Accidental Murder

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Isn’t it funny in the most macabre way how we inspect our failures after they shine in the worst times? Each motion of the sea serves to draw beasts from the depths closer to the shore, but when they emerge it will be too late, won’t it?

The brakes in my truck have been failing for a while, and I knew I needed to get them changed. A little over a week ago I made plans with my father to change them that Friday and make sure my truck was running properly. When the day came for me to replace the brake pads, I woke up early to help pops with a class at our church and my girlfriend needed the truck that afternoon to run some errands for her new job. I was exhausted, not having gotten any sleep and getting called in to work that night myself, I asked to reschedule. It was no problem for dad, he let me reschedule, knowing I’d be around to fix them as soon as I had the availability to.

I went home and went about my day, returning from work as my girlfriend took the truck and headed to her graveyard shift. I was sitting quietly at home when she called me and told me that the brakes failed, and she needed a ride.

A sudden wave of realization washed over me as I realized what had actually happened.

Have you ever watched something occur, and it took a few moments before your brain processed the event? Something catastrophic like a train wreck or a hurricane making landfall? It was in the scale of that for me, because I am a bit of a drama queen naturally.

Still, the realization struck that if the scene had been just slightly different, if there had been lots of traffic, if she didn’t know about the emergency brake, if she was on the freeway, there was a real chance that I would have lost my girlfriend that night.

It was all due to my negligence.

I’ve often wondered how a parent can allow something to happen to their children in the same way, there have been a handful of national cases involving negligence over the past few years, children passing away untimely in the event that their parents weren’t paying attention to them or something that they were doing.

I’ve chastised that concept for years.

“How could you be so careless to not take care of the things your loved ones will be doing?”

“How could you not make sure everything was safe before you let your kid play around out there?”

“What were you doing that you weren’t looking towards them and caring for them?”

Albeit, she isn’t my child, but the comparison still rings true.

I could have fixed the brakes that day, really. I could’ve called my mom to give her a ride. I could have sucked up my exhaustion and done what needed to be done, as a boyfriend should.

However, I didn’t, and I thank God that my laziness and negligence didn’t turn into a waking nightmare for me.

Don’t get me wrong, the probability of something worse actually happening was slim, but it wasn’t nonexistent. Which is what I would rather in all scenarios. The fact that it could have been done in two hours or less is the kicker. I had plenty of time. Hell, I could have fixed the brakes and still napped before work, but I made the argument to myself that I had too much that needed to be done, it was more important for me to get work done and get my girl to the bank. When in reality, I ended up staying up late that night panicked because I could have accidentally murdered my girlfriend due to nothing more than laziness, or negligence.

I think I see the side of the negligent more clearly after this.

No that it is an excuse, but I can see how it happens.

When your own life and needs come before others, bad things can happen. I’ve nearly lived it, and I don’t want to live through it again. I hated the thought of something happening because I was more concerned with my exhaustion, and my own needs than I was taking care of the vehicle we both share.

The point is, I am not the most important person in my life anymore, and I would do well to remember than when important things arise.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I released the first vlog on my writing YouTube channel this tuesday! If you’ve ever considered writing or had the idea that you could make a story, this will definitely be a channel you’ll want to see.

www.linmtba.com

Should I Write?

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions over the course of my writing career from people who have stories that they want to write, but don’t know where to start or if they even should begin. I’ve been writing for eight years or so now and in that time, I’ve finished a bunch of manuscripts and published a few books to boot. Through those experiences, as well as dealing with publishing companies, resorting to the avenue of self-publishing, and learning that though they are expensive, editors are more than worth it, they are necessary, I’ve come to sit upon a wealth of lessons and advice that I wanted to share, to some degree, with others in my position.

Writing is my favorite past time and it’s something I’ve felt passionately about for nearly my whole life. I wrote my first story in fifth grade, then have written ever since. What I didn’t realize then was shitty Yu-Gi-Oh fanfic birthed a storyteller within me and I’ve been on that path since the day I began. Writing is an internal thing to me, I do it for several reasons, but almost all of them deal with me.

I write to process information, happiness, pain, anger, guilt. I write to speak to myself clearly, I form ideas about life and in order for me to understand what I’m trying to say, I write it down. I write because I need that outlet. When I don’t write, I notice a sizeable change in my mood and my life outlook. Things tend to grow bleak in a world where I don’t get to be a writer.

In the video, I mentioned the reasoning behind adopting a creative discipline, be it writing or art or something else that employs the creative muscles in your brain. The fact is, being creative makes for a good mood shifting tool. From my perspective, engaging in various forms of art has been nothing but good for me. Of course, it grows frustrating when I can’t adapt a song the way I want to play it, or write a passage the way I see it, but my mind is enamored with struggle. I’ve been known to do things the hard way intentionally in some instances, just because I want to learn more along the way. Everything is a lesson to me, and in the process of artistry, those lessons are sometimes vague and difficult to understand, while other times they cut right to the bone. However good or bad the experience is, it always turns into a positive for me.

