Show Your Fangs

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Welcome back to the blog, damn. I know I’ve been gone for a while. I was moving into my new place and it took me a while to get internet installed. If you caught the vlog last week, you know the deal. If not I’ll fill you in.

I’m starting off with saying sorry, I didn’t realize how much of a bummer i’ve been lately. Especially this year. I guess things got a little out of my control, I just kept saying “I’ve got it together” and didn’t ever write anything other than that. sooo…. this is the last one of those posts. I just wanted to clear the air a bit before we get going. The rest of this year is going to be much better, cause this whole world is at my fingertips. (The same goes for you, in case you didn’t know, friend.)

I love you guys, always remember, Life is not meant to be awful.

You want to know something beautiful?

You can smile, right now, no matter what is going on. You can peel your lips apart and let the whole world in front of you see your teeth.

That’s damn beautiful.

For those of you who have been keeping up, Noose Ends has been much different than my last few years of blogging. I’ve tried new things, I’ve experimented with poetry in ways I never have, and most importantly I have written differently this year than any of the three before it, which has been great for my creativity.

That’s great, how I’ve done it is no good.

As I wrote this blog post I began to recite to you the things you’ve heard a thousand countless times this year from me, about how I’ve been stressed or working hard with nothing new to show, about how life can feel big and scary and I know for a fact that If I continued writing it out I would’ve told all of you that “you can do it.” Or “you have the power.”

But I wouldn’t mean what I was saying. Not really, anyway.

I was looking back on my previous blog posts from this year, some of them pulled from the same inspiration I once found between two loaves of wheat bread I didn’t have to pay for.

Most of them, came from the darkness inside of me. They glorified the struggles and emphasized the defeat. I wanted to tell you I’m grumpy because of all the struggles and stress and all of that shit.

I was going to play back the ticker tape that I’ve let consume my whole of 2017.

What the hell, man?

You’ve heard all of this shit a million times, but I wanted to rehash it once more here for you because we all have these days. We all feel burdened and stressed and we all struggle. I’m here to tell you, man, you are not alone.

I’m right here with you.

Let me catch you up…

Moving into a new place has been nuts. The A/C unit is busted. My bills are expensive. I live upstairs.

(I have a roof over my head. No A/C has made me step out and enjoy the outside a bit more. I am blessed with a job that gives me money to pay my bills. I don’t have to worry about people stealing my stuff because its that much harder to get to.)

I’ve struggled with quitting smoking, going strong for almost forty days before falling off the wagon a day. Then getting on. Then getting off. Then getting on. Right now, I don’t know whether I’m on or off.

(As many times as I’ve stopped, I’ve started, but I’ve still stopped with the intentions in my mind. Addiction is overpowering, but there isn’t one person I know with more willpower than me. I will run out of excuses to smoke and one day, my lungs will thank me with bright pink breaths.)

I’ve been struggling with music and relearning how to do everything, frustrated that I can’t play like I used to.

(I’ve had to relearn some of my favorite tunes, but damn it felt so good to feel that “first” learned feeling again. I might not play like I used to, but relearning means I get to have a second shot at adjusting my bad habits and making them good ones.)

Work has been a lot to handle, bad reviews seem abundant, customer and employee complaints. Squabbles between coworkers. Some of my close coworkers leaving before I wanted them to.

(I am blessed with a job, for every bad review I’ve received I’ve gotten to talk and commune with six great customers who believe in the message I am trying to send. The complaints only get to me so that I can take them and make sure they get fixed in one way or another. I hate when people fight, but in watching the squabbles unfold I’ve realized the many ways that I can better myself as an employee, a person and as a friend. My coworkers might be gone but I am thankful for the time I got to spend with all of them. Memories have been made with those people that I couldn’t make with anyone else.)

I’ve been too out of touch to meditate, or read, or watch movies. I’ve fallen off of my gym routine almost in tandem with my smoking habit coming back on.

(Being that out of touch has allowed me a moment to step outside of my own head, it’s what allowed me to write this post. It taught me to make time for the small things that I enjoy thoroughly. My gym routine might be on and off, but it comes and goes like smoking. One day soon I’ll be in better health all around. There is nothing to worry about.)

I’ve clicked every button in my head to make me stop immediately snapping out at my friends and family and I always have a shitty grimace on my face. I live during the night and I sleep all day long. My sleep is becoming more important than my work.

In fact, I feel some days like everything is becoming more important than my work.

