“I love the way you write,” she said, and it was the beginning of the end.

It was the beginning of the beginning, but I’ve always fallen for easy compliments on things I’m self conscious about.  My hair.  My clothes.  My voice and my writing.  All it took was sincerity in her voice, perceived or actual, and I was overlooking a vast ravine and wanting to jump into the nothingness just to hear her say it again.

“Sorry, what?”  Never take a compliment for a compliment unless you hear them say it twice.  You may have misheard it and they said something different, or they were just being nice and will dismiss anything said previous.

“Your writing,” she held the piece of paper and shook it as if it had bells hanging from the edges, “I love the way you put words down.  The expressiveness.  The visuals.  The oddity and randomness of it.  I really like a lot.”

Does she really like it a lot or does she love it?

“Thanks.  Yeah.  I don’t know.  I just kind of dump my mind onto paper sometimes.  I don’t really know where it comes from.”

“Well its nice.  You should do it more often.”

Now it’s just nice.  I should have just said thanks and left it at that.

I nodded and smiled a closed-lip half smile and kept my head down.  I wanted to write some more but nothing was coming into my head.  Nothing except that she might have been staring at me.  I was too nervous to look up and confirm it so my pen just swirled around the letters on the newspaper in front of me where I had been writing in the margins.

It was out of boredom really.  Sitting random places doing random things.  My cellphone was the high quality, super rare kind that could still only make phone calls.  It probably could take pictures too but computers nowadays didn’t have the sophistication to handle the tens of hundreds of pixels it was capable of capturing.  So busying myself like everyone else in the room with their necks crooked and faces glowing against the light of the tiny screen wasn’t really an option.
So I would grab a piece of paper nearby and entertain myself.  Often times it would be a newspaper or a magazine.  I’d never take a current one in case someone wanted to read it, but there was usually a day old paper laying around so I would grab that and paint the canvas with my nonsense.

Most of the time it was literally complete nonsense.  I would keep my head down and listen to the conversations going on around me.  I would start writing parts of them and then take off from there into a world of the bizarre pieced together with fragments of reality.  When I was done, or my time was up, I would leave the little piece of brilliance on the table for someone else to enjoy or become perplexed by, either way it was out of my head and splashed across the page and I’d never even remember what it was a few hours later.

I wasn’t even sure anybody read any of it.  I thought someone might read a few words and then furrow their brow at the oddness then toss the paper in the trash.  I didn’t think people actually sat down and made it through everything.  It was a chore, and I partially did it as a joke.  I would sometimes end the writing saying that the reader has wasted minutes of their life they’ll never get back reading my nonsense.  Yet, here she was seemingly reading every word.

I finally let my eyes come up for air and took a quick glance at her.  She wasn’t staring at me but it looked as if she might have been side-eyeing my paper as the tip of my pen swirled along the words of the bold headline.  Was she waiting for me to write more so she could watch?  Strange.

When I brought my eyes up and not-so-smoothly took a look at her to see if she was watching me she noticed and caught my eyes with a smile.

“Well ran dry?”  she asked.

I shook my head, “no just the right inspiration hasn’t come along yet.”

“Oh.  What kind of inspiration do you need?”

I looked down away from her engaging smile and interrogating eyes, “I kind of know it when I see or hear it.  It takes a hold of me and my mind unfurls like a flower.  I don’t really control it.”

“Unfurls like a flower huh?”

I nodded.

“That’s kind of poetic.  Those visuals I was talking about.”

I don’t know if it was being conveyed on the outside of my skin but on the inside I was feeling flush and blushing.  I’m not used to praise or admiration in anything I do.  It always felt fake whenever anyone would say something nice and I never know how to take a compliment.  I froze and she kept talking.  I felt like I was sweating.  I completely forgot how to communicate with another person.

“I uh, yeah.  I don’t know.  I-, uh, uh huh.  I’m like-, uh, heh,” I wanted to bang my head on the desk and groan so loud but she was still staring at me, or at least it felt like she was.  She was still sitting there trying to engage with me and my tongue’s decided to swell three sizes too big and cut the circulation off to my brain.

“You know you could just write about me,” she tilted her head down and tried to catch my lowered eyes.  I looked up with my mouth slightly open in surprise.

“Uh…huh?”  I always gave the most eloquent responses when confused.  This is why I preferred to communicate in written word, I could write a hundred times better than I could speak.

“Me.  If you don’t know what to write about then write about me.  Make me a character.”

