… to clean off my shoes.
… to clean off my shoes.
We set out daily to accomplish task after task, get back home and rest. I once heard someone say to those who constantly wait for the weekend, they are abandoning 5/7ths of their lives. I have found myself caught up in the grind of weekdays consisting of mind numbing work, only for me to return home and do the thing I wanted to do. I make it a point to find work in my day to day life that is not going to numb my mind. If I let the blade dull for a moment, it will take me much longer to regain the sharpness that I had lost. My mind is always moving and because of that, sometimes even exciting tasks become dull to my senses.
I don’t mean this only within the guidelines of a workforce either. This happens within personal relationships and our passions too. Sometimes we pile so much onto ourselves that all the noise becomes mind numbing. Each task is just something we need to get done. I feel this way about food now, which is a shame to me because cooking has been a passion of mine for years. I focused so intently on my work and my job that eating regularly was kind of swept to the side. I just looked at each new plate as another pile of nourishment that I needed to consume so that I wouldn’t die. Eating became a dull task, and I instinctively remove dull tasks from my life, so I would forget to eat. I still regularly forget to eat because I don’t think about it, but it is not because I have forgotten the value or the importance of a home cooked meal, it’s simply because my mind is focused on other things nearly all the time.
When this happens, when we are drowning in our own projects or ideas we can grow weary and lose sight of our goals. Everything comes across as static to me when I am overwhelmed, or bored. Either extreme feeds me nothing. The weight of having innumerable tasks to complete bears down on me so much that the pressure suffocates me, and the vast emptiness of boredom on the other side saps all of the focus from me and I end up sitting in my chair staring at my computer wondering what to do. I spend so much time swinging between these two extremes that it begins to wear on me and I have to force myself to start over and get back on track.
I feel this so powerfully in moments between swings. When the pendulum is just close enough to solid ground for me to hear the noise of the homes, the oven timer, the alarm clocks and the radio below me before I am ripped back up to mind numbing boredom or blistering work routines.
In those short moments I would hear a dripping coming from the radio, a radio that I purchased to listen to my own thoughts and my own ideas in return. It is an introspective piece of me that I left behind as tremors rocked my home and set me off on this back and forth pattern. I am either writing thousands of words a day and working on YouTube videos or playing video games for much longer than usual, with no real goal or relaxation in mind behind the monotony.
Something that people don’t talk about, I think, is that being busy can be its own form of monotony. We can have hundreds of tasks lined up and eventually, they all become part of an assembly line. Write the book, plan a new book, edit the first book, writ the second book, upload youtube videos, record more videos, plan a third book, edit the second book, release the first book, blend your poetry into your blog, panic approaching release dates, push the dates back, write a fourth book, plan to release a second, create clothing, cook food for your girlfriend, go Christmas shopping, get gas, pay your bills, make sure you can have rent on time, write a sixth book, make sure your blog posts aren’t late, I guess you could take a break now right? Game for an hour. Oh your friends are on, another hour wouldn’t hurt. Okay three. Okay you’ve had enough of this, I wonder what’s on YouTube? Watch the same videos you’ve seen a hundred times. Cook. Consume. Watch a movie. Fit sleep in somewhere. Justify why you don’t spend time with anyone by telling them you’re terribly busy. Know you aren’t that busy, drown yourself with more books, poetry, food, movies, games, music, ideas, projects, passions, and then eventually that thread swinging you back and forth is inevitably going to grow weak…
What happens when it snaps?
I don’t want to know.
I want to sit at home, listening to my blood pump through the radio. Thinking about all I have done and knowing that I can swing away from it for a moment.
It is so easy to get caught up in this trap. Feeling as if we are useless and then drowning in work so that we truly become useless. I am all too familiar with the snare of it and its something I work to get out of every day. When I feel myself drifting too far in one direction I must swing to the other side and breathe for a moment or two and think about the opposite. Should I be working too much I know I need to go out, unwind. Should I be sitting at home watching YouTube or movies or playing games too much I should know to get back to work. Life is a balance, and in the center of it all is us, swinging from one side to another endlessly, wondering if we will ever make it back to solid ground, where hopefully, we can listen to the radio for a while, drink some coffee and rest, knowing that life doesn’t need to be a constant back and forth. We are allowed to take breaks, but we must know that there is a time to leave our break a while and do something we are passionate about. The soft buzz of monotony will destroy us from the inside out, at least, this is true for myself.
If you’re planning to wear something new to your New Years party this year, I have shirts available for sale on Teespring! (They will look great with fruit punch and puke on them.)
In the northwestern U.S. there lies a tomb. Less a tomb, rather than a home for the corpses of women taken before their time. If you were to travel to the Legacy Hospital, you’d hear stories from the citizens there that told of loss and heartache. You’d meet a detective who comes to visit his wife day after day, comatose and on the verge of dying, but he will tell you time and time again, no matter how often you go to visit him that he believes she will return. That he won’t give up because he knows that she won’t. He will tell you of his daughter and how important she is to him. He will tell you that she is on the verge of waking up, he knows it. He can feel it.
