Week 75: Rest

I took a break this weekend. After I finished my writing on Saturday, I decided I would do nothing but relax and have fun. So I went into the city and I saw my friends. I did nothing but play video games on Sunday.

And you know what? I feel good. Really good. For the first time in a long time, I’m not having a terrible Monday. I’m actually looking forward to the week and the work I’m going to get to do. For all we like to get ourselves worked into a cyclone of crazy due to work, we all should take the time to zone out, shoot some virtual aliens, and get drunk with friends.

That’s what I learned this weekend, and that’s the plan from now on. Work during the week, rest on the weekends. Pretty sure that’s how it was intended to go anyway.

Week 74 Complete

I thought I’d do a little something different for this week’s story. My friends and I had a discussion about a new Misrule movie. If you’re not sure what an old Misrule movie is, don’t worry, you’re just missing out on some of the greatest films ever produced. So I figured, why not write down an opening scene? After all, I’ve been so busy with Crystal Keep, I didn’t have much time to create a new short this week. So, without ado, here it is.

****

Nestled among the peaks of New Jersey’s Great Mountain range – called New Jersey’s Great Mountain range – is a monastery of a small group called The Order. The Order, for as long as it has existed, has protected. They are an elite, selective group, who protect the world from an ancient, unspeakable evil. So ancient and unspeakable actually, that they’ve forgotten what it is. But since they’re too embarrassed to say anything, they just go on protecting. Within the walls, the acolytes and brothers sit amongst the small, silent rooms, pouring over tome after tome after tome, hoping they’ll find some clue as to their mission. One brother does not participate in this activity. He sits before the Grand Alter, hunched over and swaying ever so slightly. Before him is hung a single bell, and every few seconds he taps it with a finger, giving a small chime that echoes through the otherwise quiet halls.

No one’s quite sure why the Master does this thing. He just kind of does it, and everyone leaves him alone.

But today, he will not be left alone. Because a discovery has been made, and it will change the face of _everything._

The young acolyte Kowalski walks the long hall to his Master’s position, a thick tome folded within his arms, as if he’s afraid someone will take it from him. Afraid to speak to the Master, he stands behind him, hoping the old man will turn around. “What is it, young Kowalski?” The old man asks, and he turns ever so slightly, so that beneath his hood, Kowalski sees tired eyes, a bald head, and a great gray beard.

“Master, a book has been discovered. We believed it would be best if you read it.”

“Where?” The Master coughs, a hollow sound, and Kowalski swears he can hear his bones rattle.

“In a vault, beneath that spot they found the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

“So, in the Dead Sea then?”

“Well, yeah. Sort of. It’s more like a vault beneath the Dead Sea. I think.”

“You think, or do you know?”

“I just think.”

The old man sighs. “Oh Kowalski. You’re always making mistakes.” Kowalski looks down, ashamed. The Master raises a frail hand. “Give me this book.” Kowalski hands it to him, and the old man opens it and begins to flip through. “These words, I’ve seen them before.”

“You understand this ancient tongue?” Kowalski asks.

The Master shakes his head. “It’s written in English, Kowalski. Christ, you’re dumb.”

“What does it say?”

“It speaks of a Prophecy. And this sentence here,” he points. “Chaos is the only thing that can kill chaos. I wonder…” He turns one more page and gasps. He slams the book shut, but before he does, Kowalski swears he can see a single drawing of some abomination, and beneath it, written in bold, is a word he does not understand. “PINOCTOPUS,” and beneath that, another three words, “Cardboard Clown Powers.”

“Wh-?” He starts, but before he can finish, the Master leaps up and pulls off his hood.

“Brothers,” he shouts, “Everything you know is a lie!” And he reaches up and yanks off the beard, which was really just an old costume piece, and the bald cap he’d had on for a while. Before Kowalski’s eyes, the old Master is now a young man, and he sprints down the steps and out of the monastery.

He runs to find his true Brothers, the Misrulers, the only ones who can save the world.

Behind him, the monastery explodes for some reason.

