True Blue + Black

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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

Thoughts 3 (+ an Announcement!)

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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.

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www.linmtba.com

14 Wolves

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If we were to consider every single problem and frustration that roots into our daily lives, rotten berry bushes pruned by the people that say things about you that aren’t true, the fruit of gossip being the easiest fruit to swallow but the hardest to digest, it feeds the deer and the bears that transfer the messages they hear to the world. Bears, obviously know better, (because duh.) and they move to the rivers that run through our lives, the rivers that waver and shift with collapsing banks, unable to be supported by the destruction of the forest in your heart. Deer and Elk feasting on bushes and foliage as they run the mill in the valleys and the gorges of your soul. These deer people might say terrible things they heard at the berry bushes, they might believe the signs that the tree branches painted with their dying limbs and spread those messages forward. Hearing this, the other animals have a tendency to run away from your soul and eventually, the park will die.

If you haven’t ever noticed through this blog, I am passionate about two things. English and Science. One of my favorite scientific concepts is seen in Ecology. The trophic cascade. (I added a link to Wikipedia so you can research more.) In case you don’t know I’ll drop the layman’s explanation, it is something that occurs when the top predator in a food web changes the behavior of the rest of the web. (In this instance, I am referring to a top down trophic cascade, however it can occur in the reverse as well.) Seeing as I am no master of the topic, I encourage you to investigate yourself if you have interest.

Consider checking out the viral YouTube video “How Wolves Change Rivers”

In 1995, 14 Grey Wolves were taken from Canada and reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, where their species had been vacant for some 70 years. The ripple effect of this one small change impacted the very geography of the park. 14 wolves entering the habitat changed the way the rivers flowed. This happened because of the aforementioned cascade. The wolves hunted elk, which were devouring the flora of the park due to a large population, they had eliminated habitats for a myriad of creatures that once made the place their home. The wolves hunted the elk, killing them, which was a start, but the elk began to migrate differently. Staying out of valleys and this allowed plants to grow back. The plants growing once more attracted birds and bears, the birds made homes in trees which had begun growing again, many of them multiplying in height within a few short years. This brought beavers, which built dams and brought in hosts of new creatures to live there. Fish, bugs, and more. Because they coyotes were being hunted, more rodents lived which brought about more predatory birds like hawks, creatures devoured the carrion of the hunted beasts and the ecosystem regenerated in a few years, then, most importantly to what I am bringing to you today, the new trees which had grown, strengthened the river banks, keeping them from collapsing and actually changing the way that the rivers flowed. They stayed their course, which helped the ecosystem thrive. The park was brought back to life all by the introduction of 14 wolves.

Consider this today, as you think about your place in life, where you are, what your park is like. Is your soul overrun with elk, devouring the plant life, keeping the homes from the ravens and bears that your soul needs to thrive?

Consider changing the way you perceive your day, I have been thinking on this topic a great deal because we are not that different from the complicated ecosystems around us. We thrive when all of us are working in cooperation, our body, mind and soul must be healthy and thriving for us to truly be healthy ourselves.

For me to be truly alive, I cannot focus on the lives of the deer and elk who are impeding the growth of my own personal ecosystem. I have sought out the assistance of 14 wolves, through their numbers small, I have found something that will kill the thoughts of laziness and sorrow within my mind. I brought about a change, and because I have seen it before I will watch as the wolves I create with my mind change the patterns of every other part of me. My body will stand stronger, fed off of food and love. My mind will grow stronger, because my body is healthy I will find myself willing to learn, to fight for what I love and know, I will be willing to gain wisdom and utilize it day to day, and through that, my soul will flourish, because the very rivers of my heart will find structure and meaning in my life.

If you are battling today, fighting to secure the park within your mind, I suggest that you introduce something new to your ecosystem. It need not be large or powerful, it only need be present and what you need it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.

Read a good book. Go to the gym. Cook food. Meditate. Pray. Go for a run. Find a new job. Dress up.

Write a book.

Kiss your love.

Adopt some wolves.

An announcement is coming on Sunday about the future of my books + such! make sure to follow me on social media to see it when it drops!

www.linmbta.com

Bad Pharaoh

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Standing above the necropolis, the great Pyramid rises out of the horizon like a fang shredding flesh from the earth itself. What was once a gilded tomb, covered in gold and meant to stand as an honor to the ego of the Pharaoh, now has fallen to pieces, barely an echo of its former glory. The remnant of a dynasty that has long since passed away. Even today, the Pyramid of Giza is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I’ve spoken about the Wonders before, and likely will again.

There is much that we don’t know about the history of Egypt, specifically, some of the pharaohs. What evidence and knowledge we do have is slowly being uncovered day after day by the researchers and the historians who have devoted their lives to learning.

