Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why I wrote "Piggy."

"Piggy" (and yes, the quotation marks are part of the actual title) is a story that has lived with me for some time. And it has punished me for some time.

It originally saw life as a short film, or at least, an attempt at a short film. It was a short script I had written that I had wanted to direct and sort of use as my "edgy" directorial debut (at least, my directorial debut in the film world, as I had already directed several plays.)

The fact of the matter was that I wasn't ready and much of what I shot was terrible. I was helped along by several people that I have the pleasure of saying that I still work with, but all of its problems were related to me jumping in without a second look. Sometimes, I don't let planning get in the way of action, which can be a very bad thing.

But the biggest problem with the short film wasn't how badly it was shot, or how inexperienced I was. I don't regret the decision to try to make the movie. I regret what it did to me after the fact.

The subject matter of "Piggy" is something that people aren't generally comfortable with. The short film dealt specifically with the titular character, who happened to be a child molester. Having a pedophile as your lead character is something of a struggle. The film doesn't paint him necessarily as a sympathetic character, in fact quite the opposite, but having to spend even a short film's length with the guy is difficult.

I should have known better. The other problem with the film was that it has cost me opportunities to work with very talented people, and almost cost even more. Several people I still work with have told me that if they'd had a better idea  of the subject matter going into the short film, they probably would never have worked with me in the first place. Kind of heart-breaking to hear, but I guess I could see their point.

The funny thing is I've never experienced anything like what happened in the story. I'm not a victim of molestation. To the best of my knowledge, I've never really known a pedophile. I've never been around the emotions that come with that awful subject. But I felt somehow that I should write the script. Maybe it's because I'm a father and I, like any sane human being, hate pedophiles with a burning rage. But I'm not sure why I felt like I needed to get on a soap box and make a very preachy movie. One that most people would generally agree with. And those who don't... Well, I don't want to know them.

And that might have been the other part of the problem. The film didn't challenge people. It basically restated what most people felt; pedophiles are awful.

There's not really an interesting story.

For a long time, I didn't let myself think about the story. Until one night, when I wasn't exactly in the best mood, (I was actually quite annoyed with several people, and projects not taking off, and an assortment of other minor nuisances) I wrote a summary of the short film. But it wasn't really a summary. It was like a stream of conscious exercise where I wrote many of the events of the short film as prose.

I'd labeled it Chapter One, and then started working. Why? I'm not sure. But when I'd first written this chapter one, I wasn't sure where I was going next. Then, Emma James appeared to me. See, the short film never dealt with the victims. But that's the problem. We all know how bad the act is. What's it like to experience things afterward?

But, there was something else itching in my mind as I wrote what would become the second chapter. Justice, a character who is only ever referenced in the short film, is Piggy's daughter. And I realized I wanted to have her in this story.

And then it clicked. These two girls needed to meet. And I wanted to see what would happen when they did.

That was a story. Piggy was never supposed to be the most important character. But he, through his selfish, sick act would serve as the impetus for events that would irrevocably change the lives of these two girls in a way that was very fascinating to me.

I can't regret the short film. Without it, the novel doesn't exist. And of all the things I've written, I dearly love this book. I love the characters of Emma and Justice, who have become very real to me, as have all the characters in this book.

I enjoyed writing the book, with the exception of a couple of scenes involving the titular character which were difficult to write, and I will forever cherish the memory of the process.

While I'm excited to write future titles (and I might just be returning to some of these characters in the near future) this book will always hold a special place in my heart.

And if you'd like to read it, head over to its Amazon page and give it a try. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I was supposed to blog about NaNoWriMo

Yeah. I didn't blog very well about NaNoWriMo this year... But I won! So I figure it's better that I worked hard on the book and neglected the blog than the other way around. And really, I never work particularly hard on the blog. But I've been working really hard on my writing.

I won Script Frenzy in April, am about to finish another screenplay, and have written the first drafts to two novels in the past two months, the NaNoWriMo one included. I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Anymore, I write every day, basically without even thinking about it. I find something to write about. I don't know if this is because it's simply become habit for me or if I've found my voice, or whatever other reason. I'm just happy it's happened.

While I probably continue to neglect this blog, I figure I can at least continue writing other things.

In fact, I think, given that I wrote two novels in two months, I'm going to try and treat every month like NaNoWriMo. Crazy? Yes. Stupid? Probably. Will I suffer burnout? I sure might.

But I think I'm going to give it a shot. When I get where I can't work well on a project, I'll do revisions on previous novels. I'm doing revisions on the book I started in October, and it's really cleared my mind and made me feel ready to continue writing.

So, I'm going to give this a shot. I'll probably do more updates via twitter (@britward) than I would here on the blog, but I'll try to talk about the process as it happens, if I even manage another month.

We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day 1

Update: I've hit 6,600 words. Hooray for me!

The beginning is here! I hung out with my lovely girlfriend and one of my very best friends on the eve of NaNoWriMo. We talked books and writing, we watched movies and played video games. And then after Melanie went to bed and Nick went home, I waited until midnight swung my way.

When it did, I began to set down the first words in what should be a great many in the coming month. I joined the legions of other writers who are bravely facing this month down. It's always so exciting for me. Like I said on my previous post, story telling is my religion.

I spent the month of October with this character in my head. He was very insistent, laying out a great many layers of back story for me to ponder. So when I set about the first lines of my novel at midnight, I figured it would be easy going for the first couple of paragraphs.

I was surprised to find that it actually took a little thinking to get going. I spent the first twenty minutes of NaNoWriMo trying to figure out how to start a story that I was so sure I was fully aware of. It was grueling getting out that first page. I spent a long time just staring at it. I had to reread what I'd written, trying to decide if what I'd done was the right thing.

Soon, however, I was in the full throes of writing mode, and I began to plug in paragraphs that I suddenly realized were very needed to flesh out what I'd written, and before long, I'd finished my first day's worth words.

I wasn't done. Another thousand words and I was flying high. I went to bed, not wanting to over do it, then added a bit more to the book, my total word count on the first day of this glorious month sitting at a pretty solid 3,300. That's almost twice what it needs to be for day one. I'm not going to lie. This feels good. I figure there will be some down moments, so I'd like to get as much done now as I can. Just in case those slow days come out of nowhere.

More to come from me. As it is, I'm having a blast!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day -1

So, I'm going to try and keep an update on my writing status during the course of November. It might not be daily, but I'm committed this year to finishing my NaNoWriMo project.

I'm excited. Probably more excited than I should be. But the reality is that I enjoy story telling. I enjoy creating worlds. I may be an avowed atheist, but I have found a sort of religious bliss in the art of creating stories.

