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

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The Unkindness of Ravens

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This blog post took me a minute to write, I worked on it for a few hours, not sure how i should finish this year. Noose Ends has been a ride, so many highs and so many more lows, but I am here for the long term and I am not dead. I will not die. These things I write will last much longer than my heart will. I hope you carry them with the beat as it echoes into our future.

Snap your rope.

Snap your fishing wires.

Climb down from the chair and join us.

Live.

Have you ever had that feeling in your chest like someone tied a bunch of fishing line around your lungs and just kept pulling? You know, like there were no fish in the lake and they needed something to do with their free time?

It comes in waves of tension that wrap around your chest and tighten all of your muscles. It can get hard to breathe in these moments, it can be difficult to think. The world around us still spins and we are hit with a tight gripped kind of shellshock, centralized around our hearts.

This man and his fishing line can crawl out of any crack we aren’t watching, the things we forgot to do, the things we know that we shouldn’t. The things we haven’t thought of in years, he comes like a shadow and wraps his wire around us to squeeze unrelenting, robbing our lungs from air.

I’m talking, of course, about anxiety.

I generally don’t pinpoint specific feelings or ideas in this blog like anxiety specifically. I think we are more complex than a handful of medical terms that doctors use to describe our lives. I’ve been anxious about a million things lately. Peoples opinion of me, how things are going at a job I don’t work at any longer, I’ve been anxious about the things I’ve said like you wouldn’t believe. I want every word to come from my lips gilded and shining with some kind of wisdom beyond my own years and I don’t know how to produce it. I’ve struggled with it tirelessly for the last few weeks.

Which, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that I am not an anxious person. I’ve been nervous for upcoming projects and the like, but I’ve generally kept my shit together.

I realized that it’s been so bad because I’ve been thinking of the sick man with his fishing wire. I’ve been so focused on my anxiety that I am actively provoking it. Like I am summoning the wrinkly demon from the fissures of the jokes I’ve cracked. Like he will pull up next to me after sunset and climb out of his Cadillac with long legs, his fingers twisting wire and climb my stairs, to sit in my room and wait for me to find him crouched behind my bed.

I worry about things. How my relationships will unfold, how my books will sell, how my blog performs, how I will find my next paycheck and so on. I’ve come to realize something from all of this however, I don’t need to worry.

I might be followed daily by this tall monster, his fingers might threaten to wrap around my neck and strangle the love out of me, but he is not the only thing that has followed me to this place.

I have been graced by the presence of hundreds of ravens, carrying with them all manner of gifts for me. The broken brush I use to comb my hair, the little notes of love left to me in a sunflower field. They lift my clothes onto my shoulders, they drag my ankles to the floor and the pull the sun up from behind the mountains every morning. These ravens have followed my since the day I was born and they have not chosen to leave because of this man, this monster that thinks he can haunt me.

My head is filled with things more horrifying than he could ever place there, and when I realized that the monsters I created for my books and my stories are much more dangerous and devastating than he could ever be, that fishing line suddenly snapped. He still follows me, threatening me with his gangly presence and his sick, shriveled promises that my future will fall apart, that flowers will die and my house will be stolen from me, but I am no longer afraid of that.

I will build a new house out of the bones of broken ravens that have served me since I was born. I will create a new place to live from their thin ribs and I will shelter myself there. I will adorn the fear of love lost with their midnight feathers and remember that they were the things that brought that love to me in the first place, that the ravens were sent by something much more powerful than I am, and I will rest my eyes, knowing that this man can try to steal my house, my possessions, my happiness and my future, but he will not have these things. I am blessed beyond measure by these eternal ravens, I will revel in the glory that they show to me in small gifts every day.

This man may take everything he thinks possible, but he will never steal my home, which rests within my heart. He may take my things but he will never take my memories of them. He may steal my happiness, but he will never have my contentment. He may think he can steal my future, but he will find nothing there, because my future doesn’t exist yet. I am still building it, paving a road towards a new home, sunflowers in the front yard, a tall door that will greet me every evening, and an unkindness of ravens circling the world I have managed to build through all of the fear, doubt and worry. This man will not take me, and he will not take you either.

