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

Debt Collectors

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Once, I had a close friend who told me that she didn’t owe the world anything. That she didn’t owe her father anything because she didn’t ask to be born. She didn’t owe her friends, her mother, her ex, her lovers anything. She never gave a reason to me though I asked. All she said was that she was so caught up believing that she had some debt to repay that it was giving her anxiety, so she thought long and hard and came to that realization.

I tried to understand but I just couldn’t seem to agree. I thought of her perspective, a teenager who had been enduring things beyond her on the best days. One day her opinion may change, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.

I’ve come head to head with many people who hold this same belief. They owe no explanation, no trust, no love or faith to anyone living. Their lives are their own and they are in complete control of them, they tell me.

Yet they come to me and other friends regularly telling of ways that they can’t seem to get a handle on the world they are living in. That it is all so complicated and so hard to understand. That so many things are always happening that it seems like they can’t keep their heads above water. That they lose purpose.

Another friend once asked me how I can get out of bed every day and go about my life. I lived at home for a long time, I worked a “dead end” job and my books weren’t selling. My YouTube channel was full with a cool 8 subscribers and my Twitter feed was a ghost town of advertisements and cries for book sales.

Why do I get out of bed every morning, you ask?

Because I have a debt to repay.

My mother and father didn’t consult me when it came to bringing me into this world. They didn’t prepare me for broken A/C units or credit card debt. They didn’t explain at first that life would swing a lot harder than any bully I had met in high school. They didn’t ask me if I wanted to be here, yet here I am.

I owe my parents everything.

In a universe that knows not who I am, a cosmic mosh pit that doesn’t know me from Adam, how can I get up every day knowing life is meaningless?

Because it isn’t.

Like many things in my life, I have held the philosophy that everything comes down to me. I create the world I am living in. If I hate the people I work with, it will be hell going to work every day. If I disrespect my parents, I won’t have a safety net when I need it. If I crush the dreams of my friends in the pursuit of mine, I will live in a golden castle atop a lonely country hillside.

What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t put this blameless mentality into our heads. This idea that we don’t owe the world anything makes our hearts hard. Don’t you think we have hardened our hearts enough? With the dichotomy in politics and the strained ideals of the everyday person that lives today, don’t you think it would be best if we were to take a slow breath and think to ourselves…

“What can I do to make this world better, safer, nicer, happier?”

Get away from the concept that everything is a debt to be repaid. It isn’t. On one hand you can say that you don’t owe anyone anything, on the other I’d say you owe your loved ones in the least, everything you have.

Each word I write, even the vulgarity, I owe to my mother for raising me to be talented.

Every nut and bolt I adjust in the engine of my truck I owe to my father for teaching me how to repair things.

Every burst of creativity is owed to my parents and my friends for being the fire beneath my feet that keeps me moving forward.

So, to answer the question, I get out of bed every morning because I have a tremendous debt to repay.

Each breath I take should be a labor of love and gratitude that even though I didn’t ask to be at this party, I was still invited and welcomed. I have found a nest with many people who love and appreciate me and I have found a purpose. I have created this nest for myself through my own hard work and my own dedication, but more than that I have created is because one day I know that someone will need my help. My wife, my child, my friends, it could be anyone, anywhere, for anything.

I don’t owe that person a damned thing, but I will give them whatever I can to help them along their way. They will owe me nothing in return, not because I don’t want debts repaid or favors returned, but because my life is going to be too short to try to keep a tally of all the things I’ve done or will do in it.

You may think that you owe no one anything, but you should do well to remember that no one owes you a thing either.

Not the parents who gave you clothing and shelter and food.

Not the teachers who tried their damnedest to educate you.

Not the employers who provide you with paychecks so you can feed your own family.

Not the countless people you cross day to day who don’t pillage your home or vehicle so that they can get ahead.

Life is not about accruing and paying off debt.

It is about doing things for one another, in kindness, without being asked and without expecting things in return, as so many people have done for you and I, we should do for the rest of them.

I hope that you forgive a debt today. I certainly know that I am.

After all, no one owes me anything.

www.linmtba.com

Living Suite

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I like music, do you?

Holy shit, The Darling Bones has been out for almost two full months now, you can pick it up on Amazon or at my website, the links are at the bottom of the page! 🙂

I’ve been a musician for almost as long as I’ve been an author. My passion for melody and verse is only conquered by my love of words. When I create new writings they are always, always accompanied by some kind of music. Spotify has become a staple in my life, as I use it to build writing playlists for every piece I create. The Darling Bones, Gold Rush and Coward all have one. As well as my current WIP Inkworks. (Check out the links if you want to see what inspired the writings.)

One of my favorite musical concepts is the suite. A suite is simply a group of short songs that are meant to play in succession. One after another, one of my favorites that has come out recently is on California based rapper Watsky’s latest album x Infinity, its called The Lovely Thing Suite. It details so many beautiful concepts and ideas with his signature wit and lyricism and every listen I consider my own life a bit more. The thing is, the suite isn’t one whole song. It also isn’t a group of separate songs. It is a whole piece that is separate and distinct but meant to come together and form one idea or concept or evoke a feeling as a unit.

I think our lives are like that, obviously, we can’t see into the future but you can see that wherever you are right now you might be feeling the lows. The blue and melancholy of a loss of life, I know a few people who are struggling with that now. Maybe you are feeling the green envy of someone else’s love life or relationship. I know some of those too. Maybe you’re bright red and angry. Maybe you’re purple and in love, yellow and happy. You’re feeling all of these things in this moment and it’s impossible for us to see ahead. We don’t get to skip tracks in our life, as much as it can be desired some days. We must listen to each piece through and through.

That comes with the highs, the beautiful crescendo of falling in love. The nails against a chalkboard sound that we hear when a friendship ends. The raging cacophony of drum blasts when we lose a job, or are forced to relocate. The nearly silent whisper of loneliness. Each of these things will play in our album and we have no way of knowing what is next. Today, I’m feeling heavy drums and bass as I bounce my head on the way to work. My job is good, my friends are good, my family is good, my God is good and I am happy today. Perhaps in two weeks something will happen, my track will end and I will move on to the next motion of the piece but that is such a joy to me. No matter how dark my future is, or yours is, we are still here singing with one another.

We are still here tying our nooses only to slip them around us and slice the threads.

Today, remember that not everyone will make it out of theirs. Some of us feel those beats and beatings more than others. Some of us don’t know how to dim the music, they don’t know when the song will end and that scares them.

It isn’t romantic, no. It breaks my heart.

For every morose melody you’ve heard this year, think of all the bright ones. The songs that played when you were out with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Or the songs that played when you took pride home with your paycheck. Think of the way the stars danced while you sat out with your friends smoking and drinking and listening to the music your lives create, one suite meeting another and creating a harmony that spilled new tunes into the milky sky.

Your song isn’t over yet, don’t let it end prematurely. Keep listening. Keep hearing the lyrics. Keep fighting for the next few minutes. Songs are much shorter than our lives will be, Our lives are much longer than the ropes that we can tie ourselves.

Don’t give up.

Keep singing.

The Darling Bones (Salt and Iron Productions)

The Darling Bones (Amazon)