You may cross paths as you venture from one point in this city to another with a man sheltering many faces. He changes on a whim and becomes an entirely different person. Switching personalities being out of his control, he has managed to survive and thrive with the souls of three past lives stuffed within his body. A young man who has seen more than most of us ever will. A man with four heads who communes with angels, people said to me that he was frightening. That he was sick. That he needed help. The boy doesn’t need help, so much as he needs someone who can understand what he is going through.
If you visit Junco Furlong’s, a branch of the popular chain restaurant that started in a haunted bottom floor in New York City, you would meet a couple. A young man who had just recently come back from a journey to Europe. Beside him, a young woman sits wrapped in his arms, kissing him gently and thanking him for being there when she needed him the most. She tells him that she is thankful for his care, and he would tell her that it was all he ever really cared for.
If you step into the Lone Fir Cemetery, you may, if the circumstances are right, run into a young woman who had just given birth to her daughter a few years before. She was still introducing herself the the beautiful trials and successes that envelop motherhood. She would whisper to you, as if speaking from the other side of a curtain, that evil exists in the world no matter how much she wanted to protect young Lucy from it. She tells you that she made a mistake to move to the city, that she should have stayed home with her high school sweetheart.
Continue on your road, you need not hear more from her. As you approach a hill, you may come face to face with another spirit, a young man who tells you that he was willing to give everything for the ones he loved, and he did so. He won’t reply to your questions. His story is over, but he will point you in the correct direction. If you follow the imaginary line that the young man provided for you, you will crest the hill and see an open grave at the foot of the opposite side. Beside it, a young man stands with his arms folded. For no reason in particular, you recognize him. He has “one of those faces” as the saying goes.
You are presented with a choice in this moment. Before, the people you spoke to seemed as if you were inclined to speak to them. As if they were expecting you to visit like a friend who hadn’t been around in a while. They so eagerly spilled their stories to you, even if it was only in parts that you had to piece together. All of their lives were affected by the boy who wouldn’t speak further. As his disappearance left a rigid whole within each of them, but in doing so… he filled the holes within his own heart.
If you do choose to approach the detective, you will see the perplexed look upon his face. Go ahead and approach him… ask him why he is standing before a grave laid bare with its contents emptied. He will reply to you with a story.
“Once, long before, there was a killer who found his home in my city. He stole the lives of so many women. He created a tomb of them. An altar, that he would worship within. The tower of bones that he held in secret was eventually found out, but there was so much more to that story that we missed the first time. We didn’t know why. We didn’t have any answers and that is why I’m here today. I am searching for answers, before time resets, before we go backwards. Before we lose the lives of our loved ones, before we forget who killed them and why. We are returning to the beginning and we are starting all over.”
You might, at his provocation, glance down into the pit of the grave and see two things…
One, a large book bound in human flesh that seems to still be bleeding.
Two, you will see the corpse of another woman, her flesh falling from her bones, and upon her bones, there is writing. When this sets in and you see what the Detective is seeing, you will listen to him whisper.
“We are digging these graves up to bring our loved ones back, we are digging them up feebly searching for answers, for hope, for some kind of security that when the clock rewinds… that the end of this story won’t remain as it is today. I miss her, my friend. I miss her being alive. I know how Aiden must have felt now, the boy lost everything and he didn’t even realize what yet he had obtained. So I have to find the truth. I have to find a way to turn the clock back and fix the path that The Darling Killer created. So… I am digging up these graves.”
At this, you will hear the whisper carried on the wind from a voice that is unfamiliar to you. It is deep and rough, as if its owner is carrying coarse dirt within his lungs. It is a voice that speaks of blood, of bone, and of lost happiness.
“I miss you, my darling… I miss you so.”
Today I am officially announcing the re-release of “The Darling Bones”
I have taken time to grow as an author and as a creator all around. The Darling Bones was my first novel and so much of me has changed since then. The first release was rocky, as they tend to be, so I decided long ago that I would pull it from the market and rework what I created because that story meant so much to me. Within the pages of it I worked through loss and confusion, doubt that love existed and so much more. When it was finished I had grown into a man who knew my purpose. The Darling Bones started everything for me and I can’t lay it to rest for you to view if the body of the piece is so badly damaged, so I am doing what all foolish alchemists do…
I am going to resurrect it, only so that it can be laid down once more. This time… Darling will receive a proper burial.
I want to talk this week about something that I began to truly notice last year, and have since been trying to conquer. In March last year, I released my first book, The Darling Bones. This book, as it was my first ever huge personal milestone, came with a party. My friends and family showed up + we all talked and laughed and drank and had a wonderful time. After the initial party, I went over to my apartment + proceeded to get belligerent with my friends. It was a good night, and we truly had as much fun as we could have had.
