Category Archives: Writing

Sad Songs; they say so much

I like sad songs.  Once could almost say I collect them.  They’re comfortable; they feel like a part of me.  The more primal and raw the emotion in the singers voice the better.  Tonight a collected a new favorite.  I’ll link it at the end of the post.

I sometimes think that my natural state is sad.  I take antidepressants and maintain a (mostly) cheerful attitude for those around me.  No one likes to deal with a sad man.  But when I can bury myself in a sad song, lose myself to it, it feels like home.

Do not misunderstand me, I have a great life.  I have a wonderful wife and child that both make me very happy.  I am surrounded by a loving family and amazing friends.  I don’t have to “act” happy around them; it comes naturally around them.  Even that honest happiness, though, is exhausting.  That joy doesn’t feel like my ground state, it requires excitation (if you’ll excuse the chemistry analogy).  “Normal”, if there is such a thing, is sad.

Some people think that sounds awful, I’m sure.  I don’t.  I’m okay with being sad.  Most people, my wife included I’m sure, don’t understand that.  I feel creative and alive when I’m sad.  As an example, since I started focusing on the people who make me happy, I’ve quit writing creatively.  I miss that part of me, but it was something I gave up in order to keep those I care about.

Some days I feel like my happy life is a fleeting thing that will be stripped from me.  Almost like some plot arch.  I wrote, I lost writing and gained family and friends and happiness, then I lose it all and go on to write some special thing that solves a plot dilemma or something.  I don’t know.  It’s a half formed thought.  I don’t know how to fully put it in to words.  Just that I feel that at some point I will lose it all.  Maybe that’s the sad songs speaking, though.

Anyways, as promised, my new favorite sad song:  Sound of Silence by Disturbed

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I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
-Steven Wright

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
-Earnest Hemingway

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”
-Isaac Asimov

Ah, writing advice; I lave and hate thee.  I’ve got that urge to write, still, but I think I’m intimated by it.  It’s been so long since I’ve made a serious effort to write, that the very idea of it scares me.  Which I don’t like, cause I used to love writing.  I’m sure if I can just get going, I could get back in to it.  Starting has, unfortunately, always been the hardest part for me.

I’m horrible at first drafts.  I critique every sentence trying to get it right before I move on.  I really need to stop that.  I think the gentleman over at This Blog has it just right and I need to just let the first draft out so I can get started.  Going to make another attempt at that today.  Here’s to hoping for the best!

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Books!

I’m all caught up on the Wheel of Time again.  Now I’m craving a good gritty fantasy novel to read.  Think “The Blade Itself”(and series) or Game of Thrones esque novels.  The next book in my stack to read is not in this vein.  “The Forging” by M.S. Verish.  I’m three (admittedly short) chapters in and it has yet to really interest me.  I hope it picks up soon or I may abandon it.  It would be one of only three books I’ve abandoned after a few chapters.  The other two being OtherWorld by Tad Williams and Magic of Recluse by L. E. Modesitt, Jr..  Otherworld is particularly surprising for me seeing as Tad Williams Dragonbone Chair (and series) is the only series I’ve ever taken the time to reread (Definitely on my all time favorite list).  I gave otherworld a good long time to interest me, after all Dragonbone Chair starts off really slow, but then becomes amazing.  Then I got distracted by something else and couldn’t bring myself to go back.  As amazing as Tad Williams is, he really needs to learn to take less time to get to the good stuff!

I’m feeling an intense need to write.  Not like write a blog post, but write a story.  I haven’t in some time and I’ve had several things around me recently that have driven the urge.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a story at the moment.  It’s driving me nuts.  I’ve tried to just start writing and that doesn’t work without having some idea what I’m writing.  oy vay.  wonder if I can find a random story idea generator online somewhere… I’ll probably try to get myself a good character idea and go from there.  For some reason characters come easier to me than stories.