There's a symmetry to it, a sort of order that happens when you start putting these characters down to paper that is almost too beautiful. It's not an easy process and sometimes it involves all of your emotional faculties, and you find the process hurts. But it's an amazing process.

We all hit those walls when writing. It can be excruciating. It can be the worst. But that's where the process can really do something magical. That's where you can see the source of my almost religious reverence for writing. So often, when stuck in a spot, a character has whispered in my ear the correct path, and suddenly, a new and beautiful set of scenes will play out before my eyes, and afterward, I can't imagine the story having played out any other way.

I love writing. And I'm excited for this year's NaNoWriMo.

Let the games begin!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Piggy" Chapter One - Sneak Peek

(Below is an excerpt from the novel I wrote, called "Piggy." It's chapter one, though it does feel like a prologue. The story itself will take place 8-10 years after the events portrayed below. If you'd like to purchase it, you can do so here!)

Chapter One  
     The James family walked along the beach, young Emma James between her parents, her hands each held in one of theirs.
     Emma rushed ahead, letting go of her parents' hands and laughing. Barefoot, she took a big jump, letting her little feet plop into the water. This made her giggle. She enjoyed the feel of her feet hitting the soft, wet sand. She loved the sound of the water rolling up the beach. She could feel the wet sand push up between her toes. She wiggled her toes because it felt like the only thing to do at that exact moment.
     She looked back at her parents who both watched her with approving eyes. She gave them a big smile. Emma was only just old enough to understand the concept of a family vacation, but she was enjoying every minute of it.
     She couldn't imagine being sad right then. She wanted to live on the beach, even though she knew she couldn't. If she could, she would have a big house, so huge that she could have a gazillion parties in it, not just her birthday party, but a birthday celebration for everyone that she knew, and hopefully they could have a party every day. They would just fill the empty days when there weren’t enough birthdays to go around. They could all go to the beach and run around after cake and presents. It would be amazing.
     Oh, well, she thought. She would enjoy the beach while it lasted. She would enjoy being in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Or at least that she'd seen for all of her six years. Nothing could go wrong on a perfect family vacation.

*    *    *

     “Please don't cry,” he says to the young girl. He moves to sit next to her on the bed, but she sits absolutely still. She tries to go to find a happy place in her mind. She tries to remember what the beach sounded like. She loves the sound of waves and water. She likes the size of the ocean, how much space it had.
     She wishes he would turn the faucet off completely. The sound makes her fear worse.
     He puts his hand on her shoulder and she wants to throw up. She wants to scream, but doesn't. She wants to call for mommy and daddy but they aren't close enough to her to save her. No one can save her.
     She’s confused because she knows all of this is wrong. But she doesn’t know how to act.
*    *    *

     His name was Piggy. His actual name was Paul Peterson, but no one remembered where the name Piggy came from. The thought was that, in high school, someone started calling him Piggy and it stuck. His only memory of this was that it might have had something to do with Lord of the Flies. Piggy was overweight like his namesake in the book, so he figured for the better part of his adult life there might have been a connection.

*    *    *

     “I brought you this book. It'll make you feel better. It'll make you feel much better.” But she doesn't believe him. She just wants to leave.
     He decides he's going to read it to her. He realizes she's not listening.

*    *    *

     Of course, he had a hard time imagining any of his high school class actually reading any of the assigned books in English. Most of them engaged in the sort of activity and behavior that he himself was never able to do during that stage of his life, even if he'd wanted to. But Piggy never watched his fellow students with any need or desire to join in their youthful depravities. He'd save his own problems for later in life.

*    *    *

     “We can be friends. Good friends. Don't you trust me?” She shakes her head.
     He looks angry for a moment, but he doesn't yell. Instead, in this small room that seems too small for a man as fat as him, he gets up and walks to a different wall. He puts his hand on the wall and looks down at the floor.
     Is he crying?
     She still doesn't look at him. She doesn't want to. Because she knows everything that has happened was horrible.

*    *    *

     Piggy had a daughter named Justice. There were pictures of he and baby Justice, along with his wife, and from all accounts they must have been a happy family. He and his first wife, Annabelle, were married only a short time before he'd commit a horrible act that led to their divorce, when Justice was still very young.
    Much later, he'd start seeing a woman named Suzanne. There was a point, while with Suzanne, that Piggy would work hard to try and fix his life. But it never worked. His life would end when he put the barrel of a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

     *    *    *

     “You're such a pretty, little girl.”
     He keeps saying it like he’s he trying to remind her to make her feel better.
     “You didn't do anything wrong, you know? You're so full of life and so amazing. So you shouldn't cry. You should be happy.” He keeps talking, but she doesn't stop crying. She is scared of him and hurt and scared of what just happened. She wants to leave so very badly.