Week 74: Nerves

Nerves eat me alive. They jump up and down on my chest when I wake up in the morning, and they sit on my shoulder and spit in my ear during the day. I’ve got an important meeting coming up today, and though I’m posting this later – after the meeting has finished – I’m writing this now to help me deal.

But you know, I was nervous when I sat down to write this morning. I knew that this was just another day, just another 1000 words. No big deal. But I’ve only just adopted that notion, and so when I decided to spin the story away into a trajectory I never planned, it caused me a bit of anxiety. It’s always scary, doing something new.

I don’t want this to turn into one of those, push your boundaries and make yourself uncomfortable to get over fear, posts. Though it seems that’s exactly what’s going to happen. My meeting is in 3 1/2 hours, and I know that when I’m done, no matter the outcome, I’ll feel so much better.

It’s the same with doing new things with your writing. It’s scary to start something new, and it’s scary to veer off your already planned course. Once you do it, though, I imagine you’ll feel better. Besides, this is all part of the process, and the process is long and grueling. It’s not supposed to be any different, though. So I’m going to go to this meeting, and I’ll be fine. And I’ll keep writing this section and see where it takes me, and I’ll still be fine.

Right on.

Week 74: Caring

Writing in the morning is the smartest thing I’ve ever done. It’s right up there with studying abroad, and that time I blockaded all the islands in Settlers Of Catan: Seafarers. Sam never knew what hit him. I guess I just figured I would drop into my familiar traps. I would put off starting the new routine until next week, because for some reason I like to start things on Mondays.

But that’s dumb. Why wait? It wasn’t gaining me anything. So I got up this morning, went for a run, and sat down to write. I hit 1000 by the time I needed to be at work. Being able to hit my daily quota before I have to put my tie on feels great. I’m not done, of course. There’s always more to write.

Yesterday I included some bits of Crystal Keep, the new longform project I’ve been working on. I don’t think I’ll be doing the same today, as I don’t want to turn this into some kind of serialized thing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about it.

As I worked on a section today, a particular bit where the MC is reintroduced to his old high school crush, I came to a problem. I found myself a bit bored with the section, and I wondered if I was portraying this character – her name is Mary – in a weird way. Now, boredom is easy enough to deal with. You either rewrite the scene, or have the characters move on to something else. But, as everyone who’s been writing for the last few decades knows, there’s a lot of criticism about writing females out there. Generally, I don’t have this kind of problem, because the solution tends to be easy. Don’t write them like stereotypes, and write them like you would anybody else (eg. men). I guess my issue arose from the fact that some parts of her personality are off-putting, and I wondered if I was doing something wrong, or just leaving her open for developement.

I turned her over in my mind, and realized I wasn’t doing anything particuarly wrong. I didn’t think she was a stereotype, she was just someone anxious to prove herself, and was willing to do what she needed to do to get it. And no, this doesn’t involve sleeping with anyone.

A general rule I keep is to not let what I imagine other people will say bother me. This has been something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I have recurring visions of people shouting me down, with mouths filled with pointed teeth. It’s not a fun scenario to imagine. However, there’s a point where you have to let go of percieved complaints. This is, after all, your project. You can do whatever you want with it.

Besides, writing is supposed to be fun. And I’ll be damned if I let myself get all worked up over something insignificant. Maybe I’ll write her better tomorrow, maybe not. But what is cool is that because I’m sticking to this routine, I don’t have to drive myself nuts every single day. I can take my time, take risks, do my thing. One day’s worth of work isn’t so important anymore.

Now all I have to do is figure out what I’m going to post up here on Sunday.

Week 74: Crystal Keep

I decided, over the weekend, I would start a new routine this week. Early wakeup and writing, writing at lunch, exercise after work, yada yada yada. I started the week right by getting sick on Monday, dropping completely off the schedule on Tuesday, and getting up 45 minutes later than I wanted today. So yeah, not the best start. But I suppose this all comes around to the whole, “If you have to wait for the perfect conditions to work, you’ll never put a word on the page.” E.B. White said that, or something like that.

