Feel Every Yard (BIG Announcement!)

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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.

Conversations With Machines

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“There are things in the twilight that trace the terraces of turmoil.”

“Did your father die, or was he artificially constructed?”

“You already knew the answer, why did you ask?”

 

Have you ever pondered things you already know the answers to? For example, things like how much time you spend a day, how long it will take you to fall asleep, when you will be off the clock at work, how long it will take to brush your teeth? How many lightbulbs are in your home, transistors in your computer?

Some of these things may be a mystery to you. I don’t know how many transistors are built into my PC, nor do I really need to in this moment.

I often come to my own headspace and question thinks I already know. Why I am continuing to write in an uphill climb some days, beating my brows out just to get words onto the page. I question some days why I get out of bed, it would be so much easier to stay, wouldn’t it?

Of course it would but that is not what we are alive for.

There will always be things we will never understand. In some cases, those things can even be our own motives and ideas. I urge you to consider the reasons you do things. The reason you think, act, move, work, all of them are instituted with great purpose. You breath carries a weight behind it more valuable than gold. So I pose the question today:

Do you know why you are here? If not, it isn’t something to fret over. I have many friends who don’t understand their purpose and don’t know what it is they were created for. All of us must find those things in our own time, with our own chosen path that we create.

It does us no good to speak to those without answers, we must instead learn from them. It is something I’ve come to find recently, even those who don’t know how to tell you the answer to your questions will, in the least, give a clue to finding it within the way they speak or act or move or work.

Have you ever watched a dancer go about their talent without a seeming care to the rest of the world? They could dance anywhere, a stage, their own living room or the crowded streets of New York City, and yet it would still draw your attention. There is beauty in the way they move their bodies. There is a certain grace in the way public speakers shape their lips. The way passionate people operate through the stormy waters of their chosen craft is always bleeding and pouring out magic from within.

Yet, here we are, wondering what we will do next. It isn’t something to be ashamed of. I often don’t know my next move, but I am regularly working on it, because I want the feeling I feel when watching a master craftsman or a mechanic, a sweet old lady knitting a scarf, or a DJ mixing tracks to be the same feeling I send to you with the way I write.

All of us have a passion within us, some rest it deep inside out of fear or anxiety or some other motive. Others have found theirs already and are building upon them, but I can tell you from experience, there is nothing to be gained from sitting in the corners of our homes with our hands folded across our chests wondering what our purpose is.

To some, your purpose may be to divine your purpose. To understand the world around you. Others may have story pent up within them, others contain art, engineering talent, mathematics, or more. None of those things will flourish when we sit alone and wonder what to do.

The quotes at the top of this post exemplify that. I chose, as an example to have a short conversation with Cleverbot online. I wanted to give a true definition to what it is like when we answer our own questions. All three of those responses made less than no sense in accordance with the conversation, yet the bot continued it. It is a lot like that inside my own head sometimes.

I like to ask myself things, I like to wonder and I love to question, but I would be nowhere if it weren’t for the plethora of other people in my life who willingly spar words with me and question my motives. I would be nowhere without the existence of you, my friends, my family, and the numerous people on this earth who seek to challenge my way of thinking. I became a writer for all of these people and through doing so I have come to understand my passion, my purpose for life, no matter how difficult things get.

If I had spent all of my time alone, in my own mind even in a public setting I would not have reached this place and I would not be working every day to move forward to a new place. This of course, is a silly notion in itself. We are forced into social interaction at almost all hours we are not pent up at home, so this week, what I’m saying, is go outside.

Stop talking to computers or video games or books or yourself. Spend some time with your friends, enjoy dinner, and enjoy life together.

Stop talking to machines.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

All things will come in time.

 

“Pacing hallways back and forth, asking yourself questions you already have the answers to. In the end, stumbling upon something found that was never lost at all.”

Thank you for stopping by! If you like it, check it out, feel free to tell your friends and share the post. It really helps me out and I’d love you for it!

For more, you can always pick up a copy of the compilations I release at the end of every year! You can find all of them on Amazon right now for $8! If you’re in the mood to pick up some new sweaters for the cold January coming, my store on Teespring has just what you need! Batches print every 3 days, so the stock will never run out.

