Month: April 2017

Constant Motion: The Story of My Life

In a world of seemingly perpetual motion, I am always trying to stay on the track.

Every day I treat differently–no, it’s not as if I give the weekdays pet names, like Wedny or Sundah. What I mean is I come into each day with a goal–I am going to do this, or I am going to do that; and during all those seconds and minutes and hours I push to accomplish that goal.

Sure it sounds typical to most of you. We are, as the human race, a pretty determined people. And kudos to all of you who feel they relate to this post. I’d give you cookies, but I forgot to bake them–or did I eat them?

Now, I hope there is still a large amount of relation between us when I say, “I cannot binge watch.” Seriously, I don’t think it’s in my genetic code. Gasps! Screams! Spilled ice cream cones! See, whenever I sit down to watch a TV show, I try limiting myself to around two episodes, tops; anything more is pushing it.

I would love to watch six episodes in a row, however–

My mind won’t let me.

It sees that I am reaching my two episode limit, then jerks up the alarm. Bwah Bwah, it goes out my ears, Bwah Bwah YOU’RE NOT MOVING! ARE YOUR LEGS BROKEN? HAVE YOU FALLEN AND YOU CANNOT GET UP?

“Nah,” I respond, “I just wanted to enjoy myself for a bit.”

Mr. Mind does not agree. So what Mr. Mind does is snap on a little guilt machine, making me feel ashamed for wanting to devour so much TV; unfortunately, it works, and I turn off the TV and curse myself for wasting so much precious time–even though I usually have around six hours left of daylight.

I get to work. It’s the only thing I can do. Doesn’t matter what I’m engaged in, so long as it is not watching the TV, or napping on the bed, or eating crap tons of food for no sane reason, save to kill a few minutes. This makes me both irritated and grateful. Irritated, because I would like to binge some times and laze around; and grateful, because it shows I have limits, even when those limits are, at times, overbearing.

Call it Constant Motion, The Story of My Life.

There are some occasions, where I win the battle and watch my two episodes without a guilt trip, but Mr. Mind does not get paid the big bucks for nothing. He saddles up and lassos that guilt complex hours after I have had my fun. For God’s sake, he’s like the Terminator: you kill him, feel like a bad ass, and he comes roaring back in the sequels, with a deeper accent and a hell of a lot more wrinkles.

Hasta la vista, ba–oh, shit, how’d he get behind me so fast?

Sorry, Arnold, just as my mind is always moving, so is my mouth.

Think daily,

A Southpaw



A Nightmare On College Street

It’s beginning to sink in…

You see, college is just around the corner, and I feel unprepared. It’s not as if I’m not ready, which I am; c’mon people, gimme a break! But it is scary to consider there will be no more guiding leash. Only yesterday, my mom was telling me I had to get a full-time job this summer. Geez Louise, Mom, I’m eighteen, it’s not like I can be a functioning member of society!

Eight hour work shift, my ass. I’ll go the full nine yards–yep, that’s me, being the overachiever. Get busy at a restaurant washing dishes, or pile horse crap onto a trailer at some farming store. Sure. And how much am I getting paid again?

College’ll be fun, of that I have little doubt. I’m studying for a teaching degree, gonna educate these high schoolers about the beeuty of grammar–oops, spelling error. I look forward to attaining my degree and becoming a teacher, which will be my safety net while I write stories and send them off to publishers. I’ll teach stuff. I’ll say stuff. I’ll write stuff on a whiteboard. Man, it sounds like the best job in the world, don’t it? Add on top of that a shitload of coffee and–well, you know what comes after you drink a lot of coffee.

Dorms don’t seem my cup of tea. I have heard plenty of horror stories about roommates and their different variations. It’s like someone puts together a Build-Me-Frankenstein doll kit and sticks all these body parts and brains on bare bodies. Yuck, gross image, right? Might have to go wash out the old noggin after that one.

