True Blue + Black

Standard

In the event of a collision, brace yourself on the nearest passion or friend or purpose and hold on.

Nothing can destroy you.

Often times I am reminded of the steadfast and stalwart parents who raised me. Parents who looked the biggest struggles of their lives eye to eye and refused to blink in a way that often I don’t think I could do. That being said, my family is 100% the reason I am the same way today.

Of course, like everyone there are moments when I am faced with something that pulls at my soul in a way I never want to feel and I will feel the sliver of shivers run through my bones but that does not change something integral about my personality.

Something my mother and father both instilled in me from a young age.

Once, I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter. My parents were visiting friends and though I had gone into my room. So they locked the door behind me as I went about my snow angel business. When I was finished freezing in the snow banks in our front yard I went to go back inside and found that the door wouldn’t open. I pounded on it and called for my parents or their friends, praying that I’d be heard and they would hear me.

They didn’t. I was terrified, and when the realization set in that I was likely going to die out in my yard I took things into my own hands and decided to make an attempt to get back inside. Eventually, I knew my parents friends would leave. So I hopped the fence to the front yard and met the garage door and the front door, pounding on them until my hands bruised. I sat there like that for a while until eventually those inside came up from the basement to let me inside. Turns out they had been in the basement and couldn’t hear me calling them.

As you can see, this story doesn’t necessarily end with me getting out of a sticky situation myself. It’s true, I relied on my parents then but I am older now, though still relying on them for much more than I’d like, I also know that there are things in my life that I will not have them behind me for. So, it is in these moments where I should think of the possibilities… what happens when we don’t have those who regularly support us there to lift us up anymore?

We should take our problems by the throat into our own bruised hands.

Choke those demons in front of you and throw them away.

Of course it won’t always be easy, but everything can be broken into smaller projects. Everything can be taken down to the small grains of sand that collected together to form a stone. It took super heat and energy but eventually every new diamond emerges from its old shell of coal.

I lost my job in the fall.

I was denied for something like nine jobs I had applied to, the rest beyond the nine rejections simply didn’t reply to my application.

I didn’t write a single successful piece for any of the writing anthologies I had taken.

I was faced with the massive challenge of picking up at perhaps the lowest point of 2017. I didn’t let on much that I was struggling so hard but I was. This year ended in a whirlwind of extreme joy and immense pressure.

I wonder what other material shares the same qualities, bringing extreme joy and enduring immense pressure.

Diamond.

Every event we are faced with demands a solution. Every problem and every scenario has an ending, it is up to us to determine where that ending lies and how we will get to it.

This brings me back to my parents, who, although occasionally frustrating, each of them made certain that this concept was chiseled into my memory with not one stroke misaligned.

My dad would regularly tell me I needed to get into a stable career, something to make sure I had the money I needed to do the things that I wanted. Of course, at the time I blew off this notion. It didn’t matter then what I did or how I did it. I would find a way. Of course that is still true today, but I’ve discovered that there is another step.

Find something you love.

We all need work. We all have a passion and a skill. No one can truly float along life without money, as much as it frustrates me that we base our entire lives around the mental weight of green paper we must obtain it to continue living. There will always be a way to make money, and money will always have a purpose. Of course, money doesn’t necessarily mean bills and coins. It could be gold or supplies. There will always be a use for some sort of tender, some sort of item that we can trade around.

This concept was lost on me until I grew up a bit and started working, finding a job that I loved. The food industry. I ate up every shift I was given, bathing in the joy of cooking or bartending, absorbing every interaction with customers good or bad. Some days I needed to vent, but that is a part of life. It is another one of those struggles I was always told about. My dad’s words were much more important than I first realized, and they still held a meaning that I hadn’t gleaned as I grew older. A job is not just a place to be for a few hours. It isn’t just a way to make a living. Since I started working in restaurants I have had a desire to do nothing but that while I write. Cooking, baking, serving, all of the things involving food appeal to me. It makes me happy on a base level.