*    *    *

     Piggy was once convicted of child molestation, an act that far outweighed the moral failings of any of the sins of his peers when they attended high school. But he was convicted in a state where the state legislator was eager to try out more compassionate laws, laws that would try to rehabilitate the damaged criminal mind. Piggy was amongst the first test “subjects” for this little program. In lieu of jail time, he was able to undergo therapy.
     He immediately opted for the therapy, hoping that one day he would be able to see his daughter again and legitimately become a better person. He spent long nights during the course of therapy dreaming of the day when he could become a good father, someone to raise Justice without fear of his darker side.
     Upon completion of his therapy, he was heralded as a great success story. All parties involved made sure that the media was aware of his success. It was big, at least on a local and state scale, and the political machine involved was eager to make sure everyone knew what happened with this man. This brand new man.
     This was when he met Suzanne. And the connection was instant. She was a believer in his salvation, in his becoming a better person. They had a great relationship for several months.
     At a party featuring many political types, polemicists, and others eager to rub shoulders with important people, Piggy was invited to be shown off to all the eager eyes who joined in the chorus of singing for compassion over punishment.
     “Paul Peterson. Brave for taking this chance. A remarkable story of redemption amidst a horrible tragedy.” There would be those at the party that remembered state senator Jackson Willis' words, and would remember even then that his words almost sounded like he had no idea what Piggy had actually done, but was happy to take credit for Piggy's recovery since Willis' name was on the bill he co-sponsored.
The Willis family, an institution in their town, loved being a part of the spotlight, already heavily entrenched in everything going on, and in all levels of government in town and state level politics. Jackson Willis wore the smile of a man who had achieved a great victory. Compassion was the buzz word of that political cycle.
     Politicians always use compassion as a magnet for the votes of constituents. But politicians rarely know what it is that they fight for, even when their advisors hand them bullet point lists of the things their constituents would like them to say.
    Hollow words were spoken that night, hollow words spoken through clean, smiling teeth.
     Willis' own young daughter, Henrita, was there. And Piggy couldn't keep his eyes off of her the entire night. He put it out of his mind, as often as he could, but her image was in his eyes even when he wasn't looking at her. At one point in the course of the evening, he broke into horrible sweats as he kept staring at her.
     He knew it was wrong. He knew he shouldn't be thinking the horrible thoughts going through his head. But he couldn't stop himself from imagining.
     Would it be so wrong? He knew the answer to that thought. And yet…
     Henrita was precocious for a ten year old. She was open-minded and very curious about the world. She approached Piggy when he was standing away on the other side of the room. He nearly jumped when he saw her standing before him, her deep blue eyes staring into his.
     “You're the one everyone's celebrating, aren't you?”
     Piggy never answered her. He gave a few head shakes and nods at her deluge of questions. Eventually, he pardoned himself.
     He found himself in the guest restroom of this massive house. He wept uncontrollably. He prayed. He pleaded. He found himself talking to no one, asking for that invisible entity's advice. Then, he wrote a note to his daughter, with the letter titled “To Justice.” He found the senator's gun room, found a gun that felt right in his hands, and ended his life, as well as the party.
     The note was a very honest one, telling his daughter that people have to be held accountable for their actions and that he knew she could grow up to be a better person than he ever was. And it also destroyed the horribly flawed system of supposed compassion that Willis had been building.
     It was argued, by those who opposed the law and had found new voice, that little compassion was shown for those victims that were irreparably harmed by Piggy's actions. It was argued that there had been no justice at all until he ended his own life. Thank goodness, many proclaimed, that no one else got hurt.
     Rhoda James was a person who celebrated Piggy's death. She watched as the system in place, the system that was supposed to protect the innocent, failed the innocent, protecting him when her young daughter had been his last victim. Her rage was unmatched in her fight against the Willis law. Though there were many on her side, no one really matched her fervor, her passion, her hatred of Piggy and the people in power for the failure of the government to do what it was supposed to do.
     When Piggy killed himself and left that damning note, Rhoda was given the stage like never before. She was given a voice and she chose to use that voice as a tool to empower the system to protect her daughter and other young children from this sort of predatory act. She gave many speeches and addressed many people, telling them of the things she was thankful for.
     She was thankful that after the justice system couldn't deliver, the monster saw fit to do it himself. The fact that even he seemed to understand how horrible his actions were was very indicative that we all needed to embrace that same realization.
     “Quite frankly, I'm offended that people would even think to try and defend such a deplorable action.” She couldn't be more right, with there never really being much public support for the bill in the first place. But with a real life event that affected many lives sitting heavily on the public mind, there was no stopping what Rhoda was going to do to establish her cause.
     And she wouldn't start small, either. The support for her and her push was instant and incredible. Opposing politicians and normal, everyday citizens jumped aboard her push, and she found herself heading an organization that would push these ideals forward. Rhoda’s message to all was to protect the innocent victims. Her person message was something else entirely.
     It was the message she thought about every time she heard the name Piggy.
     “People don't really change. People just don't change.”

*    *    *

     He had asked her, “One more time?” He was pleading.
     She didn't answer, and now she sits very still. She waits for him to do something. She hopes he doesn't. He's crying now. He lays down behind her as she sits on the edge of the bed.
     Another drip.
     One more.
     The final one hits and she's suddenly filled with an urge that takes her.
     She runs. She gets to the door of the small trailer. She swings the door open and runs outside of the trailer, tears running down her cheeks, fear filling her chest.
     She hears him scream out for her.
     She doesn't turn.
     Don't turn around.
     She hears him stumble and curse. But she doesn't stop until she finds herself outside of the trailer park and into a residential neighborhood.
     There are no cars. There are no people walking around. No one to scream to. But she's not sure she can scream. She hurts, not just in her throat but all over her body. She tries not to think of why.
     Instead, she keeps running, hoping for something that will help her. She can't hear that man behind her anymore, but she's too scared to stop. To even turn and see.
     But eventually, she can't help herself. Her breathing is burning her insides. She's tired. She can't run anymore.
     She finds a dry ditch and curls up in it. She cries until she can't anymore. She can't sleep, so she just lies down until a bit of the sun starts to peak its face over the edge of the horizon. But it's still dark enough that she doesn't really notice anything going on around her.
     She doesn't see the police officer until his flashlight beam hits her. She doesn’t feel him pick her up and carry her to the police car as he calls in for an ambulance.

*    *    *

     “People can change. But they usually don't.” He’s whimpering to himself, all alone now.

 ©Copyright 2012 by Brit C. Tullis. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dreaming Qualities

My dreams have been all over the place lately. It's obvious why my brain is overly active right now, but it's odd the places my mind has gone.

Recently, I had a dream that I was standing in a line, in a sort of bank or MVD type setting. I believe I was standing there with my girlfriend, Melanie. It wasn't an unhappy line, but it was odd being there. I distinctly remember the color palette, which I usually do in my dreams as that's something I've always noticed in my subconscious land. The color of the area was composed of golds and beige. I remember looking over to the entrance and seeing my younger cousin Trisha leading my late aunt (Trisha's grandmother) Celia into this building, whatever it was.

Trisha lead Celia, holding her hand, weaving in and out of the lines. I knew that their moving ahead of the lines as to be okay, but I wasn't sure why. I knew that Celia was dead, even in my dream state, but I didn't question what I was seeing. I wanted to call out to Trish and Celia, but I hesitated, feeling like maybe I shouldn't say anything.

I woke up thinking, "What the hell?"

My aunt Celia died a few years ago, her body horribly ridden with cancer. It was a bittersweet time for my mom, in particular, because my son, her first grandchild, was born on a day where it was becoming increasingly clear that Celia didn't have much longer. I remember the day my mom came into my work to tell me that Celia had passed. She looked numb, but prepared. That's the only benefit of having to wait; it steels you for the imminent tragedy.

It's obvious where the dream has come from. My mom has been battling cancer and cancer related complications for a while now. While her condition isn't anywhere near as severe as Celia's, it's no less trying, scary, or painful. Mortality is a subject I've long hated and been afraid of, but chance has saw to it that we keep being reminded of it.

And really, it isn't chance. We all die. I'm not telling anyone anything new. We all know this fact. But I feel like I was among the many who didn't really understand that reality. Sometimes, we have the misfortune of having people taken away from us too young or "before their time." I don't put that in quotes because I don't agree with it. I put it in quotes because it's used often, and I hate that I have reason to use it. And now, as my mom plans her move to Colorado, I worry that this will be my last time with her. That hurts more than I could ever have imagined.

