Posts Tagged ‘Slump’

Salutations, superb supercilious simians!

How’s it hanging? Short shriveled and always to the left?

(I know, I know — a monkey throwback joke AND a “Liar, Liar” reference — 2 jokes in the first 10 words..! There, there *hugs you into my bountiful bosom* I know. It’s going to be all right. I know. Welcome home…)

I had been reading a wonderfully thorough, thoughtful, and honest account of a scientists changed perspective, surrounding whats happening to the brain while on psychedelic drugs, over on Reddit recently… hang on, lemme find the link… — HERE — and it really got me to thinking about all the unique compositions that our brains must take, enabling us to perform certain complex tasks. That line of thinking led me down yet another rabbit hole, circumscribing a series of questions surrounding one central idea, I.E.: what exotic and unique combinations of neuronal activity have we, as a species, yet to stumble upon… and what might these altered states allow us to do. Think of functional autism… Know how some days you’re the man? While others may find you boulder shouldered with a clipped tongue? What if you had a choice? The ability to shift gears, as it were — at will.

What else may you gain control over..?

Taking all this to its logical end, (and if you’re following my insanity at all up to this point, you deserve a gold star), I began my daily writing… and worked my way backwards from there…. I sure hope you enjoy.

~J

“The Day her life began”

Time retreated back to the unknown depths from whence it came.

The very fabric of the universe was undone.

God had been slain…

“BLAM”

"..."

“…”

The barrel rolled. The tension released. The hammer flew. Somewhere nearby, a universe sprang into existence which would support a host of tinkerers, gunsmiths, and engineers of myriad persuasions.

Slowly, with holy reverence, she lifted the pistol which now lay by her side, and greeted the frigid barrel with rattly, unsure teeth. Her tongue, acting of its own accord, probed the metallic stranger before reeling back frightened — arched as a hissing cat back in the furthermost recesses of the uncannily parched cavity. Tentatively she squeezed at the trigger, observing, with silent admiration, the hammers smooth and precising draw: a simple, momentary, accidental homage to the beauty of design.

No, this she couldn’t handle. This was the domain of wiser people, not her: some drug-addict waste of a life. She knew what had to be done…

There was no other choice. She’d never even wanted a child, (even when it easily could’ve changed her life with any one of over a dozen men…), the responsibility, she knew, would simply be more than her fragile psyche could support. The very thought of it paralyzed her — let alone pondering the mothering of full fresh galaxies, worlds, and people… Even now new forms of life, from the accidental warblings of her imaginative mind, sprang up all around her as her thoughts raced — neatly bifurcating into both matter and antimatter before disappearing into the thin ether all around, phasing down into their proper dimensions; the only stable places where they could grow, evolve, and prosper. Somehow, intrinsically, she knew all this.

……. I AM GOD!

It had all begun innocuously enough. Another night fleeing in desperate fear from her potential — she had come to terms with this cold reality some time ago, a brief silver lining to her staunch and stubborn nature, which otherwise had only served to deliver her precisely where was — chasing the bottom of an aged oak stock, paired with much smoke, and, the real culprit she’d now realized, the psychedelic mushrooms… Without that particular happenstance catalyst, she peevishly postulated, the seed of that thought would never have taken root in her. Sulking now, she wished she’d attributed, like all the others, that feeling of, “oneness with everything” to lend undeniable credence toward the thought of an all-encompassing God. But, no. Evidently her troublesome mind, and its own meddling realization here, was destined to grasp a truth so potentially devastating in its scope, that it threatened to destroy everything and everyone

Realizations, echoed on hollowed, tinny voices from ever-changing corners of her skull, began relaying a rapid fire series of truths directly into her psychological matrix. “The mind cannot exist in a state that the machinery itself cannot manifest, or support.”, They began. “Thus, every human experience hinges on all the exotic, common, and influenced ways that the brains neurons fire. It follows than, that reality starts between your ears, and extends to a world made up of nearly nothing. So why, if the potential exists, could not ones own thoughts manifest into the physical?”

So now, drawing on her studies of satellite imagery and maps of late, Melissa exploded upward on a rocket, quickly traversing the rotted roof over the abandoned squat, effortlessly accepting the house, block, town, and, before long, the entirety of New York state into her very being, just as soon as these things came into view. States seamlessly became Countries. Countries rapidly swelled to Continents. Continents yielded to the oceans, and jutted up once more upon the opposing shores. Before long, the entirety of the planet itself was in her game. She lived in it for a time, patiently breathing and letting her soul expand to fill the void. Finally now, as the full soul of the planet, she conceived a beam of energy, originating from the earths molten core, flowing outward as an explosive band — outward in every direction, out into the furthest regions of space… pulsating… feeling… expanding far beyond distances her human mind could ever hope to grasp… until, of its own accord, the feeling eased to a stop, draining her mind completely. Then, after an indeterminate amount of time had passed, one whispering thought, peeking its head into the whitewashed room of her mind and then passing the threshold with its head held high, tiptoed graciously, comfortably, across her state of zen: “If the theory she’d designed, in lieu of the divine line of reasoning, were true, and she could think her way into the proper mindset while sober, the true configuration of the universal fabric would become her reality”. Surely there would be answers there to glean.

Breathing solely through her nostrils, attention focused only on her breath, Melissa attempted to embrace the air flowing across her exposed flesh. She languished over the sensation, imposed only at first, that her skin had begun to radiate at its edge — blending with the world around her in the strange, love imbued way she could still vaguely recall from the night only just passed. Suddenly, somehow, she felt she’d accepted the surprisingly plush, tattered and stained red terry-cloth carpet as part of her expanding aura. She accepted its blemishes, they became endearing. She accepted its limitations, and became its friend. Imagining that each and every fiber, each and every strand, had now become an extension of her own body, made it so. Then, moving on, she perceived the tangible breeze licking heavily over her corporeal form, and the wind too became part of her energy, its trajectory acknowledged and absorbed by her creeping, steadfast awareness. It danced through limber, forest-like woolen passages below, darting to and fro, and tickling freshly raw and delicate nerves by the million. Before long, she found she was both aware of every distinct object in the room, and also, without a glimmer of doubt, certain that they were also an intractable part of herself.

She sat down, neatly crossed her legs, upturned her palms, and began to make her best attempt at meditation.

Melissa’s eyes cracked open, panic-stricken in her post sleep drug induced hypnagogic haze, deeply frightened, and ailed by amnesia as to where she was. Quickly scanning the dilapidated room, she soon identified the three lifeless bodies slung over the random bug infested, water-rot, furniture they’d together dragged into the squat from the curb the night before — fellow junkies, people she was calling, “friends” these days. Her heart went back to base from snare, and, as the vice subsided, the memory of the night before flooded back in full. Immediately she knew, the feeling had remained after all. Today was surely the day she’d have the strength to face the one thing that frightened her most — her own mind. Finally she could begin fresh. At last she’d stare down her demons, one-by-one, determine their vulnerabilities, and strike without mercy. This time, without fail, she would move on. This time she could get to the core of it all, her own subconscious, and finally address the fear. Whatever it was, fortified in the back of her mind, it couldn’t hurt her anymore. No, not today. Today, she would live — really live! — believing in her own potential to be great, and ability to achieve whatever she truly desired from life. By the time she got up, her life would truly begin…

This post will likely not make ANY sense.

