I started blogging thinking that this is where I would review whatever media I felt like ranting about. It quickly changed direction. So this is my online diary. Comments are welcome.
I'm a vivid dreamer. I can often remember my dreams, and I absolutely dream in color. I have nightmares regularly. (Ask my wife, who is quite tired of my crap.) But sometimes a dream sparks a writing prompt, or an exercise in thought. This is what I got out of last night:
I imagined finding a way to travel back in time (I know, I know, bear with me). The limit was 10 years, and I would be completely disguised. There could be no return trip because I would dissolve in the past. This wasn't a choice I could make. I was being forced to go, and the only way to keep the moments and memories I've cherished over the last 10 years was to re-live them. Understanding this would give most people reason to hide until they dissolved. Some would choose to manipulate their own timelines, others would neglect their influence, and manipulate others' timelines. I didn't know what I was going to do.
I visited my 20-year-old self, and had some tacos that I served myself. That was a bit strange, because I was beginning to have 2 sets of feelings. One part of me was worried that this kid wouldn't figure it out in time to become me, and the other was concerned that if I didn't do something I would just end up right here in an endless loop. How many times have I done this? Of course all these memories started to flood back to me. There were a lot of things I had forgotten about. The kid who stood in front of me had a good head on his shoulders. He was a bit naive, but he seemed older than I remember feeling at that age.
I noticed that I, he (er, it was confusing) was listening intently to everything I had to say. I kept interjecting things that I thought were insignificant until I mentioned the Royals winning the World Series, to which I/he replied, "not in my lifetime." Then, for some reason the conversation changed. I was asked about deeper ideas; how to save money, whether or not to finish school, marriage, alcoholism and addiction, the big bang theory, and God. It happened so quickly, rapid-fire style, that I forgot why I was there. I only wanted to check in on this young man, and all of a sudden I was telling him about his future.
I wanted to avoid this. I didn't want to tell him anything about who he would become. I found myself longing for the future that would be his. I wanted to see my wife, a person he didn't even know existed. I had an overwhelming sense of sadness for the young man and the loss he will experience over the next decade. He was right around the corner from heartbreak and he didn't even know it. I kept blabbering, telling him to stay on track. I told myself 10 years ago that if I do all the things exactly like I did, I would be happy. At 30, I'd have a great job, a new house, married for almost a year, money in the bank, just in case of an emergency, and no kids yet. So, naturally I screwed it all up.
In the dream I began to dissolve into nothingness. At the same time my consciousness was blended with the young man with whom I had previously conversed. The only problem was that I was not in control. I was merely a spectator, and I was forced to watch as I made all the wrong decisions. Time moved quickly, as it often does in dreams, and as I watched the years draw closer to 30 I was devastated by who I had become.
We were all different at that age. When we were right on the edge of adulthood. I know some were parents by then, and others had even more responsibilities than that. But for me, this dream left a feeling inside me that I can't explain. It isn't regret. I don't regret the choices I've made in my life that have lead me here. I just realize that my life could have been very different if I had done a few, seemingly insignificant things, differently. It isn't a good feeling that I was left with, but it isn't necessarily a bad feeling. You see, I also feel fortunate. Because no matter how much dreaming that young man from my past may have done, he never dreamed he would be here. Right were he always wanted to be.
Not Off the Line
My hope for this year was to create as much content as possible. I'm sluggishly building a new website for my blog, I have a homepage built for the upcoming Entry Level Geek Show podcast my uncle Sam and I are doing, I've been making music with my band, The Coterie, and I started doing a podcast of my past blogs. Where I'm lacking is in writing. I have stories floating around inside my noggin and they're screaming at me to let them out.