Still, the point of what pops told me so many times was that it was a stepping stone. If I had that outlet, that passion, that place to go to do something I loved, it would help me face down bigger challenges I would eventually face. The same can be said for most things. If you have something you are passionate about, please, right now I urge you to go commit to it. Draw yourself into the loop of that passion. Woodworking, reading, writing, art, making YouTube videos. Whatever it is. Dentistry, coding, marketing, business management, sewage containment. Everyone has a purpose and a joy to be fulfilled in their working life and too few are able to do it successfully. Embrace that thing and go for it, full speed ahead. Challenges will come, you must face them. It is nice to have an island of sanctuary when you need it.

My mother, on the other hand always told me to finish what I started. I once joined the youth soccer team and I absolutely hated it. I was chubby and didn’t like to run. I wasn’t good at soccer and so I stood on the field for most of my play time. I picked my nose and watched the ball go back and forth as it came close to me and rolled away. I came home one evening begging to quit because I hated it so much, but mom told me no. I started it, I needed to finish it.

Eventually the season was over and I didn’t sign up again, but I learned something valuable. Things are always in motion. I played defense, which was remarkable because I was so poor at defending. It’s hard to focus on kicking the ball when you have your finger in your brain stem. Still, things moved. That soccer ball moved, your obstacles will move. You will be able to progress and you will be able to take knowledge from each moment you live.

Those things have been instilled in me since I was just a boy, and I will never forget them.

When things become difficult, when faced with something insurmountable remember that you are not Atlas. You are not a god. You are a man, and man has something remarkable about him.

We don’t give up.

So don’t give up.

Take your bruised hands and start to push. If pushing doesn’t work, kick. If that fails, find a new path. There will always be a way around. There will always be a way out. There will always be a new obstacle and there will always,

Always,

Be a way for you to overcome it.

All you have to do is start moving.

www.linmtba.com

God of the Gateway

Standard

The stars are these celestial beings spiraling above us at all hours of the day, singing hymns for the purpose of this universe. We are not unlike them, as we sing our own purpose too. With our passions and our hobbies, the way we meticulously trim grass or paint houses, we are adding to this kind of infinite chorus of the universe.

Each time you step out your front door the world changes, every time you make a decision it changes again. We live for this great meaning and yet so many of us don’t know our actual purpose.

There is a time and a place for all of us, it may not be today, it may not be next year, but every year that goes past we are given unlimited ways to build up and create our own life.

I like to think of it like this, at the onset of every morning, we are given a choice, stay in bed for a while and find the momentum to stand up, or stay there and rest. When we get up we have a handful of new choices to make. Shower, eat, get to work, play video games, paint, whatever the choice may be you have decided to move forward in one way or another. If you shower and eat, you are filling yourself with energy for the day. If you sit down to game for a while before jumping into your tasks, you are training your reflexes and hand eye coordination. If you read in the morning you are expanding your breadth of knowledge by a bit with every turned page.

Each action we make causes a new set of decisions to unfold before us. We can rarely choose multiple paths, lest we find ourselves overwhelmed by the pressure of completing many things at once. Of course this isn’t always the case and that idea is remarkable.

We can take on an infinite amount of tasks and jobs, or whatever the case may be. We will do many things in our lives but even if we stack up all of the things each of us chooses to do, let’s take the things we say, for example.

If we counted up on a celestial abacus all of the things each human that has ever existed has said, we still would not come close to the number of stars hanging in the sky above.

We are not infinite, not in our physical bodies, at least.

This also means we have been blessed with a kind of choose your own adventure that nothing else on earth is allowed to have. We can decide our own fate and our own destinies simply by the first choice of getting up in the morning. Having that kind of power is awe inspiring, isn’t it?