The dream I had last night was blissfully nothing to do with mortality. At least not directly. I dreamed of two people with whom I used to be good friends. And I'll say their names here because I have nothing really negative to say; Zach and Laura.

Our friendship ended because of paranoia, trust, and anger. Zach felt slighted by my doing a podcast with others. I think he channeled a rage toward me that pushed his thoughts toward me being a thief. And I became angry, wanting to remind him of my ideas towards the subject matter long before his store closed.

Only now do I look at my anger and say, "What was the point?" Was he wrong accusing me of stealing or feeling slighted? Sure. But I was wrong too.

One of the bad parts of my personality is this emotional wall I've built around myself. I'll listen to people's issues, help them through whatever problem, unless it somehow involves me. Then I put the wall up and get mad when people don't just get over it like I did. But was I getting over it? Not really.

The exact moment that bridge fell down was when I posted the short we did together, "Calendar Company," to try and raise funds for a feature I wanted to make. He took offense to my posting it and that was that. I called my anger at the time justified. "I directed it, I helped write it, I facilitated much of the project" blah, blah, blah. It's true, but it's also horseshit.

You see, I saw well ahead of time that there was conflict. But blaming them for all of it is a problem. Imagine if I'd said, "Zach, I'm going to post this video to help raise funds for the next project." Changes the landscape, doesn't it? Imagine, even more than that, if I'd talked to he and Laura much earlier about the problems that were perceived, because in hindsight, there weren't any real problems, just trust. If I'd told them Nick and I were doing a podcast ahead of the fact, it wouldn't have mattered. But I rationalized that I wouldn't have time with my kids around. Partly true. But a phone call, email, all of that was readily available. I should have torn down that stupid wall of mine and put it all on front street. Talked to them. I didn't.

I know it's not all my fault, but neither was it theirs. And it may be a cliché, but life is too short. Way too short. Grudges are really bad, especially when they are about nothing important at all. There are some people that I've cut contact off with that I'll never speak to again. But there were some honest wrongs committed. In the case of Zach and Laura, not at all. It was just a misunderstanding. Everyone has faults, and I wholeheartedly acknowledge that about myself, and it's wrong to ruin all of the good times because of these misunderstandings. And make no mistake, there were really good times.

Jokes, friendship, all of that was there, and I'm mad at myself that it's gone. I don't know if they'll ever want to be friends again, but I hope so. I don't care about apologies, going one way or the other, though I emphatically apologize for my part in it, my apathy, and my inability to open up emotionally. I know Melanie has a different view on it, and fair enough. She was never involved, in fact was pretty unaware of all of it, until she was sent an email and was dragged into it. She holds grudges better than I do, and in fairness to her, she had nothing to do with anything and was called out for no real reason. She needs to do what she needs to do. But she understand where I am and has as good as given me her blessings in that regard. Melanie's tale is hers, but I feel like she's finding peace with it.

Zach's an angry guy. But so am I. We've both experienced loss, painful loss. Chance willing, I won't have to undergo it again until the end of my days. And both of us are likely very angry at this loss. We've just channeled that anger differently. But I can't be angry anymore. Not like that. I don't know if I'll ever be completely free of that rage, but the rest of it I can channel into my writing. And as much as I tried when we were friends, I can't make Zach give up his anger. He has to find his own way. I hope he does. He and Laura are good people and I ultimately wish them the best, even if we never find our way into friendship again.

A lot of my friends have been good about everything going on. Nick and Andrew in particular. We don't discuss what's going on with my mom right now, though one might point out, justifiably, that I'm just walling off my emotions again. But I'm not ready for that right now. They've just been friends, and that's been therapeutic more than they'll ever know. I wish I could show gratitude in some way, but I can't. I don't know how to put it into words, but I hope someday I find a way.

Obviously, one who is older and/or wiser than I would look at what I've written and say, "Welcome to growing up." I would counter that and say one of the biggest fault of those who like to pass on wisdom is that very notion. You can't tell someone, "Oh, you're growing up. I've done that." It doesn't help. You have to let people grow up. You have to let them feel these pains and these changes and understand them as an experience, not as some vocal lesson that will ultimately ring hollow. It's hard, but I, like all people, deserve the chance to suffer this emotional growth my way.

I wonder what my dreams hold for me going forward. Catharsis? Longing? I don't know. The ultimate goal in the real world is that Melanie and I want to get to Texas and be with my kids. Have our life their. Along the way I'd like to make movies and tell stories, even if just for fun, while we establish our more practical and concrete futures. And maybe, once there, once with the two people I care about the most of all, with the girlfriend who has meant the world to me, and, if all things go well, my mom being happier and healthier, I can find some peace.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Free Writing 8

Much to do.
But where is the time
To do it all?

I find the time
All around me
     But I filled it
     With my visions of fancy.
I've wasted the opportunity to do what's right
By throwing away chance for desire.

So please, oh, please, can I have a little more time
To pull myself out of these waters so murky
And do what I should have done all along.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Self Observation Time

Yup, it's that time. Time for some introspection. But fear not, dear reader, this isn't going to be weepy, whiny, pleading, or anything like that.

This will be my best attempt at some honesty about who I am. So, let's do this as a list, bullet, sort of thingy, kind of, -esque.

1. I'm a better actor than I've given myself credit for in the past.  Previously, I couldn't watch myself on film without groaning or picking it apart. That's changed. I do see the bad, yes, but instead of it owning the entire performance, I can see what I need to improve and see what I do well. And there are many things I do well. I'm starting with this one because it's happy.

2. I'm a very confident person with generally high self esteem. But I do have issues sometimes with self-worth. Not horribly. Not as bad as a friend of mine who goes to great lengths to tell "little" lies about his set of skills, his education, his job, and a plethora of other things. I don't need to build up falsehoods about myself to make myself feel better. But sometimes, I tend to lose faith in my abilities. I will feel these spells of hopelessness where I feel like I can't do anything. I'm going to correct this. The only people who should ever truly despair are those who know what's going to happen in the future. And no one is really in that position. I'm going to be more hopeful, but I'm going to ask for help more instead of trying to do everything on my own.

3. I'm afraid of vulnerability. Very afraid. It's actually one of the things keeping me at just being a decent actor instead of a very good one. You have to be vulnerable to let those emotions out. And I never do. For so long I've rationalized this as me just seeing emotions as a sort of weakness. Which is text book. Holy crap is that a text book, cliché problem. And I understand that. The reality about all things is that we were all born unique little snowflakes by virtue of DNA, genetics, and all of that biological wizardry. We shouldn't be trying so hard to be utterly different from each other. It's actually good to have similarities with others, as well as the differences, because it's the combination of those similarities that makes social interaction interesting.

