When did ‘looks depressed’ become the defining characteristic of what I present to the world? I’m listening to Gillian (something)’s Gone Girl via Audible - my new preferred method of literary input save for podcasts and the incessant, metronomic ‘click-click’ from differently-colored pixels colliding together in RuneScape. In the female protagonist’s description of the male protagonist, she explains that he ‘wears his cockiness like an ironic t-shirt.’ Let’s get this out of the way: good one. I, as I’m often wont to do, sat back and thought “yeah, that’s kind of like me.” It was a thought hatched from the mind of the person I used to be. It was the inner monologue equivalent of trying to take a bite out of the food that was just torn out from under my fork as the half-competent tableside magician pulls on the tablecloth. Do people have tableside magicians anymore? Do we live in the 1940s? Idiot. Moron. Fool. Stop writing. You’re not good. You’re garbage.
Something inside me stopped dead in its tracks at that thought. No, that’s not like me at all, I thought to myself. It used to be, but it isn’t anymore. I no longer wear a cockiness on my sleeve. A sort of self-assured confidence. What has replaced it is a frown I can feel on my mouth even right now as I write this. Sofia will tell me that people don’t think about me as much as I think they do. I know at least some people do, and I think those people can tell how much pain I’ve been feeling lately. Not everyone is a Target Cashier Shaman, or a Coffee Shop Psychotherapist. But some people, I think, can tell. At the very least, they don’t see the marginally-sexy confidence and austerity and enigma that I think I used to exude. I don’t feel that anymore. I feel lazy. I feel like I’m running in place. I feel bad. I just feel fucking bad. Not all of the time - he said, backspacing over ‘All of’ - but a lot of the time.
Cockiness carries a weight that it doesn’t deserve. It’s an embittered, distasteful weight sewn by a society who view self-confidence as being inherently dismissive of others. Or that it speaks of an assumed inferiority complex. If it’s actually ‘superiority,’ and not inferiority, DM me on Twitter. Call me at 904 397 4292 and tell me I’m wrong. But I think that cockiness can be tempered by those with the emotional intelligence to wield it. It’s not that those actualized few can be self-confident without cockiness, but rather that they can parse the inclination toward cockiness into something tasteful. In practice, it’s probably no different. Maybe this entire tangent about cockiness is cocky. The bad kind. The gross kind. The kind that makes you think “what the fuck is wrong with this guy? Who gives a fuck about his inner monologue. What a narcissist. What is he even getting out of this blog shit? Does he think it’s making him a better writer? LOL. Idiot.”
I pressed ‘pause’ on my audiobook specifically to write into this white text box. I wanted to snapshot the feeling of loss. I needed to capture the emotional blow that I took in realizing that depression has forceably modified my person. The guy in this novel might turn out to be a killer. Or a con man. Or a complex character that I wouldn’t condescend to attempt at riffing on the spot. People who are cut out to make a living off of the written word are the ones capable of doing that kind of thing. Maybe if I’m lucky, depression can forceably modify me into that person. In the meanwhile, all of the existing interpersonal connections I have will wilt and die. Fia will leave me. My friends will continue to distance themselves from their rapidly-imploding friend-of-a-friend. The cats will go with their more competent keeper. Can’t say I blame them.
I hope she doesn’t, though. I hope I can build up more scar tissue before that happens, though. I hope the cats continue to exist near me, though. I hope my friends come back.
I’ll be better, world. I swear. Just give me a chance.
Fuck. Why did I open this notepad?
I’ve been too nervous to do any journaling lately. A close confidant, life partner, and travelling companion recently called me out on my bullshit. We were sitting down for dinner. I was regaling her with my philosophy on honest art and how my creative output has been flowing like an open faucet recently as a result. I’ll save a long, tense conversation and say that she immediately saw through what I was doing. It still sort of shakes my core to know that I can be so attached to a perspective and be so blind to what it looks like – and is – from the outside. She told me, in language that both protected me and let me down gently, that I was justifying doing the ‘easy’ thing. I wasn’t working on any projects that are actually advancing my career. I was writing journals and blogs and bullshit, unedited, unfiltered words that amounted to nothing. I justified it by saying that it was fundamentally ‘honest.’ Honestly, I think this ‘honest art’ thing has something to it. Justifying inertia is not what that something is. Sure, it was making me happy, but Fia asked me point-blank if she can count on me to work towards a future that benefits both of us. As a member in this partnership of ours. I wasn’t able to say for certain that I could. I was hurt that she took it to a financial place immediately. What she was doing – we both decided later – was trying to get me to see what I was doing to myself.
That night wasn’t a good night. I drove for about an hour, completely by myself, completely convinced that I was better off dead. I learned a lot about myself that night. I learned that my relationship holds a dangerous amount of cards for my mental health and stability. I learned that if that relationship is in jeopardy, I am. I wanted to die. I kept opening my mouth and being unable to say anything beside “I kind of want to die.” I berated myself for being an idiot. Fia told me that I hadn’t been putting in much effort into our relationship lately. That I haven’t been giving her what she needs and what she wants out of a relationship with me. I haven’t felt that bad since I lived with my mother. That hopeless. I also learned that driving to a foreign place without my travelling partner is not something that I want to do anymore. Not if I can avoid it. I think we both need to grow and and advance ourselves separately from one another. The thought of that scares me, but the thought of losing her scares me more. I’m terrified of being alone. My mind eats itself when I am. That night, I was curled up on the floor of the shower, bawling, with Fia brushing my hair. It’s my depression. It has really narrowed my focus onto a stripped-out group of action items. I work on my writing. Everything else is baseline. Everything else is static. It can wait. It can be better when I use my writing as a catalyzing enzyme that reshapes my life into what I want it to be. Then I can be romantic. Then I can whisk her off at 3AM onto a plane for an exotic location. Then it’s picnics. Gestures. Exercising. Doctor visits. Vet visits. Working on the logistics of moving. Working on the logistics of living together moving forward. How I can tangibly help her get to the life that she wants.
If I want to hang onto her – and if I want to actually get to the life I want – I need to figure out how to balance. In a way that I don’t think she was aware of, January was right. I need to learn how to balance. I’m not convinced that I need how to learn how to be happy at work. I still think this ‘honesty’ thing in art is worth mulling over some more and trying to imbue into my (real) work. But the important part is that I carve out time to show the people and things I care about that I care about them. Make sure Fia knows I care. Make sure the things I’m responsible for – like the cats or my health – are tended to. They all can’t shrivel up and die as I spend all of my time and energy watering and trimming the stray branches off of this immaculately maintained plant that is my art.
Actionable steps forward:
Buy the camera I need for my AR projectsBuy voice over recording equipmentOrganize (with her) some gesture to show her I careSee a dentistTake the cats to the vetBuy new running shoesRun againMasturbate lessStop writing things like item 8 because it isn’t true and just meant to be funnySleep moreStarting now
Yesterday, I published something that I’m proud of. A diminutive subvoice of my inner monologue makes one of those half-groan, half-gasp noises when I remember that I titled it “I want to rape people.” That involuntary response graduates into a full-on “why did you do that?” when I check my analytics on how many eyeballs have scanned that piece on Medium. I remember, then, that I liked what I wrote enough to publish it in multiple places. I tweeted it. I posted on reddit promoting it. I removed the link on my website with a Google+ icon that, when clicked, actually pulled up my blog. It was my backhanded way of both publishing my inner monologue while not fully copping to doing so. Instead, the word ‘ADVERTISEMENT’ got added to the navigation bar. That’s about as bright of a spotlight as I dare shine on this.
Now, though, I’m confronted with a feeling that I haven’t encountered in a while.
(Line break for emphasis.)
When I was big into writing long diatribes about music - ones that I condescended to refer to as “essays” - I was constantly struggling with getting my words read. I would agonize over my view count. I would post on reddit promoting my work. I would tweet to my twenty-something followers, half of which are definitely accounts run by people hoping I would follow them back and haven’t gotten around to unfollowing me because I didn’t. I would blast it out to all of my (small) social circles. For the first time since my stint as an ‘essayist,’ I did that again. I did it yesterday, with my blog piece about rape and the creative process.
I complained about the lack of views for a piece with a title I felt was pretty damn grabby. In response, he said that he read the title and first thought in his inner voice “oh, that’s interesting.” According to this friend, his own inner monologue bore the tone that one would take with a six year old when they were showing off their toys. I responded with what I felt was reasonable:
I’ll die tomorrow having never found an audience, and I’ll go screaming into the dirt.
I’m really ‘trying’ with this blog entry. I can feel myself consciously considering phrasing. Flow. Meter. When to say names and when not to. How my tone will be perceived. This is when my writing falls apart. I was reading a piece from another (fuck, I’m one of them) Medium writer today who was bemoaning her inability to write genuinely. I would have and do use the term ‘honestly’ in exchange for her particular choice of diction. For me, it’s ‘genuinely’ or nothingly. It’s not worth doing if I can’t do it genuinely. It would be another trying-too-hard music essay about tech companies and the power of music. It would be a weeklong project that accomplishes nothing. I’m not disparaging her sentiment on her own writing - I’m saying this for her benefit assuming she ever reads this (she won’t) - but I do feel like I have that as an advantage. It’s a painful one to have. It feels like growth, though.
I just reread that last paragraph. That’s exactly what I’m trying not to do. It’s compulsory. It’s a sickness. To polish. To evaluate and reconfigure. I started this blog a year ago for the express purpose of self-imposed psychotherapy. Now I’m combing back through my own words in hopes of thinking “yeah, that’s worth a Medium post.” Or a tweet. Or a direct message to a friend who will silently patronize me. At least he had the decency to keep it to himself until I pryed further.
That would be a pretty bow on this blog entry, but fuck you. I’ve got more stuff to bitch about.
Thing one: I hate that I’m feeling better at my day job.
Thing two: I hate going home and feeling like my day has gotten me no closer to being the person I want to be.
Thing three: Fuck you, Sofia’s parents, for thinking you know how my path ahead looks and can advise on it. You’re the product of college and money and planning and security. I’m a trailblazing goblin with no parents and no god. I’m traveling this path that you haven’t trodden, so how dare you assume your advice is needed? It’s baseless. It’s inaccurate. I’m out here trying to create the job I want and give it to myself. Your life had an application process and at least a dozen interviews.