Heck, it might not even be any good. 

My head is in a cloud.  Really, it’s cat brain, (more on that later), and though plenty topics presently flit through my mind as my deadline approacheth… (Not altogether dissimilar to a hapless flock of butterflies who’ve been sucked into a whirling vacuum, and a really big vacuum too, one which I’m also standing in but yet for some reason I’m not susceptible to the vortex — not like the poor butterflies, who look quite frightened, and rather dizzy… Anyway, I stand with my back against a wall, holding on to a giant strip of fly-paper, and trying direly to catch just one — just one idea-a-fly butterfly to pin-up for the blog — and I do even nab one on occasion, but over-and-over as their dainty little butterfly feet land briefly on the sticky-paper which I hold, the wind then violently tears at their wings and rips them away back into the chaos of the maelstrom, leaving me with the feet, or seed of an idea, but no actual butterfly… The poor things…) …I still can’t seem to choose a topic, and so, I got nothing.

(See, even my analogies are off! Screw it I’m changing the title!)

And now, a butterfly Egg. Why? Because I want to. Because I feel guilty for tearing off their feet. Because they're cool, the eggs. Because sometimes things don't have to make sense. Because... You know what? Don't worry about "the because's" -- I got this!

Think, you stupid brain, Think!” seems to be my only thought — but that won’t get me anywhere and I know it…

God, my head is throbbing… Stupid cats… but I shall write! Why? Because I have to! Because I made a promise to constantly enbetter myself and my skill as a writer by writing every week, despite the foreknowledge that not every week could possibly be my, “all-time-best-post!”. Because I, like so many bloggers before me, concede to the irrefutable fact that I will not always have the best idea, nor will I always stumble across the best inspiration in the world, for… inspiration (nor will I always have the largest variety of words at my disposal, evidently).

So here I am, stuck with only butterfly feet, and thus — this post will not make sense. It’s not meant to. This post is going to be pure bliss. All my wholly undeveloped ideas of the day, soft-boiled, runny, and served up luke-warm on the screen for all of you. You’re welcome?

I’m pretty sure that every blogger gets this way from time to time. All dressed up and no place to go. I generally post on Fridays, and (because that is today) this random agglomeration of tchotchkes and knicknacks will still serve y’all some buffalo wings today, just the same as the restaurant with the same namesake, like it does every week, whether or not it’s on the rag. And so, this post shall be a Non-Post-Post — and my humble homage to the oft’ unheard plight of the blogger — as, try as I might, (and like I said before) I still got nothing!

Though now that I think about it, I wonder if somehow this might be my topic… Perhaps this dervish of half-baked ideas, as a step-rung on the “tall-ass ladder leading toward success”, needs to be highlighted, because otherwise I’m pretty sure it’s completely neglected. Nobody likes to show weakness… Which might be a weird thing to cast in the spotlight, but it’s oddly fitting for me today… So, because of all this, here’s my story (and I’m sticking to it), of all the crackpot ideas I had thrown up on the drawing board, and how they almost came to be — but still just didn’t quite make it in the end.

Here instead is a shot of the drawing board itself, and the story of its inception.

Gee, now I don’t know where to start — Damn cats!

OK, I got it now.

Woh, fine, I default to you, Nelly.

The Grasshopper and the Ant.

This morning I left my house early — far earlier than I’d liked, and long before I’d had a chance to drain my beloved pot of home-brewed coffee. Tomorrow, actually, I’ll be doing the same thing.  Why you ask?  Well, you see… I’m broke.  And not even all the kings horses and men might mend me again unless I get a job.

It’s been a crazy couple months…

In the acting world one must always prepare for the winter, as things basically shut down from early December, pretty much straight on through to the end of February, and so, much like in the story of the grasshopper and the ant, which was one of the posts I was thinking about doing today, I had prepared — like a good little ant always should. I had set aside my three months rent, I was ready to weather the storm and do nothing but sip cocoa and do book edits until march, and I had done all the requisite work in prepping blog topics to be able to claim my Antdom all around — but yet today, as I walked from the subway toward the office which I was destined to interview at for this catering gig, I realized that it wouldn’t work. It would all merely be a lie. It had to be scrapped.

It’s my fault really. I joined my sister Union, “Aftra” late last year, at great expense to me, with the looming promise of making some serious money on a specific show — and I did so even though instinctually it had felt like a bad idea. Well — surprise! — the job fell through (as they often tend to do in this precarious line of work)! No others then presented themselves, and, basically, I wound up paying through the tooth for something that couldn’t possibly now benefit me until, theoretically, the start of March. Hurray! Though, as you might have heard, SAG (of which I am already a member), and Aftra, are now set to merge — after over 30 years of flirting with the idea — meaning that this money sink is now all for naught, as I would have been brought into the new hybrid union de-facto… and likely for free.

I knew I should have gone with my instincts.

Meh, what can you do?

You can’t write about being an Ant — that’s for sure!

I adore animals — I hate them

Dur...

So after leaving my interview, (and scrapping the Grasshopper and Ant Idea), I realized that I was in a neighborhood not to far away from that of a good friend, and so I contacted her, thinking that some good talk and some good coffee might brighten my spirits. Though I had forgotten all about her two cats…

Enter Le’ Darling de duo GATO!

My friend is an awesome person, and she truly did lift my spirits just like I thought she would. We had a lovely, long conversation at her place, about life, liberty, and the pursuit of more money, as we sipped on NY’s finest “Mud” Java, and I, as I adore animals, stroked her cat lovingly, subsequently playing “I Bop You On The Head With This Pen”. That is, all up until I had to get up because I had to sneeze about a bazillion times — which was just as odd as it sounds, but it hadn’t struck me as such at the time (I just figured it worked like an annual internal doctor, and I was just due for a visit from one of those)… So I came back inside, after my breezy retreat to the bathroom, to discover that my friend had taken to a business call — which was all well and good, and, as I had some work to attend to as well, I even joined into the distraction. We then both became busy, for about an hour or so, doing work stuff.

Throughout this time I kept taking breaks to pet and play with her kitties, and I soon began to fantasize about a blog which I might write when I got home having to do with the idea of pure animal love. I do, after all, love all animals, and I could easily chat about how we all could use a dose of their unwavering affections — Ah-Choo! Surely this would make a swell topic of interest — sniffle, sniffle — as I could go on for ages about how amazing they are — Ah-Choo! — and how much fun — Honnnkkk! (Me, blowing my nose) — and this could easialy be the topic of my interests for this friday — Ah-Choo!

Why in the hell do I keep sneezing!?

