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.

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DOOMED, BUT IN GOOD SPIRITS

As I sit to write this it’s 8:52 pm, Friday night. I pledged I would continue to post here everyday for as long as I could and, it appears, I’m still on track. Tonight I wanted to quickly acknowledge that I know you are there. You are faceless and silent but I can see the footprints you leave behind. [Note: Comments and Likes were deactivated for the first week of this blog] At first I could tell that I was just seeing where I had run back and forth trying to update and tweak things, but WordPress let me know that there are some others haunting these walls and I’m glad. If you feel like someone else may enjoy these posts, please feel free to send them along.

We are coming up on the first full week of 2017 and I could write a thousand words on how things continue to look bleak but now is not the time for that. Tonight will be a short one, as some may be in the future.

As I’ve proven, I have an affinity for words that would make you think I’m some aging goth quickly approaching their mid-thirties but still shopping at Hot Topic. “Doom,” for example,  is a good word. A strong, bold and solid word. When used accurately, it really captures how I feel about our world. I eventually got tired of posting long rants online after every horrible news story that would trend over the last two years and I started posting tweets that simply read, “#doomed.”

Sometimes, though, “doomed” can sound like very over dramatic. I was looking through my old emails (which I really should clear out once and for all) and found the newsletters I was sending at this time last year. I had just started adding “Habitually Doomed” to my social media bios. I still smile at that phrase. It comes from a lot of things but mainly its a reference and self jab to my anxiety disorder. It’s also referring to the fact that we will all feel so lost when another horrific news story starts trending but can force ourselves to forget about it in a day or two when some celebrity gets caught changing their underwear at a Burger King or something.

In a sense we are all doomed in one way or another but we made it to 2017, you and I. Another two days and we will have made through the first week of 2017. I hope we all keep finding each other.

À la prochaine.

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TILLMAN PARK

I wrote the first draft of a novel two years ago. It doesn’t have an official title and it was only after I hadn’t written a word of it for a year that I started thinking of it as Tillman Park. The project name is of course one of the fictional locations in the story. It was my first and last “completed” effort to be written during National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo as I’ve grown to allow myself to call it. Click the link for more information about the event. It’s a great group and a wonderful thing to participate in. The gist is write a 50,000 word novel in November. My draft went passed the finish line, ran for an extra 200 or so words and then collapsed in a puddle. I was very happy to have completed what I did but have said time and time again that I will never make it public.

Everyone who is a writer would read this and immediately agree, “of course, you shouldn’t share a first draft that you wrote in a month.” Others don’t seem to agree or understand this. Like I said in my last abandoned blog (which I’m sure still exists because as we know nothing that’s ever been on the internet ever truly disappears), the story was something in my head that needed to be exercised so that I could move on to the next story. The second part of that hasn’t been going so well.

There are writers with stacks of unpublished novels hidden away somewhere. I’m sure I will add to my own stack. But completing that first novel and having it be just for you is oddly satisfying.

Tillman Park is my Prince Jellyfish.

Hunter S. Thompson’s first novel, Prince Jellyfish, was never published. Very little is known about it and only an excerpt is featured in Songs of the Doomed. He had his reasons for not publishing it even after people would have craved for glimpses at his earliest work. I know I have my reasons for not sharing mine, even without the fame. All that matters is that despite being a horrible mess of bleak, sometimes-sappy, “doomsday” fiction, I’ll always love it in my own way. I’m sure bits of it will find its way into later works because there are some good bits. I can admit that much.

WORDS ABOUT WORDS

It has only been two days and I already had to stop to make sure I wasn’t letting the year get away from me. I was setting up the week in my bare-bones bullet journal and wrote down “Jan 02 – Jan 08.” The thought that within this first week, we will already be eight days into the year almost startled me. That means we will be a fourth through January and then before we know it it’ll be New Years again.

Time is imaginary but it is horrifying if you pay attention to it.

All that really matters to me right now is writing. I have to be almost obsessive in how much I focus on it and think about it. At this moment I am writing in a shared word sprint space. The site MyWriteClub was brought to my attention today and I have signed on for the beta. I love Word Goal tracking when I have the words to update them. The Word Sprint feature is pretty great and I can see others are in the “room” with me. Most have written much more than me during these last few minutes. This site has a lot of potential and I will stick with it. Follow me if you feel so inclined.

I love the idea of having several things to write but can sometimes get ahead of myself. Right now I want to post one of these everyday, send out a weekly newsletter (about what?) and start a weekly column. It’s a bit ridiculous when I’m only three posts into whatever this is and I still have no name for it. I’ll admit that a few ideas have come to mind and I have cancelled out of more than one domain purchase. I mention a lot of the same influences if you are around me long enough but one of the biggest inspirations I’ve ever had for “installment” writing was reading the collected Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowksi. The idea of writing a “column” that served as a diary, a collection of short stories and an opinion think-piece was amazing to me. There was no real structure and yet you don’t read one and think, “this didn’t really belong in Notes.” He would just sit down with a beer and write whatever came out. So pure.

I have sat here with my headphones on, sipping a glass of water and what came out was writing about writing. As long as the words come everyday, I guess.

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