Thing four: I spend too much on coffee every week. The coffee shop is the bar for people who don’t drink, and there is no social stigma over drinking coffee at any hour of the day. People assume you just need that kick to continue to live life.
Thing four: I have to go back to work now. Can’t wait to talk about metal prices and end user quotes. Fuck.
We - where ‘we’ is defined as ‘members of Western culture,’ whatever that means in this globalized world - are obsessed with honesty. I don’t attribute ‘we’ in the narcissistic sense because I am personally obsessed with honesty. I say that knowing full well I can’t be confident in that disclaimer. But I want to stencil out here why that assertion tracks with the zeitgeist.
When stepping back to analyze mainstream art - damn, this is a good observation. Good job, self - the trend of what is considered ‘good’ follows along with art that is at its most base. Tyler, the Creator releases an jazz rap, acid hop masterpiece called “(Scum Fuck) Flower Boy” that speaks openly about his struggles as an artist. He speaks on his feeling of isolation, the demand to deliver, and living as normal of a life as possible under the scrutiny of the public. Fuck, he even talks about the difficulty of being ‘honest’ through his art. The last two projects by Kanye West are swirling, complex compositions that illustrate his jagged mental state. He disparages the public for judging him. He disparages his inner circles for taking advantage of him. The Life of Pablo is considered by many - myself included - as his personal best. The high water mark for his creative output. It is, boiled down until the ligaments and tendons separate and the statements will out, Kanye West speaking openly and honestly.
I’m sort of losing steam for what I had to say in this piece, but I know it’s there. I want to dig in a little further and fight the urge to polish until this message is uncomprehendable. My urge is to polish it until it’s dead. But my creative output has quintupled - fuck you for that choice of word - since embarking on this odyssey to be honest in every word I clack onto the screen. I kind of hate writing in pen, by the way. My hand cramps up. Why would I pick a medium that imposes physical, biological limitations rather than the run-of-the-mill mental one?
Here’s another thought, or two: I think I have good ideas. My honest voice wants to recall those ideas in the most scattered way possible. The ideas themselves are broken across multiple journal entries. They’re left standing split-legged across the canyon of paragraphs I weave in between them. Hell, look at how far back my loose end is up there. I opened this notepad document in order to talk about honesty in art and I’m talking about myself for the last two paragraphs. I bitched about hand cramps.
Maybe this is why people use editors. Any editor I work with would have their work cut out for them. Maybe Riley, Sofia’s closest friend and a less close friend of mine, would make a good copy editor for me.
An enterprising fraud/charlatan/cheat/thief/pirate/writer/businessperson could find my obscure little blog. They could parse my ideas, boil them down - like the metaphor I used earlier - until the ligaments and tendons (read: the last 400 words of bullshit I’ve written) fall away and publish the scraps. The core of my thoughts that contain valuable observations. Are my observations valuable, though? Why do I think that? I want to get back to my point about honest art. Where do I pick up?
This craving for honest art and content shows itself like cuttings from some great plant that blossom on their own into celebrated growths on their own. We award them with blue best-in-show ribbons. The creators, or in this metaphoric context, the herbalists or botanists that reared them, are given the consolation prize of a living wage creating art. Some of them (rappers, TV show creators) are given the living wage of a dozen people. Holy shit. Did I stumble upon why people have drafts?
A seemingly-innocuous Youtube music reviewer garners millions of views for his views on pop rap. He goes on tour giving his thoughts to crowds of real-life warm bodies. A TV show creator starts a podcast where he conducts psychotherapy-by-committee-of-people-who-pay-for-a-ticket. That podcast goes on tour. Meanwhile, a rap artist tries a bit too hard to make good music and all of the sudden they’re being told their career is over. That’s the mistake, though. They lost sight of what made their output good in the first place. They weren’t thinking hard enough. They thought themselves into a corner, where the only viable exit strategy is to force it. It stopped being honest at that point, and started being good. If you followed me this far, I’m hoping you’re ahead of me on this, reader-who-doesn’t-exist: when it started being good, it started being bad.
The fucked up dichotomy of it all is that the ones who try the hardest are the ones with the flawed execution. That said, I’m over here hardly trying at all and I’ve got zero audience. Take every thought I have with a void of salt.
It feels like viewing the world through this lens is seeing the Matrix code. It explains what makes art good, and what makes art bad. It explains why some people make it and some people don’t. It’s the authenticity that runs through the center of our collective subconscious. The ones with the wherewithal to harness that and speak from it are the ones we put in the throne seat and hoist up onto our shoulders. I want to talk about more examples of honest artists who find their audience. It’s going to take some consideration, and I’m going to not be afraid of that. It’s not making this thing that I’m writing bad, self.
John Gorman is a Medium writer who writes from the heart about his life. He can write 30-minute-read retellings of the twilight of his life. Thousands of people read it. They applaud for it.
Frank Ocean imbues cosmic R&B production into the backing track of his observation on fame, artistry, depression, love, and being famous for all of the above.
I’m referencing my music library to find honest artists.
I’ve already mentioned Tyler, the Creator and Anthony Fantano. Kanye West.
Phillip DeFranco gets closer to what an entertainment commodity looks like. His output serves a purpose that benefits people. It informs them. But I would attribute that ‘X factor’ behind his channel to his authentic, honest passion for being that thing that benefits people.
Linus Sebastian, who runs Linus Tech Tips, has such a burning intensity for technology that it soaks into every thing his company puts out. His on-camera personality is augmented and enhanced by this.
Bill Wurtz, the Youtube King of improvised, weird music, doesn’t let the trappings of rational thought hinder his output. His music may very well be his version of outputting his inner monologue into music. Few barriers between input and output.
Inverse examples are weaker than the inverse of that thing I just said. But I think my thesis, the logline of which is “Honesty is the driving force behind every celebrated piece of art” is supported by the inverse well. Look at any artist who put out something that felt ‘forced.’ Kanye’s Yeezus comes to mind. I wish I was more versed in art. I wish I could speak on literary examples. Paintings. All I know is music. Accepting that makes me feel less ashamed of my bid to become a celebrated music essayist while resenting Fantano for garnering such a fan base simply sharing his opinion.
There are a couple of concessions that I need to make for this point. It could be that my narcissistic perspective on this paradigm is self-fulfilling. I like honest art, so it must be that all good art is honest. The ‘yes, and’ to that point is that “if I like the art, it must be honest.” It could be that I’m leading myself by the nose to my own convenient answer. I’m reading into the lyrics in a way that arrive at that problem. I’m changing what comes after the equal sign and subconsciously designing what comes before to make the solution work.
I think I write more in these Notepad documents when I’m at work because it’s favorable to actually working. That’s a comforting thought.
I want to write.
I honestly, actually do.
I’m not saying “I want to write” as part of a solution to the grand mathematical thesis that outputs happiness and fulfillment. I don’t say it as a form of salve for my sore, inflamed subconscious, as there is a comfort in entertaining a desire to create. I like to think that I’m past all of that. There was a time — these erstwhile days of yore — where I would think “I want to write. Okay, now what do I write? What do I want to say? How do I say that? What does the structure of that look like? How can I craft a system that spits out that product?” (How would you rate the use of the word ‘erstwhile’? I just wanted to use the word. Seems like a good word. Bit Fraiser.)
I’ve grown more capable of parsing the desire to write. I know what to do with that lust. Arriving at the term ‘lust,’ that takes me down a new tangent. What if the desire to write is like any other worldly lust? Could it be that writing is an inherent, base desire in all of us? Writing is a heroine dose of speaking. No, not speaking. That was stupid. Let me take that again. (The previous two sentences were afterthoughts given form at the benefit of a hypothetical, non-existent reader in order to make it flow more easily. But this big parenthetical aside explaining their origin is sort of defeating any benefit they might have insofar as flow.) Writing is a heroine dose of feeling. Intention. Expression. The need to be heard. We all want to be heard. Anyone who would identify as a ‘writer’ like I do is just arrogant enough to think that their words need a more prepackaged, distributable model in order to be more easily disseminated. Hang on. I need to scroll back up to see where I was going with that. Be right back.
What if the lust to be heard — and the output of that lust in the form of black pixels — needs a healthy expression just like any lust? Even the lust that we all think of when I invoke the word ‘lust.’ I want to fuck, and I want to because it feels good. It makes me feel good. But if I took that lust when it crops up and agonized over it and turned it into something malformed and contorted, the net effect of that lust could be potential monstrous. Wiping the sweat off of that phrasing, if I took my physical lust and then went around raping people that would be bad. It would be an unhealthy reaction to having lust. Letting the lust corrupt all rational thinking or shove it to the side.
What I’m getting at is that good writing — the writing that I’ve been practicing (read: attempting to practice) — is like raping people. It’s a lust to be heard with as many barriers removed between that lust and its effect the world as possible.
Anyone who reads this is going to thinking I’m a fucking crazy person. And a rapist. That’s why I’m titling this blog entry “I want to rape people.” At least that’ll get me some redirected .gov page views. I’ll take ‘em.
This line of thinking, after sitting on it for about an hour, strikes me as further evidence that I’m a narcissist. Regardless of how out-of-fashion self-centered narcissism (is there any other kind, idiot?) is, my conflation of “honest writing” with rape paints this whole blogging venture in a bad light. I’m taking my most honest sentiment — in that this blog is me outputting my inner monologue — and publishing it. I’m publishing it for the entire world to see. I’m doing it in the most violent, soul rending way possible (see: any of my previous 3 blogs) by making it as unfiltered as I can. I want to rape the entire world, and that’s why it makes people uncomfortable when I say “I’m going to put my all of my private journals on the internet.” That’s why it’s a good idea. I’m attaching a radio tower to my manic depression and broadcasting it to the planet. I chase my thoughts like white cotton tails on gangrenous, diseased rabbits down whatever turns they take. I accept any tangents that poison the well from which I’m bucketing, and tell the hypothetical reader to go fuck themselves if they complain about it.
