Tag Archives: writing

Wandering In The Desert

The words are hovering about me this morning, whispering promises of eloquence into my ears. I rather tend to disbelieve them, however, as it’s taken me twenty minutes to get this far, and it only looks to go downward from here. This is what I get for only sitting down to write every few months or so, waiting on a free moment, or a special occasion, such as my birthday. I didn’t even manage to write a Second Annual Thanksgiving post, so now, should I have time in future years to remedy that, I am uncertain of the numbering system which I will be forced to devise. I guess I could pound one out after this, and preface it by saying that it took extra consideration to prepare, as this was a completely shit year, and I wanted to include at least some levity. That is, of course, if I ever manage to finish writing this one.

I always get a bit melancholy on my birthday. My wife thinks that it’s because I have convinced myself that everything will be terrible, while I know it’s because there is a fifty-fifty chance that this day will bring some sort of misery or disappointment. I wound up in the hospital on my birthday once, and, on another occasion, was giving the gift of compulsory freedom from my newly ex-girlfriend. It’s not that I believe that things will be horrible, and so endeavor, subconsciously, to make them so, but rather that I have been paying attention, and would prefer not to be blindsided by misfortune. Then again, this could be a really awesome year for celebrating another successful campaign against mortality, and it’s only the early waking hours of the day which are tinged with sadness and physical discomfort. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Since leaving Blondie’s two years ago, I have had four jobs, not including the time I spent writing (and grossing a grand total of $19 (net was -$60, as I had to purchase TurboTax Business for that year)). All, aside from my current gig were somewhat disappointing. Big Lots (insert ridiculous exclamation points wherever) reminded me that the hardest jobs are done for the least amount of respect and pay, and that even after years and years in management, I still believed in unions. Bear’s Lair introduced me to several cool people while reinforcing the notion that large corporations frequently lack a delicate touch. Jupiter was where I saw the sausage being made, and very nearly became a vegetarian (metaphorically speaking, obviously, as I cannot abide by vegetables in real life). It’s like I am forcing myself to remember what I swore that I would stand for, and begging myself to get started on changing the world already.

All of that, of course, led me to Canyon Market. A friend of mine from back in the Blondie’s days had been working there for nearly a year, and had only great things to say about it. I took a chance (and an hour-long BART ride) and applied for a job making sandwiches in the Deli. Now, I’ve worked in several restaurants (most of them in the Quick Service Arena), but I’d never actually gotten a chance to be paid for making sandwiches. As it turns out, I kind of love it. I mean, I’ve been rocking the amateur scene for decades now, but the chance to go pro has fundamentally fulfilled me. Sure, it’s not a desk job involving the pitter-patter of tiny keystrokes, but it’s strangely satisfying, all the same. And, of course, I was just recently made Acting Supervisor of the Deli, which came not so much as a shock to me, but as an inevitable consequence of my work history.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So where do I go from here? Obviously, I need to be writing more, especially since it’s almost time to renew my WordPress hosting, and this year has essentially been a gym membership for me (not to mention last year after May. I need to find a balance between work and home (and a balance at home between family, writing, play, and sleep). It looks like I may need to invest in a slightly less awkward laptop (of the non-Chromebook variety) so that I can use the 3+ hours I spend commuting everyday on something more productive than naptime. I need the person who I am to become to step the hell up and give me a hand. But, as we all know, Future Batmart is kind of an asshole. I don’t blame him too much, though, as Present Batmart (with the aid of Past Batmart) is constantly screwing Future Batmart over.

I’m not going to make a resolution, as those seem only to exist for the express purpose of breaking into tiny, bite-sized shards of shame. Nor shall I make a covert plan of action, for those also seem to good for tracking just how quickly things go off the rails, and by how far they’ve missed their destination. What, then? Perhaps just one step at a time. Every day from now until, oh, I don’t know… success… I will try to find the willingness to do something positive with my time. One day that might mean being a little more romantic with my wife, while another might include a little less paternal judgement toward my son.

I feel like my life is getting chopped up into increasingly tinier pieces, which are harder and harder to fill constructively. The older I get, the faster that time seems to pass. I have postulated that this occurs because each second is an increasingly smaller unit of measure compared to the total amount of time which I have lived. Think back in your own life: when you were a kid, five minutes took forever to finally pass, whereas five minutes now are gone before you realize that you’d been counting. As a child of five, one year was twenty percent of your existence. At 37, it’s (let me pull out my calculator) it’s just under 3% (and diminishing). Much as a quarter was a magical unit of currency when I was small (you could mail a letter, make a phone call from a pay phone, or buy a can of soda from a vending machine (wow, I just realized how truly old I am)), now it seems only good for 15 minutes in a laundromat’s dryer. Hell, I won’t even (can’t even) sell a smoke to someone for a quarter anymore.

So what’s the answer?