(One more.) If you’re interested, I have been working on Youtube under the name Dyzygy, Go check it out if you’re into video games and inappropriate comments about them.

Small Things

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So as you likely have noticed, I’ve been absent for a few days. I apologize for that. I needed to get my shit together, I needed to have a talk with the gentleman in this blog post, evidently.

As for the business front, some things will be changing and most things will be staying the same. I’ll be putting up the first official Vlog next weekend, as well as beginning Spoooky Saturday and Dyzygy + Friends.

Oh yeah, I HAVE A NOVEL COMING OUT THE 21ST.

There is this guy that comes into my work all the time, he and his mother order the same thing each day and they show up early, his mom pays for it and he waits around to pick it up from us. While he waits he will walk around the restaurant, speaking to random customers and telling them stories.

The way he busts into stories astounds even me, and I can Segway into just about anything. He just walks up to you and starts talking like you weren’t doing anything else just before he showed up. It’s like a phantom confidence that surrounds the dude that he just knows you’ll pay attention to him when he walks up to you, and if you decide not to pay any attention to him he doesn’t care he will just walk off and find someone who will.

He was shot in the head when he was younger.

I don’t have all of the details despite hearing the story a couple times a week, and it isn’t any of my business to repeat to you. But that is why he is the way he is, he lost sight in one eye and his mind doesn’t seem to function like the rest of our minds do. So he tells stories, it’s usually one of three. A kid he knew back when he was still in school, the bumper sticker on his mom’s car and how he got shot. Some of the people I work with are really bothered by how he is, that he has no social graces and doesn’t care about what we are doing when he wants to talk to us. A couple of the employees make it a point to speak to him every time he is in, because they know that he probably just wants to talk to us cause he wants to talk to us. I don’t know why he tells the same stories every single time he sees us, but it’s been a nice wake up call.

You know when you start behaving one way and you eventually get into a routine even though it’s a poisonous routine and should just not be that way ever but still are? I’ve been there. I have been having a back and forth battle with myself between letting my jaded and cynical side prevail or continuing the toothache fight that is being sweet and gentle all the time. (Spoiler alert: Cynicism is winning.)

Then the other day when I was working, just before going out of Elko for a friend’s birthday camping trip he came in and wandered around just like he always does. He spoke to a handful of tables, one older woman in particular looked especially incensed that he bothered her meal, to that I hope she knows she can get bent. Then after a while he came up to me at the bar and told me about his injury once more. I nodded along at the perfect cues and said “Wow, that’s crazy.” Like I do every other time.

There was nothing especially different about that day, I woke up late after spending time with my friends the previous day. I finished the edit for another book, I went to work and I set my sights on making it through another day without a cigarette and hopefully without a meltdown, but I realized how shitty I treated the guy.

Not so much that he knows I treat him shitty either, it is in how I react to him entering the building. I see him and know that he will tell me one of three stories that I’ve heard a million times and I have memorized how he tells them so that I can nod when he gets to a specific place and the nod is timed so well that it urges him on. Then after he finishes showing me a scar I’ll say “Oh my goodness. That’s crazy.” Then if his food isn’t finished he will go on to tell me about his mom’s bumper sticker and how much he loves her sense of humor. At first I would truly laugh when he spoke and anymore I just force a fake chuckle and say “Boy that really is funny!”

A week or so ago a new girl started, on her third day she said something to me that stuck with me. I was giving someone shit behind the bar and making a joke about how the restaurant was a prison and we would all die there. (You know, cause I’m light-hearted.) and she looked at me to say:

“I thought I was the most cynical person in this town and I’m surprised I’ve been proven wrong.”

I wanted to argue, but she was right. I knew she was right when our friend came into the restaurant and told me his story again and I replied again just like every other time I have. I made it a point to repeat myself and make sure that I didn’t give any possibility for expanding conversation.

What?

I felt like one of the guards in Skyrim with limited options for conversation. The adventurer came up to me and all I just repeated the same shit a million times.

“I took an arrow to the knee.”

“Oh my goodness that’s crazy!”