I hope I’m able to get a ‘big break,’ so some desk riding newshound gets to rip ‘I want to rape the entire world’ out of context. And then Philip DeFranco gets to pay hundreds of dollars for his team of employees to create a video defending me. And they get to title the video “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY AROUND JOHN HART.”
Apparently writing blog entries at work is the new normal. Not that I’m complaining - that means I have more time in the evening to not write anything else at all.
Today is international Safety Day 2018. I’m sitting at my desk in the air conditioning. I sprayed a digital fire extinguisher at a digital fire in a digital simulation of what to do if you find yourself in a digital cataclysm. Digital, digital, digital, forever. Today is also my five year anniversary with the girl who’s currently sleeping in our shared bed on the day off she took. I’ve got about ten minutes until I have to go join the rabble to rouse up some food. Barbecue. Ice cream that’s going to make me fat again. I’d much rather be eating my prepared lunch that isn’t prepared today. Sit here and listen to polyphonic woodcutting noises underneath some Tyler, the Creator. Type this. Today is a ‘write all the numbers out in their phonetic versions’ type of day. Up to you to figure out what that means. DM me on Twitter once you do. Hopefully you can save me.
I’m starting to think these blog entries are an amplifier for the pre-existing mental state they’re spoken from. If I’m feeling depressed, the exorcism of that depression through text leads me like a donkey following a strung carrot into the twisted, sticky brambles. They’re sticky because they’re wooden. Fuck you. Happy feelings, similarly, are given a loudspeaker. Could be because I’m addicted to the sound of my own voice. Anyone who says I’m not a narcissist is woefully- no, that’s not fair. If I never looked up, only reading about the sky’s assumed blue, I would be skeptical too. Who are you to tell me the sky is blue? I am the fucking sky, and I’m telling you that I’m a narcissist. My selection of metaphor to describe the breadth of my narcissism should enhance the impact of my screaming, loudly, at this page “I’M A NARCISSIST, PLEASE KILL ME.”
I probably need to get going. More fake smiles. More forced social interactions - though they’re getting easier. Reference my previous blog entry in which I describe settling my metaphysical ass into the bean bag chair of this life. I know more people’s names. I know product information and have it more readily available when needed. I laugh at the socially-acceptable jokes people tell me. At least for now I can guise it with “it’s because I just don’t give a fuck at all. I’m being myself.” If I was confident in that assessment, I wouldn’t hesitate to get myself fired. Honestly, though, I would tell the plant manager my aspirations and how far of a departure they are from this workforce. I’d do it thinking I could sweep him up in my whirlwind and prompt a checkbook to open. He’d cut me a check to fund my projects on the way as he escorts me to the front gate.
Speaking of which, I need to go and do everything in my power not to make a left and head for the gate myself.
Hope I win some Disney tickets in the rabble raffle.
Post-raffle update: I did not.
Post-raffle-update-update: If I have the wherewithal and am lucid later on this evening, I need to touch base with this blog then. I’ve got some insecurity, anxiety, and painful authenticity (you’re welcome) to excise.
I just pressed ‘pause’ on my podcast. Only the rhythmic click-click-click of the RuneScape tree cutting sound effect is left. It’s being piped into my ear via the one earbud I have in my right ear. Hidden behind that in the minimalist sound palette is the looping twinkle of the magic trees that my pixelated avatar is chopping down. When I first started playing this game at my desk, I was convinced that the sound would drive me crazy. That was a whole entire job ago, and it ended up that the job itself would drive me crazy. To this day, I lament the time I spent there. I resent the waste. It was time spent in misery. A total commute time of 2 hours, plus the inevitable 8 hours spent there each day. At least my current misery is only 15 minutes away. I’m paid nearly double. I’m situated at the back of a row of cubicles and rarely see visitors. I’m able to sit and write this blog/journal/diary entry right now. It’s 11:25AM on a dreary Tuesday morning. I’m wearing battered, cheap dress shoes, a wrinkled collared button-down, and a pair of faded chinos.
The process engineer that sits down the hall from me - perennially disgruntled and dissatisfied from the tribulations of dealing with a backwards corporate culture - just stopped by my desk. On my behalf, he inquired with the HR manager about a detail of the unavoidable waste of time “Safety Day 2018” will be, which occurs tomorrow. He asked a question. He received an answer to a question he did not ask. He was justifiably baffled and frustrated. It’s par for the course around here. The more I feel the frustration penetrate me, the further ingrained I feel into this job. The further I feel my ass making room for itself in the depths of systemic misery that is my working a day job. The further I feel my body slotting itself into a conveniently body-shaped hole in the comfort of misery. I’ve been here before. I lost two years of my life here. This nook in the universe is familiar to me. The keys on my key ring still glide into the lock without grinding against the pins inside the tumbler.
I’m experimenting today. I’m going to do without the podcast for a while. Maybe not all day, but a while. It has just occurred to me that I haven’t even considered exercise for the better part of a month. I’m still paying for a gym membership. I still have running clothes and other miscellaneous gear hanging in the closet. Maybe I shouldn’t have turned the podcast off. Hang on - I’ve got a full inventory of logs in RuneScape. The have now been deposited. Riveting storytelling, right? Not like I have anything better to do today except look forward to leaving. I’ve secured a sale on an unused Nest E learning thermostat that I’ll probably be picking up this evening if all goes smoothly. I put myself in these situations of buying used stuff that I stress out about. I won’t know if the thing works until long after I’ve exited striking distance of the seller. 40 minutes, about. I’ve made a reddit post asking for guidance from internet strangers how to conduct any kind of field testing.
I’ve been wallowing in this depression mire for going on two weeks. My five year anniversary with Sofia is tomorrow, August 29th, 2018. I haven’t gotten her a present. No jewelry - but she would say she doesn’t like much jewelry to protect my feelings. No candy - even though she’s trying to cut back. No flowers - even though she’d say they would just die. No trips planned - even though we have tentative, utterly unplanned plans for this weekend. I’m afraid to peel back the layers on why all of that is. I’m terrible about birthdays. I’m terrible about occasions. Gifts. Sentiment. I’ll plan for months about how and when I can buy myself something. When it comes to other people, I can’t. I bought Kenny - a close friend - a copy of my favorite game when it came out. Break that down with me. I bought someone else a game that I like because I wanted to impose upon them how good the game is. On the one hand, you could say I wanted to share it with him. On the other, you could say I don’t care what he would’ve liked for his birthday and that I was giving myself the gift of my own favorite game forced on other people. I could have gotten Fia anything. A jigsaw puzzle. Earrings. An Airbnb in absolutely anywhere but where we live now. Clothes. RuneScape membership. But no. I didn’t do any of those things. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t care about her - no, that doesn’t feel right. I care deeply about her. I don’t know if it’s because I care more about myself. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t understand her enough. Maybe it’s a financial barrier. Maybe I feel resentment that I’m leaned on so heavily financially. I’ll profess that I enjoy and selflessly offer that support to her, but maybe I see her as a financial burden. Spending additional dollars is more difficult that way. I’m my fucking mother. I’ll declare love daily, but maybe this discovery means they’re routine. When it comes to backing that check I write, I fail to deliver. I feel like a fucking failure, at least. It was a real mistake to pause that podcast.
Here are some more gift ideas that I didn’t execute on:
• Nail polish and nail art supplies
• Keith Haring anything
• Hiking gear to show my support for her unrequited desire to hike
• Camera equipment - this benefits my fucking self and I didn’t do it
• Planning a candle-lit dinner
I’m probably an even worse person for thinking “oh, and doing anything now is even more disingenuous.” Convenient position to take. That way I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t, but financially unmolested. I planned to spend $80 on a fucking robo thermostat but I can’t buy my fiancee a god damn pair of shoes. I’m such a loser. I’m an awful other. A part of me wishes that she would just announce that I don’t deserve her so I can bottom out into the inky void and never come out. Zombify completely. Reduce myself into a fat, out-of-shape person-shaped void in the cosmos that is routinely and procedurally filled with Star Trek and RuneScape that excels at its day job. I kind of want to die. Dying would make Sofia sad. Happy anniversary. I got you what I would inevitably get you anyway.
I can’t even leave for lunch today. My car is parked on the opposite side of the entire plant. I’d have to walk about 1/2 of a mile to get to my car. By the time I was sucking down another overpriced coffee, I would’ve been due back at my desk cell. I wonder if Fia got me anything either. If she didn’t, does that mean our relationship is better off dead? Maybe it already fucking is. God, I hope someone reads this hum-dinger of a blog entry. No, I’m not this bad all the time. Yes, a lot of the times I’m this bad. Fuck you.
This entry is titled “the inner monologue of a severely depressed ‘writer.’” That aside, I wonder if I can buy the Nest E off of this potential criminal and also buy one from Target. Stay with me, here. I’ll take the brand new one from Target and swap it for whatever this guy gives me. I’ll then return that to Target. Worst case scenario, that one is purchased by another human and returned as broken. Target, a megacorporation, damages out that unit and the world keeps spinning. This is known colloquially as return fraud. If the guy who sells me a Nest E does so knowing it works perfectly and I do this, then the only criminal is me. Or both of us are criminals if he knowingly sells me faulty shit. At the end of the day, I’m still a criminal. That brings me no joy. Neither does wasting $80. Fia would pretend not to judge me for that, but silently she would think that I’m a bad person. Or maybe she would just be conflicted on it. At this rate, I’m going to be writing this journal entry all day or until I get fired.
I was happier on unemployment. I’ve written about this in previous blog entries. It the unverified self-assurance that if given infinite time I would create infinitely made reified. I created. I wrote daily. I was, albeit in a minor and unsustaining way, compensated for what I created. I formed an entirely fake identity and built it into a tiny, fledgling brand for myself. If I picked it back up today, I would have hundreds of people celebrating the return. “Funemployment” is a term I read about on reddit. It’s more complex for me than “I had a lot of time to play video games.” Of course it is. I’m a genius ordained by the multiverse to become a success story - although I wonder how many alternate-choice-reality versions of me ended up killing himself. But “funemployment,” for me, needs a more apt portmanteau. Fulfilmemployment? That loses the pithy wordplay of fUNemployment. Fuck it. I bet a lot of creatives without steady jobs feel that way, though, and are instead at war with their finances. Goes to show that anyone will make a life-ending..