All of those things stand well and good, but I want to talk a bit about the symbolism of pyramids and one Pharaoh in particular, in relation to how we all can be today.

The pyramids, beautiful and impressive as they are, still are a symbol to some. In the hand of those who find their knowledge and identity in speculation, they belong to aliens or the illuminati, or, for some, Jay-Z. All of those aside, the pyramids are simply put, massive tombs. Legions of dead rest in some of them, buried with their Pharaoh, if my research was done correctly, they could have been buried alive beside their kings. A final attempt to reach the afterlife with their leader. The tombs are symbolic of their ascendance into the afterlife, perhaps becoming gods or supreme beings of one kind or another. The pyramids standing as a blister that shows the imagined importance of the meek human lying within, rotting slowly with each turn of season. The Ancient Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife, consider the structure of their mythology, the gods and how they interact with the living, the symbolism of their god of death, Anubis. Which out of the number of gods the Egyptians worshipped, seems to be one of the most popular in our lives today.

Humanity as a whole is obsessed with death.

Even in the time of Pharaohs, gods and goddesses, we have been fascinated with the possibility of death and what it is like. Why it occurs. When it happens. All of the aspects of death are impossible to obtain and then share to our information hungry society. So, many of us seek out answers through life that will satisfy our craving for the knowledge of death. We seek information and knowledge to dissolve the fear that every living, breathing being holds dearest to their hearts.

I tend not to believe those who say they are unafraid of death. I am not afraid of the afterlife, I am secure in my faith and belief. I believe I know what will come of me after I pass, but death itself, the act of passing to another realm, that terrifies me. Just like everyone else I seek out answers to satisfy and hide my fear deep within my heart.

I use these tactics by telling stories, by writing poetry, by creating music. On some deep level that I struggle with admitting, I do these things because I know that they will live longer than I will and I want what I’ve said to pass the test of time. In my own way, this blog is just one of many pyramids I am building. This blog, my novels, my relationships, my future, all of them are just tombs.

This idea, brings me to a particular Pharaoh, who I think on some level is just like you and I with more jewelry and gold trim. Amenhotep IV is regarded as the worst Pharaoh that ever ruled. Going so far as to erase names of previous rulers in favor of his own, taking the responsibility for actions he didn’t commit and I don’t mean that in the “Oh I totally stole your bike, I’ll return it.” When he obviously didn’t steal the bike.

Bicycles weren’t invented then.

The point is, more often than not I find myself thinking with the same mentality as our Amenhotep, I write the things I do because in some moments, behind a curtain where I can hide my face I begin to think I know more about life than I truly do. I have seen some horrific things in my lifetime. I have experienced a lot of death, the kind that is eternal. The death that gives you closure. I want the things that I write to stand out beyond the grip of death and give my friends that live beyond me, as well as everyone else I can touch a chance to see the world how I saw it.

This comes from the same place of desperation that our ego evolves from. Amenhotep built many things in his name, out of pride and arrogance. He wanted Egypt to worship him, even later changing his name to reflect that of a god in an effort to turn more eyes towards his false light.

I think we all do this, to one extent or another. I use my writing as a way to get people to look at me, there are so many other ways to do this, using job status, family name, wealth, looks, religion, political ideals. All of these things can turn a good leader into a terrible Pharaoh. I have spent my time as Amenhotep. I have seen the efforts of gilding my creations with my name and accolades instead of my deeds and purpose.

When Amenhotep passed away, he was buried and the succeeding line of Pharaohs spent years and years trying to undo what he had done. It’s a pretty stark reminder.

No matter how beautiful you think your world is to others, the status we keep, the money we make, the ideals we hold, none of them matter when it comes down to the wire and we are being carried into the necropolis by those that either loved us, or hated us in life. I asked myself this question the other day, and I want to pose it to you as well…

When they drop your body off beneath the pyramids you built, are those people going to leave talking about how amazing you were, how you helped those in need, how you offered a kind word or gesture to anyone who needed it, how you were the pillar for those in times of weakness, or will they spend their lives trying to erase all the damage you have caused?

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your pyramid is, one way or another tourists will show up, will the guide to your life explain how you lived with kindness and grace, or will the stories of your victories be followed by stories of greater victories by others for a greater purpose? Either way, the people will strip the gold and the limestone from the face of your pyramid and you will be none the wiser lying beneath it, dead and gone like the rest of us. Peacefully staring at the ceiling, all of the things we obtained here in this life meaningless to the clawing void of necropolis, a labyrinth for the dead.

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Darkest Before Dawn (Noose Ends)

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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.

So…

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!

www.linmtba.com