It likely wouldn’t bother me so much if the girl who called me out for my cynicism wasn’t such good friends with an old co-worker who used to praise me and marvel at my genuine kindness.  I wonder if it disappeared when I failed one too many of my own tests. Maybe I lost it in the grandiose plans I make. Maybe I lost it with my free time. I think the most likely problem that I’ve begun facing is that I am constantly eye to eye with drama and power hungry dragons that I’ve given up on fighting. It isn’t like I lost the sword, it is like the sword isn’t there anymore.

What I’m saying through eighty million veils is that our regular lasagna guy came in the other day and helped me find the handle. I realized how important it was that I would always tell myself that each day I wake up was a gift. It had been so long since I really heard that, that it shocked me to hear it once again. He always mumbles something under his breath in between his stories when he is wandering around the restaurant. Like most people, I tuned it out. I stopped listening after he exited his story because my life is just “too busy” for him. I don’t have forty seconds to take out of my day and humor a man whose life was changed dramatically. He came in again and was speaking with one of my other coworkers, a girl who found her passion in working with the disabled and handicapped. I was half listening to their conversation when the magic hit me again. He was mumbling to her and as always I was ignoring it, then, unlike myself she truly responded to him.

“Yeah, it is a great thing to wake up every day.”

She said it and for a second everything stopped. The people stopped moving, glasses stopped clinking, the clock stopped ticking for five seconds. I needed that five seconds to remember that.

Holy shit. I woke up today.

What am I being such a grumpy bitch for? I’m still alive. I have a job that I enjoy. I get to do my passion every day. I don’t want for any single thing in this world and I’m still trying to justify being a mean little bastard all the time?

Life is a lot of big things. Job changes that make you relocate, marriage, divorce, childbirth, the passing of our loved ones, the birthday celebrations that mean a lot, the advent of beginning your career. There are so many big moments that we focus on to make our lives. I had been waiting for six months to win a competition that as it turns out, I didn’t even get an honorable mention in. I was furious at first, because I thought I deserved it. It would have been one of those big, life changing moments, but I failed. I spent a day or so moping about my house frustrated by how unfair the world is. Then I went to work and saw the guy again.

All this time I was ignoring the thing I needed to be reminded of the most.

“Every day I wake up is a blessing.”

Even if I’m not where I want to be, even if I don’t have a handle on things like I thought I would at this point, even if I come home sometimes absolutely furious about my work life, even if I bicker with my friends, even if most of my meals are crammed into my jaws in the midst of a busy shift, even if I have to curl up in the fetal position to lie in my bed and not hang off… I am here still. I can still do what I love. I still have a job. I have friends who care about me enough to tell me I’m wrong. I can still eat whenever I want to. I still have a bed to lie down to sleep in and tell myself that “everything is just so unfair.” And in the morning I can wake up and remind myself for the millionth time (because I need to often.) that yes, the world is unfair. Unfairness means that probability is slighted against us, and in that, it is absolutely unfair, but it is not unfair to us, not like we think. It is unfair to the universe. The chance of us even existing at all is so tiny we couldn’t comprehend it. I can’t claim to hate anything, because I was created, I was gifted life in the massive galactic mess and I can never one time take that for granted. Our lives are built up because of the small things we encounter day to day, not the big things that can change us forever.

I woke up today, and it is a good day.

Heebeegeebeez

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I travel every so often, as it has been one of my favorite past times for years. I love the feeling of being on the open road with a vague destination or even with the intent to do something specific. I like to drive and sing along to various songs or talk to myself and form solid plot lines or whatever I might need to do for my books that day. The concept of travel hits home. I like it so much because it affords me a kind of freedom I don’t have in my everyday life. I constantly have to get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner.

It is as if our lives run on a never ending cycle of tasks we have yet to accomplish. It grows tiresome, I’d be lying if I said I still enjoyed eating all the time. At this point most of the food I consume is just another bundle of nutrients I need to ingest so I don’t die. (Which is a sad thing for me to say in and of itself, but I’ll get to that in another post.)

Still, when travelling, especially if you have no intended destination you will find some small gems. Wandering around in SLC before my book meeting I stumbled across a comic store called Heebeegeebeez, which over the course of the next couple days I visited almost every location they had in the valley. The owners/employees, whoever the hell they were just so happened to be the coolest bunch of people I had met in a card shop. So I purchased some cards, played in a tournament and killed hours.