You may be surrounded by black ravens too, but they are your friends. They are your gift givers, all you need is to find them and focus on them. They will bring people, they will bring jobs and opportunities, they will bring the passion needed to build talents and they are sent from Something that knows much more than you or I ever will. So I will trust them.

They may be an unkindness, but they are filled with kindness and love, and I will rest within the nest they have gifted to me for as long as I live, keeping it wrapped up and secured with broken fishing wire as they laugh at the tall man below us on the ground, unable to steal the things that mean the most to us.

Check the website for news on Year Five! The official announcement will come on Tuesday Oct. 31st!

 

The Knot That Breaks (Noose Ends)

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I usually save this post for the end of October, but as I woke up from a nap this afternoon I decided I needed to say it now.

Keep holding on friends, Life is not Meant to be Awful.

I was laying on my bed this afternoon napping lazily through my day, I woke up at 7, played guitar, sang songs, watched Friends, wrote poetry and spent time admiring all of the beauty that God placed into my life.

I realized in all of this that I haven’t actually published a blog post in weeks.

Oops.

There is a part of me that wishes I could come to you with some story like, “oh, I’ve been so stressed and out of it, but this is how I got over it.”

But that isn’t the case. I’m much happier to come here and say I’ve forgotten to post my blog posts this month because I have been so happy just living and being around and writing. Enjoying my time on the Earth while I still have it.

I started Noose Ends in the darkest place I think I’ve ever been in. The whole world was on the verge of swallowing me. Sure, I had just published Mean Shadows, I was working through poetry, starting YouTube, working on music, my job was great, my friends and I were great, my roommates were great and so much about that time was great but I refused to just shut up and watch the magic of my world unfold.

I basked in the darkness, I let it surround me. Reveling in heartbreak and the unsure moments I feasted on like oozing fruit in a brass bowl, I sunk my fingers into the darkness and told the world that biting through it would make the rest of the world light.

Stop me, if you’ve heard this before. I know I’ve said it.

Mod Sun recently has been working on some new music and I’ve kept an eye on it, being as I am and connecting my own life to music, Movie, his last project sat with me in a deep and heavily emotional way. I poured over lyrics and concepts he mentioned and glued it to my life (As I clearly have a problem doing with my musical inspirations.)

Still, he’s been previewing this new song and one of the lines is…

“Grow through what you go through.”

I thought it pretty ironic that it came up after this year. So much has changed, friends are moving, more of us are settling down, things are moving sometimes too fast to keep a handle on. We are building our lives and we are still going through all the mud and the dirt, we are swinging from the rafters hand over hand like a jungle gym.

I started this year in darkness, lost, hoping that I could be some kind of light to you and that I would reflect whatever I cast out so that it would shine back on to me. So much has changed. So much has gotten better.

I was sitting outside of my apartment the other night looking at the sky, there were these huge tunderheads above me and rain was threatening to pour from space and cover the city. Later that day, when it did, I was thinking about the people I’ve met and the people I have had the chance to grow with. I was with someone and I was talking about painting sunsets, cleaning up the rings in the ocean and more. All of these things my mom and I had talked about Heaven.

I think, what is most beautiful about this year is that I have struggled to find a place, I have struggled to fight off the demons in my heart and my head. I have struggled to get my feet back on the ground. I have struggled to stop myself from choking.

Yet, here I am. The noose I tied, made out of the people in the city, the feelings that were returned to me broken, the shortcomings of my own creativity and goals, rejection letters and denied applications, poems that failed, a world that seemed out to get me slowly faded away as the snow melted this year.

I spent the whole summer thinking about what I need to get better.

I just didn’t see that it was right in front of me.

If you are where I was, hell, where I am, I’m not out of the darkness yet. I doubt I ever will be, but damn, if you feel these things, take a nap, watch some friends, eat some peanut butter cups and think about this.

The sky at sunset.

The way the moon shines red behind smoke like a big ruby.

The way your friends and loved ones laugh.

The way you’re still here.

There is beauty in that.

There is beauty in all of this.

We just have to stop looking at all the rotten fruit and appreciate the beautiful bowl it is sitting in, then we can remind ourselves to pluck it out and replace it with the good.

