Author: thoughtsofasouthpaw

Welcome to Thoughts of A Southpaw--the place where thoughts and other crazy nothings go down.

Our Second Anniversary–A Few Words.

How is everyone tonight? Maybe you’re a bit average, and maybe you’re above average: excellent or enthusiastic or terrific, all those fancy words that lost their meaning the tenth time they were used.

I am doing well; in fact, this long hiatus has done me some good. I am nearly finished with the first draft of my third novel, Society, At Large, and I have got to tell you, it’s one hell of a book. I’m proud of it, as I hope many others will be after publication.

Sophomore year of college, too. Who’d have figured? Comes up so fast, life does, as I’m sure many of you know. Done many things. Met many people. Written many words. Thought about–I’ve thought about quite a bit, much of it good, some of it obsessive.

I’ve learned about the current politics of the U.S.A. Y’know, Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un; my, that was one historical meeting, wasn’t it? Politics, to me, are so interesting because, with politics, there’s never a clear answer to anything. There’s dozens of factors to consider, people to talk to, and tasks to delegate before making a decision. I question why anyone in their right mind would want to involve themselves in that crazy world seemingly separate from our own.

I’ve noticed they appear everywhere, politics do, especially at college. You can be sitting in the lunchroom, chowing down on a pizza, and hear someone discoursing on the pros and cons of America’s economical situation. I dunno much about the economy, still learning about it; however, I have my friend Adam Smith to help me out. He has one book, but I’ve heard it’s a killer.

What’s my point here? Am I attempting to sketch out the previous events of my life in uncoordinated fashion? Am I reaching for some truth I can’t ever find in life, but which I hunt down so ruthlessly in words? Is EVERYTHING for the sake of, what, a few views and likes? Put it like that, and it makes it sound like a social scam, a ruse I’m putting up for no known reason. Deception is a word that comes to mind, but–

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I do this, why I continue to do it. Call it energy or life blood, either way, it’s not a matter easily settled in a couple short discussions. At the tip of my tongue every time, it feels like, escaping me, and I never find out the truth. It’s always gone before I reach it.

Thoughts of A Southpaw’s 2-Year Anniversary was at the beginning of this month. I missed it, but I’m making up for it now. This anniversary somehow means more to me than the first. I can’t imagine why it would, but as I said, the truth escapes me when I need it most.

This year was interesting. It was fun, and it was sad. It was exciting, and it was depressing. I discovered many things about myself I wouldn’t have, had I not taken a break. There’s so much I want to say and do, make some change in the world, and writing makes feel like I can accomplish all of that and more.

People can talk about empty promises and holding themselves accountable, and they can be absolutely bullshitting everyone. Only I know if I’m doing that, and I don’t think I am. Writing is my power, and I’m learning how to wield it as I grow older. Above all, I see writing as a tool that when used in capable hands, can make ripples in the waters of the world, be they of good or disastrous intent. It depends solely on the person holding the pen.

Perhaps the truth will always escape me. It’ll scurry away whenever I’m close to catching it, and despite my best attempts to stop, I’ll keep going. We all desire some truth, some ideal we hold ourselves to. Don’t be ashamed of it; rather, be proud of your drive and intellect, your spirit and action. Grab it by its collar and shout in its ear, “I’m coming for you!” Feel it shrivel at your will. Whatever power it holds over you is no greater than the power within yourself, that power you control, that you display.

It’s taken me some time to figure that out for myself, and I can only hope it doesn’t take as long for you.

Years will come, and they will go, but time will always remain within your power.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Emily Lotka

IT’S TIME TO TAKE A STAND!

Just heard about the terrible Santa Fe school shooting that resulted in the loss of ten lives, ten, innocent lives. Shooter was a student there, 17 years old, a Football player–stuff like that’s rough to hear.

My brother’s going into high school; this next year he’s going to be a Freshman. Is this the kind of world he’s going to have to grow up in? Is there any way to prevent it, or at the least, drastically lessen the chances of more shootings occurring?

