advice

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

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

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

 

 

What’s Next, Then?

So, heh, got a funny story for you folks.

Okay, now get this–

I work three nights in a row as a dishwasher at Great Wolf Lodge; wait, that’s not the funny part, don’t laugh yet.

I work those three nights, and now that I’m on break I choose to work several more nights, ’cause why not? As of now, then, I am working Friday through Monday next week, which means I miss New Year’s Eve and Day. Well, I sort of miss the day, since I’m at home in the morning, but whatever…

You guys aren’t laughing. Did you miss the punchline? Was I not clear enough?

Alright, alright, I’ll say it again. Wait, what? You’re bored of it now?

Fine. I’ll move on.

What are we moving on to, though? I’ve been asking myself that question for a while, tossing it back and forth in my head; if you were wondering, no, I haven’t found an answer yet, so stop bugging me.

I’ll be working on my novel or washing dishes or lying in bed, staring at my gray ceiling; and the questions will creep in unwanted: What’s Next? Is There A Point To It All? Am I Spinning Fruitlessly In A Circle While Life Slips By Me?

I like to think those aren’t true, but, gee, what is or isn’t true nowadays? Our own perception of truth is clouded because we’re surrounded by so many falsehoods. One minute we’re learning about the Emancipation Proclamation, and the next we hear Abraham Lincoln was abducted by aliens at seven years old.

I mean, c’mon, people, everyone knows the Emancipation Proclamation was totally faked.

Just like the Moon Landing.

What I’m trying to say is that if we can’t count on the legitimacy of all this external stimuli, then what’s to stop us from misconstruing the truths and lies about ourselves?

People insult me; they say I’m gay, but I know I like girls and I’m just getting confused.

Well, what do you think? The only way to be sure is to confront the question yourself; those others have no justification in claiming one thing over another.

I feel like I’m swimming in a fucking abyss, tidal waves crashing over me so much I can barely breathe. But I tell myself I’m fine.

Are you? Don’t jump to conclusions. The worst thing that could happen is that you end up believing in the wrong answer…which you don’t want. Look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if you’re fine. Again, the truth can only come from you.

This bleak and dismal stuff can get depressing, but I think it’s a fair topic. There’s too many times I find myself stuck in a dull mood because my future is unclear; although, let’s be honest, folks, who the hell has a notion of how their life is gonna turn out?

From our first step to our last breath, we’re all a little mystified, aren’t we?

Don’t know about you, but I am. Ahead is sometimes foggy, and the past, oh, the past, is always so visible; God, if I tallied how many times I looked back on the past in nostalgia, or as in most cases, for fulfillment, I’d be at a thousand…maybe two thousand, and a quarter.

The present is a tricky dude. It’s satisfying for a few seconds, then it descends into oh-no-how-did-I-not-predict-this and I-thought-I-could-see-the-friggin-future-darn-it.

Yeah. Tricky. Slick. Slicky.

By the way, that’s tricky and slick combined. Just saying.

Still, the best we can do to combat it is to hold fast to the handlebars and not fall off the ride; since, even though it gets bumpy, there are occasionally a bunch of flashing lights and stage performers to entertain us during its slow parts. Then you gotta deal with the lines at the end, as well as the parking lots–

Sorry. Got off topic there; then again, I believe I’ve said all that needs to be said.

Guess there’s nothing left than to wish you all a Happy New Year’s, and to hope you keep an optimistic outlook on your futures, too.

It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Innocence Still Matters.

I’ve been upset about my innocence for a long time–you know, that look in your eyes that just screams inexperienced and optimistic; you haven’t hit the harsh realities of life yet, and instead you’re going along as if everything is doodlie-doo, happy times.

Now, I’m not saying I dislike that I’m innocent, only I am, in a way, aren’t I? Perhaps I’m really tired of people underestimating me, seeing me as a kid who doesn’t know what life is, when, truly, life is what you make of it.

Sure, sounds cliche, but it does have relevance. Life is never the same for anyone; there’s always going to be differences, just as there are no people exactly alike. My life so far has been life. These past eighteen years were not spent in a vacuum, and there is no Real World, once you leave school.

C’mon, people, the world is the world. Known that since friggin’ Galileo’s time, and even beyond then…yeah….

I am innocent. I will not deny it. But am I the lesser for it? No. Do I not have as full a grasp on life as others? Sure. When you’re eighteen, you don’t typically know much; however, you still know enough to be–well, you, and, hell, that’s all you have to be.

No one’s making the rules here.

You are you, and there’s not much to change that.

It seems, though, if someone has not gone through the ringer at least a few times, has not accomplished the necessary requirements attributed to being an adult, then they, or their voices, are not worth the time of day.

Take kids, for example, the people we want to keep innocent in this world–but, that’s it, isn’t it? No one wants to listen to kids, to see what insights they have to offer; and, in doing so, they are missing out on valuable perspectives that could well change the world.

