Introspection, Review, and Repair.

I’ve said that I’ve been dealing with my shit since I quit drinking in January, but boy, this shit is rough.

The title of this post puts it out more cleanly, but it’s still a rough, deep dive into my life.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.

This belief was punctuated by the fact the people kept leaving me. I have severe abandonment issues. My wife will tell you that.

This started when my parents divorced. I was in third grade at the time. Its been a roller coaster since then.

Relationships start, they end and I wonder if there’s something I didn’t do. Something I didn’t do enough of, all of that kind of thing.

Abandonment is the big one for me.

Addiction is another aspect. I’ve been around alcohol for as long as I can remember. I raided my father’s vodka in junior high. I did this because I wanted an escape from the life I had.

Later, alcohol became my way of dealing with everything. Girlfriend leaves, drink. Father is a dick and wants nothing to do with you, drink. Family disowns you, drink.

This has gone on long enough. I reached a point where I couldn’t put myself or my wife and kids through it.

I’ve always pushed things away. Buried them deep.

Maybe that’s why I write horror?

Better than anyone else!

This is the most recent, though it is the hardest to deal with. I gained some perspective on this one recently. I understood where the idea came from.

I watched a family member disown and abandon others. Caring only about themselves. They were the most important. What they wanted mattered. No one else’s feelings were important.

I’ve had to confront this one head on.

For a long time I wasn’t the husband and father I should’ve been.

I was exactly like the person I mentioned.

Today I understand that yes, I am important, but I am not as important as others. I am not that perfect snowflake. I can’t have everything be about me without consequences.

I almost paid the bill on that one with my marriage.

All of us reach a point, okay most of us reach a point where we have to deal with our lives.

We have to learn to understand our childhood. We have to learn that our addictions are harmful and that they will cause further harm to those who matter most to us.

When I set about getting sober, I only thought about not drinking. Then all these things came out that I’d been suppressing. I wanted to drink. They go away then, right?

Nah, they don’t. They’re still out there waiting for us to fuck up.

But I didn’t. I’m staying sober.

The suppression of my feelings about my childhood and about my family is something I’m dealing with daily. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But this blog, and writing this stuff down helps.

It doesn’t matter how many people see it, only that I know I’ve written it down.

Have a good week.

Some people are okay being comfortable.

Featured

I listen to quite a few podcasts about motivation and getting over the hurdles of life. I also listen to self-help and motivation books on Audible.

There’s one thing that only a few of them have said that makes me think.

There are some people who are perfectly okay with being ordinary. With not pushing themselves to their limits and not trying to get a book published, be an actor, painter, or any number of other creative pursuits.

This baffles me. But as I work harder than I ever have on my writing, I’m beginning to understand their reasons. I look back on my own life as reference.

I didn’t start really writing until 2001. I use that year as reference because I went to Washington D.C. for a poetry convention. It wasn’t that impressive.

But I went because I’d always written and some times the words were good. I wanted to make a mark on the world. I wanted my life to matter, not just to my family but others.

This led me down a rabbit hole.

I wondered why am I trying to improve myself? Why is no one else really trying to do this?

I thought there was either something wrong with myself or others. But it’s more about what motivates me than there being something wrong with others.

For a long time I found no motivation. There were many reasons for this.

I hated my job, my life, and all that it entailed. I loved my wife and kids, but wanted something more than a 9-5 lifestyle. Something more than just getting by.

I wrote my first novel in 2004, just before my son was born. I’ve written nine others since then. I’ve queried two of them(one is still out).

When I say I hated my life, that may need explaining. I went to work, but hated being there. Hated the atmosphere and there were many times I was quite depressed.

Five years ago my wife and I moved from our house to our childhood city. The move and figuring everything out that came afterward was difficult. We managed though.

Today, I have all the time in world to write. I look around at people just going about their day and still wonder, why am I trying so hard?

There is only one answer.

We are born differently.

While some of us strive to improve ourselves, others are happy with the way they are. Sure, they may do something small on the side. Take a few classes, but more often than not, they’re only doing it so they can prove someone wrong.

