We Are Immortal

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy; why people do the things they do to ensure they are remembered. I think I’ve figured it out. Most of the things people do after a certain age are to prolong the amount of time that people talk about them after they’re gone. I know that as long as the Internet is around, I’ll still be around, even if I’m dead. Somebody will find these posts, read them, and hopefully talk about it with others, keeping my spirit alive long after I’m gone.

You hear stories about people hoarding absurd amounts of wealth that they could never spend in a hundred lifetimes, I get that it makes people mad, but these people don’t care what you think, they just want to be remembered for working hard enough that entire generations of their family can live comfortably. Sure, the way they get their money might not be the most noble, but the intent has to mean something. I think artists are the same way, except instead of leaving their children a shit-ton of money that will end up making them spoiled assholes, artists leave their impression on the world by showing others how they see it.

Think about Picasso: there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at least heard his name. He is immortal, even though he died hundreds of years ago. It would be an honor to be remembered for that long after I died, although I may be getting ahead of myself a bit.

The Birth of Inspiration

When I’m uninspired and feel the call of the words, I have a few ways I can shape the flow of thoughts. I figured I’d share a few ways, they might help you if you feel the same way.

  1. Try and change your surroundings. I’m usually most comfortable in my little yellow room with my books and my records, but every once in awhile it’s good to go outside and experience life. I like to go on walks outside late at night, around 1AM. I like it because it’s quiet and there isn’t anyone else around to bother me, so it helps me crystallize my thoughts and put them where they need to go in order for me to have a coherent message.
  2. Listen to music. I have entire playlists for when I’m feeling uninspired, they’re usually full of ambitious music that pushes boundaries, or music that reminds me of a certain moment. I don’t know what it is about music that moves me so much, but when I hear the right song at the right time, it’s like my mind kicks into high gear. If I’m angry writing, I’ll turn on some “fuck you” music, and channel that anger into words and make it actually useful, instead of just being a waste of energy that doesn’t do anybody any good.
  3. Drugs. (I’m kidding- don’t do drugs, just smoke weed.)
  4. Read. I have a small bookcase full of books, and whenever I get lost in the clouds, I pick one at random and read through it. Usually, I go all hyperfocus and end up reading the whole book in one sitting, but that’s because hyperfocus doesn’t care about the passage of time, or responsibilities, or hunger, it just wants to complete the task at hand. It’s fucking annoying if the task is something tedious, but it’s fun when it’s something you enjoy doing, like reading.
  5. Work out. Some of my best ideas come when I push my body to its limit. When it feels like my body is going to shut down, it clears up all of the bullshit on my mind, until there’s only clear thoughts and chest pain. There’s something special to me about running. I know people hate it with a passion, but it’s actually amazing. It’s one of the few things that can turn my brain off for a little bit, and I desperately need that sometimes because I’m inundated with half-baked ideas that I can’t execute. Running gets rid of all of the bad ones, until there are only thoughts I can work with. Try running, it’s good for you.

An Island Life

I had an idea awhile ago; I should try and write a book. I’ve always loved them, and I think I have a halfway decent story to tell, and I think I’m a decent enough writer to make something passable.

It’s hard though. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, which sounds like such a stupid thing to say. I need to change a few names and details to keep from getting in legal trouble, because the book is about 4 summers of my life on Frye Island, and I was kind of a little shit back then.

I’m about 4 pages in, and already I’m struggling. I’m not crazy enough to think that I’ll be able to write a 200-page book in a couple days, and even then, I’m not sure it’s going to be a story worth telling. I’m struggling to place all of the stories of my life into a palatable form that other people will read, and that won’t piss off the people involved in the story. Maybe I’ll just call it fiction and add enough wild shit that nobody will notice.

I love making things, and I want to create in different mediums, so maybe this book will be something great, maybe it will be abandoned in the pursuit of another medium, but I can’t say for sure right now. One thing’s for sure: if this pans out, you’ll all be inundated with my half-assed attempts to market it and see if people like it.

The Time Capsule

Periodically, I like to read my old posts. Partly because I love to read my writing, but partly because my posts are snapshots on time, and sometimes I like to visit them. I’ve written a whole lot of stupid shit, things that will probably embarrass me in the future, but I will never erase them. I’m embarrassed by all the drunken rants about how miserable I am, but not only is it true, it’s necessary.

Sometimes, I feel like writing is an art, and as an artist, I shouldn’t care about what anyone thinks of my art. That’s usually the case, but sometimes I get super anxious sharing intimate details about who I am, and it fucks up my creative space. If you’re an employer, or one of my friends who stumble upon this, I’m respectfully asking you to fuck off. This isn’t meant for you, I don’t write for you, so keep it moving.

I’ve got a shit memory. Maybe it’s from the executive processing issues brought on by ADHD, maybe it’s because I don’t get enough Omega-3, or maybe it’s because of all the (alleged) drug and alcohol use. In any case, my brain’s all fucked up and I’m not good at remembering things, so I write them down to create tangible memories. I’m not really a social person, so this is super out of my comfort zone, but every time I talk about personal issues, I feel a little better talking about them, so if reading about my personal life bothers you; go back to Barstool.com, and go fuck yourself.

