not get another chance to get my car working again. I certainly didn’t want to spend another minute longer in this place.
I followed him, my pace quickening and thinking of all the ways the ride could go wrong. His door could be rigged where once it closes, it never opens again unless he wanted it open. The inside smelled somewhat fresh, but not as if he had cleaned all the evidence of his last victim away. I searched for a warning inside, one that told me this was a dangerous man with dangerous intentions, but there was none. His truck looked about as normal as could be, but everything looks normal from a certain angle.
“Don’t be shy. She doesn’t bite,” he said.
A man who refers to his car as a she doesn’t make him a serial killer but it doesn’t reassure me, I thought, as I got into his truck. I prayed that in my moment of weakness I didn’t just give him the easiest path to his next victim.
“I hate to sound like a father, but buckle up.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.”
“No need to be sorry, just safe.”
I wasn’t sure why I said that because I wasn’t sorry. I purposely left the seatbelt off in case I needed to make a quick getaway. I didn’t want to jump out of a moving truck, but if it meant not dying, then I would do it. I strapped in, and kept my finger on the release button. He glanced at me more than once during the ride, probably wondering why I wasn’t looking around.
When the truck slowed, I looked up and saw a plain-looking building. It was in the shape of a rectangular box. The sign on the post wasn’t hard to miss. It read Timothy’s Tires in red and white, and below it Expect the Best in blue and white. It reminded me of the American flag.
This time he turned off the engine and got out. I watched him circle in front of the truck and open my door. He put his hand out. I thought he had gotten the hint I didn’t want to touch his hand or any part of him. I said as politely as I could muster. “Thanks anyway.”
“Just trying to be the gentleman.”
“Again, thanks, but no thanks.”
He backed up. “Want me to get you anything to drink before we get to business?”
“I doubt your friend will have what want,” I said as I got out of the truck.
“Ever heard of Voss?”
“Sparkling or plain.”
“I don’t joke about water. Not when it’s this hot.”
“Coming right up unless you want to look at magazines.”
“I’ll stay here.”
He nodded and disappeared into the tire shop. I tried to see what was happening through the window, but there was too much glare.
He came out with my water, with his friend trailing behind him. Timothy was shorter, but not by much, maybe a few inches. He was a bit heavier, and had tattoo sleeves on both arms.
“Here’s your water.”
I took it without touching him and took a long sip.
“Yes, the sign.”
“Heard you’re tryin’ to get somewhere in a hurry,” Tim said.
“Just trying to get to my friend’s place before nightfall.”
“Can’t fault a woman for that.” Tim winked at his friend. “Once Jer pays me, I’ll give him the tire, and you’ll be all set.”
“You know I’ll pay you later.”
“That’s what you said the last time.”
“Quit holding us up. Get the tire.”
“Hold your damn horses.” He took a swig from his Coke and looked at her. “I didn’t catch your name?”
“Katy,” I said, reluctantly.
“That’s my sister’s name. You spell it K-a-t-i-e?”
“How’d you spell it?”
“With a y.”
“Well, I better go get that tire for ‘ya.”
After Tim left, there was awkward silence between us. I expected him to say something, but he never did.
“Your name is Jer?”
“Great-great granddad. Not the best name, I know.”
“I’ve heard worse.”
“Try Katherine Alexandra.”
“Well, Katherine Alexandra, it seems you got a yourself a tire.”
I looked up and saw Tim carrying a tire. I felt a twinge of guilt for thinking less of these people. This is all they would know in their lives: tires and tattoos. I took another sip of water, wondering if I should say something in the form of an apology. Instead, I watched Tim and Jer say their brotherly goodbyes.
Jer pulled up close to my car, removed a jack from the back, and traded my flat tire for the new one. The whole process from start to finish was quick. I thought how foolish I had been to think he was out to hurt me. He gave me his address, but I didn’t look at it until I got home from the wedding. This is when I noticed he had written his phone number beneath it. I never called him although I did send him cash the following week without a return address. I’m not sure he ever got it. I hope he did, but if not he must’ve realized by now some things are meant to go only so far.