Sometimes I see writing as a giant obstacle, because I type amazingly slow. You would think, "How does someone who does all their work on the computer type so slow?" And you would be justified in wondering. That fact about me truly does hinder my creativity. I'll be on a roll, and because it takes me so long to get it typed out, I might lose a thought, or I'll see that thought on the page and realize it isn't as cool as it was in my mind. It's for this reason that I have scraps of paper and half-empty notebooks all over my house. I can write it down a lot faster than I can type it, but I never seem to get back to those story ideas. I almost wish I had a personal assistant to type all my things, but the reality is, I should just get better at transposing all of my notes. Ah well, at least I'm thinking about it, right?
The thing that got me thinking about all of this was a story note I forgot about in my Evernote account. I'll post it here:
Story Idea (<-- Now that's a proper title)
In a future that is super compartmentalized. So much so that people only interact through media. There is a movement beginning to emerge from the shadow. It is something so bizarre that leaders and politicians are fighting to stop it. But it comes from something ancient within us. Togetherness.
Nobody wants to be alone. And now there’s a generation that will change the shape of humanity in the future. How will we change? Can the future be what almost every person has dreamed?
Okay, so you can see that the idea wasn't even very good. I'm sure it's one of those idea that I woke up with from a dream, and used my phone to record the thought. Because, you know, I can text faster than I can type. (Also a fact. It's sad. So sad.) However, because of this note, I started to remember the details of the idea I had for this story. It just took a few lines for my brain to kick in and think, "yeah, I remember this." It's kinda like that scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Dumbledore is pulling the memories from his mind and placing them in the pensieve. That's how my brain works. A little reminder, and BAM! – back to story drafting mode.
So, at least I have my ideas written down. I'll get something started. It's far too worth it for me to keep writing. Maybe once my website is built I'll post some stories I have finished there. Who knows. It may be a little while before I'm finished with that project too.
No Offense Needed
I was just sitting here at my desk after finishing my lunch of a delicious split pea soup, and decided to click the shuffle button on my iTunes playlist titled, "Classical." And well, let me tell ya, I am never unmoved by great music. Regardless of genre. It could be because I'm a big soft teddy bear, but I think in this case it's because the suite (Clair de lune) makes me think of my dad. Also, it made me think about my upcoming wedding. I'm going to be very real right now. I just want the wedding to be everything Ashley has ever wanted it to be. I could literally be happy to not make any decisions about it at all, as long as it was everything she wanted. And I genuinely mean that. I know a lot of people would probably think, "that's a cop-out", but it's not. I know I'll have to make some decisions, and hopefully they're great ones for the sake of my fiancée and our guests.
It got me thinking about something I saw just after Christmas that kind of upset me a little. (Basically, I let a troll on the internet get to me.) You see, I proposed to Ashley on Christmas. According to the internet troll on Facebook, that was unoriginal. As a matter of fact, I'll post what I read. (This was not from the person whose page I saw it on. He simply re-posted, and I acted irrationally and unfriended him. Sorry.)
"The biggest problem I have with proposing on Christmas is that it's unoriginal. It's just so incredibly lame. Same goes for New Year's Eve. It's just foolish and self-centered to do it on days that should be about family and friends, not your relationship. It's a cliché wrapped in a cliché wrapped in a metaphor for yout sh***y, unoriginal, uninspiring love story that will culminate withe you getting down on a knee in the living room, leaving most of the family members in attendance with a look on their face that says, "Look at this f***in' guy.""
If you're wondering, yes, I edited the expletives. I wanted to address this though. You can't just throw a blanket over something like this and call it cliché. (Actually you can, but I wanna complain about it, so meh.) I don't agree with anything this fella was saying, and I actually felt a little sorry for him. Here's the thing: I (and by 'I', I mean we) have had an extremely tough year. In 2013 we were all still so numb from Dad's death that we really couldn't enjoy our holidays. I'm thrilled that this year was different. Ashley and I gave the family something to smile about and to look forward to. Sounds to me like we were able to give something special to our family and friends. It wasn't just about us.
