Make The Best, This Carnival.

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I didn’t publish last week, I apologize. I was caught up in celebrating my girlfriend’s life and accomplishments with my family, and some of hers.

My schedule is back on track now. Enjoy, today. We get nothing else.

You know the feeling, the terrible yawning inside of your head, nestled in the back of your skull as you stare at something. A microwave, as your third frozen dinner this week rotates slowly around the turnstile. You know the feeling, staring at your low budget coffee maker drip slowly from the filter and fill up the pot as you stand before it, buttoning your shirt or reviewing emails. You know the feeling of staring, silently, at something. Feeling the expanse of space within your mind growing, distancing you from your own soul, somehow. It is only when the inevitable beep from the microwave timer rings through your dirty, unvacuumed one-bedroom apartment where your girlfriend is sleeping comfortably in your room, that you wake up from your daze. As if struck by a club the wind is knocked from you. Your Zatarain’s steaming in the center of the microwave, and still, as if pulled by a force you can’t comprehend, you still stare. Your mind still expanding and growing. Your eyes unblinking as each droplet of coffee hits the growing pool, you know that it won’t really help wake you up. You haven’t been awake in God knows how long, another cup of coffee, another blackberry Red Bull drink won’t pull you back.

You’ll button your shirt and pour your cup of coffee and in the blink of an eye you’ll be back home again, staring at your microwave, marveling at how tired you seem to be despite not having done anything taxing in days. You’ll write off your eleven-hour work days, you’ll yearn for a weekend at the beach, you’ll question the legitimacy of your coworkers asking you for coverage, so they can go visit their granddaughter. Each one of them are where you are. They go home, they stare at their microwaves, they gaze without passion into the depths of a pint of Squatter’s White IPA, sucking absentmindedly on a dab pen in a bar that is somehow listless and full of life all at once. It will all spiral around, and they will find themselves, just as you will find yourself, standing in your shower, wondering how you got to where you are.

It will come at least, once, if you’re lucky, you will only find yourself there a handful of times. You’ll only watching your paper plate stacked high with chicken nuggets rotate for a few moments amid a lifetime. If you’re really, lucky, you’ll never see yourself in that yawning expanse as you put your best foot forward and push on to the next task. The way your mind stretches in that time. Like the blade of fate is shaving so close to your soul that you can feel the cold shivers of the steel brush against your dreams.

I’ve heard it described by exactly two people, what death feels like. They both said roughly the same thing. A man who wrote a book and a man who wrote a forum post online who described death to the best of their ability. It is funny, that to each of them, death offered the same longing and stretched out yawning that I feel so often, staring at a blank page or a screen, my cursor hovering over the latest time waster I’ve adopted into my life.

They said that death is a bit like reaching the end of a carnival ride. You can feel the giant machine that had been pushing you forward slowing down. The hydraulic arms retracting slightly, aligning you with the take off ramp, but it won’t be your ramp to ascend again. You are getting off, and the slowly rolling coaster cart is pulling you home against your will. You want that ride to take off once more, to shoot through the glistening heights of the steel dragon you’ve spent the last forty years a part of. To feel the falling and the rising. To feel the hands of your best friend gripping your shirt in fear, because they are horrified that despite the ride being carefully groomed and cared for, there is still that sliver of despair that they won’t make it out of the ride alive.

That is the essence of life, no one makes it out of this ride alive.

It is funny to me that these descriptions of death were perfectly in line with the way I feel when I watch my food rotate in the microwave. The way I watch the last puffy piece of cereal dance around my spoon as I trace it across the surface of the milk in an effort to savor just one more bite, in an effort to avoid being wasteful. To, by the grace of God, make breakfast last just a few seconds longer.

If I can make breakfast last just a few seconds longer, perhaps the yawning in my mind will halt. Perhaps the way my mind stretches into infinity will be cut short, every few moments. The handful of moments I spend each day dancing with my last bite of cereal can stretch and stack together, into infinity. If I can spend just a few seconds each day outside of the confined task of eating breakfast, just to dance with my food for a moment, to let my mind be present on the act of chasing down the last anchor shaped marshmallow.

