Rivers

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“Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers till I reach you.” – The Head and The Heart; Rivers and Roads

For years this blog has been about memories and lessons, the way the world shifts beneath our feet and twists our ankles, the way we hit the ground… the way we get back up.

This week one of my best friends moved away from home. I don’t know when I will see him again, I know I certainly will, but I have no way of knowing when. This is another instability of life.

When I was a younger man I had this dream that me + all of my best friends would wind up in the same place. Despite the fact that we all wanted different things, teaching, theatre, engineering, photography, writing, it’s all the same, really. We all have these things that call to us and beg us to move forward step by step, even when we don’t know where to go there is always something pulling at us until our bones shake. Some small voice in the back of our minds begging us deep down to steel our shoulders and wrap the rope around our hands, to begin dragging the slabs of sandstone up long and shallow ramps.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago that this dream of mine had truly shown itself for what it was, a sham. Not that it is a bad thing at all. I’m so endlessly excited to see where each of the boys go, what they do, who they become. I’m so excited to evolve from Alan the Novelist to Uncle Alan, or Dyzygy on a Guest Stream, or even Alva Tobias, celebrity guest at a grand reveal of a play or movie. All of these things seem silly, I’m sure, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized that if we do not have these dreams, if we do not have these passions, we are lost completely. Each one of us, you and I, are bound together by one everlasting and powerful link that groups us together and cinches us tight.

Purpose.

I sat this week with someone who I hold extremely dear to my heart and talked with him about his novels, our jobs, his future and mine alike. We laughed like we always do, we joked like we always do, and we sat in the same dingy booth in the same shitty casino restaurant that we had frequented for years now and just experienced life together.

I ramble fairly frequently, if you think the blog is bad you should speak to me in real life. I have a hard time getting to the point, because I’ve never believed that the point is where we should be getting. We should be getting onward, guys like me don’t define ourselves by early or late. We don’t think about the end of the story, I know damn well that the end will come when the end comes and I have no intention of rushing or delaying anything. That being said, it is important that we must continue moving.

My life pulls me in a dramatically different way than everyone else’s. My best friends and I may not see each other forever, but they will always be a part of my pyramid. The bottom blocks, the biggest ones, that hold this entire wonder up. I would not be the man that I am today without the constant love and support of these men and watching them grow and change, evolve and struggle to overcome things is nearly greater than the joy I see in them when they have successes and we can share laughter over those small victories.

I love watching their stories unfold because I see all of us as these wondrous characters, grafted and designed with innumerable purpose, fleeting as our lives may be at the end of time, we can still stand at the gate of change or death or life and scream to the world that we were here, we exited and we lived, we loved with everything we can.

It is this way too, when friends and family pass on.

I talk so much about purpose, because I don’t think many people truly find their purpose. I stumbled around for the majority of my life, only recently discovering that I am here to inspire, to tell stories, to help others in some manner. I forget that sometimes. I forget too, that our lives aren’t meant to be rushed through. We have to take things one day at a time, thought is not a matter of moments it is an expanse of time.

Though thorough we may be to seek out our next step, it will come when it is ready. It is up to us to be ready for what comes next.

If you have to say goodbye, for the moment, or for forever, remember that it is all part of the purpose we are searching for. Each of us are destined to find our own way. Our friends may not live in the same city forever, but it never hurts to put yourself and your family in a boat and float down the river for a while, just to say hello every once and a while.

There are many things about my past that I don’t look to for inspiration. There are many facets of my own personality that I can’t stand to admit and yet, I was blessed with men and women who love me unconditionally through everything. Despite how horrid I believe myself to be inside some days.

I welcome change, I welcome the twists and turns of the earth. I know that my friends and I are in the same boat together and they will never be too far for me to paddle towards. I know they will paddle towards me in return. I am in no hurry and I am not one to wait around either. Everything happens, all good and bad, when the world wills it to happen. I cannot control it, so until the end I will enjoy every step, every laugh, every chest pain and every last splash of water into my boat, no matter who is sitting beside me.

Friends who love like that are hard to find, but they are out there and it can make you feel like the world will shake beneath your feet, and if you feel it…

You’re right.

Here is something that I did with my friend, I hope you enjoy it.

Doki Doki Literature Club: [Ep. 1] – Let’s Play a horror inducing dating simulator.

