Drawing From Life

Sort of continuing on from my depressing rant yesterday, I was doing some heavy thinking today about writing and where I’m at in life as a writer, trying to figure out how to get better. Like I was saying, I don’t have a lot of world-experience. I haven’t done much traveling, I haven’t met too many interesting characters that haven’t been portrayed countless times in every sort of media imaginable, and I have never been good at detailed description. I’m great at dialogue; I could write plays. But plays don’t sell, and you sort of have to bribe and plead in order for a community theater to even give your script a look at (so I’ve been told). I have no way in hell of knowing how to ever get something on the Broadway stage…

Getting back on track, though, I feel like this is why I have always strayed towards science fiction. Not just because of the spaceships and aliens, but because I have much more leeway with my imagination and could potentially make up for what I’m lacking in real-world experience. But even then, I’m struggling because I found out not too long ago that if you can’t talk about the world around you good enough, how the hell are you going to be able to talk about a made up world that people would have a hard time believing in?

I do have another mystery story floating in my head that’s been brewing around int here the past couple of days. I’m hoping on Sunday I might be able to do something with that, but if not then I won’t. However, I have also made the conscious decision to stop trying to tell stories and to try and start taking in life. I want to train myself to notice things in the world around me and to make notes of them. I want to collect thoughts, feelings, and reactions. I want to actually hear my inner self trying to tell me things, and I want to record it all. I want to capture real life characters instead of assembling mine in my head like a puzzle the way I have with characters in the past.

I don’t know if any of this will actually help me be a better writer or not, but at least I’ll be more attuned to the world around me. That can’t be a bad thing at all. If in the end no stories or anything come from my work, no harm no foul. But it might make me more aware, and that could be what helps me to the next level as a writer.

Advertisements

Writerly Downs

I haven’t written anything, fiction or blog, in a few days now. So I’m sorry for not wishing you all a Merry Christmas or anything.

My fiancĂ©’s aunt and uncle got me a wonderful book, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. The first book in a really long time that isn’t science fiction, mystery, or Dracula-related, I’m currently only a hundred or so pages in and I feel like I have learned more about writing and styles than ever before.

It also made me slip into a really deep writerly-slump of sorts, one that I’m still stuck in. A lot of my old anxieties about writing have come back, and I’ve really been struggling today with my dream of being a writer and whether or not it’s even worth pursuing anymore.

I’m not one to give up easily or anything like that, but I’ve always been hard on myself. I look at past blog entries I’ve written for this site, as well as current works in progress and things I’ve written in the past and I’m very disappointed. I read Shantaram and find that I am but a preschooler scribbling on paper with crayons compared to a master author like Roberts. It makes me sad because here I am almost 29-years old and can’t write worth a damn. Does this mean that I will never be a great writer like I fee my soul was made for?

I’ve always been a self-sheltered homebody. I prefer to stay at home relaxing when I’m not at work. I’ve only been out of the country once when I was like eight, and it was only to Mexico for an hour. I don’t have memories or experiences I can draw from. Description has long been my downfall when it comes to fiction writing, so even if I had vivid memories to draw from translating them to the page would be near-impossible for me to do.

I read the works of great authors, even those who are pop fiction writers, and can’t help being blown away by how awesome they write. Maybe it just means I need to read more, but I have a busy work schedule so can only get to a short time to read.

Maybe I need to just keep writing, but then again same thing applies. A retail work schedule!

Some people have told me I need a good editor. That only gets you so far, though. Polished crap is still crap, just fancier. You need to write well to begin with in order for a good editor to do even better work.

This is my dilemma I have to go sleep on, folks.

Mattis, Semper Fidelis

James Mattis is the true definition of an American hero. Not only did he have a very long and distinguished career in the Marine Corps, serving his country proudly and retiring at the rank of full General, but for over two years has shouldered the burden of managing the entire defense apparatus of the entire nation. He never took time to get married or have any kids. His idea of a cozy night to himself was spent among his personal LIBRARY of military history, philosophy, and political tomes. Most of the time, though, he was on duty.

As Secretary of Defense, he unfortunately has the distinction of being a cabinet member of one of the most controversial political figures in modern history. Regardless of what you feel about President Donald J. Trump, you can’t deny that the wounds of division he talked about healing have only gotten even more infected since he took office. That means that he has been the target of unwanted attacks on his character and decisions by Trump’s enemies, even though out of everyone in the government today Mattis is the only one who 100% can be trusted to have only America’s truest interests in mind.

His decision to resign/retire in February is a tremendous loss to this country, one that I don’t think people realize. But as he said in his resignation letter, his and Trump’s views did not align, and he felt the President deserved a Secretary of Defense who would be better suited to help carry out the Commander-in-Chief’s vision. I thought for the longest time that there was no honor and dignity left in the world, but Secretary Mattis proved me wrong.