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You only have 1 life to live, make it one you can be proud of

As an aside before I begin this post, I find it interesting how much environment effects mindset.  I composed most of this post while driving in to work this morning.  As soon as I got here, I jotted down some “sign posts” for myself on my notepad to remind me how I wanted it to flow.  I then sat down and started getting ready for my day of logical, analytical thinking.  As things got busy, I didn’t get around to writing the post until now.  I find that I am now having a hard time thinking the same way I was this morning.  The “creative juices” just aren’t flowing that way now.  Stuck in the overly logical mindset.

 

I have an advantage that many people sadly don’t have.  Well, I suppose that there are several if you analyze my life, but what I am referring to here is the fact that I had amazing teachers when I went to school.  I had at least one teacher every year I was in jr high and highschool that truly touched my life.  Which is not meant to discount some of the amazing teachers I had in elementary school.  I was truly blessed in the education dept.  One teacher, though, truly stands out.  Mr Ray was my creative writing teacher my Jr. year and my English teacher and adviser for the Literary magazine I was editor of my Sr year.

Mr Ray was a jazz musician who had taken about a decade off between highschool and college to tour the states with other great jazz musicians such as Gene Harris.  Then he settled down and got married and started teaching.  The man was a wealth of real world information, not just booksmarts, and very supportive of peoples dreams and nurturing intelligence.  Not just classic intelligence but artistic and emotional intelligence as well.  So, when he gave me advice, I usually took it to heart.  At one point towards the end of my Sr year, he told me about what he called a Gentleman’s Journal.  Now, I can’t find any reference online to this concept.  Certainly not under that name, nor any other variations I could think of.  The basic idea of this Journal was for a man to keep notes of quotations he liked, philosophical thoughts and ideas that occurred to him and advice for future generations.  The way he told me about this concept was in telling me that he hoped I kept one and got it published so he could read it one day.

When he told me about that, I thought it was a neat idea and figured I might consider it.  I wasn’t aware at that point how much of an impact the man had on my life or the significance of how highly I regarded his advice.  Looking back on that day now, I’m deeply honored that he would be interested in reading my Gentleman’s Journal.  I haven’t really kept such a thing in a single consolidated location, but I certainly have all of this scattered about from throughout the years.  This blog as well as others.  My facebook account.  Journals and notebooks I have around my house.  That sort of thing.

What brings all this to mind to me again is actually a lyric from a song I heard on my way to work this morning.  It wasn’t a song I’d ever heard before, and I only caught a small snippet of it as I was cruising stations.  “You only have one life to live, ” and another line I heard but don’t remember.  This got me thinking about all the variations of that phrase I’ve heard, which got me wondering about people on their death beds.  You hear things to the effect of you mostly regret the things you didn’t do.  I wonder, though, if that’s generally true and what life lessons could be learned from truly plumbing the experience of people who have lived long full lives.  Which brought me to the concept of the gentleman’s journal that Mr Ray had told me about all those years ago.

Now, I’m hardly old enough to give deep, meaningful life advice, but my completion to that quote would be “make it one you can be proud of.”  Now, that’s going to have different meanings to different people, and I think that’s part of what makes it good advice.  Trying to apply static advice to the masses is like trying to put the same dip on all foods.  I love ranch, but I wouldn’t want it on my cheesecake!

Like anyone, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes.  Maybe more than, considering all that I’ve been blessed with.  However, I feel that our mistakes are a large part of who we are.  They teach us, mold us and define us in to who we are just as much(maybe more so) than our successes.  I have things I truly regret, but regret is part of who we are as well.  The important part is, in my opinion, that we regret the right things and learn from them.  That we take our mistakes and use them to help make us a better person.  We all have mistakes, but if you can make the most of them, then you can live a life to be proud of.

I don’t think I’m any kind of expert on life or how to live it.  My philosophies on the matter are a stew of other peoples advice I’ve been given over the years.  I think it turns out pretty good, but like with any food, taste is subjective.  I’m going to start compiling my Gentleman’s Journal.  I have no delusions that I could possibly get it published, but thanks to Mr Ray, I have the gumption to try.  So, I say to you: You have only have one life to live.  Are you making it one you can be proud of?