Is this what being suicidal feels like?
I don’t think I want to actually die. I’m cripplingly sad at the moment. Dying is a final solution of escape from sadness. If I feel like this for the next year or so straight, I could see myself being suicidal. I would want out. Depression, for me - fuck off with that ‘for me’ shit, idiot. It’s obviously for you. Your name is in the domain. Wait, no it isn’t because you’re too pussy to change your own name - has been transitory. As of this moment, I’d say it’s a toss up between whether or not I feel like this a week from now. But, then again, I have no idea when the next “parent marriage proposal announcement dinner” event will happen. I don’t know when I’ll - to invoke the extended, hack metaphor from yesterday - open my eyes to the familiar sight of the inside of a dank limestone jail cell where all of the color has faded from the world.
I want to text Sofia, but I texted her an hour or two ago and she hasn’t responded. That typically means that her boss is near enough that she doesn’t feel like she can risk it. She’s not logged into RuneScape. Even if I do text her, what would I say? Any of the demands I make to turn white pixels into black ones are stained with sadness. My texts are sad. My blogs are sad. My story concepts - the ones I’ve noted about, not written (of course not) - are sad. Yesterday, Fia and I had a long, tense chat about my depression and the way that affects our conversation. She’s weary of it. My instinct is to be defensive and demand she endure me. Why should she? For the assumption that I’ll be better at some point? Not even I’m sure that will happen. If it does, I don’t know when that will be. I feel like I can put bounds on my annoyance for Sofia through this lens. I want to go home and crawl up into a ball and disappear into the void. She wants to live life. That’s a conflict. When she doesn’t want to live life and is compatible with me balling up and waiting to die, I feel guilty. I feel complicit. I feel like I’m the reason. I’m the reason she’s not living life to the fullest. Making friends. Orgasming. I’m the weight tying her down to inadequacy. It’s probably for the best that she postponed getting married.
My therapist told me that Fia and I have communication issues. This was a bit of a blow. I always felt like we had good, honest, open communication. Fuck it. Who cares? I care. I don’t want to care. I want to sink into the black ichor that Riker was dragged into on that one season 1 episode of TNG. Last night, I got home, ate, and then fell asleep next to Sofia. I woke up in with both of us in the positions we started in. I wanted to get up and do something. Write. Play Shenmue. Instead, I got up. I brushed my teeth. I washed my face. I moisturized. I went back to bed. The evening spent after work was only marginally more of an existence that I normally conduct. Normally, in this context, is defined as “the last couple weeks.” I want to get to the bottom of the emotional mystery that is what plunged me into this depression. Fia and I both agreed that it was after the discussion with her parents and the subsequent discussion between the two of us.
Maybe it’s a sign that I’m too dependent on Sofia and if I feel like or relationship is broken after that ordeal. If our relationship is broken, I’m broken. That is a plausible, if depressing in of itself, thought. Another depressing thought is that Fia will probably never ever read this journal entry to see what my braindumped mindstate on the whole thing is. Even if I point it out to her directly. I just know she won’t. That makes me sad. I can rarely get her to read my work. Is a 2,500 word bandaid for my bleeding psyche ‘work’? Nah. No, it fucking isn’t.
I’ve repeatedly referenced my experience with pro wrestling as a child in the last few weeks. When I was a child, I was into WWE pro wrestling. It was my entire world. I had plastic rings with plastic turnbuckles for my plastic wrestling avatars to climb and collide together following a hand-assisted jump. The resulting plastic-on-plastic sound of the elbow drop will be forever tattooed onto the auditory processing center of my plastic brain. One day, mid pay-per-view, I started crying. I was devastated. Having the childhood that I had, I cried alone until I had no tears left to cry, and then I started considering why I cried. I arrived at the conclusion that it was because I didn’t want to not be into wrestling when I grew up. I was mortified by the thought that I would, one day, not enjoy the activity like I did at that moment. Two or three years later, my wrestling toys were in a box on the top shelf of my closet.
This experience has had ripples moving forward into my life since then. How much of my life am I too scared to lose to risk losing? How can I live with myself if I know that I fucked up Sofia’s life or my life by holding onto the familiarity of a shoulder to cry on? Those thoughts inform the constant internal struggle I face with every single thing each day. I don’t want to wake up and realize that my dreams are on the top shelf of my closet. My chance at a happy, mutually beneficial and healthy relationship in a box next to them. I don’t know the avenue I need to travel down to prevent that, but I know it does not include mindlessly spouting off depressed diatribes to my closest ally in this life at all hours of every day. But what do I do, then? My inner monologue is poisoned by it. My real, closest ally - myself - is sick and tired of it too. Myself wants to not be myself. Myself wants to disassociate and lay on face-down on the floor until the world stops turning.
I’m just going to hang this one up here. Doesn’t fucking matter anyway. Back to my podcast.
Another journal entry written at work. Another blog
entry. Whatever. Initially, I backspaced over the
‘journal entry’ phrase to revise it to ‘blog
entry,’ but I’m making a concerted effort to remove
the backspace key from this entire project. This
entire thing that I’m doing. This stock-taking,
inventory-keeping exercise. I have no idea what
this is, why I’m putting it on a semi-public (read:
untrafficked) website, or why I’m (third article of
incredulity). The last 14 days have been rife with
depression. I’m unmotivated. I sit down to write
and I stare at a blank page. I dreamt up a concept
for a sci-fi something, wrote down my notes after
waking up, and never did anything with them. I
finished designing and building my camera rig
helmet for POV and have yet to order the actual
camera for it. I have yet to order the microphone
and start recording VO for that project, either.
Honestly, (no, not ‘honestly,’ you fucking idiot.
That’s the purpose of this blog. It’s all honest.
The whole thing is framed in ‘honestly.’ Why say
that) I don’t know if I’m losing steam in that
project or I’m losing steam in living my life. This
weekend was spent playing games and watching Star
Trek. At least that shit is good. Fun. Enjoyable.
The moment our friends left on Sunday night, I
laid down and didn’t want to get up again. My legs
ached. My body ached. My entire fucking being
ached. I didn’t want to get up from the bed ever
again. I’ve never been prone to social exhaustion,
but in that moment I felt socially nauseated.
Socially expended. It felt like the social
gathering was a distraction from depression. I got
my energy from being around all of those other
people, riffing and laughing until my chest hurt.
Then, two of them stayed behind and we started
chatting about other things. I showed them my
website and my blog and felt shame. I showed them
my camera rig and felt stupid. Where’s the honesty?
If my depression yields honesty, then is my clarity
in that moment what I should listen to? Or should I
tell it to shut up, and to go away, because that’s
a false lens on my reality? I changed that last
noun from ‘surroundings’ and to ‘environment’
before arriving at ‘reality.’ I think ‘reality’
Slick limestone rock overhead sweats cold droplets
of water through its pores. The water drips down
off of the limestone ceiling in a regular drip-drip
onto the limestone floor below it that connects the
four limestone walls that support it. A puddle
forms where the water falls. The water has rusted
the floor-to-ceiling steel bars behind which I’m
trapped. Across from the red-brown bars, hung on
the opposite wall, slung around an equally rusty
key ring, is the key to the cell door. If I put my
shoulder to the bars, feeling the icy metal bite
into my bare flesh, I can nearly reach the key ring
with my outstretched hand. If I flick my fingers
towards the keys, I can feel the sensation of the
infrared heat emanating from my fingers come within
a hair’s breadth of the keys. The bars are holding
me back just far enough to keep me from freeing
myself. I am locked in this torment. If I could
fight through the bars just enough to get that much
closer to the keys, I could grab them. I could use
the keys to unlock the cell door. I could escape.
But the bars are rigid today. They have been for
the last two weeks. The limestone prison cell hides
in the back of my mind. Just in the periphery of my
view. It is a threat to me. At any moment, I could
be sent hurtling back through time and space and
crash painfully against the blackened cell walls. I
would be, once again, fighting to free myself.
Sometimes, it’s easier to sit. I don’t reach for
the keys. I don’t have the strength to push against
the prison cell bars. I’ll instead sit and wait.
Wait for a prison break from some outside rescuer.
Wait for the bars themselves to melt away from the
sun that spears through the craggy, gray overcast
sky above. Wait for the keys to surge off of their
rusted hook and hit me squarely in the chest,
demanding to be used. Those are joyous times. I
ride off into the sunset, wielding my keys like a
great sword and an instrument of my triumph. I
leave behind the limestone prison cell, erected on
a crumbling cliff side next to a pale, gray ocean
that splashes white-capped waves onto the eroding
I don’t think about it again until I realize that I
have found myself back inside.
I wrote that because I think other people are going
to read this blog entry.
I wrote that because I
could. It’s an honest portrayal of my depression,
but I didn’t need to write it. I chose to excise it
onto the page - this ‘Untitled - Notepad’ window on
my work computer that I hope no IT person monitors
- for the benefit of my narcissism.
twice about cancelling my therapist appointment
“Don’t look so happy.”
What does that mean, hard hat man? What are you trying to say to me, employee of the factory floor? Person who works in the heat while I work in A/C that’s constantly too cold? Who uses their callused hands to thread aluminum pipe for $15 an hour while I play RuneScape and type this diatribe for $22 an hour? What do you mean when you say ‘don’t look so happy’ to me? Did you know that saying that was going to fuck my entire day up? Do I look miserable in-transit between one air conditioned room and another? Do I look unhappy in the jeans that I’m allowed to wear on Fridays? Do I look unhappy on my way out to lunch at a time of my choosing? Did you have any idea? Is there a point to even asking why you said that? Does anyone else near me know?
