Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The past couple of months I'd been posting a writing project that I worked on this year. Click the link below, jump back through all the stories. A post every couple of days, none of them related, all inspired by different albums.
Many Detailed Things.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
It's been over a year. At some point, that was a mistake, but then once it went over a certain period of time, I figured I needed a break from always needing to write something down or react to something. It didn't help and it didn't hurt. I found somewhere between then and now through being a parent that I am part of a community. That the people around me are going to see me in the town and in the city and in the world and it's going to matter how I treat them or others who know them. I don't know how that concept never really effected me before. But being a parent who attended practices and games, etc. this sort of reality became clear. It made home feel more like home. It made here feel more like here. It made 3 years of always daydreaming of going back to NY disappear. Total relief, honest.
Found myself in a strange place after the last couple of weeks. I had (and still have) a bunch of PTO to burn up and I took some extra time. And the time that I had away from the store was spent more or less existing. Not accomplishing much outside of little bursts. Even the amount of media I was consuming started running together. Much of it felt distracted, sort of floating between two things, never really being consumed by any of it, overall. A few writing projects hovered before me and never landed on ledges. I can only imagine that this is what ADD feels like. Maybe we all have it, but we don't have the time to flex it. There's just so much out there.
Tomorrow, when I'm asked "What's up man. How was your day off?" and I say, "Good, man. Solid." and they ask, "Word! What'd you do?" What's my answer more likely to be?
Watched all my shows from the weekend. Caught up. My Hero Academia was a filler episode so it felt a little disappointing. Felt like a guest writer coming in and cleaning up some loose ends with some of the fringe characters we've been able to avoid due to some of the high impact action in the core characters.
Twin Peaks was an episode that once again floated through a middle ground, but also somehow revealed a ton of information? It's always tough to say in that show, dude. Like we found out two characters are related to each other but are estranged. These two characters wouldn't even generally enjoy each others presence; how are they from the same family tree in any way? But I get it. Their intensities are the same volume but with different frequencies. Different powerful people. But did you see Sarah Palmer? Nah don't watch the show, huh? Well, yo. Her face is a passage to another dimension I think? Or maybe she just houses an entire dimension within her. It's tough to say. It's David Lynch, ya know? Weird. How are there only four more episodes?
Then another big bite into Game of Thrones. I tend to take those two shows back to back because they're so different. I almost need a break from that heavy weirdness, a lot of brainwork to something where, as popular and intertwined as it is, you don't have to pay any sort of attention at all to really enjoy it. It's all there for you. And maybe that's just a product of becoming so popular. I think that might actually be more the case. Where there may have been more cerebral elements of the show, the more popular it became, the less it spiked into more carnal events, and the more it felt like we were taking on big chunks of story over time. But again, going back to understanding that this show is quickly approaching its conclusion, maybe it's taking less time with its tapestry. Maybe we're just digesting these big ideas and watching them pull down curtains en route to a strong conclusion. The headiest part of the show for me is wondering how we're going to get a certainty here. Are we going to watch a frozen undead army battle the entirety of Westeros, but then also get a clear winner from the remaining two Queens? Do we ultimately have a game of League of Legends playing out in front of us, where the undead army is the little minions and the Champions involved are the Lannisters and the Snows and the Daenryses? Maybe. But I'm stoked that Tarly left the maesters. So good man! It was interesting to see something so relatable. This guy chased a dream for the longest time, and could have prospered, but he saw behind the veil! Rough. Anyone who has looked back behind the curtain into the positions of power and had to watch them make decisions from a higher position looking down without the knowledge that you gain from having your boots on the ground, hey, that's gonna burn you out, right?
Then after those two shows, it's easy to backslide into some more easy-entertainment. I watched Rick and Morty, which was an episode that was spoofing superhero tropes. Very clearly it was hitting on the Marvel Universe. For me, it was a little too self referential. The best way I can say it is that... it knows what it is now and I think it's playing a bit with what it can 'get away with' as being a show knowing it's a show and knowing it's got a multidimensional and multifaceted aspect to it. How close can you get to that singularity before you simply become Deadpool? There was a bit in there about the PA being confused because it was its first day that just worked for me as a perfect example for what the show was trying to be. Imperfect, I guess? Like... people stumbling over their words and not landing where they should. Not simply speaking their lines, but being more "conversational" about their sentences they're trying to say instead of delivering a line. But there were obvious jabs at things that were the things you would make obvious jabs about. I got it. I think the show has come from a place where they have so much finesse, usually, and this episode felt lazy. It felt poorly delivered. It's fine. I spoke to a bunch of friends too, right, and I was in the minority amongst them all. So I'm glad they watched it, they laughed, they enjoyed it. That's the point. Maybe I was just sort of hoping for more. Or, ya know, if this is a 12 episode season, this is the one that I'm not down with. The batting average for this show is still super strong. I'm just worried about their ability to feed the meme machine constantly, trying each episode to have a quote or a moment that's T-Shirt Ready.