That’s two major school shootings, Parkland, now Santa Fe, within the span of three months. Those are the major ones, too; I haven’t mentioned the countless other shootings that haven’t made the news for one reason or another. That shouldn’t be an increasing statistic; in fact, it should be non-existent: NO MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS WHATSOEVER!

I’ll tell you this, too, I don’t believe guns are the answer. Anyone with the motive to harm another human being is going to do whatever they can to accomplish that. Take away guns, they’ll use something else–take away that thing, and they’ll find another and another and another.

It’s a matter of mental health. These kids and adults that shoot up these schools are either mentally disturbed or in poor social situations. Now, I’m not saying what they did wasn’t wrong, but we need to look at their root causes: what is driving them to kill?

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (Columbine): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

Nikolas Cruz (Parkland): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

There are clear similarities between all of these school shooters, and those are what we should be focusing on. Prevention and early detection are key in these situations: but little is being covered about them in the media.

So we need to take a stand and say something about the avenues we should take. There is no definite answer, no miracle solution, to anything; however, we can examine these possibilities and work towards creating a better future for America.

Human lives come above all else.

Stay strong, Santa Fe; measures will be taken.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

People Are Strange

I finished reading Catcher in the Rye, and I gotta say it’s an odd book, a quirky tale. Holden Caulfield is by no means your average teenager, but he is not an alien, either; so many people hate Holden, y’know, something I don’t understand.

The argument, I believe, is that the only people who can relate to him are mentally unstable. Okay, so Mark David Chapman reads it, then, what, people are blaming the book? Isn’t that a fallacy, or at the least, one of those conclusions people create that make no friggin’ sense?

I liked it. I really did. I liked that goddamn book.

See, look, now I’m speaking like Holden Caulfield: it’s a spiral, I tell you, and it keeps going downwards. Pretty soon, I’ll be wearing a deer hunter cap and chain smoking cigarettes.

People are strange, though, y’know. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that book, it’s that people are strange. There’s no logic to it–you can try computing an equation all you want, and nothing’ll come of it but a tired mathematician. Call someone else for that, by the way, ’cause I suck at Math.

There’s strange people at work. at the store, at the intersection right before you turn onto your street. They’re everywhere, man; a bunch of weirdos doing their best to give off an aura of normalcy.

The other day, I saw one in Wal-Mart, word of honor! He had on this bulky cloak and a purple scarf; I also think he was wearing sunglasses…at night. Ah, of course, it didn’t register at first, but now I realize he was an avid Corey Hart fan. Nevermind, dude wasn’t strange, just misunderstood. Then again, I doubt 80’s rock was understood even when it was popular.

You can disagree with me if you want, and I’d like that, truly. You go ahead and think Sunglasses Man was strange, I’m not judging, only writing a blog post about the whole thing.

Yeah, he was strange, but not as strange as Holden. That’s where I think Catcher in the Rye is most effective–its depiction of the ultimate, angsty teen has yet to be rivaled. Could you argue James Dean got close in Rebel Without A Cause? Sure, but ask yourself: would there be a James Dean without a Holden Caulfield?

I dunno, haven’t studied enough of that stuff. Gimme an answer, and I’ll praise you.

Let’s think a moment now. We’ve established people are strange, but we don’t know which people. Is there a certain minority devoted to strange folk? is it why we have all these cults? or is it what we’re denying–we’re all strange in our own freaky way?

Gee, interesting concept, huh? It’s like none of us are the exact same, because that would be super boring.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: Wired Reader

AAAHH! I’m Almost A High School Graduate!

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It’s this giant–well, not giant–calendar, I suppose, that  has all my favorite little due dates and events written all across the days; and they are numbered.

I was looking at this calendar yesterday, flipping forward through time to the month of May and thinking about what I wanted for my birthday when, out of nowhere, it hit me: I am going to graduate high school a week after my birthday, on May 27th!

“Oh, Mamma mia,” I said–then I passed out on the floor.

Correction: I did not pass out. Rather, I screamed in my brain–or my brain screamed in me?–and went to finish that darn math homework that I had been putting off for three days. So, yes, I did freak out. Everyone freaks out. But that’s okay. It’s only high school, after all.