Within each of us there rests a small piece of something that another human needs to make it through the day. Encouragement, love, inspiration, a stern talking to. Everything we do, and I literally mean everything is watched by our peers. Every time I make a foolish decision, someone sees it and someone knows that I have done so, which will later on be used to see me in a different kind of light. When I do something that is encouraging or good for another, people will see that and they will likely turn around and do something the same for another.

We are linked together through this small connection, endless energy pouring out of our souls and into one another much like the stars that hand above us. Galaxies crash into each other the same way we meet people and become friends or partners or associates. We are all tiny galaxies adrift in the ever stretching galleon of space and time. A ship within a ship, I believe.

All of these choices we have to make, for good and for bad, come down to our own minds. Will we take up the honor of the stars and do everything in our power to love and uplift, or will we take a moment to consider that in a machine this large, nothing truly matters?

I think my answer is the former, and my response to the latter is this:

We were not built to be machines. We were built like trees. We grow upwards and our roots sink deep into the earth. We may leave our homes but those roots will always be there to feed us. My family will always support me, my friends will always be there for me. My life will always carry significant meaning because of the people that have crossed paths with me. All of these things rest in the end, on my shoulders.

I would much rather stand tall and stretch out, even on a lazy day, to be there when someone needs me than to sit idly by and watch as the world, as big and wondrous as it can be, still shake someone to the bones.

The world around us is a mean and nasty place sometimes. We know this right now more than we ever have, we can turn on any news station and see that this world is not what the peace bearing leaders of our past wanted it to be, so we should take up their mantle and fight.

Not with hands, but with words.

I believe in a God. This is not an unknown idea, and I believe this God did not design us to watch the world around us spiral out of control. I think our purpose is much grander than just picking up a passion, although important, I think we need to find our passion and use it to uplift, encourage, and to remind those around us that we are all just like stars. Each one of us twinkles in the night time, regardless of what we have done, there is purpose born into us.

We will never outgrow that, even those who choose not to use it.

The first step to all of this… is looking at the gateway before us and stepping through.

If you like this, be sure to check out the Life is not Meant to be Awful compilations over on Amazon! There you’ll find the first four years worth of blog post goodness.

Two Three

Image

Take a breath and count before you take your next step…

One…

2018.1.24- Two Three.jpg

If you’d like to check out the upcoming release schedule, you can find it here! I will try to have it completely updated before the new month so you don’t have to wait around for anything. If you want to follow all of what I do, you can find it all here!

www.linmtba.com

Feel Every Yard (BIG Announcement!)

Standard

Before I get to the post today, I promised you a couple things from Wednesday. Sorry if it was a tad bit misleading, I wasn’t about to shout out some cool stuff if I wasn’t sure it was happening, but here we are.

So, first of all, I’ve been releasing a few shirts over on Teespring for Random Acts Creations. Year One through Year Four shirts/hoodies/v-necks are available now + I don’t plan on pulling the stock ever. I’m working behind the scenes to release a spring line towards the middle of April this year. It will be full of rad stuff like hoodies, T-shirts, and phone cases. (There is more but Imma keep some of it a secret!)

Second, I’ll be releasing a compilation of poetry from the blog itself (edited and updated, I promise.) Some of em were pretty rough around the edges but They’re shaping up nicely + you’ll be hearing more about them towards the third quarter of the year.

Third, I’ll be putting out another blog compilation this November, Year Five is going to come with a lil bonus though, I don’t want to give you too much about it, but I’ll tell ya you might want to keep some space available on your wall. 😉

All of that being said, if you’ve made it this far, you can check out my website, freshly updated and looking super fly to see my release schedule every single month. I’ll have days scheduled for blogs, poetry, YouTube videos + anything else I’m doing. Don’t think I’ve been forgetting about some of the older stuff you all loved. Over on the S+I Facebook page i’ll be bringing more happiness and inspiration than ever before. Snapchat will be live with some new tutorials just for kicks and I have SO much more. 2018 is just getting started and your favorite hippy is swinging harder than ever.

Best believe that.