After the tournament ended and my friends and myself came out on the stiff bottom of the bracket we climbed into the car at six in the morning to make it back to the hotel before we needed to be up the following day to actually go do things.

This blog post isn’t so much about the Heebee’s, it is much more about the comradery you can find in the most unlikely places and the bonds you form with your friends.

I’ve met a ton of people who find some kind of misaligned pride in the fact that they have no friends. I don’t understand it, like trying to teach ethics to a machine their words just jumble around inside of my head.

“What do you mean you’d rather be alone?”

I get it, trust me. If it was just that these people wanted to be alone I’d understand but when they say it in conjunction with “I don’t have friends.” I wanna give em a big ass hug. How could you go through your life not finding a bond with someone? I promise you that not every person in the world is awful and will make you want to shrivel up and explode. Some people, most people, in fact carry so many wonderful traits. Each of my friends, those who went with me on the trip + those who did not are my friends for a reason.

This trip to SLC was capped off by a sorrowful experience, I attended a service for my late cousin Heather, who was found off of a hiking trail, dead. I’ve been over funerals, you now how boldly I look at death. I am not scared by it. The things that bring fear to me are much more alive, much more tangible. Death is of no concern to me anymore. He has visited my life so frequently that he has lost his sting.

Still, it gets kind of rough seeing my family members all the time under such dreaded circumstances. Especially afterwards when I can look at my cousins and my aunts and uncles and know that my kids won’t have those things. I used to be worried for a long time that my kids wouldn’t have any aunts or uncles to visit, they would meet no cousins and they would have nowhere to go for family visits save to see their grandparents. (unless my wife isn’t an only child but we aren’t talking about that right now.)

I have that thought once again every time I meet with my extended family. My mom will take some time to tell me stories about who is who if someone is around that I don’t recognize, she’ll tell me about my aunts and uncles and all the fun (or drama) she had with her siblings. I didn’t really have an answer to the frustration that brought me until earlier this year as I was sitting inside the car at 6 A.M. with some of my best friends in the world, driving back from a Magic tournament and dead tired.

I thought that I was an only child, despite that my mom calls all of my friends “her kids.” That was a nickname given out of love for them and me, that didn’t mean much. But I realized why she truly does it when one of my friends was whining about being tired and angry. We had passed this silver chevy on the highway and were still fifteen minutes from the hotel and he looked at the roof of the car before slapping his hand to his face and he said:

“If I don’t go to sleep before the sun rises I am going to be an asshole all day.”

I looked out the passenger side of my car and saw the light from the sun reaching up over the mountains and smirked.

“Well, the sun isn’t up yet. You have some time.”

We drove back to the hotel and got to our room. I stayed behind for a bit to stand outside in the cold for five to seven minutes while the others went to their rooms. I felt the stack of cards in my pocket and smiled as the sun was rising on the valley.

Just as it had a million times before, but I was there to experience it.

I stayed down in the parking lot until the sun revealed itself in its entirety from behind the mountains and couldn’t help but smile at my life.

Damn it I have it good.

I was fearing the service and meeting up with my family under bad circumstances once more, but there I was, ready to face things head on. I knew, even if it took me a while to understand it, that my kids would have cousins and uncles in the very least.

Because as I watched the sun rise on the day we were set to go see Coheed, having just returned from a tournament at Heebeegeebeez, I realized that in all of my friends, I had brothers.

www.linmtba.com

 

Expensive Conversations

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This week on the blog, I’m talking about the Raiders + Saying things we don’t mean.

Working as a server for the past few years has taught me a handful of things. Sometimes people leave important things lying around like driver’s licenses and wallets. Sometimes people are unfaithful in the clear of day, but their significant other is blind to it because of the love that they have for the bastard. Sometimes you see kids that brighten your whole outlook on the day, and sometimes you are given gifts from your customers, be that in a kind word, a gift card or a massive tip, the people we see and speak to every day can mold and change us. My entire day can be ruined (because I let it) by a customer who treats me like dirt. The same can happen in reverse when someone genuinely kind comes into my care at the restaurant. Working through as many parties as I have I’ve come to learn that it is easy for many people to stack up mountainous bills on all of the alcohol and appetizers that they purchase. The shock comes when they get their bill to see that it was $300 in liquor alone.