Not into video games? How about this then?

Conversations With Machines

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop talking to machines.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

All things will come in time.

 

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

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

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

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

Temple of: Flesh)) (Poem)

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This is the penultimate poem from the “Pollyanna” set I’ve been doing this month. Any questions you might have will likely be answered next week. until then, the latest installment of this person’s trial, meeting three sisters who destroyed him.

2017.6.21- Temple of Flesh.jpg

My latest book came out today!! The Darling Bones is for sale on my website right now, go snag a copy. ❤

www.linmtba.com

Shorter Vision (Poem)

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This was meant for 5.17, but I was caught up with some real life shit and had to take a break which you’ve likely noticed.

YouTube goodies up soon, ,another poem out tomorrow. (The next one is a pretty rad setup.)

I miss you, I’ll be home soon. I promise.

Boner Salad.

2017.5.17- Shorter Vision

www.linmtba.com

The Darling Bones releases June 21st!

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.

One Among the Fence

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I’ve written about musicians and artists that have inspired me and pushed me to create in the past, Mod Sun, Watsky, G-Eazy before he was a total knob, He is Legend + a handful of others but none of them stand out or have been more influential than Coheed & Cambria. They have propelled my creativity since I first found them back in the early 2000’s. I remember the day clearly. Back in 2003 I was ambling around my house cleaning or playing video games or something and I had a playlist running on YouTube, where I heard this crazy band that was doing shit I couldn’t comprehend musically. Their guitars felt out of sync with the vocals and it was all so technical and intricate. I fell in love immediately. They had fed me something that I would crave for the rest of my life.

Only problem was, shortly after this in a turn of events you’d think I would write into a novel, our computer powered down and I panicked because I thought it was my fault. When I finally got it up and running again I couldn’t remember the name of the band, or the song that was playing. I could only remember portions of the lyrics and a chanting sequence at the end of the song that was stuck in my head for months, I don’t actually think it ever left..

“Man your battlestations. We’ll have you dead pretty soon.”

I googled them over and over for the next couple of years, trying desperately to find the band again. It wasn’t until one year, 2005 I believe, that I found them once more and all of my dreams had come about. That first taste of Coheed had actually made me the music encyclopedia that I am today, because I ripped through hundreds of thousands of songs in an attempt to find them but was just never quite in the right place. Still, I found a ton of bands along the way that I still love to this day.

Then my parents gave me a PSP one year, it came with a couple demo games and a multimedia disk with music videos and clips from television shows on it. There was something by Nelly, a song that had Beyoncé in it, a damn good Nickelback jam and “Blood Red Summer” by Coheed and Cambria. I listened through the videos until I got to them and thought to myself.

“Damn, that is a cool name for a band.”

As soon as it started playing I was suddenly two years in the past jamming out to the song on my computer again. It had the same vibe as before, the same feelings and the vocalist was so unique he couldn’t be mistaken for someone else. I scrambled to tell my mom and dad and they just nodded at me. They might have understood my love of music and my passion, but they didn’t understand what Coheed & Cambria was doing to me. I didn’t even understand the feeling myself. I listened to that song on repeat until I drained the battery in my PSP.

It was a few months later that we were wandering around in Salt Lake City that we stopped into a Best Buy, I was thumbing around the albums and found the first piece of their music I had ever purchased. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” I ran up to my mom begging her to get it for me. Pleading with her, promising any manner of chores or work or repayment so that she would gift me the album. She agreed and there it was. I watched the clerk pick it up from my hands and he looked at me.

“Coheed and Cambria? I’ve never heard of them.”

I looked up at him and nodded, opening my mouth to speak, to enlighten him.

“They are everything. They are the best band in the world. Their music hits me in a way I can’t explain to anyone. They will change your life.”

But I didn’t say anything. No one yet had understood what that band had meant to me. Why would this random college kid care? He was just trying to make a paycheck.

So I walked out with my parents, my fingers twitching, begging to wrap themselves around the case and dig open the plastic. To feel the CD and read the lyric booklet.

Once we got on the road home I finally had the chance to do just that. I jammed the CD into my Walkman and closed my eyes listening to it on the drive home.

It was… incredible.

