Growing Pains

Wow! I suck at posting so far this year. Have not touched this thing in at least 6 weeks. Not really sure why, but part of it is probably due to my uncertainty as to what to do with this thing exactly. Last year, I tried a thrice a week post schedule with specific topics/ideas for each day. I actually enjoyed the structure of the writing, yet I don’t know if I should keep it up within that parameter. I could revert to a more personal journal or blog style, but the random posting of whenever I feel like it does not really appeal to me at the moment. Plus, I will probably not post much if I do. So, not sure what I will do, but I think I’ll figure something out soon.

That’s kind of what this year has been so far even though it’s only been two months. I had made a few moves to get the hell out of dodge, so to speak. So far, I have only received rejection. It sucks, obviously, but it has not been as bad or devastating as I thought it would have been. Perhaps even just a few years ago, I would have been broken for a bit and stewed in my bitterness for awhile. Now, I read the rejections, made a mental not of their “suckage”, and went to perform my job minutes later. (Should be noted that I did kick some ass at work that day)

I guess that’s called ‘growth’ or something. Honestly, it was simply that I still need to leave my current circumstances and those avenues were closed off. I did what I could and it was not enough for those opportunities. That’s fine. All that really means is that I have to rely on other avenues that I am working on. Maybe that’s what I had trouble understanding before: that sometimes, no matter your efforts, things won’t workout simply because they won’t. At that point, I can wallow or move on and do something else. Before, I would do the former, but now I concentrate more on the latter. We’ll see if that makes a difference. If not, I’ll try something else. Not much else to do.

Time to get to work.

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Lessons From…Watsky [Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 2]

Spoken word is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. Spoken word in rap form with a hook and music attached is most likely even more niche. Add to that the fact that it is a dorky looking white boy performing a spoken word rap on YouTube and I imagine that most will be put off from the whole video.

However, I strongly recommend you listen (actually listen) to it in its entirety before passing judgement. Considering the short length and slightly interpretive nature of poetry, I will not be conducting a point by point breakdown of this one. Instead, I hope you will hear it and come up with your own conclusions, possibly even stating them in the comments.

Again, I don’t want to simply state my assessment on this one, but I will say that at least one of the lessons to take away is to have audacity and belief because it beats out the alternatives. Or as Watsky puts it:

"And I have the audacity to think I matter I know it’s a lie but I prefer it to the alternative"

“And I have the audacity to think I matter
I know it’s a lie but I prefer it to the alternative”

Thus endeth today’s lesson.

On Inspiration and Goals

So I have been in a bit of a spiral lately, and a lot of my creative output has suffered because of it. I have posted less on here than I would like or normally do. I haven’t touched the novel I have been working on for two months. The short stories have stalled. Even my interest in and consumption of reading has slowed down considerably from this time last year.

I don’t know the exact reason or reasons why I am in this funk. I can hazard a few guesses, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What does is actually changing something, getting over it, and moving forward. Unfortunately, it is hardly ever that simple. However, this week I was listening to a few podcasts and videos on the way to work and was struck by a few notable things.

While listening to this week’s episode of Indoor Kids, I had the pleasure of hearing Kumail Nanjiani speak about his appearance on the upcoming reboot season of the X-Files television series. As well, I listened to Chris Hardwick discuss his past experience of moderating the Star Wars panel at SDCC. To top off the trifecta, I watched Felicia Day read an excerpt from her book that basically describes her rise from being on the sidewalk outside of SDCC to sharing an entire stadium of fans and followers.

What do the previous three stories have to do with each other? Well, they are all tales of setbacks, insecurities, lack of clarity and/or direction leading to eventual, massive success. Now, I don’t know how any of them did it and I have no clue how I can begin to replicate a fraction of what they have accomplished. Oddly though, it is slightly encouraging to see others actually manage to achieve something similar to what I want.

I know I will have to make some tough decisions very soon and that there will be an immense amount of challenges before hand, but if others were able to do it with not much more than I have (and in one mentioned case even less) maybe my dumb dreams are not so far fetched. Maybe that blind optimism will be enough to make the next step.

On Confusion and Distress…Sort Of

I have a few friends who are relatively successful in their chosen fields. Others are at least attempting to progress or make moves to try to do what they want with their lives. I see many more random strangers attempt to do the same through the lens of social media into their lives. I witness this and wonder how the fuck they manage to make any progress in their lives.

No, seriously, I have no clue how they do it. I genuinely want to peek into their brains and figure out where this motivation and drive and purpose comes from. If I could also figure out a way to somehow bottle whatever I find into a dispensable form for later use, it would not be objectionable.

What motivates people? And before the standard answers of self, money, sex, dreams, and other bullshit come through, it is not that simple. After all, if the promise of a better result or conclusion was all it took, there would be a metric shit ton of more people accomplishing a lot more in their lives. So how do people get off their ass and make shit happen?

Personally, I am baffled by the sheer scope of experience, work, time, etc. that stands between myself and where/who I want to be. Hell, the gap between me now and even just the next step seems daunting.

