Finding Out You Were Asleep When Your Dreams Passed You By

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Welcome back to Gravity, My Enemy. I’m unveiling a couple new things as the month goes. Make sure you peep my Instagram for links to cool stuff. +

@alvatobiasbooks

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I am known nearly famously for my terrible sleeping habits. I don’t sleep according to any set schedule, I just kind of fall over when I feel tired and wake up with just under the necessary time remaining in order to get ready and get to work the following day. I’ve tried all manner of adjusting my sleep schedule but it doesn’t stop my body from sending me off to bed whenever it good and well feels like.

I’ve gotten a lot of information from friends about their sleeping schedules and how they manage to get their days knotted into one tight little bow. Some, like my father, can operate on a full day with five hours of sleep. Bed at 9 PM, up at 2 AM. Easy. Others take their sleep routines in multiple cycles. Four hours here, two hours there, and two more hours somewhere else. Others take one long break as the sun sets and they wake up as it rises and so on. There is a myriad of ways to sleep and to do so adequately. There has been a multitude of tests run to determine the appropriate sleeping cycle for the average person and it dictates that we are best fit into one of two groups, one singular sleep every 24 hours or a biphasic pattern, which means a shorter night with a short nap in the day. Others consider polyphasic sleep a possibility as well, but the numbers are much smaller.

Sleeping, at the end of the day, is an important facet of our livelihood. Without sleep, we die. When we die, we stop existing. Obviously, we would be wise to lean more towards the other option. I complain regularly that my body is incapable of sleeping for less than 8 hours now when I used to be able to stay up for days on end with minimal negative side effects. During the first pass of The Darling Bones, my loveable test demo (first book) gone awry, I was sleeping roughly twenty minutes for every twenty-four hours in a sequence of thirty days. On April 1st, I passed out and literally slept for two straight days. Do you know what that is like?

Of course, I could regale to you the tales of my sleeplessness and all of the wonder that came from them. The nights that became stories and the moments that became a memory. I am fond of those times but looking back, I’m thankful that my body literally refuses to allow that to happen anymore. When I’ve run my clock down, I’ve run my clock down and I become something of a husk. Without the drive to push forward and anything I do comes across as actual garbage. (I’m sure you’ve seen it on the blog and on the YouTube channel, those are unfortunately the main indulgences of my sleepless nights.)

Of course, all of this being said, I am awake for long enough in the day. Working at my job for somewhere between 5-10 hours depending on the workload and then coming home to game and spend time in leisure for 3-5 more, depending on the workload.

I am awake often enough for myself nowadays. I can manage all of my work if I dedicate to it. I can balance everything and still sleep between 6-12 hours a day, depending on the workload.

I’ve come to accept this for one reason I had not taken account of when I was writing the first edition of The Darling Bones…

When you sleep for so long, you inevitably miss days. Of course, that isn’t to say I am working tirelessly to set my circadian rhythm in a more… economic way. I would rather be awake and living every day with 6 hours of sleep giving me enough energy. It just takes time.

In the event you find yourself looking at the clock in desperation, next time you are face to face with a big project, consider relaxing for a while. Lest you evolve to become like a husk yourself and meet the Grand Somnambulist.

To be honest with you, I don’t believe in sleep. If I could operate on no sleep every day I would do so willingly and happily. I appreciate the sleep I get and I make sure I do it regularly nowadays, but it isn’t for my own health, well… not entirely.

The Somnambulist possessed me one night and I found myself down the hall of my apartment, leaning on a wall, coughing violently. The back of my throat burned with a sour, fruity sensation. Perhaps an intestinal infection, or perhaps a symptom of my loss of sleep. My body knew nothing of its whereabouts for a time. It was as if I was living a dream. A nightmare of my own creation in which the words I wrote fell flat, the songs I sang were out of pitch and every single keystroke that plays the rhythm of my life was just slightly off beat.

I awoke and felt the burning in my throat as the Somnambulist released me, a sinister force still held my eyes closed. When I could manage to hold them open I saw it…

Sauntering off, out of my apartment as the sun rose. He had been following me for a while and continued to do so afterward, begging me to fall back and sleep. To close my eyes for only a few moments so that he could wrap his slender hands around my head once more and drag me down the hall like a hay-stuffed puppet.

I had become a victim of my own circumstance.

They say that evil spirits like Vampires and Ghouls will not enter your home unless invited. Of course, this isn’t always a matter of directly inviting them in. Many, if not all documented will aim to trick you and push you to that end for their own gain.

