writing

Important Things To Say.

Hello, hello, hello! It’s a-me, that one guy here to tell the news:

I actually don’t have any pertinent matters on which to elaborate–sad stuff, I know, but the truth is, eh, pertinence is a matter of perspective for those experiencing pertinent events. Significance falls into that camp just as easily, and I’d say it doesn’t matter, save to those who endure significant what-sits and bingle-bogles along the life not so frivolously traveled.

The act of writing a blog post somehow implies a matter of utmost importance. Hm. I may concur, though in more instances than not, I wonder if the (a) post demands importance by virtue of its being written. Imagine that: a run-of-the-mill post foisting false honors upon itself before telling people, “HEY, LOOK AT ME! I’VE GOT FANCY COLORS AND A SPLENDIFEROUS SENSE OF ETHICAL PRUDENCE!” Not to mention, its fonts are, uh, real eye-catchers, Calibre and Arial Black getting ink injections at the local watering hole.

Let’s say this is an important post. Let’s say I’m writing this as a matter of duty to whatever principles swarm my mind for the next few days. You argue that this is an average post, and I respond: “But I said it’s important–look, there’s bolded words and–

–fragmented paragraphs.

You insist: “If it’s so important, then what is it about?”

“Importance.”

“How ridiculous. You can’t write about importance. Importance insists upon itself.”

“I beg to differ.”

I mean, have you even noticed the citations I spent hours knitting together into a neat bibliographical quilt?

“Citations? I see no citations.”

Ah, you see, that’s because they’re at the end of the post, and you’ll have to take my word for it.

Important topics, important topics…maybe I can insert a talking point one of the most trending subjects in the recent three weeks—pssh, three weeks, make it about the last six hours. Certainly an option that is guaranteed to garner massive commentary and platinum ‘viral’ status. Great idea. Now I’ll go scroll through the headlines for the next thirty minutes and steal the more apt sentences, fitting them to my stylistic liking.

First line:

“Good morning, great people, and have you considered how long a dolphin can live?”

No, no. I can do better.

“Greetings, fellow bloggers, I’m writing about ‘such-and-such,’ oh, and I hope you don’t mind my kissing ass afterward in order to get more people on my site, get those numbers up. Season’s Greetings!”

[Incidentally, the post was published in July]

A valiant effort I can be proud of before I go about networking. Gotta make sure they’re all up-to-date and chock full of modern-day references.

As for an ending–well, it has to be memorable and witty and quite concise.

So.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 124500090 © Savenkomasha | Dreamstime.com

Why Does The Sun Set On The Horizon?

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.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Cred: ID 6058275 © Marcelo Poleze | Dreamstime.com

Goodbye, Mr. Bittersweet

Hey-BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA!

Hey-BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA!

Man, y’know, alphabetically speaking, there’s not that many letters in the word, ‘hello.’ What, five? make it six, and you got a winner! seven, you’re pushing the proverbial envelope postmarked in artificial cherry-red ink to Shangri-La. Folks try so hard to dig into mysticism and ulterior/interior meaning, but, hey, it gets them to a point of purposeful inaccuracy disguised as random guesses. Nobody can blame them because they don’t exist. Even if they did exist, they’d be too busy moving from one hotspot to the next to worry about our mumbling attempts to interpret the Jesus-shaped-watermelon-seed-madness currently gaining a following in America’s most populous retirement communities. EVENEVEN if that happened, and for shits and giggles, let’s say it did: well, my friends, there we have the runt of the littered questions strangers sketch into a two-AM sky without any consideration for the time and/or place on which they intrude.

Outrageous, really, how we figure it all combines in a fortune teller triangle, each flap representing our wild, zany, ridiculous predictions–of course, they’re not entirely ridiculous because ridiculous things have some attached meaning. Fry cooks and security guards, the working mill; oh, and we are so unsure as to their roles in the situation, like the hole in the donut. Question of the century, ‘Is It A Finger-Nook Or Just Make-Believe?’ All the same, we eat them, and soon, the donut is itself a hole.