But I digress–God, I hate when people say that–college is not all it is cracked up to be. No…it’s much more terrifying, a real fright for the kiddies. When people leave college, they always say…”I had to ask where the bathroom was on the first day” and, even scarier, “The kid in the desk next to me drooled on my notes.” The horror! Oh, what a monstrosity!

And on top of all that,

I have to pay for it!

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Sunshine Comes Around

Sometimes it can get dark, and, for most of us–if not all of us–that is a relatable fact. Life is not always this rainbow filled paradise that someone stirred up inside a milkshake, it’s actually a road that changes quite often.

Some say it’s a tough road, some a pleasurable road.


I think it’s just a road, dependent on what you yourself call it. I am not walking the same road as someone halfway across the world–no way is that possible; but they could be wishing they were walking my road, I could be wishing I was walking theirs.

As I sit here and chomp on Easter chocolate, I think about times I’ve wished to walk another road, or, even, to stop walking it entirely. Grim, I know; and, trust me, I never want to find myself thinking thoughts like that again. But you can’t build a wall around everything.

For me, I think, that can be easy to forget, maybe for others it is, too. Acting as if you can move through the world and be indestructible–I’m a teenager, whaddya gonna do, sue me?–it can size you up pretty well in your mind, then, when you think you have it great and the troubles are all fading, the tiniest thing breaks through your defense and crushes  you.

I had dark thoughts. Thankfully, they passed, but when I thought them, when I was in that stage, where it feels like a million dumbbells are pressing on your chest and you’re suffocating from the immense weight so badly, that any chance to remove the weight, the insanity, the stress, is taken, and it is taken with haste.

I felt decrepit, an old man walking in a teenage body; there were times I felt weak, unable to accomplish the routines I was committed to so fondly; and there were times I wanted to get away from it all–would a miracle show up and transport me from this hell that seemed never-ending?

Folding inwards was the route to my happy place, going deeper into my mind than I had in years. Night after night, I plugged away at a novel in which every dark ingredient of my conscience was added to this infesting depression–it was, at times, heartbreaking, blissful, tragic; and, when I reached the ending, both satisfying and saddening.

If you lose yourself, lose who you are, not who you think you are–the grit and bones of yourself–it can be shattering: you can look at the world in such a way that the sky seems to always be cloudy, that it contains these tumultuous emotions and is waiting for the perfect opportunity to barf it all over you. No one around you reveals their true self, that it’s always one mask or another, then you realize you’re the one who is wearing different masks, and now they’re worn and battered from constant use.

It almost happened to me, for about five minutes. It was draining, and; frankly, I have never been in a darker place. From my point of view, however, what else had I to do? A family member was going through cancer, suffering so often, and so much, it got to be unbearable to stay in the house. All of our solutions were going to shit, one after another the doctors kept coming up with blanks. And I felt it was up to me to maintain happiness in my family, each member dealing with their stress in their personal ways, while I was stuck in between a rift of sunshine and darkness–and eventually the darkness overcame the sun, as much as it hurt to know.

“How do you get around that?” I asked myself, and the truest answer for me was, keep writing, keep doing what you love, what keeps you sane. I did. I finished my novel, the darkest story I have ever written, and within those words was the five minutes of total surrender. I still get a chill when I read the scene, as it is personal and full of hatred at everything, regardless of how much these things had supported me beforehand.

I write this because I know I’m not alone. Millions of people go through the worst times of their lives, worse than my own experiences by miles, and many of those people have trouble finding a crack in their storms of darkness.

I write this because I want you all to remember sunshine comes around. It may not seem so at the present, but it is fighting to reach you, all the people surrounding you, who love you, would lay down their lives to help you see the light, if only for five minutes.

And sometimes, five minutes is all you need.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Small Town Losses

I live in a small town.