Turns out I’d caught an allergic reaction, and though I’m not always allergic, today I was suddenly HIGHLY ALLERGIC — so much so to the point that I am currently jotting this blog amidst a visible cloud around my head, and with four squares of toilet paper shoved up into each of my nostrils (that subsequently shoot out across the room like those old school water rockets every time I sneeze — which is often, and not nearly as much fun as the toy).  And so, “I adore Animals” was scrapped…

For if I had written it, it would have been renamed, “I despise all things with fur!”…

Which just wouldn’t be factual… (Speaking of which, I need to shave…)

(I told you, this weeks blog should/might not make sense — you really need to listen;-))

Have A Crappy Day

And so I went home — miserable. I thought about how I was finding it hard to talk through all the intermittent sniffles, and briefly considered a topic on, “The Inefficiency of Language” — But how could I blame this on English? Head throbbing as it was (And still is, Say Thank-Ya), I constantly was reminded of how crappy I’d felt, and realized that without bad days, good ones would a lot less exemplary, and thus I toyed with the idea of, “Have a Crappy day, it’s good for you”, but I really wasn’t having that crappy of a day if I were being honest… It was actually quite random, and filled with events — rather good all around — I would’ve had to have forced it…  I thought about, “I hate my body”, and how I could speak about the various design flaws of the human body (such as the precarious positioning of testicles…), but that just felt complicated and bitter, two things that would have been horrible to write on feeling as I was…

And then I came across this idea…

Why not just talk about this? The process? I mean it wasn’t quite so much an idea, as it was the lack there-of, but, for one reason or another, I fell for it. It seemed crazy, random, and honest — which basically typifies me — and that’s how I knew it was perfect.

As bloggers, or as anybody creative, there is always this pressure to create. We feel exalted when we get to express the refined product resulting from an awesome idea being married to some genuine inspiration, but the process itself, of trying daily — despite the ever-present fear of failure — is oft ignored.

So here you go, my good people.

Here is my process.

I like to think of it like this: What if it’s true, and there are only a finite number of good ideas out there in the world? Well if that’s true, then I invite you all to write a post about nothing, as inevitably you must come across it anyhow as one of the limiting number within your own private cache. Today I looked at it like the “Blank tile” in a game of Scrabble — it’s there for you to use when you’re in a jam, and this week I surely was. But even though in the beginning I thought that it might not make sense, I now beleive that, in the end, it did.

It inspired me for at least a half-dozen more topics to come, and it kept me working through this cat-haze of non-thoughts and butterfly feet.

It also taught me a lesson I’d once known all too well, but forgot long ago;

despite whether or not we are always truly inspired, we should work anyway.

As even by deploying the practice, regardless of the quality, we will, nonetheless, improve.

~J

It’s opening night…

No peeking! It's bad luck 😉

You wait in the wings for the curtain to draw so that you may make your cross and begin the affair. Everything is as it should be. The grips have even tweaked that stage-right couch the meager 15-degrees you’d asked, so now your incredulous look in the third act will read to the audience all the better. You have worked at this for months, throughout all the tweaks, the critiques, the adjustments, the inevitable self loathing and the evenings of crying yourself to sleep — and now all that’s been left in the past for this one true and shining moment.

Here it comes.

You step out, you begin the show — and you’re flat. The show flops. What was the problem?

You didn’t enter the scene full.

In Acting, it’s called “Emotional Preparation”. See, in order to enter the scene full and give a solid performance, the last thing in the world you’d want to be thinking about while standing in the wings on opening night, is all the work that had gotten you to where you are. That type of thinking should be reserved for after the final curtain, at the end of the run — but never before the first!

For entertainers, entering your scene full is essential; it implies that you’re in touch with who your portraying, and, more specifically, where they had been before they’d entered the stage. After all, your character hadn’t just been born out in the wings, swabbed clean and shoved out in front of the audience — they’ve had a whole life leading up to this moment — and, as an actor, you should probably be portraying a starkly different characterization for someone who’d just come from a funeral, as opposed to someone who’d just cashed in a winning lotto ticket — ya dig?

Warriors -- come out to play...

Similarly in the real world, entering your scene full is just as important of a skill, though all too often overlooked.

It’s true. All the way from applying for a job at good ole’ Mickey Dees, right on up to giving a proposal pitch to a room full of top-tier executives — if you enter the situation full and mentally prepared, than you’re far more likely to succeed. Oftentimes with life though, and particularly in these recent more modern times of ubiquitous (and somewhat attention thieving) social media, we can find ourselves so overwhelmed with all the little details that brought us to an idea, that the execution — something of equal, and, if not, than of greater importance —  is drowned out. We forget who we even are. We forget what brought us there. We forget to be full.

We get so caught up preparing the plan, that we neglect to prepare the execution.

You can have the best idea in the world, but present it poorly and no one will notice.

Ask any reputable actor, a good show takes far more than just careful preparation — it takes a masterful execution — and a HUGE part of that execution is birthed of your mind in the wings, and right before you “Enter” the show. You have to know everything you’ve been working on so well, that you can just cast it aside and forget. That’s right, forget everything that had culminated and manifest into the opportunity that you presently see before you, and find a way to just live fully; within your reality, and within the context of the moment. You have to forget your ego, you know, who you think you should be — yea, leave that at the door. You must find a way to just be; realistically, honestly, and within the moment (wherever it takes you).

Know that you’ve prepared, and let it bring you confidence — now toss it away.

Know who it is that you are, and let it bring you pride — now toss it away.

Now, take comfort, as all you have to do is be true and live — so relax.

This totally makes me want a Corona...

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that this is easy…

But it’s worth it.

It’s a philosophy that will make you proud of everything that you do, and will also ensure that you’ve done all you can to make it great. Sure this is a concept born of the acting world, but it’s also one which applies to all other aspects of work and life. You might be a File Clerk making a recommendation for a new folder, you might be an acrobat trying out a new trick, you might be a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bike, heck, you even might be a politician debating whether or not to stamp that new bill, enter your scene full — execute with everything you are, and with everything that’s brought you to this point — and all parties involved leave content.

Live life on purpose: Be full!

And be happy. Being FULL can mean a lot of things, but what it is at it’s heart is knowing yourself, trusting yourself, and being yourself — FULLY — which is precisely what entering your scene full is all about. For it is far better to have lived with purpose and found yourself to be flawed — than it is to have lived without and never know either way… Without the earnest effort involved in the attempt of entering full, you have no real chance at being anything — right, wrong, deranged, enlightened or indifferent.

You simply cease to exist…

Which is the worst fate of all.

~J

Good creative people, I am not a Chef, {Part Duex}

I’ve never been to cooking school, I do not own an over-sized floppy white hat, and I positively refute the idea that every ingredient must be uttered with the inflection of its native tongue (motz-eh-relehha cheese being my one exception… I am Italian after all). That being said, I do know a thing or two about being poor. Gourmand status notwithstanding, this state of mind has led to more penny counting, and improvised meals than I’d care to admit.

However, I’ve always believed that blogs are not the socially acceptable places for modesty. If some of my tactics for keeping my head above water can help out a few of you, far be it for me to hold out the goods. So today, good creative types, I’d like to open up my kitchen to you all, and share a few tips about how your own kitchen just might be able to help you weather the poverty storm (regardless of how long this confounded recession lasts).

You know it’s funny

Not really funny, funny — as in the knee slapping, milk and nose squirting, or that friend with the mildly annoying piggly laugh sort of way — but more so in the ironic sense of the term, “funny”, that I’ve never before reused a title, nor an opening paragraph (or in this case, 2), but for this series I decided that I would, because… well… because it’s a series — which needed some sort of common thread — and yet, here we are a full year later and it all still makes perfect sense!