The other thing is how this dude called it unoriginal and uninspiring. That's great. (I get the idea that this person is really lonely.) See, I'd been planning to propose for about a year. I knew last Christmas that I definitely wanted to marry her, (eat your hearts out boys, she's mine) but the only issue for me was, when? I had a few really cool and totally original ideas, but let's face it, it's all been done before. So, I didn't do something that would have gone viral on YouTube. I didn't fly her all around the world just to ask for her hand at our last destination. I didn't hide secret messages that lead her on a scavenger hunt to find her ring and myself waiting for her to say yes. (Not saying those are bad ideas.) Instead of extravagant I played Santa at out family Christmas get together. I made sure all the presents were passed out. Then, I got down on a knee and asked the woman I love to be my wife. I did it in front of my family. I wasn't trying to take all the attention. I was trying to give my girlfriend the very best Christmas gift I could. She deserves so much more for all the things she's done for me in the past couple of years. I want her to be my family. Oh, and ask anybody who was there if it was annoying. They'll tell you the truth. All I know is that it was about love, not my relationship. Love for my family, love for my lady, and love for the things to come. And you know what? Ashley thought it was absolutely perfect. #winning.
Gusts of Cold Amongst the Warmth
I probably couldn't count how many times I've said I'm going to do something only to end up running out of steam, or completely abandoning a project. My point is that I don't want this to be one of those. I want to continue to write. I have other writing projects in mind, and running out of steam on this one will derail all the rest. I know, it's easy to think, "so do it.", or "write more often." And I do think like that.
What I can't figure out is if I'm doing it right. I get on here and plug out some of my thoughts that I'm honestly not sure if anyone reads. But is that why I should do it anyway? Is the uncertainty the reason I don't do it as often as I figured I would? Is it something else? Maybe I haven't found my voice yet. Maybe I don't know what I want to say. It's all that and more I think.
I did have a reason to write today though. I have to say some things to someone who is very close to me. He's going through a really rough thing right now, and to him it seems so sudden and out of nowhere.
I understand that things were going so great in your life. I've been right here with you the whole time. I've also been on the outside of all of this, and bracing for impact. I love you, brother. You never have to hide how you're feeling from me. You don't have to put on your paper mask and pretend. Mostly because I can see right through it. I know this sucks. I actually know that it isn't just the one thing, but that a lot of things are eating away at you now. It was easy to shoulder the small bits while you were floating on clouds, but this is a catalyst for negativity now. Pick yourself up. Look around you. Notice the pieces still left in place. Brush them off good and hold your head high kid, you're doing fine.
We talked about it recently. About how great things are going for you. Remember that I told you to remember what it felt like to be down and out. Hopefully you took a moment to think about that. To think about a time when we were so broke a cheese sandwich was a meal. To think about the handful of times neither one of us had reliable transportation and had to rely on the hospitality of others. And to think about what it felt like to suddenly be without a place to sleep at night. Things haven't always been up in the clouds for you man, but looking back you can see they've been much worse.
I'm not on here to air your laundry. I haven't mentioned anything too personal. Besides that, anyone who knows you already knows everything about you. You're an open book, my friend. And this small thing that has you twisted up is just an ellipsis at the end of a chapter that is to be continued.
Facing the Music
My heart is broken. In the wake of recent tragedy in my life I have realized that I can hear the music in my soul. I hear it out loud and at all times. Sometimes it's so loud it just feels like pressure in my head. Other times it is as quiet as a whisper in the wind. But it's always there. What have I done to have lost the ability to hear this beautiful composition for so long? Was it any of my few questionable life decisions I have made? Was it because I gave up playing music, or writing, or acting, or any of the things I was so enamored of but just quit doing? Or is it because I'm lost on my spiritual path in my walk with God? I'm almost certain it's the latter.
When my dad passed I did the only thing I could do. I prayed. I prayed hard. Some of you can really connect with what it means to pray hard. I haven't prayed like that since I was 16 years old. Some may ask, why then? What good was praying for a man's soul that had already passed? Turns out I wasn't praying for my dad's soul. I was praying for mine. And an internal peace is what was answered. Ask me how I know my prayers were heard.