She was smiling.  Why was she smiling?  Write about her?  What?

“What would I even write about?”  I had forgotten about my awkwardness and engaged in the puzzle of what/huh/what are you talking about.

“I don’t know.  You’re the writer.  I’m just trying to give you some inspiration.  Selfishly of course.  I want to read what you’re going to write next and if its about me I’m curious to see where you’ll take that story so, yeah.  You can just write about this, right here.  Our conversation.  A back and forth and see where it goes.”

I wish she would stop making eye contact.  It’s so annoyingly polite and she was being too nice.  It felt like a trap but I couldn’t help it if it was.  She was asking me to write.  She requested my words written down for her.  The abyss was long and wide and never ending and I was going to fill it with words for her.  About her.
They would build a bridge from one end to the next and she could walk along it and peer over the edge to see all of the beautiful things I’d constructed below.

And all it took was for her to say, I love the way you write.

Write write rewrite

Phoning it in is kind of stupid, right?

If you’re going to write something, right it well.  Of course that can’t all be done on the first try.  Finished master pieces seem like they flow and you can’t help but romanticize the idea of words flowing like water from your fingertips.  Perfection pouring out.

But it doesn’t work like that.

Great writers, and great writing, takes effort.  It takes pain.  It takes time and love and passion.  It takes lust and desire.  It takes everything in you spread across the page or the screen.  It needs to be you.  All of you and everything in you.

So when you write, and when I say you I mean me, write.  Focus on what you’re doing and write.  Take it out of you and write.  Pull it from you and write.  Make it personal.  Make it real.  Make it hurt.  Make it feel like Sunday morning.  Make it feel like the look she gives you when you say something perfect.

Don’t just get something down.  Write.  Write again.  Rewrite it and then write some more.

Maybe I’m Not A Fraud

Do you ever have moments in your writing where you think, “damn.  Maybe I’ve actually got a smidgen of talent,” and the possibility of what you’re doing is made a little brighter on the horizon?

That’s why I keep this blog.  It’s a snapshot of my writing.  As I originally wrote in my About section I used to write silly little things in the margins of newspapers or in magazines and on random napkins and leave them wherever they were.  After a while I ended up missing the chance at keeping those random writings and having them to look back on.  The stories in my head were gone and I’d never read them again.  So here I am now.

I was reading back through some of my past writings of the last couple of weeks.  I came across a few that I remember enjoying when they were done and I gave them another scan.  I smiled.

“These aren’t that bad,” I said to myself, “actually they’re pretty good.”

Then I kept reading.  I read two or three more and then I got to one that I didn’t really remember what it was about and I opened it to read.  It was short, not even a thousand words but the further I read into it the more excited I got.

It wasn’t a great story or amazing surprise but I felt like it was really good writing.  The flow was good.  The descriptions made me feel.  I put myself back into the character, the narrator, and I could feel it.

Of course I’ve instantly gone into anti-ego mode and told myself that it was easy to get back into the character because the character is me.  Someone else might not find it as easy, but I still liked the writing.  I enjoyed the description.  I felt something and that’s what I always try and do with what I write.  I’m not a great plot organizer or twist ending writing type, but I think I have the ability to write things that can make the reader feel what the characters are feeling.

I hope that’s enough because it’s always enough for me.

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All I do is repeat pretty words by people with minds much more beautiful than mine in ways that are far less articulate.  All I am good for is second rate bargain bins and what not to do’s.  All I can be is this person with their fingers on the keys typing out emotions that don’t quite click.

I wonder if the past dies as silently as the future.  The words are still there.  The smell fades pretty quickly.  The taste and look of you aren’t far behind.  Memories betray us like the sun will one day.  Burn me as I touch it’s face because I could not comprehend the heat that comes from something so far away.

Don’t ask me to explain myself, I’ll just let you down.
Everything in life is only seen through memories of people who tell stories better than me.  All I can do is repeat those pretty words.  All I am good for is swimming in the tears that pool along the bottom of your eyes.  This all makes sense.  Don’t worry, it will all make sense.

Wasted nights

I’m drunk on stupidity.

A drunken man falling over himself because he couldn’t keep control is no different in alcohol than any other vice, simply less graceful.

Sabotage, gluttony, self-pity and the constant distraction from the unknown, they each hold their price and conspire together to trip me up.  I fall for it every time too.

I’ve spent precious moments banging my head against the wall rather than coloring in the cracks to make it less obscene.  Now I’m trying to save face by being pretentious and this is all garbage.