The next morning came quickly, the hangover alongside it. I had been asked a while before to stop by the restaurant that morning as we were installing a new POS system + we were supposed to learn how to use it. A meeting that in our hungover state would have lasted months. Still, there were some people who showed up despite the pain in our skulls. Once we arrived, a friend of mine + I took a seat away from the windows and the painful sunlight so that we could rest our eyes and wait for the technician. After a few minutes of waiting, we became bored and so did her son. The baby boy decided that he was going to wander around and play with stuff, so my friend and I sat back and watched him for a while.
The technician took longer and longer and the group that was stationed at the restaurant, waiting for him was slowly becoming more and more uneasy. Some of us had other things to do, some of us needed to vomit, some of us needed to eat food, whatever the case was, each of us had gotten restless.
That’s when it happened, one by one, we all started to pull out our cell phones and browse the internet or play games on them. I was among the group, but in a drunken haze the night before I had knocked my phone charger out of the wall and it died shortly after I had begun browsing Twitter. Still, the rest of the party there were on their phones and enjoying themselves while the little boy was playing with his car and running around and enjoying himself.
In that moment, something struck me in a way that it never had before.
This blog post isn’t about how cell phones are poisonous for you, or how you shouldn’t be concerned with them when there are other people nearby. That’s not what I’m saying at all, but looking at my friend’s son that day put so much into perspective.
This life is full of tiny miracles. Each little thing that we come across has no logical reason to exist, but it still does. Making it that much more beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, cell phones are little magical boxes that enable you to have essentially anything you want delivered right to your home. It’s a portal to distant places that you can see and hear and feel emotions through. It is by all intents and purposes, a small box of spells.
That being said, I noticed that all of us were enamored with our phones and only giving my friends child attention so often. We would look up to make sure he wasn’t getting into trouble and then we would return to our make-believe world.
I would never have reached this conclusion if it hadn’t been for my phone being dead, but I’m glad that it was. I saw things in a new light. There was this tiny bundle of cells running and yelping in front of all of us, who would grow to become something amazing. He will get bigger and stronger and smarter and kinder, and he would live his own life full of beautiful moments that will make his mother so proud. He was this tiny human that was dancing around and enjoying his day to the best of his abilities. He didn’t need to speak to portray his emotions. He didn’t need to sign it, he didn’t need to tell anyone how he felt about things. It was written on his face, and if we looked we could have known. Moreover, he simply didn’t care what we thought. He was going to do his own thing anyway, and he was okay with that.
I sometimes wonder if people get hungover like that without getting drunk. I wondered that for a long time, but after that day I began putting my phone down intentionally. So much has come from that simple gesture. I don’t get nervous in crowds anymore. I don’t forget about people. I don’t ignore people. My conversations have become more meaningful and I can speak from the heart. I can look around and see all of the small beauties that this world offers to us.
There are so many things in this world that are worth rejoicing, and the abilities that smart phones give us are some of those things, but there are others. More basic miracles that are existing right beside you. The trees growing outside, the family + friends you surround yourself with. The air we breathe. The fact that we wake up every day, refreshed. There are so many things to notice and be in awe because of.
Yet. Those smart phones are the things that we take the most interest in.
I think it’s because they are the thing we are least familiar with. We’ve spent our whole lives breathing and sleeping. Trees have been around forever. Children will come and they will grow and then they won’t be children anymore. But as they grow, I notice something else that happens.
As we get older and more in tune with our lives and our phones, we begin to use it as a defense. When a situation is awkward, we pull it out and play a game of candy crush to calm our nerves. We use it at dinner with friends because we feel as if we don’t have anything important to say or to offer. We put it up to our face to hide the brilliant color of our eyes, only to let them be whitewashed by the backlight.
We won’t notice any of these things if we stay glued to our phone screens. As wonderful as they are, as magical as they are… They are not everything important.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned in this past year is to put my phone down. To turn my music off. To get out of that fiber optic prison cell for a while and be with people. Real people. People I can see and who can see me. Ones that I can hug and feel the warmth of their bodies. People who can put their hand to my shoulder and remind me that tomorrow morning, things will be better. People I can share a real meal with, and laugh with in person. People I can build a life around.
I’m not saying that there aren’t people on the other side of those phones. I’m not saying that using a phone is some kind of travesty. I’d never want to insult the amazing people I know through social media in that way. It’s our only means of communication, and that’s okay. I do want to meet all of those people. I love so many of them, so much.
I’m just saying that our smart phones are not the only magic box that can cast a spell on you. When you look at it, this entire world is full of brilliant magic that we can look at and be amazed by. All we have to do is see it and understand.
These things are all beautiful, and they all have their place, but when you become over encumbered by the weight of one, you are so busy with your face to the ground and your back hunched, trying to lift that weight, that you forget there is an outside world.
At least, that’s how I feel about myself sometimes.