I started out that way. I wanted to prove my biological father wrong. I wanted that so bad. In the end it became anger and rage. Which is never healthy. Which is why I’m sober.

I no longer care what he or anyone else thinks about me. I work at this because I enjoy it and I think–though my work ethic sucks sometimes–I’m good at it.

We don’t all have that drive to be better just for the sake of being better. Some of us are fine with a 9-5. That doesn’t make them bad people or lazy, it just makes them different.

I work hard at this because I never wanted to be normal or ordinary. I don’t want to live a 9-5 life. I want to see the world, do things other only dream about, but are too afraid of the effort it would take.

I know that because I used to feel that way. I didn’t want to put in the effort required. Today I feel differently.

I have a lot to do this year. There are goals written down, others are on my white board.

I hope you have great weekend and whether you’re trying to get better or are okay with the way your life is, either is okay. You be the person you want to be. Don’t let me or anyone on the internet tell you who you are and what you can or can’t do.

Get after it.

 

Figuring Out The Writing Things

Featured

This story making business is difficult to navigate and sometimes it feels like the shore itself is never close.

The world you’re trying to create may never come to fruition on the page or in a bookstore, online, or anywhere else books find their places.

The shores of stories are built within the framework of everything else.

There must be a way to create them(writing), there must be a way to get them right(editing), and there must be a way for the world to see them(agent, publisher, online, or whatever the means may be).

The difficult part for some of us it getting it on the page. This is either because we don’t understand what that entails or we think it’s easy. Both of these are easily fixed.

The first part is the easier of the two. We reach moments where it’s hard to get words on the page. We reach them and call it writer’s block. We’re not blocked. Our minds didn’t just shut down. There is a reason we can’t write another word and the answer is within the story itself. What happened in the story to cause us to blank? Find that and fix the problem and the “block”.

Now comes the part we loath. Those who haven’t written a book think it’s easy. Those who haven’t written a short story think the same thing.

If you haven’t written a book or short story through all of the editing, it’s damn hard.

I hate editing for a reason. I would rather be writing a new story, but I have to edit. It’s an imperative to edit.

This year my goal is go through the promising stories I wrote in the last couple of years. There are quite a few of them. When I’d finish a book, I’d write a group of short stories that weren’t in the genre of the previous story, or if they were it was different section of that genre.

Horror has many sub-genres. If I wrote haunted house book, I’d do something with cults, witches, demons, possession. Also vice-versa.

I had to give my mind a break.

I wrote at least fifty short stories. I’ll be going through all of them and submitting them. Most of them are horror, though a couple are not.

But I will go through all of them in order to fix them.

I can’t not write, but I have to look at editing as writing and that has always been my problem.

I’ve talked enough about my editing issues on here to fill a few chapbooks. I’ll get it done this year.

Oh, and that story I talked about the 25,000 missing words, I finished that story. So, I’ll be writing some short stories for a while too.

Have a good week and get some things done.

Trying to get through…

Featured

I’ve become stuck on my recent project. I don’t know where it broke. What happened or how to fix it.

The one thing that I did different from the previous project is I didn’t think this on through.

I didn’t plan. I didn’t plot. I didn’t create a pathway to get where I need to be; where the story needs to be.

I’ve been writing a dozen short stories over the holiday break, and maybe that’s why I thought I could wing it with a longer form story.

It hasn’t worked and I can’t go back to writing multiple drafts again.

I have the story I finished before Thanksgiving and I’ll work on improving that one.

It’s strange how you write one way for so long, then you start a new way and it’s like finding the holy grail.

I’ve written 10 novels and eight of those were written by pantsing. The other two I either wrote a beat sheet or did an outline and it’s those latter ones that I feel are my best work.

They have a better flow through, a better story, character development, but after using and outline and beat sheet, I’ve gone back to a few of those and discovered what went wrong and fixed it.

I’m querying one of them right now. It’s out with three agents.