Sadly right on down to that bit about the recession…

But with a little luck we can hope to be removing that unpleasantness by sometime next year…

(Right?)

Now, before we get started

Because this is, after all, a series (and the first one I’m involved with where I’m the STAR! Just wait till I tell Mom — she’ll be so proud!!), you might find it helpful to first read the original post before we move on, as it sets the tone and lays the framework which I hope to build upon here, (and, from the looks of it, henceforth around every January 20th) and you might find it helpful.

And now,

without further ado,

I’d like to give to you all today,

the gift of the almighty SALAD!

Do not be afraid of this Isle. This Isle is your friend.

(Well that was a crappy reception…)

(To say the least.)

(Alright, I’ll give you one more shot — I want to hear you CHEER!)

SALAD!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Nope, not going to work a second time either…)

😀

Look, I get it — Grumplepuss — you’re not a rabbit. Lettuce just isn’t your thing, and, well, I can dig that. I really can. But that’s not all I’m aiming to fix here. After all, this is a post for the poor. And the first thing that you’ll want to do if you’re in a rut — either mentally or monetarily — is elevate your mood. And nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, can accomplish this task as effectively nor as deliciously as a few raw plants from good ole’ mother nature.

This is about Vitamins. This is about Minerals. This is about overall wellbeing. For there might come a day where a window out of your rut will open up to you, but if you’re not mentally sharp or physically fit on that day you’ll miss your chance to escape the poverty prison altogether. And once you’re caught,  the Warden’s not gonna give you another spoon to dig with…

So I say, grab life by the cajhones, live on the edge, be Manly — and have a salad.

Your brain, your mood, and your shrinking pant size will all thank you.

Besides, and more to the point of the post — salads are cheap!

All this was bought for less than 12$, and fed me for a week!

Take a look at this picture, what do you see?

If only a bunch of “Yucky” green veggies, you’re missing the point.

Want to know what I see? I see reduced doctors visits. I see greater mental clarity. I see more energy. I see deliciousness (Just wait, it’s all about the dressing!). I see less frequent colds, and shorter durations when you catch them. I see health, wellbeing, and longevity — and also a FAR diminished chance of catching any major disease, such as, oh, gee, I don’t know…  cancer!

Plus less face it, if you’re poor, you can’t afford to be without any of the things listed above anyway…

So let’s get going!

What you’ll need:

~~~~ VEGGIES ~~~~

– Feel free to buy whatever you feel like, whatever’s calling out your name (Get Creative!), but what I have in the picture above I can vouch for, as it made the salad in the pictures below, and they are; (clockwise from 6′ Oclock) *Green Squash, *Jalapenos, *Spanish Onion, *Garlic, *Red Onion, *Red Leaf Lettuce, *Mushrooms, *Salad Tomatoes, *Limes and *Kirby Cucumbers. (*Note at least 2 Limes, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tomato are essential*)

~~~~ A KNIFE ~~~~

– No, not that piddly little butter-knife from your Draw. That’s not a knife… I mean a KNIFE — And a long, sharp one at that. The longer the better, as it will help you slice and dice that green-gang (not to be mistaken with gangrene) hastily into submission.

~~~~ TWO CONTAINERS ~~~~

– A-One for the money, A-Two for the show, A-Three to get ready, NOW GO… Er, um — no, that’s not right… One BIG BOWL, for the fixin’s, and one lil’ Bowl’ieta for the dressing. Which you’re going to make yourself. (don’t fret — I got you 😉 )

~~~~ ONE CUTTING BOARD ~~~~

– Not really much to say about this one. Pretty self-explanatory that. I do happen to prefer the plastic flexible type, but really ANY will suffice, heck I don’t care if you cut on your counter, but I better not get any calls about me getting sued cause you’re some slob who caught salmonella, off my recommendation and some maggot infested unsuitable surface! You know what, scratch that — sue me. I’m poor, so there’s not really much to take, and I figure a courthouse might proffer a nice change of scenery.

😉

And, well — that’s it, that’s what I’m looking for!

Now then, here we go!

Clean and chop

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the more beautiful aspects of serving a salad is that you really can’t mess it up. There’s no timing involved, there’s no cooking, barely any seasoning — really, all you’re responsible for is cleaning up and slicing down your raw and healthy goodness into submission. At first this process might take you a good twenty minutes, but never fear, after around four or five rounds of making them (or if you grab a hubby, wife or a child to help share in the fun chore), the meal can easily be concocted in 5 minutes flat.

I don’t mean to brag, but my best time’s around a, 4.23 — I know, I’m kinda a big deal…

Now, the first thing you’re going to want to do is strip off about five leaves of lettuce from your bunch. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE WASH THEM, (along with everything else), as oftentimes produce isn’t kept in the most sanitary of conditions before you kidnap them and take them home (It puts the dressing on its skin!). Once washed, stack atop each other, and cut into ribbons, as depicted below. There are other methods to cutting leaves, but i find that this style really holds on to the dressing well and helps your fork to easily latch on — while still fitting inside your mouth with ease and not making it feel as if your stuffing a live squid with flailing tentacles into your mouth.

I know you know what I’m talking about 😉

$15 bucks for a little biddy thing that I wind up wearing on my face!

No thank you!

About 1/4 inch strips

Drop this in the big bowl

Now comes the rest of your veg!

Today I’d used skinned mature Carrots (as opposed to baby – duh!),

What's up doc?

Mushrooms,

Dont worry about him, he's a fun-guy

Green Squash,

Judo CHOP!

 Red Onion,

No joke on this one, just a warning... Red onions have a kick! I like this. You however, might not.

And Cucumber.

Please resist the temptation to wear these on your eyes. Save that for another bloggers post...

Please take note of the way I curl my fingers AWAY from where the blade will be. In this way I cannot possibly cut myself, and can still use my fingers to “Squeeze” the veggies in place — leading to safety, level and even cutting, and the ability for me to still count to ten.

All glory to the Hypnotoad Dressing!

(Wow, wayyyy too much java this morning… but what can I say — It’s my favorite part!)

Store bought dressings might claim to be home-style, but they might as well call themselves homely — as there’s nothing comforting or attractive about the ingredient list on most of em’.

DITCH EM’

Instead, make your own!

Traditionally homemade vinaigrettes are a citrus (acid), some oil, some mustard, a pinch of salt and sugar, and a whisk — but how blase. The way I look at it, if we’re clever, we can infuse the remaining ingredients with a powerful punch, and add to the flavor of our entire meal at once. Plus its super easy!!!

Step 1: Halve, and then dice your tomato,

Dig in first with the tip of your blade, as the skin can be slick and hard to cut

Then drop it in the lil’ Bowl’ieta

Also at this point add a bit of salt, as it will help to draw out the oil in the tomato, I.E: the flavor

Next, do the same to your garlic and your Jalapeno

(DE-SEED IT, or REGRET IT!)

Jose' Jalapeno, sans stick

And now, time to prevent Scurvy!