October 19, 2018: Types of Stories
September 30, 2018: Three Quotes from Writers
September 19, 2018: Writing Exercise
You are a loser who lives alone with a cat and have for quite some time. One day your cat can’t take it anymore and starts talking. What does it say?
Why did you adopt me? This is worse than when I lived in the pound. My last owner never bitched day in and day out about stupid things. Jeez, I can’t believe you focus on such stupid things. Just because I’ve been silent about this for the two long years I’ve lived with you doesn’t mean I like listening to you complain about your ex-boyfriend and how your friends did X or Y to you. This is what your human friends are for or maybe a therapist of some kind.
Your inability to move on in your life is getting old. It’s not like there aren’t other people walking around. You don’t see me crying when you come home with new cat food because you think it’s a good idea to change things and add a little spice into my life. You should be lucky I’m able to show restraint and use my litter box when nature is pounding on my belly walls because of it. I show you the courtesy to not crap on your rug so would it hurt you to stick to one kind of food or wash my bed once a while or even buy me a bigger one? I’m not stretching out my legs for my health. It was hoping you’d get all the cues I was giving you, but I guess not. Now you know. Buy me a new bed. Quit buying me the fancy food.
Oh jeez, are you crying now? Please lady, don’t go there. It’s not that I think you’re a horrible person, but you’ve been spending way too much time alone and feeling sorry for yourself. I used to enjoy being around you, but you’ve become too much. I’ve noticed hardly anyone calls you anymore. You used to be glued to your phone. I used to look forward to our routine when you’d come home from work. You’d eventually sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and I’d curl onto your lap and fall asleep to you rubbing my ears. Those were the good old times. The best I can get now is a “hey whiskers” and that isn’t even my name.
Listen, I can rub up against your leg to try to make you feel better, but that isn’t my style. You need to do this for yourself. If you want to take me back to the pound, go ahead. I’m not afraid to protect myself. I know I might not come out of there alive. Would I rather stay with you? Sure, but you’ve got to pull your head from the damn clouds and start seeing the sunshine. Can you do that? I hope so because I might hide and never come back out.
September 7, 2018: Thoughts About Hollywood, Life, and Social Media
Ever since accusations have been flung left and right at Hollywood actors and actresses about alleged abuse (some worse than others), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the perceived vigilante justice on social media (those not intimately affected by the offender), and the effects of it such as the person being condemned whether they are actually guilty or not. While there usually is some truth in every accusation made, I also believe certain people find the appeal to take part in the circus no matter what the consequences might be with much care. They distort the reality of what happened and find it okay if the person’s name is further obliterated.
We have all skewed incidents to look more favorable to our friends and family. We have all felt wronged at some point in our lives. We have told the big fat lie and the little white lies. I wasn’t going to write anything about this, but over the last months, it kept gnawing at me. I’ve been conflicted about social media lately especially the negative effects that come with it. I’m not entirely convinced if the power of self entitlement has become emboldened over the years because of social media or if it was there all along within people. I recognize the positive effects such as bringing light onto subjects and principles that might have remain hidden, but does this outweigh the rest? I’m not quite sure, but once sliced bread was discovered, there was no going back. The same goes for the never-ending Facebook threads.
It’s been a large pill for me to swallow that as much as I want to believe I know what happened in certain situations I read or watch, I don’t. The best I can offer is educated guesses based on past observances and gathered information. No matter how the stone is cut, I wasn’t there and neither was any of the general public. We can scream, yell, pick fights, and agree all we want, but this signals we’re all operating more from our personal convictions and beliefs than any other thing. There has to be some medium in there although probably not much right now. I’ve noticed an increasing divide in Hollywood and elsewhere because of social media. In many ways it’s become an all or none where you are either for or against depending on what side you stand, and if you happen to be somewhere else on the line, then forget you.
The seeming bubble waiting to burst within the last few years have reinforced what I will not budge on for personal and humane reasons. I’ve become less sympathetic to the nonsense ripe for the picking and more thankful for those whose outlook values community. Yet, I haven’t ditched my Mel Gibson movies in light of his terrible views on anyone not like him, but I won’t shop at certain stores based on past actions. There’s no easy answer to all the problems facing the myriads of different people. It almost seems a moot point to be writing about this. Yet, I did because if I didn’t, I’d have another night thinking I should really write a short blog on this even if no one reads it and won’t be as I imagined. So there you have it, the thoughts in my head.