Writing About Writing

So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due.  This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.

My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.

The Curse of the Cursor

That stupid blinking “|” is pissing me off right now. It’s almost taunting me, simulating a struggling heartbeat, threatening to die at any moment. I’m not sure where this is going, I’ve got a crazy case of writer’s block.  I don’t like being creatively blocked, so I’m going to fight through it with some potentially shitty writing. The more it blinks at me, the more it distracts me, which pisses me off even more. There’s nothing worse than having a million thoughts ricocheting around your brain, aching to get out, and not having the ability to piece them together coherently. It’s like when you open way too many apps on your computer, and it freezes. That’s where I am right now: the brief flash of thought before my brain shuts down and I turn on some brainless bullshit like “Jersey Shore” so I can relax my mind and yell at morons who probably make more than I do.

I don’t like being beaten by a fucking flashing pixel, it’s not real, but it’s causing a real reaction for some reason, which is worrisome. This should probably be one of those posts that no one ever sees, but who knows what’ll happen to it. I like to write when I’m upset and can’t process feelings clearly, so that I can see my thoughts written out, which usually makes me think about how stupid and illogical they are, then that either makes me feel worse to the point where more writing doesn’t help, or makes me feel at ease to the point where I can function again.

It’s getting late, and I have things to do tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I’m going to keep this semi-short, just long enough for me to feel like I’ve beaten that stupid flashing pixel. It’s starting to seem like there’s something more to this, do I think that I’ll eventually run out of ideas? Maybe. Do I think that what I have to say isn’t worth saying, much less reading? All the time, but I still write. Do I have trouble piecing my thoughts together in a coherent format? You bet. This feels like something else.

I’m kind of scared to publish personal shit, it feels like oversharing. I know it makes me uncomfortable to read someone pour their hearts out online, so why should I do it? I’ve done it before, but it’s always been while super drunk, and it’s a lot easier to believe in yourself when you’re barely seeing straight. I think I’ll just save this in drafts for now, and wait until I have more confidence in both my writing skills, and myself. It might take awhile.

 

Life Before Time

 

The sun hit Danny’s eyes in the worst possible spot, forcibly bringing him back to reality. He looked out the window, saw that it was light out, and began his daytime routine. He made himself breakfast, took a shower, and prepared himself for work.

Today was an important day. Danny had a great job: he was a scientist, but he was struggling to keep up. You see, without a way to measure the passage of time, science is incredibly hard. You can’t test strength, you can’t understand how diseases develop, you can’t know how long your food will be good for, it’s just a mess. Danny’s assignment at work is to create a way to find the strength of certain objects and report his findings. It’s a not a very well run science program.

After finishing his beginning-of-day jog, Danny got in his poorly-made car and began the trip to work. He made it to work incredibly quickly, because without set commute times, people just go to work whenever, and as long as they get their daily duties done, nobody cares when they get there.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he began to feel the familiar anxiety start to build, “How do I fix these problems, I’m not even that good of a scientist, I got my degree online, Hell, I Googled the answers to most of my tests, I can’t actually do anything!” he thought to himself nervously.  Immediately upon entering the building, Danny’s boss, a large, mustachio’d man named Bilson, caught Danny in his sights and homed in on him. “WHERE IS THE STRENGTH TEST RESEARCH ON THOSE STEEL BEAMS DANIEL? I NEED IT ASAP, I’VE GOT A SITE MANAGER BREATHING DOWN MY NECK BECAUSE HE CAN’T START CONSTRUCTION UNTIL WE FIND OUT IF THE FUCKING STEEL BEAMS WILL HOLD UP, SO HURRY UP!”  You could almost see the inevitable heart attack swelling up in Bilson’s chest as he yelled at Danny from across the lobby. “Great start so far.” Danny thought as he stepped into the elevator.

As Danny settled into his station and donned his lab coat, he began to wonder how in the fuck he would solve this problem. The method he had been using wasn’t working, and he was out of ideas for how to determine how strong steel beams were. After using every tool in the lab to try and bend the beams, Danny gave up. He filled notebooks full of things that wouldn’t break steel, but none of those things would be available at the job site, so really Danny was just stalling until something came to him. Nothing did.

Eventually, Bilson fell into a rage-induced slumber, and Danny seized his chance to escape from work.  As he temporarily ran away from his problems, Danny contemplated how he was going to fix this.  He pondered, pacing back and forth around his house, but each idea he had was worse than the last. “Fuck, I’m going to have to update my resume, that’s always such a pain in the dick, I don’t want to have to do that, but I can’t think about anything else right now. Maybe if I lay down and get some rest, it’ll come to me.” he thought to himself while pouring himself another glass of whiskey. Danny couldn’t sleep, even after it got dark and his body was screaming for him to get some rest. All he could think about was how awful work was going to be when he got in. Suddenly, there was a loud “DRIP”. Danny’s sink started leaking, and since he wasn’t a very good scientist, he couldn’t afford to call someone to come fix it, and had to suffer through it. DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP, steadily until it was the only thing on Danny’s mind. He tried to push the sound from his mind, but eventually it was the only thing he could think about. As he continued to be distracted by the “drip”, a thought crept into his mind. “What if I count these?” Danny’s mind sprung to life as he started counting the drops of water from his leaking sink.