Only high school?

I have to find a college!

I have to buy a house! Or an extremely cheap apartment with a dirtbag for a landlord!

I have to cook! And not Hot Pockets or Pop-Tarts!

I have to be a man!

How does that work, by the way? Do I grow a rug on my chest the night after graduation and find myself speaking like Christopher Reeves in Superman? Is my dad gonna leave a pair of boots outside my door with a note reading, “Son, it is time for these boots to be filled?”

High school is slowly slipping away…I think I might cry, tear up a little. I’m being taken willingly away from this minefield of social cliques where, if you have a wayward opinion, you’ll get the shit kicked out of you and be forced to eat it on a silver platter; where the food is–okay, the food is allright. Oh, sob, sob, tear; waterfalls from my eyeballs. Tell my principal to save a spot for me in the lunchroom for when I–oh, wait, I won’t be coming back.

At least in college, or, hopefully in college, there will be freedom and excellent food and magnificent teachers and Shetland ponies…and four quartz diamonds and…a pool shaped like a brain and filled with money?

Sorry, I was reading from the wrong script.

Someone traded me for Impossible Fantasies For When You’re Totally Broke.

Yay, college?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

I’M BA-AAACK! SOUND THE ALARMS!

Greetings, dear People, I have at last returned to this pleasant planet Earth. Been a while, hasn’t it? I dare say, it’s been almost two months; now that’s far too long to be away.

Just so’s you know, I’ve been busy. Not like I went off the radar and ate raw fish in the woods–trust me, the raw chicken’s way better. No, no, I have had college and two novels and work and life and a bunch of stupid excuses no one wants to hear.

Either way, here I am. If you could see me, I’m smiling. Or am I? Wait, am I?

Now I am.

What have I done? Well, lots. I got money, assignments, grades; somewhere along the line, I think I picked up a bit of self-esteem? I dunno. Things happen so much around here, it’s hard to keep up with the tiny details.

I went bowling…if anyone cares…

It was in this real seedy joint, Summit Entertainment–well, okay, not seedy in the day, but at nighttime–

Went with a few coworkers, chatted, encountered a guy who hung out in the girls’ bathroom to give out his number. Typical bowling cliches; I’m serious, nothing special.

I got third place, yes, me, Mr. I-Can’t-Catch-A-Damn-Football-To-Save-My…Or-Someone–Else’s-Life. No trophy, no kiss, nothing–and, y’know, I was looking forward to getting a plushie. Nope. Just me and a few sympathetic claps. Oh, there was one “You go, man,” but that might’ve been the weird deejay.

Wait, he left before then, didn’t he? Went to the bathroom, I think.

Now, Laser Tag was a different story. I didn’t get third place. I got eighth. Also, I almost ended up in a fight with these two linebacker-sized dudes ’cause one of my coworkers decided to flip them off.

To be honest, though, I’d have mopped the floor with them. Of course, we’d have to pass the mop off to one another; you can’t expect to mop an entire building without some teamwork.

I suck at Laser Tag, anyway. Always trying to act like I’m in an action movie, then some forty year old guy gets my chest, and–yeah, no, that’s depressing enough.

Making myself cry here. Didn’t know this was going to be such an emotional experience. Let’s bring it in, guys. C’mon, team hug, okay, not too close, no–ouch, you’re stepping on my foot!

Can cross Bad Idea #10 off the list now.

Ah, who am I kidding? All my ideas are bad! Everyone gather around the bonfire! Gonna burn this mother down!

No, we’re not. You can take off your Angry Mob costumes.

What we are doing is reconnecting, right? Heh…get it, ’cause connections and Angry Mobs, eh?

I have no idea what I’m saying.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: Feels nice to write that again.

 

Image Credit: Golda

 

Mountains

Sometimes I feel like I just want to go into the mountains, say “Fuck it,” and just stay there for the rest of my time. See it as some kinda therapeutic practice–some bullshit excuse for not wanting to deal with all the stress of everything; and man, I dunno, but college is a hard fucking thing.