Preacher was the last show I have to keep up with. It's just entertaining at this point, but I can't tell if I just like it so much because I love the graphic novel. This season was strongly elevating its game for 4 or 5 episodes but the last two have plateaued at best. Again, it's a long season. The guy playing a character named Herr Stark is super cool. But there's this whole other angle where a kid is in Hell, actually IN HELL and I want to continue watching that story play out.
The big meat of my day, though, the best part, was finally digging into the short films by Neill Blomkamp that he was putting up on Youtube. I knew he was putting stuff up on there and I had seen the teasers and trailers, etc. But I never actually think to jump on there and watch them. There are 3 "full" short films that are possibly better than 90% of anything I've watched this year. You like sci-fi right? They're all very clearly inspired by those great 80s/90s sci-fi powerhouses, like Alien, Predator, Event Horizon, The Thing, etc. But there are also elements of his newer stuff like Elysium and District 9 and also, 28 Days/Weeks Later, Apocalypse Now... it's just pulling from so many great reference points. They're like those stories I was writing a few months ago, microfictions, but obviously with such a stronger narrative. These are 20-25 minute films. Their production value is incredible. The sets are brilliantly made, the antagonists are the stars. There's this homunculus built from other humans, there's a rivergod who is a man transformed, and there are these aliens that are enslaving our entire planet... all of these things are done without handicap and without apology. They are brilliantly constructed. Totally recommend all of the stuff over on that YouTube channel. The coolest thing is he's said that his entire focus is to give it all away for free. And there was a poll on Twitter where he was asked if he should do a feature film or continue doing these little bite sized pieces. I think the choice was to do a feature, but I would really love it if they kept these context free moments going forever. They're genius. And they're all independent, so they're playing by their own rules. It's got so much potential from a storytelling perspective. This man's ideas are inspiring.
Also, Brand New is touring and coming through Charleston. Remember when I told you that bands never come through here? This is a big deal for me. Tickets go on sale on Friday. Fingers crossed that I can get something. I'm bugging out.
Ah, nothing man. Watched my shows. Listened to some tunes.
Because, really, the CORRECT answer is Answer #1.5, wherein Answer 1 is chopped into digestible parts and I end up having conversations that eventually juice all of the details of Answer 1 through the time I spend hanging out with these people. Answer #2 is really just a little short, but I don't give anyone the 'benefit of the doubt' of knowing what I'm talking about. So I don't talk about anything. My answer to the question "what books do you read" was incredibly long, but also approachable. Reference points. Names to check out. Roman numerals followed by capital letters and then digits. I never opened pull down menus unless they were asked about. It's tough, man. I notice here that so much of what I talk about is just flying by the heads of people who don't want to hear about it if they don't know about it. I can't tell what's up.
None of it matters, really.
I just don't know how I was taught or how I learned to listen to what people talk about and be interested in what I don't know about to the point where I'm learning about more, etc. And how it seems that not many people learned to be that way.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
One thing that I've found about staying away from Facebook is that it makes me feel so strange about my opinions. I don't know where to place them. I don't know where to field them. I don't know where their home is. I've watched films and TV shows and listened to albums and songs and I just don't know where my reactions and my feelings for them go.
Facebook is where I would post trailers or quotes or captions or videos of songs or news articles. And that's how I would basically feel a binary fulfillment of showing people (my friends I guess?) what I liked. What I was getting into. As far back as high school with what now would be called a blog, I was posting 'reviews' and 'reactions' to movies and music. And now without a social network, I feel like before I even start a reaction or a text message, someone else's reaction is already going to be "yeah, I know" or any variant of that. It's been a really long time since I talked about a band or a show or a movie and someone said, "What's that about? Where did you find that? What is that? How did you feel about that?" And I guess with Facebook's system of Likes or Loves or Laughs or Wows, it felt at least like a currency that was filling the empty space that was there.
