Widdle. Crash. Bang.
Widdle. Crash. Bang.
Today, I saw a peace sign sticker on the rear window of a car with U.S Army plates. Fourth infantry division, it said; it’s funny how those who experience war are those most desirous for peace.
World’s full of cases like that, you just gotta go looking for them. We say things about things without ever truly experiencing those things, yet experience can land the things in the same piles. Thoughts travel consistent wavelengths.
I–I don’t know why the sun sets on the horizon, and I can’t tell you if it’ll rise again tomorrow. Much of what we base our knowledge on is formed of coincidence. Say the sky turned yellow tomorrow. Would we remark upon the event in educated soliloquies? Would we do much else but go about our days because, frankly, the sky is beyond our capabilities?
We believe the planet is under our control, that everything meant to occur does so only within our observation. Are we arrogant in that? Does our pride determine our power? We inhabit spaces, few of which are ours–and as for the rest–well, does a grassy field warrant immediate proprietorship?
Tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’ll see. Maybe the same thing, but probably not.
Photo Cred: ID 6058275 © Marcelo Poleze | Dreamstime.com
There’s something so strangely satisfying about Fall (or Autumn, if you’re a particularly fancy person). I can’t define it here; I don’t think anyone can really define it, too much of an immense task, in my opinion. The best I can do is throw a few sharp adjectives its way, hoping they stick–let’s see, uh: bittersweet, mildly fantastical, slightly spooky, cold, warm, loving, abrupt, careful, dangerous, joyful, magical. Ah, now we got something concrete, magical? Magic’s a complex concept, isn’t it? Well, sure, if you want to make it that way. For the sake of this post, K.I.S.S, or Keep It Simple, Sally. HA, and you thought I was gonna say stupid! Tricked you.
Fall is magical. How so? Gee, that’s a tough question, but only the hardest hitters…make the target? Yeah, smooth move, X-Lax, real intelligent, as if targets have anything to do with Fall. But maybe they do. I can’t say definitively that they don’t, so, as they say, the jury’s out on that one–and, y’know, I just talked to them, telling me they’re gonna be out for the next five hours, so, hey, that’s cool.
Now, I’m gonna stop pulling my swings (or is it throws?), and go all out. Fall is undefinable, BAM! whoah, how about that big dose of Truth, huh? but, and I want to preface this, if I may, with the concession that although Fall may be undefinable, it’s not entirely abstract. When I think of Fall, these thoughts proceed: carving Jack-O-Lanterns in the blistering cold, with a mug of Swiss Miss hot cocoa and stomping into carefully raked leaves, hearing them crinkle and crunch beneath my feet and pressing my gloves over my numbing cheeks to still the wind-inflicted pain within them and watching fog settle over an empty field, slithering around every grass stalk and tumbleweed in it and admiring a waxing, orange moon, a centerpiece in the sky’s constantly revised canvas and grasping handfuls of wrapped goodies out of plastic pumpkins and jittery animatronic hands and gathering around a food-laden table to just get a whiff of the pumpkin pie’s creamy filling, its flaky (and occasionally imitation-concrete) crust and being fulfilled and being pleased and feeling as if the weather can, like, channel your mood and sitting on a bench in some lonely place and watching leaves snap off tree branches and glide in a see-saw manner to the grass, crumpling.
It’s not perfect, Fall. It’s not even many people’s favorite season, but it’s Fall, guys, and how often do we get as much out of a season as we do this one?
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.
Photo Credit: Alex Schomberg
I woke up late today. Had gotten in at 11:00 the night before, exhausted from work; and so I slept until about 9:00.
When I woke up, the first thing I did was reach for my phone, which was lying beside my bed, and I looked at the screen to see a News update. The tagline that caught my attention was–Worst Mass Shooting in U.S History.
I studied it. Las Vegas? Monterey Bay? Why would someone want attack Las Vegas?
So, confused, I went upstairs and switched on the news; of course, the events were breaking on every local and national news channel. The information piled up, and the overall feeling I received was grim.
50 or more people killed, and at least 500 more injured. One shooter, aiming from a window on the 32nd floor.
A thought came to me: University of Texas.
That tragedy happened before I was born, but I knew enough about it to draw eerie parallels between both of these incidents.