And that social interaction shouldn't be a place for me to hide my vulnerability. A lot of my self worth issues that pop up here and there are probably tied into the fact that I don't open up. That's not to say I'm going to cry every time I'm with friends. But maybe I shouldn't worry so much about showing any kind of honest emotion.

With all of my mom's health issues, I'm starting to see things differently. I shouldn't be bottling this up so much and being more honest about how I feel about things.

4. I don't like Dr. Who. I didn't say the show was bad, just that I don't like it.

5. I love writing. And I miss theatre.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free Writing 7

Nothing can be saved. Nothing will be found.
Please let me know why you don't stick around.

You can see,
                    I cannot,
Makes me rot.

Withering junkies, bloated egoists
Self-destruction masks for marital bliss.

I can see
              Your li'l lie.
              Fooled me once,
Now I'll die.

The path was split, but you said it was whole.
Our sad undoing was your only role.

Hearts are dead.
              I can't see
              Broken thoughts
Sent to me.

It is he whom you have clearly chosen,
But it's I whose heart is dearly frozen.

Bloody blade,
                  Quickly slashed.
                  I know I've
Acted rash.

Dry those tears that stain your beautiful face.
All time passes, regardless of our place.

Deep breaths won't
                   Help you live.
                   You've giv'n all
You can give.

I'll say my goodbyes with a slight regret.
But nowhere near your great and sinful debt.

Close those eyes,
                     Just let go.
                     Have fun in
Hell below.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cycles of Death, Part 4


[Exit MARY]

                                         But that's not
What I want. There are so many great things
About you, Mary. But sometimes I don't
Think you see it. Sometimes, I think you let
All the bad things and all the bad people
Affect you. I do dream, Mary. But not
Of fantastic places or near perfect
Ideas. I dream of you, and of myself
Standing at opposite ends of a long
Hallway, impossibly long, a gap that
Lies between us, impossible to cross.
You don't see it, but I always will. It's
My ever-present reality, a
Constant vision, a truth that I cannot
Deny. Static, stuck, stimying the wish
I hold closest to my heart. But you can't
See how much I hold you dear. But I won't
Stop trying. I won't stop until you see
How much I love you.


                                 You must let her bloom
On her own. She needs to grow. She needs her
Chance to be her own person.

                                              I can't change
How I feel. I can't stop my love. Why can't
I know the joy of love, of someone who
Will be there with me. Mary is great. She
is an angel, beautiful, wonderful,
All that I could ever want.

                                     But that must
Wait. She needs time. You need to be patient.
Give her this and you'll have a chance.

                                                        But I
Need more than a chance. I think if it is
Between another and me, I'll fail. I
Have waited so long for her. She was with
Eric. I was patient then. But now he's
Gone and I'm supposed to wait more. How
Long? How long do I have to wait? Will she
Ever see me as I see her? It's not
Fair that I have to wait. Eric never
Deserved her. Don't I deserve this chance?

Can't force it. You'll lose yourself just as she
Might get lost. She needs a friend right now. Not
More pressure.

                       I've waited so long. Life's not
Worth living without her.

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Cycles of Death, Part 3


[Exit ROBERT, Enter DOUG]

Mary. I called you earlier, but there
Was no answer. I was hoping to see
You later. Mary, you're quiet? Are you

           Doug, do you dream often?

                                                     I don't
Often remember them.

                                    I always do.
I see so much in my dreams. How nice it
Would be to walk around them. To see, to
Touch and feel this fake world as though it
Were real, as though it were a place one could
Live forever.

                   I've never thought of it.

I imagine my own perfect world.
A place just for me to be free and 'live.
No dismay, no despair. Freedom, pure joy.
All the things I could ever want.

All you want?

                  I'm speaking in broad strokes, Doug.
Those are the general things that I think
Everyone wants.

                          That's true.

                                           Don't you want to
Live in such a world? Don't you want to
See a true fantasy? Don't you want to
Know this kind of perfection?


MARY:                                           But it
Can't ever be truly perfect, can it?
Our thoughts will always get in the way of
Our ability to find our pers'nal
Utopia. No matter how much we
Look for that bright path, we'll only find the

              Sometimes we need a guide. Someone
To help us find the way when we've lost it.

I don't know if I'll ever find that sort
Of guide again.

                      You miss Eric?

                                              I do.
And my father. Instead, I have Robert,
The dreg who puts his sick spell on my mom.
She's innocent, sweet, and knows only love.
But this monster, this cretin with no sense
Of morals or justice, exploits her and
Uses her for what she has. He only
Loves the material.

                            You're not alone.
I mean, you have me. I'll always be here
When you need me. I mean, someone. I won't
Ever leave you alone if you need a
Person to be with.

                            Thank you, Doug.

                                                        I'm here.

You'll always be my best friend.

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Cycles of Death, Part 2



                 Mary, are you here?
Mary? I have been looking for you. Where
Are you, girl? Where have you been? Ah, I
See you now.

                    I've just been thinking.

You shouldn't run like that, your mother is
Worried sick. What would I tell her should you
Be lost or hurt.

                       I don't know. I guess you'd
Have her to yourself after all this time.

Young lady, that's enough! I put up with
Your bullshit every day. Your mother might
Think you in need of guidance, but I know
That your just a manipulative li'l

         But, Robert, or perhaps I should call
You father, since that's the job you've taken,
It's not manipulation since I can
See that you really deserve it. No more
Pretenses dear step-father.

                                          Oh, Mary,
Don't think for a moment that you have a
Chance of getting me out your mother's
Life. She wants me here, to take that awful
Job you so happily mock me with. You
Can't have the life you miss so much, but you
Will know a good and honest punishment.
I'll make sure you're put in your proper place.

I know you'll enjoy that. Maybe mother
Never has to find out the man you are.


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Cycles of Death, Part 1

(Author's note: I'm not entirely sure where this is going. It's more me goofing off, but there is an underlying thought driving it. I will organize it by French Scenes [when characters enter and exit] so keep your eyes out for more.)

I dream of lost passions. I dream of life.
I dream of new worlds. I dream of death.
Yet still, I linger here, lost in my thoughts.
Why did you leave me alone? When you left
Here without so much as a second word.

Dream not of dreaded sorrow, dear Mary.
Think not of the things you shall never have.
Linger instead on the path in front of

       But it is he that I desire. No
Time passes quickly without his voice to
Hear. It is not hard to see my anguish.
Not difficult to understand my pain.
Why do I suffer when I gave it all
To him.