September 3, 2018: Three Writing Quotes
September 2, 2018: What Will You Write About?
It seems this book came out a lot earlier than six years ago, but I’ve probably had it sitting on my shelf right after it came out. I’ve done a few entries in there, but most of it is blank white pages. This book is a good way to get the writing juices flowing again. I admit I’ve been very lazy in terms of having the motivation to write anything, whether it be blogging, poetry, short stories, or writing my novel ideas. It seems all I want to do is everything else but writing. I’ve pushed my deadline for 2018 of my rewrite to the end of 2019. I’m not even focusing on my rewrite until I get some other things in order, mentally and physically, despite it sometimes gnawing at me. I plan on dabbling in these book exercises and writing whatever comes to mind. I’ve had a problem lately with wanting everything I do to be perfect. I’m not the only one who struggles with this, but thought I’d let writers and creative people out there know about this book. Enjoy and happy writing and the struggles that come with it.
August 10, 2018: Mark Twain Quote
June 6, 2018: Pisaries Creator’s Thoughts Right Now
April 14, 2018: Three Writing Quotes From the Book I’m Reading
March 27, 2018: Write Simply or Like You Walked Out of a Thesaurus?!
“I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend you’re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, you’ll never dumb things down. You won’t have to explain things that don’t need explaining. You’ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and don’t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not ‘audience.’ Not ‘readership.’ Just the reader.”
This quote by Jeffrey Eugenides, which he tells his students in his creative writing classes begs the question of how smart exactly is the average reader. I would like think the average reader is smarter than most, even me. I mean I’m average in so many ways, and not ashamed by it. I’m an Asian un-gifted in the math and sciences. This is why I’m not a doctor or dentist or anything related to medicine. If I was, guess what? I’d probably be somewhere walking down the halls of some hospital or clinic, maybe wishing I was doing something else. There were no brainy individuals in my bloodline, and accepted this a long time ago.
This doesn’t mean my biological parents didn’t give me anything. They gave me other things besides a brain that belongs in Mensa or near Mensa. You might say I’m viewing myself as stupid, but that’s not the case. I’m seeing myself as realistic. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted realistic goals and centralized viewpoints with many different topics. Basically, I’ve become less focused on how others view me and more on what I can do improve myself within my own life. I’ve become less competitive with others including myself. Unless you’re writing in the academic world or for a specific age group (preteen or teens), I think a happy medium should be adopted when you write the average novel.
I’ve purposely left out things in past stories or scripts to not hit the reader over the head with the obvious. This led to my roommate, often my guinea pig, to say what are you trying to say or do in this paragraph or description. I learned when you border on being cryptic, misunderstanding can occur and does as the pages increase. Therefore, I have added necessary information to the reader so there is no guessing for the reader in my current rewrite. I suspect I’ll learn even more as I rewrite more, and hoping my next rewrite doesn’t take as long. Writing should feel as natural as can be, but still keeping objectivity as much as possible. I suspect most of us are smarter than we let on in some cases, while in others we play stupid silly. This is all I have to say about this for now.
I’ve been spending more time on my rewrite. I guess this is a good thing. After talking to my roommate/partner, he told me that the reason one of my main characters decides to do X is not very strong. In other words, it needs to be more compelling so I’m going to add in another scene that drives the arrow straight into the target. I’ve said it before that I can’t wait to finish this rewrite, but I’m done apologizing for being a slow writer. This is just who I am. I hope all my learning and relearning paves the way for a quicker write next time, but even more a quicker rewrite. I have a few guinea pigs willing to read my story when it is done to see how they like it. I’m eventually going to self publish it when the time is right. I hope everyone is doing whatever that makes them happy in this often crazy life.
March 7, 2018: Albertine and Josephine
I placed twenty-dollar bills into his hand, making sure he saw each one. BB looked at me, showing a little bit of sorrow on his face. He knew who they truly belonged to. He also missed her as much as I did. I should’ve invited him to the river when I sprinkled the last of Josephine’s ashes. We frequented this area since we were in grade school. We shared our deepest secrets underneath the trees. It seemed not long ago we were ten years old.