I was taken to a world I couldn’t describe as I listened. Within my mind stories and dreams were playing out because of the lyrics, all set to the sounds of the band. It was one of the times in my life I recognized immediately as pure, unbridled joy. I could not have been happier. Their music felt like coming home after a long day, before I even knew what leaving home in the first place would be like.

Years passed and I picked up all of their albums as they released. By the time I graduated high school I had all of their albums and memorized the lyrics to every one up to date, and had still never gone to one of their concerts despite how much I loved the band.

“Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One, From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness” Was a gift from my parents one year for Christmas.

“Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume Two, No World For Tomorrow” was given to me by a friend’s girlfriend for Christmas.

“Year of the Black Rainbow” I had pre-ordered and waited for expectantly. When the album started with “One” I shivered. I can still feel the way my spine tingled in anticipation. When Claudio started singing “The Broken” I teared up.

“Second Stage Turbine Blade” was the final one I purchased, shortly after YotBR came out. Which was their first album. I had been a fan for so long and didn’t listen to their roots, not to mention Shabutie (save for the accent over the u cause lazy.) Which was a trip in and of itself.

I continued this way, listening to Coheed became one of my favorite things to do. I played through “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” to the tune of “No World For Tomorrow” and when I see either of them today, I think about the other and those memories of that winter in high school. Coheed & Cambria does something magical to me, I still can barely describe it. Their music inspires me in a way that no other can. It pushes my mind and gets me thinking. It is somehow horrifying, awe inspiring and hopeful all at the same time. A decade after I first heard them, they released the second part of their dual album “The Afterman” titled “Descension” which was the mood music for much of my first edition of The Darling Bones.

Coheed and Cambria had crafted so much of the way my creative mind thinks. They have been my number one inspiration for fourteen years now. I have a profound love for that band and those men that I cannot articulate to you in the way I feel that I need to. It is a strange love too, apparently, as all through my life I have met exactly one person out of the hundreds I know who can understand and appreciate Coheed on the same level that I do. (Not trying to gatekeep here, I’m just saying that I sort of live and die by this band and if you don’t that’s cool but they’re better than whatever lame shit you listen to.) (Just kidding. I hope you know that.)

So there I was, in January or something of 2017 + I was checking my email out of desperation because I was tired of having a notification for 2,437 emails on my phone and I came across a Coheed fan message announcing their Neverender tour for GAIBSIV Vol. One.

I promptly shit my pants.

Then, before cleaning that up I ordered tickets.

There was no way I was going to miss this show. It was my favorite band who I had never gotten to see because of dumb shit. No matter the scenario, I told myself, I WILL go see Coheed in 2017. Especially that tour in specific. I was so bitter about missing the Neverender for IKSSE:3 because I was sick that I promised nothing would stop me. If I broke both my legs on the way, I was still going to go and I was just going to grind the joints to dust in the crowd because that band helped shape me in so many ways.

Luckily, I did not break my legs and I did go see Coheed live for the first time since I found them so many years ago.

A lot of fans of artists like to give the “I’ve seen them XX times, if you haven’t you aren’t a real fan” talk, and that’s never been how I felt about music, but when it comes to Coheed, after seeing their show this year, I promise if it is within a day’s drive I will never miss another show of theirs again.

I cried. I actually cried.

I had been listening to them and following and supporting them for so long that Coheed had become as much a part of me as any of my personal inspirations.

I had come to the realization as they played their encore that the title track from “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” was the song I had heard over a decade ago that I searched frantically for. Something about the show and how they ended their set clicked with me and I was ripped back to 2003, sitting in my living room with my jaw hanging open just listening to the computer play this crazy amazing band that inspired me so much.

Years later, in The Complex in SLC I looked at the people around me and saw that in some small way, many of them likely felt the same way that I did. Maybe not.

But either way, I screamed even louder than before.

I screamed along with them until I was sure that Heaven’s Fence could feel the vibrations.

I hope that one day, I can create something like what Coheed has, where people like myself are willing to dedicate their lives in support of it.

Coheed is the greatest band in the world, to me. But when it’s my world, that’s fine.

I am happy to be one among the fence.

Thank you, Coheed & Cambria. Your music and story inspired me to do so many things and here I am, doing them today. I blame you for that. I would not be writing if it weren’t for your influence. I wouldn’t have learned music. My life would not be the same today if not for you.