Swinging on the Radio

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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.)

www.linmtba.com

Why Worry?

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Welcome to September, we are only one month away from the end of Noose Ends, I’d tell you I have something special planned if I did, but I don’t, I’m just out here working on this bridge, trying to make it the best one in the countryside.

I often think about my story through life, how I got from A to B, then to C, and here we are at R, or T, or whatever letter that would best explain where I’m at today. One of my favorite things for no real reason at all, is tracing where I’m at today back as far as I can. I work where I do because of The Fish, I worked at The Fish because of my friend Lukas, I met Lukas through Preston, I met Preston through Choir in high school etc.

Every moment in my life I can trace back to the beginning, I remember the hallmark moments that brought me to sit where I am today. When I think of things in this perspective all of the pressure to succeed and to keep pushing forward seems so much less significant, as if, perhaps I was meant to be here today.

Perhaps there is another Alva Tobias out there somewhere, perfectly painted and created to be a non-stop machine that can work without pause that can accept all manner of ridiculous emotional stress without batting an eye and can continue as if nothing happened.

Perhaps not, that isn’t how we were built.

A few years back I had a blog post in which I mentioned that God built us like trees, not machines. We are organic and sometimes we need to hibernate, otherwise we will wither. We are not a bunch of mechanical pieces that are strapped together for the purpose of production. We need rest, we need breaks.

I go on this rants pretty frequently about how important it is for us to remember where we came from and who we are today. To think hard about where we want to be.

The pressures that come from trying to live your dreams can be insurmountable at first glance, but look at you, you’re doing it without even thinking about it.

What I’m saying here is that I have a tendency to worry.

I worry about how my books sell, how many people see my blog and my YouTube videos and so on. There are some nights that I crawl into bed, exhausted just from the stress I gave myself from worrying about my business and my future. What is interesting to me in all of this, is that my future is happening right now. As I’m writing this, I am potentially cementing something in the future for myself, some kind of success or new opportunity I would not have had if I had not written this blog post. I do the same thing every single day at work, I speak to all kinds of people I may never see again, a handful of them have come in and made themselves at home with me and others will remember me for a while in the least.

Isn’t that the coolest shit?

Our lives are always building. We are always digging paths, building bridges and watering gardens we have planted with every new thing we do each day.

If you’re worried about your future today, I want to let you know, you don’t have to worry.

There might be another version of you out there somewhere, perfectly painted and created to be a non-stop machine that can work without pause and can accept all manner of ridiculous emotional stress without batting an eye, continuing as if nothing happened.

But probably not, that isn’t how we were built. That isn’t how we grow.

Take your stress and think about this:

You are standing in front of a wide river, the current is fast and you know that if you jump into it then you will be swept away. However, you need to get to the other side. Across that river, there is a city with a grocery store, so you can feed your family, or yourself. Within that city also lies your duty. You must pay the tab for keeping the land behind you, you must pay your taxes, you know that if you do not, someone will come along and take what is rightfully yours. You have a number of bills that must be paid, for lumber and metal that you purchased earlier so that you could extend your house a bit. To give yourself or your family more room. With you, you are wearing a heavy brown apron. Inside of it there is a handful of nails, a saw, and a hammer. Your carpentry tools jingle and smack against your thighs as you come to see that there is no bridge where you thought one would be.

What do you do?

Will you venture along the side of the river, looking for a bridge elsewhere, or will you turn to your right and begin cutting down the trees that are there beside you, so that you can get across in a timely manner. You have all of the skills, after all, you are a carpenter and you’ve built your own home.

Are you going to let others take that away from you while you wander along the banks of a rapid river, worrying about how you don’t know the next step?

Or are you going to make the next step yourself?

If you enjoyed this, I’d love if you shared it to Facebook/Twitter and just let your friends see it too. It would mean the world to me, maybe a few of us could meet up and get to building some cool stuff together.

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.

(G)rass + (F)ields (Poem)

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Just a little something I threw together off the top of my head a couple days ago. I’m enjoying this whole spinning up a title and writing the poem around it later, it’s pushed the bounds of my creativity + that’s all I try to do. I hope you guys enjoy.

2017.4.26- Grass + Fields.jpg

I’ll be releasing the second edition of “The Darling Bones” this year! for info and updates on it, check out my website + follow me on Facebook/Twitter!

LINMTBA.

Weak Arms

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This is the last month I will let this late blog post business fly. I apologize for the tardiness. I have been finishing up some things and slimming down many projects, so I can focus more time on the things that are most important to me and in turn most important to all of you.

A while back, a friend of mine posted this picture to Facebook that hit on something I wanted to talk about at length. It was a screen shot of a text message saying (in short) that love isn’t supposed to be a by chance arrangement. That we are supposed to work for the love that we want to give. It is in the same vein as those posts about the older generation saying “when something was broken we fixed it, not threw it away.” The mentality comes from the same place.

I’m not saying that love is something that can be achieved by nothing but dedication and hard work, because there are tons of aspects to it that are rarely seen as a whole picture. There is the one side that believes everything in their life comes down to fate, because they allowed themselves to believe in destiny the way it was fabricated. I don’t fault them, it’s hard to accept life the way it is. It’s a struggle to understand that the things that happen are all accidents with a greater purpose behind them. I’d go more in depth but I would overstay my welcome on this post, so I’ll save it for one in the future.

On the other hand, you have a group of people who believe that relationships and love are not worth it because of the work that they require. Which, I have felt before. There have been times in everyone’s lives I think where we felt scared by how attracted we were to someone. We worry about the fear of rejection, the possibility that they will ruin us in the long run. So many other things, so they will walk away from it.

Then a third party who understands love on a higher level than everyone else it seems, because their love lives are perfected on the outside. To the world they show this happy picture when the truth of their relationship is generally much uglier because they fell into the attraction, but forgot to sustain the feelings that come along.