Interpretations perturb the spectacled hedge-trimmers stalking the midnight burroughs of the sane and sound, and BLAAAAAOOOOOPPPPP! goes the elephant trumpet to warn of mental breach. A donkey sits at a porch table and recounts the tale of poor Nobody Nink, Unknown Occupant of Room ###hereitgoeswegoagainupandaroundandsidetosidealongthemerrigoroundoftime

immemorial.

Flying monkeys seem absurd to us because absurdity is naturally unnatural.

In what a world we live to see some truth, in what a world.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 143664990 © Jason Lester | Dreamstime.com

Third Anniversary [Wow, Three? I Mean…] And Other Splendid Subjects

It doesn’t feel like three years; I’ll say that outright. More and more, whenever I have a birthday, I feel I haven’t been a certain age for a long enough time. That’s no nostalgic woe, just an observation as life passes at an increasingly faster pace. This feeling’s much the same with the blog, since I can look at post after post and recognize my age’s influence on my writing. Eighteen’s a hell of a drug. It’s also one number among a million others, and despite the cultural insistence on its (and others’) significance, it only defines so much in the world.

When we celebrate anniversaries, we celebrate the numbers, to an extent. They’re the cutesy toppers we shove in the double-decker cake, and we’ll say, “oh, hey, love the plastic thingamajig–real lively” before reaching over them to take a paper plate off the stack. The cake, on the other hand, is a glorious invention we cannot stop admiring, mainly because we’re hungry, but also because we acknowledge its crucial presence. There is no anniversary without a cake, the crux of the entire celebration: everything revolves around its assumption of induced delight. Plates heave under its weight, and eyes crinkle at its sight, or rather the imagined sight. Everybody has preferences, but they all agree on what constitutes a proper cake, the ingredients involved, etc. The cake unites them in celebration of its existence.

Put in perspective, three years is a short amount of time, then you look closer and see how much can happen in a single year, and it’s a surprise, to say the least. A life can change in a day, so in comparison, a year’s got a bit more leg room.

People still don’t celebrate for their sake, mainly because toppers aren’t edible, but also because they’re not cake. If we did celebrate the numbers, we’d have specific holidays for them, and aside from May the Fourth, there’s not many to choose from. We celebrate the cake, a variable anybody determines. This memory or that, a shoe, or most importantly, an essence: how we feel about the cake.

I’m exuberant about the anniversary, think it’s fantastic. Therein lies my essence. Like any imagined concept, it varies from person to person. You might share my enthusiasm, and you might not. That is your cake, and depending on its kind, you may or may not be able to eat it.

Celebrations are never identical, either, so what else is there to say? are we supposed to bring out a bouncy house and jump ’till it deflates? pinatas, the way of the future? am I asking too many questions for my own good?

At the least, we should accept a transition from one moment to the next, and the continuance of its original incarnation. In that sense, the cake pales in comparison to longevity and its authenticity. We always count the years in hopes that there’ll be more to come.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Pynchon Photographed

Starting to read some Pynchon, that’s new. I’m attempting Gravity’s Rainbow, that notoriously complex Post-Modern tome. It’d be real cool to meet the guy–Thomas Pynchon, that is, though he’s the reclusive equivalent of two Salingers.

You ever seen his picture?

It’s strangely iconic, since, for one, not many authors’ photos are iconic; I am, of course, excluding Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Faulkner from that category. Pynchon’s got a sallowly narrow face, and the photo gives it these rugged contortions (grains, black-and-white specks) that have no bearing on his sharp gaze, the kind looking across lands and oceans from an at-first-glance stagnant P.O.V.. The Academic in full, albeit noticeably coordinated, exposure. He’s the P.M God chugging along an intellectual legacy with as many bumps in its cruise control as there are abrupt dips giving rise to its lengthy leaps. A lapel’s barely visible in the frame, but it’s enough to solidify his title and open imaginative capabilities as to whether he’s rocking elbow patches or chalk dust. Harvard or Cambridge, those locales rumble through the mind and have no business there. Neither of them. More like Cornell U. Something about the picture’s content/context; it makes you want to jump to the uppermost ranking, top of the charts of those charts. Pynchon. Winner of the National Book Award. It should fit together, Ivy League and literary achievement. At least, those are the connotations I’m faced with, wonder about yours–and wouldn’t you know it, but connotations aren’t more than rigidly set opinions set forth by categorical majorities more or less agreeing on stereotypes.

