thoughts

An Attempt To Define Fall.

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?

Not often.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Division, The Disease Afflicting America.

The Year TWO THOUSAND-And-EIGHTEEN, An Insight:

I believe there’s a disease in America, and I believe this country’s been sick with it for the last thirty or so years. It’s not a contagious disease, mind you, nor is it an acute type. This particular disease is chronic, and most importantly, it’s confined solely to America. We’ve  tried treating it with all sorts of fantastic medicines and social revitalizations; what we’re unfortunately not realizing, I believe, quickly enough is the ineffectiveness of these so-called “cures.”

I call it, Division, Latin Name: divisiona americo, and it’s a systemic ailment. It’s not confined to New Hampshire or Texas or Ohio or California or Wyoming or Rhode Island or Kentucky. It’s nation-wide, and let me tell you, when something this critical has such a  wide-reaching net, then it’s difficult to immediately diagnose its symptoms. Doctors (not necessarily all MD) have worked tirelessly over the many decades to isolate a possible weakness, some kink in its mechanistic armor. Division has no cure. Its symptoms are wildly inconsistent, and they pop up in the least expected occasions, EX: rallies, fairs, supermarkets, restaurants, the office building at which everyone seems reasonably peaceful and similar-minded. Division is hard to detect. It is both airborne and seaborne, and its greatest (and strongest) form of transportation, Socially Spread. No expected resolution is anywhere in sight, and millions and millions of American citizens are either contracting it, or they’re in slight fear of being affected by Division.

Division spread itself over America a number of years ago, and at this current moment, it’s at one of its highest peaks in over eleven years. Citizens who contract Division are defined by the following symptoms:

  • Unaccepting of other people’s opinions.
  • Agressive diatribes against one another.
  • Rhetoric, with the sole purpose of angering other citizens.
  • Over-exaggeration of extremely rare instances of the previous three symptoms.
  • Cruel, bully-like actions used to serve self-interests.
  • Violent outbursts, otherwise defined as Mass Shootings.

As you can see, there’s several symptoms of varying intensity. Citizens rarely experience all of them, only one or two–and it will be an extremely unfortunate day when all citizens experience all symptoms, which, by statistics and common sense, is 99% impossible. That doesn’t mean Division isn’t a relevant issue; in fact, it’s tearing America apart. If any other diseases wanted to afflict American citizens, there’d be no greater time than now, and it’d take a long time to find a cure to them.

Division by itself is quite harmless; in fact, it’s only as bad as it is because American citizens continue to spread it. Talk about not washing your hands, these people aren’t following all the regulatory Health Guidelines of resting up and finding ways to lessen the effects of their ailments. It won’t be long before WHO sets up a National Quarantine and declares Division an epidemic; they may be already working towards such actions as we speak.

To those in foreign countries around the world, Division may seem a trifle compared to your much more significant issues, but here, it’s a large problem, and no one is willing to step up and find ways to combat it. If no one does something about it, it may spread and grow, becoming more than America can handle. Then what? Then what?

As long as Division continues its harsh reign, many of its symptoms will ingratiate themselves further into places of American society, possibly the rest of the world–although, the latter is unlikely.  It’s no wonder, then, that millions of American citizens currently suffer from Division and its ravaging effects. People are content in their sickness; they see no problem in it–and therein, as Hamlet might say, lies the rub.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Credit: iStock.

 

 

 

Infinite Sonic

Whoo, boy, you guys ever heard of Infinite Jest? Hell of a book; I mean, man, that thing is a masterpiece, even if all masterpieces have their fair share of flaws. Some sections are overlong, and some don’t seem to have any purpose to the overall story. But I will say this: David Foster Wallace knew what he wanted people to feel, what he wanted them to get out of the book. Thing is, there’s no one thing to be taken from Infinite Jest. Like life, it’s a series of ups and downs, good and bad. At the beginning, you think, “Looking forward to this, gonna be so much fun”–then, by around page 600, or the fifth hour of a nine hour road trip, you go, “okay, keep it moving, pal…yep, romance, uh-huh, violence, death, and depression.”

Almost at the end. Eighty pages left to go, and that’s after a period of almost three consecutive months. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a life-changing book, ’cause that’s a trite phrase, but it’s a book that you’ll remember long after you read it. I dunno about you, but when I read David Copperfield, it was an akin experience to this one. Massive book. Loads of characters. Empathy towards said characters. More learned perspective on Life, post-reading. I’m not comparing Wallace to Dickens, as that’s a hard bargain for anyone to push onto me. What I am saying is it takes a good amount of skill to convey truthfully even a small portion of reality in fiction. Writers are always saying we’re nothing but liars, and I disagree. Telling the truth of a story is the hardest part in writing it.

So, why’s Sonic in the title? Why is Sonic there? What the actual hell? It could be that I just got a job at a Sonic, or there’s the smallest chance I’m obsessed with a lightning-fast, blue hedgehog. To save time, as well as words, I’m gonna go with the latter. I’m a Sega fanboy, what can I say? I remember the times when I powered up the old 80’s Sega Genesis–and I’m totally lying, geez, gullible much? I’m a friggin’ carhop, alright? Ya got me.

In the days of yore, I might’ve been a dishwasher, but no longer; I say, NO LONGER! Times are a changin’! Isn’t that right? God help me, I think so, but how can I know? Dishes used to be my friends, but then…then they betrayed me, those dirty, filthy–ooh,  bit repetitive, Boswell, excuse me, those dirty, monkey-brained (OO-OO-AA-AA!) dishes. I won’t go into a convoluted backstory. You get the picture, or you will; I did just mail it out.

Infinite Sonic, heh, me likey.

Move over Mr. Wallace, I got my own Jest to–to jest. Damn. That could’ve been good. Don’t have enough energy to try again, so settle for it, guys. Roll dice, or something, is Rock-Paper-Scissors still a thing?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Cred: Cody Hoyt

 

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

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–

IMG_0279

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

 

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