The Lime

The best way to juice a lime is not what you might think. I picked up this little gem from Cooks Illustrated a few years back, and it’s DOUBLED the juice I’ve gotten from these delightful little fruits ever since.

First, cut into a square…

(I’m serious — look for yourself!)

That's one... now the other 3...

Keep going…

There ya go, Sparky!

Next, squeeze all 8 walls (yes, 8 — that’s four sides, times two limes, Archimedes…) into the Bowl’ieta atop the veg already in there, and then slice the bulk of lime into two halves, right down the middle, and squeeze that bad-boy in there as well.

(They put the lime in the coke-you-nut…)

Don't worry about squeezing too hard, Limes are known sadists -- they enjoy the pain.

Finally add to this about a teaspoon of sugar, a healthy pinch of salt, a teaspoon of mustard (optional), and about 1/4 cup of oil — though all of this is to taste! Lately I have used no mustard at all because it’s just plain ole’ kick ass on its own.

Then,

after mixing with a fork,

as counterintuitive as this might sound,

nuke it for 30 seconds.

🙂

This will help all the flavors and the oils intermingle, and will truly create a unique dressing full of health and wellbeing.

(~~~~ Sidenote ~~~~)

* For Carnivores *

As of this point everything we’ve done is vegan, though I am, much as you are, decidedly NOT a rabbit — so here’s a tip. Fry up some Bacon — that’s right, I said fry up some mother F-ing Bacon — and when it’s deliciously crispy, crumble it into oblivion. Take 1/2 and add it to the Bowl’ieta before nuking, and suddenly your dressing is infused with magical baconey goodness!!! The other half can be crumbled atop your culinary masterpiece, and coupled with blue cheese — if that’s your type of schinding (I know it’s mine). I also like to fry pasta crispy and add it in, or even chicken or egg salad as well. It’s all about keeping EVERYONE HAPPY, and 4 OZ of bacon across two people never hurt no one — I’m Juss Sayin’!