Every time the leaves rustle against my front door I hear the symphony rise, and when I lay down at night the soloist begins my lullaby. My heart is filled with music, my mind is filled with stories and words, and my eyes are filled with brilliant color. I feel creative. I know that Dad only ever wanted me to be happy with what I was creating. He was so very proud of everything any of his kids did. I hope those siblings of mine read this and know, Dad was your #1 fan too. So, have a conversation with God, and listen to the music.
Phantom Vibration Syndrome Part 2
I wanted to touch on this topic again and tell you what I've been working on. Since I blogged about the phantom vibrations that you feel because of your mobile phone I have been reading a lot more. I have read a couple of books, lots of comics and plenty of current events. The more important thing is that I got my creative swing back.
It's true. I'm playing my guitar more and letting myself get consumed in a melody. I've attempted to cook some things I had never cooked before. I'm writing again. I'm currently working on a short story that I'm really excited to share with everybody. (When it's ready, of course.) I've spent a lot of time with friends and family, and you know, I've missed you guys. But I'm most excited about developing a comic book. This is something I've always wanted to do, and I have a really great team of folks working with me. I can bundle a lot of creativity into this one project. I'm writing and learning the art of inking. I'm researching a lot of content as well as directing the project. There is so much to do that it will keep me busy for months. We are shooting for a March release of issue 1. That will be around the time of the 2014 Planet Comicon in Kansas City, MO, although we will not be participating in the con.
My point is this. We should all rediscover something that we've lost touch with. Especially if we are good at that "something." Or if it is a thing we enjoy immensely. I'm aiming for happiness in my life. And it's definitely working for me. What are your goals? I'd like to know.
Phantom Vibration Syndrome
This is one of the most interesting things that I have read recently. I was browsing some news sites when I came across this article on NPR. Now, I'm not one to believe in things like phantom vibrations, but I have felt them myself. You know, that funny little itch you get around your pocket region? The 'Phantom Buzz', as on reader described it. This will happen even if your phone isn't in your pocket. I had experienced it, but I had never even heard of Phantom Vibration Syndrome.
After I read the article I decided to give it a try. Leave my phone alone for an hour. (Okay, what really happened was I forgot to grab it before Ashley and I left for the grocery store.) What I found out was that I didn't need it. I didn't even miss it. And even knowing that the thing wasn't there I still pocket checked it a couple of times. Surely this is something others of you have experienced. After a little bit of thought I decided that this actually translates to much of the technology that we surround ourselves with. For example; we have over 300 channels with DirecTv, but there's nothing to watch. I have 1,769 songs on my iPod and I'm tired of listening to the same old songs. The list could go on and on to include the likes of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Kindle. The point is that we are losing our interest in things at a rate that has never been seen before. The drive to discover something great has been replaced with the drive to be one of the millions to "Like" something.
A few weeks ago I wrote that I wanted to find some local bookstores. I want to find a place that still has that old familiar smell of paper in it. My new goal, because my search has been hugely unsuccessful in St. Joseph, is to turn off my devices (yes, even my Kindle and iPhone) and immerse myself in something I have lost connection with. I will probably read a book. A real book, and I'm open to suggestions by the way. I might/will play my guitar more. I'd like to paint again. (That was always fun.) I want to build a desk using black pipe and scrap wood. I'm thinking about taking piano lessons. I could prepare a meal that I have never cooked before. There are so many possibilities that it makes me a little giddy. I know, I know, "you could do those things even without shutting down your devices", but that misses the point. I want to rediscover me. And I want to find out what I really love and enjoy without social media and the internet telling me what's trending.
I discovered reading and writing for fun when I was in the 4th grade and I haven't been able to stop. I discovered my musical talent when I was 12 and started a band with my brother and my best friends. I have been on a journey of discovery that has shaped and molded my tastes for music, reading, writing, art, food and extracurricular activities since I was a high school freshman. And I'm not quite finished, so come along.