He is leaving for all the right reasons, and even if his only reason was because he wanted to retire to Hawaii and read on the beach all day everyday, he would have my total support. I hate seeing Marine vets blow up on Facebook that “Marines never quit!” And blah blah blah blah blah, but I’m quite sure most of these Jarheads probably never made SNCO in their careers and maybe even had an NJP or two in their files. They never reached the level Mattis ascended to over the course of decades. They have no room to talk.

I’ve worked in retail off an on for almost ten years, so I know what a hectic and stressful job can be. General Mattis has for over forty years worked in a wide-range of jobs that make mine look and feel like a Disney vacation. He dedicated the majority of his life to the United States of America. If he wants out of that corrupt, toxic cesspool called Washington, D.C. then he has every right to get out. He’s earned it.

This is not about Trump, this is not about quitting, this is not about any myth Marines or civilians want to spread about the Marine Corps. The only thing that matters, in the end, is Mattis deciding to retire. He deserves nothing but our highest and undying gratitude and upmost respect. He is the True American Hero of our age.

Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

Ingredient

1 Cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Cup of Vanilla Almond Milk

1/2 Cup of Oatmeal

Combine in blender and mix to your desired texture.

I know, I know. I am so “gourmet.” My recipes are so simple to the point where countless people have already done the exact same thing. I by no means want to say that I myself created the recipe, but I did not Google it or get them from anywhere else. Usually when I’m walking to or from work or even when I’m at work I think about what new concoction I can put into the blender, and this blueberries n’ cream inspired one did the trick.

If you want it thicker you could blend it with some unflavored protein powder to make an actual shake, and as always you can add whatever other fruits you’d like. If almond milk isn’t your thing, use a different kind. You might even be able to use water, though I prefer the creaminess of milk with smoothies. Ice cubes can be used, too, but I don’t bother with that.

Let me know what you all think! I’m always down for trying new recipes, too…

Political(ish) Post: Rushing Into Action Without Thinking of the Consequences

Christmas is a season of joy. Lately, the conservative part of me is feeling great joy at watching radio stations embarrass themselves over the whole bullshit regarding that timeless holiday song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” One of the latest targets of the semi-fanatical #MeToo movement, stations have quickly been caving in to a few complaints and banning the song–loved my millions and millions of people–from playing.

More and more, though, I’ve started seeing articles pop up online saying that many of these stations are making an about-face and reinstating the song owing to a very strong support base. The number of people opposed to the ban far exceeds the number of people against the song.

This post isn’t about this one song in particular, though. The main point I want to illustrate is that nowadays so many people, groups, and businesses are jumping the gun. One person complains and rapid changes are made. Nobody ever seems to want to give a fuck what anybody else thinks. One person complains and that’s that. Then when the other side fights back everyone is taken by surprise and doesn’t know what to do. It’s as if people forget that there is always more than one side to EVERYTHING. It’s basic human common sense. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean there aren’t other people who do. And vice versa. But these days it’s easy to ignore one side and focus on the other, which sadly has become the norm.

Politicians are equally guilty, and have further driven a wedge in between both sides of the political spectrum. They align with a party and only part of the constituents they swear to reap resent, while ignoring and sometimes attacking and condemning the rest. This is why more and more races are closer and closer together and why a landslide victory for politicians is becoming a rare phenomenon. In a sense, it’s the radio station thing on a much wider scale. One group of constituents want one thing and their candidate rushes into action trying to push through a bill, not realizing that many others in their state or communities do not support it. Do the politicians care? No.

It’s irresponsible and immature to make rash decisions without thinking them through, especially when the decisions have FAR-reaching consequences. Trying to appease one group and one group only while alienating others is a surefire way to cause a whole heap of problems, and is a waste of time, money, and a whole lot of effort.

Hopefully the stations wake up and not make this mistake the next time liberals go after songs that have been around for many, many years.

Easy Morning Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Oats

1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Strawberries

1 Cup of Orange Juice

Combine together and blend. Throw in some banana or other fruit for a little variety.

I was looking for something different than my usual protein shake, something that screamed breakfast. I already had some frozen fruit in the freezer I was planning on using in my oatmeal, and as I was making the chocolate peanut butter shake yesterday the thought cane to me. Alexis was kind enough to grab some OJ when she stopped at the store last night after work, so after I showered and got ready for work this morning I thought I’d give it a try.

Out of the hundreds of smoothie recipes I found online, all of them required items my meager pantry currently does not have, so I said screw it and tried my own. I garnished Alexis’s with a frozen strawberry and a couple of blueberries, which made her smile real big.

Me, I’m just drinking it straight out of the blender cup!