           Your soul's rhythm no longer finds
Harmony with his. Now yours is a trip
For you to make on your own, a solo
Act for a lonely heart who must find her
Way back to personal harmony. Dear
Mary, lost and alone, find your way back
To us.

          I do see a path before me.
But it is not the only path. Lying
Next to it is a second path, draped in
Shadow, layered with dark, filled with shaded
Emotions that match my own. There's comfort
In that path. The path of light, however,
Is blinding, chaste, naive, and sickening.
It is not a path I can take. Shadows
Can serve as my allies, my companions,
And my friends.

                        It's hard to turn away from
That path once you have chosen it. Mary,
Dear Mary, please heed my warning. Take my
Advice and use it as your shield and your
Guide. Dear Mary, fear the shadowed forest
When you cross its borders.

                                           The shadow calls.
The shadow calls me.


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Free Writing 6

Ugh. Your broken body lies sickly still.
Not my fault, yet I know I brought this on
When I decided to go behind your
Back with her. But it's as much your as
Mine, and maybe a little hers.

                                             Yet you
Chose to act on base instinct without so
Much as a thought for the consequences.
Look what it has brought to these poor souls. In
One case, a dead man who was once your friend.
In another, a woman wracked with grief
For all that she has lost.

                                    I do not need
Your council father of death.

                                            True, this will
Be the second time you ignored my best

            I must make my decisions as
I see best. Not rely on the thoughts of
A wretched fallen one who has lost his
Hold over a simple domain.

Simple about the hold I used to have.
But you'll learn now, won't you?

                                              I fear nothing.

You will.


                          We'll see.

                                          I've heard enough.

Book Review: "Odd Thomas"

Let me make one thing clear, first and foremost; I love Dean Koontz. I'm not the biggest fan of commercial fiction and, when I read, I generally avoid most contemporary  fiction altogether. But there's something about Dean Koontz and his writing style I adore.

It started when I was younger, the first book I'd read by Mr. Koontz was Door to December, and I was hooked from the beginning. I don't love everything he's written, but I'm generally entertained at the very least, and absolutely ecstatic and breathless at best.

Odd Thomas is a sort of departure from his usual style, but not by much. The hallmark of Dean Koontz has always been his characters, and I think he likes it that way. They're filled with depth, they are interesting and engaging, and they are the kind of characters that can carry a story. Many of his villains, even, could almost have their own volumes, and that's something I can really get behind. He lovingly crafts each character and treats them with the sort of reverence that people usually save for the likes of Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, or Gizmo the Mogwai. And that sort of devotion really comes through as any time a character shows up on the page, you can literally feel the depth and back story dripping through, even if the prose is only giving the vaguest of hints.

Odd Thomas does indeed keep that style of characterization, but takes on a different tone than a "typical" Koontz book. Koontz has crafted a world, the world of Odd Thomas that is, that is filled with an assortment of odd... Er.... Strange characters who all have eccentricities and peculiar habits that really enhance the story instead of serving to its detriment.

Let's focus on the titular character, however, as that is the driving force behind this novel. Odd Thomas, which happens to be his actual name, is a lovable creation. Blessed (or cursed) with the power to see the dead, he has lived something of a purposefully sheltered and anonymous life, while helping those who have died move on to the other world, all the while living the life of a cook at a local diner.

There are very distinct things that I pick up from Odd in the course of this book, and its sequels; he is very much the voice of reason in these books. Many writers have such a character present in the tellings of their stories. JK Rowling very much used Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books for that purpose, Cleante is very much that guy in Moliere's play Tartuffe, and we can't forget Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (though Skakespeare promptly kills him, but let's be honest; that's ballsy and bad ass.)

In the case of Odd, we have the voice of reason character in the pilot's seat, which is something that many people often don't like, my good friend and comrade in arms Nick Michael being one of them. Heck, I usually am as well. But in this case, I really enjoy it. Koontz gives him enough personal obstacles and a heck an obstacle at the end of the book (no spoilers, I promise) that it doesn't bother me that this character gets a little preachy.

In fact, I often feel like he's doing it as a response to the constant dangers in his life, which I find interesting. As well, it feels like this was Koontz's chance to sort of talk about his philosophy for life, to almost step into a dream world for himself. And I think, as prolific a writer as he's been, he's kind of earned that privilege.

It also almost served as a spiritual successor to the Chris Snow books, a series of books that I need Mr. Koontz to finish. But if you look at the the tone of Odd Thomas after reading Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, you can see a logical bridge there.

(Still, Dean Koontz, I want to know what happens to Chris and his friends!)

You'll notice I've not said much negative about the story. I think the biggest negative people find in Koontz's books is that his stories are a bit basic or generic. I'll agree with that, but the stories have never been the focus. And if you liked movies like Avatar, Super 8, Aliens, Titanic, any super-hero movie, and the vast majority of Hollywood fare, even much of the good stuff, and you're complaining about the simplicity of Koontz's stories, you are a hypocrite. You're entire mentality doesn't make sense. I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't insult readers out there. But come on. Looking at this logically, I would never call The Avengers an amazing plot, but I will call it an amazing movie. I feel the same way about much of Koontz's library.

There is almost nothing else to say about the book. I couldn't nit pick with this one, for good or bad. I loved this book. I still feel Watchers was his best, but this was great. And it looks like the movie version of Odd Thomas will be a lot better than previous films based on his books. Watchers the movie was awful, but if I ever see Phantoms again, I'll need to commit murder. So there you go, go read it. It's great.

And we're getting this guy as Odd!

I love Anton Yelchin! Anyway, I'm out.


For more book reviews, head over to Beauty and the Armageddon! For movie reviews, check out Out of the Void Production and the Void Zone podcast!

And if you want to check out my book, check out The Brimm-Stone Chapter!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: "2001, A Space Odyssey"

I'm a big fan of hard science fiction. There's something about the honest and serious views of the scientific world that are so fascinating to me, and they capture something that the more popular genres of space opera, science fantasy, and the Michael Crichton-style cautionary tales don't have. It's almost undefinable for me what that thing is. Maybe it's the realism. Maybe it's that these stories often deal more with the reality of how we deal with the changing world.

I love that concept so much. So it's with great shame that I confess I hadn't read Arthur C. Clarke's famous novel until very recently. Awful, I know.

Before I begin reviewing it, one might note (and rather fairly I might add) that this review is pointless. It's a book that was published in 1968, and has run the gamut of reviews, both loving and scathing, and doesn't need yet another one. But I would argue that were in this phase of storytelling where people typically don't take many chances on their fiction. They prefer the tried and true and tested before going to the different, no matter how celebrated or famous. I think, however, that people can be warmed up to newer ideas if there given something of a hint of what to expect. I think younger generations can be shown newer ideas and, in time, warm to them. Heck, as I said, this was the first time I've read the book.