I was asking Josephine to braid her hair. She didn’t like others messing with her auburn locks, and would tell me no. She’d leap up and run off. Her legs were faster than mine. I would still chase her until we found ourselves bumping into each other and laughing as we fell onto the grass.
It was incredibly hard to watch my best friend submerge into the water, be carried away, and all the while I heard our last conversation.
“Albertine, how much I will miss you. Saying your name. Hearing you say mine. You know how much I love my hair, but giving you a lock of it might be a good thing.”
I had been waiting for her to say that since the beginning of our friendship. I had decided if she wasn’t willing to give me a piece of her hair, I was going to take some of it after she died. Thankfully, it never came to that, but I was always ready. I pulled out a scissors from my coat pocket.
“Here, let me do it,” I said. “I’ll be sure to only take a little bit.”
“Take it near my face, but not too close. I don’t want you to accidentally nick me. And I want to see it.”
After I had separated the strands I was taking, I further separated it with string.
“Hold still now,” I said.
She gasped a little bit when she heard the scissors close shut. For the first time in her life, Josephine was asymmetrical when it came to her hair. I held it out in front of her face, but not before tugging on the tiny knot.
“Not even enough to miss.”
She nodded slightly, picked up the mirror beside her, and inspected the area where I clipped her hair.
“I could always count on you to do things right,” said Josephine. “I hope you know that.”
“I do.” I said with some sass. “Isn’t that why you kept me around all these years?”
“Stop it.” She wiped her misty eyes. “I’m going to miss you so much. Your words. Your face. You know I love you like a sister.”
These words lingered in my memory as she took her last breaths. She was unable to speak during her last days. It was excruciating for me. I had difficulty concentrating. All I could do was hold her hand during this time. Of course, I loved her in return, and told her this every morning and night. We had been best friends for most of our lives. I placed her hands on her chest when she was gone. I kissed her forehead and recited her favorite prayer. She had already closed her eyes for me.
There were a handful still alive from our high school class. We used to wonder who would die first between us. I now knew the answer.
Josephine did have some surprises even as she reached her golden years. The night she invited me for a nice car ride comes to mind. She had recently turned seventy. She wouldn’t tell me where we were going when I asked her. I followed her into a building, and found myself standing behind her in a semi-lit room. It was spacious enough to put your arms out, but as the night progressed, it became crowded.
This was my introduction to the secret world of gambling of a different kind. I watched her give money to a stranger. I later learned his name was Bruce Bowman. My friend had gone from the innocent girl of a farmer father and stay at home mother to taking part in shady activity. She blamed it on her second cousin, half-joking.
“That’s not fair to Harold.” I said, half-joking too.
Harold had gotten into trouble with the local authorities for letting nearby farm livestock run wild. He said cows should run free once in a while, but he really only wanted to laugh at their confusion once the gate was open and after he took a swipe at their backside. He was known around town as a troublemaker. While he never did anything serious, it was enough for people to never give him a chance. He worked on her father’s farm, and even survived an accident that took his left leg from the knee down.
It was no surprise that she gave him a sizable chunk to him when she sold her father’s farm and surrounding land. He gave her a handmade card. It never said thanks, but told her she had done the right thing of spreading some of the family butter onto his bread. He lived out his remaining years exceptionally close to his cousin. She confided in him as much as me about her troubled marriage. He gave her advice while strumming his four-stringed guitar. His advice never amounted to much of anything because her marriage was doomed from the start. He eagerly listened, and she appreciated this. We all agreed it had been a good thing when Edgar died from a car accident.
As winter thawed into spring, Harold ended up dying in the summer. She invited me to the funeral, just the two of us, and we buried him in the local cemetery. There was no one left alive from her immediate family and her extended family were far removed. She had no one to leave her inheritance with so she left it to me, her best friend, and it served me well.
It took several attempts for me to withdraw any amount of money from her account. The closest I got was the bank door the first time. I couldn’t even put my fingers around the handle. The feeling of irresponsibility stopped me. When I got the courage to finally enter the bank, I asked for one hundred one dollar bills. The teller gave me what I asked for, but not without giving me a funny look. I sat in my car making sure the top of George Washington’s head was to the right before I left the parking lot.
