Mondays…something, something, Garfield, probably.

This Monday morning, Memorial Day 2020, is rough, I’m not gonna sugar coat it. I was up until 3:00am, unable to sleep, anticipating having to get up at 7 to take my son back to his mom’s house. Of course, he woke me up at 6, banging around the house, getting a snack, firing up the iPad to watch YouTube videos. I slept for shit anyway. Bad dreams.

Today, I wanted nothing more than to just get the day going with some writing. It’s nearly 10:30am and after an attempt to go back to bed, get showered, and an Americano to start the day, not necessarily in any semblance of that order, I am up. Forcing myself to put my butt in the chair and write. So I decided to start here.

I could probably benefit from getting some exercise in this morning. Maybe do some kettlebells, or take a bike ride around the area. I have to do something to get my brain to start working because whatever I’ve done so far today sure as hell isn’t working.

I’ve been thinking about a few things regarding writing, and in the last few days, I have been fortunate enough to see three examples of good writing that made it to the screen.

First of all, the show Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a goddamned genius. This show, based on a play she wrote and also starred in was brilliant. Seeing something like this makes you want to just give up and say, “I’m not a writer. Not when there is something like this around. Nope.” It was that good. I binge watched both seasons on Amazon Prime last week. I wish I had known about this sooner. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

The next piece of writing I have enjoyed was the series, Peaky Blinders. Not only for how everything is put together, but also from the acting. The juxtapositioning of the modern soundtrack and Wes Anderson type slow-mo walking and looking like badasses throughout, as well as underappreciated actor, Cillian Murphy and his cohorts who could really benefit from a decent fade at a barber shop.

The third piece of work that I have enjoyed thoroughly has been Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The N-word free Tarantino film (even Inglorious Basterds got one in there), and honestly, one of his best films yet. I’ve watched it 3.5 times already. I look at a movie like that and from concept to writing to executing on a film-making level, it is also intimidating. The guys from Half in the Bag consider it to quite possibly be the last great American film that will ever be made. It’s entirely possible. I don’t see movie theatres coming back after this pandemic. Not that there is anything really worth seeing out there anyway. It would be nice if books came back.

As far as movies go, I think last summer saw Apex Marvel and throwing in phase 325 of the MCU will just bring out a bunch of obscure characters nobody knows or cares about, a lot of “woke” Disney fuckery/puritanism, and honestly after ten years of Marvel movies blowing their wad on Thanos in the last one, we are collectively owed a nap and some orange juice for the next five or six years to recover. I haven’t seen the last Star Wars movie, and I probably never will. The Mandalorian set the bar pretty high for that, and it’s because it’s all about the Characters, stupid.

Today, I planned on working on my own book. The forerunner to Song of the Cinder, which has elements of stories that have been knocking around in my skull for most of my life. Some of these ideas stem from a comic that I drew when I was in the Fifth or Sixth grade. Which I’m sure my mom threw out along with various other treasures because I decided I didn’t need to clean my room, but rather just shuffle my feet through the piles of toys if I wanted to go from point A to point B. The world that finally took shape from a Tolkienesque high-fantasy world to the alternative history fantasy world of Cinder came about because some things really bothered me about fantasy writing.

Everybody just loves Tolkien, but I have the same problem with him as I do everyone else. There are familiar elements to our world that have absolutely no business even existing in the stories. Take for instance, the use of the days of the week in the Hobbit and LotR. If it’s a pre-history, then why the hell is there a Monday-Sunday week? So many things in fantasy books are anachronistic. Either it’s another world, or it’s this world. Even language, if it’s another world, has things based in Latin and Greek roots, French, and even Asian languages. Armor, weapons, all of it is basically a bunch of furniture hoarded up in the attic of a Dungeons and Dragons-esque compendium of tropes and tidbits that just get hauled out whenever someone needs a monster, or a cool sword, or something sampled from another writer/world/game whenever the mood suits them.

So, anyway, my story evolved from the same ripped-off high fantasy story to something else. Something that was more recognizable and I didn’t have to go about reinventing things like weapons and language because I learned too much and understood its origins. And how much they rely on roots that are deeply set into our own world, with centuries of religion, nation-building, folk-lore, and other elements that you cannot deny.

I think I need a nap.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love COVID-19

We are looking at two solid months and counting of shit being weird. I sometimes feel like that Japanese soldier they tell legends about who didn’t know World War II was over until 1971 when they found out he had been killing people in the jungles of some island near the Phillipes for 25 years. For the last several weeks, while I have been on lockdown, I have seen people outside walking their dogs, riding bikes, playing tennis and basketball, hot rodding all over town with their souped up Toyotas and Subarus, and the whole while, all I hear about is “stay at home. Save a life.”

I’ve been at home. With the exception of going out to get coffee. In two months, I have been to Longmont once and Ft. Collins once. I didn’t even get out of the car in Ft. Collins, but the weird thing was that I could see that businesses were opening up. Today I drove by a Ross in my town. They were letting people in with masks and counting the numbers. Unlike Target which has never closed.

None of the goddamned rules make any sense.

Florida, once scolded for its lax attitude on quarantine is already beating the curve on recovery, while the media is still telling everyone to panic in place. Lousianna, other states as well. Recovery rates are not considered the same as infected people who didn’t need hospitalization. It doesn’t make any sense.