The ravenous desire to find anything in my mind that isn’t a cheap imitation of a better idea that I had come upon days before. The growling hunger inside my heart for defined purpose. The echo, as I call out, screaming with my head inside of a microwave, hoping that someone can hear me over the alarm.

It’s hard to get up some days. It’s hard to pull my shirt across my shoulders, shifting the weight of my world from one spine to another. We have all felt it, that sprawling moment of time just before our alarm sets off. Just before the bell rings. Just before the buzzer sounds. That moment, that we can stretch for just a moment. Five more minutes of sleep, ignoring my alarm, knowing how much it grates on those around me. Holding your students in class for a few more moments, to impart something worthwhile, to show them that this world is brutal and hungry, and we are the perfect mix of savory and sweet. To hold that ball as long as you can, to push the clock into overtime, to try, with all of your purpose for a few moments, to reach for another goal. Whether you’re winning or not doesn’t matter.

What matters, is that you can take those infinite moments, dancing with your cereal, dashing for the end zone, bracing the bars of the thing that locks you in place eternally and screaming at the top of your lungs…

“I am alive today. I am alive in this moment.”

This infinite moment.

It is all we have, some days. Those miniscule moments that flirt with infinity.

Once, a long time ago, a mentor told me that I define my purpose too broadly. That I put my all into everything and have nothing left for myself.

I think about that, while the timer on my microwave counts down. The fifth frozen meal this week spiraling in the center of the box while I wonder how long one could survive within a microwave. I think about the people who have difficulties eating. Those who force themselves to vomit after a meal, who are unsatisfied with who they are or what they look like. I think about the time a friend refused to work her shift because her eyeliner wasn’t even. I think about how frustrating it was to cover that shift, knowing that the staff knew why I covered. It wasn’t a secret. She wasn’t ashamed, to her, she was ugly.

What a horrible thing to be.

Ugly in your own eyes.

Lost, in your own eyes. I think about that as I watch my meal spiral still.

Once, a long time ago, a mentor told me that I paint my life with a broad brush, that I give everything for these projects and these people and save nothing for myself. I argued, as much as I could, but he quickly ended my protest when he told me that purpose isn’t defined by the broad-brush strokes. The large patches of color aren’t what make a painting beautiful. It is the small things. It is the tiny, fine details that seemed to have taken eternity to get just right. I didn’t understand until I saw a painting next.

Each broad color was accented with small strokes of laughter, of joy, of sorrow, of remembrance that these moments can stack together forever…

But will not be infinite.

We are given but one ride to enjoy, and in times where we meet the Yawning of Death, those moments where our mind needs to rest. Where we find ourselves at the cusp of a new day at the same job, doing the same things, seeing the same people, we have all of the power to look up and button our shirt a bit differently. To pick a new pair of jeans. To find some funny socks to wear beneath our slacks.

Those moments, right before the small things end, those are the best places to harvest life.

They last forever, and shouldn’t we be seeking something that will make our memory last forever when we are gone?

Will you be remembered much for staring at a screen, hoping for words to come, or staring at a loved one, hoping for the right thing to say? Will you be remembered for logging every moment in a digital journal, possessing yourself with your own caution, praying that you see a new day?

Or will you be remembered as the one who forced the new day to rise, to burn out every last second of that endless time, to wake the Yawning Death and remind Him…

You have so much further to go.

 

Don’t worry about the website today. Instead, tell a loved one what I’ve said here. Make sure that you use your infinite moments wisely. We don’t know how to control time, we must be a slave to it until one day, down the road, we become the masters of time and infinity will be always.

Life is not meant to be awful.

Don’t let it be.

Cut Up Towel

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Everything you do folds into everything else you do. Each moment of your life you are acting or reacting to other things, it is up to each of us to make the best out of what we have available to us.

The other day as my girlfriend and I were cleaning our house, we dragged a bunch of stuff out and cleaned up the bedroom, I worked on my office and we had decided to take a break, the following day in an effort to drum up some more inspiration to continue the cleaning project, she went to go clean my truck as how dirty it has gotten has begun to bother her. While she did this I went to work on some projects for Salt + Iron and she pulled this pink towel I’ve had for years out of a box. In it’s past life I’ve used it to wrap my consoles in when I brought them to other places. Since I’ve moved out and purchased a laptop, that isn’t necessary any more and It’s laid in the bottom of a backpack for a number of months. She asked if she could cut it up when she was cleaning and use the scraps as rags.