No, seriously. What’s the answer? Because I haven’t got the slightest clue.

Outsmarting Reality

Today is the day that I put on pants and sit at my desk to pound out some pretty words. As far as Life Goals go, it’s not so bad, really. To be fair, I’m not really that into the whole notion of pants in general (as I may have mentioned a time or two before), but I do recognize that bumbling about in pajama pants while sipping on a beverage and munching on Gummy Bears isn’t a solid plan for success. If I had unreasonable amount of money (in the other direction, that is), I suppose that I could be called eccentric, but as it is, I’m just this dude who wanders about looking like shambling grump. At least the haircut I got a few weeks ago is helping. Now the only thing to really give me away is the wrinkled clothing and days’-old stubble. I can get away with it while I am holed up at home, safe from the judgments of the outside world, and if I’m not dressed for public consumption, I feel no obligation to step farther out my door than the requisite number of steps it takes until I can smoke a cigarette without a stern talking-to.

Today I am going to go outside for no reason other than my desire to eat something other than Corn Nuts and Tootsie Rolls. Well, that, and there’s Crystal Pepsi at Walgreen’s, and I’m feeling a touch nostalgic. As part of my strategy to venture into the great outdoors, I’ve invited my stepdaughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren to come with me. At first glance, it would seem as though I’ve only done this to put a small measure of pressure upon myself so that I might actually make it happen, but anyone who actually knows us will understand that my intention was entirely more nefarious than it might otherwise appear. You see, there is a real chance that it might not actually come to pass. First, the adults have to get ready to go. Then, the wee ones have to be prepped for their adventure. For some reason today, this involves baths. So, add that in to the diaper changes, battles over wardrobe, complete domestic warfare and accusations of abandonment, tearing the apartment to shreds in search of something that may or may not have ever been there in the first place, tears and temper tantrums, and at the end of all of that, there’s a decent chance that everyone will be so upset and butthurt that they’ll decide that they don’t really want to go anywhere.

You see, I’ve made a foolproof plan to feel that I am actually accomplishing something whilst simultaneously ensuring that I might not have to go through with anything. There’s a certain smug satisfaction that comes with having outsmarted reality. Of course, there’s only one flaw with this entire scheme: There is a better than average chance that I will have to go through with everything, and I place the blame entirely upon the shoulders of my Wildflower.

She is hundreds of miles away on her vacation (which, as it happens, is kind of a vacation for me), spending time with my family on The Island. This was to be my time to really cut loose and let myself go truly and completely. My wife, it would seem, has other ideas. She is under the impression that I need sunlight and proper nutrition. I don’t even know how to react to that. It’s like she hasn’t been paying attention this past decade (or perhaps paying a little too much attention). Why she thinks that I will suddenly begin to give the slightest crap about self-preservation after three decades of neglect is not only unfathomable to me, but the source of at least forty percent of all of our arguments. And now she’s got her daughter on my case as well. Completely intolerable.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I don’t really know how to accept someone else caring about me. If I’m to be brutally honest, I think that I’m still under the delusion that I will die young and leave a moderately… well, I’ll leave a corpse at any rate. I’m sure that there are things that I could do to raise my quality of life, such as eating something apart from snacks and a drastic reduction in the amount of energy drinks which I consume on daily basis. Hell, I could even give up smoking, if I really wanted to make a change. But the fact is that I’m not all that interested in doing any of that. Sure, I’d love to eat something that wasn’t processed until it only nominally resembled a “food-like product”, but I have neither the time nor the money to cook the meals which I am interested in consuming. But this is only what sits upon the surface.

I think that if I were to be left to my own devices, I would simply allow myself to fade away. It’s just so hard sometimes to make myself exist for other people, especially when I don’t particularly wish to exist for my own self.

On a side note, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to look back at previous summers, and it looks like, statistically, they’re not my best time of the year. In the past, the only season which truly stood out in my mind as a festering pit of days I’d rather not risk was the month leading up to my birthday (or, as other people know it: November). As it turns out, however, the summer months seem more likely to cause trouble than any other time of year. Perhaps it’s the over-abundance of sunlight which is more likely to trigger manic episodes (something much harder to notice in the moment than depression), which are far more destructive than my depression.

So, what do I do?

I guess I’ll just put my head down for a moment, collect myself, and force a smile upon my face. This is the beginning, and the male equivalent of Resting Bitch Face is no way to face it. So let’s have a chuckle, shall we?

