In light of Valentine’s Day I wanted to share some love. Give all of what you have, love everyone you can with everything inside of you this year. I hope that no matter where you are, you are happy and secure.
In light of Valentine’s Day I wanted to share some love. Give all of what you have, love everyone you can with everything inside of you this year. I hope that no matter where you are, you are happy and secure.
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.
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,
Be a way for you to overcome it.
All you have to do is start moving.
This year, as you will read here soon, has been amazing and stressful and has created the greatest stories. I am blessed beyond measure.
I have nothing else to say, except for thank you for this year. I hope I’ll see you often in the next one.
Happy Halloween again, I’ve come to anticipate these blog posts the most out of all of them. The end of year look back has become one of my favorites to write because I get to look back on everything, It isn’t much as my blog goes, there isn’t a huge motivational message behind these posts, but it has become a tradition.
That being said…
Holy shit this year has been nuts.
Let’s look back on the highs and lows I’ve walked you through with me, terrible heartbreak, a novel re-release, SO MUCH poetry I’ve written, Prepping four more novels. Moving back in with my parents, then back out, A new job, a lost job, a new relationship, a marriage of friends soon, an anniversary or two, new blog themes, YouTube, and there is so much more that I could go over, but I need to stop to get to the message here.
I started Noose Ends because of this dreadful feeling hanging over my head that Elko wasn’t where I needed to be, I wanted to escape. I felt like the city that raised me was strangling me. I was begging for an escape and I was kicking and scratching my way out, I thought.
I found quickly that it is not so easy to escape just by flailing my arms and screaming at the empty blue sky above. I was more concerned with looking at the ground beneath me, seeing an end to things, than I was to look at the stars and the moon, to find a new beginning.
I like to consider the sunrise and the moonrise in times of struggle. At the end of the long day, I think to the coming sunrise and consider that it will begin anew. The sun is the same being, hanging in the celestial space provided for it to spin for years, it comes around each new day and it looks the whole earth in the eyes. It does so confident that the earth will rotate still around it, the planets will feel the heat it casts out into the darkness, the life that lives in our solar system will see it return every new day. The sun is not a being keen on leaving.
So I wonder why we consider ourselves capable of doing the same thing so easily?
I was convinced, adamant that I was set to leave town by June of this year. I had set the plan in my mind that I would get out and go to Idaho, or Oregon, or Alabama, or somewhere else entirely. First, Alabama was taken off of the table. Then Oregon became a foolish idea. Then, when Idaho was my only option, June was in front of me and I decided that I needed to continue working where I was. I had a feeling that my time to leave was drawing near, but it wasn’t there yet. So I took a lot of walks, found a garden, picked a sunflower and kept going. Days passed and my job came to a halt. I was out of work, I was in love with flower petals and I was sitting on the edge of my bed at five in the morning, thinking about where I am in life, where I wanted to be, where I could have been if I had just closed my eyes and skipped a couple days.
I realized in that moment that my neck didn’t hurt any longer. The things I felt dragging me to the attic had snapped, the rope was lying on the floor of my living room and I was sitting in front of another sunrise, suddenly realizing that everything would be okay. I turned around and I thanked the sun, I thanked the ravens, I thanked the sunflowers, I thanked God for everything that had come to me, everything I thought I had lost.
I turned around and I watched the sun come up, and it hit me.
I am not, as much as I want to be, as much as I may seem like I am, in control of my life. I am being tugged along by people and by opportunities, I am merely searching for the next step to write good words for you, for my friends, my family, and I think, although it is rough to admit this, most of all for myself.
The sun rose over me and I thought of all the things I had put on the backburner, all the things I wanted to do and promised my world that I would get around to eventually. Those things started to fade back, to become less important as time passed by. I allowed desires without purpose to cloud my judgment and I lost focus, and in the end I was still gripping the rope in white knuckles and blood stained hands.
I took the rope, wrapped it around a hewn stone, and started to pull.
I decided that it was time to stop watching, to stop seeing the sun rise above me every day and doing nothing about it, just silently whispering thank yous for my life from the comfort of my office. I decided to stop running from things I felt so passionately about just because they scared me. I decided to stop letting my work treat me like a slave, and I started to build.
There are pyramids coming, so the sun will have something to rise above, my friends will have somewhere to come, my parents will have something to be proud of, and I will make a home where ravens will run, sunflowers will love, and my future, my own sun, will choose to rise above, too.
Thank you so much for another fantastic year on the blog. I’ll be pausing Yours, Truly going into the first few weeks, I brought it back because I felt like the blog needed to be realigned with its original purpose which I thought I had lost along the way, going into Year Five I won’t need those little reminders. I’ll have a new poem out tomorrow, and the first Building Pyramids blog post will be out on the 3rd of November.
You know, every Wednesday and Friday. As much as things change, they still stay the same. Thank you for tuning in every week, thank you for listening, Have a happy and safe Halloween. Remember, Life is not Meant to be Awful.
If you want to see the revamped website click the link below and look around. Some things are still under construction, but it will be finished by the time LINMTBA Comp Vol. 4 is out this Thanksgiving!
