Show Your Fangs

Sticky

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

Year Three: Bad Car, Good Stories (2016.10.14)

Standard

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine about life and a lot of things. Our conversations spanned over so many topics, but she brought up something that I wanted to talk about on the blog specifically.

My vehicle.

More specifically, my truck in relation to me. For those of you that don’t already know, I drive a 97’ Chevy Silverado named Misty (Formerly Mystery, until she took her top off.) She has carried me since 2012 and I have put so many miles on her. Every mark on the car I can explain to you. The melted plastic where my cigarette burned a hole, from sitting on the panel for too long. The crack in the windshield that has expanded across the length of it like a storyteller who doesn’t know when to end his tale. I remember almost getting into that wreck up North Fifth Street when I punched my throttle and sent her over a hill that had a steep drop off on the other side. Every day when I step into the cab I see the lei and the small figurine of a feathered head hanging from the rearview mirror like a talisman that was meant to protect me. I see the sun faded purple bandana that has been bleached of most of its color, looking less like a regal purple and more like a lilac in the springtime. I see the “Nightmare Before Christmas” Lanyard that is similarly sun-faded that I purchased at Disneyland for $22 because I absolutely felt that I needed it. When I reach up to pull my seatbelt down I can feel the fabric on the seat stretch around a tear she suffered when I was consoling a friend in the midst of a thunderstorm and the boom that echoed in the sky took me by surprise, jerking me back and ripping the seat cover. I often find spare change jingling around on the floor and every time I turn Misty on she presents the CD that has been in her disc drive for years now, “Blazed by the Bell” by Mod Sun.

All of these things hold so many fantastic memories. I remember going through so much with that truck. Bad breakups. Long road trips. Joyous nights, drunk out of my mind and singing with friends from the top of the shell. I remember using it to hide from a particularly bad snowstorm and I remember lying in the bed of the truck every time I go camping, terrified that some kind of ghastly grey being will come to drain the life out of me in my sleep.

There are reasons that I love Misty so much. It’s because she has carried me through life for four years, yes, but there is more to it than that. Misty is a stable vehicle, but she is nothing prime. She runs when she needs to and she gets me from A to B. I can’t ask her to do much more than that anymore, she’s getting old and I have done her a disservice by not caring for her the way that I should have been.

Still, this brings me to my point. I think it is far more important to chase memories and experience rather than going for material gains. I have spoken to so many men and women from the window of Misty and heard their stories while behind her wheel that I could never replace. Men and Women who wouldn’t have spoken to me as freely if I had been driving another car. There are so many things I have experienced alongside my truck that I couldn’t recount them all to you. I have burned bridges with her, I have ran from parties about to get busted. I have done so many things and that’s the important part. Had I spent my money a different way, had I searched for a more expensive car I would have needed to take much more time to pay it off. I would have had to pull more hours or even pull extra jobs. That isn’t something I am afraid of, but it is something that would have halted the progress of experience in my life. I would have been working so much that I wouldn’t have wanted to go on any adventures. I wouldn’t have wanted to go out and party, or pick friends up from places. I wouldn’t drive to fast food joints because I would need every dollar to pay for my nice expensive car.

That is something to be proud of. I hope that where you are in life, you understand that I am not trying to demean your money spending choices. I’m just bringing to light something that I have learned about my life. If it weren’t for Misty/Mystery I would have had so much less fun in life. So many of my stories would be replaced with: “Oh I just got off work, I think I’m gonna turn in. Gotta be up early in the morning.” Or something similar.

It’s important to note that in this life, we seek experiences rather than possessions. Of course, to the car guys, the large number of you who are my friends, don’t get upset. Just because you find enjoyment in it doesn’t mean it is still bad. If expensive cars are your passion, keep going! Keep fueling that passion. Keep doing the things you love. This world is so dark sometimes and if a shiny new whip is what will make you feel better, then use it. Abuse that love of vehicles. Just don’t forget to get in your car and do something meaningful every once and a while. Life doesn’t have to be all about what you have or what you earn. It should be about what you do with the things you have.

That’s why, back in 2012, I purchased Mystery. I picked her up and knew that I would love her, through all of the ups and the many, many lows I have seen. She ahs been there through it all. She is nearing the end of her life, so before she goes I want to send you as much love as I can. So she can be there for that experience too. If you have a bad car, or a nice car, if you have a lot of money or a little, if you are a politician or a hippy, if you work your ass off or pursue laziness, I hope that you make it a point to go out and experience this world. It has so much to offer you, it has offered me so much as well and I’ve reached a point where I’m finally okay with offering Misty back in return. I hope that she goes towards more stories. I hope that you do too.