I have also had the chance to talk to so many people through this industry. I started working as a dishwasher and climbed my way out of that position in order to be a chef or a server. I was given a choice between the two at my previous job, and I picked serving for the sake of talking to people, for studying how we interact with one another and using that for my writing.

Today, I’m going to be talking about that and giving you all something that I have recently learned in my position that I hadn’t noticed as much before.

People talk, a lot. As if all of the silly things we think have to be ripped out of our minds and through our lips regardless of the scenario. I have served a handful of tables where my customers had no filter. They just kept going. Opening their mouths and letting whatever was on their mind drip out and spill across the table for the rest of their company to slurp up from the lacquered wooden surface.

My friends and I have done this plenty as well, one time that I recall recently a few of us were at the restaurant and talking about the Raiders transferring to Nevada. None of us were Raiders fans and I like to poke fun at my friends who are. So I did just that, talking about how terrible of a team they were and so on. This older guy sitting at the other end of the bar listened to us ramble on about something we didn’t really know that much about and I asked him after noticing his Raiders hat, “How do you feel about the Raiders moving to Nevada?” He told my friends and I that we need to learn the history of the team. That was about it. I recently got around to actually looking up the history of the Raiders and found so many interesting notes and things I never knew about the team.

I think what that guy said to us that day kind of stuck with me for that reason. We were blathering on about something we didn’t understand. Content to mock something and talk down to the fans of something we just didn’t get. Our banter started out as playful jabs at our friends for being fans of the team but it evolved somewhere in the midst of the conversation to shit talking all Raiders fans. Especially from my end. This old Raiders fan stepped in as a pissed off guru and shut me up for a while.

We all have a tendency to do that, too. I’ve noticed it so much more since that day. We like to talk shit, we like to talk at all. The majority of us like to hear the sound of our own voices. So we open our mouths and let the words slip out without paying attention to what we are saying. That is a dangerous game to play, because we can so easily hurt those close to us or worse, total strangers.

I don’t mean joking about football teams, or even really shit talking teams. I mean the others tuff. Politics. Abortions, religion. Our core belief systems and ideals that we swing around like weapons can so frequently hurt those nearest us. In some cases, while it may be more rare, it can hurt those we don’t even know.

“If all those guys think that, maybe it’s true.” Etc.

Obviously this isn’t always the case but still, I learned that day that I need to be more certain about the things that I say. Especially in public. I never know who is listening. Even if it is about something trivial like football, to some people that may be the thing they love more than anything else in the world.

The words we use carry a weight that we don’t understand and we so easily slip our strong opinions into everything with a crass mentality. I do it, you’ve likely done it. There isn’t a person I know who has gone about their lives with limitless tact. It is just part of a larger learning process.

When we party in the real world, we should be sure to regularly check our bill. I hate getting a large bill and wind up paying heavily for something I only enjoyed for a few hours.

 

Mean Shadows here!

Where is Everybody?

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The last blog post for this month… It’s been wile for me, but I’m getting everything under control. February has some cool stuff in line. Don’t forget to check out http://www.linmtba.com for the updated Blog release schedule! (And the YouTube release schedule, if you’re into that. New vlog every Saturday!)

I recently found myself at the business end of a plate of Chow Mein, talking to my mother about life. I remarked to her about my week and the way things had been going for me recently, the stress built up over days of work I didn’t get completely finished. Moving out of my apartment. Hoping that a better job would fall into my lap and I would somehow make all of these plans I have come to fruition.

In short, I was dumb stressed.

I looked at that stress and forced it to take a back seat when I went to work that evening. I ended up on shift with someone who I was not exactly a huge fan of. This person and I didn’t have any inherent fights or squabbles between each other, I just didn’t get along with her. How she feels about me, I was not exactly sure. We worked, and did our thing and I found myself in a sour mood from the conversation topics earlier in the day. I allowed that frustration to fester inside me and I ended up showing it through my grimaced face with the words I was saying to coworkers. Still I continued feeding into that same anger even though I have full control and the ability to stop it and shut it down at any time.

I ended up leaving work still frustrated, and coming home to the same apartment I haven’t finished packing and cleaning. I sat at the same desk I didn’t get any work done at, and I let this blog post spin around in my mind as if the twirling of the concept would somehow materialize into an idea.