The Will To Be

I am not alone in feeling that 2016 cannot come to an end soon enough. Perhaps I’ve just let the various superstitions get into my head, but right now, at this very moment, I’m struggling to find the will to be. Not that last year was a whole lot better, but at least I managed to write for a decent stretch of time, and put some much needed distance between myself and the ever-quickening rat race. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and I managed to get myself fairly established within the world of debt. Do I regret it? Not really, because it set me up to actually start a novel (of which I’ve written 27,000 words), and I self-published a couple of things on Amazon (earning me a whopping $19!). But, in the end, I found myself drawn back to the industry which had threatened to unmake me in the first place. I feel like I just need some breathing room, some time to dedicate myself entirely to this endeavor, so that I can really focus on finishing Hiraeth, and see what kind of luck I’ll have with a proper novel. I’ve gotten decent feedback from my beta readers, and I think that I may have stumbled upon something here.

So what do I do? Obviously, I can’t take another six months off, as I’m still paying off The Great Sabbatical of 2015. And there’s a minimum dollar amount which I need to make progress of climbing out of debt, which limits what sort of employment I can consider. Unfortunately, those types of jobs also seem to be more time-intensive, which kind of defeats the purpose. What I really need to pull is this off is a work schedule which features two days off which aren’t separated by anything more than the changing of the day, and the ability to stay at home (or do whatever) on said days off, and not be required to go in for any reason whatsoever. The only thing that does is burn someone out like a candle within a sphere of blowtorches. Throw a little personal tragedy into the mix, and top it off with a dash (results may vary) of mental illness, and the sky’s the limit for a risk of a complete meltdown. All I know is that whatever the solution, I need to find it quickly. I’m tired of not doing what I love. It’s been over thirty years since I discovered my place within the universe, and aside from a handful of baby steps, I haven’t done anything to get there.

Realistically, I think that I could get everything accomplished that I need to for the low, low price of $30,000. Check out the Benefactors page if you’re interested in contributing… The only thing that I can do is lower my head and hope that this time I can pull it off. I’ve happened to work miracles on countless occasions before, extricating myself from the fires in which I’d put myself, but I’d love to somehow get ahead of the curve, and not have to wait until the final moment to manage some kind of magic. Number One: I can’t count on my unblemished record of victories snatched from the jaws of defeat, and Number Two: that kind of strategy is, honestly, exhausting. I know that I can do it. I know that I have the skills to make it happen. All I need now is the time to try. If I can only pull myself up from within the grips of my depression, and find within myself the will to be, I think that everything will be okay.

New Year

I haven’t written anything in about a week. I can blame the first couple of days on the New Year’s Eve festivities and how my increasing age has made recovery a longer process, but the rest of my time has remained unproductive due to a combination of persistent headache and a general feeling of malaise, coupled with an extended bout of insomnia and full-contact parenting. It’s really a shame, as I was really gaining steam with the thing I had been working on. Of course, part of it also had to do with the fact that almost nobody read my last column, which I had been hoping would drive some fans toward the artist. Hell, I even said I’d give away a free copy of the album reviewed, and still no one seemed to care to participate. I remember when I could count on double digit page views on any given day, and now it seems that I am lucky to get eight. I mean, I know that’s what happens when you disappear for months on end, but it’s not like I have kept my intermittent return a surprise. And to top it all off, it seems that my muse has recently abandoned me, though I cannot hold it against her, for even fountains of inspiration must grow weary of my melancholy shenanigans. So far, I am not terribly impressed by 2016.

I’m hoping that by actually sitting down and writing on the blog, that I might shake loose whatever has been holding me back, and I can get another couple of thousand words written on the Other Thing. I may have mentioned it, but I was really enjoying the process of writing it, and it finally felt fun to write again. Sure, there was a satisfaction in retooling Terracrats, but it didn’t flow as easily, and I was quite self-conscious about both staying true to the spirit of the original, and showing off nearly two decades of honed skills. But, I’ll not speak too much ill of it, for it is my first (self) published original work, and I have made tens of dollars off of it. If only I had some way of paying off all of my bills, I think that I would give it another try, and pour myself into the only career in which I have ever envisioned myself consistently. To that end, I began another business yesterday, but everyone seems to think that it’s a joke, and it looks like I may have to expend actual effort in monetizing it. Then again, last night was the Mega Millions draw, and there is a minuscule possibility that my wife and I have won some manner of prize, enabling me to forego the drudgery of working for The Man again. There’s always hope, right?

Oh, to be able to buy a house with an office, and feel no worry about debt or other fiduciary obligations. But, knowing me, I’d probably do as close to nothing as I could tolerate for as long as possible, while consuming an alarming quantity of… let’s call them “artistic enhancers.” I could finally catch up on all the shows which I’ve been meaning to get current on, and play through the stack of video games which I haven’t really had the time to play. And sleep. I could sleep for weeks, waking only to use the restroom and then burrowing back into my bed again. I could fund my friends and help their creative careers get well and truly rolling. Maybe if I focus on hoping to make the world a better (or at the very least, more tolerable) place for those for whom I care, the Karma Fairy will douse me with his positivity, and I will find myself able to enact my Master Plan without all of the hassle of having to build my empire slowly. I’m not really a patient sort of fellow, you see, and I’d sort of like to get a move on, if it’s all the same to you.