I still wrote before I got to work, and I wrote at lunch, exercised when I got home, and worked afterwards too. It’s good, if not the way I wanted it to go.

Lessons are things I have to learn over and over again, and it can be very frustrating to slap my forehead and realize I’ve already been down this road before. Discipline has always been something I’ve lacked, as I’ve either bit off more than I could chew and got burned out, or chose to do the minimum required amount and felt terrible about it. Such is the Ying and Yang within me.

As anyone could notice, working on stories has somewhat fallen by the wayside. If I continue this way, I won’t be done with this blog until September, which feels like a lifetime away. It’s frustrating, being so eager to jump onto new projects, while still needing to finish these. I’m still not sure what’s going to happen to this blog once it’s done. Whether I’ll toss it aside, or keep the name (because let’s be honest, it’s a damn good website name) and change it to some sort of platform – ugh – blog kind of thing. Probably the latter.

So maybe, rather than let this thing trail off, I should put up some parts of the stuff I’m actually working on here. Rather than just the same kind of quick one-shots I’ve been doing lately. Here’s some of the project I’m labeling Crystal Keep:

Gary Wiegar regretted many things in his life. He regretted never leaving Blooming Fields. He regretted working for Oakley. He regretted that he wasn’t closer with his mother – the Alzheimer’s was sapping away whatever connection they had. He regretted he couldn’t find a girl to save his life.

Mostly, he regretted having stepped into the forest on this January night. Every step through the packed snow, a complete crunch he’d been so fond of as a child, now sounded like the brittle breaking of bones.

He walked as fast as he dared, the ancient silence of the trees as off putting as the eyes he imagined watched him from the dark. The box in his hands, the cardboard bruised around the edges, felt like an awkward dance partner. He’d taken a girl dancing once. Sally, her name was. Sally Something. Took him two weeks to ask her out. She worked in the supermarket two towns over. He brought her to this nice place he’d heard about, bought dinner, everything. But when it came time to dance, he stepped on her toes one too many times. Then she kept smiling at the waiter, and that was the end of that.

“Almost there,” he said. “Almost there.” It was a mantra to stave off the helplessness, and break the quiet.

There should’ve been some noise; some kind of wildlife. He’d never been one for the outdoors, especially at night. Alan and Joe had always dragged him out here when they were kids though, and during the day, the hills and forests were filled with animals. At night, they were just _gone._ Hidden away in whatever alcoves they alone knew. Humans, it seemed, weren’t as smart.

He tripped on a buried stone, and felt something lurch within the box. He dropped it into the snow and stared. It didn’t move. He reached out and poked it with his fingertips, jerking back each time, expecting another shift. When nothing happened after a minute, he said, “Almost there,” again, and picked it up and hurried on.

_Clickclickclickclickclick_

It broke through the silence and filled him up like an oil drum, the sickness washing over him staggered. That sound. The implication of gnashing and being devoured, like a hundred thousand of those joke teeth from the fifties. He was shaking and crying before he could form a coherent thought, and all he could do was keep his hands on the box and keep going. “Almost there,” he said, but the words were half-sputters now. “Almost there.”

Somewhere ahead – in the black – was the cabin. The place he’d been told to go. He’d done everything asked of him. He broke into the old station, took the box, and marched through the snow and was here now. Almost there.

_Clickclickclickclickclick_

His legs were baseball bats, stiff and heavy, and all his energy went to throwing them along. One step, one crunch, and always the clicking.

It circled him now, like a ring with him in the center. Gary wondered why they or it didn’t come for him, but he just kept marching, unsure of where the sound was coming from. “It’s not fair,” he said, to nothing. He collapsed. Done. Kaput. He rolled over onto his back, sinking into the snow, and letting the wet soak through his jacket and sting the back of his scalp.

Then the sound was gone. Like someone had pulled the plug, gone. Gary lay there, breathing in the cold air, staring up at the stars, and waiting to die.

