… But I’m Feeling Much Better Now

I’m sorry, blah blah blah. I’ve said it all before. At least this time I have a good excuse for my absence. Well, part of it at least.

In addition to my usual laziness and procrastination, this time just when I felt ready to really buckle down and get back to work again, I was hit with a nasty case of conjunctivitis.

I’ve had pinkeye before, (damn you Scott Baio,) but never like this. My left eye was killing me, particularly when faced with bright light. I have no idea where it came from but it just wouldn’t go away.

I waited a week for it to heal naturally.

When that didn’t work I tried self medicating with some spare antibiotics. (yes, I know. Bad Writer!)

Finally I broke down and went to the doctor, not an easy thing for someone with no medical insurance to do. Remarkably, she told me she thought I was on the right track and prescribed more antibiotics. (She also told me to lose weight but when you’re fat they always tell you that no matter what you’re there for.)

After another week with no results I called her and she decided to try some eye drops. The next day the redness was almost completely gone. While I’m grateful, I really wish she had prescribed them first instead of following my lead. What the hell do I know? She’s the doctor.

Now that it’s gone, I can focus again. I don’t mean that metaphorically either. My condition literally made it so I couldn’t focus my eyes on anything without agony. Thus, no writing. Now, I can hopefully get back to work. Hopefully I can remember where I was going with the current story line. being away for a month can really screw up your flow.

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My Brain Is Trying To Tell Me Something

Yesterday I had what was quite possibly the most terrifying dream of my adult life.

I was working in a warehouse at the top of an unfinished skyscraper. I had no safety equipment and I spent every second of every day in mortal terror of falling to my death. I found myself so paralyzed with fear that I got very little actual work done. My bosses kept offering me drugs to calm me. I got to the point where I was desperately clinging to a beam for dear life and refusing to let go. Finally, after all my efforts to prevent it, I fell anyway.

And I was just fine.

And now for my absolutely unqualified analysis of the dream.

For some time now I have been considering some drastic steps to jumpstart my career and leave my days of working for someone else behind me. The problem is, some of the things I have in mind are very risky and liable to cost me dearly if they don’t work out. It’s a frightening thing to think of living life without the safety net of a steady paycheck. At the same time, I’m afraid if I don’t do something soon it may be too late. In short, the dream was my brain’s not so subtle way of telling me to take the leap. I’ll be just fine. Chances are, one of these days I’ll find myself without that safety net anyway and have nothing to show for it.

It’s time to start taking chances.

It’s time to start living.

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Which One Of You Did It?

Okay, confess. Which one of you did it? Who was it? Who put the jinx on me? Over the weekend the heater in my house went out, then the heater in my mother’s house went out, then the heater in my car went out. Now my refrigerator is making funny noises. I know things break but come on, all at once?

Other than everything I own falling apart around my ears, things have been good. Writing is, well, progressing. Still haven’t come up with an idea for a screenplay yet. Let me rephrase that. Haven’t come up with a GOOD idea for a screenplay. At least nothing that hasn’t been done a million times before. I’m working on a short. Once it’s done I have to decide whether to try to publish it or put it up here. I know I’ve been promising you original stuff for a long time now. What do you think?

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Oh Magoo, You’ve Done It Again

Yes, this is what you think it is, another apology post. I know I said I planned to update at least five times a day. Unfortunately the really real meatspace world must take precedent from time to time.

I won’t bother with excuses. Yes, things have been hectic lately but there’s no reason I couldn’t have taken a few minutes out of my life to shoot a quick hello to my loyal readers. The truth is, I’ve just been lazy lately. This is my first step toward recovery. So whaddya say? Forgive me?

In other news, I’m tinkering with yet another new writing project. Well, I guess you could say I’m in the pre-tinkering phase. It’s been years since I’ve done it, but I used to love writing screenplays. I wasn’t ever much good at them but I had fun with them and isn’t what life is all about? I don’t have a story in mind yet, but I picked up the latest edition of Final Draft and am currently playing with it. 

No, I’m not giving up the novel or the short stories I keep promising you and not delivering. I will still be working on them, this is just another thing I want to do. Blame it on an undiagnosed case of ADD. Notice I left the H out of that. Nobody could ever accuse me of being hyperactive. Hopefully I can find a way to divide my time between all my projects and more importantly, keep myself from getting confused as to which character belongs in which story. 