I am beginning to wonder if perhaps I am meant to be one of those individuals who simply had big dreams but accomplished none of them. Frankly, it happens. There are thousands upon thousands of people who had a similar fate. It seems arrogant to think yourself above this level. Is that what is missing? Is a sense of arrogance that I am deserving of what I desire needed to finally succeed? No, seriously I am asking because I am kind of spiraling right now and unsure of what to do.

The most basic advice I keep seeing and hearing is to just keep working at it, but there has to be more to it than just hard work, right? When is it enough and time to call it in?

I need to do something and soon; I just have no clue what. Any ideas? I kind of need some help.

On Stagnation and Progress (Or Lack Thereof)

Feel like I am in another rut recently with no clue how to get out of it or make any form of progress toward some sort of foreseeable future. I am trying not to complain or fall into a pit of despair and/or depression, but it is not an easy thing. And frankly it is getting harder and harder. I’ve managed to not go full bat shit crazy with the writing and drawing serving as creative distractions and soul filling activities. The occasional trip to see old comrades and commiserate also helps immensely. Unfortunately, I know that will eventually not be enough.

Basically, I need a major change and have no clue how to make it happen. It seems so simple on paper, right? Want to change something? Just do it. But then reality sinks in and you realize that you have bills, loan payments, rent, and other crap that requires money, time, and resources. Essentially, the whole ‘being a responsible adult with actual life shit’ kind of gets in the way of pursuit of goals/dreams/etc.

Either way, I know I won’t last too much longer. Something needs to change, and soon.

Admittedly, this was pretty much just a weird rant. Anyone have any ideas as to how to get out of a life rut? (I’ll try practically anything at this point)

On Leisure

Do you ever just feel utterly burnt out? As in, you just need a few days of nothing but mindless entertainment and randomness to deal with everyday life bullshit? No? Just me then? Well, then I guess you can stop reading well adjusted person. Go on with enjoying your seemingly blissful life.* For everyone else, how do you deal?

No, honestly. I am reaching a boiling point and it is barely the middle of the year. Frankly, school, at least in the U.S., gives false hope and expectations based on an idiotic and outdated farming system. For the entirety of K-12 education, we would get two weeks off in December and two to three months off in the summer. Pretty much the same, if not more, during college, but as soon as you are done with school, which is supposed to prepare you for the real world, your ass better be doing something “productive” 8 – 12 hours a week or you get nothing.

I really miss the easy, breezy days of summer being able to do whatever the hell you wanted without any real responsibilities. Now, as an adult, I apparently have to do a job and shit. I mean, I guess I could quit and go try to live in the woods away from society or something, but I really like running water and toilet paper. Leaves do not seem like a viable replacement. Even the few hobbies that I have as a means of distraction and leisure are beginning to seem like a secondary occupation.

Seriously. I sometimes fear playing video games because I know that there will be a commitment of time and energy to fully engage in the experience promised through the sweet, sweet graphics and story. Mass Effect, anyone? Hell, I started this blog as a means of continuing to try to write and take my mind off my job/home/work/life goals situation, and now it’s beginning to feel like another responsibility. Granted, it is still something I enjoy doing and sort of feel compelled to do (Not in a bad way or anything. As in, I feel bad if I don’t write and post on this thing on the basis I set up for myself, if that makes sense)

Science, and basic common sense, states that we need to space out and relax, but why must it be so difficult to do so? Thankfully, I am barely feeling burnt out at the moment, and the few luxuries and activities I have still provide a reprieve. Not sure what I will do if that ever changes, but based on previous experience alcohol will most likely be involved.

So, how do you relax and/or let loose? Are your hobbies and passions a side gig or just merely simple relaxing activities?

On Selling Out

I won’t go into too much more on this topic since Anna speaks on the more poignant points. Frankly, I never understood the notion of “selling out” when lauded at artists, creatives, or artists. Making money off one’s work isn’t selling out; it’s basic commerce and the basis of the capitalist system.

You make something that people enjoy. You try to monetize it. If your audience is unwilling to pay you for what you make then you have to find other revenue streams like advertisements, product placements, etc. There is this expectation of free content available to the masses, particularly through online channels and sources, but people get that making videos, music, art, etc. isn’t cheap, right?

All those pieces of media that you love took someone to make. It probably required at least a few hours for them to make that particular song, artwork, video. Add to that the cost of supplies and ability to upload and host the content somewhere. Then, add the years of practice and study that it probably took that individual to get to a point in their craft that they were comfortable showing their work to the public.

After all that, are you going to really chastise someone for wanting to eat, pay rent and bills, make money for more ongoing and future projects, or simply make some extra cash for the occasional expense and luxury like a movie or something?

Selling out is not trying to make money off your work. Selling out is compromising your ideals and morals and ethics to make money. If that didn’t happen, the artist just wants to be able to make a living off doing what they love and to have enough to keep doing it.

Really, having the occasional fifteen second blurb or ad at the end of a video or the occasional social media post about something that interests the artist that they think their audience might also enjoy is little price to pay for your “free” content that you enjoy.