It is never too late. I promise you that.

Keep swinging, keep struggling, and keep focusing on the end goal. It is coming. I promise you that.

I promise you that.

www.linmtba.com

Training for The S-Class

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If you’re here from my YouTube channel I love you tons + Thank you so much for subscribing/following the blog + shit. I love what I get to do.

Recently one of my absolute favorite series came to an end: Fairy Tail.

So I’m going to talk about it for roughly the next 1200 words.

I started watching back in 2014 with my friends, it is a story about a group of wizards and their guild going on jobs, conquering challenges and growing their bonds with one another. As the seasons progressed like just about everything else in media the stakes rose and here we were in 2017 with the ultimate battle against the greatest evil in the world.

I won’t talk a lot about the plot or the course of the show. Questionable choices were made and it certainly wasn’t a story I would have written but I think I can appreciate it that much more because of that fact. See, when I write I do it to expel demons. There may be happy endings and there may be sad endings but at the end of the day I write to get out what is inside of my soul. Each word I put down corresponds with the way I am feeling at the time of writing. What you see most are the things I want to engrain here forever. The timeless messages that I am always learning. I put them in this public forum so that years from now I can look back on whatever year and remember the ups, the downs and the adventures I was having. I attempt to do so fondly.

That may not always be the case for me. Some things I’ve written have broken my own heart, especially a la The Darling Bones, they have come from a place of heartbreak.

Much of the media I consume mirrors that emotional spectrum. I feel things extraordinarily, I’ve been told. What I listen to and watch reflects those feelings. I can cry at the drop of a hat and I can laugh aloud with next to no provocation. I’ve spoken before about searching within my own writing to make my readers laugh and cry at the same time. There is something spectacular about feeling so joyful that you begin tearing up and giggling to yourself.

Fairy Tail gave me that feeling, reading through the last chapter of the manga I thought back on the ride it had taken me on. My friends and I joked about not caring for spoilers in the series as we were all at different parts because it was all about the ride. We wanted to enjoy the story we were being told.

Enjoy it I did, as I sat in my mother’s house at the end of last month and read the final chapter I began crying and laughing because all of these characters I had grown to love had finally come to the end of their journey. Their tasks were completed and they were able to rest. They accomplished dreams and they formed bonds that would last forever. They fell in love and they grew strong in their love for one another.

It takes a strong kind of magic for a creator like Hiro Mashima, the author, to grasp the attention of any one human and draw them into a world. Like so many people have felt with Harry Potter and friends I found myself invested and attached to so many characters from the story. All of whom I watched grow and change at a time in my life when I was growing and changing as well. By the end of the chapter I realized that I had gotten caught up in the technical aspects of the story like many, MANY people on the r/fairytail subreddit did. I had lost focus for just a moment, on what the story was truly about. I love when a tale can do this to me, rip me out of the fantasy world and sit me back down in reality to look at myself critically.

Therein lies the magic of creation. Every author or musician, painter or creator has this level of power within them, this real life magic that enables us to create something amazing and share a bond with others through it. I have surrounded myself with a league of men and women who do amazing things and there I have found my own guild, much like Fairy Tail.

I realized that the story wasn’t about the fights or the potential death toll. It wasn’t about the way the dragons vanished and the way the demons came to exist. Sure those things were important to the plot of the story but they weren’t what FT was about. I believe that we can put so much focus on defining plotlines and poking plot holes that we forget sometimes that these things were created by humans with imperfections like ourselves. We are just as much Natsu and Lucy as we are Zeref and Hades and even the same, we are still ourselves.

People consume characters that are real and tangible, and while there may not be a lot of reality to a 400 year old dragon slayer lighting a stadium on fire or a 90 year old man bringing his wrath down upon an enemy in the form of light, there is a real tangible desire within the characters.

Each of them, like you and me, are searching for a purpose and searching for someone to share that purpose in.

We are all looking for the next adventure, or the next moment to survive, but I think we are focusing too closely on the plot instead of trying to understand what our story is about.

I was created to do this. This writing, this creating. It courses through my blood and brain every moment I am awake. It is my calling. I can’t turn that off. I was given a level of compassion that sometimes I wish I could shut off, I am able to feel things like they are happening to me. I use these traits to further the plot of my own story, which is driven by my purpose for being.

