Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Weeks

At least, that's what Blogger tells me it has been since my last post. Alas! Such is the difficulty of contributing to a blog with no direction. In many ways, it is freeing, in other ways, it is a recipe for writer's block. I went with that choice under the assumption that nothing I wrote otherwise; be it about politics, movies, music, literature, history, economics, the like, would have been particularly new or revelatory or really all that well produced, but perhaps a goal or overarching theme would have also created a better sense of what to write about.

To slightly change subjects, although maintain the general idea of coming up with subject matter; is it any wonder so many in the creative industry smoke? Smoking does a multitude of horrible things to your brain, lungs, heart, veins, pretty much anything in your body that can be made worse for the wear is so by smoking. Yet, smoking also increases the same chemicals that anti-depressants increase, causing uptake inhibition in things like serotonin and dopamine, and it also stimulates, rather strongly, the area of the brain associated with creativity. Stephen King, and I will crudely paraphrase here, has a quote where he basically explains that given two writer's, with equal talent, but one a smoker and one that does not, it will become apparent that the smoker is the better writer.

This is not, of course, to come out in support of the single largest cause of preventable death that the world has ever or probably will ever see, nor in support of the massive corporations that continue to proliferate arguably the single most toxic invention ever created by humanity.

But, there are days, as has been the last month or two for me, where ideas, not only for this blog but for short stories, Tweets, or any content that involves the proverbial pen to paper, are few and far between, and any drug or action that can increase brain activity (smoking is not the only one, but it's the only one I have ready access to, given the illegality of just about every single drug in existence, and the relative impossibility of human intimacy, another creative promoter [to keep things PG]) is somewhat alluring. Alas, though, the dangers and cost of smoking, and the dangers and cost of procuring other things is a hindrance, and while short term stimulation is there, the end result should be to brainstorm ideas on my own, I think, not at the whim of some chemical reaction. So it goes.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Starting Point

I suppose - if one were inclined to believe Hollywood - all stories either start with a crisp, heroic opening sequence in which personalities are established, or a deep tragedy that pushes the characters forward. Life is rarely that punctuated, beginnings and endings drift about in amidst the nuance of an average day or week or month, full of repetition and doldrums.

I've never experienced real tragedy, truly. I've never had a close friend or immediate family member pass away. The relatives who have passed were ones I knew little. Same with the people at work. I've never had a horrific injury, with perhaps the worst discrete health issue of my life being a nasty staph infection in college. I still bare physical scars from it.

But I have no crisp opening, either, no snappy heroic accomplishment, no exciting scene with which I can draw from. Life for me has been a series of understated events.

I suppose I could start with my sister being born, me all of 3 years old. I don't remember that day. My mother says I thanked her for getting my sister out of her stomach.

I could start withy my first day at preschool. I remember that day. Being a bit shy. Seeing tons of kids I didn't know. Sitting in a circle around the big blue rug for the first time.

It could be my first year changing schools, suddenly thrust from one institution in which bullying was heavily policed and rapidly stamped out, to one in which it was almost viewed as a right of passage, a school whose kids were so spoiled and self centered that both verbal and physical violence was common.

It could be high school, my first bad grades, my teachers calling me a loner to my parents. It could be when one kid gave me a bloody nose. It could be when another socked me on the arm as hard as possible. It could be sitting alone in the cafeteria in abject fear, knowing I was an easy target.

It could be working at Mcdonalds, meeting the last friends of my life I'd meet in person, meeting good people for the first time in years.

It could be the first time I self harmed, rusty scissors drawing blood against my arm, slashing up the skin and leaving scars all over.

It could be the hospital, bruises on my body from the stretcher, spied on in the shower, the 4am screams, screams I'd never heard before, of patients being dragged in and sedated, clawing at everyone and everything.

It could be a trip to Australia as a high schooler, or England as an adult, or Chicago, or Miami, or any other location.

It could be buying my first house and moving out.

Or maybe, as I suspect, it hasn't come. There is no new city, no new friends, no new job, nothing, just endless repetition, all that my 20s have been good for. Nothing that would make a movie, or sell a book, or enrapture the audience. So I'll wait and see, and hopefully, a starting point comes sooner rather than later. Until then, with eyes glazed over, I move on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Understanding Failure

One wonders - as one perpetually travels forward through time - when one is most apt; by way of repeated failures, to give up on their dreams. For instance, the dream of a 40 year old to play in the NBA is, entirely, a dead dream, for if they haven't made it into the most competitive league of basketball in the world by then, they assuredly never will. To give up on that dream, then, may be considered a certain separation that is, ultimately, good for the 40 year old, as it allows them the cynical precocity of moving on in life. One can foresee a world in which many of the 40 year old's family and friends are glad for the fully-formed adult in relinquishing hold of a dream of miniscule propensity.

So, to return to the question at hand, one wonders when this removal of delusion is most important for one. It is unquestionably assured that the vast mass of human lives will never have their dreams come true; even with the concurrent onslaught of sucralose infested media that ascribes a certain naivety towards one's dream - that we should never give up, that it is never too late - that goes in direct contradiction to the understanding from others of the aforementioned 40 year old. But, as many are aware, there are things that will never come true, and there are certain times when pulling oneself back is the best option. The time in which to do this, then, is the difficulty of the equation, for to continue a life of failed pursuit for years and decades is surely as frustrating, if not more so, as having the cowardice to simply say "no" in the first place.

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Life's Little Coincidences, Duly Noted

In what is now 2015, one day in Spring, I sat at my computer, fingers hovering over a mouse connected by way of USB to a PC whose fan whirred demurely at me and stirred molecules into a haphazard staleness. Two bands, two of my favourites, were to perform in Detroit on a Friday and then a Saturday night, and I was to make an event out of it, staying in Detroit's sole hostel and exploring a city I love for a few days while seeing music I adore during the night.

Of course, I hesitated. And I hesitated, not for a matter of seconds or minutes, but days and weeks, until, finally, having convinced myself to pull the trigger, I was promptly informed that one of the venues was sold out.

The rest is personal history. I sort of blindly jumped into attending Pitchfork in Chicago instead, later in the summer, and had a highlight of my life that is right up there with the best, one that I have referred to in this blog in about as fond a manner as one as jaded as myself can.

I often reflect on this, how a few pixels saying "sold out," how making the original purchase just one day earlier, how fear, hesitation, all conspired to deliver me, ironically, a moment of my life I look upon as fondly as any other. And then the question becomes; what if it hadn't happened? What if the original plans never fell through? If I could examine both timelines impartially, it's hard to imagine the first as being anything other than an opportunity cost of the highest degree.

And now, today, early into 2016, my PC fan still whirrs in slightly louder vesture than previous years, time meanders on, and little coincidences continue to conspire and form and coalesce and many, most really, disappear, forever lost to time and with too little a footprint to matter. Perhaps, though, I can be so lucky to find another, one in 2016, that will stick.