I was forcing that question assault for a while. It stopped being a riff and started being smart. For those keeping score, that’s exactly what makes writing stupid. That’s when it stops being honest. Still - I want to know what he meant by that. I can’t figure it out. I went to the lunch room (not paying attention that it was 11AM, right as the floor employees break for lunch) to get some Doritos. There was a queue for the machine, which was as good of an excuse to not get Doritos as I needed. On the way out, a man in a white hard hat said “Don’t look so happy!” in a sassy, embittered tone. We made eye contact. Had that not happened, I would’ve been unsure if that was even geared at me. That fucker doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know why I can’t sleep. He doesn’t know- I’m about to start doing the question thing again.
The reason that fucks me up is because I’m constantly in this internal war with myself. I don’t know if my aspirations are unique to me. I don’t believe that the people who work on the factory floor are there because they don’t have dreams. I’m not that awful. Maybe the anonymous seer that said “don’t look so happy!” is more actualized than I am. Maybe he wants to be a writer, too, and is making the best of his factory job. Better than I am of my cushy office do-nothing gig. Maybe he understands and is judging me. He’s saying to me “we’re all unhappy, but you’re such a little bitch that you melt when you’re unhappy.” Is this the part where I’m supposed to resolve “if he can do it, I can do it”? I can’t do that. I can’t pay that invoice. I can’t.
I’m writing this from the second desk in my life. From my day job. What’s the definition of ‘second’ in this context? Is it the desk that I spend more time at? If that’s how I define ‘second,’ then this desk is my first desk. My primary desk. My principle desk. My throne to systemic misery. I spend more time ‘working’ at this desk than I do at my other desk. I got this fucking desk for free, but that other desk was expensive. Here comes the pithy one-liner that closes out these journal entries when I run out of cerebrospinal fluid to spill over otherwise flawless white pixels.
“At least I’m writing at some kind of desk, right?”
Was that a good one? How would you rate it 1 to 10? DM me on Twitter. I need more followers.
Sometimes it’s pulling my own teeth to get myself to sit down and write one of these blog entries. When I do it, though, when I pull the teeth, I feel better.
The blog entries start slow. They are piddling in subject. Meager in substance. The words come after much difficulty. I have a hard time with them. But after a while, though, the head of steam builds. One sentence flows into another as my flow state emerges. From somewhere in the back of my mind, this upwelling of thoughts and emotions spill out onto the page. At certain points, though, I retreat back into myself. I grow self-conscious about what I’m doing. I feel ashamed for doing it. I shrink back down. The words harden. The sentences stunted.
Was that good? Was that ‘the writing sings’ thing I just did good? I’m going to need some third party watching me write this journal entry to tell me if I did good. I really need the validation for it. It’s something I haven’t gotten in a while. Anyone that I’ve spoken to recently about my work have been biased towards genius. I’m told my ideas are great. My ‘project’ is my future. They get swept up in my whirlwind. Not to say that they’re forced to laud the concept, or that I’m even selling it very well. More so that I paint a picture. That picture is of a noose, and I’m pointing at the noose saying “if you don’t seem excited about this and on board with this, I’m going to use this!” But I say it in a happy voice, so I think I trick people into thinking that I’m okay.
The truth is that I’m depressed. I keep trying to translate the depression in work. I keep trying to frame it in such a way that says “okay, if you’re so miserable, do things that make you not miserable.” Day jobs aren’t that. RuneScape is an reprieve from misery, but by no means an escape. In fact, I’m not unconvinced that RuneScape isn’t part of some grander, self-inflicted systemic misery. Day jobs are a necessary misery. I need money to eat. I need money to pay for equipment. I’m looking at a bit more than a $500 investment into equipment. This is on top of the hundred or so I’ve spent on the helmet. All things considered, it’s not that bad. Me from a year ago would not be saying that, though. Through my rambling, I’ve stumbled upon the exact logic that leads me to think I’m a shitty person.
“Waah, I can consider a $500 drop as ‘not a big deal’ (or whatever I said), but my day job is so miserable. Please save me from systemic misery. I can’t deal with it. If I don’t succeed, I’m going to kill myself.”
I’ve been more nihilistic lately. I can’t tell if it’s a “gets worse before it gets better” depression function after starting therapy. I know I’m not actually suicidal. I have too much to do to kill myself. I don’t have time for that.
That’s a pithy ending, right? Yeah, fuck it; we’re ending it there.
They’ll call this blog entry “A stunning return to form by masterful writer John Hart.” Or maybe “A masterclass in maturation by the multi-talented multimedia mogul, MJohn MHart.” The copy will have stuff like “After leaving the world wondering for two entire twenty-four hour periods, the inimitable John Hart reemerges into the scene with a blog entry titled (some bullshit here).” It’s going to be a real rabble-rouser. That’s a weird fucking term – isn’t it? It’s inherently belittling to the ‘rabble’ that you’re directing that toward. Who am I to determine what is and what isn’t– I started to backspace to replace ‘what’ with ‘who,’ but opted to say this instead. I guess my natural ‘riffing’ brain wants to refer to people as ‘whats.’ Think on that one. It’s going to keep me up for a week, so I’ll probably need company. Message me on Twitter, person-who-doesn’t-exist-because-I-write-these-’for myself’.
I took a couple days of hiatus from my blogging in order to play a game from 1999. During that marathon play session (for which I prepared by telling my day job that I wouldn’t be coming in), I simultaneously played a game from 2007. At those numbers together and I’m gaming from (hang on) (got it) the year 4006. Look me up when you get there, will ‘ya? Back up, though, because you won’t have enough road to hit me with a fucking car fast enough to end my miserable existence if you don’t back up. I can’t even spell ‘existence’ without first trying it with an ‘a.’
The game itself is still good. The plot is still compelling. Some narcissistic part of my brain feels validated that 10 year old me picked out this game as my ‘favorite game’ and held onto it for so many years. It is, for all intents and purposes – and doubly so in this era of modern gaming – slow and boring. Lots of waiting around. Lots of slow burn. Lots of filler, and lots of flavor. In a time when game arcades still occupied albeit ever-diminishingly trafficked corners of shopping malls, and when the Dreamcast boasted a library of titles featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and Soul Calibur, I was playing Shenmue. A melodramatic, story-driven game from 1999 that was so expensive that it would’ve had to sell record copies in order to make back its money. It did not. At least, that’s the rumor as I’m aware of it. We all want to be special. We all think our childhoods are unique. Most people think their childhoods were uniquely bad in some way. But me? No, mine was different. My childhood held all these tarot cards denoting a future of success in the literary and creative arts. My childhood ended in a court case and abject estrangement from every single member of my family. Your childhood wasn’t special. Mine was fucking special. Mine was. I need it to be.
The driver for the food delivery service tonight was slow. I played nice on the phone when she called both times. I laughed when she laughed. I went down the stairs to greet her. I put a grin on while I took the food out of her hands. On the one hand, I just wanted my food and I didn’t want it to take any longer. On the other hand, I was upset that I had to do this. I’m constantly toeing a line between ‘do your job well if I’m paying for it’ and ‘I know you’re not paid enough to care, so let’s both play happy.’ What’s my threshold before I cross from one to the other? I don’t know, but the new barista at my local coffee shop needs to straighten up and fly right. God, I’m such an asshole narcissist maniac.
Has anyone ever written ‘sorry, I missed that text’ and wasn’t lying? I know I haven’t – so nobody else probably has either. The tentative weekend plans with friends has gone from grand intentions of 8-10 people for a game night gathering to a grand total of one. Everyone else is too busy. Everyone else is working. At least nobody openly flaked this time. Meanwhile, Sofia and my roommate seems to have no problem getting her friends together. Maybe she works at it harder. Maybe all of our friends think we’re (read: I’m) an asshole and don’t want to tell me. Maybe that fact about myself means that I’m holding Sofia back from the person she wants to and can blossom into.
Bad dreams last night.
Maybe this entry will be more benign. Maybe I just said that because I wanted to use the word ‘benign,’ and open this block of text with some kind of sobriety. I haven’t forgotten the way last night’s entry ended. Note: the phrasing “I haven’t forgotten” in the sentence prior was selected to mirror the melodramatic line delivered on Star Trek: The Next Generation that is currently playing in the background.
Star Trek has ended any and all days lately. It’s an easy, comprehendable show to put on as the day winds down to a close. That, and RuneScape. Today has been really nice, though. We woke up super fucking late, which is never a great way to begin. Following that, though, we tried Bojangles. Now I’m starting to remember the major lull in the day. After waiting 30 minutes in the drive-thru – which Fia observed was probably due to Chick Fil A being closed on Sundays – Fia got the wrong food. I was upset. For some reason, though, I wasn’t even upset that we got the wrong food. I was upset that I had to go back in and wait in the line again. We didn’t get a receipt. A couple of times, I bitterly resented the fact that it was me standing in the line and not her. After all, my food – the correct food – was waiting for me in the car. Those thoughts were quickly squashed, though. I don’t know if I’m a bad person for having them, or a good person because I had them and squashed them. Replace ‘person’ with ‘partner’ if it helps elucidate my confliction.
I got a Kookaburra (read: expensive) coffee to help supplement my exit from a bad mood. We hit up Walmart, the day back on track, and got groceries. To put away the groceries, we had to clean out the fridge. At this point, I was feeling great. Fia and I were paling around. Listening to music. Working together. Good moods all around. We did some dope cleaning, finally got the guilt of having a messy kitchen off my conscience.
I had to pause just then so I could watch this scene in Star Trek. Data is getting his body taken apart at the behest of some Star Fleet commander. Riker just performed an excellent and melodramatic monologue. Gene Roddenberry is the fucking king of sci-fi melodrama. “Pinochio is dead. His strings have been cut.” Not the most apt metaphor, I don’t think, but a good one-liner nonetheless. Oh, right, I needed to look up the definition of ‘heuristic.’
enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves.: “a “hands-on” or interactive heuristic approach to learning”.
noun: heuristic plural noun: heuristicsa heuristic process or method.
So, parsing that definition, heuristic means – in my own terms – capable of locomotion by their own volition. Capable of continuing to exist based on their own motivation. There’s a demo of how my brain works when I encounter something I don’t know. See? See, audience who doesn’t exist? There is, in fact, a reason to read the diary of a stranger. I added “in fact” to that sentence because I’m not sure if Format blogs allows for text formatting. “Is” is italicised – and if that shows up, the “in fact” is unnecessary.”