I’m doing that. So are you. We’re both participating.

Should be a good book, Gravity’s Rainbow. I haven’t started, but it’s next on my list. I’ll get around to it, after I’m done examining his photo.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

December Reflections

Well, it’s been a while; I’ll say that much. Monthly intervals, really, which are understandably long times, are long times. Who knows if that just made sense or not. All I know is, I don’t have an online grammatician checking on things, but maybe, someday…

Life’s been pretty crazy for me, and I wonder if it has for all you guys. This does have worldwide reception, right, so how’re things going in China or Egypt? How’s life treating the Brazilian readers of this blog? See, now, I think about things like these, then I start to wonder: “well, why don’t you just watch the news, you nincompoop?” and okay, fair point, which I will interject with another point: “the news doesn’t tell us everything about everyone from everywhere.” It never has, and that’s the way the system works. 

Random question. What’s your guys’ interpretation of the current topical affairs? Ah, allow me to alter the topic sentence to random and vague question. It’s almost impossible to answer a question phrased as such, wouldn’t you think? I’d have to preface it with a whole bunch of other randomly placed facts and assertions–then I’d just be going off the deep end, to use a cliche. 

Let’s refresh here. 

First off, I want to say a blog is something incredible, a unique connection to the world. 

Second, I’ll reiterate the first comment. 

Third, there’s times, I think, when the world stops making sense, and these times can be frequent in occurrence; I suppose, too, this third comment is the whole premise of this post.

Stated premise: I’m sitting here in the basement of my parents’ house, currently finished with the first semester of Sophomore year at UCCS, and I’m writing this post at 8:30 PM on Tuesday. I’m nineteen years old, almost twenty, and I’ve had Thoughts Of A Southpaw for almost three years. By nature, I’m an antisocial guy who reads and writes and runs for fun [to some, a cocktail for destruction]; now by no means is this an informational profile, though it’s written as one. What I’m doing here, what my main intention is–express to the world who I am and why I write stuff so often. 

I’m A Southpaw, but I’m more than that, and that signature’s become a weird emblem to me. I like it, really do, and I’ll confess my favorite part of writing these blogs is signing them. It’s as if I’m validating them as some other personality, as A Southpaw, not as simply Will Boswell. It’s something exciting to embrace, but something which I also fear. Makes me think of The Dark Half by Stephen King for some odd reason; although, it’s not so odd when I stop and seriously think about it.

Maybe all I do is rant sometimes, and what the hell do I know about some of the things I write about? It’s cathartic a lot of the time, writing is, as I’m sure it is with many of the people reading this. It’s both incredibly relaxing and heartrendingly lonely, but that’s the definition of about anything worthwhile in our lives, I suppose. I never know what I’m trying to say, and I’m always writing like mad for an answer–and maybe that’s my problem. I look too much and rarely find anything worth telling others about, thus most of my blog posts.

It’s not like I’m lost, though it’ll sometimes feel that way, and it’s not like I’ve got a map of all the answers, either. None of us do. I’ve come to realize that. Good to know those things, keeps you on your toes.

I want to address things, but I don’t want to say too much. 

Closing remarks, then. 

We all live in fantastic times, what a moment to be alive, huh? I hope everyone’s able to see them as fantastic, but I know that’s not possible [wait,  says every teacher, but it is!]. Times, then, are determined by the perceivers, not the perceived, and that’s all there is to it. Just like the news, isn’t it?

Funny, I still don’t feel as if I’m finished.

And yet…the world spirals onward into infinity.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

I Published A Short Story!

Yes, it’s true, I’m finally a published author. It’s so exciting, and I can’t seem to hold it all in–oh, someone pinch me and tell me it’s not a dream. The story’s called “19Sixty3,” and it runs around 20 to 21 pages, in total.