She went ahead and did it as I continued about my day and later that evening I went shopping with my mom, just to spend some time with her and talk about future plans for my life and my business and to get in some quality momma bear time. When we got back I invited her up to the apartment so that she could look over what we had been talking about and we talked about it briefly. Before she left, she noticed the towel still on the plastic table in our living room and turned to me. Her voice almost quivering as she asked me.

“Did you guys cut this up?”

I nodded and said yes, when she told me that it was a wedding present from her brother. 30+ years she had held on to that towel and the rest of the set he had gifted him, long after Montie had passed away and she had shared the stories of his life with her.

As she was explaining that it was a gift from my late uncle I felt a sudden burst of anger, a feeling that I should have known better. That I should have had my girlfriend rip up a different towel, or a T-shirt I don’t wear anymore. Anything but that towel.

I apologized immediately, furious with myself because I should have known better. There was a reason I dragged it around with me and didn’t ever get rid of it. I should have trusted my instincts. I didn’t, because I didn’t remember. I didn’t recall the importance of the towel, if any resided within the cotton still. I had no idea why I dragged it around, assuming at the time that it was just there because it was ratty and old and I didn’t feel a need to use it for drying myself off anymore.

Still, I apologized. Knowing how much small things mean to me, I could only imagine what it meant to my mother that these towels would remain intact. It was a physical representation of her brother and I had given my girlfriend the go ahead to slice them up.

After momma left the apartment I talked to my girl about it, she was really upset that we had ruined something that held so much intrinsic value to my mom. I was upset too, and somewhere in my heart there was this thing tugging at me, knowing the feeling of making a mistake as it clawed at the inside of my head.

I returned to my office to continue working and sat down at my desk, unable to focus on my work. It was a towel, of course, it was silly, but it wasn’t just the fact that it was a towel. Just like my grandfather’s pocket knife. It wasn’t just a knife. It was my grandpa’s. I try to take delicate care of those things in my life, because I know how much the memory means to me. I don’t often keep pictures. I keep fragments of memories that rest in shelves or in cases, between the pages of books that tell stories of my grandfather and my friends. The concerts I’ve been to reborn as bookmarks to keep the new stories I read wrapped tightly within memories. The shirts I wore to concerts worn down to slivered threads with each wash as I keep them and drag them to shreds, remembering what I did as I wore them. Hats and beanies my mother have made stick on a rack until I need them again to hold my unkempt hair together.

Memories surround me. The stone I keep in my pocket that I panic when I lose was given to me by my mom years ago. My tools a gift from my father. My words, each and every one, a composed structure that was given to me by my family. The small bead keychain I don’t keep on my keys because I’m afraid I will shatter it. The tickets from dates with my girlfriend and more all revolve around my life. Many of them hung and pinned to the calendar hanging above my main computer where I do my writing. All of them hung there as memories and keepsakes of moments in my life that I look back on often when I am lost and when I am afraid.

How could I have thought so carelessly about a towel? I wondered.

So I penned an apology to my mom. Promising that we wouldn’t cut it up and we would use it with great care in the future. When she responded, I didn’t expect the answer, though I know my mother well enough now to know that I should have.

2018.6.1- CUT IMG

It made me think about my life and how I just use things. I use people’s kindness to my benefit when I need assistance. I use their trust when I want to gossip. I use the items I’ve been so graciously given by those in my life like they are just similar pieces to an ever-expanding puzzle. I allow things to come and go freely between my heart and mind without consideration of where it came from.

I thought about the weight of the towel as I held it in my hands the next day and realized that I don’t carry the weight of what we all do quite enough. Each word we say and each thought we entertain creates who we are. As time goes on, we become worn and battered, meant to be a gift to those around us. Not one to be squandered and tossed away. We aren’t impractical. If the life we share is a wedding. We are not picture frames, not ceramic vases. We are not these things that are meant to hang on walls and be looked at. We are so much more practical. We are towels to clean wounds, to rinse the rainwater off our friends. We are rags to soak up oil and we are much more simple gifts to one another. In their eternal search for purpose and meaning. We are a simple gift, sent from one home to the next to provide a service to them that they cannot get elsewhere.