OK, once All that’s done

~~~~~~~~~~~~

You’re done.

Now, this is important. Before you eat: Go find another family member, or walk down the block to find a neighbor, or drive over to a buddy’s place, or fly out of state to visit a dear old friend — and ask for a pat on the back.

Have them then whisper softly into your ear, “Good Job” — and then get back home cause it’s time to eat!

If all’s gone according to plan, things should look something like this!

Kapow! And then THIS!!!

Then, that’s it — you’re done.

Poor or not, you are now in possession of something that anyone would desire: just about every vitamin in the alphabet, essential oils, handmade (pride inducing) dressing, and a meal that could (and should!), easily serve two of ya.

All sliding in at a plate cost of around $.75 per person!!!

Now, never again do I want to hear you, or anyone in your Fan-Damily, claim that, “they don’t eat anything green”, or, “salads are yucky”, or, “I don’t eat rabbit food”!

Wait. Scratch that. More for you.

Screw it, let them eat cake

~J

Hey there, my intuitive and thoughtful folk — Welcome back!

What are you thinking about, Readers?

Thinking about thinking?

I hope so.

Oh… Don’t you worry, I know precisely what you thought as you read the title,

“What in Cotton-Pickin, Tar-Nation is Jared thinkin‘ bout writing on today?”~ You, just a moment ago

(And, by the way — what was that Reader? A Yosemite Sam reference? Anyone else ever notice that he’s kind of… A little racist? Tar nation… Cotton picking…?)

But I digress…

Now, if you’ve been following along thus far with my whole, “Great Reset” project, you might already know what today’s blog is all about. So far, of my original list, I’ve covered; Energy, balance, conservation, the environment, and sustainability. Most of these were covered in the last post, when I gave all of NYC a modern makeover (did you see the final reveal? Wasn’t Lady Liberty simply STUNNING!? OMG I know!), but I also touched on the ideas here, and here as well. And today, in case you haven’t figured out as such yet from all the annoying underlining I did up top, I would like to talk about Education. And, more specifically, the way that our current system cultures us to think.

So, to be honest about my own thoughts today, der Yosemite,

“I keep trying to think, but nothin’ happens” ~ Me, my whole life

My Mentor

Got a headache yet?

That’s what I thought 😉

For many of you; I’m sure you’re wondering what is wrong with the current education system at all? Understandable. After all, it taught all of us — and we’re here reading this — So… Where’s the beef? Right? Well, for us to really understand what’s going on in the education system today, and why it needs to be reworked for the “Great Reset”,  we need to first understand why it works the way it does in the first place.

Time to set the Way-Back machine to the mid 19th century!

But -- why the 19th century Mr. Peabody?

Elementary, my dear Sherman — Because that is when and where our system of education was conceived.

You see, Sherman; before the 19th century, most people were educated through life itself. There were no standard schools for everyone to attend. Sure the Jesuits had been schooling people long before this time — but the financial requirements necessary to buy your way in to these schools left most exempt from wonderful world of knowledge at large.

At the time… This was not seen as a problem

School was not for everybody. It was for the Elite. The Scholarly. Those with Potential. And, to be any of that, either you were born into money (and could afford the Jesuits way), or you were lucky enough to know someone who owned the classic novels, and would let you read them — that is if you could read at all. Knowledge of the classics — The Iliad, The Bard, and the like — were, in the opinion of the time, an indicator of a person with scholarly potential. It was believed that as an individual, you were either born with the capacity to be intelligent, or — simply — not…

Intelligence, and our view of it, has changed radically over the years — However — this view of potential has not. And to me, that’s quite sad.

Me too kitty.... Me too

On to, “The Industrial Revolution”

When you hear the term, “Industrial Revolution”, What do you think of? Assembly lines? Batches of boxed and manufactured goods? Lots of rust dust, face filth, and poor hygiene? If so, than good — because you now have an image in your brain of where our education systems roots are grounded.

Think about it, we manufacture “Batches” of kids — shipping them through Grade School with the only grouping restriction being their age — on standardized, “Assembly lines” of required classes. We grade them all on the same standard — the, “Industry standard” of either right, or wrong. There is only one way to be — one right answer — and any child that winds up with a differing conclusion is promptly labeled “defective”, fails, and is left behind to take the Ole’ whirly-bird for another spin…

Do we really want our kids to think that the most important aspect about them is their Born-on-date? Is there really only one right answer to problems? Sure, maybe in math, but overall?

No.

No!

A hundred times, NO!

There are MANY ways to look at any given situation, and many potential outcomes for each, to be sure. This is called “Divergent Thinking “; finding many ways to answer a single question — Ahem, creativity.

What we teach today however, is not divergent, but rather “Convergent thought”; where all the facts converge to the only answer that exists. This is how the revolution of industry, and the inception of interchangeable parts, had us thinking, and this is the way we built the education system….

Those concepts, along with the dangerous notion that standardized testing would sift out the “Scholars”, from the “Dunces”, has been the honing stone which would prove to “sharpen”, the minds of the millions educated under its auspices.

Today though, I’d like to ask you all, avid readers — is this a good idea?

If the goal of education is to aid in people learning — to not only teach them, but to help them figure out things on their own when they’re finished — than, being that we know well about individuality, how can we honestly expect the same system to benefit everyone under it equally?

Is every person the same? Do we all have identical propensities toward learning? The same interests? The same Hobbies? The same passions? Is everybody alike?

Certainly NOT!

Haven’t we have all known children who’ve shown interest and potential in things and subjects far beyond their grade level? For one reason or another, these things make these people — these future adults who will one day run our society — happy. These things are their passions. And, as you know, here on this blog, we’re all about people finding their passions and becoming the person that they’ve always wanted to be! This path of interest and passion leads, not only to lifelong satisfaction — but also a lifelong journey.

If you’re always interested, you’re always learning. If you’re always learning, you’re never bored. If you’re never bored, you’re content! And content people, (even though they have to work hard), actively advance the fields they’re involved with — and when you do that, you push the very evolution of mankind (for all those unfamiliar with this concept, please catch up on this series 🙂   )!

Think about how amazing the world is today — and also, how distracting…

When our kids are caught distracted from their lessons, lessons that we’ve already established might not be “Right” for them, they are chastised, lectured, belittled, their parents are called, and — all too often — medication is prescribed. We’re forcing our kids to sit through school, through things that they find boring (and rightfully so), WITH DRUGS. Is this what we want? If we had a choice, is this how we would set it up again after, “The Great Reset”?

Looking at it now — I highly doubt it.

Did you know that most children, some 98%, are at the GENIUS level when measured for divergent thinking? But here’s the thing; as we re-test these kids after years of “schooling”, we find that this ability atrophied, and eventually dies. We need to rework the system to reflect the goal of education — to not only educate, but to teach someone to learn on their own. Give a man a fish and all that…

We teach logic, which is all well and good — but its only half the picture.

We should instead teach creativity.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”
~Albert Einstein

How do we do that? How do we teach Imagination? Well, mostly, with subjects we’ve been ignoring.

The Arts — teach a person about what it’s like to live as someone else — an unrivaled thought experiment, and extreme reflection of the self.

Philosophy — more in that same vein, and even deeper, Philosophy helps us understand the current matrix that is our personal understanding of the world. Once we know our limits, we have the ability to supersede them. However, you can’t jump over an invisible hurdle…

Less standardized, more personalized — I remember a science teacher of mine running into class once, simply overjoyed at some breakthrough in his field he’d heard of over lunch, but he couldn’t tell us what it was, because it wasn’t part of his lesson. Here we had a person willing to share their genuine passion with us, something that as a child could have imbued us all with a real sense of wonder, and yet — he couldn’t share because of “Standards”… What a world… This needs to change!

Stop, Stop, Stop with the assembly line — I say, toss it all. Let teachers teach what they want. Let them talk to each other, shuffle students between classes to look for the right fit. And be able to freely and actively try to make the kids happy, and interested.

I understand that this will all be very difficult, and that it will make the job of educators infinitely harder — but this isn’t necessarily bad. It will draw in those who are best suited for the job, rather than pension seekers and lazy care-nothings. People would not join the field unless they positively loved it, especially when we’d expect them to spend their summers (if we can even afford summers off, with all there is to know about the world these days…), re-work their entire years lessons, to properly reflect our changing world….

Starting to get the picture?

Children are not the only ones effected here

How many people do you know that hate their jobs?

Plenty, I’d bet.

How many others would be grateful to have that “hated” job, but hate the one they’re in themselves?

This is a serious problem. People aren’t happy. They’re going through this antiquated system blindly, like they’ve been told to. They’re getting their degrees, their leaving college (with HEFTY debt), and they’re miserable… So what do they do?

Nothing…