I would also like to travel. Not to escape the the sadness of a mundane existence, but to see the beauty of the world beyond that which I could rightly consider my backyard, that is, if I actually had a yard, which I do not, because I am poor, and live in an apartment. I think that I would like to see the British Isles, and then maybe pop over to check out Spain before getting drunk in Germany. Perhaps I could make my way to the ancestral home of my great-grandmother, and pay a visit to Norway. It would be a fine opportunity to catch up on the finest of Death Metals. Hell, it would even be fun to bring the kid along, and maybe even Mr. Bad Leon Suave. After all of that, I’d head to Mexico and bum about near pyramids amidst the thunderstorms. Maybe even get to know my parents-in-law. There is so much that I am dying to see and do, and I feel that I will never see or do any of it at the rate which I am going.

Baby steps.

It cost me thousands of dollars for the opportunity to knock the rust off of my wordsmithing abilities, and a large chunk of that time spent was done so under self-inflicted duress. I made myself write nearly every day, and would have kept doing so, but I ran out of money, and couldn’t keep connected to the internet. By the time I paid the bills, and we got reconnected, I was locked in at a full-time job, and found myself without the time to write. Luckily, I’m nowhere near as bad as I was when I began this blog, and there is a chance that maybe I will actually make it happen. I just know that I can’t give up. I have to find a way to pay the bills, and yet not work so much that there is nothing left in me by the time that I can finally make my way back home. I refuse to stand down again. Once I’ve stopped, and by this I mean, accept that I have failed in this endeavor, I don’t know if I could ever rebuild the momentum.

The second half of 2015 was a setback, to be sure, but I never signaled my surrender. I will make it. If only because I never made plans to do anything else with my life, and if I allow myself to believe that I shouldn’t be doing this, then I honestly don’t know what I’ll have left. I cannot bear to entertain the notion that a world exists wherein I have given up the dream of writing. I am in my mid-thirties, closer now to middle-age than I am to the vigor of my youth, and there is no better time to finally force myself to make things happen than right now.

I hope.


I just started writing again last night, which is good, but now I’ve found that the story that I’ve started has wrapped me up tightly in a blanket of sheer terror. I’m going to continue with it, because I am determined to actually someday make money with my words, but it will be a real test to see if I can actually make it through the writing process. I’m going to be starting up again this evening, and plugging away at it tomorrow, with the hope of trying to have it ready for sale on Amazon either at the end of this weekend, or sometime next week. To be clear, for those of you who may choose to buy it, it is fiction, though parts of it are inspired from things which I have experienced. In some ways, I suppose that you could say that it is “Based On A True Story”, if you take into account just how little most stories which advertise that bear any more than a passing resemblance to past events. But it is a good chance for me to practice digging into my various hurts and traumas to try to find something of value to write about.

It will also mark the first time that I have written anything which puts to use my decade-plus of time spent working in the restaurant industry. Seriously, despite the fact that I was in food service since 2001 (it could be argued that my time associated with kitchens began in 1996, when I was working as a “Food Removal Engineer” at a local nursing home back on The Rock, but as that job lasted only long enough for me to purchase Pink Floyd’s, “The Wall” and its necessary accessories, I think that I’ll keep the start date firmly set in the twenty-first century), I have never found a way to incorporate my experiences in restaurants, nor even truly felt inclined to try. Perhaps I was just too close to it, the stresses of the industry having blinded me to the forest while focusing my myopia upon the trees. And even now, the story really isn’t even about restaurants; maybe someday, I’ll think up a story where that industry is front and center, integral to the plot, but for now, the setting is merely incidental. Though I’m doing my best to keep it from feeling like it, the whole food service aspect is basically just there to frame the actual story which I want to write. So, in other words, it’s filler.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m working on it, and will be developing it so that it feels like needed to be written, but reason for the story is nestled deep within it. The thing I really wanted to write just won’t work in the original way that I envisioned it, as it would have required character interaction which I am, at least in this instance, uniquely ill-suited to provide. Once I knew that I couldn’t present it as the story itself, the rest just sort of came to me. I’ve got the first part of the really good part written, but I’m holding off on finishing it until I’ve got the framework done. As long as I can keep the carrot before me, I can keep working toward making the whole story worthy of its premise, as opposed to a hodgepodge, hastily assembled marriage of two ideas which truly don’t belong together. But now I can make sure that before I write the part which I am dying to get off my chest, that the rest of the story is good enough to risk including with it, because once I’ve put it out there, I can’t simply recycle the “good part” if the rest of it doesn’t really work. I know that it’s not technically plagiarism, if I’m stealing from myself, but I don’t really want to be that guy who only rewrites the same damn thing for the entirety of his career (“Semantics: they’re my favorite kind of antics” notwithstanding).

