Arts

pablo (22)

Today, while I sat, reading Neil Gaiman’s new nonfictiony book, sitting next to my wife, who was multi-tasking, an ever-present sketchbook next to her, I watched a conversation.

Our daughter clambered between us to watch my wife’s colored pencils perform.

I don’t often see the interaction of teacher and student, of which I often think of them as.

I’m either reading a new book or writing something of my own.

The rarity of the occasion was more pronounced by the effort our daughter took to watch her mom create, color then create and fill the sketch with more colors.

I love the creativity in our house and the way in which our kids absorb creating through us.

My son crafted a lovely story a while ago. It’s one that I’ve asked him to expand upon and last night, he brought me cover sketches for it.

I told him, “Worry about the story, the cover will come later. If you need help, I’m here.”

I hope it helped him.

I wonder how why some kids don’t create things and I’m reminded of my childhood and having to hide stories I’d written, then I know.

 

When I worked in Las Vegas, I wore two name tags, one of them said my given name of Brian, the other said Lestat. The reason, well, I love Anne Rice and Lestat has always been my favorite.

People at work could tell what kind of mood I was in, just by the name tag.

A new company bought us and I wasn’t allowed to wear the Lestat name tag.

This is was somewhat heartbreaking, and I still have issues with things like Lestat. But being someone else is something we’ve always wanted to be. We want to have more money, the perfect spouse, kids and the whole thing.

When I wore that name tag, I felt different. Not that I didn’t know who was driving the ship, I was always available and at the helm.

I just felt different.

Neil Gaiman says you should think about the type of person who would write the kind of stories you want to write, and write like that person, well, okay Mr. Gaiman. I’ll take up that challenge.

Let’s see what happens when I let Lestat, or others run the asylum.

I’ll show you, and keep you updated on our progress.

We see the darkness, it dances across our eyes. It pleads with our souls and steals our desire.

Within our lives we’re stuck living the life we don’t have, but the thing about being stuck, there’s always a way to get out of it. It takes force, it takes effort, but we have to get through our life, because why should we live life we don’t want?

There are zero reasons to stay in in a job you don’t like. There are zero reasons to live a life that you’re not enjoying.

But, there are things you must do, and a path you must follow.

The first step is clearing all the bad stuff from your life. This could be friends, family and the best way to get rid of these people is to ignore them.

In the social media world, you’re probably connected to people who you don’t talk to on a daily basis. You possibly see their posts on Facebook, Tweets, Snaps, Instagrams, but you keep seeing what their saying.

Their negativity is infecting your soul, filling it with rage, hate, anger and strife.

The faster you rid your life of them, the better you’ll life will be.

It won’t be easy, these are people you care about, but they are infecting your dreams. They’re stopping you from becoming great.

They’re limiting you to be the person you’ve been, when you see someone else you’d want to be.

You know the person, you see them your reflection, your future reflection.

Change your life and live that reflection.

Each day we’re stuck living someone else’s dream.

We go to a job where oftentimes, we’re creating something for someone else, because it pays the bills.

What if we decided to live our dream, pay the bills and still keep people happy?

This was something I thought about the other day when I was writing.

I work a day job, which I had considered my main job, obviously neglecting my writing and anything creative in the process.

That was until this past week, when I was struck with something, I’m not a writer. I’m pretending to be a writer.

What I realized in that “moment of clarity” is that I’ve been looking at my writing as a second job, sure it doesn’t pay the bills right now, but as long as I treat my writing as the second job and not the first, it will always suffer.

In this realization I thought, “Damn, if I think this way, others do as well.”

What do we do about it?

We rethink our creative side, redo the way we look at our day and come up with ways to put our creative efforts first, and other things second.

I say this as a husband and father, “If your creative side isn’t in first place, it will never win.

I have obligations, it’s not like I’m going to quit my day job, not right now. I see the time coming when that will happen, but it’s not right now.

The thing is, we all have things we want to do, but we put them in second place out of fear, shame or other reasons.

Fear of rejection, fear of someone not understanding and the fear of failure. And shame, damn, shame is the worst. When we look at the things we’ve failed at there could be a big list, and because we failed at those the shame and fear of it happening again makes us not want to try, not want to do it again.

But, when we come to the realization, as I did, that what we wake up for in the morning should be first. That the thing we want to do most in our life should be first, then, and only then will we discover the will to do it.

I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard. There will be people who say you can’t do it, there will be that damn voice in your head and when the voice in your head talks, tell it to F off.

The only way you’re going to do what you want with your life is to put your creative pursuits first and anything else second.

We live someone else’s dream every day, isn’t it about time we live our dream?

 

The year I graduated from high school, we lived in a small trailer on the plains of Wyoming.

It was beautiful to me.

Snow drifts grew to be as large as a truck. The days blended together as the grey, overcast clouds blocked out the sun. We hid in our rooms, or the living room, a dull orange light from the lamp or the white glow of the television casting its glow upon our faces.

It was these nights, with my sister, mom and dad huddled on a couch or under a blanket, which reminded me life wasn’t as bad as my teenage mind thought it was.

Each day, my sister and I would wake from our sleep, hurry to the bathroom, for if we didn’t there would be no hot water, or worse yet, not water at all.

We’d dress in adjacent rooms, only a panel separating our rooms.

It was there on those mornings, when we stood for the bus in 20 below weather I thought not of living somewhere warm, but thought of how beautiful the snow looked, the shape of the ice on the road as it jutted from the black top.