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Gray Days

I suffer from depression, but I rarely feel depressed.  I talk to my doc about my rage, which surprises most people.  He says, though, that men frequently manifest depression as anger.  I’m a very laid back, friendly and easy going guy for the most part.  Off my meds, though, I get so angry I can barely control myself.  My first sting in anger management was in kindergarten, but it wasn’t until jr high that I was ever medicated.  As much as I hate relying on medication, it at least lets me be the person I really am, instead of consumed by anger.

While I rarely feel truly depressed, melancholy days are not uncommon.  I don’t know how often the average person feels melancholy, but it feels like I get those days more often than most.  I don’t mind them, though.  For lack of a better way to phrase it, they feel comfortable.  They seemed to be the norm during my teen years, and when they show up now it’s just very familiar.  It’s when I feel most like writing.  If they showed up more often, still, then I might have gone in to writing professionally.  Instead, as I’ve aged and they’ve tapered off, so has my writing, so that will not come to pass.  <shrug>

I think of these days as “gray days”.  They aren’t the black bleak depressing days, they’re just…. gray.  I like gray.  I tend to spend these days listening to a lot of music.  Mostly counting crows, though I also pull out a pretty eclectic collection of other music.  Mumford and Sons, Christina Peri, Pink, Blue October.  Oh man does Blue October hit the spot on those days.  It’s not uncommon for that man’s voice to bring me to verge of tears.

Today is a gray day.  I wish I could spend all day with a computer just focused on creating.  I guess that’s what it really is, not just writing, but creating; pouring forth emotion.  It’s just that writing is how I typically do that.  My wife hates these days because I tend to be overly touchy and cuddly.  Not that she doesn’t enjoy a good cuddle, but there’s a limit somewhere that these days don’t even notice as they blow past.

These days also make me miss living on the coast.  Seattle whether is just right for these days.  Grey clouds and rain, the brisk feel that permeates the air that close to the water.  Luckily, today is like that here, so that’s good (for me, anyways, my wife hates the rain).  It’s amazing how satisfying it feels when the weather matches your mood.

I swear I had a focus when I began this post, but whatever direction I was going for is long lost.

update – wow, 10 posts.  that’s a record for me blogging.  woot.

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Another day at the Cole Mines

Today is the first day since my “Very Bad Day” that I haven’t felt hung over.  Which is refreshing.  It’s still a very down day, though.  Possibly because I have been off of my antidepressants for most of a week.  As much as I try to convince myself that I don’t really need them and only take them to humor my wife, it’s days like this that kick that fantasy in the teeth.  While it may not sound like a big thing to many, I’ve been thinking today about quitting and finding different work.  Now, I normally love my job.  I love the company I work for.  There is talk of a promotion for me in the near future.  I really have no desire to quit.  I got a bad Q.A. today, though, and it simply hit just right with my emotional slump to bring up those thoughts.  It’s also kind of a slow day at work.  For some reason those always make me feel kind of sad.  I work in tech support; if it’s a slow day here, it means things are working right, so I should be happy.  It’s probably because it give me more time to dwell on things.  Like most depressives, when my mind has time to dwell, it usually finds something negative to dwell on.

Depression is a funny thing.  Okay, so not haha funny obviously, but odd.  When I was younger, I was quite obviously suffering from depression.  While I was that way I wrote, a lot.  I was good at it and it was something I was able to take a lot of joy in.  I didn’t write bad emo poetry or anything like that, I wrote novellas, short stories.  I tried to write novels, but never got very far.  I have always had a bad habit of not finishing big projects like that.  As soon as I got on antidepressants, though, I quit writing.  I’ve tried to write since then, and can’t even really get started.  It’s like depression was my muse.  I always thought I would be a writer.  So did many of the people who knew me.  I had a lot of talent.  Why can’t I have that talent when I’m not constantly depressed?

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