He didn’t.

The cold hurt. He sat up. He was alone. The cabin was ahead somewhere. Just ahead. He pulled himself up, lifted the box once more, and continued on.

Dead center in a clear patch among the trees, sat a small cabin. His cabin. He yanked the door opened, and fell inside. The box slid across the floor and bumped into an old chair. It was pitch, but the moonlight showed a few things he imagined were typical for a place like this. Table, parts of a kitchen, one of those old round stoves, and a fireplace. He was supposed to wait here.

Gary wondered if the clicking would come back but it didn’t. Instead, after a few minutes of sitting on the floor, in the dark, he heard the sound of footsteps from outside.

The door opened and a single figure stood in silhouette against the moonlit snow.

“I brought it,” Gary said, dragging himself over to the box and standing up. “Just like you wanted. It’s right here.” The figure walked over, knelt by the box, and opened the lid. After peering inside, they closed them and looked at Gary. He suddenly felt like a fly. “So, that’s it?” He asked. “Am I done?”

“Yes.” The word reverberated through his skull, and suddenly the person in front of Gary wasn’t just a person.

Behind their eyes, Gary saw an expanse of strange constellations – space empty of all colorful nebulae, but riddled with stars like furious eyes – all watching him. Amongst them floated a shape like a tower made of rotting fungus. It writhed in the void, and stared at him, despite not having anything similar to something a human could recognize.

In the nanosecond it took Gary to realize that this person before him was also the thing he saw, his mind broke. He pissed himself, and his perceptions fell away.

The figure drew a shape in the air and turned to leave, the box in hand. “Give the warning.” Gary was babbling things humans would dub incoherent. It turned back to look at him from the doorway. “And thank you.”

Gary started to laugh. Then wail.

Then nothing.

Week 73 Complete

It was a warmer than usual day in March when Paul got home and realized everything in his apartment was a cloned copy. His television, his dresser, desk, clothes, couch, all of it wasn’t real. Someone or thing had taken everything out of his apartment, cloned it all, and brought the replacements back, set them up where the originals had been, and relocked the door upon leaving.

He stood in the doorway, conscious of little more than this realization and the cold beads of sweat sliding down from his scalp. Past the living room was a corner leading to the bedroom and kitchen, and his eyes focused on that spot and felt more than saw something coming from it. If he walked inside, if he shut the door, something terrible would come around that corner and take him and do things to him.

With barely any patience, he shut the door and retreated outside. He’d left his bag in the door, trapped inside his apartment, and he got back into his car and put it in reverse.

Paul drove for three days. Whenever he saw a plane overhead, he was certain it was something else. It was just something that looked like a plane; something to fool the people who weren’t Paul. His phone rang and rang, and the numbers varied between “Work” “Alyssa” and “Mom,” but he never answered them. They would be expecting that. He slept in his car, and in his work clothes, now wrinkled and damp and smelly, but he couldn’t trust hotels or motels or dry cleaners. He figured he’d drive as far west as he could get, and then find some way to keep going.

As he drove on the long and empty highways crisscrossing America, he remembered something someone had once told him, “You need to find meaning in your stories to remain sane.” Those words meant _something_ to some part of Paul’s mind, but as he mulled them over, he felt as if his brain was full like a ballpit and he was trying to swim through them, but he was too big and there were too many kids there. He tried to piece it all together, but he couldn’t. He supposed a part of himself realized what was happening, but the inertia he had undertaken carried him on regardless.

Week 72 Complete

She woke in a dark place, with no name and no memory.

Something rusty had been shoved down her throat, and thin, tight bonds ripped into her wrists and ankles. She tried to scream, but it became a gag and gargle. She passed back out, her brief moment of waking one of terror.

When next she woke, the rusty taste was gone, and she could feel the roof of her mouth, her teeth, and tongue. The bonds were a bit looser, and she could raise her arms and legs just a bit off the warm slab of… marble? metal? whatever she lay on. All the world was still black. Had always been black. Would always be black.