(This is the biggest one. My temper came from the mishandling of my emotions, but through it I’ve discovered that the way I began to handle problems was unhealthy. I felt as though I had worked them out but truly didn’t, meaning that they didn’t go away at all. I’ve learned through the grimacing that I have so many opportunities to just shut up and smile for a bit. The night air is refreshing, but sometimes I need to step out into the sun to be reminded that this life is a gift. The warmth of the sun is great at sending that message. I sleep more, which means I am more rested. When I am more rested, my mind works that much harder. The creativity hasn’t stopped flowing for days now.)

I grew selfish.

(So I gave.)

I grew needy.

(So I created.)

I became enamored with things that would not reflect my love.

(So I loved more things, with more passion.)

I grew unhappy.

(So I smiled.)

 

You aren’t alone in this, and I’m here to remind you of that. But it won’t be through this silly negative bubble that I’ve colluded within. No politician, no addiction, no stress, no damage will be enough to stain my smile.

Sometimes, that is all it takes.

Smile a little bit and the world will spin around for you. Especially when you are asked to smile. It helps a lot, I promise.

If you missed it, check out the Talking Floorboard post from this week Blessing of the Vampire here or @alvatobiasbooks on Instagram.

www.linmtba.com

Debt Collectors

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Once, I had a close friend who told me that she didn’t owe the world anything. That she didn’t owe her father anything because she didn’t ask to be born. She didn’t owe her friends, her mother, her ex, her lovers anything. She never gave a reason to me though I asked. All she said was that she was so caught up believing that she had some debt to repay that it was giving her anxiety, so she thought long and hard and came to that realization.

I tried to understand but I just couldn’t seem to agree. I thought of her perspective, a teenager who had been enduring things beyond her on the best days. One day her opinion may change, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.

I’ve come head to head with many people who hold this same belief. They owe no explanation, no trust, no love or faith to anyone living. Their lives are their own and they are in complete control of them, they tell me.

Yet they come to me and other friends regularly telling of ways that they can’t seem to get a handle on the world they are living in. That it is all so complicated and so hard to understand. That so many things are always happening that it seems like they can’t keep their heads above water. That they lose purpose.

Another friend once asked me how I can get out of bed every day and go about my life. I lived at home for a long time, I worked a “dead end” job and my books weren’t selling. My YouTube channel was full with a cool 8 subscribers and my Twitter feed was a ghost town of advertisements and cries for book sales.

Why do I get out of bed every morning, you ask?

Because I have a debt to repay.

My mother and father didn’t consult me when it came to bringing me into this world. They didn’t prepare me for broken A/C units or credit card debt. They didn’t explain at first that life would swing a lot harder than any bully I had met in high school. They didn’t ask me if I wanted to be here, yet here I am.

I owe my parents everything.

In a universe that knows not who I am, a cosmic mosh pit that doesn’t know me from Adam, how can I get up every day knowing life is meaningless?

Because it isn’t.

Like many things in my life, I have held the philosophy that everything comes down to me. I create the world I am living in. If I hate the people I work with, it will be hell going to work every day. If I disrespect my parents, I won’t have a safety net when I need it. If I crush the dreams of my friends in the pursuit of mine, I will live in a golden castle atop a lonely country hillside.

What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t put this blameless mentality into our heads. This idea that we don’t owe the world anything makes our hearts hard. Don’t you think we have hardened our hearts enough? With the dichotomy in politics and the strained ideals of the everyday person that lives today, don’t you think it would be best if we were to take a slow breath and think to ourselves…

“What can I do to make this world better, safer, nicer, happier?”

Get away from the concept that everything is a debt to be repaid. It isn’t. On one hand you can say that you don’t owe anyone anything, on the other I’d say you owe your loved ones in the least, everything you have.

Each word I write, even the vulgarity, I owe to my mother for raising me to be talented.

Every nut and bolt I adjust in the engine of my truck I owe to my father for teaching me how to repair things.

Every burst of creativity is owed to my parents and my friends for being the fire beneath my feet that keeps me moving forward.

So, to answer the question, I get out of bed every morning because I have a tremendous debt to repay.

Each breath I take should be a labor of love and gratitude that even though I didn’t ask to be at this party, I was still invited and welcomed. I have found a nest with many people who love and appreciate me and I have found a purpose. I have created this nest for myself through my own hard work and my own dedication, but more than that I have created is because one day I know that someone will need my help. My wife, my child, my friends, it could be anyone, anywhere, for anything.