And unlike Terracratsthis is the first completely new fiction which I will have written in years. I mean, I’ve started some open-ended things, and been assembling my notes for {Untitled Project #4}, but I haven’t come up with anything truly original (and by that, I am referring to self-plagiarism) since that hastily assembled thing I threw together that night that Flor was late coming home from work, and I started to freak out. Terracrats was a chance for me to look back at one of my favorite stories and see if I could do something better with it, which I believe I did. But I’ve only got so many stories which I could rework, and some of them are good enough as is, or, on the other hand, aren’t nearly close enough to worthwhile for me to waste my time upon. No, if I’m actually going to do this, I have to trust enough in myself to value the stories which I want to tell, and though this one isn’t what has been consuming me for several years, it is near and dear to me, and a good a place to start as any.

So why am I afraid? It’s not of failing, as my royalties from Amazon have tempered my expectations. And it’s really not that I won’t be able to write the thing, or that it somehow won’t work enough to sell it. Ultimately, though I would like to be able to support myself like this, I just want to have my words out where other people can read, and maybe appreciate them. The story will be good enough: of that I’m fairly certain, and I have a small group of advance readers to help me make sure that it doesn’t completely suck, who I need to sign off what I’m putting out. No, in this case, what scares me the most is finally putting into words, feelings which I’ve not allowed to see the light of day. Bits and pieces of Tex Batmart that existed before and apart from my lovely wife. To reiterate, these words are fiction, and not some deep-seated desire for confession, except, perhaps, on an existential level. But I’ve always thought of writing as the smart man’s therapy, and by spending this session with me, you’ve helped me come to terms with what I’m feeling, and set me down upon the path to writing something awesome (I hope).

Sighs of Regret

It’s a good thing that I’ve pretty much given up on trying to meet my goal of 365,000 words this year, or I’d be feeling fairly down on myself for having fallen so far behind. And it’s a good thing that I haven’t been spending a lot of time pondering my decision to leave a job which (though I was being underpaid) covered my expenses so that I could get myself into debt and wind up working a $9/hr job with less than 30 hours a week, because I might start to get really worried about how I was going to make it this time around. But the fact is that I needed the break which I allowed myself to take, and it was nice to get back to doing something that I actually wanted to do, for a change. I knew that it would be nearly impossible to try to write while working a full-time gig, but it turns out that even trying to steal away a few moments throughout the week is proving hard enough. I’d been thinking that at least I’ll have a little more time to be by myself when David goes back to school, but by then, I’ll either have a different job (one which will most likely not afford me the opportunity to work in the wee hours), or have been promoted (which means a switch to full-time in addition to a raise in my hourly wage), which means that the time I have right now, when David would otherwise have been at school, will still be unavailable to me.

As for my source of employment, there’s not a whole lot to report upon right now. I am still being groomed for that promotion, which basically involves throwing more work and responsibility at me without any change in my rate of pay or the number of hours for which I am scheduled on a weekly basis. I’m convinced that the guy in charge is completely useless, and that it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for me to try to find something else sooner rather than later. My department is slowly flying apart, as more and more people are growing increasingly frustrated with the current state of management, which includes an increased workload as more and more people leave, and the general manager refuses to get hands-on as would normally be recommended. I’ve even had some of my coworkers ask me to remember them if I manage to land a restaurant management gig somewhere nearby. Even if it weren’t turning into a complete shit show, the very fact that everyone is nurturing escape plans makes me unwilling to face the possibility of having to do the work of at least twelve people (of which we currently have seven) all by my very lonesome. I’ve even started romanticizing the last place where I worked, but luckily, my son-in-law still works there, and it is through his stories that I am able to remind myself of all the reasons why I left.

On the Minkey Front, it turns out that, in addition to his nose, he has also inherited his mother’s eyes, both in form and function. I mean, I’m not saying that my eyesight is perfect, but it turns out that my son is, for all intents and purposes, blind as a bat. I think Flor said that his glasses should be ready in a couple of weeks, at which point it is my sincere hope that he actually will begin to want to read. Well, that and that he might not need to drape himself over my desk so that he can watch his cartoons. It is also my hope that clarity of vision will lead to better penmanship. At least if he can see, his vacation will not have been for nothing. I know that he is bored out of his mind this summer, but I wish he knew (in a way that wouldn’t scar him for life) just how trying his constant presence is for the rest of us. It’s not that we don’t love him, it’s just that he’s a very… intense person, and should only be taken in small doses. In that regard, as well as normally wearing his heart upon his sleeve, he is very much my son. I know it’s wrong to say, but I feel rather  like Ford Prefect in the company of Arthur Dent when spending time with David. And you better believe that I know where my towel is!

