DAY ONE

No matter what you have to say about today, there is someone in the country who will whole-heartedly disagree with you. I understand that for many, today is a day to celebrate; to look at the future with optimism and excitement because the changes you’ve been waiting for are finally going to come. That is just as insane in my mind as it would to these people if I told them today feels like the beginning of the end. It feels as if every progressive achievement this country has made over the last two or three generations was only being tolerated and humored. I can see my country’s true face, which I suppose I always could.

This election has been surreal and often times I was convinced it was some sort of practical joke. I spent most of the evening on November 8 thinking, “This can’t be real. It just can’t.” Here is the point where the people who find today to be a joyous occasion may read my words and accuse me of being overly dramatic or a sore loser. You are not meant accept the complete disregard for decency with a smile. I won’t go into all the bullet points about why this person should have never gotten as far in the campaign as they did. We’ve been flooding our Facebook and Twitter feeds with these facts for months and it did nothing. Our neighbors (in some instances our family and friends) still voted against our wishes or decided they didn’t care much either way and sat it out.

There is no room in this country for hate and there is even less room for apathy.

All that being said, we are not beyond hope. It would be very easy to fall into a depression and consider the country we had envisioned to be lost. We also can’t shun those who voted the other way. We are supposed to be United. We are all supposed to be the people. A very important thing to remember is that there is hate on both sides and there are also concerned citizens on both sides with their own reasons for voting the way they did. It’s hard to not go against each other because it is in our nature. I don’t want to hate anyone but I’ll admit that I do. When I see the horrible, unjust things that people say to each other online I feel saddened and shocked, but then I say things that are just as bad among my friends. I don’t hide the fact that I hate certain people and feel I’m justified to do it. The people I hate, however, are those who hate others because of who they are, what they look like, how they choose to live their lives, where they’re from, or what they need. I’ll never understand this kind of hatred so I despise it and any group who practices it.

Today is the first day of what is sure to be a very long four years. Today is not, however, the beginning of the end. This country will change but we will not see the end of it. All we can do is live each day as we wish to live it and stand up for one another. I am a straight, Hispanic, cis-male atheist. I may only check off a few of the boxes deemed worthy of being hated openly but for all those who check off so many more, I will stand with them.

Tomorrow is the Women’s March on Washington. Whether on the streets or watching in solidarity, I recommend supporting the first step we will take in the right direction after this inauguration.

TAKE A NOTE

Today will be another placeholder. I don’t know why I need to mention this. These things can be very short and vague if they need to be. The idea of skipping today did come up. My goal, after all, was to write everyday, not post everyday. Posting served as a Word Chain I wanted to keep going for a while. Two weeks seemed like a while. Then I thought about the calendar I made in one of my notebooks. Fourteen little squares so far. The thought of a space in between days was too much to handle.

I carry Field Notes and a Pilot G2 pen everyday. Right now it’s a Cherry Graph and a Pitch Black. One for word tracking and random thoughts. One for bare-bones Bullet Journals. There is a wooden archival box nearby with enough blank FNs to last me for months and a few already filled cover to cover. I can’t recommend having a notebook in your pocket enough.

  • “You can make this house smaller because it sure feels a lot bigger now.” This was said to me over the phone years ago at an office job when I asked a recent widower if there was anything else I could help him with. I wasn’t carrying notebooks at the time and had to write this down and email it to myself. This was one of the most beautifully tragic things I’ve ever heard.
  • I almost filled a notebook during a recent trip to Portland. I remember getting looks because I had checked my only bag and was sitting at the terminal waiting to get on the flight with only my notebooks and a pen. Filling pages helped me ignore my anxiety during the flight.
  • There is a small orange Post-It Note stuck to the inside cover of one of my notebooks with a ten point rating system written on it. I have my headphones on most of the day and have started rating the new album releases I listen to.
  • An old notebook has a list titled Things I have stolen/adapted from W.E. If you’ve read a few of these posts, you know who this is. This has to stop, by the way.


READING: NORMAL – Warren Ellis

YEARS OF HIATUS

I noticed that there was a thing going around this week asking people to list the Top Ten Albums that helped shape their teen years. Immediately, I thought to post something snarky about it but found something much better than I could have written. So instead, I sat there and tried to think about the music I was listening to from age thirteen to eighteen. Doing this kind of thinking willingly at the age of thirty-one will inevitably send you down a rabbit hole of existential dread. A few clicks on the calculator and suddenly the room felt so much smaller. It’s been thirteen years since I was eighteen. Worse, I was thirteen in 1997, the same year that OK Computer was released. It’s unfair that an album like that should be released when someone is busy being a stupid sixth grader.

People will remind you, of course, that being in your thirties does not in fact mean you are old. People’s definition of old ranges from being gray and fragile to not having your looks anymore. Sometimes it means you are too old for something, which I usually dismiss. It’s all subjective. Under my definition, I’ve been old since I was sixteen. It’s not being old that bothers me. Doing the math just brought back into mind what I consider my years of hiatus.