I haven’t worked any more on my projects lately. I don’t really know why. I’ve been working on this site, and this blog for whenever I’ve worked on anything this weekend. I think part of me is upset that audio dramas – modern ones – are being made in such quantity. There are tons of fucking productions out there. On the one hand, that means that I have tons of potential collaborators. Vetted, lauded members of the arts that are contributing in both major and minor ways to a variety of audio drama productions. Writers familiar with the format invented decades ago that haven’t been dead for decades. On the other hand, the more I look into this concept the more I realize it’s less novel. I’m trying to create a live-in audio drama. Fuck, an audio drama production house has already dabbled in locative narrative. Here I am with Banksy-esque aspirations and there are entire troupes of motherfuckers who have tried. Maybe it’s egotistical of me to think that my content will somehow be different.
It’s like I’m too stuck in at this point. I’ve made my camera rig. I’ve written too much content that is geared toward production as a locative mobile audio drama. An interactive storyworld.
It’s times like this that I think back on my caveat emptor: at the very least, it can be a portfolio piece to get some kind of internship. Some kind of job in the film, video game, or whatever other industry. That would be sort of like eating crow for me, to a degree. Accepting that I need to get my head out of my ass and go sign an employment agreement. Or buckle down and work like hell at this day job of mine. At least that shit appears to be going somewhere – whether I like it or not.
For the record, I don’t fucking like it at all. I want to move to Atlanta.
My attention is torn between this blank piece of white and Matt Groening’s new show, Disenchantment. That’s a valid beginning to a diary entry, isn’t it? I’m saying exactly what is on my mind. I’m bypassing the filter that I’ve cultivated for myself. That’s what a diary is supposed to be. What a blog is supposed to be. Here’s another hot take: I’m trying to curtail the length of my sentences. I’m resisting the urge to ‘yes, and’ my own sentences. A period will do where a comma may have otherwise been used. Maybe it’s making my writing better. Maybe, instead, the urge to comma is what my natural voice is, and resisting the urge to use them is metaphorically chopping off the jagged edges so I can cram my voice into the round hole I’ve come to envision. How’s that for a long fucking sentence for you, hypothetical blog reader?
I went through the rest of my journal entries today – while sitting at a coffee shop, and yes, I am that pretentious – and found the ones worth cherry-picking. Now that I’m starting to put all of these journal entries into the spotlight, cherry-picking old content is a luxury I have only once. Even though the ‘spotlight’s is a dingy, yellowed one aimed at a sagging stage of a hole-in-the-wall comedy club. A lot of the stuff I’ve written in these journal entries is cringy. I was able to say ‘nope’ to those. A lot of the stuff, though, is profound. Some of the observations I’ve made in my stock-taking exercises are relevant today. There’s some kind of metaphor for the creative process in there.
Fuck you, I’m going to shine a spotlight on that: In observing that some of my journal entries are pure cringe, but some are pertinent to my life today, I realized that the creative process follows the same ebb and flow. Through the act of bloodletting – where bloodletting is defined as ‘writing, even when it’s hard’ – I release the bad ideas and give the good ideas space to flourish. It’s not all going to be good. It never will be. I don’t get the luxury of workshopping my own inner monologue. I have to excise the bad ideas that bubble up to the surface of it on my own. In that, these journals also serve as a form of writing exercise even though they’re largely for my own mental health.
I didn’t spend any time writing today. Fia and I got up, took her car to the shop, did the agonizing walk in the heat over to the coffee shop, and hung out there for an hour or so. My tongue is still burnt from sipping too soon, too fast. Lunch was good. That was when I sussed out what of my journal entries stay and what go. I also pulled some screenplay – god damn do I need a better word for that. The scripts aren’t stage plays, and they aren’t screen plays. They’re .. life plays? Real plays? Maybe there’s some kind of established tradition with audio dramas. I need to look into that. Hang on, making a to-do list entry. Done.
Fia and I adjourned and headed back home. I wasn’t feeling well, so I layed down. An hour and a half later, we’re both waking up from a nap. We cleaned. We talked. We drove to Jacksonville. Her parents made a lot of awkward comments about my lack of religious beliefs. I can’t wait to hear about that every time I see them. I already made the major mistake making better health decisions and losing a bunch of weight. Now at least they’ll have two things to incessantly comment on, which spreads out the propensity for any one thing being talked about to death. Aside from that, though, the dinner was really pleasant. Her uncle is a treat. Both her aunt and uncle are, actually.
When I’m with her family, I feel weird. I feel like everyone knows that I’m a familyless weirdo. Now I’m a godless, familyless weirdo – but I already bitched about that. But I feel like it’s obvious that I don’t fit in. Everyone does their best to include me and make me feel welcome. Every time I see them, I feel more ‘at one’ with the family. There have been times where I’m emotionally wrecked at the thought of being part of a family that actually cares about me. Wrecked as in blown away. Taken by surprise. Confused, even. I’ll never take kindly to being ‘parented.’ I just can’t. Fia probably isn’t happy about that. I just can’t do it. I haven’t been ‘parented’ in probably 10 years. I’m a familyless weirdo by nature. It’s a symptom of my upbringing. The godless thing – much to Fia’s parent’s chagrin – is not.
Tonight was a night of food I didn’t pay for, movies I didn’t want to see, and sex that I definitely did want to have. It’s a good thing I carved out some free time in my day job to write and play RuneScape, or I would’ve felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything. Instead, I’m feeling okay. Tired, but okay. A solid baseline of which I’m told by psychology-minded people is something I should celebrate. Baseline, but tired. Exhausted mentally, exhausted physically, and finding it difficult to hold my eyelids open. I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors or misspellings – he said, to his imaginary (but, for the first time, potential) audience.
I’m not quite ‘there’ as I try to ignore the fact that all of what I’m writing right now are being directly uploaded onto the internet. Where previously only some Google engineer could partake in my mostly useless thoughts, now anyone who stumbles upon my site can. That said, they would either have to intuit that jghart.com has a subdomain for ‘advertisement,’ or they could actually be trying to look me up on Google+ in order to shadow me, or stalk me, or whatever it is that Google+ users do. I’m not sure why I’m not directly copping to the fact that I’m doing this. I’ve gone to the effort – and the expense, since it takes a different Format plan to make CSS changes – of creating the page. I created the logo. I sat with Nick for hours figuring out the CSS. Why don’t I make it more prominent?
Fuck thinking about that question, though. I don’t like that they’re being so mean to Mendon on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Fia says that it’s so he can learn, but I think that I’m living proof that tough luck doesn’t work. Or I could just be a special motherfucker.
I can’t keep my eyelids open any more. This entry is a signpost to all potential readers: sometimes I do short ones.
One the principle rules to being funny is this: explain the joke whenever possible. In my view – and what other view would it be? Vonnegut just eked out a tear from his rotting corpse – blogs have been bastardized. They used to be a tell-all. Then they went to Twitter, where this weird form of microblogging rose to prominence. Today, on Harmontown, Dan expressed a misty-eyed wistfulness to hearken back to the days where being a blogger with the pretension of being a writer was ‘punk rock.’ It was, during the halcyon days of the 2000s, bold and brave to stencil your consciousness onto the internet. You would strike out, in your own voice, into the void and other people would engage you. Truth be told, these days were gone by the time I stopped playing RuneScape and started writing sci-fi stories about a scientist landing on Jupiter to discover that it was not, in fact, gaseous and (word for lacking solid ground.)
Nightly, I have been doing a daily stock keeping. An inventory of my mental state, my day, my thoughts at that time, and my frustrations. Sometimes, my journal would chronicle my triumphs. My therapist agrees with me when I define myself as being ‘manic depressive.’ I guess that means I’m winning the pissing contest for ‘who is the most tormented.’ Go on, square up. Email me some dark shit and we’ll go down that rabbit hole. Race you to the bottom. In my own, personal race, my journal entries have been erratic. Sometime sporadic. Sometimes other words that end in ‘ic.’ Email your suggestions on ‘ic’ words to email@example.com. One day, I’ll be screaming into my own echo chamber about how much of a genius I am. How the ideas I came up with that day could, one day, be reflected upon as the hearth for the life I want to live. The next day, I’m bemoaning the entire world. I’m dejected. Abject misery. Multisyllabic words. My relationship is failing. My day job is about to become my former day job. My projects are a waste of time. I still have that familial protector voice murmuring doubts about my abilities from backstage of the concerto of depression inside my mind.
Tangent aside, the goal with this blog is to do exactly what I’ve been doing. Every single day, I have a notification that pops up on my phone. It happens at 8PM each evening. It says “Journal!” I get the pleasure of hitting the check mark on that Inbox notification if I actually spend the time fulfilling the criteria. Sometimes, that plays against me. The entry is phoned in. I write it on my phone through one bloodshot eye. It’s brief. Other times, I don’t stop until I’m approaching 2000 words of pure consciousness stream. A hardline jack into my brain stem that is used to export neurological vomit onto an otherwise pristine blank sheet of digital paper. They’re relief. They’re a way to parse, and a way to reconcile. These journal entries are how I collect myself before sleep. I can chronologize my life in these journal entries. This is what ‘blogging’ meant to a lot of people before everyone started seeing them as a way to monetize their lives. Create a brand for themselves.
Maybe it was Dan Harmon’s praise for the people ‘out there’ (read: his podcast audience) that ‘won the neurological lottery’ in that they find it easy to output their subconscious onto paper, and do it often. Those people who find it easy to do this kind of thing. Sitting 2,500 miles away, sitting in an uncomfortable desk chair at a day job that I loathe more and more with each passing day, I felt as though I was one of the special ones he was referring to.
I have 136 journal entries spanning back to January 2nd of 2017. I know, I just checked. I posted the very first one I did on my site prior to writing and publishing this one. They contain, in painstaking and excruciating detail, the better part of my life for the last 18 months. No detail is spared – after all, why would I spare details if I’m writing to an audience of one. I mean, I’m still writing to an audience of one since who the fuck is going to read these? I digress.
