Tense

The midsummer sun was pounding down on me while I dug my hands into the dirt. I could feel the wetness in the layers of mud as I kept sifting through the moist soil. My daughter’s voice ran through my head after every rinse in the water hose, just wear gloves, Gideon, but I never listened—why would I? I liked the feel of it. The grunginess of my hands after a long day outside, they made me feel like a mechanic. At first, I thought it was unusual that planting flowers and various herbs was my way of escape, but it felt right. So, I quickly got over the judgmental stares of passersby watching a six-foot-tall man with his knees in the dirt because I kind of had to.

Today though, it wasn’t about the flowers or the herbs. Today, I was tasked with tearing apart the dirt in front of my daughters’ home. Tasked to destroy what was once beautiful, but it had to be done. There were unwanted dandelions, chickweeds, purslane, and bluegrass interrupting the growth of the sunflowers and morning glories I planted a few months ago. These pesky weeds were relentless; they kept coming back, even over the summer. Although, I could never understand why she couldn’t do this herself. All it took was a good pair of gloves, and a little patience. The task was easy, but ever since we buried her husband a couple months ago, she wasn’t motivated to do any of the outdoor chores. Although, I was amazed that she even invited me over—my wife must’ve had something to do with it. We never got along, even before my grandson’s father died. Our relationship was fine, but it was always uncomfortable. The tension was inevitable though; she’d never forgive me for what happened.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a checkered ball hitting the window and landing in the array of weeds in front of me. Soccer. They were playing soccer. My grandson quickly rushed over, apologized, retrieved the ball, and ran back to continue playing with my daughter before I could respond. I looked over and she didn’t acknowledge me; she was still mad. She’s lucky my wife was persuasive enough to get me here.

Last time I saw my daughter was a week after the funeral when I let slip that I thought his son should return to his biological mother. I’ll never understand why she couldn’t let him move back. She always had this way about her where she just had to control everything; including him.

His son’s life was never just his, just like my daughter’s was never really hers. After my son-in-law was six-feet-under she had to start anew. Discover who she was, where she belonged, and what she needed to survive. She barely scraped by after his passing, it’s no wonder she never let his son leave her side. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid; he just doesn’t love us. The word grandpanever came out of his mouth, but collectively we were a familyfor over a decade. It wasn’t his fault though, it was his fathers. He alienated them from us, and if I hadn’t have done what I did, I’m not sure how much longer it would’ve been before I lost my daughter completely.

It’s Okay.

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to let your guard down once in a while and to just wallow in your emotions.

It’s okay to express how you feel.

It’s all okay.

Because you’re human.

Hi, I’m not sure if you’ve read my resolution post for 2018 yet aptly named The Year(s) of Growth, but if you haven’t, then these were my top ten resolutions:

  1.  Stop comparing
  2.  Break my bad habits
  3.  Leave the house more
  4.  Eat healthier
  5.  Listen to more music
  6.  Read more
  7.  Produce more art, whether it’s paint on a canvas or a new blog post — writing is an art too
  8.  Make it on to the deans’ list
  9.  Stop letting people take advantage
  10.  Ignore the insults

It’s a long and hopeful list, right? I’ll dig into them in December, so for now, we’re only going to focus on number two; “break my bad habits.” I didn’t discuss this in that blog, and I’m not sure I’ve talked about it yet (maybe I should “clean house” and check all of my blogs), but my all-time worst habit is not letting people in. For some reason, there has just been a mental blockade around that portion of my brain, and I’ve just discovered how to cope with it.

Today, I had what I like to call a Twitter Episode, which is where I air my “dirty laundry” out publicly, with hopes that my tweets get lost in the abyss of memes and self-deprecating humor. Yet, today they didn’t. I was seen, heard, asked about, and apologized to. No one knew exactly how to fix my problem, but I was still seen. A few people reached out and they helped me realize that it’s not going to be the end of the world–at least, not yet anyway.

But see, that’s the thing. As I write this blog about opening up, I’m still extraordinarily closed off. I’ve closed myself off from those that care about me, and today I realized just how self destructive that can be. Not only for myself, but to everyone else around me.

It isn’t fun seeing those you care about be sad or upset, but you have to remember that if they’re hurting, don’t ignore their cries for help. Don’t let them do it alone because if you truly care about them, you’ll help them in any way you can.

Honestly, the hardest thing to do, is to ignore those posts that tell you how toxic you are when you are upset, because those are complete bullshit. It’s not okay to build a fortress around how you feel. If something’s bothering you, don’t just let it pass; TALK about it. TEXT about it. WRITE about it. Do anything you can to get those thoughts out of your head and into the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be written in a note on your phone, in a Word.doc that you never open again, or even if it’s in a diary that’s closed off to the world… as long as it’s written down, it’ll help.