Then, a thought hit me. What if I were to be abducted by aliens right at that moment? What if a big saucer hovered above my chair and sucked me into the high tech marble headed Frisbee and carried me to space. When I got over the initial shock of the reality that if it did happen, I would quickly be receiving a cold metal rod, or worse, an alien finger inside my body in a way I was not prepared for (according to everyone that lives in New Mexico.) Then, afterwards, I realized that I would be considered dead. Like one of those old alien abduction movies. I would become some kind of Martian pin cushion for months and my friends and family would wonder what happened to me or where I went. This thought led me down a dark path and I began to wonder what would happen if every person I disagreed with vanished into the sky to get their colons plunged by a talking dog from Jupiter. I rejoiced in the concept and when my mind came back to earth I looked at myself in the mirror, kind of shocked at my pattern of thought.

The reason I told you this ridiculous story about sodomistic aliens, is because I was rooting around for something more important to talk about today.

Have you ever heard of the Fermi Paradox?

If you haven’t, it basically states the question “Where is Everybody?” to go into more depth for you…

Two physicists by the names Enrico Fermi and Michael H. Hart posed a question that exists as a paradox. It states that given the probability that there are other stars like our sun, if there are other stars like our sun, there is a good chance there are more planets like Earth. If there are more planets like Earth, there are other civilizations that exist elsewhere. If there are other civilizations, because their galaxies are older, chances are good that they are older as well. If they are older, they could have developed interstellar travel. If they developed interstellar travel, considering the size of our own universe, it could be traversed in a few million years. So, Fermi posed the question “Where is Everybody?”

The probability of other Earth-like planets that exist and harbor true life versus the amount of extra-terrestrials that haven’t visited Earth became a paradox. Basically, if there are so many other houses in our neighborhood, why have none of those home-owners welcomed us to the neighborhood?

I pondered this as I sat in my office, blank walls surrounding me, my PC humming quietly in the background as I came out of my fifteen minute walk through a Richard Gere + H.G. Wells fusion wet dream.

When I’m working hard, I go out every couple hours to smoke a cigarette and think. When I’m out, on a clear night I like to look at the stars. It has been a favorite past time of mine since I was a boy who hunter for falling meteors in the night time brilliance with my father.

Through the haze of smoke, I peer into the monolithic, incomprehensible vastness above me and consider the Fermi Paradox. I wonder why we haven’t been visited by E.T. life, but more than that, I wonder how much I reflect that paradox.

If I exist, and others exist, why is it that no one seems to connect with me the way that I connect with them? Sure, I’ve had the one off meeting with someone. The girl who stopped talking to me because she was afraid that her dad would hate me. The kid in college that started doing meth and rotted his brain out of his foolish skull. The boss who disappeared into the back hide of the countryside who I haven’t seen in years. I’ve had connections. I have experienced that magic of being united with someone else’s mind who vibrates in sync with the rattle inside my head that is constantly screaming “Writing!” “YouTube!” “Poems!” “Music!” “Cooking!” “Don’t be a dick!”

My friends and I are close too, but I often find myself wondering if they truly understand how much my work and my novels mean to me. Then, As I was out smoking while trying to figure out what to write next, I found myself thinking back to my coworker. The one I don’t care for.

I have done nothing but let my lips spew poison when I have been around them, when I see them, talk about them, what have you, I am always evil in the way I reference them. They did nothing to deserve that. They didn’t provoke that toxic mentality with their actions toward me. It came when I began to assume that I understood them. It came when I heard rumors, listened to my friends tell unflattering stories about them, listened to stories from people who have allegedly slept with them. I took so much of it at the value of the rumor and never looked beyond that. It was as if I was Earth, who had been begging the question “Where is Everybody?” and yet I failed to see the signs that no one even wanted to come here in the first place.

We are racked with war and dissention among companions. We are narcissistic and poisonous. We are destroying the very world we live and work on without a second thought. And I understood then, that I am just like Earth on my best day.