Some apprehensions I have about doing this – and I’m cutting to the chase because I can feel the muscles holding my eyelids apart beginning to fail – are as follows:
- Am I going to censor myself? What’s the point of doing this at all if I can’t speak freely?
- Perhaps this can be solved by writing them anyway, then picking and choosing what goes up.
- Will I damage personal relationships if I don’t censor myself? Professional ones?
- Am I making people uncomfortable if they know that any interaction they have with me will ostensibly be posted on a public sliver of the internet?
- What if I hurt someone with my words? What if I divulge a secret? Will people trust me less?
- Am I going to put more effort into these knowing that there is, potentially, a readership? Part of the beauty of this process for me is the lack of onus to put forth effort. Again, audience of one.
- Is putting more effort directly at odds with the therapeutic qualities of journaling?
Either way, I’m going to do it. I have been developing my voice as a writer and discovering the strength of honest prose. What the fuck did I just write? It sounds like the first sentence of the introduction to a depressed writer’s self help book. Fuck that. Fuck you.
One: there are a couple of places on the palm rest of my laptop that don’t appear to have an even application of the resistant coating it comes with. It’s visible if you look at it under the right light. It’s upsetting to me. My ‘fuck it’ warranty expires in June of next year, so at the beginning of that month I’ll probably wrap up any projects I’ve got on deck and proceed to slam my laptop off of a table leg a couple times.
Two: Tomorrow, I’m getting on a plane at around 4:15PM. I’m leaving work at around 1PM. Small victory lap to the restaurants where I decided not to collect the receipt needed to prove to my employer that I did, in fact, eat there. I get what may be my very last expensive latte comped by my employer. I don’t get Fia a present because I would be forcing it and not letting it come naturally. I don’t devalue the institution of gift-giving by forcing it. I feel conflicted about that sentiment. Is that just a convenient position to take? I digress.
Three: Anthony Bourdain had a writer’s room for No Reservations. I need to bear that in mind when I think that there’s no possible way I could write prose as evocative, raw, and pensive as his. His honesty bleeds into everything about that (this, since there’s no skirting around the fact that it’s on right the TV right now) show. It’s yet another eternal testament to the staying power of honest prose. Something something ‘stand the test of time,’ something something ‘decayless digital monuments.’
I don’t know if I have any numbered bullets to address. My eyelids are heavy. I think I need to just call it, but there’s more Bourdain to watch and more words to slam down onto this white space. Now that I’m fumbling in the dark for it, I’m getting bits and pieces of what I sat down to write about in the first place.
I want to get to the root of why I, when removed from my familiarities, grow frustrated and unable to summon up creativity. Even after speaking with Jason Farman and blithering my passion into a microphone, my creative drive registers a blip on the Richter scale of my motivation. Even in this comparatively uncharted setting, I am not brimming with creative output. Even when my output for creative work has increased dramatically after adopting the approach I coined called ‘not giving a fuck.’ I think it may have something to do with being unable to truly escape the pervasive thought that my day job put me here. I am here by virtue of my salaried position – and not even my salary. I was put on a plane to solve a problem for my employer. I drive a rental car around because some Norwegian accountant approved the expense report. I’m constantly aware, if not acutely, of the nature of my surroundings. The context, even.
It goes back to the impetus behind my locative story project. Our perception is our reality. My goal is to, at a low-low cost of entry, change the perspective of individuals willing to let it be changed. By virtue of that, they can change their reality. All storytelling is perspective shift, but storytelling has yet to make the transition to the real world. If it has, it has been in a microcosm. A one-off. Hopefully, I get to solve that. Right now, though, my reality is inescapable. The limitations to create are enveloping. When I get to –
Spaced out there due to sleepiness. When I get to – yeah, no idea where that sentence was going.
That’s it. We’re done here. Get out.
Ever just sort of feel like every single plan you have on the docket just imploded? After spending about 5 hours working on this camera helmet fucking thing, I learned a couple of things. Let me list them for the express purpose of defining my misery:
The screw mount I put in doesn’t match the camera screw mountThe phone connection app for live preview doesn’t go landscape, so I basically can’t use my phone to live preview like I want to.Most, principally of all, the camera itself sucks massive dick in low light, the entire fucking scenario for the film.My fucking motherfucking fucker phone does a better job of low light shooting than the goddamn action camera.
Okay. What do I need to do to fix this problem? I’m absolutely fuming right now, and everything and anything is making me angry. This bullshit Hillary Clinton drivel on Broad City made me really angry. The fact that it’s 11:35 and I’m ending my weekend on this colossally shit note is making me mad. The fact that I just spelled colossally wrong just made me mad, too.
The solution to the problem is what? I need to either get a camera that performs better in low light, or I need to redesign the entire camera rig to accommodate my phone as the primary shooter. I don’t know what the better option is. Spending more money on this project just screams “why the fuck didn’t you just –” I don’t know. Gave up? I kind of want to. I kind of wanted to earlier today when I was struggling to build the fucking helmet.
Just now, I basically resolved to buy that Lenovo VR camera. It’s about the same cost as a new GoPro that I was considering buying like, 30 seconds ago. It uses the live preview thing on the phone the same way. I need to remember to PVC cement in the pipe so the fucking camera doesn’t comI]H3TIJH4ITJPEg]jeu39e crashing off of the end of the pipe frame and beat up on the concrete until I cry. I want to cry right now anyway. But maybe this roadblock is the avenue to elevating this entire shitty fucking project. My script sucks dick.
I just looked into it a bit more – the fucking camera – and, turns out, AMC already used immersive VR filmmaking to promote their shitty fucking show. I guess there’s no reason to get all butthurt over it. VR filmmaking is not at all what the point of what I’m doing. But, honestly, who gives a fucking fuck about taking stories and telling them in real life? Like, I’m trying to make a movie while demanding that the audience fill in the details with their imagination. It’s boring. The script I wrote is boring.
Writing it all out like this has a strange way of adding perspective onto everything. Is it really stupid? No, I guess not. Is it a terrible idea? I’m not sure, but I am definitely making it sound a lot worse than it is. Is it worth blowing $300 on a camera? I don’t know. What other stupid shit would I be spending my money on and continually being broke in despite making 45,000 a year? Who fucking knows. God damn am I fucking depressed. This whole fucking incident has launched me into one of those John Depressive Tirades™. It’s not a good feeling. I hate everything. A part of me feels as though I would really feel better if I just stomped this fucking helmet into oblivion. Just annihilated it to death. It would save me the grief of having to literally fix every part of it. The arm shit lowers down over time while I walk, meaning I have to make sure it doesn’t stray down into my field of view. The clamp that holds the phone in place isn’t 09[awhO Sorry. Had to slap my hands against the keyboard. The clamp doesn’t even stay in the LocLine that I spent $30 putting onto the stupid fucking thing. It came right off while I was touching it. I threw the clamp. Might be busted. Oh, and the arm doesn’t stay in place.
Fuck the whole thing. I tried to sort of reframe everything and see the positives, but that worked for 10 seconds before I remembered that everything fucking sucks. Fuck it. I’m going to bed.
Been a couple days. Excuse me while I go look up what was the last day I wrote in my journal. Wednesday. Okay, cool. We’ve established that.
I’m writing to you from my side of the be in a very dope, but very “lived in” Airbnb. It’s some photographer guy’s loft that is much more successful at a comparable industry to the one that I want to be in. It makes me a little bit frustrated, but today – yes, today, not any other day. I can only speak to where my head is at now. Tomorrow I’ll probably feel like I’ll never get there –
Hang on, I want to jot down a thought here. Every time I think of failure or not making it or not capturing my vision – wait, there’s another thought. I have got to stop chasing a vision. The visions are making me miserable. I just need to be. Sofia and her mom talked to me about this the other day. They think I think too much. I don’t think Sofia thinks enough, but I’m jealous of that. Either way, I think I agree with the sentiment that I think too much. It’s been a coping mechanism, I think. I look forward past my miserable current state in order to stride forward into what I actually want my life to be. That’s the way it was when I lived in my mom’s house (grandmother’s house), at least. Escapism. I escaped into the future that I had envisioned for myself in order to distract from the current state of misery.
Okay. Now I need to trace my thoughts back to where I first diverged.
Every time I think that I’m going to fail or never make it, it’s always inside of the framework of having tried or lived for that success. Not trying is no longer an option. It was, but I put that to bed. That’s progress, innit? I’m no longer trapped in the systemic misery of not trying.
A Medium audience would eat up a piece about systemic versus transient misery. Just a side note, there.
The thought that I eliminated that particular systemic misery from my life makes me happy. It makes me feel good. I am capable of doing that, apparently. It took major life upheaval to do it, and that’s worrisome, but I did it. I fucking did that shit. I got rid of systemic misery of being too afraid to try so I would never be exposed to failure. I am moving forward.
Okay. Next thought - got to make this quick, because Shake Shack is imminent.
I still compare myself to those I view as more successful than I and hate it. That’s another tangible systemic misery. It makes me unhappy. I have got to escape the jealousy of other successful creative professionals. Maybe the key is to do what Sofia advocates for and stop living for the future. I could better appreciate the life that I have – after all, that life has led me to sitting in this Airbnb about to go to Shake Shack (and join the debate), then go see Greta Van Fleet live. Then Andrew WK (I hope he’s good) and Queens of the Stone Age. And Tenacious D tomorrow.
Holy fuck, I saw Jack White in concert. Maybe I do have a dope life and need to appreciate what I have.
What I don’t have right now is Shake Shack, so I’m going to go get that.
Earlier today, I was considering the path of my life and how it has come to pass that I have “failed” upwards for what seems like my entire adult life. In sort of talking to myself through Sofia, I questioned why it is that my life has gone this way. As my friends went off to college, I didn’t. I got a job working for a forty-something Canadian guy who inadvertently enabled me to fail upwards in another way. Four years after that, as all of those same friends are beginning to graduate college, I’m sitting in an airplane flying home on the dollar of a company that I just signed onto.