Also, I realize how this must sound coming from me of all people. Like I said before, (or did I?), I’m an expert at bottling things up. I have almost twenty-two years of it under my belt, so you might be wondering; “Who are you to give me advice on letting people in?” Well, my dear reader, I can only write how I personally feel, and you can take from it as you please. It’s entirely up to you and you alone. However, with as much experience as I have, I can say for sure that one thing helps when it comes to opening up, and it only takes a few steps:

  1. Get. Out. Of. Your. Bed.
  2. Move.
  3. Don’t slow down.
  4. Find a friend(s).

After you’ve established some sort of trust with said friend(s); open up. Let people in. Don’t let your anxiety, inability to trust because of your past, or your overthinking affect the fact that there is someone out there that will listen. They may be hard to find, but they are out there. Somewhere. You just have to go out and look. You honestly just have to trust me.

Once you find your person, or what us Grey’s Anatomy fans like to call “your Cristina,” never let them go. Your Cristina might not always be the same person as your Derek, but if they are then that’s great! It’s much harder to find two people who care about you as much as Cristina and Derek did for Meredith, but if you’re as lucky as I am; you’ll find them both.

Podcast: Fiction

From the time I learned how to read, I’ve always read fiction. I could get lost in Wonderland or Hogwarts, just by opening up a book. The simple stumble into a couple hundred pages could result in many hours, or even days, spent entwined in the content between the cover pages. Yet, one of the best parts is the smell. Oh, the smell of a book. If you’re an avid book reader who’s in love with printed literature, describing the smell is almost impossible. It’s easy to get lost in it. Just picking up a book and sniffing the pages, old or new, it’s enticing. A digitally printed book doesn’t even compare to a hard copy, especially since a hard copy could be placed on a shelf. Personally, I love having my books on display.

Ah, the display. IKEA really has some fantastic bookcases even though they’re cheap. Alphabetically organized and divided between read and unread, the books give off a floor-to-ceiling library effect. Now, let’s not forget about the people responsible for my aesthetically pleasing case.

There are currently 266 books, or rather 178 authors that are alphabetically aligned on my shelves, but let’s get down to the authors I have the most books from. Off the top of my head, there’s JK Rowling (who we all know and love), Danielle Rollins (a, as she puts it, candy-coated horror novelist), and Chuck Palahniuk (who you might know as the man behind Fight Club).

These three authors have the most books on my shelves, and here’s why:

For one, all three authors write in some form of fiction. Whether it’s considered fantasy, horror, or transgressional, fiction is always my go-to.

Joanne Rowling, or JK Rowling, is the writer behind the entire Harry Potter franchise. Naturally, I have more books of hers than I do anyone else’s (besides Chuck’s) and I’ve been reading and rereading her books since 2006.

The Harry Potter series has had such a big impact in my life. Right from the start, my mom read me 60 pages a night so I could get through them before the big AR tests we had. Now, for those of you who don’t know what AR tests are, they’re Advanced Reading tests we used to have to take in elementary school. We got points for each one depending on our grade and I was number 2 in all of the fourth-grade class of Martin Walker Elementary, all thanks to JK Rowling and her magical books. Immediately, I got hooked on Severus Snape (RIP Alan Rickman), Mad-Eye Moody (may he rest in peace, as well), and all of the mythical creatures throughout the books. While the series may be finished, Rowling still continues to produce widely-loved novels even to this day. I’ll always appreciate the boy who lived under the stairs, and I’ll always appreciate the woman behind it.

Danielle Rollins is a different story. She’s a fireball with her words. One minute I’d connect with a character and the next I’ll start feeling queasy due to some gory scene she slipped in. Her books are like roller coasters and if you go under her pseudonym, “Vega,” they just get gorier. Now, I’m not talking Saw-gory, because she is technically candy-coating some of the scenes and the books are for young adults. Yet, somehow, someway, I can’t read them all the way through without taking a few breaks. Rollins, or Vega, has published a total of six books, and I barreled through them in a matter of weeks. Now, let’s get into my all-time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk.

From this point forward, for the sake of not mispronouncing his last name, I’m going to refer to him as Chuck. Chuck is a trangressional fiction novelist who refers to his fans as Chuckleheads. All of his books plotlines were written so that the main character broke out of societal norms. For instance, in Fight Club, the main character got tired of working a nine-to-five job, so he started doing illegal activities after hours. Which, coincidentally, I can’t talk about due to the number one rule: “Don’t talk about fight club.”

Chuck has published a total of 21 books and I have 17. Alphabetically, by book title, there’s Beautiful You, Choke, Damned, Diary, Doomed, two copies of Fight Club, Fight Club 2, Haunted, Invisible Monsters, Invisible Monsters Remix, Lullaby, Make Something Up, Phoenix, Pygmy, Rant, Snuff, Survivor, and Tell-All.