I re-shared my first post in a thread yesterday to help circulate this blog (I’m fine calling it a blog now). In this post I referenced “the day I stood on a small wood bridge in the middle of nowhere and decided I wanted to be a professional writer.” I had already been out of high school a few years and was wondering if I still wanted to illustrate professionally some day. During a road trip with friends, I carried a nagging feeling across several state lines. We had set up our tent in a public campground and I stood on a small wooden step-bridge watching the sun set. That feeling was the urge to write. To write what I was thinking, what I was feeling. To write anything, everything. That was my epiphany moment.

That’s all well and good if this was the intro to a How To Write book being used in a creative writing class. Instead of being a new beginning this moment is where I consider my hiatus to have begun. It’s been almost ten years and what is missing is the work. I knew what I wanted to do but never bothered taking more than the first steps before standing still. There are more things I felt that I put on hold but this is really not the place for that.

My attitude toward what you are supposed to do with your life probably differs greatly from the next person. Still, it’s difficult not thinking about where I am for thirty-one and I were I would like to be. The years of hiatus were still filled with wonderful and meaningful moments. You can’t put your life on pause, it continues on even if you are not paying attention. It’s just a shame to look back at the amount of time you weren’t doing what you wanted to do be doing. It’ll do you a whole lot of good if you decide to finally stop looking back and just look forward. “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one,” I read on some Pinterest inspiration board.

“It’s never too late to begin if you don’t plan to die soon.”

I don’t know if I read that somewhere but it popped in my head. Put that one on a Pinterest inspiration board.

So anyway, the Top Ten Albums of my teen years were a mix of punk, emo and indie bands. Some stood the test of time, others didn’t. Some of my favorite albums from my teen years were actually from the eighties. I listened to The Queen is Dead during the summer before senior year. It came out in 1986, but I didn’t know about it. I was too busy being a stupid two-year old.

001

 

 

NIGHT SHIFT: OFF

It’s 9:38pm and I’ve just sat down at the desk to write. An alarm on my phone has already chimed to remind me I should be going to bed soon to be up early for work tomorrow. I don’t work weekends and really need to remember to remove the Everyday option. The glow of my bedroom lamp makes the room even sleepier. I looked at the screen of my phone and didn’t realize I had the Night Shift mode turned on; everything in this room is sepia already. Or is it Brown Ochre? I can’t remember anymore, I’ve been away from paints too long. I turned Night Shift off and now the screen is as piercingly bright as the large monitor starting me in the face. I’m awake, I’m here.

I think I may have touched on this before in a deleted draft (so why am I mentioning it) but the late night posts should stop. As much as I like the idea of being the blog version of a late night radio host, it hurts the writing. These shouldn’t feel like part of my night-time ritual. If these things continue to be posted late, they will have been written earlier in the day to avoid them reading as rushed. I’m getting older and I’m not as sharp as I used to be in the late hours.

The night-time world is just starting to begrudgingly head out the door. It’s still the middle of winter so only the truly bored or desperate will brave going out into the cold for a drink. Tacky heat lamps will be a cherished commodity tonight for the smokers. The lounges with the newly added patio fire pits will finally draw in the crowds but only long enough to order a drink and head back outside near the flames. Bar owners and restaurateurs stop putting out wooden chairs because too many will end up as firewood around 11:30pm.

I’m getting a bit too old for that. I’ll stay in with the cat and click away on the keys. This weekend will be mostly devoted to writing and reading. There is also a letter I should be writing to a friend who lives in a city currently buried in snow. They understand cold weather much better than us Californians do and they have better places to drink. Were I there, I’d brave the cold.

 

WANDER

A few days of rains and you can really forget how much people have been praying for it the last few years. It would appear that California is back to the winters I remember as a kid but a quick look at any scientific data would make you laugh at that statement. Still, I’ve welcomed the rain back and even got caught walking when it started to rain for the first time in, god only knows how long. I’ve started taking walks up the hill during lunch again. There is a path through a very small forest area. The trees are very tall and today it appears they had to cut some down for fear of them falling over due to the wind. I hate seeing trees cut down which is funny for a writer. Fire wood doesn’t bother me because it’s so broken down that I don’t think of it as part of a tree, as if wood came from anywhere else.

As I walked that forest path, I played Jay Som’s album, Turn Into, through my headphones. I just discovered the album today which is another good reason I never posted a Best Albums of 2016 list; there was so much I still hadn’t listened to. It’s a great album with melodies that make you want to slowly bob your head with your eyes closed. Gray days are made for echoing guitars. Days like this always remind me of the December I first got really into The Cure.

As I’ve said, music is something I will talk about at great lengths. My brother and I have had the same conversation a thousand times about how incredible love songs were in the 80s (and how ridiculous 80s culture was). There were hooks in some pop/new wave songs that you just would not hear these days. And somehow, all these skinny, awkward nerds all had at least one soul-altering song in them.  Some of the best songs I’ve ever heard would just be written off as “80s music” these days. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” or “True” were the songs they would play at the prom while streamers hung high above the glossy gymnasium floors but they are fantastic. Even when songs were not particularly well sung, like these two, the melodies would be so damn good that it didn’t really matter. Then on the other end of the spectrum, there was The Smiths, who are my favorite band of all time (It took me three decades to decide that and it’d take me too long to explain how I finally came to the conclusion).

I had no idea what to write about today as you can tell. My mind wanders when I hear guitars echoing or chiming.