Just a Thought

I wished my family would buy normal sliced white bread, the kind that went into toasters, like every other family I knew. My father had found a local baker’s shop where they made thick loaves of heavy brown bread, and he insisted on buying them. He said they tasted better, which was, to my mind, nonsense. Proper bread was white, and pre-sliced, and tasted like almost nothing: that was the point.
—Neil Gaiman/The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

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Just a Thought

Heck did not know any French, and he listened to these people talking with some awe, some distrust — a part of him had trouble believing people could communicate by sounds so alien.

And all around lay the detritus of war, scattered along the beaches and across the field and into odd corners of the countryside: discarded gas masks, tires, gasoline cans, empty food tins and cartons, fallen telephone cables, parachute containers, deserted gun emplacements, overturned and exploded transports and boats and tanks, rolls of concertina wire, stacks of life belts, mildewed underwear.  Homes reduced to door frames.  Burned and abandoned bulldozers.  The skeletons of goats, cows, dogs, horses.  Plastic sheets and bags in all sizes.  Paper handbills and flyers strewn amid smashed furniture, fragments of shattered glass.  In town the treads of passing tanks were rapidly destroying the cobble streets.  The fallen shop buildings and churches and hotels and houses had the appearance of sand castles bludgeoned by a wrathful child.

In one hedgerow, an American Sherman tank hung precariously in a gap it had created only to meet there its demise.  Looking at the disabled German panzer tanks lying about, Heck though unhappily that they appeared considerably larger and more fearsome than the American Shermans.  In training he had been assured that the American tanks were faster and more agile, but when it came down to it, he thought, wouldn’t anyone rather have more steel and a bigger gun?

—Nick Arvin/Articles of War

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One Year

Okay, here we go.

I am actually going to do this. I am actually going to try this. I am actually talking to myself in a rapid-fire discussion to both do this, and run away and not do this.

Okay, let’s define “this” at least.

I am going to give myself one year to write.

It seems like a simple sentence, but the truth is it makes my chest tight and my eyes squinty and watery. My whole head wants to explode off of my body. It seems like a simple sentence, but it is a door opening in my heart – my soul – in some other body part that is equally corny and cliche while being full of legitimate meaning to me. It basically means I am going to try something I’ve dreamed of since I was 6 and publishing my own little newspaper and books on notebook paper in my bedroom. A door in me is being opened and I’m so scared I could vomit.

It is remarkably easy to say that all I’ve ever wanted to do is write. It is remarkably easy, and kind of untrue. Of course in order for it to be kind of untrue means that to some degree it is also kind of true.

I am fascinated by story. Story structure, story elements, story tropes, story by written word, by oral tradition, by book, by movie, by music, by gossip, by role-playing games – all of it, any of it, I’m fascinated. I’m invested 100% almost immediately upon seeing once upon a time, or in a galaxy far away, or just hearing some theme music letting me know I’ve got television friends to watch.

What is interesting, is that as I’ve gotten older, I begin to see that all of it is story. All of what we do and say and think about is about story. That isn’t to say that everything is made up, it is more to say that in order for us to understand the everything we need to understand, we make up stories to make things make better sense. I think, to some degree I’m trying to make some stories to try and make the last couple years make sense to me.

2020 sucked. For me, for millions of others, in general it was just a difficult year. But seeing light at the end of my metaphorical tunnel, and being about 70% sure the light I see is just being out and about with humans and not my final deathly resting place, I am seeing the urge to change meet with the ability to change in my mind and world. I really want to try something new and more life-affirming.

I’m going to take the next year and write. Write every day. Write anything. Write everything I think of with no fear. Write and see if I can learn enough in a year to make money with all this writing.

I can’t remember a time when stories haven’t been the focus of my brain. Starting today, I am going to allow the focus of my brain to become the focus of my efforts as well. Now I just need to keep the doombot in my brain from freaking the fuck out and sabotaging my ass by self-destructing, I may be okay.

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Just a Thought

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?

That is the only time a man can be brave.
—George R. R. Martin/Game of Thrones

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Anxiously Attempting

The problem for me with having no job AND being asked to shelter-in-place and social distance is the choices.

I can do anything. I can do almost anything. I can do a lot. Well okay, I can do a large variety of things and I’m overwhelmed by anxiety and fear and my brain has no space or capability to decide amongst the variety of things I can do and it all just seems enormous.

That is where I’m sitting right now, living large on my options and trying to decide what the fuck I’m even doing. What am I doing? Why am I just sitting here in soft clothes, watching YouTube, and having small mental breakdowns every day?

I mean, I know why. I get the reasons I am at home, I’m not a fucking idiot. Social Distancing is for safety, it is for care and maintenance of our society. I get that, I know that. I think it is more that I am unsure of what I am doing because I have no idea what comes next in my life. In anyone’s life. In general, I basically have no idea what tomorrow or the next day might be like.