As for the writing, well, I’m trying to figure out how to budget some time for myself more that once a week so that I can, at the very least, keep up with the blog. It’s hard because my normal solution would be to go to bed an hour earlier, and make with the clickety-clackety before I go to work. But it’s hard enough to get a proper amount of sleep anyway, and if I tried to put David to bed that early, I’m pretty sure that I’d be facing a full revolt before the end of summer. But the real news is that I’ve been running bits and pieces of {Book #4} around in my head while trying to figure it out (Books #1 and #2 are “Parade”, which I know I have to start before I have forgotten everything, but whose events are so traumatic as to make me nervous about reliving them again, no matter how “noble” the cause may be; Book #3 is The Wild West Fantasy, which I’ve been playing with for a while, but haven’t really decided what I want to do with it). But I think that I finally figured out {Book 4}. It was going to be a fictional account (based on true stories) and told from a female point of view, but I then decided that I could structure it more like a series of interviews. Now, of course, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably just write out each interview, and then integrate those all together into an overarching narrative. Or not. It’s still early.

And it’s not like I’m suffering from an overwhelming sense of regret.

Lots of Big Fun

Yet another day of frivolity and fun done and gone, and it is only now that I have a better idea of what lies in store for me. I’d forgotten just how much of a pain it was to work oneself up from the bottom. If I thought that I could live off of part-time and minimum wage, I would have done so long ago. I’m hoping that by the time next week comes to an end, the Store Manager will have a better idea of what I can do, and adjust my schedule accordingly. I’m trying not to freak out about it: I frequently was only able to schedule new hires for minimal shifts until I got a better idea of what they could do, and I’m hoping that this is just the same. Because honestly, I don’t think that I can live off of just a hundred dollars a week or so. But enough about my worries concerning finances and hours available. You guys didn’t come here to read my whinging about the minor problems which affect me. If anything, you were probably expecting something either much more catastrophic or unimaginably wonderful. Well, I can’t offer either of those, but I can tell you about my day today. That almost works, right?

Sadly, it was more computer training today, and by the time that five o’clock had come around, I was eager to get out of there. I just wish that instead of being forced to sit through narration which takes up far longer than I believe necessary, I could read the information at my own pace, and then answer the quizzes following each section. I still have a few more sections left to get through, but I don’t know that I will get back to the training programs. Starting on Monday, I’ll be working the super early shift, and that usually indicates that a delivery will be coming. I mean, other than not being interrupted by customers who seem to think that I know where things are located, there isn’t any reason for me to come in at four o’clock in the morning. Actually, all snark aside, I’m really excited about this development, as it means that I won’t have to deal with any customers. And maybe it will lead to the position which the Store Manager informed me was available, some kind of delivery manager. That would be an immense relief, as it would mean more money, full-time, and the chance to start earning benefits.

At least it hasn’t been as terrifying as I made it out to be in my head before my first shift. It turns out that retail and restaurants have a lot in common, and I’m really still only learning store-specific things. And I noticed that I’ve been in management too long, when I got up several times to try to help the random customers who thought that I could help them (to be fair, I only directed them to someone more knowledgeable), and wound up helping my fellow trainee get through some of her technical issues in the training program. Actually, it was kind of nice to feel moderately useful once again. And it helped to get up out of my chair and stretch my legs a bit. Hell, I even used my mad Spanish skills to help out someone who didn’t really speak much English. All in all, it wasn’t too bad, I suppose. I guess that I will just have to reserve judgement until I can see how this is all going to pan out.

As for writing, I need to really get back to it. I wasn’t going to write anything tonight, but then I remembered that I basically took two weeks off when I had no internet and was feeling sorry for myself, and I have a long way to go if I am going to still make it to my goal of 365,000 words by December 31st. I had been hoping to take some time off in December to do something that didn’t necessarily involve the written word, but I’m down by eleven days, and I have to get back into my rhythm again. I guess what that means is that I’m not likely to get any more days of from the blog until I’ve made up several thousand words. And I’m not going to be getting there if I keep on like I have been. What I need is something to fire up the blood, spark the passion, get me riled up and ready to share my opinions with the world, preferably at the top of my lungs. I’m in search of a good rant, I think. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, I suppose that I will just have to carry on as best I can in hopes that something will irritate me. Don’t worry too much: I’m bound to find something soon. I mean, it’s not like I’m the calmest individual in the world. Perhaps it would be easier if I didn’t have Doctor Who playing on the television next to me. I don’t care that I’ve watched this episode dozens of times before, it’s still Doctor Who, and it’s a David Tennant episode, so there’s even less of a reason for me to shut it off. I don’t even particularly like this episode. Werewolves in Victorian Scotland? Yeah, not so great. But, like I said, it’s still decent installment, and it’s better than most everything else that’s on right now. It does make it harder to focus on the task at hand. I kind of wish that there weren’t so many blogs dedicated to the subject. If no one else was writing about it, I could feel better about going on about a show I love. As it stands, however, there are better musings on the subject, and the most that I could hope to contribute would be sharing with everyone that I really like the show, which I have already done.