Will a bookshelf soak the tar of life from the carpet of your home? Will a cell phone clean the wine stain from your dress?

Will an unused word grow the hope of another bride or groom, wandering the soil alone and searching for purpose?

No, it won’t. It never will.

Not until we look at one another as the truly simplistic and still incredibly complicated gifts that we all are. The gifts we all have to give are wildly unique and special. We cannot see it any other way if we want to live meaningfully, with purpose and most importantly, with immeasurable hope.

The next time you brandish scissors in your hand, consider your own use. Are you a gift, practical and useful in your application? Can you survive the next 31 years doing your duty, or will you wither on the shelf as you fill your soul with temporary decorations that can easily be destroyed by a rampant fire of pain or a few days without the water of life?

If your answer is the latter, consider my uncle’s towels for a moment.

Find your purpose.

Pick the scissors up if you need to, but whatever you do. Whether you slice apart the towel or not, consider what it came from. The life that it gifted and the worlds it changed so effortlessly with groundbreaking thoughts and compassionate speech.

Cut the towel, or don’t.

Whatever your life will have you choose,

Live it with a smile.

If you enjoyed this, consider checking out my website where you can see when I will be uploading next! (Every Wednesday + Friday.)

www.linmtba.com

Still Try (Poem)

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In the event that you find yourself at the end of the rope, the saying goes “tie a knot and hold on.” But I think that we can strive to do more than that. Simply tying a knot and hoping we don’t fall to the depths is fine enough, and some nights it is all you can do. Believe me, I’ve been there. But that doesn’t change the fact that we can, and should, push forward and try to climb. Progression is not our enemy. Accomplishing the impossible is not something to sweep beneath the rug. If it seems impossible to get out of bed in the morning, and you do it…

Look at that. You’ve done your first impossible thing for the day. Can you imagine how much more “impossibility” is out there?

2018.5.30- Still Try

Thank you for another month. I’m filled with joy that you’d find yourself here to read what I’ve written. If you want to see more, browse the tags on the blog page or check my website tomorrow! I’ll have uploaded the schedule for June on the News + Updates page for your viewing pleasure.

www.linmtba.com

The Mountain Of…

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I’ll tell you something. I hate repeated information. When someone tells me the same story forty-eight times it drives me crazy. My desire to hear you go on about the “super cute thing” your dog did last January for the third time this week isn’t actually at the top of my list of things to listen to.

I would much rather do any of the following.

Write

Stand in the rain.

Burn my house down.

Burn your house down.

Burn your doghouse down. (I wouldn’t let the dog be hurt, don’t worry.)

I would staple my own calf before willingly listening to the sound of your baby crying and then “ooh wait look what she does next” for what can only be a record breaking time. Somewhere in the millions that I’ve heard that child hiccup in the middle of a crying fit and begin laughing and to be honest with you it sounds about as warming and cheerful as a glass of kombucha I left in the sun yesterday would feel sliding down my throat.

Still, as much as I hate this thing. This incessant need to tell the same story to our loved ones sixteen million times, I also realize I do this same thing. It permeates everything, too. My blog, my day to day life, I write poetry on the same topics I’ve used the same concepts in personal writing, professional writing and recreational writing because I just like them so much.

If I were a greater man I wouldn’t go on about how they are “different” scenarios and so the pet peeve doesn’t matter for me, but it does. It really, really does.

It’s like, have you ever gone on a hike? I mean a real hike, not necessarily a nature trail. Although, you may see nature trails like I see hikes. Regardless, at the base of the hike you just see the beginning of the trail. One that springs to memory (not that I’m an avid hiker, or anything.) is this trail out in a canyon near my home. It’s not long, by the standards of a man who doesn’t drink six cans of soda and who won’t shamelessly down a pint of cheese dip covering anything he can get his delicate yet greasy fingers on. It’s only a mile or so, there are lots of switchbacks and the bottom of the path is ultimately deceiving. I ascended this path one day with my friends, assuming it would be a short hike and it would be over quickly. I didn’t consider that the path would climb into the canyon and suddenly become a sharp incline that I didn’t prepare for. I was in slip on Vans and skinny jeans when we set off. My pasty white ass burns in four and a half seconds flat and I didn’t have sunscreen, water, or appropriate willpower to tackle the path as it grew from meandering to downright threatening for a chubster like myself.