Never stop pursuing the beautiful goodness in our world. It makes everything so much better, whether you drive a 2015 Civic, or a 1997 Chevy Silverado. I hope you love your car and the memories within as much as Misty has loved me.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider picking up the compilation it came from.

You can find it on my website or on Amazon!

Year Two: The Fear of a World Without Cereal (2015.5.1)

Standard

The other day, during one of my self-made fits of insomnia I was lying on the floor of my apartment, contemplating life. By contemplating life, I mean that I was thinking about cereal. Cereal, and appreciating things for what they were. At about seven in the morning this Tuesday I was on my back with my feet up on the wall staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling, wondering: “How weird would it be if we put all of our furniture on the roof and just lived up there? The whole world would turn upside down wouldn’t it?”

Sure. It seems goofy to be thinking that, but I wasn’t in my right mind. I don’t think a lot of people are in their right mind. Once, when I was younger I wrote this story about molecules that fused with the bodies of animals and made them badass world-saving, bad guy smashing warriors. The villain of the story was a snake that had been hit with the same stuff and had turned evil. (It was fifth grade. And I stole most of the concepts from my friend Travis. Sorry, man.) Part of the assignment for this story was to illustrate certain events. So, I did. I drew in what it looked like when they got infected, when they changed, how they changed, what they were meant to do afterwards, their fight with the snake-man, and inevitably, their victory against him. It was a gruesome victory at that. The snake had been impaled on a spire at the peak of his castle (Mountain? Maybe? It’s been a while. Sorry I can’t remember all the details.) To be honest, there was blood everywhere. More blood than he could have held in his body. Regardless, after I showed my parents the final page (Which I was incredibly proud of.) My dad told me to make a new one and throw that one away because people would think I was crazy.

In other, much more extreme instances, people have had their lives threatened by psychos with guns because they flirted with the wrong girl. People have had their bodies tortured and prodded because they have information that other people want. People have always been crazy. I think some have it worse than others, but in the end that’s how it goes. One way is perceived as the right way and everyone else is wrong so let’s just kill them.

Today before work I was talking to my boss about some of his escapades when he was younger. The topic of the Middle East came up, and in normal circumstances I would have changed the subject, but I decided to let it play. I needed to soak up some kind of topic for this week’s blog post. We began talking about the lunatics threatening lives in the world and how they would probably regret choosing to attack Elko. (There’s nothing here, plus there are six guns for every human in the city.) We talked about the rash of paranoia that seems to be spreading across the minds of our friends and families. It brought up something that I seem to have forgotten.

Why are we so focused on the bad shit happening everywhere? Why don’t we take solace that right here, right now, things are good.

Don’t get me wrong. We should be paying attention to the state of our surroundings, but we shouldn’t be letting that control our behavior in an everyday setting.

What I’m trying to say is that we should appreciate the here and now.

The smell of the flowers, the reflection of the sun in a puddle, the way our friends laugh when we joke.

Those things should be influencing us more powerfully than the fear of something bad happening. Whether that is terrorists, cancer, liver failure, whatever. The case may be.

Be aware. But do not be afraid.

We live in a world where Reese’s peanut butter cups come in candy form, and in cereal form.

That shit is amazing.

Don’t let the fear of life control you.

If you enjoyed this blog post, consider picking up the compilation that it came from!

You can get it from my website or Amazon!

Building Pyramids

Standard

This is the last month of Noose Ends, and I’m planning the next movement now. I’m excited to finish this year. It has been full of love and joy and excitement, rife with sadness and pain and I have come out with so many beautiful stories to tell. I’m excited to bring you into the following year with me.

I can’t explain much in this life, I can tell you with certainty though that the stories we are writing are all worth it. I promise you that much. I’ve wasted a lot of nights worrying and fretting about things that aren’t real, that won’t happen, that don’t even exist. When I was younger I first heard this rumor about Stephen King. That he hired bodyguards to stand outside his bedroom at night when he sleeps so that the things that he created won’t be able to get to him. It was a silly rumor and maybe it is true, couldn’t tell you. Don’t honestly want to find out about it because if it is true it will invalidate everything I’m about to say.

Oops.

The point is, I’ve spent hours of my life worrying about fake scenarios in my head and things that don’t matter in the long run. I create these monsters for a living and it has become my go to for real life scenarios. A while back I was panicked about something and talking to my mother, who grabbed my head and whispered to me:

“Chaim, you need to go to sleep.”

Referencing Chaim the Writer, a Seraphim from my novel universe, who writes the aspects of the story down and is sort of the main force in my writing. I’ve often joked about him living in my head because of the frequency that I will have story ideas for myself to write down. We all do this in different ways, I happen to make stories out of my fears. I haven’t gotten so proficient at writing just by luck, I’m constantly telling myself about things that don’t exist. I haven’t gotten good at the whole happy endings to the silly stories thing yet, but I’m working on it.