Anyway, that’s all for today. Hopefully I won’t be lazy tomorrow and will talk to you again then.

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Desperate People

I recently came across a quote by Charles Bukowski.

“Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers”.

It got me thinking, perhaps I’ve grown too comfortable. Maybe that’s why I get stuck so often. Have I grown so comfortable in my life that I no longer have anything important to say? Is that why even when the words are flowing reasonably well I sometimes feel like I’m just going through the motions?

Or perhaps I am still desperate after all. Perhaps the very fact that I’m so neurotic about the quality of my writing proves how desperate I am. Desperate for approval, desperate to leave something that will live on long after I’m gone. Most importantly, desperate to write something people want to read. I am realizing that these aren’t the ways a writer should be desperate.

I know that if I try to make my writing perfect I will never write a word. It’s the reason I get so frustrated and give up. The words sound so perfect in my head but when I try to put them on paper they all come out wrong. The beautiful thought I had is garbled and unrecognizable.

Maybe it’s time I started taking steps to make myself a little less comfortable. Comfort equals safety. Maybe it’s time to stop being so damned safe about everything I do. It’s time to take a risk or two. Even if I start small it will still give me that taste of fear I’m so desperately craving. Maybe it’s time to be daring and stop caring so damned much about what other people think.

The time has come to start pushing my babies out of the nest to see if they fly.

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Thoughts On The Oscars

I love the Academy Awards. Every year it’s the one awards show I absolutely have to watch. I watch others but the Oscars are my Superbowl. Maybe it’s because I still have hope of someday standing on that stage and accepting an award for best original screenplay. There was a time when I was all set to move to Hollywood to write screenplays with an eye toward monster making as a fallback. Unfortunately, as John Lennon sang; “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Overall, I thought Seth MacFarlane did a wonderful job as host. I did feel the “We saw your boobs” bit was a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, I know that’s his style of humor and I usually enjoy it. In fact, I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh. However, and I know this probably makes me sound like a prude, it just felt out of place at an event like the Oscars. I have always felt the Oscars were a somewhat classy event. We are bombarded with toilet humor everywhere else. Can we just have one event where we keep things classy? I know Mr. MacFarlane is capable of being classy and actually quite enjoyed his other numbers. Overall I liked him and hope he returns next year with just a bit of polish.

As for the winners, I must admit I can’t speak much to that. Truth be told, I was rooting for one film to take everything but I can’t complain too much considering that rather than see any others, I went to see Les Miserables three times. What can I say, I’m a straight man that loves musical theater. I grew up in a theater family and while I haven’t had the opportunity to see this particular play on stage, I thought it was done very well.

And now, I’m probably going to offend some of you. I was very disappointed at the best picture award. Again, I’m not talking about the winner. Argo may be a great movie and I look forward to seeing it on video. What disappointed me was the appearance of Michelle Obama to present the award. Again, I try not to get political on this blog and this isn’t about politics. I would have been equally disappointed had Laura Bush done the same thing. I just don’t believe politicians and those around them should be made into celebrities. More importantly, the whole thing just felt forced and out of place. I suppose I’m just not a fan of politicians in general and feel they should be behind the scenes instead of constantly in our faces. (Yes I realize the first lady isn’t technically a politician but it’s close enough.)

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Technology Tangle

As I sit here, I realize I am surrounded by technology. I have my iPhone, my tablet, my laptop of course, and my iPod. All of them are performing various jobs to make my life as a writer easier but I have to wonder; Are they really?

When I was a kid and I began making up stories it was because I was bored. It was my way of entertaining myself. I don’t do this nearly as often as I should as someone who hopes to tell stories for a living someday. Why? Because with all this technology at my fingertips at all times, who has time to be bored anymore?

I am no Luddite. Far from it. I love technology and am constantly amazed at how far we’ve come as a people just in my lifetime. Any time I hear someone that we don’t have flying cars I am quick to remind them that what we do have is much more amazing. We have instant access to the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips at all times. In this day and age, there is no excuse to not know something you want to know.