Here’s the summary:

Time is a tricky variable.

It is 3057 A.D, and the Space is the New Frontier. The Milky Way bustles with traffic, advanced space shuttles traveling from planet to planet, galaxy to galaxy. Earth is home to the Brigadier Fleet, an intergalactic armada created to explore both the near and far reaches of Space. Made up of more than a thousand small ships, the Fleet sends out its members on various missions (trade, exploration, conflict, etc), and these ships are dotted across the entire galaxy, waiting for their next orders.

The Vanderbilt is one such ship. Its members, Captain Ian Douglass and John Thatcher are traveling from Earth to Saturn, practically stranded in the Outer Reaches, when they encounter Maintenance Ship 005-30E. It is flashing its hazard lights, and it appears deserted. Douglass wants to think there is nothing to it, but it becomes clearer and clearer that it was no accident the Vanderbilt came across this ship–so he moves to investigate the cause of its distress.

What he finds is more than he could have ever expected.

In a tale of tricks, twists, and shocking revelations, the unsuspecting crew of the Vanderbilt finds itself transcending time and space, face to face with an unexplainable evil, the likes of which Space has never been host to. They cannot understand it. They cannot know it. They cannot beat it. It is all that they never knew to fear, and it poses them an unanswerable question: What are the rules of time, and what classifies as proper and improper uses of them? To preserve a greater good? Or condemn a civilization to endure what has already long been forgotten?

And here’s the link, if you feel so inclined to click it:

“19Sixty3”

It’s one of my favorite stories, and I originally wrote it in 2015. So, to be honest, it’s a long time coming.

It’s going for $0.99 on Amazon Kindle, so go check it out. And I will ask that if you choose to read it, I would be extremely grateful if you leave an honest review on Amazon. This helps me understand where its strengths and weaknesses are, and it helps other people decide more easily if they’d like to read it, as well.

Thanks much.

Think daily,

A Southpaw 

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

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

 

Middle Schoolers Can Write! Seriously, People!

What’s up, my people?

Sorry, was that too out-of-the-gate?

Here, tell you what, I’ll call you folks from now on. Just folks. I promise.

All right, so, guys, I gotta tell you about this sweet class I got going at college. Yes, as you might have been able to divulge from the title, it does involve middle schoolers and stories. Good to practice those reading skills whenever you can.

Further information:

I am scheduled to teach a single sixth grade class, with a partner, for a whole hour. We’re required to construct a lesson plan, and, you know, all the other blah-de-bloo. It is to be presented on November 1st, the day after Halloween.

Lucky us…

Kids, hey, we need you to pay attention! Oh my God, I think–

No…

They’re psyched out on crap loads of candy! Run for cover! 

Well, barring any unforeseen candy psychoses, I think we’ll be all right…for a little while.

Anyways, back to the point of the post, which is sixth graders writing stories.

Personally, I’m in love with the concept, but maybe that’s just ’cause I’m a writer. I dunno.

Some of the more memorable bits of these students’ writings were:

  1. A story beginning with “It was a dark and snowy night.”
    • Golly, what a classic!
    • And they changed stormy to snowy.
  2. A story about Santa crashing through a kid’s bedroom wall, and not apologizing.
    • Christmas Genius at its best, my friends.
  3. A story about a witch going to the grocery store.
    • I mean…hey, a hag’s gotta eat.
    • Props for creativity.
  4. Not a story, but one student telling me all about how he loved playing Dungeons and Dragons with his uncle.
    • He was also quite polite and shook my hand; told me he was making his own board game with his best friend.

That is just the beginning–kidding, that’s actually the end.

Those four things are the only events that took place in the hour and a half I spent at this middle school. Other than that, I sat on the ground and stared at a wall and talked to myself about how Kraft Mac and Cheese is a disgusting choice of food.

Wait, you guys aren’t actually that gullible, right?

Right?

‘Cause I was totally lying about the Kraft Mac and Cheese.

Think daily,

A Southpaw