Tomorrow is the last day of Noose Ends, I have come such a long way since last Halloween and honestly, I am so excited to see where my future will be going. I’ll be posting the final blog post for Year Four tomorrow at four thirty, I can’t wait to show you all the great stuff I’ve been working on.
Inkworks, Poetry, Clothing and YouTube are all coming your way still. I hope you’re ready to have fun with me.
Last night after work my friend Mariano + I went out to pick up a bottle of whiskey to split with our friends. We had both had rough days and needed a bit of relaxation. So, we all threw some money together and picked up some Maker’s Mark. Once Mariano + I returned to the restaurant we sat at the sushi bar and split it between five of us. We talked mostly about music and how music affects us, then once Brian had gotten off work we went outside to smoke. While we were out there our boss Mike began a discussion with all of us about belief and faith systems, which has been a topic on my mind a lot recently while writing Helium Constellations, so I relished in the debate.
After a few minutes of that, Brian decided to head home and since I was far too drunk to drive, I hitched a ride with him. Mariano was close behind me. So there we were, the three of us wanting to go do something else but we had nowhere to go. We hit up a couple friends and got nowhere, and none of us really felt like going out into the hills to drink because it was cold and nobody would’ve been able to drive back home. So, we stopped at Walmart, picked up a few beers and then hung out for a while more. While we were at Walmart, Brian + Mariano had begun talking about something that had been eating one of us up. Then it evolved into a full blown conversation about life and families.
It has been a good while since I’ve gotten to sit with these guys, who are among my best friends in the world, and talk about stuff with them. It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to be a part of their lives and I relished in it. So, we pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex and sat there for a good hour or more cracking open Miller Lite + talking through our bullshit.
Now, for the sake of keeping their privacy the contents of our conversation won’t be repeated here, but we did talk about one important thing that I would like to put out there today.
Mariano was explaining one of his fears to us and Brian + I had begun giving him feedback, because I think both of us are afraid of it to a degree as well. I started off by asking if he had ever played blackjack. After he said no, I explained the premise to him, as I will explain it to you. In case you aren’t informed.
Blackjack is a card game, where the purpose is to get the value of your cards as close to 21 as possible, the ultimate goal is to hit 21 exactly. The dealer will give you a number of cards to make a hand with, and you add up the totals in the set to find your value. It may be 8, it may be 18, it all depends on what the dealer hands you. To which, the dealer also doesn’t know.
If your hand is lower than you would like, you can ask for another card and try to get your number higher. You cannot, however, put down cards that are unfavorable.
Life is a lot like blackjack. I think. Each person is dealt a set of cards that they have to play, regardless of whether or not they want to. We may be the child of a single mother, an influential family member may be struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we might be abandoned at birth or born with a defect of some kind. These are things that we cannot change. Regardless of if we want to, at the end of the day we must play the hand.
If we are feeling brave, we can hit to have the dealer give us another card. This can go a couple ways. If we are sitting at 18 and bounce to 22, we’re toast. We were dealt a bad hand. In Blackjack, we are forced to fold. In life, the option to fold is unfavorable. We must live with whatever new thing our card has presented to us. We could pick up an addiction to drugs ourselves, we could find ourselves in a shitty job or an abusive relationship. We could find ourselves selfish and afraid of life. It could be anything.
The nice thing about life though, is that it is not like blackjack. If we are dealt rotten cards in blackjack we can fold and be done with it. If we are dealt a bad hand in life, we are stuck with it. However, it presents us with a great opportunity to learn. To grow from the challenges that we face. To exist with other people who are facing their own challenges and come out of them successful, together.
That’s the big thing. Life is not like blackjack because we are together.
Togetherness isn’t a part of Blackjack, Togetherness is a part of life. We exist beside a few billion people who are learning how to react to the hands they are dealt. In Blackjack, we are competing at a table with four or five other people trying to make it big. Get the big money and get out.
I’m glad that life isn’t exactly like blackjack. I’m glad it does have similarities too, because if it didn’t I wouldn’t learn. I need to be dealt a bad card every so often to remind myself that I don’t have it all figured out. That I still have a million lessons to learn. I’m thankful at the end of the day that when I play my hand, I have a good number of people playing theirs with me. If we bust, at least we busted together. And that’s the best part about life.
I believe in Happy People Over Everything.
I think that we should strive for that. Not to discount our sadness or depreciate our negative feelings but instead to thrive from them. To take the shitty cards and throw them out. To tell the dealer…
“You gave me this, but look what I turned it into!”
And I love that we can do it together. Because being together is the most important part of life. Don’t go it alone.
You do thousands of things every day, if you break it down enough, you could say that you do millions of things. Be proud of the things you accomplish and the things that you overcome. Be proud of the things you do.
Just remember that the things you do, or accomplish, or overcome are never as important as the people you do them with.
Lay down that hand. I’ll be right here. If we bust, we’re busting together. But don’t worry, we will get a new hand. We will make the best of every situation.
We are Happy People.
Life can be a lot to handle sometimes, Just remember that it will all be okay. I promise you that the sun will come back out.
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.
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.
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!