Show Your Fangs

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Welcome back to the blog, damn. I know I’ve been gone for a while. I was moving into my new place and it took me a while to get internet installed. If you caught the vlog last week, you know the deal. If not I’ll fill you in.

I’m starting off with saying sorry, I didn’t realize how much of a bummer i’ve been lately. Especially this year. I guess things got a little out of my control, I just kept saying “I’ve got it together” and didn’t ever write anything other than that. sooo…. this is the last one of those posts. I just wanted to clear the air a bit before we get going. The rest of this year is going to be much better, cause this whole world is at my fingertips. (The same goes for you, in case you didn’t know, friend.)

I love you guys, always remember, Life is not meant to be awful.

You want to know something beautiful?

You can smile, right now, no matter what is going on. You can peel your lips apart and let the whole world in front of you see your teeth.

That’s damn beautiful.

For those of you who have been keeping up, Noose Ends has been much different than my last few years of blogging. I’ve tried new things, I’ve experimented with poetry in ways I never have, and most importantly I have written differently this year than any of the three before it, which has been great for my creativity.

That’s great, how I’ve done it is no good.

As I wrote this blog post I began to recite to you the things you’ve heard a thousand countless times this year from me, about how I’ve been stressed or working hard with nothing new to show, about how life can feel big and scary and I know for a fact that If I continued writing it out I would’ve told all of you that “you can do it.” Or “you have the power.”

But I wouldn’t mean what I was saying. Not really, anyway.

I was looking back on my previous blog posts from this year, some of them pulled from the same inspiration I once found between two loaves of wheat bread I didn’t have to pay for.

Most of them, came from the darkness inside of me. They glorified the struggles and emphasized the defeat. I wanted to tell you I’m grumpy because of all the struggles and stress and all of that shit.

I was going to play back the ticker tape that I’ve let consume my whole of 2017.

What the hell, man?

You’ve heard all of this shit a million times, but I wanted to rehash it once more here for you because we all have these days. We all feel burdened and stressed and we all struggle. I’m here to tell you, man, you are not alone.

I’m right here with you.

Let me catch you up…

Moving into a new place has been nuts. The A/C unit is busted. My bills are expensive. I live upstairs.

(I have a roof over my head. No A/C has made me step out and enjoy the outside a bit more. I am blessed with a job that gives me money to pay my bills. I don’t have to worry about people stealing my stuff because its that much harder to get to.)

I’ve struggled with quitting smoking, going strong for almost forty days before falling off the wagon a day. Then getting on. Then getting off. Then getting on. Right now, I don’t know whether I’m on or off.

(As many times as I’ve stopped, I’ve started, but I’ve still stopped with the intentions in my mind. Addiction is overpowering, but there isn’t one person I know with more willpower than me. I will run out of excuses to smoke and one day, my lungs will thank me with bright pink breaths.)

I’ve been struggling with music and relearning how to do everything, frustrated that I can’t play like I used to.

(I’ve had to relearn some of my favorite tunes, but damn it felt so good to feel that “first” learned feeling again. I might not play like I used to, but relearning means I get to have a second shot at adjusting my bad habits and making them good ones.)

Work has been a lot to handle, bad reviews seem abundant, customer and employee complaints. Squabbles between coworkers. Some of my close coworkers leaving before I wanted them to.

(I am blessed with a job, for every bad review I’ve received I’ve gotten to talk and commune with six great customers who believe in the message I am trying to send. The complaints only get to me so that I can take them and make sure they get fixed in one way or another. I hate when people fight, but in watching the squabbles unfold I’ve realized the many ways that I can better myself as an employee, a person and as a friend. My coworkers might be gone but I am thankful for the time I got to spend with all of them. Memories have been made with those people that I couldn’t make with anyone else.)

I’ve been too out of touch to meditate, or read, or watch movies. I’ve fallen off of my gym routine almost in tandem with my smoking habit coming back on.

(Being that out of touch has allowed me a moment to step outside of my own head, it’s what allowed me to write this post. It taught me to make time for the small things that I enjoy thoroughly. My gym routine might be on and off, but it comes and goes like smoking. One day soon I’ll be in better health all around. There is nothing to worry about.)

I’ve clicked every button in my head to make me stop immediately snapping out at my friends and family and I always have a shitty grimace on my face. I live during the night and I sleep all day long. My sleep is becoming more important than my work.

In fact, I feel some days like everything is becoming more important than my work.