The Grand Somnambulist is much like this, urging you day after day to keep yourself awake, to write one more chapter, to record one more hours worth of content. To push your body to its limit and when you’ve had enough, he will gently lay you to your sheets and tuck you in, comforting you along the way before his fangs protrude from deep within his throat, wrapping around his tongue like a twister, boring himself into your skull and resting within your mind until you have been overcome with the urge to sleep.

He is not just one being. The Grand Somnambulist is everywhere, in everything, waiting for you to run your clock down enough for him to sneak in and torment you in your waking and sleeping life.

When you are awake, nothing is as it seems. You become forgetful, you become weary and nervous. Anxiety swells to become a menace that you can no longer face alone but you find yourself so often resorting to sleeping instead. Knowing that just one more nap will make it go away. One more long dream. One more long nightmare and you will be free.

This is so, but he does not give in so easily.

Even now I can feel him, patting my bed and whispering to me, that it is time for sleep. That I should be resting. I have been under a great deal of stress and I must take this time to rest, to be apart from the waking for a while.

Of course… I don’t listen anymore.

When I was asleep. I missed so much. So many events, so many opportunities, so many friends. Because twenty waking hours turned to thirty and my sleep stretched from eight to fourteen and I could no longer stand to be under the immense pressure that I had put upon myself.

The worst part, about those dreams… is that if I were to have been awake, I wouldn’t have missed so much of my life. That is the greatest bargain chip he has to offer, that for a few more hours of consciousness, you can accomplish more than you could if you would instead lie down and sleep. When you’ve racked up a debt that is impossible to pay, he comes for you. All of your dreams you held when you were awake and alive become nightmares as the words draw longer, each brushstroke falls from the canvas and your head bobs, behind you, he whispers…

“Just a few more hours, and then you can sleep… I promise.”

www.linmtba.com

The Somnambulist (Poem)

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This month I’ve started a new project, the Word of the Week! In which I will try to use this word in correlation with the blog post + have a bit of fun with the blog. It won’t always match up, but I figure, I wanted to mix things up for a while. This week’s word, the first of those on my list is:

Somnambulism.

According to Dictionary.com, it originated likely somewhere between 1790-1800, it is defined as sleepwalking. I found out about it from a band I listen to named Thank You, Scientist. They have a song of the same name and I loved how it sounded, you know how you just appreciate the way some words sound?

Well. I definitely do. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites with you along the way. I promise, not all of them will be real words, either. The poem today is based on the feeling the word gave to me. I’ve been trying to draw inspiration from some of my favorite writers lately as well. Whitman, Poe, Frost and more. This one may be a bit tongue in cheek but you know, I appreciate it greatly.

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www.linmtba.com

True Blue + Black

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In the event of a collision, brace yourself on the nearest passion or friend or purpose and hold on.

Nothing can destroy you.

Often times I am reminded of the steadfast and stalwart parents who raised me. Parents who looked the biggest struggles of their lives eye to eye and refused to blink in a way that often I don’t think I could do. That being said, my family is 100% the reason I am the same way today.

Of course, like everyone there are moments when I am faced with something that pulls at my soul in a way I never want to feel and I will feel the sliver of shivers run through my bones but that does not change something integral about my personality.

Something my mother and father both instilled in me from a young age.

Once, I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter. My parents were visiting friends and though I had gone into my room. So they locked the door behind me as I went about my snow angel business. When I was finished freezing in the snow banks in our front yard I went to go back inside and found that the door wouldn’t open. I pounded on it and called for my parents or their friends, praying that I’d be heard and they would hear me.

They didn’t. I was terrified, and when the realization set in that I was likely going to die out in my yard I took things into my own hands and decided to make an attempt to get back inside. Eventually, I knew my parents friends would leave. So I hopped the fence to the front yard and met the garage door and the front door, pounding on them until my hands bruised. I sat there like that for a while until eventually those inside came up from the basement to let me inside. Turns out they had been in the basement and couldn’t hear me calling them.

As you can see, this story doesn’t necessarily end with me getting out of a sticky situation myself. It’s true, I relied on my parents then but I am older now, though still relying on them for much more than I’d like, I also know that there are things in my life that I will not have them behind me for. So, it is in these moments where I should think of the possibilities… what happens when we don’t have those who regularly support us there to lift us up anymore?

We should take our problems by the throat into our own bruised hands.

Choke those demons in front of you and throw them away.

Of course it won’t always be easy, but everything can be broken into smaller projects. Everything can be taken down to the small grains of sand that collected together to form a stone. It took super heat and energy but eventually every new diamond emerges from its old shell of coal.