I don’t owe that person a damned thing, but I will give them whatever I can to help them along their way. They will owe me nothing in return, not because I don’t want debts repaid or favors returned, but because my life is going to be too short to try to keep a tally of all the things I’ve done or will do in it.

You may think that you owe no one anything, but you should do well to remember that no one owes you a thing either.

Not the parents who gave you clothing and shelter and food.

Not the teachers who tried their damnedest to educate you.

Not the employers who provide you with paychecks so you can feed your own family.

Not the countless people you cross day to day who don’t pillage your home or vehicle so that they can get ahead.

Life is not about accruing and paying off debt.

It is about doing things for one another, in kindness, without being asked and without expecting things in return, as so many people have done for you and I, we should do for the rest of them.

I hope that you forgive a debt today. I certainly know that I am.

After all, no one owes me anything.

www.linmtba.com

Gemstones (Year Three – 2016.2.5)

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So, I’ve spoken about some of my mentors in the music scene before, specifically Mod Sun who has been one of the people I’ve looked up to for a few years because of the happy and positive lifestyle that he leads. Not long after publishing my blog post “Make a Mod Sun” I started to notice changes in his demeanor and his music, and I foolishly let it affect me. This, coupled with the realization that my journey isn’t over and that I am still actively struggling with a lot of things myself led to a pretty terrible state of mind.

I lived in this half in, half out sort of way for a few months. I was openly preaching about happiness and love and all the stuff I regularly preach about, and yet I wasn’t living my life in the same way. It was frustrating, and I felt as if I was letting myself down, and at the same time I was letting down everyone who I had lifted up over the course of my journey. That being said, the fastest way to solve a problem within yourself is to detect it.

I watched my actions as I would reflexively snap at people simply because I was angry or upset that day. I would grow near tantrum throwing like a child when things didn’t go my way, and I began to realize that I am a control freak. This realization, at first, negatively affected my everyday life. I saw that I was acting like a child, which frustrated me even more, so I continued acting like a child. Which frustrated me even more, so on and so forth.

I had gotten fed up with who I was turning into (or rather, regressing back to being) and decided that I had finally had enough. I was done taking a back seat while my attitude and my mood declined with each passing day. Every time I woke up it felt as if I was pushing back all of the hard work I have put forth to become the man that I want to be, regardless of the outside helps I’ve had. It was something that I had built. That I had done.

The power to make it or break it all rested on my shoulders.

This realization came heavily, as I sat down after a particularly bad day at work where I endured a lot of bad-mouthing from customers, and people whining over things I had no control over. I returned to my house after my shift had ended, confused because I had been used to that only a month or so prior. Where did that resilience go?

Well, the answer, I wasn’t looking at things in my life the same way anymore. I took to talking shit about people instead of praising their good qualities. I saw the bad, not the good. I stopped looking up for a while. I know I promised that I would move on from this topic a few posts ago, but I needed to touch on it once more.

The best way, I’ve found, to get out of a funk of anger and sadness is to purposefully do something good for someone else. Whether you want to or not. (Usually, you won’t want to. Especially if you’re being a grump.) So earlier this week when I was asked by a friend to come help her set up a catering because they were short-handed…

I said yes. Don’t misunderstand me. I really wanted to say no. I wanted to take the time today to sleep in and wake up in the afternoon with another 12 hour night under my belt. I wanted to stay away from anything I didn’t have to do.

That’s the problem.

So when she texted me, before I allowed myself time to think about it or to come up with excuses, I said yes. I would be there, of course I would. She is my friend. Friends support one another, and if I can’t support her, I shouldn’t boast about being her friend.

So here I am. It’s 8 something in the morning on the day of, and I feel so much better. Simply by offering to help someone else instead of wallow in self-pity and bad thoughts, I’ve managed to flip around my mentality once more. The greatest thing about people asking me how I got to the mentality that I did is that no one understands how simple it is.

I’ve learned a lot over this last year, and 2016 is going to the biggest year yet. So I want to keep sharing all of the things I’ve learned. I’ve been asked a lot, as if I’ve finished my journey or something, how I got to the positive state of mind I’ve found myself in. I’ve gotten messages from people I love telling me that I’ve inspired them and that I’ve helped them through dark times.

It honors me every time I receive them, because I never expected my words to be capable of doing so. I always wanted them to, but for years I was certain that I would have no impact…

Until I decided to assure my impact. I decided that it was time to assure a positive one.