I like to think about things in triangles, by that I mean there are three angles to every scenario. The first, is my point, which can range from totally factual and honest to completely made up and panic stricken fairytale. Then there is the second point, the other party. Whatever they feel or think, which can stem from fairytales like my own to nothing but hard hitting facts and logic, then there is the third point which is the outside influence, what do others see and say about things? This mentality affects everything in my life from my personal relationships to my business. There is what I want, what others want, and what the world thinks I want. The important part of all of this is that there is another aspect that I don’t’ think about often. All of those points are valid and need to be examined, perhaps not all of them taken seriously, but at the least need to be seen. Then there is one more aspect in the center of it that sits at the root of the diagram I draw in my head.

That I am in control.

I may not control others actions, or thoughts, but I can control my own and I will continue to do so for as long as I live, because why would I let myself live without control over my own mentality?

So, with that said, it brings me back to the Stephen King rumor I brought up. I am great at making up scenarios that don’t make any sense or that just simply aren’t true. As a matter of fact, I’m so good at it that I’ve done it for a living. I’ve only recently been better about calming down and not letting those scenarios freak me out, I’m looking at the whole pyramid, not just the base triangle. Hanging above every problem in your life, real or imaginary, there is something you should keep in mind. The point above all of the other three is that you will always control your reaction and your own actions, there is nothing else you can do at that point, so don’t let it rib you.

You built the pyramid, after all. No monsters will get inside. Just lie down and sleep soundly.

www.linmtba.com

Year One: Ferociously Blessed (2013.11.10)

Standard

With the news about Las Vegas today, my heart is hanging heavy. I will be spending a lot of time praying and finding out the best way to help these people. When something like this happens it is always frightening, it is scary and it is awful to hear, it happening in my own state was a bit of a wake up call.

Take something away from the news today though, our lives are so short. We don’t know how much sand is left in our own hourglass so make sure to tell those you love that you love them. Don’t let a second go past with fear or hate in your heart. If you do, people like the terrorist who did this will win.

We won’t let them win. I promise you that. I’ll be fighting every day, with love as a weapon.

I love what I do. To be honest, it is my favorite thing in the world. I have this incredible opportunity in front of me with my clothing company and my writing and all of that. It floors me sometimes. I realize that not many people get to say what I just said, there are so many people who get up and go to work and go home and go to bed and get up and go to work and so on and so on… I don’t get to do that and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Writing is my passion, above everything else, and besides writing, I get to draw, and sing, and play instruments, and live this beautiful life what with its little hurdles. I am so ferociously blessed, that I can’t often comprehend. I have just spent the last three days working with one of my best friends in the world on my passion, and we have spent the last two days doing photo shoots with a beautiful girl, who happily represented my company. We even have another model lined up to shoot tomorrow. When people told me that this was going to be hard work, I agreed, because I knew that it was going to be hard work day in and day out. The thing they didn’t say though, which happens to be the most important thing, is that I absolutely love doing what I do. Meeting new people, getting the opportunities to make new friends and talk to artists and expand my view of the world.

Who gives a rat’s balls what you do with your life? It is your life. Do whatever makes you happy, that’s what I’m doing, and let me tell you honestly. I love every second of it. If you are sitting at home or in a coffee shop reading this, and maybe question what you want to do with your life, I have only one thing to tell you.

Do whatever the hell you want to.

As I type this, I am sitting less than ten feet away from one of my best friends who probably is doing the same thing that I am doing. Typing up a blog about our weekend. And this? This is work. Can you believe it? Every single thing I do is work to me, and I love doing it. If you hate your job, and can’t find a good reason to get up and do it every day, I hope that you find out what will make you feel like this soon. Because I want every single person in the world to feel how I feel right now. I am ecstatic about life, friends, the ability to be creative, Anxious about my future, but still completely calm at the same time and to be truthful, just a little bit exhausted from all of the nothing it has felt like we’ve done this weekend. Even though it has felt like we have done nothing, We both have accomplished so much.

This trip hit my life at the same time that some emotional turbulence did, but I am so thankful for it, because it got me away, it got me to sit down in a whole different reality and look at my life. Right now I am living a story, and somewhere along the line I think I forgot that.

I remember now, though.