From Psychology Today:

Repetitive satisfying art making may actually mediate depression and anxiety by stimulating the “accumbens-striatial-cortical” connection in the brain. It is perhaps connected to what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named “flow,” an experience of complete concentration and absorption. Because flow is close to other mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga, it may offer many of the same positive, attention-focused benefits through deep engagement in an art process.

This process adapted to the practice of art is why it is so calming and efficient in the management of negative emotions. It’s basically meditating when you delve deep into the practice of your art. Of course, there are likely caveats, as with all other disciplines. There are days that you will wake and find yourself frustrated at the size of your task.

In fact, that’s how I feel currently in the process of editing, but editing is a beast that requires its own whole session in this series. For now, I am holding on to the token of thought that one day, the hard work that makes me want to rip out my hair will bill worth every second of time I spent wading through misspellings and difficult choices when deciding what of my writing to keep in the story and what to abolish.

“Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit.” -Davit Mamet

So, the process of being creative brings a fundamental joy to us through the work we pursue. If that is the case, then you should absolutely begin writing, or creating music, or whatever else you decide to pursue. Each faction of creativity creates an outlet for us to push our displeasures, heartbreaks, and sorrows as well as a place to celebrate success, joy and love. There are few things that hearken back to the thought of magic than that, don’t you think?

One note, in regard to creativity and happiness, is that it serves as a dual effort. There is a wide one-way line between happiness and meaning. We exist to have a purpose, some kind of meaning that can define our lives. For example, happiness can give us meaning but the meaning will give us happiness. When we find our purpose, it will fill our hearts with joy.

Creativity, in whatever manner you use it in, will aid in creating meaning for each of our lives. Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean making art or writing music or books. My father is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met but he doesn’t create music or poetry. He builds things, he works on cars. He takes that creative spirit and turns it into energy.

We each have our own way to be creative, and I happened to choose words.

Which brings me back to the original question,

“Should I write?”

Yes, yes you should. If you have the desire, even a seed of an idea growing in the back of your mind, you should at the very least try. If you don’t try, you will never know.

Of course, if the answer is yes, it can be a daunting task to follow through. There is a lot involved when it comes to learning how to pursue writing, and that is why I decided to create this blog + corresponding YouTube channel. I want to talk to you about writing in its various forms, and give insight to the journey I’ve been on for the last few years when I sat down in a Walmart bathroom and asked myself…

Should I start writing?

Cool Heads Prevail

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Politics has too much power anymore.

 

EDIT!

I’ve removed the alterations to President Trump’s name, i.e. Desert Ogre, Ol’ Trumby, Turnip, and Frump, among others. The purpose of this blog post was to be an experiment. Through the entirety of this blog post, I’ve not insulted the man one time. I’ve only described him with a handful of nicknames, mostly pulled from memes I’ve seen online. In the end, it diverted the overall goal of the blog post. Which I don’t intend to do.

In a post that seems to have been deleted recently, I watched two friends clash against one another about the policies of Donald Trump.

Though I need to recall the information from the top of my head, I still remember the gist of what they said to one another. The original post was about respecting the man in the white house, regardless of who he is or what he says. That Trump is doing everything he can and so on, your general image in support of the MAGA camp.

What I noticed immediately, is how much the post had flared with comments back and forth. One girl, who I know was a past friend to the OP in which she said “Block Me.” With a couple emojis tagged on to the end, you know, for emphasis.

As a person who feeds off of it, no matter how surreptitiously, I enjoy watching internet arguments and gossip unfold online because it is such an invasive and open form of communication. People’s lives have been ruined simply because of the things said online to another, and it is on display for the entire world if we know where to look.

Of course, I gave in to my desire to read about this post and scanned through a catalogue of messages in which the primary replier was focused on how terrible Trump is, noting the things he has said to people and the way he’s reacted to events around the world over the course of his life. Unafraid to pepper her comments generously with clear distaste for “anyone who supports such a disgusting and vile monstrosity.” As she put it.

OP wasn’t much better, her initial image and stance were built around ignoring the way Trump speaks and the policies that he pushes, as if she was sounding off alongside the numbers of those who will blindly support a leader regardless of their position of power.

I’m going to be clear as can be regarding Trump + my own personal opinion.