When life starts weighing me down (because I certainly am not finished walking this long road) I look back to the posts that helped other people going, I look back and read them as if I wasn’t the one who wrote them. When I’ve been feeling sad, I look to my other friends making art and jokes and laughing and smiling and it gives me the energy to keep going.

I’ve said it before, this blog was started so that I could remind myself why life is an incredible adventure that I am meant to enjoy, but when I look back on all these little gemstones. Reading messages of inspiration from people I love and talking to them about all the delicate intricacies of life… They inspire me. They remind me that, even though I started this business for myself it has grown to be so much more important than that.

I don’t do this for me anymore. I do this for all of us.

That, is a great reason to keep going. Thank you for your inspiration in good times. Thank you for your support in bad times. I hope that you can look back on these posts as gemstones too, to be reminded that no matter how deep we are in it…

Life isn’t meant to be awful.

If you liked this blog post + would like to learn how to fight dragons, you can check out the Year Three compilation on my website or over on Amazon!

I’ve also started a Ko-fi account, if you would like to pick your polar bear boy up a cuppa joe I would be honored. Thank you for continuing to follow me. (even when I forget to upload videos for like six days.)

Living Suite

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I like music, do you?

Holy shit, The Darling Bones has been out for almost two full months now, you can pick it up on Amazon or at my website, the links are at the bottom of the page! 🙂

I’ve been a musician for almost as long as I’ve been an author. My passion for melody and verse is only conquered by my love of words. When I create new writings they are always, always accompanied by some kind of music. Spotify has become a staple in my life, as I use it to build writing playlists for every piece I create. The Darling Bones, Gold Rush and Coward all have one. As well as my current WIP Inkworks. (Check out the links if you want to see what inspired the writings.)

One of my favorite musical concepts is the suite. A suite is simply a group of short songs that are meant to play in succession. One after another, one of my favorites that has come out recently is on California based rapper Watsky’s latest album x Infinity, its called The Lovely Thing Suite. It details so many beautiful concepts and ideas with his signature wit and lyricism and every listen I consider my own life a bit more. The thing is, the suite isn’t one whole song. It also isn’t a group of separate songs. It is a whole piece that is separate and distinct but meant to come together and form one idea or concept or evoke a feeling as a unit.

I think our lives are like that, obviously, we can’t see into the future but you can see that wherever you are right now you might be feeling the lows. The blue and melancholy of a loss of life, I know a few people who are struggling with that now. Maybe you are feeling the green envy of someone else’s love life or relationship. I know some of those too. Maybe you’re bright red and angry. Maybe you’re purple and in love, yellow and happy. You’re feeling all of these things in this moment and it’s impossible for us to see ahead. We don’t get to skip tracks in our life, as much as it can be desired some days. We must listen to each piece through and through.

That comes with the highs, the beautiful crescendo of falling in love. The nails against a chalkboard sound that we hear when a friendship ends. The raging cacophony of drum blasts when we lose a job, or are forced to relocate. The nearly silent whisper of loneliness. Each of these things will play in our album and we have no way of knowing what is next. Today, I’m feeling heavy drums and bass as I bounce my head on the way to work. My job is good, my friends are good, my family is good, my God is good and I am happy today. Perhaps in two weeks something will happen, my track will end and I will move on to the next motion of the piece but that is such a joy to me. No matter how dark my future is, or yours is, we are still here singing with one another.

We are still here tying our nooses only to slip them around us and slice the threads.

Today, remember that not everyone will make it out of theirs. Some of us feel those beats and beatings more than others. Some of us don’t know how to dim the music, they don’t know when the song will end and that scares them.

It isn’t romantic, no. It breaks my heart.

For every morose melody you’ve heard this year, think of all the bright ones. The songs that played when you were out with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Or the songs that played when you took pride home with your paycheck. Think of the way the stars danced while you sat out with your friends smoking and drinking and listening to the music your lives create, one suite meeting another and creating a harmony that spilled new tunes into the milky sky.

Your song isn’t over yet, don’t let it end prematurely. Keep listening. Keep hearing the lyrics. Keep fighting for the next few minutes. Songs are much shorter than our lives will be, Our lives are much longer than the ropes that we can tie ourselves.

Don’t give up.

Keep singing.

The Darling Bones (Salt and Iron Productions)

The Darling Bones (Amazon)

Cartoon Devils (Poem)

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I’ve been dealing with a lot of ink lately.