I thought, “What if this guy’s like Charles Whitman? What if his life just went to complete shit, and all he could think to do was take out his frustrations on these hundreds of innocent lives?”
For close to thirty minutes, I watched the live coverage, listening to the reports of the concert goers, most of them barely able to talk; and when they were, it was through tears.
A report that hit me was from a woman who claimed she had had a feeling that something was going to happen at the concert.
How dark must our society have become that when we attend these large public events, one of our primary fears is, “What if there’s a shooter?” or “What if I, or someone I know, dies here tonight?”
Fear is now unfortunately an integral aspect of living life.
I mean, hell, I go to some concerts, even circuses, and I just get this ominous feeling.
However, just because we’re afraid doesn’t mean we have to let the fear win.
I think, as humans, we can overcome anything. We’ve survived God knows how many horrors this world has thrown our way–and yet…we always find a way to come out on top and persevere.
We are Americans, after all. That’s gotta count for something.
The best remedy to any tragedy, I think, is to let it out–let your emotions, your griefs, be heard, because as long as that sadness–that total obliteration of knowing what’s going to happen next–is pent up inside you, then it will never stop haunting you.
To those affected by the events in Las Vegas, the previous night might not ever stop being as real as it is to you right now, and that’s okay–so long as you yourself are okay, and are persevering amid darkness.
Stay strong, America.
I try to run as often as I can. Sometimes that may be only once or twice a week, perhaps every other week; still, though, I try my darnedest, and I suppose that’s what counts.
I went on a run today. Three miles. Average. Felt pretty good, healthy.
It’s been getting to be damn hard, though, if I’m gonna be honest. The will of wanting to run–well, it has its ups and downs; most of the time, I am forcing myself to do the deed. Makes it sound like an illegal act, or something, when, in all actuality, running helps keep me sane.
I saw a dead rabbit while running. Its fur was matted with water splashed up from passing cars; and it just lay there, eyes empty, tiny mouth agape. Looked like a ruined washcloth with shriveled paws.
This rabbit was on the side of the road, an empty, empty road. Must have been fresh, since the birds hadn’t taken their pickings yet; but I gotta say, I–I didn’t like seeing the emptiness in its eyes.
It wasn’t petrified–how could it be scared for its life when it was likely taken within a few seconds? It was…just…dead. That’s one of the scariest things to see in life, you know, something that’s had its life snipped at the seam–in an instant.
Blammo. And nothing left.
Didn’t help there were crows watching me from roofs, groups of them circling high in the sky. I remember one large crow, its head appearing as if shrouded beneath this black shawl, talons scratching at the fence post on which it roosted. It stared at me as I passed the dead rabbit. Those beady button eyes stared directly at me; and the rest of the crow made no movement at all. The thing sat hunched there, brooding; hell, maybe it was waiting to swoop across and gut its newfound meal.
I don’t know.
But I didn’t like it.
Birds were everywhere when I walked back home, a flock in one tree, three or more crows perched on roof after roof; and, looking around, all I could see were the birds with their noise and their silence.
Felt like Christmastime, all the lights out upon the houses, twinkling, buzzing; and not a footprint to be seen on snowy streets, nor a fracture of firelight from within one of the houses encroached in shadow, only the winged predators dragging their talons across roof tiles.
I would say it was reminiscent of Hitchcock, but what I can gather mentally from that experience is–
Is that it felt creepy.
What’s up, dudes? I know, sort of a late post here; but, I’m trying my best, I promise.
I got something exciting for you guys tonight–and, no, it’s not an early Halloween celebration, or the presentation of the fattest turkey you’ve ever seen. It’s…Logos For the Blog!
You heard me right. I got three sketches so far, each one drawn in a different style; and, with whatever free time I can manage, I am attempting to finish up these rough drafts.
So, without further ado, here is Blog Logo A:
Purty, ain’t she? I particularly enjoy the tufts of the thought bubble–although, they do look more like mountains. This is the first logo I sketched…after several poorly drawn prototypes, of course.
Here we have Blog Logo B:
This one is a little bit more “in-your-face,” but what I can appreciate in this logo is the stylization of the letters, which I feel contribute to the creative atmosphere I want to instill into Thoughts of A Southpaw. I also sketched this logo.