They don’t know anything else to do. They’ve forgotten how to think divergent, so they’re trapped, in a very real sense of the word. Problem is, their subconscious still wants them to be great! It still nags them, insisting that there’s something left to do, something left unattended — and that can drive a person mad, depressed, and — mostly — just very, very confused. So they distract themselves to drown out this voice…

They wind up pouring themselves into things like TV sitcoms, Reality TV, Movies, Sports, Innocuous trivia (Say Thank’ Ya), and a million other distractions — but they are not living up to their potential. They’re not doing what they love. They’re not — not truly — happy. Maybe in fleeting moments of drunken debauchery, or drug addled hazes, but I believe that a lot, maybe even most, feel lost and confused with the question, “Who am I”?

This leads me to my conclusion;

As we engineer our own future, we must recognize that mankind’s greatest gift is his creativity — creativity is passion, creativity is invention, and thus, creativity is evolution.

Everybody wants to matter, to be important, and they all can. Each and everyone on the planet has a piece of the puzzle to the great mystery of life, and by not culturing this — by telling them that they simply can’t because of genetics, socioeconomic status, or place of birth — we are shooting ourselves in the foot!

Always remember, don’t just aim to better yourself — that’s selfish. Attempt to better all those around you. Because, in truth, we are all as one living organism — Earth. And when the world is viewed through that lens, by giving a leg up to a stranger, your also helping yourself — not to mention all of mankind.

Martian Luther King Jr. Once had a dream that mankind would at one point see each other not by skin-color, but by the virtue of an individual. We may be growing colorblind these days, but we are not yet culture blind — and that needs to change!

~J

P.S. A lot of ideas in today’s blog were inspired by Sir. Ken Robinsons TED talk, of which i’ve mentioned plenty of times in the past. You can check out my favorite version of his talk here!

Oh, the Power of prayer,

That’s right, take it from me; probably the least religious person you’ll ever meet.

~But I pray~

Some men of Science take an adamant stance against something like organized religion, and everything surrounding it. And naturally so; being that they’re the philosophical nemesis to the world of belief at large. They feel the pressures of religious restrictions on a daily basis. But in their great haste to push aside all that is religion, is it possible that they might be missing out on something good?

There is great merit in what i know of the Bible’s teachings, and it doesn’t take a devout to benefit from some of its lessons, and it’s habits. Namely: prayer. Trust me, your brain will thank you.

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you might know that I’m obsessed with the brain.

It fascinates me to look at the daily operating of my body as resulting in part from the fantastic mix of cocktail drugs that my brain has cooked up in order for me to get through the day. That pint-sized thing between our ears is simply amazing, and it’s true modus operandi is likely to elude our prodding of its secrets for years to come.

However some of its behaviors are already known…

One important thing that you might want to learn about your brain, and anyone more versed on the subject should feel free to add in a comment here 🙂 , is that when you are building a skill, i.e. walking on your hands, hustling in cards, doing math, playing a video game — really when you are doing anything that you can learn, and get better at — a new “Neural Pathway” is being built within your mind.

Imagine it like a paving a road through a sprawling jello landscape. This “road” is really just a system of beefed up nerves running through the brain, but they are important in that all the areas all around it will also benefit from the newly improved infrastructure. So all around the nerves that carry the very thing that you are actively learning, while you’re “Doing it”, new connections are being forged, and your capability to deal with the task at hand simply get’s better and better.

I ran into an old buddy, Charles on set this week and he kept talking about this book, “Conversations with God” he’d recently read (I’d never heard of it). It is… Well basically what it sounds like: Conversations with God. I would imagine some throwaway protagonist meets the Almighty in his fortress of solitude hovering above the house of the Jersey Shore, and he proceeds to spill out the elegantly simplistic truths of Existence.

Turns out, at least according to Charles (who is not to be confused with Scott Baio),

every one of your waking thoughts is somehow tied into this giant karmic energy, which he referred to as “The Universe”. From what i could tell, the Universe is God, and the God is the Universe. I say pick one 🙂 . Anyway what it implies is that if you have something now, anything, it’s only a result of your own past thoughts and actions which led you to it, and if you want something new, well then you have to think about it; thus putting your energy towards it. Thought and energy put toward something will lead to the manifestation of an opportunity, the universe, he says, wants to see you do well and is always ready to proffer one. When this opportunity is matched with action on your part, it can lead you to realize your dreams.

However, he mentions, thought projection is a double-edged sword. You can just as easily project a negative opportunity through unguarded negative thoughts. Basically don’t think something’s possible if you don’t want it to be. When projecting future events only project things you want to happen, as the projection is the way things will inevitably play out. Again I’m not sold on the religion behind this, and it’s always prudent to think about things thoroughly; so I’m at odds with some of its basic philosophy, but some of its ways, much like prayer, are sound.

To teach yourself something new, to do it well, and to become in essence smarter — you need only to do it. Doing something not only entails physically moving, it also entails thinking, namely projecting for future events. That’s common sense (Catch the ball. Where will it land?). Thinking, therefore, is one half (at least) of the critical process of doing, and an important step toward talent, progress with the skill, and eventually: skill mastery. Things i believe everyone can value, Science and Religious worlds alike. And remember, all this personal betterment starts with the new neural pathways within the mind, and benefits not only its own region of the brain but all the others around it.

Through both prayer, and the power of intention, things begin to happen. literally. Like vines climbing a wall these new and powerful pathways crawl through your mind, making it more efficient, more active, and happier…

Groovy 🙂

Amazing game btw! Earthworm Jim.

A normal prayer, from what i can remember… can be rather formal.

I’d always start mine with a good ole casual, “Dear God”;

As if God were the writer behind a “Dear John” column in the Daily post. 

“Dear God”, I’d say, “Awesome job on the universe, and mankind, and existence and all. It’s freaking amazing. I sure hope that mankind wasn’t too much of a hassle for you today. Hopefully not to many people were killed, and less bad things went down than normal. We can really be a bother i bet. Hopefully you had some time to kick your feet up too!”

“Anyway, i won’t take up too much of your time cause I’m sure that you have to help people in Japan right now and all… Did you know that the initial title-wave traveled at 500 MPH ? Do you know how quick I would poop my pants if I saw that coming at me on a beach somewhere? That’s awesome! Woh, sorry big dude, I kinda ran off on a tangent there, anyway to get to the point, thank you for my Mom, Dad, Step-Dad, My mom’s brothers, Uncle Barry, Uncle Jeff, Uncle Dave, and their kids (when i had the energy, I’d list everybody one by one. My whole family! Everyone I know!)… I really hope that i land a nice commercial Principal so that I can have more free time to create and experience life… Maybe it would be nice if I went and visited grandma. I hope that I can be strong enough to properly edit this novel of mine, and one day green-light its inevitable movie!… Etc… ”

Regardless of how you pray, the process still follows a format;  “Always be thankful, Love, Wish well, Spread good will, Imagine Hopes and dreams,” and personally “Never ask for anything materialistic”. If focusing our thoughts on these things systematically creates new pathways, which in turn becomes the basis of possible things we might “Do”, than just by thinking about them we make them more likely to happen.

In my prayer I thought about my grandma. If this is something that a pray about often, it’s likely that I’ve forged a neural pathway about the subject. A Pocket of clipped facts now lies in one of my brains folds: “I Love my Grandmother. She lives alone. I should visit. I should bring flowers and the makings of dinner. I need to be nicer to her. All older people in general actually…”. Come tomorrow, with my Friday still not booked, and being faced with the legendary “Day off”, I might not order that pizza and kick my feet up, I might go visit granny. Because I thought about it, it became more likely to happen. Now that i think about it, Duh…

But how revolutionary…

If we remove the stigma associated with prayer, (as if we do not believe in something how might it do us harm?) it can obviously be quite beneficial.

It can center you.     Focus you.     Organize you.     Prepare you.     Enlighten you.

Just a new thought on an old habit

Perhaps a moment of “Prayer” might not be the worst thing for our kids in school after all. I only must advocate that they know what is happening. Call it Prayer, call it thought time, or call it honing the cerebrum, whatever you please, just make sure that they are told the truth, and levelly. Let them decide. Prayer, or active thoughts as I’m coining it, will eventually make them smarter, and hone them all to better equipped to deal with this ever-changing world. And in this time of immense pace and ubiquitous attention thieves, what better idea is there than to stop — and simply think for a moment?

~J

Hey there creative peeps.

What’s the happy-happs? (<-Donald Faison from Scrubs… Turk… Turkelton? No? no-one? Scrubs was a good show dangit! Ugh! Just TiVo it.) I Hope this post finds everyone well, in good health – and preferably not looking like the frozen Popsicle stick I myself had resembled after a recent grueling walk through our latest New England snowstorm. If you’ve not gone out there yet, you’re lucky. Stay inside and be creative, trust me on this one – it’s hostile out there – Burr!Anywho… I figured, being that this is our special 17th anniversary post  and all – yes I remembered, and I bought you a star in the sky for a gift (It’s the bright one, like practically at your zenith, look it up) – that I should break format a little bit today, and slide you a special slice of life, directly from my own kitchen, right on across the table to where you’re sitting. Be warned, it’s lemon-meringue; bitter at first, but ends on a sweet note – just wait for it.