Now, I've seen the movie many times, and am a big fan. I love Stanley Kubrick's style choices in that film and I love that there is nothing on-the-nose about that film. Everything has to be thought of, put through cognizant processes. It's not like a Transformers film where the movie tries to think for you. No, the film 2001 invites you to think for yourself. And I love that.

So, moving on to the book after all this time was a bit of an experience for me. I suspected that there would be differences between the two. And yes, there were, but I think the biggest difference between them wasn't the story changes. They were there, sure, but what set these tellings of the same story apart were the differences in tone.

The film is famous for long stretches of silence. Scenes are laid out before you, pulling you slowly into this universe, increasing both the mood and the constant underlying tension with distinct visuals, sounds, and pacing that results in what is basically perfect filmmaking.

The book did something else; it gave a detailed explanation of everything that was going on. That's not to say that the book thinks for you, because that's certainly not the case. As well, the book could have had a similar tone to the film. But I'm glad that this isn't the case.

I think in some ways, the film almost becomes a thriller. The book really sticks to the sci-fi guns throughout. You're constantly let in on the back story of everything that's going on. In between the sections of story being told, there is the kind of reading that feels almost like a history book, and Clarke brilliantly blends real information with the necessary fictional inventions that were required to fill out the path of man into the further reaches of the solar system.

Like the movie, the story structure is unconventional. Of course, Clarke and Kubrick developed the story together, but I love the way it changes. And in the book, more than the movie, the structure really works well. The movie felt like it had to rush (well, as much as it could rush) to get to the meat of the story. But I feel like prose gets a little more stretching room when it comes to structure, so to my delighted surprise, there were many sequences that were greatly expanded in the novel. The primitive ancestors to man in the beginning of the story are given a great deal of space. And it was fascinating. Clarke's description of the primitive thought processes of these creatures as they stood on the cusp of great change was amazing. 

The lead up to the Discovery mission was also great in its expansion. The political environment was an interesting one, painted very well by Clarke, which adds a different kind of tension in the book than in the movie. You're constantly made aware of the issues on Earth and it adds a layer of great depth to the characters' personalities as you can see the issues that influence their daily life and thoughts.

I think my biggest complaint about the book is HAL, and it's probably unfairly affected by the film. I love HAL in the film. He's terrifying, he's interesting, he's one of the best characters on film ever, and he's only ever shown as a red light and a room with large panels. The scene in the film where Bowman starts disabling HAL haunted me as a child, and it's still one of my favorite scenes of all time.

In the book, however, it felt less powerful. HAL didn't have the same character, the same impact, the same intensity that he does in the film. Again, maybe unfair, but I felt that HAL was less important in the book.

The last third of the book is a little long as well, but I did enjoy seeing how a man, now completely isolated and alone in space, with only little contact with Earth, and no real way home, would react. The very idea of seeing the monolith was what pushed Bowman, and the only thing that held off madness.

If you haven't read this novel yet, I think you should. Yes, there are elements that are dated, not even counting the fact that we haven't sent a man past the moon, and it's now 2012, but all in all, it was still an amazingly prescient novel with a great sense of pacing and tone. Will it be for everybody? I can't answer that. But it's definitely an important novel. And one that has really reignited my love for space exploration.

"The thing's hollow-it goes on forever-and-oh my God, it's full of stars!"

Rating: 9/10


Want more book reviews?! Check out Beauty and the Armageddon! Movie reviews?! Out of the Void Productions here!

And, if you want to read my book, check out The Brimm-Stone Chapter!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Free Writing 5

(This is free writing. It's generally fiction. It's generally nonsensical. If you don't know me, it'll just be weird, and that's fine. I hope you find some entertainment value out of it. If you do know me, please don't read anything into it, because it is nonsensical. Just letting the subconscious fire off random ideas. Again... Fiction.)

(Other note: You need to listen to while reading this, because that's what I was listening to when I wrote it.)

I'm trying to talk to you
      It's gleaming.

You pulled away, and that hurt
       It's cool to the touch. I like that.

You pulled away, angrily, and with some showmanship
       I've never used one before.

You're like an only child claiming some moral high ground
       There is power in this.

But we know you don't have any justification
       There's no turning back.

I only hope you're satisfied with the result
       Let's push that on my temple.

I miss the old days, with my old friends
        It's still cool, helps the headache.

I hate that you enjoy making me hurt and want to punish me
        I'll just punish myself.

So that's that now and I wish you the best
        I'll just pull that little trigger.

So here is the goodbye that I give you.
        It's not cool anymore.

Free Writing 4

(This is free writing. It's generally fiction. It's generally nonsensical. If you don't know me, it'll just be weird, and that's fine. I hope you find some entertainment value out of it. If you do know me, please don't read anything into it, because it is nonsensical. Just letting the subconscious fire off random ideas. Again... Fiction.)

I'm not sure, but I clicked 'like' because I
Hoped you'd notice. I know five other guys
Did the same, but you should know mine matters
More because mine has special meaning to
Which I hope you figure out. Words are hard
To express, and when I see that you take
The time to respond to my comment I
Get a little giddy. Don't mistake my
Intentions as trying too hard as I
Don't want to scare you away with my hope
For us. It's all because I can't find much
In expression with words, or without words.

Free Writing 3

(This is free writing. It's generally fiction. It's generally nonsensical. If you don't know me, it'll just be weird, and that's fine. I hope you find some entertainment value out of it. If you do know me, please don't read anything into it, because it is nonsensical. Just letting the subconscious fire off random ideas. Again... Fiction.)

Welcome to my home! You're here, finally.
I'm glad you're here. But we all know the real reason I wanted you here.
Make yourself comfortable. Don't fucking touch anything.
I hope all is well. I know you don't give a shit about me.
Where are my manners? Can I get you a drink? Or maybe my fist?
I've been so busy these past few weeks! Every waking moment with you in my head.
He seems like such a great guy! But we all know he's a cunt.
I'm glad he takes such good care of you. It won't be good enough.
Are you enjoying dinner? Choke on it and die.
How about some dessert? Just let me go and get it.
You better have save some room! Don't look at what's behind my back.
Oh, I'll be careful. It's not too sharp. Don't just love cake?
You need to go? Sit your ass down!
Let me get the door. But I locked it.
Shhhh. Don't scream.

(I'm not gonna lie.... This one was kind of messed up. Sorry.)