Finally, Blog Logo C:
This logo is courtesy of sister, Katie, who is fortunately more than willing to assist me in this strenuous endeavor. I love the thought cloud, for one; as well as the way the letters are merely adrift in its fluffy tufts. It is much more organized than my logos.
So, what do you guys think? Commentary–and criticism–is key to bringing the perfect logo to this blog. Leave your thoughts, your likes, and your dislikes, in the comments, or get in touch with me on Twitter or Facebook, or my newly added Tumblr account.
Looking forward to hearing your guys’s opinions.
I watched a squirrel for close to an hour the other night.
Of course, I should have been intensely studying for the math test that night, but this squirrel, it was more than a squirrel. It was…well, it’s hard to completely explain in a short number of words.
I’ll start from the beginning–
I was sitting at a table on the college campus, math book and notebook cracked open in front of me. Review mode was engaged–let’s put it that way; and as far as studying for math goes, I thought I was doing pretty well.
Now, to step away from the math–we already know I’m terrible at the concept–I want to introduce all of you to the man of the hour: the squirrel that hopped down from a tree to the right of me.
It’s not as if this was a mutant squirrel; no, it was your average, everyday, acorn-loving creature, nothing much to it. I could tell it had come out to scavenge when I first saw it–why, you ask? it was hunting beneath the various tables for scraps of wasted food.
The squirrel got lucky a few times, found two French fries, and, I think, a potato chip.
I wasn’t too interested in what it was eating, though.
Sidetrack a moment from the squirrel.
Picture: a set piece on which all these types of people are walking and acting out their lives, their personalities, within the restricted boundaries of whatever influence the public opinion has over our confidence.
One girl, two tables away from me, was chatting on a phone while studying for, possibly, the same math test. Truth be told, I didn’t check out that specific detail.
Another guy showed up during the middle of the squirrel’s charade–and take note, this guy is important in this story, ‘kay?–chomping down on a pink coated chocolate candy and pacing the ground before a bundle of spiring trees.
Dozens more people passed and went, walked and skated, talked and reflected. Classes were let out, and those students came through this set piece, only to go onto another one within an instant.
Why are they crucial? Why did I observe them so keenly?
Not a single one of these people acknowledged the squirrel’s existence.
The squirrel here is crawling over and under the intricacies of these tables, grabbing at crumbs; and, to them, it’s a ghost. The French fries disappeared, sure, but to where they went, no one would be the wiser.
I had my eyes fixed on the squirrel, and with each group that entered the set piece, I watched to see if any would take note of it. Surprisingly, as I said, it was as if the whole scene was happening underground, no lights, no sense of what or why was going on in the surroundings.
I had to laugh; of course, who wouldn’t in a situation like that.
Every time I kept thinking someone would point out the squirrel and admire its cuteness, my intuition was proven wrong. Sometimes it is–that I don’t deny; it’s pointless to assume I would have predicted any of the reactions.
Then I wondered…
Why was I so enamored with the squirrel in the first place?
The answer came to me when I saw the squirrel, fresh off its second fry, venture carefully towards the girl chatting on her phone. It would take a few bounds, stop, sniff the ground, and tread some more ground, its tail twitching with each movement.
It reached the girl…eventually–and what did the girl do but stare at it and stamp her feet.
The squirrel retreated, scared, unsure, wrecked in all of its emotional faculties. Had it been looking for food? A companion? Someone to give it a good petting? Dunno. All I know is that it ran from her.
At this point, we return to the guy eating his chocolate candy.
During the periods when I was unable to clearly observe the squirrel, my focus had been spent studying this dude. By all accounts, he looked simple enough, just enjoying his chocolate; he was the guy you’d pass on the street without a second thought–that is…until the group of girls walked by him.
A glance was all it took, and I recognized the panic in his eyes as they tracked the girls, this trio glued to their phones, disregarding the guy without a second thought.
He lowered the chocolate candy, moved to speak; although, by then, they were gone.
The guy walked a few more minutes, lost to his thoughts–
During this painful moment, another class stormed down from the hill, jabbering, hopping on their skateboards and scooters; again, not one of them noticed the squirrel that, cowering beneath a table, dropped to its paws and hightailed it to the bundle of spiring trees near the recently heartbroken guy.