Good creative people, as this blog evolves – as all good things must do if they plan to stay on top of their respective game – I will undoubtedly run out of inspiring quotes, fancy pictures, and timely videos. That inspirational side of me is not easily exhausted, but, well… what can I say? It happens. It’s simply the nature of the beast. You can only give, so long as you have something of value in your possession. As much as it sucks: Life, and the subsequent living of it (at least as it pertains to the exposure of things which might inspire), unfortunately comes with a price tag.

Some days, like today, I will find myself simply defunct of the very empowering foodstuffs that I normally have in ample reserve. Some days the words I attempt to regale all you with, so that you may nurture your own creative ideas, and ideals – in hopes that we all might grow as a community – simply called out sick to work (and it was totally a fake cough when they phoned). Some days, I get down. Some days I run out of luck. Good creative people, today was that day…

Today started out just like any other. I had done the MLK post the day before in honor of the holiday (and a great man of the past), so I didn’t have to worry about churning out a blog. I had a promising interview lined up, to be in a forthcoming film (which legally I can’t name), that would seriously help my hemorrhaging bank account, biding me enough time to perfect the edits on my premier novel, submit it to publishers, and start a wondrous fresh new journey in another creative aspect of my life.

So it was that I walked to Kaufman Astoria studios with high hopes this morning, wearing a suit too thin for the weather (and showing up looking like that Popsicle I mentioned earlier), to stand in a room alongside a good hundred or so of similarly looking individuals, only to be told at the end of the day… that I didn’t get the job. Great.

But wait, it get’s better.

After walking home through equally abhorrent conditions (where the cheap $2.50 umbrella that I had purchased – not but three hours prior – turned inside out on me and blew away to become one of the elusive NYC tumbleweeds), having come from not getting the job that would be my financial saving grace, I arrive at my warm apartment in solemn hopes of saving the day by spending the rest of the afternoon draining a pot of coffee, working on the 2nd Novel in my series, and intermittently (when I get burnt out), taking breaks to polish my query, ladder pitch, and synopses – 3pg and 5pg alike… So I sit down to my trusty computer, with a sentence or two held at bay, raise the lid, thinking up a new promising plotline, wiggle the mouse, and consider ordering some food to keep me, and I’m greeted to… Nothing. A blank screen.

Huh??

I close the lid again, wait for it to fall asleep, raise it once more (aren’t I an expert troubleshooter?), and, once again… nothing. A quick check on my cellphone’s internet informs me that I have a bad inverter; something like a $200 fix at a repair shop. I can’t afford that. Seems like misfortune’s catching these days (did I mention that the day before my heat just stopped working? It came back today inexplicably. Cant wait for that one to come back around and bite me in the…). A little more snooping around the ole’ interwebs, and i discover that the part I need can be had for only $8 dollars, so long as I do the delicate labor myself. Oh and I might destroy my LCD if I’m not careful. Wonderful. The part wont arrive for 3-5 business days (wish me luck), so now I cant even work for that long. Glorious!

All I wanted to do was curl up into a little ball and die. I can’t afford the installation of an inverter at a shop, much less a new laptop if I botch the job while doing it myself. Speaking of jobs – I need one – lest I go completely broke and end up running this blog out of a Starbucks. I want to start submitting my book to publishers, which might eventually bring in some revenue, but I have some important edits that need to be done first (I have to make the best impression possible), and currently the thing is out to pasture, in the delicate hands of friends and family ranchers, who will, after tending to the beast, tell me all about how it behaves, so that I might flog it into shape accordingly. At this point I knew, despite my overactive brain’s fearsome denial of the fact, that my most prudent course of action; was to wait.I have to wait the 3-5 days for the part before I can continue working on my writing. I have to wait for my friends and family to complete a sci/fi book that I wrote (no pressure or anything…), before I finish editing, and submit it to a publisher. I have to wait to hear back from another job I went out for, to see if i got the part, so I might be able to pay my rent. I have to wait and see when my heat will crap out again. I have to wait, I have to wait, I have to wait…. It’s enough to drive a guy mad!

As if this all weren’t enough to be concerned over, my brilliant mind thought that now might be a good time to flood my every waking thought with the promise of failure. The dastardly creeping fears of uncertainty worked their way into my brain like a sly vampire hell-bent on sucking me dry (we spoke about this once, didn’t we?), and before long had me convinced that: my life had been a waste, I had been traveling down the wrong road all along, and that, most likely, I would have had a more promising career in life had I merely chosen to be the guy who scrapes barnacles from the sides of boats. I still knew where I wanted to end up in life, and was/am working hard to get to that foregone conclusion, but it’s all this stuff in the middle that’s getting me down! How can I ever hope to get where I’m going with so many obstacles in the way?

This is why I love family

It was at this point that my phone rang. It was my Uncle Steven. He’d started reading the book. He likes it so far. He tells me that my style reminds him of Douglas Adams; the author of the wonderful Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy trilogy (hello boost to ego, nice to make your acquaintance), which are great reads – all 5 of them (yes there are five books in his trilogy). He want’s to know how I’m doing. “Well”, I tell him, knowing full well that I’m about to hit him with an airliner full of baggage, “I’m broke, I lost a 5 day job to an interview – which I didn’t land – my heat’s out, my computers messed up, I ruined my dress shoes by walking in the snow, and, as I was trying to resolve some plot points in my new novel, I hit a complete brick wall – I know where it ends, but i have no idea how I can get there.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line.

All i could think was: Oh god, I’ve killed him with my contagious depression. Then, rather than feeding me the customary, “Don’t worry, it’ll be alright’s”, or, “the night is always darkest before the dawn’s” (neither of which would have been the least bit of help to me), he simply says, “Write the end of your story”.

“I read a lot of fiction,” he says, “and if I like an author I read about them too. Oftentimes I hear that authors know where they’re headed with a plot, and they certainly know where they currently are, but have no idea how to fill the gaps in the middle to get them to where they need to be. So, my advice to you, is to write the end of your story, and the rest will find its own way to happen.”

Then it struck me. My uncle was right. I had to write the end of my story.

It was so simple, so obvious: write the end, and fill in the gaps later. Duh. Just make sure that you know where you’re headed, and eventually you’ll find your way there. Wow… I had been weak. I hadn’t been thinking clearly. I had obviously let my emotions get the best of me, and now i knew them for what they were: emotions, nothing more.

There will be work. Whether I have to get a waitering job, or scrape barnacles: I will find a way to pay rent. The computer will be fine (right now I have it hooked up to a tv so that I can continue to create), and if it’s not, I’ll work at a library. The heat will warm the house, or it wont, there’s always throw blankets and bathrobes. All these minute issues had added up to become the sum of all their implicit nuances combined: I.E. a fearsome thing. But, in the end, they meant next to nothing, and it would be a severe waste of time to dote on them. Even though they were (and are) legitimate fears, which have to be handled, I couldn’t let them dominate my attention. I had to find a way to get past them, if ever I wanted to get back on track toward achieving my goals.

Good creative types, I think that sometimes – when life get’s particularly overwhelming, when we feel helpless, when we feel lost, like I did today – that it’s all to easy to keel over and give up. To throw in the towel. To raise the white flag. Problem is, the only person that’s suffers from this loss in the end… Is you. This is why it’s so important to always bear in mind the end’s to our own stories. For how can we ever expect to get where we’re going, if we don’t know where we’re headed?

We can’t

Today good creative people, might be a rough day. Things might not have turned out quite as you’d expected. Maybe it’s your power that’s out, perhaps your dog had a mishap on the new white carpet, or, possibly, your daughter came home with a tattoo. Today it just might feel like the world is plotting against you. Like what you’re creating doesn’t matter – or never did – and neither do you. Today, you might be convinced that you’d never had an ice cubes chance in hell to succeed in the first place…

Well today – creative types across the globe – I’m here to tell you all: you do have a chance, you do matter, and what you’re working on is worthwhile.

Heck, giving up is easy. Lots of people can do that. But working through issues, hardships, and misfortune: these are things that only a select few will have the fortitude to be able to overcome. These obstacles are, and will always be, the tests that creative people need to pass if they ever expect to achieve in life.

Be the achiever. Succeed. Find a way.

As for me; I’m still working despite it all, I’m still waiting for that inverter to come in the mail, and I’m still holding my breath till I hear some feedback from my friends and loved ones about my novel – but I’m not quitting. That would just be too easy.

If anyone has a good story about a way in which they triumphed over the hardships of life to succeed, that would be a nice thing to share with the class 🙂

As always be observant, never judgemental, stay creative, and never give up good people. I promise you I wont. See you at the top 🙂

~J