It’s funny how they say time is money when we are so reluctant to spend time but we will freely throw away our time. Before I get into this week, I hope that you spend much more time this week than you do money, it is so much more valuable and so much more appreciated.

Last week I was having a conversation getting to know a new coworker and discovering their interests when they told me something I have said to others. We were talking about his passions and his dreams and he told me that he wanted to travel, he was going to set up a motorhome and just drive around the country in the next three years. That his dream was to see every state in the US and then he continued by saying something I have said countless times before.

“I know it seems stupid…”

Right before he launched into the description of his dream since he was a child, he wanted to touch every piece of dirt in the USA and he looked away from me in shame as he told me that.

It rang a bell inside of me that has been softly ringing since the day I picked up a pen.

I remember when I was that kid, unsure of my future with lofty goals and dreams, this grand desire to be all that I am working to become, an author, a YouTuber, a poet, a musician, a business owner, a chef, a friend and a blogger among so many other things. I remember being in that exact same place, telling others that my dreams sound stupid.

That was before I found The Buried Life, I’ve written about the show before + in case you’re new around here and have been hiding under a rock, they set out with this idea to cross off items from a collective bucket list and along the way help others cross one item off of theirs. The show + corresponding book inspired me so much that I decided to do the same.

It’s funny how these things that cross over into my head overlap so often. It is a still small reminder that my purpose is clearly defined and I cannot stop building for it, fighting for it and praying for guidance along the way.

I lost my job and began to panic about making money, how I could support myself still, how I could keep moving forward and what I could do to pay my bills, when I was provided for as if by magic I silently prayed a thanks and kept moving, without realizing that I had begun orienting my time beneath making money. The time I spent with friends decreased, the time I spent working increased and I began to trip up a lot, wondering if I was worth it or whatever.

Well that’s some shit if I’ve ever heard it.

Talking to my friend I was reminded of the madness that my life has become and how I enjoy every last second, every last wasted cent, every last smile and tight embrace between myself and those that I love.

This life is so much more than we always think it is. In the midst of darkness, for you or me, there is always light. You have your purpose and I hope that you consider it if you feel lost today. You have dreams and goals somewhere within you, you have a calling and there is no greater sin than wasting you valuable time.

Spend it instead, searching for the next step and moving forward. If you want to become an author, start writing. Streaming on Twitch? Download the app and go. There is no back tracking as long as you are aware that you are accomplishing goals and dreams with every new step you take. So don’t stop stepping.

Just get out there, climb in your motorhome and hit the road. We have a long list of items to work through, it is going to take a minute…

…and every minute will be worth it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Thoughts 3 (+ an Announcement!)

Image

It’s been a while since I’ve come to level with you. I haven’t really said anything about projects that I’m working on + have been absolutely SHIT at talking to my readers + friends through here, twitter, Facebook, or Instagram where I should be better about interacting with you. I mean, you hit up my blog twice a week and read what I have to say. It’s pretty unfair for me to be such a ghost.

The fact is, I’m terrible at communication. I’m getting better, so that we’re all on the same page, this Friday I’m going to have an updated website with a bit more information + some graphics to explain what is going on behind the scenes. I’ve got some things up my sleeve, clothing, poetry, YouTube videos + more content here on WordPress. I have three large releases planned this year in the various fields of Salt + Iron. I’m excited to share it with you, so come back this time Friday. I’ve got news and you’ll know all about it then.

2018.1.17- Thoughts 3.jpg

www.linmtba.com

Rivers

Standard

“Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers till I reach you.” – The Head and The Heart; Rivers and Roads

For years this blog has been about memories and lessons, the way the world shifts beneath our feet and twists our ankles, the way we hit the ground… the way we get back up.

This week one of my best friends moved away from home. I don’t know when I will see him again, I know I certainly will, but I have no way of knowing when. This is another instability of life.