It doesn’t get easier, that much I know is true. It’s not even fun half of the time. Is it supposed to be? Am I missing some great answer; this grand illusion is obscuring all that I can see?

What am I supposed to be, a nicely dressed, nicely combed college student who swears up and down all of that scholarly shit that’s not even truthful half of the time? What the hell’s with people nowadays, anyway? Half the time, they’re preaching stuff I doubt they even believe; the other half the time, they’re complaining about the truth of the matter, leaning in favor of the candy-coated, cherry-on-the-friggin’-top version.

Truth is, it ticks me off. Oh, yeah, you think I’m into that? Hell no.

I don’t wanna feel like I’m pretending anything, either. It’s like we gotta wear masks everywhere we go in this life, switch them out for different occasions; it’s a load of crap, man, I tell you.

Be who you’re gonna be. Yeah, Barbie sang a song about it, so maybe she’s got the right idea.

Be who you’re gonna be regardless of what people say, think, or do, ’cause the only person it matters to is you.

Sounds easy. It’s not. I’m sure most of you, if not all, know that, might even have trouble with it on a day-to-day basis.

Keep fighting the good fight, though. It’s the best you can do in this world, just keep your head up; but I know most of this will go over most of your heads, as we only listen to the advice that sounds good to us.

Right? Wrong? All of the above?

I dunno.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Stranger In A Wasteland

Saw this couch in a field in Falcon. Someone’d left it there; it was all ratty, torn out from the inside. Foam crumbles surrounded it, and there were droppings beneath its springs.

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Strange, is all. You don’t typically see couches left in the middle of nowhere; I didn’t want to touch it, either, scared of what might be on the fabric. If anything, it was surreal–facing out to rolling hills, houses in the distance.

Then I came across this quilt–

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Beautiful quilt, yeah? Who chose to throw it out? Looked to be holding something, but I didn’t want to unwrap it; again, safety’s priority number one out there.

Stranded objects in a wasteland, each of them with their own mysteries, perhaps a story or two.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

From the Standpoint of A Teen…

What’s up, everybody?

I haven’t seen you guys the past few weeks, been hectic with college starting back again. I got papers and more papers. Not to mention, I’m also working on two of my novels, trying to salvage enough time to accomplish all of it.

I’ve been good, y’know, being eighteen, getting used to Life; although, I’ve been getting used to it since I came into this world. It’s not as if once you leave high school, you’re initiated into this Adults-Only Section–and no, I’m not talking about the place where they store the dirty movies.

That ticks me off. Not the dirty movies, just the adults who forget what it’s like to be young, to have a fresh view of the world. I’m talking about the adults who patronize those on the fringes of adulthood: this teeter totter that rocks perilously over either side of an angst-filled abyss.

We don’t have a friggin’ map. People don’t provide one for us, and most of the time, we have to cut our own path through the jungle. Machetes are not provided. Also, water evaporates fairly quickly.

Guess I let it get to me sometimes, which is not so bad as it is disheartening. I think it’d be better if we all shook hands and congratulated one another on our accomplishments–but the world can’t always be so black and white.

We have different perspectives for a reason, yeah? For one, we’d be super bored without them. Imagine having a conversation with someone about Lord of the Rings, and for some reason, the other guy is as big a fan as you are, which should be impossible, ’cause you’re number one, right?

That’s to say we’re all a number one in one area of our lives. Least, I like to think so. Maybe you’re number one at pool or darts; hell, give hockey a shot, and you might end up in the NHL.

Chances, man, take ’em, but don’t get me started on how many times I’ve missed out on publication opportunities because I’ve forgotten the deadline. Yeah, I’m working on that part, getting better, though; y’know, learning from failure.

I know for a fact that the majority of my followers are adults, so, if you’re reading this, lemme plead to you from the standpoint of a teen:

  • We’re not all lazy, and if we are…we’ll work on it, got eighty more years, anyhow.
  •  Getting a job is not as easy as it used to be, but we’ll bust our asses until we find one.
  • Lastly, do you remember when you were our age?

