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 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

Grin ))

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I haven’t smiled this much in ages.

I think it’s not right.

I thinnk somethinnnng is wron .

It))s lik/e ::mym_nd_sfl__t_ng))

inside of a sea of ))loud/s

Welcome home…

Θ(( The Skies ://:THE Future…………   ))

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www.linmtba.com

The Darling Bones releases the 21st! make sure you pick up a pre-order copy. ❤

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.