This year I want to push what scares me and that leads into a conversation I had with my wife the other day about the current slate of horror. But I’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Enjoy the first full week of the new year.

Fear and what it does to us.

I was talking to my wife the other night as we lay in bed.

We want to go to London and Edinburgh with our kids next summer and I said, “well if we go there at least we won’t get shot at.”

This is what we’ve come to.

My kids go back to school in two weeks and then it’s stress time.

Any time the sound of siren passes down the street we wonder. Is that going to their school?

It’s a horrible place to be in as a human and a parent to think this way, but it’s the only way I can think.

We’ve reached a point where we cower in fear at the sound of siren, a car backfiring, and fireworks going off.

It’s not normal to act this but unfortunately it’s the point we’ve reached.

I’ve talked to other parents who react the same way and it’s terrifying.

I don’t look at this as a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.

My kids and everyone else’s kids deserve to attend school without having lockdown drills.

Myself and other parents deserve to not worry about a shooting but whether their kid is enjoying school.

I’ve reached the point where I’d rather travel overseas with my family than in the country of my birth.

My family has roots going to the 1600’s in this country. It’s about what’s right and decent not about what’s politically popular.

Don’t let anyone distract you!

There’s a point when you’re an unpublished writer and all of your writer friends aren’t on the same level you feel you’re on.

This isn’t about bragging, narcissism, or vanity.

It’s about focus!

Projects may come along which can divert your attention, take away your focus, shifting it somewhere you don’t want it to go.

These projects are distractions from your goal, they’re mental masturbation.

You might get some joy out of them but they will always take your focus away from your goals.

They’re you telling yourself, it’s okay to do this thing these other people are doing because it “might” make you better. But you have goals to focus on, you have self-imposed deadlines to meet.

When everyone around doesn’t have true, set on paper goals for their writing it doesn’t matter what they’re doing. It’s a distraction. And distractions take you away from your goals.

Don’t let anyone tell you your goals aren’t real, that they aren’t attainable. And never let anyone distract you from those goals.

A ledge, a death, and finding myself.

:TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of suicide.

Five years ago I stood on a ledge. I mean this literally.

I was in the parking garage of the hotel and casino I worked at in Las Vegas. It was the end of my shift and I didn’t want to live anymore.

Over the previous six months, my grandfather passed away, I stopped considering my biological father as my dad, and I contracted shingles.

All of this is related to why I stood on that ledge.

I remember standing, the dry Vegas air blowing through my clothes, and not caring what anyone would think about me not being here.

I was mostly just tired. I felt like I caused a lot of pain and I was tired of hurting.

Something happened that day that was nearly the deciding factor for my life. A co-worker told me, “No one cares what happens to you. No one wants to listen to you talk about your writing anymore.”

Those words, completely full of venom and hate, led me to standing on the ledge.

I stared down at the pavement. Feeling the wind brush back my hair and rippled my clothes. Then, I don’t know why, but I stepped down and called my wife. I don’t have an explanation as to why I stepped down.

I explained to my wife what happened.

No one, not even her knew how bad my depression was. I didn’t want anyone to know that I’d lost it. I’m not sure if its a guy thing, though I’ve come to believe it had something to do with it.

I talked to her through my Bluetooth on the way home. She had no idea. I know no one I worked with did.

Today, I turned 43. Life got better after we left Las Vegas almost four years ago. I see my kids more, love my wife more, and take care of myself. I enjoy life.

One of the reasons we left was the toxicity of casino work. When we left, I was getting migraines 2-3 times a week. Since we left, I’ve had eight of them.

One of my goals after moving was to write fiction daily. I do that now. I’ve written eight books and I’m planning on publishing a book this summer on Amazon.

If you have thoughts of suicide, please get help. Please tell someone and don’t let some asshole you work with drive you to end things.

I continue to suffer from depression, but after trying Transcendental Meditation after my breakdown, because that’s what it was.

TM has become a daily practice for my wife and I. It changed my life, as well as saving it.