But this is what I have taken away from it:

Schools didn’t have to go back, but all my son’s school work could be done online in about 20 minutes. Schools are pretty much just state sanctioned babysitting because the way the economy is these days, you need a two source income to survive.

Even though there is less consumption of food, grocery stores often don’t have the items we are looking for. Instead of selling things like beef and milk for lower prices, the farmers are being encouraged to destroy their crops. Beef is now $6 per pound for hamburger. Milk is hanging steady at $2.35 per gallon.

People are really emotional about masks, pro or con.

The issue of how people respond to this virus goes right along political party lines. Nearly exactly.

The same thing that has been dividing people, social media, and causing mental illness, the possibility of suicides, bullying, school shooting, fucked up elections, and depression from keeping up with the Joneses is now our only outlet for connecting with others.

The media is so against “opening the world up again” but reports about people doing just that.

I’ve gotten to the point where if I see an open restaurant, or a store like Ross, I have little to no desire to go in. I really don’t care. I just want Ikea to deliver my fucking chair. It’s been a week.

I cut my own hair with clippers tonight and I look fine. I saved $25. I don’t want to go anywhere, don’t have friends I socialize with outside the house anymore with anyway, and I’m not going to win any Patrick Dempsey Hair contests. Fuck it. Who the hell am I trying to impress?

It’s a shame pools probably won’t open up for a while. I miss sitting around in hot bubbly water.

My landlady texts me sometimes to tell me useless information like they are mowing the grass tomorrow. I don’t care.

People go jogging in masks. I still don’t understand why. Not the masks. The goddamned jogging.

People are drinking a lot.

The opportunities to get out, meet people, make new connections is at a low point in my life, and I really am getting to be fine with that. People just let you down anyway and meeting more of these really isn’t worth my time.

I remember a summer at the day job when it was 90 degrees in the building, and they were tarring the roof. We had no AC but we couldn’t go home. They needed to sit there and watch us sweat–well, they called from their air conditioned homes as they “worked from home” to see how we were holding up about every four hours. Just enough to make sure we weren’t already home and drinking profusely.

22+ veterans die of suicide every day and nobody canceled school for this.

Eveyrday, they send people into coal mines and warzones and Flint, MI still doesn’t have clean drinking water. Nobody has to social distance when warlords in Uganda are slaughtering people.

I am paralyzed by the fear of progress in writing. I sleep in too long. Nap too much. Don’t care about a lot of things anymore–for example, I might not have brushed my teeth today. I think I might be dying a little bit inside. And I am fine with that.

I love having time to be more creative. But I’m still at a place in my life where it feels like I’m getting away with something I shouldn’t be doing.

I’m perfecting the art of getting in my own way.

The cool kids always got to go to the parties and have all the fun while I sat at home safe reading Tolkien and Robert Jordan anyway. Why should my adult life be any different?

But I worked on the book today and nearly got 1000 words in. Shouldn’t that make me happy? It doesn’t.

Anyway, I feel like that poor bastard shanking rice farmers with my bayonet and living off toads and grass and rainwater because the Emperor told me to wait for further instructions. Meanwhile, I am almost entirely confident the world will open back up while I remain at home, completely oblivious, and then pretty much apathetic about the world once I can go back to the stores or parks, or any of that bullshit I realized recently how much I don’t care enough about anyway.

This is my life now.

Beating yourself up

I get that things are weird. I understand that none of this is normal, or really healthy at all, but today I really feel like a fuckup and I am beating myself up.

I had writing to do. I did a little bit of it. I need to pick up the pace, but lately, I just stare up at a mountain of work, whether it’s making my goal on paid work, doing the other things I need to do for my freelance work, or just taking care of daily chores. I make lists. Sometimes I check things off. Sometimes I just make more lists.

I feel that Resistance as sure as if it were a brick wall. It’s hard to drag my ass out of bed. It’s daunting to sit down and put words down on a book that A) will probably suck B) nobody will read C) will just prove to be more ambition that never went anywhere because I’ve been in the habit of making things work for other people so long, that I don’t know if I ever knew how to make it work for myself.

Lately I have been having a hard time with solitude.

I try to reach out to people, but they just don’t reach back. Fuck, I’m back where I was in 2015 when I was starting my life over from scratch, only this time, I don’t have the stability of the day job to keep me focused. It’s difficult to say the least. And sad to say, but sometimes when I do talk to someone during the day, I just don’t feel that connection, like they are interested in sharing time with me at all.

It’s all a distraction anyway. A good way to waste time, because I’m scared shitless of doing the work. Failing, or worse yet, success. I’m just so tired. Empty. I haven’t got a lot left in my tanks anymore, and if I couldn’t keep a relationship together that seemed to be going well, I don’t have a lot of confidence in a career that is just a dream right now. Just another pipe dream. Just going around telling people I am something, when I’m sure I’m an imposter.

I miss having a person. Someone who got it, and didn’t just leave my messages on Read. All my life I’ve felt like I’ve been on the outside looking in. At this point, I have stopped caring. One day, I will get my goal which is just to walk away and start my life over again, but this time it will be on my terms. There are days I get so weary of the world that I just don’t care anymore.

I know it’s the depression talking. I know it’s a constant shadow on my shoulder I have to ignore every day. Some days I’m “amazing” and other days, I’m just a collection of old junk, moving it from one side of the garage to the next, instead of actually getting rid of it.

Today, I didn’t do what I wanted to get done. And I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.