I know the exact time when I was reminded time was limited. It was 7:03 on a Saturday night when I asked Josephine why she was giving away her money to a stranger in a strange room.
“I’m not going to live forever,” she said in a matter of fact tone, “and my only wish is to live the remaining years having fun. You might think it’s silly, but it keeps me going.”
She started gambling ones, went to fives, later tens, and only used twenties by the end. She won more than she lost. I encouraged her to find another way to live the good life, which made her sour. She finally admitted she found parts of it ghastly. The body odor that lingered in the air. She used to stuff cotton into her nose, but the smells often went right through it. We both learned to deal with it. The longer you stayed, the less it was an annoyance. Stick around long enough, you win more, which was the whole reason for being there.
I watched people with their body odor give their money to BB. I was amazed at how Josephine hardly looked at him during their exchanges. Most of their talk was through gestures. Before they departed, he gave her a tiny smile. She then grabbed my hand, and moved me through the crowd. I learned the first names of certain people, warned about the unsavory ones, discovered who won the big jackpot the last time, and the unfortunate person named Cliff who wasn’t liked by anyone. He had a habit of eating Rice Crispy Bars and touching people with his sticky fingers.
I learned what “dinner time” meant. It started when the lights dimmed. The predator appeared with its owner. They varied as much as the prey. The first time I saw dinner time I was shocked. The hawk was normal size, but one of the mice was small and the other large. Josephine had bet the larger mouse would be eaten first in the enclosure. She was right. Raptors were just as popular as the snakes.
There had been one anomaly where a falcon had killed both mice at the same time. They had huddled together, almost paralyzed, and neither made a sound until they were both snatched up. Things changed, the main one being a divider preventing the prey from meeting in the middle. People claimed it was confusing to the predator. Josephine pitied the person who kept track of which side it was released each time.
She had a good eye for winners. I had even a better one. I made it a habit of being near the entrance when the predator was ushered into the room. It allowed me to see how it was acting and responding especially when released from its cage or given a little more freedom. I didn’t go to school for this, but observation goes a long way. I owe all my winnings to taking mental notes, and maybe, a tiny fraction of luck. I seldom gave bad advice to Josephine, and now that I frequent this room alone, it turned out I was the better gambler. Not too shabby for a person who thought this whole thing was farcical on her first visit.
Josephine’s final appearance and goodbye left a bitter taste in her mouth. She was leaving familiar faces behind, but not one of them she could call a true friend. They were only acquaintances. Yet, she would still miss the multiple conversations buzzing all around. It softened the blow upon learning her biggest regret was partly her fault. This I know because she told me that same night as I forced her to be a passenger in her own car.
Since her death, BB and I became friends. He took my money inside the room, but outside of it we only talked. We ate lunch at the local diner each month. I gave him stories. He gave me laughter. I respected him more when I learned he was struggling to make ends meet after his wife left him. His two daughters often had to take care of themselves. It didn’t take long for me to sign the remaining money Josephine had left me and all my gambling profits to BB.
I could live off the remaining money I had, and still I felt sadness when he hugged me. I wanted it to be Josephine’s hands. She would never know what I withheld from her year after year. I should have said more, but misgivings are wasted time when you’re old like me. The only thing that mattered now were my ashes. I instructed BB to put them in the same spot Josephine had entered. Our friendship was evolving into something else. There was nothing more for me to do except wait and be patient because that is the final definition of life and death.
Get a New Hobby
Spend Time with Family
January 3, 2018: More Production and Less Promising
I feel like George R.R. Martin right now. I’m having trouble producing anything substantial with my short stories or novel ideas. I was having trouble period where I didn’t want to even work on my blog. I’m slowly finding the energy, motivation, and urge to get to busy again. Writing is a lonely hobby and/or interest. You do it alone. You have to or else you won’t get anything done. I’m going to try my best to keep the momentum with my life goals this year. No more excuses. You either do it or not. There’s something to be said when your mentality actually mirrors your actions. I still have a ways to go, but I’ll get there. I was born a fighter and doer. There’s still a lot more to do. Charging ahead.