In some small way, it feels like the story to a book, like a real book. The Hobbit, or Harry Potter, I don’t know. Maybe somewhere out there, there is a room just full of old dudes, who constantly watch a certain group of people, and write out every single thing that they do. they would put them chronologically and arrange them into a story, bind the pages with some leather and store them away when they die. There would be millions of these dudes, just sitting in buildings on the highest peaks of the Earth, or the deepest levels of the sea in little huts. What if at the end of our lives we get that book? It would be considered a great value on Earth, it took nearly 80 years to write and it’s full of a lifetime of stories. I believe that there is something like that out there maybe. I have no way of knowing for sure… All I know right now is that someone out there is ready to hear my story. I want to make sure that when I meet that Person, I hope to have a good one, because I am ready to tell it.

 

It’s adventure time.

If you liked this blog post, consider picking up the compilation and giving the rest of them a read! I’d appreciate it so much. You can find them on my website as well as Amazon.

October is always a big month, I’ll be rearranging the blog and my webpage a bit as the days go by + I have cool stuff on the way soon! I love all of you. Spooky Saturday will be returning this weekend + I’ll be managing my YouTube channel a bit better, participating in NaNoWriMo + more. For updates, check out the S+I website. 🙂

www.linmtba.com

The Knot That Breaks (Noose Ends)

Standard

I usually save this post for the end of October, but as I woke up from a nap this afternoon I decided I needed to say it now.

Keep holding on friends, Life is not Meant to be Awful.

I was laying on my bed this afternoon napping lazily through my day, I woke up at 7, played guitar, sang songs, watched Friends, wrote poetry and spent time admiring all of the beauty that God placed into my life.

I realized in all of this that I haven’t actually published a blog post in weeks.

Oops.

There is a part of me that wishes I could come to you with some story like, “oh, I’ve been so stressed and out of it, but this is how I got over it.”

But that isn’t the case. I’m much happier to come here and say I’ve forgotten to post my blog posts this month because I have been so happy just living and being around and writing. Enjoying my time on the Earth while I still have it.

I started Noose Ends in the darkest place I think I’ve ever been in. The whole world was on the verge of swallowing me. Sure, I had just published Mean Shadows, I was working through poetry, starting YouTube, working on music, my job was great, my friends and I were great, my roommates were great and so much about that time was great but I refused to just shut up and watch the magic of my world unfold.

I basked in the darkness, I let it surround me. Reveling in heartbreak and the unsure moments I feasted on like oozing fruit in a brass bowl, I sunk my fingers into the darkness and told the world that biting through it would make the rest of the world light.

Stop me, if you’ve heard this before. I know I’ve said it.

Mod Sun recently has been working on some new music and I’ve kept an eye on it, being as I am and connecting my own life to music, Movie, his last project sat with me in a deep and heavily emotional way. I poured over lyrics and concepts he mentioned and glued it to my life (As I clearly have a problem doing with my musical inspirations.)

Still, he’s been previewing this new song and one of the lines is…

“Grow through what you go through.”

I thought it pretty ironic that it came up after this year. So much has changed, friends are moving, more of us are settling down, things are moving sometimes too fast to keep a handle on. We are building our lives and we are still going through all the mud and the dirt, we are swinging from the rafters hand over hand like a jungle gym.

I started this year in darkness, lost, hoping that I could be some kind of light to you and that I would reflect whatever I cast out so that it would shine back on to me. So much has changed. So much has gotten better.

I was sitting outside of my apartment the other night looking at the sky, there were these huge tunderheads above me and rain was threatening to pour from space and cover the city. Later that day, when it did, I was thinking about the people I’ve met and the people I have had the chance to grow with. I was with someone and I was talking about painting sunsets, cleaning up the rings in the ocean and more. All of these things my mom and I had talked about Heaven.

I think, what is most beautiful about this year is that I have struggled to find a place, I have struggled to fight off the demons in my heart and my head. I have struggled to get my feet back on the ground. I have struggled to stop myself from choking.

Yet, here I am. The noose I tied, made out of the people in the city, the feelings that were returned to me broken, the shortcomings of my own creativity and goals, rejection letters and denied applications, poems that failed, a world that seemed out to get me slowly faded away as the snow melted this year.

I spent the whole summer thinking about what I need to get better.

I just didn’t see that it was right in front of me.

If you are where I was, hell, where I am, I’m not out of the darkness yet. I doubt I ever will be, but damn, if you feel these things, take a nap, watch some friends, eat some peanut butter cups and think about this.

The sky at sunset.

The way the moon shines red behind smoke like a big ruby.

The way your friends and loved ones laugh.

The way you’re still here.

There is beauty in that.

There is beauty in all of this.

We just have to stop looking at all the rotten fruit and appreciate the beautiful bowl it is sitting in, then we can remind ourselves to pluck it out and replace it with the good.

It is never too late. I promise you that.

Keep swinging, keep struggling, and keep focusing on the end goal. It is coming. I promise you that.

I promise you that.

www.linmtba.com