You see, in Wyoming, when there is slush in the road, it freezes like the world turned upside down. There were mornings when I was worried we’d hit one of these icicles and the bus would stop on the freeway leading to the nearest town where we attended school.

Life was easy on that plane in Wyoming. I had school, different girlfriends, and I’d stay up late writing.

Those were the days of teenage angst ridden poems about love, pain and the things which I’ve now outgrown, but the things I wrote were the beginnings of who I’d become years later, 20 years later.

Now that I’ve been away from snow drifts, the world turned upside down and the long bus rides, I think about why I wrote, not what I wrote. I remember thinking, no one will ever see this.

I loved that I could write something I thought was beautiful, and not care if the world saw it or not.

I liked the feeling of writing that way, it’s something I’ve tried to do again, but my mind fails me at those moments.

I think snow drifts and a trip down the rabbit hole will help, but I’ve been in the darkest places, and prefer the light, it keeps the dark away.

I saw life through my 18-year-old eyes a few days ago as I sifted through journals of poems and stories.

I liked what I read, the carelessness of the writing, the sense that the writer knew no one would see it, least of all himself in 20 years.

I’m going to return to writing without caring, because I was happiest when I stood in 20 below weather, my life in front of me and the discovery of what comes next.

For most people, stress is an everyday occurrence and they just live with it, deal with, or put it out of their mind until they’re laying in hospital bed.

Almost a year ago I was stricken with Shingles. I thought it was something older people got, but I was wrong. Shingles can attack anyone who’s had chicken pox.

Having Shingles was especially unnerving since my parents had said I’d never had chicken pox, well I obviously had and band of scabs stretched across my clavicle, spread up my neck onto my head and right ear.

I missed a few days of work, luckily I noticed it early and started treatment.

After my recovery I began to think about how I became so stressed that a virus ravaged my body.

I discovered there was a perfect storm around me.

  1. My grandfather died.
  2. My dad ignored me at my grandfather’s funeral.
  3. I became depressed enough that I wanted to take my own life.
  4. My fiction writing became stagnant.

It was months later, after someone I worked with confronted me and said, “I don’t care about your problems”, which sent me over the edge. I talked about this in a previous post.

The death of my grandfather was something I knew was coming, but having little contact with my dad’s side of the family, I was unaware of how bad he was.

My dad’s snubbing me at the service was something I didn’t think would happen, This comes mostly because it was his father’s service and I thought he’d need the emotional support, I was wrong.

The depression which set in after leaving my grandfather’s service hit me a month later when the first sign of Shingles appeared.

My writing had always been my escape from depression, even as a kid I’d create stories in my head, never writing them down.

Writing has helped me discover who I am as much as TM has, possibly more since it’s been in my life longer.

As a teenager, writing helped me find who I was, and even though I wasn’t quite sure who I was, writing always helped.

When I wasn’t able to write, my depression became worse; which led to more stress, eventually leading to Shingles.

I’d never experienced sickness like Shingles before. Sure, I’ve been suffering from migraines since 2004, but I’d never had something knock me on my ass like Shingles. It made me begin to reevaluate my life.

The catalyst to getting over my depression, the stress I’d suffered from my grandfather’s death was a mental break.

The break made me realize I wasn’t healthy, mentally, physically or spiritually.

When I broke, I knew something had to change. That was the middle of March, just after my 38th birthday.

The one thing I thought of when I broke was this, “Every one will be better without me.”

I believed this, not because I was selfish, but because I believed I was doing something good for those around me.

When you’re depressed enough to want to take your life, you completely believe if you weren’t there, every one would be better.

This thought is not selfish, it’s a belief that life for you is better without them, it’s not about getting away from life, it’s about you being better because they’re not there to cause problems for you. This one thing is a misconception about suicide.

I’ve been to the edge with a knife, and I know what it looks like to stare at the blade and resist the urge to “make things better for those around you”.

Depression nearly took me, but it was my desire to see how this story ends which has kept me going.

When it was at its worst, I found something to help me get better.

Life takes us places we never thought we’d go. Sometimes we end up in a place where we need help.

Please ask for help if you need it!

Suicide Support Line

 

 

 

What happens to our lives when we stop believing we can do anything?

We see things falling through the cracks. Our lives stare at us from under blackened covers.

We hide from the world within a shadow of the person we want to become, because we’re afraid that person will rock the boat, disturb the world around us, or that we’ll fail.

The shadow is the person we keep ourselves from being for many reasons, but what is it about doing our lives justice that keeps us from wanting the life we owe to ourselves?

The sudden jarring jolt of pain we get thinking about the crashing waves upon the shore of the land we want to live in keep us in hiding, they keep us from doing the creative things, the things which make us alive.

Our life feels under the control of a puppeteer. They pull one string, move one small piece and bam, we’re lost, screwed and destroyed.

When we cut the strings, taking away the feeling of the puppeteer, we find the life we’ve wanted all along, but in cutting those strings we risk ridicule for doing something harder than those around us.

They tell you its impossible, tell you you’re nothing and laugh at you for trying.

These are the people whom you once called friends, they mock you, and do things which, if they were your friends, they wouldn’t do.

The cracks in who we are only visible to us. We see the damage caused, we know the pain we’ve lived through. Those around us only see the shell, we know the person living in the shell.

Who we are isn’t as important as what we do.

Our life is nothing without the failure or without the boat moving through the currents.

We fail, but the important part of failure is we learn. Without learning from our failures nothing happens, we repeat.

The shadow keeping us from being ourselves is nothing but our fear telling us things are impossible, nothing is impossible.

You can do anything, remember that.