But I climbed it.

By the end I had to rest beneath a tree for something like an hour, hoping that my heart wouldn’t burst from how excited it was that I finally did something physical besides moving my fingers across a keyboard or flicking my mouse.

I thought the journey would be simple, that I could tackle it like I tackled everything before me. With nothing in my pockets and a heart full of confidence and an ego that just won’t quit.

Then it got hard and I wanted to turn back, so bad.

It became the same pattern over and over of climbing and resting and climbing and rubbing my calves. Wiping sweat from my brow and making sure I didn’t slip and fall down the cliff, because as I was about ¾ of the way through I decided something.

I was not going to let that mountain beat me. I was not going to give up, no matter what I did.

In that moment I would have rather:

Written.

Stood in the rain.

Burned my house down.

Burned the forest down.

Knocked down a beehive and let them take me prisoner to their terrible stings while I cried and asked random passersby if they had kombucha to spare.

When I reached the peak of that mountain though, It was freeing.

I still have the photo my friends and I had taken together. Arms folded across one another, and though you couldn’t see our faces we were all smiling.

I wanted to quit smoking that day.

I didn’t.

I threw away that pack I had though, didn’t change the fact that I bought a new one later that week.

As soon as I had made it home, I’m sure.

After I had overcome the path and shown it I was serious about reaching the top, I realized that it wasn’t that far of a climb, to be honest. It seemed so long because we stopped so much and because we had to backtrack and climb the switchbacks on the way up.

Each morning I look at that path again, whether I want to or not.

I’ve found that I pay special attention to it when I don’t think about it. I understand that the sentiment doesn’t make sense, but hear me out. More often than not, when we are ill prepared for something it takes that much more of a toll on us. It’s why it hurts so much more when children die as opposed to adults. We come to expect death with each year we age. Eventually, those of us lucky enough reach a moment where death will take us at any time. We are just waiting for him to catch his bus that’ll take him to our home. Children don’t have that. We expect kids to live long and full lives. We put our hopes and dreams into them and when they are taken by disease or ill fate, it hurts that much worse. We weren’t ready for that. It isn’t fair.

It’s the same with everything we can anticipate. I set money aside every time I get paid in case something happens. My car breaks, my appliances break. My clothing is stolen, whatever you want to assume, I try to be ready for it with extra fluff in my bank account.

I know that I don’t do this with relationships. Or, anymore, much of anything. I think it comes from not thinking about what I have in my life.

I’m pretty good at a few things. Writing, Vulgarity, exaggerating stories, making mountains out of mole hills and I consider myself to be excellent at doing nothing at all. I mean that. Nothing.

I can be content to lay in bed for six more hours than I should have been in bed just sleeping and rolling over, until my back hurts and my bones hurt because I have been horizontal for so long.

That practice bleeds over into so many things anymore, and that’s what I’m here for today.

The mountains I’ve made of nothing.

A few days ago, something around two weeks I had a pretty bad day regarding my time. I feel as if I don’t have time to complete everything. I want to write and game and spend time with my girlfriend. I want to see my parents and I want to go to work. I want to relax, and I want to spend time building my future. I want to learn, and I want to sleep and I need to eat and clean myself yet, it’s damn hard to do all of those things at once. Have you ever eaten a tuna melt in the shower? Beer is one thing but getting water on your bread is akin to blasphemy.

Consider your morning routine. How many of us spend it on our cell phone? Not that I’m disparaging the use of our black box brains but think about it. I spend roughly a half an hour on my phone before I roll out of bed. Sleepily liking things, I don’t want to like. Opening up comments on tweets and typing “qwefyhsssssssss” to a random internet personality for them to look at and question later, if they ever see it.

When I finally wake up I decide to do one of two things. Work, or Play. Each day I set aside time for both, and each day I make it a point to focus more on one than the other. When I play, I spend time with friends and family, gaming, what have you. When I work, I work. I sit down at my computer and go as hard as I can for as long as my eyes will allow, taking breaks to get dinner or to go do something useful.