I know that there is never really a guarantee that anyone knows what will happen tomorrow, and we are all supposed to just act like today is the last day of the rest of our lives and all those other upbeat fucking things that we tell ourselves to make it through – but there is no way that is even remotely sustainable. Plus, even if I live each day as if there is no tomorrow when you are legitimately terrified there may not be a tomorrow, how do you overcome that terror and just live?

Basically, when the world, the society, the future seems to be on a delicate precipice, how do I continue to care enough to get up and exist? Which seems dark, and these kinds of thoughts are probably part of why I should make a choice from my distraction options and lose myself to these kinds of anxiety spewing thoughts.

On that note, I am going to start a D&D campaign, watch some more YouTube, donate what little money I have that can help the people that have even less, and I am going to make it through the day.

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Just a Thought

Sprocket fiend is the name I have for the subterranean dimension to my film addiction. The subtle, beneath-the-sound-track sound of the clattering projector in those old rep theaters, especially in the New Beverly. The defiant, twenty-four-frames-per-second mechanical heartbeat that says, at least for the duration of whatever movie you’re watching, the world’s time doesn’t apply to you. You’re safe in whatever chronal flow the director chooses to take you through. Real time, or a span of months or years, or backward and forward through a life. You are given the space of a film to steal time. And the projector is your only clock. And the need for that subtle, clicking sprocket time makes you–made me–a sprocket fiend.

—Patton Oswalt/Silver Screen Fiend

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It is clear that more time alone and more time at home are not what was keeping me from writing.

Fear. Fear is clearly what has been keeping me from writing. I am not even certain that what I am doing right now is writing, but it is my first kind of step toward dealing with some of my fears.

I am sitting here in my house, I have music, I have books, I have animals to cuddle with, and to be honest I have all the things that I love.  I haven’t interacted with a person I wasn’t related to in a little over a week.

I am sitting here tired and unsure and don’t know why I want to start blogging again.  Other than the very simple fact that I am so insecure and weird I need to talk everywhere.  Okay, that might be just the harsh part of me trying to talk me out of doing any of this stuff, but I do kind of want to start blogging again.

When I initially started this blog, it was a simple and easy place to say weird things and push them out into the world.  Now I have Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter – oh so very much Twitter. With all of these places to say something small and ridiculous, why come back to blogging to express myself?  Blogging is like the old windbag telling long-form stories in the tiny bites world.

So why bother?

Because, and this is mostly me talking to me here because I need to become comfortable expressing myself with words again.  I’ve been distancing myself from words for a really long time. I’ve been squishing parts of me into easy to carry boxes for a long time.  I have been smothering anything I liked about me for a long time.

In the last six months though, I’ve had a lot of things happen to me, and in dealing (and not dealing) with all of these things I’ve realized that I would like to stop being cruel to myself and attempt to be kind to myself.  Self-care for me has almost always involved words. Reading books, telling stories, writing letters, playing word games, writing, or just plain journaling. Words=Self-Care for me.

As social distancing makes a ton of us feel itchy and crazy, as the economy eats itself, and as the planet burns, now is as good a time as any to be nice to me and try to put more words together, more often.

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Just a Thought

His friend, ex-accountant turned Tahitian layabout artist Paul Gauguin, suggested something radical. Why not paint something … from memory? Just once, instead of painting what you’re actually looking at, render an artwork through the prism of recollection. What newer, emotional details might surface through the rigid, unyielding mesh of religion and shame that you’ve used to bind that throbbing, genius brain of yours? Vincent, give it a try.

And he did. The Night Cafe, painted in September of 1888. While George Eastman made it possible to forever trap reality on paper, while Jack the Ripper carved, in flesh wounds, a ragged peephole into the twentieth century, Van Gogh painted from memory. And it destroyed him.

—Patton Oswalt/Silver Screen Fiend
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No, I don’t know what I’m doing. Thank you for asking.

I started a blog a long time ago. A long long long long time ago in the general scheme of internet time. When I first started it, I loved it. Adored it, enjoyed planning things out to share, and felt so happy just writing out silly things and seeing them on my screen.

Over time it became difficult to enjoy because there were a lot of people reaching out and telling me to find a focus for my blog, turn it into a money-making enterprise instead of just a stupid thing to put my thoughts on for no reason.

Eventually, I petered out because I knew that I would never make money on a blog about the random ass shit that passes through my brain.

There is a lot going on with folks talking about what they want to change, what they want to do differently in 2020 and the new decade, I just want to remember what it is like to have fun writing out the stupid ideas that pass through my head.

No grand sweeping promises or vows to write anything good, just trying to keep in mind something that I read on twitter recently, that this is for me.

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Just a Thought

Sandy gave her mother a look of secret ferocity which meant: you promised to leave us all on our own, and a promise is a promise, you know it’s very bad to break a promise to a child, you might ruin all my life by breaking your promise, it’s my birthday.
—Muriel Spark/The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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