Innocence, and age, for that matter, shouldn’t be this restricting factor, or an inquiring face to turn away; no, are you kidding? Both of them have importance–both of them are crucial to understanding what the hell all us humans are trying to accomplish in these lives of ours.

Everyone matters, not only a few, because to limit is to inhibit further knowledge.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Love?

Jesus, well, this is late, isn’t it? Sorry, folks, was busy with stuff. Can you blame me?

Oh, boy, what are we writing about tonight? College? Work? Nah–I’m kind of getting tired of those things; instead, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Love.

Fun topic, you could say, even an intelligent topic.

God, what do I say about love? That it can hurt? That it strikes you when you least expect it?

To say those things would be, I think, to state the obvious. Hell yes, it can hurt. Love can rip you apart twelve thousand times, and still be able to pack enough of a punch to send you groaning back to the beginning; however, that’s not to say it can’t also feel great, feel fulfilling.

I had an experience with love once, true as it could be, I suppose. It was that kind of love that brings you to an understanding of yourself, of what you want most out of life–it brought me peace and conflict and heartbreak, all in the same roll of the dice.

See, I didn’t love this girl at first; no, it progressed over time, like all things do. My first impression of her was–well, how do I explain it? uh, impressed and, at the same time, intimidated. Funny how those two can parallel one another, yet still be relevant to a whole.

Yeah, the love didn’t come into play until I got to know the girl, what kind of a person she was–how she inspired me to do better, to be better. By then, I was, as they say, head over feet, or did I screw that up?

She became a person I looked forward to seeing everyday, the someone we all strive to impress by being the best of ourselves, when, really, we probably look like a fool chicken flapping his feathers in the wind of his own turmoil.

I worked at it harder than I have most things in my life; and, in so doing, I do believe I grew into a better person. Out of all the mess, the craziness, I look back on now, there is at least that consolation: I changed, not into someone else entirely, but into myself.

As you can see, to say this love switched a couple things around in me is a bit of an understatement. It did bring me out of a self-contained shell, for a while; and it did open me up to new opportunities in socializing, and life in general. I’ve even gone so far as to talk about it, briefly, in a few posts.

‘Course, if you read those, it will be immediately obvious how deep I was within those waters; at times, I misjudged the deepness, fell short of the ledge on which to hoist myself out of the whirlpool, and I swirled, it seemed, endlessly.

The whirlpool didn’t come about until the latter stages, when I noticed the cracks in the walls I had spent months building, so I could sit back and revel in such a fascinating discovery: love? an event I had thought impossible for me? how could a girl feel the same for me?

The answer, then, was that she did not feel the same way.

I remember how angry I was, and how selfish I thought myself to be. This new world of emotions had opened wide its door, all of its contents spilling over me; what else was there to do but roll around in them and feel sick, right?

Wrong.

I told myself: whatever you think about yourself now is nothing compared to what you truly are. To deny yourself the truth of you, would be to deny all that you have accomplished, all that you have lost, all that you have done, in this life so far.

It helped, a little, but what struck out to me was…how my feelings never changed.

You’d think there’d be differences in mindset, but, I honestly believe that there are sometimes those certain people of whom, when you see them for the first time, or the thirtieth, your impression of them is never altered.

Maybe that’s poetic.

Maybe it’s bullshit.

Truth is, I can’t answer any of those questions. I don’t understand the tiniest piece of it.

So, can I claim to have loved someone if those feelings are yet buried?

The world is a confusing place, my friends.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Carpe Diem.

Holy Crap, no one actually told me college was going to be this difficult. I just finished my first week, and already I am stressed out of my young, adult mind–wait, young and adult?

First off, boy, some of these classes are friggin’ long–I mean, five hours long. That’s a long time. A good thing, though, is that some of the professors can lecture so fluently time goes by in a flash. They can start on a conversation at the beginning of class and finish the class on the same topic.

Okay, maybe not the exact same topic…

I’ve made some friends already, which is a constant struggle in college; in that respect, lunch has gone smooth every day since then–but I’ve also been taking some time to venture out into the campus and reflect on life.

You know what I figured out?

All of the freshman entering college are in my position. I’m not talking the exact same position; however, each person is lost and isolated and confused as to what the hell they’re supposed to do after that one class.

We are lost souls, swimming in a fishbowl of our own loneliness. It’s sad when I put it that way, and maybe it’s sad for me to think of it as such; but when you gotta be honest, you gotta be honest.

I’m not avidly searching for people to hang out with–well, maybe a little–because I sorta got a bunch of friends from high school with whom I can connect. It’s just…it’s hard, you know? Stepping into the shoes of an adult for the first time… There’s a need for responsibility, a need to act, everywhere I turn; add on top of that a load of homework and studying and social pressures–it makes me feel like a ticking time bomb.

But, then, I remember. I remember how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to receive this great gift that is education. I tell myself to buck up, get my shit together. Life is hard, but it’s only gonna get harder; and if I have dreams to follow, then I had better go chasing after them as if it was the last day on Earth.