When I was a younger man I had this dream that me + all of my best friends would wind up in the same place. Despite the fact that we all wanted different things, teaching, theatre, engineering, photography, writing, it’s all the same, really. We all have these things that call to us and beg us to move forward step by step, even when we don’t know where to go there is always something pulling at us until our bones shake. Some small voice in the back of our minds begging us deep down to steel our shoulders and wrap the rope around our hands, to begin dragging the slabs of sandstone up long and shallow ramps.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago that this dream of mine had truly shown itself for what it was, a sham. Not that it is a bad thing at all. I’m so endlessly excited to see where each of the boys go, what they do, who they become. I’m so excited to evolve from Alan the Novelist to Uncle Alan, or Dyzygy on a Guest Stream, or even Alva Tobias, celebrity guest at a grand reveal of a play or movie. All of these things seem silly, I’m sure, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized that if we do not have these dreams, if we do not have these passions, we are lost completely. Each one of us, you and I, are bound together by one everlasting and powerful link that groups us together and cinches us tight.

Purpose.

I sat this week with someone who I hold extremely dear to my heart and talked with him about his novels, our jobs, his future and mine alike. We laughed like we always do, we joked like we always do, and we sat in the same dingy booth in the same shitty casino restaurant that we had frequented for years now and just experienced life together.

I ramble fairly frequently, if you think the blog is bad you should speak to me in real life. I have a hard time getting to the point, because I’ve never believed that the point is where we should be getting. We should be getting onward, guys like me don’t define ourselves by early or late. We don’t think about the end of the story, I know damn well that the end will come when the end comes and I have no intention of rushing or delaying anything. That being said, it is important that we must continue moving.

My life pulls me in a dramatically different way than everyone else’s. My best friends and I may not see each other forever, but they will always be a part of my pyramid. The bottom blocks, the biggest ones, that hold this entire wonder up. I would not be the man that I am today without the constant love and support of these men and watching them grow and change, evolve and struggle to overcome things is nearly greater than the joy I see in them when they have successes and we can share laughter over those small victories.

I love watching their stories unfold because I see all of us as these wondrous characters, grafted and designed with innumerable purpose, fleeting as our lives may be at the end of time, we can still stand at the gate of change or death or life and scream to the world that we were here, we exited and we lived, we loved with everything we can.

It is this way too, when friends and family pass on.

I talk so much about purpose, because I don’t think many people truly find their purpose. I stumbled around for the majority of my life, only recently discovering that I am here to inspire, to tell stories, to help others in some manner. I forget that sometimes. I forget too, that our lives aren’t meant to be rushed through. We have to take things one day at a time, thought is not a matter of moments it is an expanse of time.

Though thorough we may be to seek out our next step, it will come when it is ready. It is up to us to be ready for what comes next.

If you have to say goodbye, for the moment, or for forever, remember that it is all part of the purpose we are searching for. Each of us are destined to find our own way. Our friends may not live in the same city forever, but it never hurts to put yourself and your family in a boat and float down the river for a while, just to say hello every once and a while.

There are many things about my past that I don’t look to for inspiration. There are many facets of my own personality that I can’t stand to admit and yet, I was blessed with men and women who love me unconditionally through everything. Despite how horrid I believe myself to be inside some days.

I welcome change, I welcome the twists and turns of the earth. I know that my friends and I are in the same boat together and they will never be too far for me to paddle towards. I know they will paddle towards me in return. I am in no hurry and I am not one to wait around either. Everything happens, all good and bad, when the world wills it to happen. I cannot control it, so until the end I will enjoy every step, every laugh, every chest pain and every last splash of water into my boat, no matter who is sitting beside me.

Friends who love like that are hard to find, but they are out there and it can make you feel like the world will shake beneath your feet, and if you feel it…

You’re right.

Here is something that I did with my friend, I hope you enjoy it.

Doki Doki Literature Club: [Ep. 1] – Let’s Play a horror inducing dating simulator.

Not into video games? How about this then?