I can write.  I know damn well I can write.

She made me love her.  I didn’t want to, but I ended up doing it out of stubbornness.  She tricked me.  She told me she never wanted someone, she wanted everyone.  My ego caused me to take the challenge to be all of it for her.  And I was, for a short while.  I was until I wasn’t, but it stayed deep inside of me.  The time that I was couldn’t be expelled because her magic was too strong and it wrapped itself in the chords of my soul.  I can still feel them being plucked by her fingers.

So fuck it all.  Fuck the night.  Fuck the stupidity.  Fuck the distractions.  Most importantly, fuck myself for letting it all get in the way.

Too may wasted nights are spent banging my head against the wall.  The cracks should be vibrantly colored by now.

What If I Suck?

Insecurity is an odd feeling to have, especially when it’s not prevalent in anything else I do.  This feeling of inadequacy.  To think I’m a fraud even before I could get to the point of being a fraud.  To think what if I’m no good at something I seem to love to do.

The hesitation is crippling.  The doubt clouds over everything.  It distracts my mind and pulls it away with little voices in the back telling me to delay and get distracted.  If I don’t finish then I’ll never find out.  If it’s never completed I can just think of what could have been rather than I couldn’t.

What if I suck?
What if I suck?
What if I suck?
What if I suck?

What happens if I put all of my effort into something and it’s terrible?  What if I put everything I have into something and it’s mediocre?  What if I’m completely indistinguishable from hundreds of thousands of other people wanting and doing the same thing?  What if I suck?

I was watching a clip of The Larry Sanders Show recently and it was a short clip of Jeffrey Tambor’s character before the show cowering against a coat rack as someone tried to ease his fears.  He repeated the same phrase over and over again.

“What if I suck?  What if I suck?  What if I suck?”

Rip Torn’s character tried to help him get through it with words of encouragement.  Those words are always appreciated.  They aren’t disregarded at all but that fear is relentless.  It’s like a wave that constantly beats you into the sand.  What if I suck?  What if I suck?

The way he looked as he clung to the coat rack, his facial expression and his body language, hit me hard.  The tone of his voice and the way he repeated it over and over again.  What if I suck?  What if I suck?

It was everything inside of me.  It was my entire mental state.  My entire life.  It was me.  What if I suck?  What if this dream I have isn’t realized because I’m not good enough?  What if I put myself out there and it’s rejected?  What if I’m just another face in the crowd, completely indistinguishable from so many others?  What if I suck and every second I spent on this was wasted?  What if I suck and I have nothing to look forward to?  What if I suck and finally see there’s no way out?  What if I suck and this it?

I’m kind of neurotic.  I have a general laid-back personality but it’s because most things don’t matter to me.  When it comes to the things that do?  I want them to be perfect.  I want them to soar.  I want them to be amazing and I’m paranoid and self conscious about them.  I think false praise is everywhere, which I hate.  I don’t know if anything I do is that great and whenever I think it is I bring myself back to reality to shield from being hit with criticism.

This isn’t going to end with a lesson.  This doesn’t have a rosy outlook to finish it off.  There’s no uplifting words at the end.  It’s just me ranting about the thing that runs through my head every single day.   The thought that keeps me from doing anything because if I do anything all I ever think is, “what if I suck?”

I’ve fallen off the wagon

Pretty girls are my weakness.  Saying that is like saying I like chocolate.  It’s no discovery of epic proportions but at least admitting it is something I can hold onto.
Pretty girls are my weakness and I’ve got nothing else to add, except everything else that will follow.

I froze.  I froze when I saw you because I didn’t expect to lay eyes on you again and when I did it felt like winter set in an instant.  It had been coming for a few weeks now but it jumped the barrier and made itself at home.
Have you ever poured salt on a patch of ice?  It makes a crackling sound the way milk in a bowl of rice krispies does.  That’s the sound I heard when I saw you.  A deep patch of ice being melted slowly in an uneven way.  Sinking down to the bottom and exposing what was hiding beneath.

I jumped off the wagon and seemed to have left my words on it.  The wheel fell off and spilled them all over the road and now I’m trying to gather them up mixed in with mud and grass and whatever else is on the road.

Now my words aren’t lost, they’re just harder to come by.  I don’t know if its your stare or your presence or what but I’m not starting off a new year in a new and better way with them.  My words are always so fickle, it seems.  They come as they please and they do what they want.

Troublesome little things, words are sometimes.