Still, I have to wonder if this constant flow of information has stunted us creatively. Maybe it’s time to unplug for a while.

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The Importance Of Blowing Off Steam

As some of you may know, or may have been able to guess, I’ve been fairly stressed out lately. Between my job, my birthday, and other things, I’ve been in a constant state of stress. Not the kind of stress that motivates you either. The kind of stress where you feel absolutely helpless to do anything about it and so you do nothing but dwell on your helplessness and become a complete asshole.

Over the weekend I was able to relieve most of my stress thanks to the help of my girlfriend and her sister. Okay you pervs, not like that. My weekend started with a quiet birthday party that mainly consisted of hanging out with friends and having a few (too many) cocktails. More important than the drinking was the laughing, something I haven’t been doing nearly enough of lately. I found my smile.

The next day we started early with a little shopping followed by a late breakfast and then a nice relaxing drive in the hills. It was a beautiful, summery day. Something you don’t see too often in South Dakota in February. I could literally feel the tension leaving my body. So much so that by the time we got home I was physically exhausted. Not from the day, but from the previous weeks of constant pressure. I felt like a deflated balloon and yet I still felt like I was floating.

Sunday was mostly a lazy day with a visit to the theater  in the evening which was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.

I’m sure as the week progresses the stress will begin to weigh me down again but as long as I remember to blow off a little steam on the weekend all will be well and I can write the rest of it away.

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The Age Old Struggle

Today I find myself having the same argument I’ve had with myself hundreds of times before. Art or money? In other words; Do I work on writing something reasonably marketable that appeals to a wide audience or do I spend my time working on something more literary and artistic that probably only a handful of people will ever read until long after I’m dead, if then? Is it possible to do both at the same time either in the same book or by writing two separate books simultaneously?

More importantly, am I a fool to think I’m even capable of writing something truly artistic?

I enjoy writing genre fiction. It’s like playing for me. As a matter of fact that’s exactly what it is. When I’m writing that sort of thing I’m once again the kid on the playground, stick in hand, pretending I’m the knight in shining armor.

It’s just that I would like to leave something more meaningful behind as my legacy. The literary stuff is where I really bare my soul. It’s that sort of writing I want to be remembered for. The question is whether I’ll actually be remembered even if I do write something great. I guess I’m still trying to find out who I am. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m just a hack that will never write anything anybody wants to read anyway so it really doesn’t matter. Hopefully I’m right in thinking that most writers, even successful ones, think that from time to time.

I know what my writing idols would say. “Just write the damned thing and let others worry about what it is or isn’t. By that time you should be well on your way to finishing the next one anyway.”

In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote that I find inspiring when I’m questioning my validity as an artist.

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Everyone enjoy your weekend. Since I missed a couple this week I will try to post over the weeekend. No promises though. I’m wildly unreliable.

Why The Valentine’s Hate?

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Valentine’s day. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, I’m sending you my love.

Now that that’s out of the way I have a question for the single people. Why so much hate for Valentine’s day? Is it really that bad? I spent many many years single and it just never bothered me. The only difference from most other days was the knowledge that my friends that were in relationships wouldn’t be able to come over for a beer. It never even occurred to me to begrudge them that one day.

Maybe it’s because Valentine’s day just isn’t that big of a deal to me even when i am in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend will be getting the usual flowers and candy and such. Because of our work schedules we will have to wait until the weekend to do dinner but still, we will do something. It’s just that I try to make her feel special every day so it’s not so important that I go crazy on V day.

So I suppose my message is this; If you’re in a relationship, try to show your loved one they’re special every day so there’s not so much pressure on this one day. If you’re not, why not show the most important person how much you love them? Yourself. That’s right, go crazy. Eat what you want, pamper yourself, watch that T.V. show you’d never admit to any one you watch without guilt. After all, you can’t love someone else until you love yourself. Besides, chances are you don’t show yourself how much you love you nearly as much as you should.

P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts this week. Monday and Tuesday were pure laziness that I blame on my birthday having been on Monday. Yesterday however was a different story. I wrote a post and thought I uploaded it, but when I checked this morning it was gone. It’s probably for the best anyway. It was mostly me whining about how much my birthday sucked, mainly because of my job. Point taken, no whining or the gods will delete my posts.