Every day I am training. I am bettering myself and praying to better those around me with the same spell.

Today, don’t focus too much on the plot. Don’t concern yourself so severely with your next step. Don’t focus all of your effort on continuing forward. Instead, focus on your reason for being here. Why are you sitting at your desk reading this? What put you here? Was it me? Was it a friend? Was it curiosity or luck or happenstance? Whatever the reason, you have an engine behind your plot that is driving you. Find it. Harness it. Continue to pursue that purpose. Don’t fall into the technical bullshit about your battles and your plot.

I live today to be here for all of you. I live to write my books. My plot is just another job, just another meeting, just another period to sleep or shower. In all my down time however, I am training.

I am training because I am not the best I can be yet. I am still an A class wizard.

Soon, I will make it to S class and I want to see you there beside me.

Bonus love to you if you clicked all four of the creator links + subscribed. Tell em I love em, tell em they’re beautiful people.

Why Worry?

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Welcome to September, we are only one month away from the end of Noose Ends, I’d tell you I have something special planned if I did, but I don’t, I’m just out here working on this bridge, trying to make it the best one in the countryside.

I often think about my story through life, how I got from A to B, then to C, and here we are at R, or T, or whatever letter that would best explain where I’m at today. One of my favorite things for no real reason at all, is tracing where I’m at today back as far as I can. I work where I do because of The Fish, I worked at The Fish because of my friend Lukas, I met Lukas through Preston, I met Preston through Choir in high school etc.

Every moment in my life I can trace back to the beginning, I remember the hallmark moments that brought me to sit where I am today. When I think of things in this perspective all of the pressure to succeed and to keep pushing forward seems so much less significant, as if, perhaps I was meant to be here today.

Perhaps there is another Alva Tobias out there somewhere, perfectly painted and created to be a non-stop machine that can work without pause that can accept all manner of ridiculous emotional stress without batting an eye and can continue as if nothing happened.

Perhaps not, that isn’t how we were built.

A few years back I had a blog post in which I mentioned that God built us like trees, not machines. We are organic and sometimes we need to hibernate, otherwise we will wither. We are not a bunch of mechanical pieces that are strapped together for the purpose of production. We need rest, we need breaks.

I go on this rants pretty frequently about how important it is for us to remember where we came from and who we are today. To think hard about where we want to be.

The pressures that come from trying to live your dreams can be insurmountable at first glance, but look at you, you’re doing it without even thinking about it.

What I’m saying here is that I have a tendency to worry.

I worry about how my books sell, how many people see my blog and my YouTube videos and so on. There are some nights that I crawl into bed, exhausted just from the stress I gave myself from worrying about my business and my future. What is interesting to me in all of this, is that my future is happening right now. As I’m writing this, I am potentially cementing something in the future for myself, some kind of success or new opportunity I would not have had if I had not written this blog post. I do the same thing every single day at work, I speak to all kinds of people I may never see again, a handful of them have come in and made themselves at home with me and others will remember me for a while in the least.

Isn’t that the coolest shit?

Our lives are always building. We are always digging paths, building bridges and watering gardens we have planted with every new thing we do each day.

If you’re worried about your future today, I want to let you know, you don’t have to worry.

There might be another version of you out there somewhere, perfectly painted and created to be a non-stop machine that can work without pause and can accept all manner of ridiculous emotional stress without batting an eye, continuing as if nothing happened.

But probably not, that isn’t how we were built. That isn’t how we grow.

Take your stress and think about this:

You are standing in front of a wide river, the current is fast and you know that if you jump into it then you will be swept away. However, you need to get to the other side. Across that river, there is a city with a grocery store, so you can feed your family, or yourself. Within that city also lies your duty. You must pay the tab for keeping the land behind you, you must pay your taxes, you know that if you do not, someone will come along and take what is rightfully yours. You have a number of bills that must be paid, for lumber and metal that you purchased earlier so that you could extend your house a bit. To give yourself or your family more room. With you, you are wearing a heavy brown apron. Inside of it there is a handful of nails, a saw, and a hammer. Your carpentry tools jingle and smack against your thighs as you come to see that there is no bridge where you thought one would be.