Painting these crazy things on paper for ya.

The hippy embraced the monster.

Your past mistakes do not define you.

Create something new, horrific, beautiful, fantastic or inspiring. You have it within you today.

2017.8.9- Cartoon Devils.jpg

Check out Living Suite this Friday + My YouTube Channel to see my vlog + some gaming if you’re into that. ❤

Polar Bear King: Puke + Rally Master (Yours, Truly – H.P.O.E)

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With the recent addition of my latest tattoo, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the Polar Bear King a bit in today’s blog.

I wrote this back in Year Two: H.P.O.E after a long and trying period of time. I hope that today you can gain something from it too.

Anyone familiar with the party scene knows what rallying is, for those of you who don’t, it is what happens when everyone at a party is too far gone and too tired to continue partying when people show up, or people hit a second wind and then the party continues. A popular term has been coined from this, “Puke and Rally.” Which basically means to go so hard you vomit, and then continue going hard afterwards.

While this whole idea may seem childish, it’s an important lesson that I’ve learned in life.

Recently, I ran into a friend who had been going down a pretty gnarly path in life. Just a few days before I saw him, I was talking to my good friend Eric about how we hosted the first party he ever attended, then after that he took the torch and ran with it. He had gotten wound up into some pretty rough stuff and we sort of watched his life revolve. At this party, a new nickname was given to me. (I’m so proud of this story. I tell it often.)

Back when I worked at JR’s I usually worked overnight shifts, luckily, one night I only worked the night shift and had gotten off of work at nine p.m. I hurried over to Eric’s house and met up late at a party that was basically over. I immediately jumped into having a good time and catching up with plenty of old friends.

This friend of mine had gotten far too drunk, and was on the verge of passing out. Being the kind of guy I am, I suggested that he slow down and drink some water for a while because I was worried about his safety. Then, out of left field, a long haired hippy friend of mine came across and told him not to listen to me and that he should continue drinking. Well, to this guys inebriated mind… my hippy friend became Jesus, and I became a Polar Bear. Not just any Polar Bear. The Polar Bear King. So, Jesus and The Polar Bear King were arguing about whether or not this kid should end up drinking more. I eventually won, and got him to settle down enough to pass out. Since then, The Polar Bear King has become my nickname at parties where those people are in attendance.

I have been working a lot lately, especially on starting a new business venture as well as resurrecting old ones. I have been hard at work with preparation for the release of my debut novel, “The Darling Bones” and have been working a lot. If you factor all of this in with routine stuff that normal humans do daily, you can see the large number of hours I was losing in the sleep category. My life has become work, work, and work. I am pleased with this. My bosses, however, are less pleased. The other day I was late for my shift and woke up to a text message that said “Don’t come in till 5pm. You’re getting written up.” I was upset, mainly because I was told last time that happened that I would lose my hours, or in the worst case, my job. I was fretting all day about it, and wondering if I needed to start looking for work somewhere else. As I was out and about in town, I stopped by the Maverick near my house to pick up some things, and ran into this guy. Who then told me some wonderful news… That he was clean of all of the bad stuff he was putting into him.

I was over the top psyched, because I really liked the guy and hated to see him falling into the stuff that he was. We talked for a while and then I left. As I got back into my truck, something powerful hit me.

This guy is about to rally, and he is about to rally hard.

By that, I don’t mean get back into drugs. I mean get back into life and make his days more than what the previous ones were.

Then I asked myself a question.

“Why can’t I do the same thing?”

I am a strong believer in the idea that things happen and that it is up to us to give them a reason. I believe that I made a good choice when I stepped into that Maverick, because I ran into the guy who christened me “The Polar Bear King” As I drove back home I made a realization. Even if I did lose my job, (Which honestly would have broken my heart.) I would be okay. If I didn’t lose my job, I would go to work that evening, realizing that I puked in the morning, but prepared to rally that night.

I am a busy guy, I always will be. I have stories and projects and stuff to do until my grandchildren have children. I will always be a doer of things, but one thing above all is certain.

I should keep my ego in check. Make sure that I don’t take a bigger drink than my throat can handle. I should remember that if I puke, I’ll rally.

After all… I am the Polar Bear King.

If you liked this post, you can pick up the H.P.O.E Compilation on my website or Amazon. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my latest YouTube Video as well.

I just published Dyzygy + Friends, Dragon’s Dogma Ep. 4