Surprisingly, there’s actually a story behind one of the copies of Fight Club. On Black Friday, my fiancé and I woke up at 7am to go and get a signed copy of it. Now, we didn’t meet Chuck because he wasn’t there, but we now own a signed first-edition copy of Fight Club and we’re planning on putting it in a shadow box. It’s become one of our prized possessions and we don’t let anyone touch it, which sounds obsessive, I know, but the Chucklehead in me can’t resist.

Anyway, I think that’ll be enough for this podcast. I hope each and every one of you go out there and find a good book, get lost in the pages, and have the same experience I do when I find a new favorite. Make sure to keep up with me to find out more about the vast world of literature, multimedia topics and the study of writing.

Reflection

My composition process changed by switching to a more audio approach because I had to think about how I’d say it while I typed it. I included commas where I’d usually take a breath.  On Microsoft Word, I typed up the blog so I could read it easier. That way, I could double-space the text and increase the readability. Overall, this was an interesting and fun experience and I’m glad I finally did a podcast.

Writing as a Metaphor

Writing is an art. 208cf27b2e80467fb7fed0b834ee564f

As Lakoff and Johnson state in Metaphors We  Live By, life, in general, is a concept. It’s a concept that we cannot understand because it is not obvious (Lakoff). However, it’s up to us on how we choose to live that concept. Sure, it’s easy to dissect and evaluate your own life, but there always seems to be an underlying meaning behind it all. The simple four-word sentence I wrote above could be dissected in a number of ways, so here I am to do just that with help from the aforementioned book.

When anyone asks what I do, the first word that comes to mind is “writer.” Yet, it used to be “artist.” I often wonder why it can’t be both. Writing is an art. It’s a form of expression and it leads to a result you’re proud of; even though you’ll always be your worst critic. After all, writing is never perfect and neither is art.

secrets-of-short-story-writingIn Metaphors We Live By, they used the metaphor “argument is war” as an example. They said that if we were to change “war” to “dance” we would view arguments differently (Lakoff).  When I think about war, the first words that come to mind are strategies, defense techniques, artillery, military, treaties, and foreign countries (unless it’s a civil war). When I think about arguments, the first words to come to mind are defensive,  close-minded, social media, debating, and a resolution. By combining the two, it makes the word argument out to be this horrid thing when in fact, it can be eye-opening. However, would comparing an argument to a dance make arguing come off as any less evasive? Yes, yes it would, but would it make the statement about an argument being similar to war any less true? No, it would only lighten the load a little. paint-brushes-jar-over-wooden-aqua-blue-background-51063951

Well, let’s get back to the original metaphor at hand. “Writing is an art.” When we take the two contents of the metaphor; writing and art, what do you get?

Personally, when I think about writing, I think about pens, pencils, laptops, BlueTooth keyboards, and notebooks. Coincidentally, art involves most of those things too. When you write, the whole point is to put your voice on a page. When you draw you’re putting your personal view of things on a page. No artists are the same, they merely contain different mediums or styles, just like writers do. Except in the writing world, we call our styles our, well, styles and we call our mediums fonts.

Putting a pen to paper, a brush to a canvas, or your fingers on a keyboard are all similar. They all do one thing: express the style of the person behind it.

download (4)As a writer, I feel it’s important to consider writing as an art. It’s not just a task you set out to do just because you’re assigned a paper or have to write a resume for a job. Writing is another form of expressing yourself, as I stated several times above, therefore, it is an art regardless. While you read you can create your own versions of the stories you read in your head. You create the images, but the writer creates the imagery. The mind is such a crazy, imaginative, and wonderful thing and when you express yourself, it’s even better.

 

 

 

Reference

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011.

Improv.


Lately I’ve been slacking at my art projects. I’ve lost my supplies. My brother stole them. My younger sister got into them. I’ve had to buy totally new things.

My latest project I had to improvise.
I had a plan.
My list involved:
Black and white acrylic paint.
Fine tip brushes.
Glitter glue.
& colored pencils.

Well I ended up using: white acrylic paint, India ink, makeup brushes, eyeshadow, colored pencils, pens and nail polish.
I made sure to give it texture.


I made sure to add little details.

 & this was the ending result.

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”

The point of this drawing is to represent the difference between creativity and general education. The darker part represents the left side of the brain and the colorful part represents the right side of the brain. I didn’t start this project with the mindset that this would be the concept of the brain but that’s what the creative side of my brain came up with. Whenever I start a project with a basic idea my brain always comes up with ways to make it better. Whether it’s drawing, coloring, rearranging my room, I always manage to come up with ideas. I’m not trying to come off as cocky or like I’m high and mighty, it’s just that my mind has been like that my whole life.

The brain is just a fascinating topic and I’m hoping to get more into the crevices and ways of the brain after my next psychology and philosophy class.