Since I live in a small town, most big news that goes on reaches these teenage ears of mine; and, as they say, no secrets are truly secret. It can be good to know what happens around here–it keeps things interesting, thankfully; however some times the news is not so good. It is, on occasion, a downer, being that most everyone knows everyone else, and tragedy is oft times the unwelcome stranger.

Tragedy has struck recently, and, normally, I am not a big one for speaking out loud about it–mostly I keep to myself, as many of you can probably gather. This is different. This hit a little close to home. It wasn’t detrimental to me, but it did have–and still does–an effect on me.

Two nights ago, one of my friends was killed in a car accident. The accident was not his fault; in fact, all the blame fell to the opposite driver, who had been driving under the influence. The pictures detailed a nasty crash, both cars were thoroughly battered. The drunk driver sustained minor injuries–my friend, unfortunately, died on the scene.

You know, tragedy is a large word. I suppose versatile would fit. It is the word people use when unexpected sorrow, or, even heartbreak, occurs. I get chills when I hear tragedy, as if it’s some omen, or marker, of misfortune, some kind of posted sign before the news is broken to you.

In this small town, the anxiety brought out by tragedy is amplified, turned up to a decibel so high it spreads itself across each house, each work place, each park, curling into the normal ever so abruptly that many have no time to adjust to these unusual circumstances.

It creates a vacuum: a pressurized chamber sucking out all the happiness and the sense of normality. People here walk around with hearts busy pumping all of their life and love, and they conceal it until an opportunity for aid comes to their side. I am not speaking of aid for themselves because, while everyone, including me, needs a trusted shoulder sometimes, it is the aid we get from supporting others wracked by these tragedies that fills our emptiness and gets us on our way again.

You should all have seen the beauty of cooperation at my school today. What started as a somber morning for all soon evolved into this incredible support system. Students counseled each other, got them chatting and laughing, playing games and having one hell of a time, all in the memory of a great guy who touched hundreds of people, made them feel worth it, because it was his nature.

I think my friend passed from the world too soon, but, I am reminding myself that he, like young Icarus, had a spirit that shined so bright, the world could not handle his brilliance.

I dedicate this post to him, to his family, and the small, yet strong, town in which we all live.

Rest in peace.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Prom and Punch

What is the number one stress of high schoolers all across America?



I’m talking about prom, people! The biggest dance of your teenage life prom? The one where the guy asks the girl, and then–it–well, it goes on as normal from there. Anyway, it’s coming up for a lot of folks, which is exciting!

Don’t know if I’m going or not. I did the whole asking thing, but it didn’t turn out in my favor; go figure, huh? Might as well go stag and freak out a shitload of people with my dancing skills.

Woah, check this cat out!

Is he doing the worm? No, it looks like the anteater! 

Dude, didn’t the anteater go out of style three years ago?

Yeah, man, this cat is kicking at a dry litter box; let’s beat it. 



Excuse Bill and Ted there, they sometimes pop up. But I don’t see Keanu Reeves much anymore; rumor is he finally found the sweet spot of Hollywood and is chomping on feature film candy as we speak.

If I do go to prom, I’ll likely stand in the back and drink punch like a creep. Girls’ll walk up to me, and I’ll say, “Hey…you think the punch is good, or what?” I will name it a victory if they don’t dump their punch in my face–oh, not the shirt, please not the shirt!

It’ll be nice. It’ll be real nice.

And you know? That’s exactly what the farmer said to Old Yeller before he shot him.

Actually, I haven’t watched it in a while, so what do I know? Guess I have plans now.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Meet My Cousin: William Shakespeare

OMG! William Shakespeare and I have the same first name–what magic is this? Does that mean we have the same haircut, same beard, same way we put toilet paper on the bathroom roll? Ahhh! I have to reach out to him–have to tell him that we’re practically brothers–

What’s that?

Word has…it has just come in. I apologize, folks; but William Shakespeare is…dead. If you’ll excuse me, I–I have to go shed a few tears and waste three dozen boxes of Kleenex. I’ll be back with a carton of Rocky Road and a plush teddy bear holding a heart.