(This is the biggest one. My temper came from the mishandling of my emotions, but through it I’ve discovered that the way I began to handle problems was unhealthy. I felt as though I had worked them out but truly didn’t, meaning that they didn’t go away at all. I’ve learned through the grimacing that I have so many opportunities to just shut up and smile for a bit. The night air is refreshing, but sometimes I need to step out into the sun to be reminded that this life is a gift. The warmth of the sun is great at sending that message. I sleep more, which means I am more rested. When I am more rested, my mind works that much harder. The creativity hasn’t stopped flowing for days now.)

I grew selfish.

(So I gave.)

I grew needy.

(So I created.)

I became enamored with things that would not reflect my love.

(So I loved more things, with more passion.)

I grew unhappy.

(So I smiled.)

 

You aren’t alone in this, and I’m here to remind you of that. But it won’t be through this silly negative bubble that I’ve colluded within. No politician, no addiction, no stress, no damage will be enough to stain my smile.

Sometimes, that is all it takes.

Smile a little bit and the world will spin around for you. Especially when you are asked to smile. It helps a lot, I promise.

If you missed it, check out the Talking Floorboard post from this week Blessing of the Vampire here or @alvatobiasbooks on Instagram.

www.linmtba.com

Dark Days Ahead

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The other day I was at a restaurant I like to frequent with a couple of my good friends. We had embarked on this in depth conversation about religion, life, sexuality, misogyny, basically, if BuzzFeed has published a shitty halfcocked article about it in the last five years we likely had a discussion over it.

As the week passed and I considered what I would put into this post, I decided that I’d talk about that particular night and how I saw my own arrogance reflected in someone else.

We were talking about homosexuality when it happened. A couple weeks ago I was talking about sexuality with a handful of coworkers who, (sarcastically) asked if I was gay. I took it seriously and explained that no, I’m not gay, I just have standards so high that I think no living woman would meet them. I’m working on it.

That comment eventually evolved into talk about sexuality and what defines us in those terms when another friend said that she didn’t think so because I’m never even trying to date the women she sees me with.

Well, no. They are my friends.

It seems to me that we have forgotten the divide between friendship and romantics. Just because you have friends that are pretty girls does not mean you should constantly be willing to sleep with them. There’s no point in that. (Moving on, this isn’t the point.)

As we were talking about sexuality and romance, I was saying that I believe the gay marriage battle had gone on for way longer than it needed to. There were so many people who were so adamantly against it, vowing to never support or respect it and here they are after it had been made legal saying “oh, okay, I guess it’s fine.”

With the way some of these people fought against it you would think that they were going to war. If this was WWII, and Germany just trampled over your country and took it over would you just say “oh, okay, I guess that’s fine.”?

No. So that means that likely, you either decided it wasn’t worth the fight cause it doesn’t matter to you, or you decided that you really were okay with it. Either way, great.

See, people like to make assumptions. Most people when hearing the piece I just rattled off (or anything similar) will stop me at about halfway through to remind me that I am a *deep breath*

#bigotedmisogynisticwildlyhomophobicegoselfcentriczionistblackwizardmagehatefulbraggartchristiandragondildosalesmanfightingfortheadvancementofthetechnowarlockpopulationinassociationwiththeKKKwhitesupremacyandnazismbroughttoyouatthehandsofdonaldtrumpdicklotion.

Instead of hearing me out and letting me get through the statement they would just assume I am the worst version of a person they can think of in that moment. That moment, incidentally, is the moment that we fall off of the tightrope.

As I began my story, I was at this restaurant with my friends and the conversation had turned to homosexuality and gay marriage. I began a similar monologue (because that’s really most of what I say, unfortunately.) about how gay marriage was drug through the mud to keep us distracted by the other shit that was happening oin our government, same with the Trans bathroom deal. Neither of those things should really be the main focus of the Natl. Govt. yet here they were, keeping people out of bathrooms and stopping my coworker from getting married in Nevada. (Lest we forget this was happening while everyone in the executive branch was going through with shady war deals and blatantly lying to the public. Some things never change.)