I am racked with war. Inside myself I battle every day to understand why I do so much, to fight one way or another, to work or to relax with the people I love because I know they haven’t seen me in days. I am filled to the brim with poisonous dissention for my fellow peers. One decision I deem unworthy and they are suddenly not worth my time. I let them die inside of my mind and that is it. I am destroying the very world I am working to build. It is as if I have been duplicated at the waist, crawling along the sidewalk I hope to build for others and give them a path through the darkness of life, but behind me there is my other half, spreading tacks on the wet concrete and breaking the stones that line my words. I realized in the stars the other day that the reason it feels as if no one has come to my house-warming party, is because the house I built was destroyed by the other half of me as I laid the foundation. Besides, if I had erected a house with the tools I was using then, it wouldn’t have been a warm house anyway.

If you like this, make sure to tell your friends about your alien brain. Especially if it helped you in some way. Some days all it takes is rebuilding your house a bit.

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Haunted Generations

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Christmas is almost here! I hope you are all having a wonderful time. I’m still getting over this sick business that decided to set up shop last week. My Christmas celebrations will likely be really laid back. I hope that you all have the most wonderful celebrations that you could have, regardless of the holidays you are celebrating. Only a couple more posts for this year that I am excited to bring to you.

We are close to a tribe of people who we are supposed to love and cherish, daughters and fathers, sisters, cousins. It has been on my mind a lot lately, the idea of a family. That my mother and father are my whole world and that my grandparents were the world to them. The bonds that we find with our family seem so strong, but can be so quickly severed. Those cuts may come quickly, but they are certainly not painless. I still have some people in my life who I will sucker punch should I see them again.

Growing up, I think we have this great picture of our extended family that is painted for us. Fearful to reveal the horrors of the world to the children, the adults painted a picture of peace and happiness with us. Some friends of mine didn’t even get that luxury. Their life at home was strife and worry and sadness always. I want you to know that you are not alone in it. Every family has secrets.

At the beginning of December, I went on a trip with my mother and grandmother to visit some family across the country. As we went and I met these people for the second time feeling as if it was the first, I heard all kinds of stories. My mom took me around in Kansas and showed me where my great grandma once lived and where I played as a park when I was a young pup. I watched as one of my relatives lit a cigarette right next to his oxygen tank and panicked briefly, afraid it was going to blow up. After the fourth or fifth cigarette, I was less worried about dying.

I heard stories from my family that I thought I would never hear. Things that would be hard to believe even if I had written about them. I came to smile and laugh with them when my mind was in the conversation and sit back in awe of their lives when it wasn’t. This trip was the echoing voice in the back of my head, whispering that the world around me is not what I believe it to be. That I have a lot of work to do. Hearing stories of bitterness and greed and tall tales galore from these people I have only met once before rang a bell in my head.

All families have their secrets. All families have things that never see the light of day.

Mine is not excluded from that, but as my mom came to pick me up from the airport in SLC and take me to a convenience store for some snacks, I fell into a pensive mood. We talked about the trip and our plans to leave the following morning and I recollected all of the things I had experienced from my family on the trip. My mind spun back to my father’s side of the family, who have grown tense as the years passed from my grandparents deaths. I remembered the conversations, the faces, the things said to my father. I remember the stories that my grandparents told and I remembered all of the things that I don’t think I was supposed to know when I did. All the stories I was told perhaps a bit too young.

Then I thought of my friends. Some of whom I had been growing tiresome of. My mind was getting tired of the antics and this or that about them, and as I slapped a frosted red velvet cookie on the counter and asked the cashier for a pack of smokes, I thought of one friend in particular, watching his family go through what my family had gone through a few years back.

The only difference is that his family was much closer than mine was. So the struggle hurts him and I can see it. It brought the conversation into my head as we drove home and I grabbed my things from the car and entered the hotel room. Family is difficult, it is confusing, but there is always hope.

I say something often, because I enjoy the way it sounds. An old saying that has been mutilated to mean something different.

“The blood of bond is thicker than the water of the womb.”

Meaning, the family that you choose is more important than the family you are born into. You can choose the family you were born into as well, and I have, but I took a deep breath as I remembered I chose every single person in my life today.

I chose them all, despite their demons and their monsters, because no matter who you are, or where you come from…

Every family can be haunted, even if only by a few spirits.

Today is the LAST DAY to preorder MEan Shadows and get the super rad bookmarks that come with the book! It releases TOMORROW MORNING + I hope that all of you have your copies snagged. You can find them here.

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