I've thought several times about starting a 'review' blog, something similar to what wrankmusic began as and ended up as. Just to have a place to dump thoughts and review into. This coming from the dude who has several times thought about tweeting "No one cares about your review," but haven't because of what it might mean for someone who wrote a review with the same positive standing and excitement who happens upon it.
It's true, though. That review isn't the point.
The artist getting out of their head space and calling something finishing and sharing it is the point.
So, I think to go on Facebook and write a reaction to the new Stranger Things show or the first couple of episodes of Mr. Robot or a few No Man's Sky tracks I dug up or the game Inside. And it just feels like it won't matter to anyone but me who wrote it, because I've written it.
It's weird, man. Why does this matter to me?
Even jumping on something like Reddit, I see the reviews/reactions there and so much of it seems so much more well thought out than how I feel about what comes out of my mouth/fingers and I wonder what the point of throwing my two cents into the pot is. In fact, I went on /r/gamestop and dropped some thought on an actual work question and gave some insight, and it got downvoted. I didn't take it personally-- wait. I took it personally at first but then realized, you know, realistically, it was just the words that I guess got to be TL;DR or just really not helpful, overall. That's fine. But still, something I know about and something that I functionally am good at, it still doesn't even get any credo. I deleted it.
But that Reddit space... it goes both ways, right? Like I could jump on any group and just drop a thought on something, an opinion and have it shredded. At least it would be people right? At least it would be someone somewhere? Would that equal the thumbs up or the heart or the gaping mouth emoji?
Saturday, July 09, 2016
Had a dream a couple of nights ago that I've been lost in thought about since I woke from it.
In the dream, I had been handed a letter in some strange cursive that I haven't seen before. And the connotation was that it was a suicide not from my father. It read:
"I thought it would be better this way."
What a dark fucking omen.
In the dream, everyone was instantly in the phase of acceptance, sort of the way you act when an old dog passes or you uproot an old dead tree. Very strange overall vibe. We talked in past tense and we embraced the absence. Very void of emotion.
My sister was the one who found his body. He had been in the bleachers at a baseball stadium, sitting alone when someone came upon him. The letter was found in his dresser sticking out of the top drawer.
It's been a very long time since I had a dream so 'real', not in the sense of how immersed I was in it, but how close to actual context and character it was to reality.
I often disassociate from people, relationships, humans, etc. I find a way to build them into this caricature ofthemselves, makes it easier to lose them or laugh at them or dislike them. Even make them a hero or a villain. But this one had nothing but modest over and undertones. The reality was palpable.
My father and I have the weirdest relationship and I have him built into this specific figure with so few actual details. I don't know if this will act as a wake up call or if it will be something else to any degree. But it made a lot of things very substantial.
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Been noticing myself as someone who is easily, too easily distracted. Don't know how it started or how I became one of those people who are impossible to tie down. I even expect the weirdest things of people when engaging in media. When I'm showing you a song, I want you to listen and notice things and not talk through it. When films are on, I don't want you to talk to me about anything other than the observations you're making within the film. Save the questions until the end.
Oddly enough, while I'm watching shows or films, I can't help but find myself eager to make notes or pick up a pen or a phone and start googling things. What I need to start doing this time around, as I'm trying to make myself a more focused reader, writer, speaker, watcher, observer, is to remember to simply make smart notes for myself to come back and check later, to flesh out later. And to let myself get fully engulfed into the art or the medium or the idea that's being expressed in front of me.
Currently put on a film about isolation. As it's starting, begin making a list of other films I want to check out that relate to isolation. While I'm doing that, I open up the Chromebook to start googling "Films about Isolation" and start adding films to the list that started when the initial film started. And the whole time, I have my headphones on and the audio of the film is happening, and I'm peeking up and looking down and not immersing myself into the actual piece that started the whole cycle.
Is this what I would want if someone was reading my stuff?
Is this what I would want to be looking out at if my band was playing a show? Some other cats making notes in their phones about other bands to check out that I remind them of?
Trying to become more present. I think I was more present than this at one point. Maybe, maybe not. But I know I want to be.
Maybe that's why I feel my days completely slip away feeling like I've never actually done anything. Maybe it always feels like I'm only halfway doing anything.
I've also got this whole other tangent I want to go off on about how I've just been noticing that most of my time is spent trying to escape reality and the next series of things I want to do is about returning to the core of a reality without media involved at all. But that sounds devastating. It reminds me of the concept about how you're not supposed to shut the A/C off, just leave it on an average temperature all day because at the end of the day, it costs more to cool the house down after turning it off than it does to just be moderate the entire day.