January 3, 2018: Rewriting Quotes
December 3, 2017: When a Father Creeps like a Spider on a Chessboard
These simple two words sent me back to the past. The words I often heard. His voice always thunderous above my head, even if I was standing level to him. He made me look up to him, always. He made me come to him when he moved, the most annoying. A father shouldn’t change positions so much, but mine did, constantly.
There were times he crept around like a spider, feeling the vibrations on his legs. I fooled myself many times thinking he was something to not be afraid of. Other times he hopped around, out of control, like a child on a pogo stick, leaving impressionable dents to the floor and my pride. No one ever felt safe around my father. My friends didn’t understand him.
This wasn’t even the worst part. It was when he questioned your existence that made you feel tiny, as if your right to breathe the same air as he did was a tragedy. The constant taunting about how he wanted to drain my blood and refill it with someone else so we had one thing less in common.
“Did you hear me? You overstepped your boundaries again.”
He put enough emphasis on the word, again, that I thought he was done. He was not.
“Did I raise a daughter so stupid? Is this my last reward for being your father? You blessing me with utter senselessness! I don’t even know how you live with your pitiful self.”
I glanced at his wrinkled face. He seemed to have aged a few years in the past ten minutes. I could tell he was at a breaking point. The point when he felt when his personal welfare was threatened. Whatever left was inside him unhinged more, making his half empty heart, emptier. His face twisted into a disturbing expression. This was a record for him. I believe he had reached a personal best.
You must keep screaming inside so your lungs don’t give out. You must picture your flailing arms calm when they are anxious. This was what my brother told me in order to deal with him. How easy for him to say. He stayed in his little bubble until the day he turned 18, and never turned back when he left home.
I had worn my game face before, and because this was definitely a game, I made sure I had additional layers this time. I wasn’t willing to be a pawn anymore on this family chessboard. As I knocked every demand and threat he said to me from the board, I faced the realism of it all. As I tossed every shameful thing he did into the burning garbage can below, I was up for the challenge. As I was no longer willing to have him spit such hatred at me, I was prepared.
Eventually, the king will be knocked off his pedestal, and I intended to do just that. His tall shadow wouldn’t belong to him much longer, but first I said some words.
“Yes, father, I heard you, and no, you didn’t raise me to be stupid. I’m actually quite smart if you cared to notice.”
The past twenty years came up in my throat like a bad case of indigestion. I was ready to get rid of it. I was ready to move forward.
“Now, I believe it is my turn to ask you some questions.”
He looked at me, holding surprise at the corners of his mouth, and I knew. If you take away a spider’s legs before a fight has begun, there isn’t much to stand on but false hope and flawed expectations.
December 3, 2017: Looking Forward
I’m looking forward to visiting the Midwest in January. I plan on taking a trip there to surprise, at least, one of my parents. I also get to take pictures of my old journals from 20+ years ago. I get to see my parents’ new dog I haven’t seen. I hopefully can visit some friends who are near and dear to me. It will an eye opener as I haven’t been back to a true winter of snow and ice and negative degree weather. I can’t wait.
November 11, 2017: Thought on my Brain
I’m thinking about starting a thought blog and just write anything and everything I feel in any given week. It won’t be long or formulated. I will just spew nonsense out. I’m going to give this more thought. I’m not sure people will read it. Just have to see, but I feel as if I’m becoming more interested in keeping up with blogging than rewriting and writing. Hmmm, I need to think about this. I think I need to subtract instead of add.
September 23, 2017: My Thoughts About Life This Week
I wake up, go to work, leave work, sometimes work overtime, and on my drive home I think I’m going to write for a few hours. Then, I think about everything else I have and want to do. Jog, lift weights, and crunches to lose weight I’ve been trying to do forever. Jeez, the dishes are piling up again in the sink even though there is a dishwasher. I need a deeper sink or a larger dishwasher. This is not working for me. I need a bigger apartment. It would solve a lot of my problems. Maybe, not all, but some. I feel as if the little space I have is built like New York City. My things are stacked on top of each other. Then, there are other things pulling me away from my goal of writing. Man, I haven’t worked on puzzles in a long time. How about pulling out a puzzle and trying to finish it in a few days? I want to do it so I can accomplish something in my life, even if it is only a puzzle, because my writing isn’t going anywhere. Then, I think this won’t bring me closer to my goal of being a person who writes consistently. But man, that puzzle is a nice diversion. This rewriting process is long and tedious. I’m not sure if I have it within me to be a writer crosses my mind as I wait in traffic. I flip through the radio stations when the Woody Show isn’t all that interesting, which is rare. I’m trying to find new ways to write faster, but then I feel if I rush myself, I’m not being honest with my own process and who needs or wants that.