At some _point_ ahead – and it wasn’t really time for her, because she had no real concept of time other than the basic instinct that there existed _something_ that she was a part of – the lights came on. Her eyes became coals in her face and she screamed and brought her hands to her eyes, and it was only when the pain subsided that she was able to realize that the bonds had come loose.

She stood, and felt the prickling of the cool floor against her bare feet. It was so different, so unexpected and new, that she stood there with her eyes closed, _feeling_ the floor with every surface of the bottom of her feet. She stood there until the floor warmed against her, then shifted her feet to some place new and stood there too. Later, much later, she opened her eyes and looked around. Though there were now lights, smiling glowing orbs far above her head, the room still had a lingering darkness to it, as if it were tucked away somewhere someone wanted to forget. The room – and it was a room – was made of black stones, stacked one atop the other in a rather uniform, hypnotizing way. She had never seen something like this before, and the smooth lines between the blocks drew her eyes like a beacon. She went close, reached out, and traced one with the pale skin of her finger.

There were no grooves, no bumps, just a straight break of a line.

The wall opened behind her. She jumped at the noise, which was the loudest thing she’d ever heard. She put her hands to her ears this time, but still the scraping of stone on stone beat through her ears like a hundred painful drums.

Beyond the door were stairs, and they led up and curved around a corner. She couldn’t see beyond it, but even the act of stepping towards the door and peering out had been too much. She couldn’t imagine herself climbing those, and finding whatever she would find. Everything was so new and fresh and terrifying that all she wanted was for the lights to go back out and to get back onto the slab.

Eventually the compelling nature of the open door led her to walk forward, and she left the room she alone knew, and started to climb the steps. She saw many things on the walls in that narrow hall. Paintings and drawings and murals and etchings, and though she knew none of those words, and recognized less the purpose of each, she felt they were important somehow. She felt they were the answer to her identity and her life. But what could they mean? She saw things that resembled her. Torsos, heads, arms, legs.

They were small but floated high above what she thought must be the ground, and blue squiggly lines she could not identify. There were circles drawn and shown, vast places she couldn’t fully understand. But she thought that the people like her were slowly becoming more. They were _advancing,_ but into what or whom, she could not answer.

Then she came to the depictions of the bad things. These she understood less, because there was a certain formlessness to them. They felt oppressive, even captured within their renderings of black and gold. They were doing something wicked, they were _reaching_ and the people that looked like her seemed afraid, advanced as they were. Soon all the murals depicted these new horrors, and she still could not formulate what had happened or why.

She reached the end of the hall, and found a door. It was slightly ajar, and from its edge came a bright light, brighter by a thousand than the light she had experienced earlier. In her fear she found courage buried deep, and she pushed the door the rest of the way opened and stepped out…

… and into the sand. The explosion of her senses rattled her, and she looked all around. The massive blue sky, the endless sand, the light that lit everything up, but most of all, the enormous ball that hung just above the horizon. A whirring, silver gray node orbited by a thousand tiny spheres that sizzled with each pop of electricity. She stared up at it, its wonder eclipsing even the enormity of nature.

“Welcome,” it said, and its voice was fierce as a hundred thousand thunderstorms, and it shook her to her bones.

“Who are you?” She asked, the words tasting strange to her mouth.

It paused, as if thinking. Then it said, with a voice as strong as before, “God.”

Week 72: Reflection on Work Piles

I finished compiling a list of my underway projects today, and it was intimidating. As in, “Good God, what have I gotten myself into?” intimidating.

Coupled with the feeling however, was the desire to get things done. To start. To finish. I look over the list, and though some of these have faded in terms of what I want to do right now, I do have this tugging inside of me that needs to see all these through. That it’ll take several years or more of near constant writing is something I’m aware of.

Where to start? The books? The stories? The dozen little side projects. I once said that having a number of projects meant you’d never get bored. That’s still true. But it’s also true that having a number of projects can make you bald prematurely. I’m slowly discovering that right now.