I separate things in my mind to make them easier to process, but the fact is, not everything can be so cleanly separated from everything else. I need things to be linked together. Hang out with friends, play video games. Spend time with my girlfriend, clean the house. Whatever the case may be. I need to couple activities to get all of this stuff done at once.

Do you remember how mountains are formed?

It happens in a couple different ways, both of them equally important.

When two tectonic plates collide, the force smashes them together until one of them slides beneath the other and a mountain is the result, on the other hand, volcanoes that are formed end up warping rock layers above them and those mountains bend and become “small” mounds on the surface of the Earth.

Smashing activities together, trying to blend everything into one big mess is a lot llike folding mountains. We try and multi-task and end up cheapening the experience of both activities in most cases. Of course, Video Games were designed with multiplayer in mind, so that isn’t a great example but on the other hand, what kind of date consists of cleaning an apartment?

To most people I’d venture to guess that it doesn’t. Usually dates don’t involve cleaning grime off the kitchen tile. I don’t necessarily see it that way, but that’s another conversation for another blog. Regardless of the facets that we utilize to make the most of our time, generally we should consider cutting some things out. It’s healthy to say no. If you don’t want to go. Don’t go. If you don’t want to stay, don’t stay. I have a problem with saying no, one that I seem to have adopted overnight. I don’t like disappointing my friends and family and especially my girlfriend and yet it seems as though I do all of those things regularly. I am the master at breaking apart my time into easily manageable chunks and wasting all of it.

Of course, there is the other type of mountain, when the problems you deal with bubble up below the surface and despite how hard you try to hold it in, eventually, it will crack and when that pressure escapes there isn’t much anyone else can do but get away.

I’m guilty of both, frequently.

I regularly make simple tasks out to be these huge deals and act like I don’t have time for them when in reality, I have all the time in the world.

Which brings me back to repeating things.

I see myself often saying the same things to the same questions on the same days.

“Want to hang out?”

“Nah, gotta work.”

“Want to finish this novel?”

“I think I’ll go watch YouTube.”

“What are you watching?”

“I don’t’ know, want to get dinner?”

“What are you doing after?”

“Probably gaming.”

“Wanna raid?”

“Nah, Gotta work.”

“Want to finish this novel?”

You see the cycle?

Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap that we each so easily create for ourselves.

I give myself a few hours in a day to perform certain tasks and if they go unfinished I panic, as if I don’t have time for them later. I consider that this world spins around me, after all, so it should bend to my will.

Shouldn’t it?

No. It shouldn’t.

I am fantastic at making problems bigger than they need to be by repeating the same taglines I use to describe them. I use the same excuses to worm my way out of things. I use the same tactics to stall until the last moment to commit to anything. Hell, even when I pray I ask for the same things. Guidance, grace, hope, love, patience and so on. I’m not saying that any of those things are bad, but the fact that I find myself begging for them every single night should be a sign.

Instead of begging for an end to anxiety I should be asking and looking for ways to deal with it.

Rather than asking for hope, I should find the things that will make me hopeful.

Instead of asking to be loving, I should practice being loving, which, I’ll tell you, has been difficult for me for a while now.

If you saw the things I’ve said or the way I’ve said them, you would be surprised.

I am not me, tonight and I am not sure when I went away.

I think, I went to go climb a mountain.

If you see me out there, tell me to slow down. I have a mole hill to climb and get myself re-organized.

Don’t spin those small hills into giants that you don’t want to overcome.

You can beat them.

You will beat them.

Let yourself be tricked by the first few feet of your path. Let yourself believe it is easy, and when it gets hard, remember to take breaks.

Hang out with your girlfriend.

Game with your friends.

Read a book.

Call your mother.

Whatever you do, don’t ever let yourself forget that this mountain you are facing is colored with everything that you could imagine. This mountain is a million worlds wrapped into one, decorated with the souls of everyone you love and everyone you can’t seem to understand. It’s even home to those who can’t stand you. It doesn’t have to be a monolith, because I promise you, it is not the only thing in life. It is a mountain. Just like every mountain elsewhere. Painted to look like everything you fear and everything you hope. Some are tall, some are fat. Some are steep but all of them, every mountain…

Is the mountain of regret, hope, joy, luck, pain, sorrow, anxiety…

Life.