What do you do?

Will you venture along the side of the river, looking for a bridge elsewhere, or will you turn to your right and begin cutting down the trees that are there beside you, so that you can get across in a timely manner. You have all of the skills, after all, you are a carpenter and you’ve built your own home.

Are you going to let others take that away from you while you wander along the banks of a rapid river, worrying about how you don’t know the next step?

Or are you going to make the next step yourself?

If you enjoyed this, I’d love if you shared it to Facebook/Twitter and just let your friends see it too. It would mean the world to me, maybe a few of us could meet up and get to building some cool stuff together.

Two Sides

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Thanks for all the fun this month! I’ll be back with another throwback this coming monday, and then a whole new set of rad blogs for you to feast your eye holes on.

From the Polar Bear King to you, live well.

It’s no secret that I don’t like the sun much.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I love the sun for what it is and what it does. I am forever appreciative that the being who designed me also considered putting a big ass lightbulb in the sky so I wouldn’t have to write in the dark all the time.

More specifically, it’s sunlight that I find frustrating. I don’t like the way it burns my eyes when I’ve been up all night and it thinks it can just shine through my windows and wake me up whenever it damn well pleases (generally early as balls in the morning.)

But I appreciate the sunlight for what it is.

It illuminates the darkness and it lights up our path. It helps the plants to grow, which allows the bees to fly about and do their business, which gives us a ton of fantastic stuff (chiefly among them honey, cause holy shit, honey is God’s food I promise you.)

Still, I prefer the night. I’m a bit of a vampire. I wake up when the sun is nearly set and I am rarely found in the daylight, once the moon is alive and singing above me however I come alive. The difference in my attitude and life between the night and day is nuts. I’ve grown accustomed to chugging out all of my work in the late hours, burning the midnight oil and waiting for the sun to rise before I retire to my nest.

Many of my friends are the opposite, they wake up at eight o clock sharp and pour themselves a steaming cup of coffee so that they can sing sings with the birds going out hunting for their children. These people and I are dramatically different in when we operate and how we live, but it doesn’t change that we are close.

As the day exists, it needs the night. Our earth would burn up if the sun was the only thing shining and we would freeze if our sun was always hiding.

Different as night and day, some of us can be. I have friends that are like daylight. Bright, eager and shining always. I have friends like myself that are the night time. Somber, joyful and calm. There is no correct way to show happiness.

If you are pleased with your life, if you are excited to be here, whether you are night or day, red or blue, white or black, creative or logical, I am so happy that you are here. Thank you for standing in this crowd nearby me. With all of these bright lights around, you’d think I would grow accustomed to the sun.

We spend so much time trying to put ourselves in hidden categories based on silly things. Politics, religion, ideals, sports teams.

I am a non-partisan Christian, who wants to be able to smoke pot every once and a while without being pigeonholed as a stoner and I also want to root for the Ravens and the Celtics. I also want to be with my friends who are Dodgers fans, who are atheists, who are liberal or conservative, who worship pasta and believe marijuana is the final nail in the successful man’s coffin.

I revel in the differences between you and I. I want to bring as much enjoyment out of that as I can. What is the point of having so many people around me if I can never learn from them? If all I did was slept and hid away in my room to write blog posts about the things I know too well, you’d stop reading and you wouldn’t care anymore. I don’t want that to happen. I’d much rather you and I sit down over a pint and talk shit about the World Series and communicate how we feel about Capitalism. Maybe we could spark something up, I don’t know. Incense, some 151. Whatever suits your fancy, I’m here to learn.

What I’m trying to get at here is that, I’m cool with everyone man. I’m tired of having people think I dislike them just because we are different. There’s no joy in hatred. Why would I waste my time with it? Everything I do serves a purpose, whether it’s standing outside on a rainy day or serving beer to the assholes at table 31 cause nobody else wanted them.

Night or Day, what is the difference?

Our lives are as long as they are short and I want to make every moment I can a party, with you. Were all experiencing this deal together, let’s have some fun, just a little bit differently.

www.linmtba.com