Yeah, yeah, I get it’s called a generation gap, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it; and besides, the best way to get past a gap is to build a bridge.

A metaphorical one, of course.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Alex Schomberg

Does Genre Fiction Get A Bad Rap?

So, is it just me wondering this, or are there a bunch of you curious about the same thing?  Genre Fiction. This is Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, you name it; it’s everything except Literature, and it doesn’t look like its reputation in the the writing community has become any less infamous.

I’m a writer and a reader. I love all books, be they The Silence of the Lambs or Tess of the Durbervilles. ‘Course, the quality wanes in some books, and in others, it surpasses my expectations, but, man, that goes for everything on the planet.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that Literature often criticizes Genre Fiction for not having enough beautiful, inspired prose, while Genre Fiction complains Literature can be boring as hell.

I can see both sides of the argument, and I understand them. They’re rational, for one, and, well, you’re not gonna go to Tarzan of the Apes looking for artful sentence structure, and Tom Wolfe’s writing is not so heart-pounding and adventurous, as it is introspective and inspiring.

The conflict; however, boggles me. Most genre fiction is influenced by classic literature.

We wouldn’t have I Am Legend without Dracula.

We wouldn’t have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone without The Fellowship of the Ring.

We wouldn’t have Jaws without Moby Dick.

See, comparisons are scattered all over history, but most times, people forget to look.

It’s all art, right? At the end of the day, man, they’re just stories written for different purposes, drawing out different lives and scenarios, putting characters against unimaginable conflicts, hoping they’ll survive.

Books are great. Art is great. Literature and Genre Fiction are great.

Yes, they’re separate in structure and character and conflict and other writerly mumbo-jumbo, but they are connected through the art of writing; and since both are written–well, there’s one comparison.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Alex Schomberg

 

Sitting, Relaxing, Reflecting…

Today I decided to eat my lunch on my front porch–why? well, I’m gonna tell you.

I made myself two sandwiches, ham and cheese, threw in some Tostitos chips, too; and I put it all on a napkin. Then I went outside and sat and ate and observed.

A question came to me: How often do we notice the small things?

By small things, I don’t mean the rabbits that occasionally pick at our back lawn, nor do I mean the birds roosting in our trees. The small things, to me, are the aspects of a usual item we often neglect after a certain time.

I was sitting on the porch, listening to dogs barking, wind whistling, when I looked over at the stucco lining our house. Now, this house was built a year before my family moved into it, and we’ve lived here for over eleven years; so it’s expected for the house to age a bit. It’s only natural.

The stucco lining was cracked apart, as if a sledgehammer had slid across it. Cracks spiraled in every direction, and there was a large white space where the stucco used to be.

In over eleven years, I hadn’t noticed this.

I took a bite out of my sandwich, studied the wall, wondered how long it took to deteriorate, why it deteriorated. I’ve already given the answer. It’s age. The stucco grew so brittle, so fast, it gave way.

Chilled, I took another bite out of my sandwich and looked at the sidewalk beneath my feet. It wasn’t broken, but it was grimy; dirt filled the cracks, so much so even ants didn’t want to traverse the terrain.

‘Nother victim of age, of life inevitably having its way.

Around then, I finished my sandwiches, started in on my Tostitos chips. Bite came after bite, and I couldn’t get age out of my mind. It frightened me, made me reflect on all those times I’d walked past the stucco and the sidewalk without the least consideration for their appearance.

I got to thinking about my life and how I’m halfway through being eighteen; my, what a fast ride it’s been. Pictured myself as an old man sitting on the front porch of his own home, wondering where the hell the time went.

Maybe I’ll be a grandfather. Maybe I’ll be alone.

If I’ve learned one thing so far, it’s that life doesn’t work in predictions. You can guess all you want, but every event is determined by how you approach it firsthand. So, fortune telling’s bullshit.

I hope I won’t be alone, and I hope I don’t pass by this short life as if I were walking past a section of cracked stucco. That’d be sad. Worse, it’d be a waste of each day and month I remain here.

I try my best, though, cherish the small things. Hard work’s gotta count for something.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: M.C Escher