I started of the midpoint of my professor-like lecture by saying “I think that the gay marriage debate was too played out. You are who you are, be who you are. I don’t have a problem with you…” But before I could finish my statement with “…just as long as you know what you want and are happy with yourself. I support your ability to choose, it doesn’t and will not affect me.” Fate dealt me a blow…

It seems that the full moon breached through a crack in the roof above me and shone onto my skin, provoking my transformation from Alva Tobias, the fun loving boy plagued by the desire to see people be happy and have fun to the gnarled, neck-haired beast. I transformed from myself and became what I fear the most…

 

A bigoted misogynistic, wildly homophobic, ego self-centric Zionist, black wizard hateful braggart Christian, dragon dildo salesman fighting for the advancement of the techno warlock population in association with the KKK, white supremacy, and Nazism, brought to you at the hands of Donald Trump dick lotion.

 

Thank god there was a fearless warrior there to save my friends from my homophobic toxicity that I was about to spew with VITRIOL out of my dumb face. There was a kind and graceful woman sitting behind us who had just so happened to bring her silver bullets that evening. She turned around and with nothing but grace and poise totally lost her DAMN MIND on me in the middle of the restaurant, saying that I needed to take the conversation elsewhere and that I don’t have consideration for other people in public and that what I was saying was horrible. Okay, I reasoned with myself, watching her heart bleed profusely. Maybe I was being loud, maybe they have a thing against gay people. I couldn’t be sure. I’ll be quieter.

“I should have you know, my grandson is gay.”

Oh no, she evidently doesn’t have a problem with gay people she is just CRAZY.

Afterwards, I let her know that if she was in a public place she should expect people to say things that she disagrees with, she should also perhaps listen to what people are saying, all of the conversation, before chiming in and letting her arrogance show. (Vividly.)

Not only was I pissed that she was trying to use her gay grandson as some kind of badge of honor, which is a whole other blog post to itself, but she was completely ignorant to what I was saying and evidently had no desire to be less ignorant about it.

Which is what brings me to this post today. My friends and I picked up, paid for the meals and left, laughing about the scenario after my adrenaline cooled off. (I was furious with her at the start there.)

Then I realized that she had fallen off of the tightrope long before I had run into her. She was plummeting to the bottom of an endless purple pit.

I have a question for you to ponder, about political ideals…

Have you ever taken two colors of ink, combined them and then tried to take those two mixed colors apart and return them to their original state? Like… perhaps, red and blue?

I’ve long held the belief that we shouldn’t strive to align completely with one side. I think we should look critically at all angels of any given spectrum, be it sexuality or politics, even religion. What I think we have run into is a mass of people trying desperately to separate the ink that they have let mix because now things are so polarized. It is either a trend to support trump, or a cardinal sin. It is either red or blue, there seems to be less and less common sense, less and less balance as the days go onward.

That breaks my heart. I would much rather all of us be purple and hanging on the tightrope together, rather than watching each other fall into the pit, our ending there easy to decipher.

An internet friend of mine named Clash summed up everything I’ve been thinking of in one quote last night, I’m going to paraphrase him here but his actual quote was much more succinct.

 

“The choice should not be blue or red. It should be liberty, or death.”

 

“The Darling Bones” is available now! For $10 you can pick up a copy from my website.

www.linmtba.com

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.

Universal Understanding (Poem)

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I was recently looking back on some of my previous blog posts, reminiscing on the blind happiness that I was once such a slave to. That isn’t to say it was a bad thing, not at all in fact. I was oblivious for a year or two to the horrible things that happen ever day but eventually I was worn down and couldn’t let my emotions be self contained. In a moment of weakness I broke down and afterwards I was filled to the brim with frustrations and self-doubt, worry about the world and all manner of other plagued thoughts. I forgot to focus on the simple things that I had built so much of my blog and business around. I know I like to spin the “blog + business” thing a ton, probably too much but it is so close to my heart. I need to reiterate it here every so often that GME + S+I are so damn important to me.

Because of that, I wrote Universal Understanding. A poem about not being shitty to one another, because I am working every day to remain focused on the good. To accept the evil in our world for what it is and fight against it every day. That’s what I started all of this for, I can’t give that up because it grows difficult.

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Third Law

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There are men and women in this world who are proficient in magic, in our world that can come across as so many different things. Have you met someone who is great at speaking? Like they just know exactly what to say and when to say it? How abbout people who create beautiful sculptures out of glass? Or art that takes your breath away or makes you feel things you can’t describe. We all have magic inside of us, some of it is natural and some of it may be artificial, but it is always here.

I am seeking my own magic, and through it I have found that there are a handful of laws that I must follow in my journey to truly uncover what my magic can really do.

This is the Third Law.

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