Oh, hey! I totally forgot to tell you all how Flor’s second job is going! Well, I guess I’ve got something to write about tomorrow. Have a great night, everyone!

Isolation and Connection

It’s great to be back.

I’ve had a nice little break, here in isolation, from the worries of needing to think up entertaining things to write, and been able to fully explore the depths of my self-loathing. So, all in all, it’s been a productive couple of weeks. I just wish that I had better news on the employment front. I did manage to get a call back for an interview, but haven’t heard anything since then. Meanwhile, Flor just walks into a place and walks out with another job. Seriously. Of course, apparently they were only looking for female employees, but still. It’s frustrating. I just feel like I’ve managed to experience myself out of the job market. No manager wants to bring in someone who will be able to dethrone him (or her), and most owners don’t spend a lot of time glancing at resumes. Still, I suppose that I will eventually be summoned in for an interview that will result in something other than a complete waste of time.

But, as dire as all of that sounds, it has come with a slightest glimmer of a silver lining: Flor has seen that I have been trying to find work, and has come to the conclusion that I will be hired when the time has finally come that the universe wishes me to be gainfully employed. In the meantime, she has ordered me to continue writing, to take full advantage of this free time which I have in abundance, and continue pursuing my ultimate dream of getting down with the clackity-clack. And that’s not such bad advice. In the couple of weeks in which I haven’t been writing, I seem to have lost a little bit of focus. It’s not so bad as it was when I started this blog back in December, but the words aren’t flowing as easily as they had been in May. Or it could be that I am in pajama pants, with my son narrating some sort of adventure in the background.

Summer vacation is upon us, you see. In the midst of this mad scramble to seek gainful employment, with the prospect of the adult children moving out, we are also faced with the looming problem of what we’re going to do with David while he’s on break from school. He’ll be turning eight in just a couple of weeks, and while he’s shown moments of brilliance and hints that he might not die if we were to leave him alone for small periods of time, I can’t imagine him being okay for hours at a time. I’ve done my best to try to teach him a modicum of self-reliance, such as how to prepare a bowl of cereal and heat up corndogs, but I don’t know that I would trust him on his own in an emergency situation. Part of that is due to his unique application of “logic” and “reasoning”, but part of it is directly tied into his utter dearth of experiences from which to draw when dealing with a crisis. I just want to know that when we leave the apartment, that both it and David will be fine when we return.

Now for something completely different:

Like I have mentioned before, I am now a professional author, in that people have paid me for things which I have written. It hasn’t been as great a start as I might have hoped, but at least it’s something. Flor has been reminding me that it takes time to build up some momentum, which I understand, but I usually counter with, “I had been hoping it would have been more than $17.”  But, I am not terribly concerned, not really. You see, one of the lessons I learned after high school has prepared me for this moment.

I was always upset when I couldn’t get whichever girl I’d fallen completely in love with that week to agree to go out with me. I was sensitive, intelligent guy, occasionally amusing, and decent at kissing, and yet completely hopeless with the ladies. I just wanted them to give me a chance so that I could show them how awesome I was. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the only way to attract the ladies was to make myself into someone who might actually be attractive to the ladies, as it turns out that angry love poetry alone is not terribly romantic. And as made myself more interesting, by having more experiences, and trying to find satisfaction (if not happiness), I discovered that people began to want to talk to me. This didn’t solve the problem of my anxiety, but it did lead to some moments which were worth the effort.

So my writing at this moment is my teenage self. There are many good things about it, but it isn’t what it needs to be. I mean, a collection of blog posts and a 6,000 word short story are not a true foundation upon which to build an empire. So I have to find a way to get past the swollen bruises of my ego, and simply write better. I have a few ideas for novels, some of which I have actually started working on, and half a year of near-daily writing under my belt. I know that I can do this. I refuse to just let this be a hobby. I have dreamt of this for nearly thirty years, and I am going to find a way to make it happen.

It’s amazing how many times I must relearn the lesson of the importance of getting over myself. And yet, it’s also important not to get too down upon myself. I am a man of extremes, and it seems that I am capable only of self-aggrandizement and self-loathing, neither of which is particularly useful to me right now. I once found a virtual middle ground from which to launch my romantic campaigns, so it might be time to dust that off and give it a whirl again. Not for dating, obviously.

Walking On Sunshine

So I am a published author, kind of. Maybe it’s not the way in which I ever thought that I would make my first money as a writer, but everyone needs to start somewhere. I was hoping to have sold more than the two copies which I have currently managed, so that I could talk about raking in the tens of dollars, but as it stands now, I basically have enough to repay my wife for that pack of smokes and energy drink she bought me yesterday, so I can’t really complain. And, if I am to be completely honest, I wasn’t really counting on a collection of things which I have shared with everyone for free for months to be a money maker. Sure, it’s convenient, and it’s only $5, but it’s nothing new for those of you who have been with me since the beginning. Terracrats is a step in the right direction, being fiction and all, but it’s only a short story. I’m not going to get down on myself, though. This is more than I have ever done in the twenty-eight years in which I have known that I wanted to be a writer, and I’ve waited so long for this to become a reality that maybe a little longer won’t be the end of me.