I get home and change into more comfortable clothes. I slip my gnarly looking feet, description by my roommate, into my flip flops I shouldn’t be wearing. My ankles continue to hurt and tingle. Damn my lack of blood circulation in my legs. I should have that checked out again to make sure it isn’t something more serious. Frankly, I just need to lose weight. It would take care of a lot of your problems, Kim. How backwards things have become when I grab the Apple remote and watch a little bit of Netflix before deciding what I want to really do. I know what I want to do: WRITE. I still think about it. My choices are so many. Do I exercise, read, color, blog, or something else? What should I devote my time to on the weekend? More exercising, reading, coloring, blogging? Or maybe watching a few movies on my shelves? Or seeing one in the theater? Or working on my puzzle and trying to find past photos of finished puzzles so I don’t have to do them all again? The possibilities are limitless. I should be doing a quiet meditation to calm my mind before I do anything else, but I don’t after work. I’m not spending enough quality time with myself to be really still with all parts of myself. I’m trying not to use the word should or need or have, but sometimes it is necessary. I should be doing more yoga. I need to in order to calm my mind. I have to to make my body stronger.
There are times all I do is watch Netflix and go to bed. I don’t even have the motivation to write my thoughts in my journal although I know it would help me to process things better. Sometimes, being a couch or bed potato is all I can muster. On a high note, as much as it felt like I was in a new world, I recently spent time working on myself in a mental and emotional kind of way. I laid it all out before me. Time was not a factor. I was done when I felt in it my body. I was done when my spirit had accomplished all that it could do for that day. I’m hoping to translate this into all areas of my life I’ve tried desperately to incorporate in the past. It felt like I was pushing a square object into a circle opening much too small. I’m conscious of the fine line between motivation and being hypercritical of oneself. This awakening gave me a new way of looking and thinking about things, which is the whole purpose of living. I’m adapting to living a more peaceful and calm life instead of just wishing or wanting it to happen. And despite me feeling like a semi-failure for not having the discipline to write consistently the past few months, I’ve gained other things that are just as valuable. I’m more than cells and flesh. I’m a lot more. Trust me on this one.
September 9, 2017: How I’ve Been Feeling Lately
I think one of the hardest aspects of writing is the dialogue. I’m currently reading a book with an enthusiastic ten fingers in the air. It has some good, solid advice in it. It is only 135 pages long so it won’t be a daunting task to read. I would advise reading it twice or maybe three times. I know I will, at least twice.
The author, James Scott Bell, says reading dialogue in screenplays will increase your knowledge. He uses examples from Maltese Falcon, which is a great screenplay. If you have a great screenplay, it more than likely will translate into a great movie. Yet, novel writing doesn’t have the same format as screenplays, but dialogue matters in both.
So for the purpose of focusing on improving your novel writing via dialogue, check out the book How to Write Dazzling Dialogue. Bell describes examples of poorly written dialogue, mediocre dialogue, and well-written dialogue where it is understandable. There are exercises you can do to improve your writing, which is also handy. I hope you find it as informative as I have so far. Cheers and Happy Writing.
March 17, 2017: My Journals: Missing a Few, but Here’s Most of Them
“For the sake of the one’s sanity, one should always use the journal as a way to destruct, destroy, demand, and detect certain things within oneself; but then on the next page use it to celebrate, connect, continue, and commit because without this process, one will be something less than within the soul.” -Pisaries Creator-
I went home home to take pictures of my other journals. I didn’t get them all because some were M.I.A. I ended up leaving my current journal behind. You win some and then lose some. I actually have a few more, but couldn’t call them actual journals. When I hit a certain point in my life, I plan on burning all of them in a big bonfire, but time will tell. The original dates were from 1990 to current times, but these listed below start in 1992 and up to this month and year.