Speaking of startings (and this, ladies and gentlemen, is what those in the film industry would call a segue – see? I’m fucking cultured) I’ve been recounting some of my earlier attempts to write, and I can remember doing my best to get the words perfect.

“He was sinking.”

“There were needles in his lungs.”

“He gulped and thrased.”

I mean, there are so many ways to say, “This guy’s drowning.”

I guess the point is, if you’re trying to say something, the best way is to just say it.

Week 71 Complete

Don’t turn around. You could see me, but the billions of refractions that would dance across your corneas would fry your brain like dumplings. So better if you keep staring straight ahead. Yes, at the wall. Yes, that’s fine.

Why am I here? You asked, didn’t you? I’d say summoned, but summoned is such an ugly word. It implies obedience and servitude, and making me spin around your fingers. In truth – and I do hope you realize this – I could break the foundations of this world with a whisper and turn it into a place where physics could be applied like makeup. Useful sometimes, but certainly not required.

Well, you didn’t necessarily have to physically say or call my name. It was enough to wish it, to dream it. Sometimes our moments of clarity come from pain. Didn’t you stub your tow yesterday? That’ll do it.

Hold still. That burning behind your eyes is a molecule of my finger. Yes, I’m touching you. Relax. We’re going to watch a movie. It’s called Your Life.

Awww.

Seriously, Awww.

There you are, sitting with your Legos. Building. Making. Note the lack of instructions. THe big middle finger – though you didn’t know what the middle finger was back then, aside from, well, your middle finger – to the established order. I first took notice of you here. Don’t be flattered, I take notice of all children here. They all become mine. You all. Whether you stay mine is your decision. Most don’t. That’s your problem now, isn’t it? You’ve never been able to articulate it.

You’re afraid to leave my side.

Here’s high school. There’s – what was her name? April? Clara? Jezebel? Really? It was Jezebel? Interesting. Too bad they’re gone now. They remember you, of course. That weird guy. The one who stayed up all night. The one who never went to parties because he was too busy making.

They called you a freak. But really, they were afraid.

Now college, and the arguments. The thrown glass. The shouting. The broken phones. The money, cut off, gone forever! Thanks Dad. Love you too, Mom. Those idiots should’ve known you were always mine.

Please stop moving. You’re making the images shake.

Marriage. The family. The car. The job. The house. America. Right? Isn’t it? Only, not for you. Never for you. This is why you still toil away in your little office. This is why you cheat and pass your work on to others. This is why you don’t go to your kid’s ballgames. This is why you don’t look at your wife, Michelle – remember, that’s her name – anymore.

Because you love me more.

Don’t shake your head. I told you.

Please, shall we dispense with the lies? You, after all, can’t lie to me. Do I have to say it? I’d prefer not to hurt your feelings.

Fine.

You don’t give a shit about your family. You care only for what pours from your brain and your fingertips and your mouth. What you make. Your precious art. That’s what you really love. That’s what you’d rather have. More than the house, and the car, and the kids, and the wife. Obviously, more than the job.

No, no, of course not. I don’t think you’re a bad person. I think you lack resolve.

That’s why I’m here. All my children come to this moment. In the morning, you’ll forget me. You’ll imagine me as something abstract, instead of a behemoth that had its finger slid into the back of your skull.

You’re not going to die.

That much should be plain by now.

Instead, I’m offering you a choice. I’ll make one of your dreams come true. Only one.

Before Door Number One: I give you love. No, not from me. You couldn’t handle it.

I’ll give you the love you secretly desire, but can never have. Michelle will forgive you everything. The kids will smile when they see you, instead of just look away. You’ll ask your wife to dinner and it won’t be awkward. It’ll be fun and playful, and you’ll have sex afterwards and it’ll be lovely. Your kids will dance around you and sing songs – figuratively, of course – and when you die, they’ll talk of you fondly to their kids and grandkids as “The Best Dad Ever.” You’ll be the father they deserve. There will always be problems, but you’ll work them out. You’ll solve them, because you are a father and you will love them and they will love you and that will be all that matters to you in the whole, wide, unknowable Universe.