Carpe Diem. Translated from Latin, it means Seize the Day. That’s my catchphrase this year.

Armed with the ambition of wanting to be a writer, to tell stories that change how stories themselves work, I’m going to recite those two words every morning of every day.

When I wake up, the moment I open my eyes–Carpe Diem.

When I sit down to write on a story–Carpe Diem.

As I climb the staircase of knowledge at a university where hard work, and perseverance, will make me capable of achieving my dreams, my goals in life–Carpe Diem. 

It’s the truth as I believe it.

It’s the truth as I say it.

It is whatever I want it to mean, and more.

Why?

I have the ability to do so. I have the freedom to do so.

I’m not just going to sit here and write all of this crap down and do nothing with it.

No, these words are to be acted upon, as all words should be; and they will hold within themselves the truths that I have set forth in this blog post. This is a declaration of action, not inaction. It is a route by which I will travel these long and troublesome years, because I know I can do whatever I want to do–whatever I dream I can do, if I only suffer through the pain and come back out on top at the end.

Life is fair to us if we strive to make it so; otherwise, the chances can be less to none.

I say: Make Your Life, The Life of All Lives.

And never regret it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Sticking To Your Guns

So, I got into Film a few days back. You know, Film. Movies. Screenplays. Trailers. Special FX, which I used to think was an acronym for an alternate Fox TV channel. I had a desire to make a movie, to film some weird crap, and other random stuff.

Then I stepped right back out.

One thing I have always known I wanted to be is a writer. A legit pen-smith–hey, it’s the best I could come up with. The writing thing is my life; tis’ my breath, and a bunch of different Shakespearean linguistics.

We have film, and we have writing.

I could devote time to teaching myself the art of making films and directing movies, or I could continue to devote my time to pursing a career in writing, one of which I am heading towards as fast as possible. There is a decision, then–what is the answer?

Now, before all of you start shouting at the top of your lungs to tell me your viewpoints, your varied and seasoned perspectives, look at the decisions you have made in your life thus far:

Are each of them making you happy?

Are you good at what you have decided to do?

If your life were to be just that, and only that, would you be satisfied–at least for the first three days?

Writing makes me happy. It is my dream to never want to retire because I am doing what I love to do, so long as I keep up the hard work and strive to be the best, in my eyes. Plus, I’d be satisfied for the first four days before I went looking for people to watch and listen to.

Hint-Hint: We’re writers. It’s what we do.

Not much of that would be true for film, and; in thinking about it from an outsider’s point of view, why shouldn’t I want to stick to what I’m good at in the first place and become a professional in it?

I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who have followed their dreams and followed their talents, cause’ why not? We’re supposed to be better at certain things and worse at certain things. If we were one way or the other, we probably wouldn’t be human; at best, we wouldn’t be from this planet…at all.

Imagine tons of aliens walking past you everyday. The guy at the water cooler today, the one who made the burbling noises right when the cooler was doing so? Yeah, definitely a spacer.

Oh, and the guy who stole your donut off your desk this morning.

Never mind, actually, he’s just of the species Asshole.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Boris Vallejo

Dyscalculia: The Reason I Can’t Do Math

Well, I figured it out, folks.

After countless years of striving to perform well in math–that sounds weird for some reason–and busting my ass studying for tests that I end up failing the next day, despite my being an annoying optimist throughout that time, I have discovered my problem–

I have Dyslexia–shit, I mean Dyscalcium.

No!

I have Dyscalculia, which I thought was some fresh way of labeling dunces who can’t make it to Calculus without passing College Algebra. Sure described me well, eh-heh…cough.

Apparently, Calcul–some-random-crap affects a person’s ability to comprehend math equations, perhaps even the ability to recall certain formulas after the person has studied them time and time again. It also prevents them from understanding advanced concepts–they cannot get past the introduction stage.

So, say I write out the Quadratic Formula. I might be able to remember it.

But what if I write out the Hyperbola formula, fifteen times?

Still won’t be able to get it; and this is not only the Calcity-Calc disability, but a symptom of ADHD and math anxiety: not the fear that math mafia gangsters will come steal your abacus–instead, it is becoming uncontrollably nervous before a math test out of fear of, dare I say it, performance issues.

Sound like any of you people?

I had no idea of it until this day. It would have been splendid news six years ago, but, alas, the world of science is slower than molasses–I mean, how long did it take ’em to figure out what molasses was, anyway? I coulda been a better math student is all I’m saying; granted, I’m pretty much done with math for-ever, except for when I have to pay a tip and pay for gas and calculate taxes and pay my bills and…

Aaugh!

Math is EVERYWHERE! There is NOWHERE I can hide!

Somebody, shield me with a Dickens novel! No, not A Christmas Carol, it’s too small!

Is that–

Oh, thank God, I thought you were handing me–

A MATH BOOK?

Think daily,

A Southpaw