I don’t like him as a person. I think he is brash and speaks with an uncalculated tongue. He gives me creepy uncle vibes and I don’t see eye to eye with him politically either. Those are just my tastes on his personality. Regarding politics, I think that in the world of business ventures, he knows what he is doing. Trump runs multimillion dollar companies around the world, and like many people choose to bring to attention, he has bankrupted four of them, which, if your total business repertoire stands within the hundreds, I think having four or five failures is nothing to scoff at. Of course, the reason Trump draws so much negative attention is because of the things he says. Not necessarily his policies. Of course, that is to the tongues of our internet prophets. As for his border policy, his taxation and healthcare policies, I agree with some parts, I disagree with others. I’ve viewed each of the major proposals myself that have come up and I’ve reached my own conclusions. I won’t waste time going in depth in regard to this, because this isn’t about Trump. Not today. Maybe later, look for a blog post named “Orange Ogre Fetish”

Until then, I want to ask those of you who have investigated the hearts of others, divining their purpose and identity in life based on their support of a presidential candidate or political ambassador.

Those who’ve progressed to a point of human evolution which has granted you the unique yet powerful ability to debase an entire life on the decision to support or deny the authority of a political position.

What saddens me about the exchange from earlier is that this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ve watched friendships be ripped apart because two people disagreed on the support of Trump. My question is this:

How can you be so afraid of a single man you would give him that much power?

To rob a man of power, you must first realize that he is only as powerful as you allow him to be. To the citizens of America, the President, no matter his ideology or standing, is only as strong as we allow him to be. A president is simply not all we make them out to be.

In a position to command respect? Of course.

I can respect lots of people and disagree with them about everything. I can understand that they are doing what they think is right by opposing Trump. My reasoning for disliking Trump stems almost entirely from his actions on the internet, especially Twitter. If we were to remove his Twitter rants and belligerent social media presence, we would find much less to prop against him in the way of a leader.

Of course, this isn’t how the internet works.

As long as there is a bit of wallpaper to adhere to the paint, we will always be scratching for another flake to rip away. This happens every day with people who abuse their children and the piles of garbage who deem themselves worthy of another’s body regardless of their consent. The internet has spoiled the lives of young men and women who otherwise wouldn’t have been accused of the horrible things they did. I am proud of us for that.

What I am not proud of, however, is the way we are letting one wrinkly old man command so much of our day to day lives.

Friends of mine who were once upstanding individuals filled with generosity and a yearning desire to help those less fortunate then they are have devolved since the results of the election. What was once a bastion of hope in a dark time has evolved to a slobbering monster, unsure of their own identity and incapable of accepting the differences of their peers. Incapable of understanding that there are plenty of people in the world who have made mistakes.

Was voting for Trump a mistake? Perhaps. Was screaming at your neighbor and ripping apart their Trump sign a mistake? I’d say so.

I can hear the echoes of those in the distance, preparing pitch forks and daggers to come and breach my household and tell me that Trump is a symbol for the dark underbelly of America.

I could agree with that. He represents something I don’t agree with:

The endless quest for gold and riches. Whatever his intention with those precious jewels is, I will never know.

But I think the problem with Trump and the state of my America today is much deeper than just one man. It goes back to Bernie’s  unjust treatment amid the primary. It goes back to the rising racial tensions during Obama’s presidency. It goes back to Bush Jr. and the shockwave felt around the states as the events of 9/11 unfolded around us.

We have long been breeding this hatred of one another.

Since before I was born, the world has been seeking to rend itself apart. One unit into two, into four and it will continue so long as we allow these men in power to control the world around us.

(By that, I mean our personal lives. Our day to day interactions, not the literal mechanics of the worlds we live in. Of course, they change those.)

What I’m getting at, is this:

Even if you think Ol’ Trumby to be the vilest human being in the world, even if your blood boils at the sound of his name. Even if you fantasize about his impeachment with erotic fervor…

Your relationships with others are not always less important.

Of course, it should go without being said (but it won’t) that if you find you’ve been in league with someone who is ACTUALLY racist, and is ACTUALLY evil, you should speak your piece and step away. Most of the time, in my experience, it hasn’t been that way. I’ve watched Trump stans be stripped of their friends and family, simply for the fact that they support him. I’ve seen the Resistance fledglings cast away any love they had for friends in favor of their hatred for a wrinkled old bastard with skin like citrus rind.

I ask you, is that a way to live? For those of us who regularly speak and preach on the efforts of goodwill and peace and especially love, is it right for you to abandon your covenants of friendship in favor of your hatred for another?

Trump is not that powerful, don’t make him that powerful. Next time you consider unleashing a cannonade of insults and disrespect upon a friend who nothing has done but express their opinion (in either direction, this isn’t a one-sided issue) consider asking yourself a question first. Especially if you are in the camp that believes we should be saving the lives of these people that Trump’s immigration laws are affecting because they are people, with feeling and emotion just like the rest of us…

Is it right to forgo love, that you grew within your heart, for hate, that was handed to you on a platter covered in money?

www.linmtba.com