I lost my job in the fall.

I was denied for something like nine jobs I had applied to, the rest beyond the nine rejections simply didn’t reply to my application.

I didn’t write a single successful piece for any of the writing anthologies I had taken.

I was faced with the massive challenge of picking up at perhaps the lowest point of 2017. I didn’t let on much that I was struggling so hard but I was. This year ended in a whirlwind of extreme joy and immense pressure.

I wonder what other material shares the same qualities, bringing extreme joy and enduring immense pressure.

Diamond.

Every event we are faced with demands a solution. Every problem and every scenario has an ending, it is up to us to determine where that ending lies and how we will get to it.

This brings me back to my parents, who, although occasionally frustrating, each of them made certain that this concept was chiseled into my memory with not one stroke misaligned.

My dad would regularly tell me I needed to get into a stable career, something to make sure I had the money I needed to do the things that I wanted. Of course, at the time I blew off this notion. It didn’t matter then what I did or how I did it. I would find a way. Of course that is still true today, but I’ve discovered that there is another step.

Find something you love.

We all need work. We all have a passion and a skill. No one can truly float along life without money, as much as it frustrates me that we base our entire lives around the mental weight of green paper we must obtain it to continue living. There will always be a way to make money, and money will always have a purpose. Of course, money doesn’t necessarily mean bills and coins. It could be gold or supplies. There will always be a use for some sort of tender, some sort of item that we can trade around.

This concept was lost on me until I grew up a bit and started working, finding a job that I loved. The food industry. I ate up every shift I was given, bathing in the joy of cooking or bartending, absorbing every interaction with customers good or bad. Some days I needed to vent, but that is a part of life. It is another one of those struggles I was always told about. My dad’s words were much more important than I first realized, and they still held a meaning that I hadn’t gleaned as I grew older. A job is not just a place to be for a few hours. It isn’t just a way to make a living. Since I started working in restaurants I have had a desire to do nothing but that while I write. Cooking, baking, serving, all of the things involving food appeal to me. It makes me happy on a base level.

Still, the point of what pops told me so many times was that it was a stepping stone. If I had that outlet, that passion, that place to go to do something I loved, it would help me face down bigger challenges I would eventually face. The same can be said for most things. If you have something you are passionate about, please, right now I urge you to go commit to it. Draw yourself into the loop of that passion. Woodworking, reading, writing, art, making YouTube videos. Whatever it is. Dentistry, coding, marketing, business management, sewage containment. Everyone has a purpose and a joy to be fulfilled in their working life and too few are able to do it successfully. Embrace that thing and go for it, full speed ahead. Challenges will come, you must face them. It is nice to have an island of sanctuary when you need it.

My mother, on the other hand always told me to finish what I started. I once joined the youth soccer team and I absolutely hated it. I was chubby and didn’t like to run. I wasn’t good at soccer and so I stood on the field for most of my play time. I picked my nose and watched the ball go back and forth as it came close to me and rolled away. I came home one evening begging to quit because I hated it so much, but mom told me no. I started it, I needed to finish it.

Eventually the season was over and I didn’t sign up again, but I learned something valuable. Things are always in motion. I played defense, which was remarkable because I was so poor at defending. It’s hard to focus on kicking the ball when you have your finger in your brain stem. Still, things moved. That soccer ball moved, your obstacles will move. You will be able to progress and you will be able to take knowledge from each moment you live.

Those things have been instilled in me since I was just a boy, and I will never forget them.

When things become difficult, when faced with something insurmountable remember that you are not Atlas. You are not a god. You are a man, and man has something remarkable about him.

We don’t give up.

So don’t give up.

Take your bruised hands and start to push. If pushing doesn’t work, kick. If that fails, find a new path. There will always be a way around. There will always be a way out. There will always be a new obstacle and there will always,

Always,

Be a way for you to overcome it.

All you have to do is start moving.

www.linmtba.com

Two Three

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Take a breath and count before you take your next step…

One…

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If you’d like to check out the upcoming release schedule, you can find it here! I will try to have it completely updated before the new month so you don’t have to wait around for anything. If you want to follow all of what I do, you can find it all here!

www.linmtba.com

Show Your Fangs

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

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

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

You want to know something beautiful?

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

That’s damn beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the hell, man?

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

I’m right here with you.

Let me catch you up…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I grew selfish.

(So I gave.)

I grew needy.

(So I created.)

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

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

I grew unhappy.

(So I smiled.)

 

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

Sometimes, that is all it takes.

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

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

www.linmtba.com