I just wish that I didn’t feel so damned… chipper. I mean, since yesterday evening, I’ve been wandering around with a bemused grin, uncertain exactly what’s going on, but somehow pleased, nonetheless. It’s positively infuriating. I just want to slap the smug joy off of myself while sternly reminding… me… that it’s all well and good, but unless I somehow manage to connect with a lot more people, I’m still basically in the same position I was yesterday, but with some pocket change in a month and a half. Wow. It’s sobering to equate my writing sales to date as a ten dollar bill which I’ll find in the pocket of a jacket that I haven’t used in months (and yet don’t remember having misplaced any money the last time I used the jacket). But as jarring as I find all of this optimism oozing from my everywhere, I have to force myself to remember that it’s better than feeling miserable all day, no matter how much I love to remain curled into the fetal position. I guess there’s just no pleasing me.

So what lies in store for me in this slightly happier world,where things appear to be just a little bit more positive, and I might stand a tiny chance to be able to do something I want to for the rest of my life? I don’t even want to imagine a world like that! Where things happen as they are meant to, and I don’t feel like finding clever new ways to just end it all, playing them over and over again in my mind. I’m not prepared in the slightest to face a lifetime of contentedness. My whole “thing” up until now has been to be a mopey type of individual, railing against injustices and complaining that those damned kids need to get the hell off of my lawn. I haven’t the slightest clue of how I am supposed to function in a reality where I am not facing constant disappointment. I mean, it hurts to smile. Years of scowling at the world and its inhabitants have carved my face into a grotesque mockery of me, and now that I am feeling rather chuffed, my whole head has begun to ache, though the stabbing pains behind my eyes might be the key to my salvation.

I suppose that there are plenty of things for me to still get bummed out about, like the fact that, for the most part, the novel which I have begun exists only in my head, or that I still have bills and rent to pay, and pocket change just isn’t going to cut it. Ah, there it is: the sweet agony of self-doubt. Oh, how I’ve missed you these past several hours. It’s nice to see you once again. What say you and I find somewhere kind of chilly and overcast, and spend tonight cuddled up beneath that bridge I found when I was wandering?

See? It’s no use! I’m finding amusement in almost everything, including my misery. Is this what it means to finally grow up, because, if so, I want no part of it! I would much rather sit in shadows and write about how sad I am than risk a moment of pure joy. Okay, that’s not technically true, but it’s still hitting a little to close to home for me to feel entirely comfortable writing it. Perhaps it’s because the future is infinite, at least as far as it applies to my own life until the moment that I finally expire, and full of uncertainty and variables which I may not have taken into account. The past, on the other hand, has already happened, and it is infinitely more soothing to my savage brain. I can pick away at my mistakes at whichever pace I choose to set, and take the time to really examine all the ways in which I managed to screw up. Also, everything seemed better back then. Of course, that could be because there is no impending stress left in the past, whereas the present is chock full of it, and the future is nothing but decisions which I will probably fail to settle to my satisfaction.

Ughhh… this is beginning to unsettle me. I guess that it’s time to get thinking about shiny puppies and the whatnot.

Anyway, overall, I guess that I am doing better than I was the week before. Or the week before that. I suppose that I will have to discover how to survive the pitfalls of success, with all of the brand-name cigarettes and microbrews which it is purported to afford its victim. Now it looks like it is time to get back to work, so cross your fingers to grant me the courage to sit through an electronic editing session of Terracrats with my Kindle Fire. Just turn the sunshine down a little, will you?

Volume One Is Done!


From The Vaults of Uncle Walt, Volume One is live on Amazon! My very first book! I’m way more excited than I should be! Exclamation points!

I know it’s not the novel I wanted to start with (or a novel at all), but I needed to get started somewhere, and this was how. Thank you to everyone who has been reading along these past several months. You have all inspired me to keep going. I am in the final proofing stages of Terracrats, which I hope to have finished tonight, so that I can put it up for sale tomorrow (just in time for your weekend reading binges). And then there’s the actual novel which I have already begun working on. I’m hoping that this will be my year.

Anyway, I’m sorry that this isn’t something funny or socially engaging, but I felt it was newsworthy, at least to me.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a regular-type column. Have a good night, everyone!


I just realized that I only included the link to the US store. If you are living outside of the US, just search for Tex Batmart in your local Amazon.



Included are the links to pick up the book in three of the countries in which I am more popular:



The United Kingdom