And guess what?
As the guy pondered and paced, he stopped a second, looked up; and he saw the squirrel, just stood there in an awe of sorts as the squirrel clamped itself to one of the trees and crawled up the trunk.
What else could I do than be mesmerized? Another of these bystanders had seen the invisible critter; now, it was as real as anything else in that small dining square.
Why do I tell you this story? Why do I waste your time with a little human observation?
To me, that most people did not see this squirrel says something about the state of humanity–of existing.
I forgot to mention earlier, but the whole time I was studying the squirrel, none of those people took a notice of me, either. Like the squirrel, I became a ghost for a short amount of time, free to wander, to act, to do, as I wished.
Maybe it’s ’cause I was silent. Maybe it’s ’cause I simply watched.
Maybe it’s ’cause, for one reason or another, I just didn’t blend.
I put faith in this assumption because of the one other person who saw the squirrel:
The guy who had recently been rejected by the trio of girls.
The both of us were not, by any stretch of the matter, different, per say; however, what if, since the majority of this small society had not stopped to acknowledge our being there, we were then able to acknowledge the presence of the squirrel?
Perhaps existing is more than simply being seen by others. Perhaps, as long as you yourself are confident in what you stand for, in what you think, or believe; then, perhaps, existing is a matter of whether or not you want to stand tall, or sit complacently with the masses.
Perhaps, at this moment, there’s a squirrel scampering at your feet for food, and you haven’t yet noticed it.
I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent dude. I graduated high school, for one; also, I ponder the deeper questions of the universe constantly, such classics as, “How long to cook macaroni and cheese?” and “Do dogs really love us, or are they more affectionate towards the food we give them?”
I’m on the average level of smart is what I would call it. Trust me, there’s no secret Will Hunting/Steve Jobs conspiracy going on behind closed doors. What I know is what I know, eh?
You getting me, folks?
Segway into college, and here we are at UCCS, one of the many centers of knowledge dotted across this gigantic blueberry of ours. Classes are long, packed; sometimes it doesn’t seem as if they have an ending–but, they do, trust me.
Now, this isn’t a complaint about college classes. Hear me out, I genuinely love this unstoppable access to knowledge that you can only find in a college campus; however, it’s some of the people in these college classes that have me confused, even lost, as to their motivations.
I know what you’re gonna say.
Well, why don’t you focus on your own life, not theirs?
Trust me. I am top priority…not in a creepy, arrogant way, but in–ah, forget it.
There are these types of people in my classes–I should say, specific types of people–that I observe when, yes, I should instead be listening to the lecture. You have to understand, though. I got a compulsion to watch people, to figure them out, and not in a stalkerish way, either.
For example, in my Politics class, there’s one dude who talks like he just walked out of a Brain Factory. One of his choice phrases is “pragmatically speaking;” and when he said it in class, I was thinking, well, hell, I forget what that means, but o-kay.
We are training to be scholars, after all, so give a guy a cheer, right?
Then there’s the people who, when an assignment is due–or, when we had to have read something–raise their heads and stare off into the abyss I like to call, The Oh-No-I-Just-Screwed-Up-Big-Time Abyss.
Four pages of math questions? Nope.
A diorama of the Crossing of the Delaware? No–and, for that matter, who’s doing dioramas in college?
I admit, I am in the Oh-No Abyss sometimes…more frequently in the past few days, but, that’s another story for another time.
Lastly, there is the smallest minority of college classes, the ones…who say nothing at all, have no expression, and take their notes like the dutiful students they are.
And I’m pulling your leg, in truth, because we’re all like that, at least I think so.
I have been known to sit and stare and note take–I mean, take notes; of course, all of what I just wrote when I am not drifting off into the treacherous bowels of my own mind and humming, to myself, the songs I heard on the radio that morning.
What’s a few Katy Perry ditties gonna hurt, huh?
The rest of the class is humming Katy Perry–I just know it; and if they say no, then they are all dirty liars.
And, oh, look at that, I created two new types of people in college classes–
Mind-Hogs and Pop Star Wannabes.
Ya do whatcha gotta do, man, ya do whatcha gotta do…