The sun rose again, but this time Danny wasn’t sleeping, he was writing. He had spent the whole night counting the drips, until he used what little scientific ability he had to come up with a way to use the drips to calculate how long it would take the steel beams to break. All he had to do was break the sink at work, use the mechanized bending thing in the lab, and count the drips until the beam broke. Danny drove to work excited, he had a solution.

Danny burst into Bilson’s office not wanting to waste any time. Bilson’s office was decorated like a shrine to the God of Douche-bags, with middle-manager motivational cat posters and bonsai trees adorning every possible surface. As Danny came face-to-face with this hulking mass of testosterone and impulse control issues, he began to question his plan. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT DANIEL? SHOULDN’T YOU BE BREAKING STEEL BEAMS OR SOMETHING?” Bilson didn’t exactly believe in using “Inside Voices”. As Danny pitched his idea to his ill-tempered boss, a change came over him. He began to see the importance in what he had discovered: a way to measure life. He began telling Bilson about how they could use this as a way to keep track of things other than how long it takes to break a beam, this could be the most important discovery ever made. Bilson stared at Danny for a time, taking in the enormity of what he just said. Without showing any emotion, Bilson simply said “You’re free to go Daniel, good work today.” before emailing his boss the same idea, and cutting Danny out of it.

Bilson became the most renowned scientist ever, while Danny went back to his stressful job, always knowing in his heart that his boss screwed him in order to make himself look good.

 

 

Heaven

You hear so many things about Heaven, there are entire religions based on getting there, but what’s up there?

For me, my totally-uninformed, hopeful take on it is this: Heaven is whatever you want it to be.

For me, Heaven is a place with unlimited resources and time, somewhere I can just creatively go crazy without any restrictions or concerns. Think about it: all of the most creative people who have ever lived, all in one place. There must be billions of songs, paintings, movies, you name it.

I get really annoyed when I have a decent idea that I can’t execute, so thinking there’s a place where all of those ideas can be fleshed out and expanded makes me feel good, and I want to be able to talk to history’s best thinkers and writers and come up with better ideas to work on.

I want to be able to bounce taglines off of David Ogilvy. I want to pitch movie ideas to Stanley Kubrick. I want Picasso to teach me how to paint. I want to learn how write more coherently from Bukowski and Hemingway. I hope all of those people are just up in Heaven, sitting at a cloudtop bar sipping drinks and swapping ideas for all eternity.

I’m not going to know what Heaven’s like for a long time, ( hopefully, although life is weird, so you never know) so I’ll just have to do my best with what I’ve been given.

The Cost of Kindness

I’ve actually got a positive Dunkin’s story today. Shocker. Usually, the people I deal with are rude, inconsiderate pricks, but every once in awhile, someone kind comes in, and reaffirms my faith in humanity.

Today, I was just relaxing listening to some juicy jams when an old guy who was the spitting image of Ben Carson walks in. After making his order, he started to make some small talk, so I figured he couldn’t be that bad.

He started asking me questions like “What do you eat here?” and “How is it working here?”, as well as asking me what my goals are, and what my parents do for a living. Turns out, this guy is cool as hell, and is one of those rare types of people who make everyone feel important, which is a type of person we desperately need more of.

We talked for almost half an hour, we found out that we’re pretty simular: we’re both left handed, we both love jazz music (he even gave me some new stuff to check out), we’re both only children, and we both like tea more than coffee.

It’s weird, usually I don’t like talking to random people, and I especially don’t like talking about my personal life, but maybe I should try to do it more, I might meet more decent people, and I might not have such a bleak outlook on humanity. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

The Amazing Power of Music

I read an article recently about the psychological effects of music, and how it affects your mood, and it occured to me how important music really is.

I listen to a lot of really, really depressing music, and I think that it’s starting to affect how I think. Part of me, deep down, loves it. I love sitting in my room listening to “u” and drinking whiskey in the dark. Now, seeing that written down, it seems kind of fucked up.

Maybe if I listen to “Happy” a million times a day, or start my mornings with “The Dreamer”, eventually I won’t be so angry at the world. I’m going to try that; only listening to upbeat, positive music for a month or two, and see if it does anything for me.

I don’t know why sad people love sad music so much. On paper, it doesn’t sound like it should help, but it does. I’m sure there’s some music psychologist who can show me case studies and peer-reviewed papers, but I’m not a scientist, I don’t know if I’d understand all that technical jargon and obscure psychology terms.

“Music is the new religion.” I read that in a Pitchfork interview, and it makes me think. I’ve definitely learned more about being a decent, well-rounded person from music than I have from church. Jay-Z taught me that financial freedom is our only hope, and that a loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson. Kendrick Lamar taught me that it’s okay to be afraid, it’s okay to think you don’t deserve what you’ve been given. Mac Miller taught me that it’s okay to feel things, and it’s okay to need help. What’s Jesus taught me?