Saturday, July 02, 2016
Very strange habit I fall into.
Whenever I'm listening to music, watching a film or TV show or even writing something personally. I am instantly transported, at some point in the writing, to want to share elements of it. I'm almost addicted to that feeling of sharing and waiting for the opinions of others.
I'm currently in the process of writing this thing and it's not done, it's not even through the first leg, and I'm already thinking of the first list of people I want to send it to to see where I'm at. To see if where I'm at with it is okay. To see if it's even worth getting to the finish line. This is the wrong way to do it.
I just don't want to get to the end of this and feel like Ben Wyatt when he finished Cones of Dunshire. It's probably one of my favorite moments of Parks and Recreation. He goes into this lengthy and insane explanation of this board game that he's invented. It's completely convoluted and he's spent about a week or two without a job and built this game in isolation. And he's explaining it to Leslie, and at the very end of it, faced with her silence, he comes to the realization, "...this is nothing, isn't it?"
So funny. But at the same time, is this what my writing is like? I can't get to that point. I'm trying to write in a column, in a vacuum. Just going to get to the end of it and have it stand on its own.
Would rather be happy with it and 'defend' or 'explain' the finished project than let it be warped and changed and divided by its audience.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
At some point I got lost in the distractions of the real world. Or the distractions from the real world. They did their jobs well. I got addicted to fiction and fantasy and escapes. I disassociated. I don't know when that happened. I can't place it. But I know it's real. It happened. It still happens. And it's not painful. It doesn't hurt. But it feels like something. It feels like a missed opportunity. A life lead in a barrier.
It's the strangest thing. Given the right alchemy of time, I would swing from book to film to album to game on an endless loop until I was finally caught up. And there's ZERO catching up. This is an impossibility. I'm never going to make it. I have to remind myself that it's NEVER going to happen. I'm never going to 'be there'. Especially in the sense that I'm constantly trying to find influences and mentors and what came first. Influences. Muses. Letters. Background. More and more and more. The pile growing thicker daily.
I'm never going to make it.
I took a month writing an act of a sci-fi story. A novel is the goal. And going back to it is great. It feels really good. I shared it and a lot of the feedback was great. But what it makes me feel is this endless void. The collapse. The things that she wanted me to add or explain or throw in made me feel almost helpless. Like: "How didn't I think of that?" The real issue becomes how I don't even finish anything, maybe I never see the gaps. And maybe I never fill the gaps because I don't feel them. I never go back and reread and understand what's missing. What's lacking. What's lost in translation. What got dammed in the filter between my mind and my fingers.
I plan to go back in on the piece in July. A recommitment to the project. And I'm looking forward to it. ACT I has a lot to set up and it's a lot of emotion and coping and awakening. And there's a lot of plot that I have mentally that I don't have on paper and eventually it's going to pass through the drain. I don't want that to happen.
I have another story that takes place in the NYC/BK music underground that still has a very solid plot to me, but the more I think about it [and just don't write it] the more I question it. I should just get it down on paper. There are so many finished things out there in the hands and eyes and minds of others that are somehow swimming in the same shallow pools I could be flooding if I just set my feet into them.
I got really into the microfiction project (here) and really loved the outcome of it, even if the actual feedback was sparse. I know all of it was quality. It bothers me that I know it. The main problem is that much of who I shared it with is... 'just'(?)... a friend. That's awesome. That was the idea. It's difficult to not be able to share it with a grander audience. But I don't know the way into the auditorium. It's like a bad dream where I don't know how to find the power switch for the microphone while standing on a stage. Or even closer... more direct... I don't know how to find the unlocked door to the presentation stage.
I'll be honest. I'm not looking.
Years ago, someone added over 50 links to places to share my writing. My fiction, my poetry, etc. I'm planning to use July to jump on each of those and figure out how that is going to work for me. What happened there? Well, initially, I shared a piece of poetry that got 'publised' and when I shared it, instantly a friend jumped on to that same site and shared something also and also got published. That did two things to me:
- Made my effort seem utterly bland. It stole the unique moment from me. I felt like anyone else. Everyone else.
- Piggyback on that: It made my skill feel like the skill of everyman. Like all anyone needed was the link to that site and everyone would be 'published' there.
What business did I have putting anything anywhere?
Going to see what July can do.
Going to see what I can do.