[Ten hours later]

Well. I have come to the realization that perhaps William Shakespeare and I were not brothers. We were; in fact, cousins from my quadruple ten thousandth–don’t know if that’s a real number–aunt, who was one billion times removed from his great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather.

I don’t want to think about how much time we lost in connecting with each other.

Oh, the possible memories I could be having right now:

  • Me and Shakes–that’s his pet name–reenacting the death soliloquy from Hamlet.
  • Me and Shakes laughing at the absurd actors who joined his plays.
  • Me and Shakes petting chickens who ran amuck in old England.
  • Me and Shakes watching Breaking Bad, which is Macbeth as a TV show.
  • Me and Shakes tasting all of those tasty shakes at Sonic–then me making fun of him.

Shakespeare, the fun we could have had! Why did you have to leave so early, why; even when you knew I was going to be born in the next ninety hundred something years? I would have acted out all of your plays for you–if only you had stayed alive!

It’s happening again. A breakdown. Everyone leave me in peace, or you will see tears flow as you have never seen them flow before.

Goodbye, cruel Kleenex box with your tissues that scratch the bottom of my nostrils.

Goodbye, plush Shakespeare doll sitting in my closet because it’s where you can find the most artistic inspiration.

Goodbye, all who laughed at me for proposing we had the same name, and who now continue to laugh because I am referring to you in bold text and italics, meaning I am extremely upset and wish you to go away and find solace in a tattered copy of a Shakespearean play.

Goodbye, farewell, adieu, adieu–

But, one more thing before I bust into the Sound Of Music. It’s a question I’ve been contemplating for some time–it is quite the bother, and it goes like so:

To be or not to be.

That is the question.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

How To Be Anti-Social

You just got called anti-social.

But what, you ask, can you do about it? Who knows. But why, you ask. There’s got to be a reason, right? You can’t stand being called anti social: a tag associated with all this loneliness and depressing crap that you think of as pointless drama.


You hold it off for now–it’s a thing you don’t want to deal with at the moment, but, eventually, it will become a reality; or is that another misconception? Is being social all that great anyhow? So you’ve learned to chat, Cathy, and the people you surround yourself with are new and colorful and vibrant, otherwise known as the words used to describe a box of Crayola colored pencils–how much of it is touching you as a person, as an individual? When you look into the mirror, do you see you for yourself, or–you for someone else?

You mull it over, take a nap, eat some food, the regular routine. Next day: you’re back at that one place, be it school, or work, even your own home, where you were tagged anti-social. Maybe the accuser isn’t there. They’ve gone off to do other things, but, you’re told, they’ll be back soon. Soon translates to you as never. They will never come back through those doors, into that room, so you can ask them, “What made you so curious as to what I look like on the outside, but you could care less about what I’m like on the inside, where it matters?”

Confusion takes hold. You start questioning, yourself, others, the world–and what does it all amount to but a tiresome headache and a conscience that has trouble forming cohesive thoughts? Anti-Social. The words are in your dreams; 24/7 you’re plugging your brain away at figuring out what the hell that person was trying to say. You lose sleep. You question your morality, who you’re meant to be. Frequent questions to yourself are, Am I a good person? Am I supposed to be here? Am I–it goes on and on.


The world folds in, it feels as if you’re drowning in a placid lake, no tidal waves or whirlpools to suck you down. You alone are sinking yourself to the bottom of the abyss, a weight tied to your ankle. And always it’s those words–anti-social. They’ve become so common in your thoughts, you’ve formed a stigma around them. Anti-social, to you, is all you can be–but, then, you realize, it’s not.

Perhaps you never talk to people as often as you’d like; and perhaps you never talk to people as often because–well, you don’t like to talk. Does that mean, however, that you have to wear a binding around your mouth because you’re a little on the silent side of life? Not quite; in fact, not talking to all those people gives you, individually, strength.