I don’t claim to be a part of any of these groups, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fit in. Still, I’m not here to talk about me today. I’m here to talk about all of us.

There is a growing trend in the world around us, where people seem to think that love happens on accident. That it is the kind of thing we see in movies, we will walk into a library or a coffee shop (or a bar) and they will see this super attractive hallmark looking person who will steal their heart and sweep them out the front door so that they can live off this perfect world inside their own minds. This scenario might seem attractive from the outside but there is one thing that has been overlooked. What about the bad days? The nights where your wife got too drunk at a party and puked all over the place. When you have pissed her off to the point where she storms away from you in order to keep from hitting you. When one of you loses your job. When family members pass away. When life starts to shed its happy days and things get real, where will you find yourself?

That’s when love really matters. Not in the moments of happiness and comfort. When we find ourselves in those difficult times and we don’t remember that we love the other person, we find ourselves in a trap of our own design. Love is work. It is always work. Sure, it starts out easily, you think they’re cute, then nice, then you realize you are attracted to them, then they are dating and you both get married and the world suddenly becomes a real thing. Bills, children, fights, attachment and separation rear their heads and suddenly you can’t live in an imaginary world anymore.

It sucks, because that imaginary world is special. We want so badly to hold onto it and to keep it near us but life will not allow that.

So here, when your relationships becomes more than memes and transparent feelings is when you both are put to the true test.

I believe that love starts with attraction. You meet a cute girl and get her number and begin talking, then suddenly you realize how much you enjoy her company and succumb to that attraction. Beyond that, it only becomes love if you understand that at one point you will have to get off your ass and do something about that love.

I feel as if I have been writing in circles through this blog post, so I want to simplify what I’m saying to you.

A long time ago, my parents both told me something independently that has guided my way through relationships and through life. When I was a boy, my mom told me that I shouldn’t date a girl who can’t pee on a sagebrush. It’s crude, sure, but it means something. That girl would be willing to go camping, to rough it, and what she really meant by that I think, is that I shouldn’t date a girl who is afraid of getting dirty or who is afraid of being in a place where amenities aren’t right there. For a while my parents lived out of their motorhome. You can imagine that it wasn’t easy for them, but they had one another. They loved each other and they continued loving each other, because they chose to do so. The motorhome wasn’t that bad then. It was work, but then again, everything is work.

A while afterwards, I was talking to my dad about a girl and about love, and he said something that was a bit cruder than peeing on a sagebrush, but it cemented in my memory and has since become something I remind myself of always. He told me that when I am looking at a relationship partner, I should ask myself if I would be able to wipe their ass and bathe them if they couldn’t do it themselves. Another straightforward comment that carried a double meaning. (As I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that my parents have done this to me a lot.) Which basically says that when I’m pursuing someone, I need to remember that things won’t be great. She will get sick, she will one day, not be able to take care of herself. If I can do that still, then it is my job to take care of her too. He told me this, I think at the time to sway me away from the girl I was interested in, but he did so much more than that because now when I look to date a woman, I see her and I place myself in a different pair of shoes. The shoes I would wear if she was crippled. If she was incapable of caring for herself, would I care for her? It shows me how I truly feel about someone, because if I hesitate and decline, then I know I don’t love them, because I am not willing to put up with the disgusting and the uncomfortable, for beauty and comfort.

It speaks volumes to me when I hear of couples who stay together after one of them suffers some kind of tragedy. Getting paralyzed especially. I think that it would do all of us well to look at these people, it would do all of us well to consider these two thoughts about our possible partners. Would we be willing to clean them and care for them if something were to happen? Would we be willing to rough it with them if we were at a loss? If either of those questions were a no, then I think you should reconsider your decision.

People today have a real big problem in life, even myself. I don’t want to let you think I am somehow above it just because I am the one writing it out. We care so much about appearances and how we look that we forget to address how we feel and think. I see it so often. Friends in terrible relationships but they want the world to think that everything is swell. People getting involved and trying to sustain that involvement just because they think the other party is attractive. I think it all comes back to one thing, really. Selfishness. Perhaps pride, too. I know I’ve experienced them both in my journey.

It is as if we can’t bear the weight of loving anything more than we love ourselves. We exist to serve only our selfish desires and mindset, seeking fulfillment. When the harsh reality of it is that love is not always beautiful and romantic. It is bloody. It is difficult. It is painful. But through all of the awful, we can still harness and thrive in the goodness that it produces. If we were to look past the guise that we set up for ourselves, to really inspect the fragile windows that we constructed to view the outside world with our own shallow minds, then we would see and truly understand that the love we think we so desperately crave is not truly love at all. It is selfishness, and greed, pinned and wrapped in linen reserved for romantics. We could all use a lesson, from our older generation, I think. Those who taught us to work and to stay committed, instead of breaking our arms under the weight of our own pride and running as soon as things begin to look unfavorable. No one knows how this life is supposed to work, so why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to have all of the answers? Is it because we are afraid of being vulnerable, or is it something deeper than that?

Expose yourself. Begin to understand who you really are, and I will too. Though it is a lot of work, there is nothing like loving someone with everything you have, through the good, the bad, and through everything. It is magical.

Thank you for reading “The Movement, Noose Ends” on Gravity My Enemy. I am honored to have your attention if only for a few minutes every week. Remember, new blog posts every Wednesday and Friday from here on out!

For updates and information about new projects and this blog, follow @alvatobiasbooks on Twitter + Facebook!

Mean Shadows, my latest book, comes out Dec. 24th! Don’t miss this, it’s arguably the most important thing I have written to date. You can pre-order here. (Pre-orders in before the 18th will arrive before Christmas Day!)