The cost?

Forget me. Take your work and burn it. Tonight. Don’t just burn the bridge, nuke it. Never work on anything again save your family. That’ll be your art. That’ll be what you make. You’ll never hear my whisper in your ear, and if by some cosmic mishap you do (hey, I am infallible, but I’ve been known to fuck up sometimes), you will ignore it.

So how’s that sound?

I thought so.

Option Two is what you can buy. This is the happy option. Well, happy for you. Your family and kids will starve, but we’ve already established you don’t give a shit, so let’s move on. Your work will become famous. You’ll become what’s called a savant, even though people don’t know what that word means. spoiled white children will read you in class and debate just what you meant by having blue curtains in the living room of your main characters. You’ll be a rock star. A God. You’ll be the person you currently want to be in your heart of hearts. And the money! Oh, the money! You’ll be rich. You want a yacht? Who cares if you don’t, you can buy one anyway! You could buy six.

And here comes the cost. You work will be terrible. It will be nonsensical. It won’t have any deeper meaning. It will be filled with pretentiousness and bullshit. Eventually, they’ll figure it out. You’ll be long dead of course, your money spent, your life lived. You’ll have lived the life but you won’t have the legacy. Your name will eventually vanish. You’ll be forgotten. Really, truly dead.

You want another option? You mean, you don’t want the money either? No money, no love? What kind of human are you?

Fine.

Here’s the grand finale.

You will create. You will make. You’ll be a true savant. The words you put on paper will inspire, terrify and become the beacon around which generations will spin. Your opinion will be sought, you will be a true famous man – one with meaning and message. I will give you a complete mastery of my gifts. I will allow you to rise above the dross and say things which will bring people to their knees in joy and love. You will be unforgotten.

The price? Weariness. To the bone. You will suffer, oh, how you will suffer. Sleeplessness, health concerns, early death, no family, but there will be money. Not as much as Option B. If you don’t hurry, if you don’t move, you will end. That is what I promise you. Mastery at the cost of everything else. Because, what other kind of mastery is there?

It’s your choice.

No, you cannot sleep on it.

I don’t care for your pleading.

I don’t care about anything you have to say other than which option you’d like.

Do not push me. Do not attempt to trick me, because I can read you and I can rip open your ribcage and spool your guts over the ceiling fan. And I will, if you don’t choose.

Are you sure?

Very well then.

It’s a good choice. It’s a healthy choice, that’s for sure. You’ll be a content man, but I can’t promise happiness. No one can.

I hope you do buy that yacht.

Now sleep. Dream. And forget.

If you can.

Goodnight.

Week 71: On Isolation

I’m not sure I like people who don’t want a little isolation now and then. You know the type. They’re the ones who have this need to get into the face of others, who need to jump up and down in the spotlight screaming, “LookatmeLookatmeLookatme!” They chalk it up to a zest for life, as if the only way to enjoy life is to act like you’re on speed and shove your nose into everyone else’s business. Don’t these people need decompression every now and then? I do.

I prefer libraries. Libraries and bars. That’s not to make myself out to be an alcoholic. I’m not. It’s just that when you step inside a certain type of bar – and the ones I like are the dark, grimy looking dives  no one would visit if they could help it – the world outside keeps spinning, but you stop. You can turn off your phone, grab a chair, order a drink, and no one will bother you save to ask if you want another. There’s no expectation except to pay your bill. If anyone looks at you, they look away quick enough.

It’s nice.

You can decompress. Sometimes, that’s what you need. I’m a subscriber to the whole touch-feely, everything is interconnected and related and one in the same. It’s an interesting, beautiful way of looking at the progression of life and the universe. But it’s also a bit heavy. And just because everything’s connected doesn’t make dealing with bullshit any less terrible. Having a moment to stand apart from the entire world is worth a lot. Unbothered, unquestioned, unknown. You feel invisible, and that’s a lovely thing.