If I Were To Write

If I were to write a book it would be amazing.  My words would sing and swim along the page, the margins bright and blazing.  The font, it would be stoic with a great and solid strength.   The page numbers on the corners would whisper you its length.  Each flip of flimsy paper would take you hundreds of words deeper.  The word count with each turn would increase, getting dangerously steeper.

My book, it would have chapters.  They would be broken up by scene.  The characters would have adventures and romances, from careful to obscene.  The protagonist of my story would be a boy who meets a girl.  That is really all there is to life, there’s no other story in this world.

At first they would fall madly in love and everything would be grand.  You would almost be sick of how happy they seemed as they kissed or held each others hand.   But as with every story there would have to be some strife.  No one can have eternal happiness, that’s just not allowed in a literary life.

The boy would go off to war, or the girl’s father would not consent.  Their love would face a challenge or an egregious dissent.  All their friends, the townsfolk too, would gladly cheer their love.  But the father of the damsel had an opinion that would not budge.  The boy bound by duty would have to serve his country at war.  The girl left on the docks with tears as the ship grew further from the shore.

The girl missed him deeply and plunged into a depressed state.  Her only thing worth living for was letters delivered to her gate.  They came frequently at first, as much as he could write.  But as the fighting worsened the volume became light.  She thought the worst had happened when she hadn’t heard for months.  Other suitors began lining up, such as vultures after the hunt.

Or the father would banish the boy who loved his daughter’s heart.  The boy wouldn’t be good enough, an opinion made from the start.  The overbearing father’s rage would promise her to another.  She would threaten tragedy to herself and plead reprieve from her mother.  None of this would work so the boy and girl hatched a plan.  The would run away together and live a life on the lamb.

The boy at war would fight for survival and the girl would fight for love.  The armies and her father did not hold a chance to what their hearts could overcome.  The boy would make it home and take the girl back in his arms.   The girl would ignore her father’s demands and escape with the boy, free from harm.  Each pair the same and living in a life filled with laughter.  They stayed the course and true to their love were rewarded happily ever after.

My book would be completed, both front cover and the back.  The pages white, the acknowledgements short and the words all typed in black.  One day I’d see my novel on shelves in a book store.  They would be next to best-selling authors like Rowling, King and many more.  I’d be so proud of myself for accomplishing this dream.  One I’ve had since high school when I didn’t realize how much it would mean.  I’ll keep on trying to complete this fervent fantasy of mine.  The ideas are here, the writings started, now all I’m competing with is time.


Alright.  I’m doing it.  Taking the plunge.  Putting practice into performance.  I’m going for it.  All in.  Let’s do it.  Boxing gloves on.

I am going to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That’s 1667 words a day.  That’s not so bad.  What makes it hard is writing them in a linear direction about the same topic and moving everything forward.  Heh.  I mean, sure right?

So…National November Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is a thing I’ve been aware of for about almost ten years now I think.  I’ve always thought it I’d like to attempt it.  The last few years I kind of hm’d and haw’d over it but when it finally came I’d throw a lazy hand at the screen and pull the blanket back over.

This year has been difference.  Or, at least since June of this year it’s been difference.  I’m writing consistently.  Maybe not every day but enough writing to fit in something for every day since about the second week of June (and I only missed two days in June all together).  So that’s 4 months straight writing something for every day.  Some days multiple things for each day.  Some of those posts I wrote were five or six thousand words each.  I think if I’ve ever been ready to attempt such a thing now is a great time to do it.

Of course that means I’ll actually have to focus and write in a comprehensive manner.  I’ll need to think of a story I want to commit to and write it to the best of my ability.  It won’t have to be perfect but it will have to progress.  The editing can take place after but now it’s just a point of getting it down.

In saying that, dear reader, I am probably going to have less creative works over the next 30 days.  I know, you’ll all miss my love sick melancholy but I assure you there is plenty of that to come in December and the start of January.
In the mean time I’ll do what I originally wanted to do with my other dead blog.  Have a kind of recap of my writing and how its going.  Mainly for my own mental dump but also for posterity.  I’m sure people will want to look back and marvel at the “what the fuck was he thinking” when I’m done.  I know I will!
I’m sure I’ll need a break and drop a few things I’ll whip up on the spot.  The creative muse peeks her head behind the red curtain whenever she sees fit.  It’s her nature.  I’ll never tell her no.  But, hopefully her ADD can keep at bay and she can help me along with this endeavor.

So…I’m doing this.  Lets hope it doesn’t get derailed in the first week by catastrophe.

Happy writing 🙂