Your solitude feeds you.


It comes, at first, as a shock. How could you, the one who never talks, never voices their opinion, never laughs at jokes, be more correct than the one who labeled you?

But with all shocks, there is a numbness–and in this numbness you reflect, drawing your mind back to the happiest places and the memories you formed from being who you are. You remember life didn’t used to be so bad, it was a game you loved to play everyday. Sure, there were storm clouds on sunny days, rain drops on your umbrella of smiles, but you turned out fine.

You become whole, reinventing inside a palace of glee and laughter and purity that overshadows the darkness of your former shell. With this spirit, you step once more into the world and look around, identify those struggling from the same self-inflicted disease, the massive, horned bull named Doubt, and, ripping the page out of your book, the page someone decided to write in for you, when, in truth, it wasn’t their responsibility, you take on the crushing weight of the demon that has plagued you time and again, that has chewed up your courage and spit it across the universe as a warning, a warning that you are dangerous, considered highly toxic; and everywhere, from the deeps of the dark to the climes of the miraculous, people stray from the phenomenon that is you.

Then, after it sinks in, you know they’re right.

You are dangerous.

All should steer clear, all should tremble when they hear your name, because you, unlike any other human in the existence of anything, are weaponized, armed with the hidden secrets of your self–the source of power no one can attack if they can’t find it.

You are a weirdo.

You are a freak.

You are the unknown that frightens people so badly, they have to give you a name, and it is–


Think daily,

A Southpaw

Oh, Boy, Another Writing Rejection

This has to be, what, the thirteenth or fourteenth time I have been rejected by a short story magazine? Just so you know, I keep count–there’s this stack of rejection sticky notes hanging on my cork board, stuck to it by a thumbtack. They’re accumulating, so, in a way,  I suppose that’s a good thing, getting my stories out there and what not, even if they don’t make it.

I got this batch of short stories, at least seven of those puppies, waiting on special opportunities to free themselves and go out to those great readers that I will have someday. You see, there is no way I’m giving up. I’m gonna shoot off stories until I get published, damn it! And you can take that to the bank, or the publishing company…or wherever you stow your own stories, be it in a crate or a refrigerator.

Fun Fact: Tom Wolfe wrote on top of a refrigerator. Yeah, try that one on for size, you chair lovers.

Rejection is not so bad to me, most of the time. I view my failures as stepping stones, telling myself, “okay, buddy, you didn’t get in this time, but what can you do next time to make sure you receive a personal rejection instead of a form rejection?”

Oh, don’t you just get sick of those? It starts off all kind, “Thank you for submitting, such-and-such to our splendid magazine,” then comes the hammer to the gut, “but we do not think it exactly fits our tastes,” as if, instead of being publishers, they pursued a life of culinary critique. Ah, yes, hand me the fried lobster, would you, dear writer? In the end, they sometimes give you a little compliment, wish you luck, the sort of stuff that makes  you want to nod your head while gorging on a Klondike Bar, not me personally, but, hey, whatever works.

I persevere, however. I fight the good fight and write once more into the night. Ah-ha, it did rhyme! I then search the darkest corners of the Internet for magazines accepting stories and blast ’em off, like Buzz Lightyear blasted Toy Story to the top of the Box Office. You go, Buzz! Be a friggin’ incredible Space Ranger! I’m gonna stay here and write some more stories.

Just can’t wait until I get done with these two novels, then we’ll see how hard it is to get published. Oh, you betcha, it’ll be a trial–several trials, in actuality–but I am ready to kick it old school and get my stuff out there!

Whoo! Whoo-hoo! Writing rocks, dudes! Cowabunga!

Ah, crap, I think I stepped too far into the surfer lingo, ’cause all of a sudden I’m in the ocean. Well, the laptop’s sinking now, so…I guess…wait…I think…I’m…breaking up…the connection…seems…to be…going on…the fritz…


Think daily,

A Southpaw