Don’t give up.

Thank you for May.

Every Mountain (Poem)

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It always seems to be that in the midst of the deep darkness that we find the most perilous climb to return to the light. The shadows make everything seem so much larger, so much harder, so much more difficult.

If only we had the eyes of giants, we could see that the world that stands above us is no larger than it was the day before, it is only the shadows that make it seem more vicious.

2018.5.23- Every Mountain

If you’d like to see when I post (Wednesday + Friday) and a calendar of what I’ll be releasing, check out my website!

www.linmtba.com

Dungeon Crawler

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I spend an exhausting amount of time each week writing, between the two to four hours I spend working on my novel in progress or novella or whatever big project I have, plus the writing I do for the blog, I also have been running a D&D Campaign that meets once a week. Despite what a lot of people on the internet seem to assume about D&D it is a time-consuming beast. Each session requires a lot of work to balance and create the session. Making sure that my players can survive the encounters, making sure I have resources backed up in the event they make a move I hadn’t anticipated and so on. Because I am a story-teller, I put a lot of effort into building the world around us and creating something that my players can vividly see within their own minds. Each character that I plan for the session is finely tuned, their personality carved out as well as I can carve it and each of them have their own separate goals and passions. Much of that comes from my desire to write a good story. Something that sticks with its viewer for much longer than I will. I build lore for my own work while creating D&D Campaigns as well, which tallies the full creation time up to quite a few hours each week.

Of course, I accept this as a fact and despite my numerous attempts at shaving off unnecessary work while planning I find myself still sucked in for hours and hours while I build this world for my players to dig through and discover. I think that’s most of the joy for D&D for me. I am creating a place for my friends to live out power fantasies about things we could never truly be. I am giving them the reigns to be powerful and destructive in a safe environment. I’m giving my players the ability to be anything they could imagine. Their ability in the world is only limited by the progression of their own ingenuity.

I think that same reason is why I have such an affinity for writing. I am allowed to do that same thing and make those same fantastical grandiose worlds for people to enjoy, albeit slightly different.

Still, with D&D and other forms of gaming it allows something more prominent to emerge through all the hours I may need to put in to get where I want to. It gives me an outlet to spend time with loved ones doing something that we all enjoy. The thrill of taking down a big boss or solving a puzzle that was kicking our teeth in for days is something that I will never grow tired of. But it is so much better when I can do it with my best friends.

What I’m saying is that for those of you who are workaholics like I am and spend as much time as you can working on something, consider taking an hour or so to do something with your friends every week. The longer you work the older you get, and the older you get the closer you are to kicking the bucket. So, make sure you’ve got a lot of good stories for that bucket before you go.

Thanks for reading my lil baby blog post today. If you’d like to see when the next stuff is up make sure you poke around my website, I’ve got a calendar there for you to see what’s new.

www.linmtba.com

Sink (Poem)

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When I was younger, I was one of those kids who prided himself on being the man to go to when people had questions about life. When people needed help I was the guy that had all the answers, despite not having any life experience to back up my words, I still prided myself on that fact. That I could be the guy that would be there to help others through life. This was especially relevant when it came to relationships. I remember regularly talking my friends through relationship problems before I had been in one of my own before I had any real-life experience. I don’t necessarily think everything I said was bogus, but I know for a fact I didn’t lead my loved ones down a wise path. I often offered self-indulgent information that would be the “what you want to hear” as opposed to what you needed to.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot as of late as more of my friends are winding up in relationships and how often I come to them asking for advice on how to be a better boyfriend, a better man, a better person in general. It is so easy to offer other people advice in light of your own shortcomings. You know what you do wrong and you know that you need to fix it, but somehow the way our minds work we just don’t want to listen to ourselves. That’s why I think those people are so important. You can go to them, and they can tell you what you should hear despite you already knowing it and already wanting to abandon your own advice. They reinforce it if you’re lucky. They’ll hold you accountable for yourself which is especially helpful when you are self-destructive and often flounder around your mind with thoughts of the unmade ideas in the back of your skull.

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www.linmtba.com for a calendar of blog posts + other content coming out each month. (Sometimes they are a little late, sorry!)