Free Writing 2

(This is free writing. It's generally fiction. It's generally nonsensical. If you don't know me, it'll just be weird, and that's fine. I hope you find some entertainment value out of it. If you do know me, please don't read anything into it, because it is nonsensical. Just letting the subconscious fire off random ideas. Again... Fiction.)

Where are his shoes? It's infuriating. And disgusting. He has the feet of an orangutan. They even have an inordinate amount of hair on them. And it's like this disgusting train wreck that I can't take my eyes off of because all I see are tons of minute, wiry hairs that twist up together to form this sort of tree-like surface on his toes that reminds of hearing about Jack and the Beanstalk as a child.

Seriously, I'd love for him to put on some shoes. It's not that this lack of shoe-wearing is causing me to go homicidal or anything truly dramatic, but it does make me want to vomit. Repeatedly. The way he walks, as well. The ways toes bend with each step. It drives me insane. I know I shouldn't look, but I can't stop. I have to see because I have to feel this anger that must be justified. It must be justified because look at how disgusting he is.

Those feet. Those monstrosities that should be attached to no human. I feel faint just thinking about them. Perhaps he'll put on some socks. That would be a good compromise. I'd still have to see those annoying steps he takes, but at least the leathery flesh of his awful walking tools would be masked from my sensitive sight, and I wouldn't have to feel as nauseous as I frequently do in his presence.

I often wonder why he walks barefoot in the rocks. It's like he's making a point, but I can't tell what that point is, but he's clearly trying to make it. I mean, look how smug he is. Each step filled with this audacious arrogance like somehow he's doing something that everyone would obviously do if they were given the chance. I think it's disgusting.

Perhaps his feet are just massive calluses by this point. The way he just stomps roughly over sharp edged rocks is disturbing, but he does so without even raising a single cry. Must have the toughest feet in the world. But that's not a point of admiration. You may not be able to tell, but my words are dripping with the most absolute disgust imaginable.

Just find some shoes, please!

Free Writing 1

(This is free writing. It's generally fiction. It's generally nonsensical. If you don't know me, it'll just be weird, and that's fine. I hope you find some entertainment value out of it. If you do know me, please don't read anything into it, because it is nonsensical. Just letting the subconscious fire off random ideas. Again... Fiction.)

I associate her with the color purple. Not like the movie, or the current societal associations with the color, not that either are wrong or bad. Just the actual color purple. It's weird, because she never wears the color. At least not that I've seen.

The other girl I associate with no color, but I think she'll soon associate me with the concept of disappointment. It happens, but I have no other way to describe the kind of result that I'm going to give.

I'm staring right now at this image of Purple. She's smiling. Where I got this picture, I don't know. But it's a pleasant one. An innocent one. It makes me laugh because I know somewhere in that picture, beneath her smile, there's a joke that's been told that she enjoyed. See, I've gotten to the point where I can tell her smiles apart; she has one that is a residual laugh from a recent joke (like in the picture), one for when she is hiding her vulnerability (which she does often because she hates being vulnerable), one that signifies disdain, but in an appreciable way, and my favorite, her natural smile, which is when something makes her genuinely happy. I strive for the latter, but usually get Residual Laugh and Disdain.

Disappointment looks at me expectantly. But I've already failed her. Purple looks at me with no expectations, though there is also a shield up that confuses me, which I think is calculated and the point. The substance of their glances, and there seems to be a great deal of substance to each glance, is thick and filled with unspoken subtext. But the substance is too thick usually, and the subtext is lost in the foggy plastic substance of their constant looks.

Purple avoids me frequently. Not at the beginning of any meeting. But she quickly leaves towards the end. I think I'm now associating the color orange with her. No reason. Just like there was no reason for Purple. She wears neither color.

Disappointment has now changed moods. Sorrow. But I can't tell if she's feeling sorry for herself... Or for me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Insomniac Nights, or "Letting the mind race through the paths of unclosed thoughts."

I need to be asleep. I should be laying down and have my eyes closed.

But I'm afraid of the world tonight. It happens sometimes.

I'm a pretty happy guy. Almost all the time. I think it disgusts some people. And it's not a facade. But that doesn't mean I'm not unhappy sometimes. Or scared.

I'm not depressed. Just like I'm not truly an insomniac. Insomnia and depression are very real ailments, and I suffer from neither. But I'm sometimes very sad. And when I am I often can't sleep when feeling this way. In some ways, I'm terrified.

I'm terrified about letting my kids be in a world where I'm not with them all the time. And it's not a matter of distrust of their mother. She's a good mom. And she and I love share a love for our children that is very deep and very powerful. She wouldn't let anything happen to them just as I wouldn't. But I don't trust the world. And the horrible people that sometimes populate it.

I imagine that somehow my presence around the children will shield them from the horrible people and events. It's irrational. But it's what I feel. I know Adian feels the same way.

I'm terrified that all the endeavors I've taken on are going to fail. That I'm going to be nothing. This is also irrational, especially considering how much I'm trying to get everyone else to see the light of what we are doing. Because what we do here is great. The work, the film work, is spectacular and getting better. This is truly something special. And it's about to take off. I'm not psychic. I don't believe in that nonsense. But I can read a situation. I'm very good at reading situations and people. So much so that I often find myself acting out so I can see where a situation will lead me that might be different from the norm. But I've seen where things are headed. And all we need is a bit more time, and a bit more out there for the world to see. And it will start to happen.

Still, almost a year after the fall out over the creation of the podcast, I'm terrified of failure. And I'm scared of others pointing at me, accusing me of betrayal. That wound still stings. It's almost been a year and it still stings to be thought of like that. It's like they forgot everything I said, the ideas I had, the fact that they took my ideas as their own. Well, he did. She did not. What's worse is I don't even care about who had ideas or didn't. I don't care that several eyewitnesses almost two years ago recall me suggesting the very idea that I would later be accused of stealing. I don't care about any of that. I care that I lost friends for no reason. I hate things beyond my control. Failure that I couldn't do anything about.

I hate how much I can't control. I don't want to control people. I don't want to control free will. I just want to make sure that the good things that can happen do, and the bad things that can happen don't. I know that's what everyone wants. I know that this lesson is all too often learned the hard way; our lack of control and how we must deal with it. But I love stacking the odds in our favor.

This is why I shouldn't write late at night. This is why I shouldn't blog when I'm this bummed out.

I wish my friend Eugene was here, too. I miss him. I miss him more than he knows. I hope he's doing okay. Because life without him sucks. Life without my children sucks.

Okay. It's time to stop writing this before I go into complete self-pity mode.

Because I need to be asleep.