The worst irony of it all is that my upward “failures” have been anything but what I would actually like to move “upwards” in. The mobility is lost on me. I’m succeeding in all of the ways I’d rather not. Sure, financial success is what it is. I’m doing fairly fucking well for someone my age. Maybe not in the financial pruditiousness sense, but whatever. Neither is anyone my age in that respect. No, rather, I’ve failed upwards into a better paying job than many of my friends and acquaintances graduating college would be lucky to get. The job market is difficult at the moment, and I think I’m one of the lucky ones who have benefitted from it. With unemployment so low, it’s difficult for employers to be choosy. On the other side of the same token, it’s difficult for employees to find companies hiring – because of the whole low unemployment thing.
I digress. I do that a lot in these journal entries. The veins on the back of my hands are really big. Another symptom of being a skinny guy now, I guess.
A part of me feels like it’s stupid of me to look at my success in this way. I’m sure Fia would offer some kind of scrap of wisdom that would perspectivize the whole situation. She’s good at that. I think she knows it only gets through to me about 60% of the time – but I’d say those are good odds to someone like me.
I have extremely strong interpersonal skills. That’s probably why I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever had, to be honest. As with all lives, the butterfly effect exponentially grows with every passing milestone or moment of actualization. If I had taken a different job than VOI, where would I be? Working in the hotel industry? Desk clerk or manager? Manager or executive? Who knows. Instead, I took a job at VOI, got paid well, and used that experience to move on to a job that pays leaps and bounds better than that. It’s all surreal.
It kind of sucks that I continue to fail upwards in ways that I don’t want to. It beggars the question of why I can’t seen to direct my failures in a direction that I actually want to go – however, maybe with some of the moves I’ve made lately I have set myself on that path. Continuing to fail at editorialism and essay writing could prove useful – failing fruitlessly for years has done me well so far, and to borrow a metaphor from my memory, at least the essay shit is in the same building as the “company” I want to work for (even though that company is most likely one of my own making.)
I have yet to put together a playlist that aptly summarizes the color of emotion to being on a plane. That feeling of boundless lift – I just fucking remembered that my ‘D’ key is fucked up, but that should be fixed within a couple of days. I just got my email for tracking information.
I think I could go far in Hydro if I wanted to. My D key is literally off right now. Fuck. I have to cut this off, self. Sorry to my future self if I ever actually read this shit instead of using it as some weird form of catharsis therapy.
I got a paycheck today.
It’s the first one I’ve gotten since – hang on while I go look – Monday, February 29th. 5 unemployment checks later, and I just got paid $999 for 7 days of work. The total figure that I came up with as a monthly income is $2963.62 pay per month. I copied and pasted the last four words of that sentence. It’s not quite double what I was being paid at VOI. It’s about 80% more money overall. 40% raise. A truly mind-boggling turn of events that may not pay of for me mentally or trajectorily, but certainly pay off financially. It’s going to facilitate me saving money for things Fia and I want to do. We’re going to slam Shaky Knees in style, so long as I can get paid and book shit this weekend. In even bigger – and more tense news – I will also be able to pay off all $4250 in credit card debt that I have.
Yeah, it’s a bigger number than I wanted it to be, too.
It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be. Once I accepted the job, I had $2900 something. The fact that it’s almost $1200 more in debt is scary as fuck for me. It’s perspectivizing, and humbling. If I hadn’t gotten the job I got – sure, I wouldn’t be out around $300 for travel gear that I spent – where would I be? How many more months, years, would it take me to get back to balance zero? Right now, I can spend $600 a month on CC payments and only barely be finished paying shit off by the end of the year. Sure, that also leaves me round about a thousand dollars unallocated funds. Still. I’ve got to save, and realistically I’m going to buy more garbage and spend more money on shit I don’t need.
It’s somewhat floored me, that information.
It’s gotten me down in a major way.
Sure, it’s amazing that I have the job I have and I’m able to do what I can do to pay off all of my debt while still saving hella money – in six months, I’ll be able to pay off all of my CC debt and also have $3000 to put towards move-in costs at a new place of living. Honestly, calculating that just bummed me out even further. That’s, like, security and first + last at an apartment with Sofia. I thought I’d at least have money to spend on furniture and shit like we want. An IKEA couch is like, more than a grand. What the fuck, this sucks.
All of that whole ‘using my CC to live on this gay Earth’ is coming back to bite me. In good circumstances, I will admit, but it’s definitely coming back to bite me now.
I think the real, tangible mindfuck for all of this is that I feel like I’m not doing a good job in the slightest balancing out my workload with writing – or even finding the energy to do it for fun – while working a day job. That’s a problem in and of itself. Now, I feel indelibly strapped to that day job because of how royally fucked my finances are. I literally have a negative balance at this moment in my checking account and also am staring down the barrel of almost $5000 in CC debt alone. That’s not even looking at my car payments.
Now I’m scared that the onus is on me to perform like hell at this new job. So now my brain capacity is even more pushed away from writing. My focus is shifted and affixed even more firmly on the anchor that is going to keep me in the rat race. What will ultimately be my misery. The misery I had a vignette escape from all over the span of 6 unemployment checks.
With this looming reaper’s scythe of financial stress and obligation – a stress that I was essentially forced to turn a blind eye to (perhaps less of one than I did, but whatever) – is going to drive me into the arms of my savior: the Day Job. The systemic misery.
Since I accepted the job offer – fuck, since I got the fucking offer letter – I’ve been worried about the impact this is going to have on my writing. I’ve been worried about the things it’s going to do to my psyche. I’ve been scared that I’ll forever lose sight of that beautiful, sterling relationship I formed with my happiness and the trickle-down effect of that happiness into everything I do. It made my relationship with Fia better. I was happy, she could tell, she would say so, and we were happy as a result. I had a reprieve from systemic misery.
I was carefully, patiently approaching a mountain lion that represented all of the systemic misery I had escaped from and was about to try and make nice with it. Maybe give it a little pet. Then, a veritable fucking time bomb went off. I snapped a twig on my approach, the lion perked up, and is quite literally mauling me right now.
At least, that’s how it feels.
And I’m scared.
I’m working my way into writing more. I need to sort of climb out of this creative rut via writing for pure enjoyment – though the fact that I got paid for a $50 commission that I’ve done basically zero work on is stressing me out. I got rolling on an article that I’m actually pretty proud of, so far. Also, I got a bit of recognition from readers on a handful of Doubletime posts and that made me feel really good. I’ve got two whole followers. A start is a start, right? I’m achieving my dreams, right?
I busted my ass skateboarding today.
I wonder if I’m a bit depressed.
I took Elijah’s skateboard out in the misty rain and practiced skating back and forth across the parking lot. Finally, after flirting with the concrete for 25 minutes, my foot came out from underneath me and I went straight down to the ground. It’s been a while since I hurt myself like that before. I think the last injury I had was subluxing my shoulder last year in the ocean. Action sports will be the death of me, and it will be fucking radical.
The way I see it, if I can become passably good at skateboarding it will be easier to learn how to surf. I should switch to longboarding at some point, but I’m sort of enraptured with this childhood dream of owning a cool skate deck and riding. I don’t know when I would find the time to enjoy this hobby, but if Fia does it with me we could just go and shoot the hills at the beaches. Fia is hesitant, but she tried more than once and that’s a start. It’s going to take some practice, but I might try to put 30 minutes here and there throughout the week.
That said, it’s Wednesday now and I fly out on Sunday evening or something. Who really knows.
I’m trying to make sure I’m writing. The achievement of completing and publishing a piece of writing is a great feeling, and especially if it’s about music. Fia and I were talking today and she said that the people she got to know in Panama are often committed to their majors. She felt like she was the weird one for not really giving a fuck. A lot of people were gung-ho, all about their subject field. She said “like you are about music,” and that got me thinking. I quickly arrived at the pragmatic conclusion – this is an example of me reflecting on an idea from earlier and not feeling like I was dumb back then – that if I wanted a living wage in music, I had to either write or teach. I can’t play. I can’t produce. Maybe I could manage. But really, write or teach. I could see myself teaching, but I don’t want to do a 4 year degree to teach music that would demand I know how to play, too. So, write is the only thing left.
And I refute the idea that you need to go to college to write professionally.
Long story short, I’m working on it. I’m tired. In despite not getting very much done whatsoever, I’m pleased with what I achieved tonight.
Work today was kind of shitty, kind of good. I’m comfortable being paid $45,000 a year for a comfortable middle. I can live with that. I’ll spend that money on things that really matter.
I’m going to try and strike out on a high note.
My love is back home. I’m waiting for her to get back in bed. We just had great sex.
That’s about it for tonight. All the life the world is worth living right now.
I think I have all of the questions for my interview with Bohren & TKDE. Did I mention that I got the interviews I took a shot in the dark at asking for? I got emails back and they want the questions in advance. Upon reading other interviews with the groups, I think there’s nothing that would make them balk at my questions. I want to go over them again tomorrow and think some more about them, but I’ll be too busy being nervous about my interview with Sapa Group.
Turns out, the interview is still real and my concern was a worst-case scenario type thing that I always do to myself.
I’ve got to try and bring my A-game tomorrow just like I tried to a week ago. I’ve got the clothes, so that’s that part of it worked out. At least it’s at 1:30 PM, so I’m not trying to work on it. I mean, it’s already 1:21 at night, so it’d be bad if it were in the morning. I’m hoping it’s not a group interview and just an interview with the department leader for the department I would be joining.
As I’m writing this, I’m getting nervous about what going back to work means for my writing. However, I feel more confident that I can stay happy even with that day job back in my life. And it’d be one hell of a day job. Now I’m equipped to not live for it. I’m equipped to do my 8 hours and go home. I’m equipped to derive my happiness not from satisfaction at work. I’m equipped to gain my life’s satisfaction not from some meaningless advancement or success at a day job, instead I will derive it from my writing.
I comforted an upset Sofia tonight. She was frustrated and upset about her schooling. She was saying that it’s all she really knew, and that it’s now coming to an end, and that she doesn’t know what else to do with herself. I tried consoling her by saying that all you can do is strive to make yourself happy. I explained that it took me almost 4 years of miserable day jobs to actually prioritize what makes me happy in this life. She knows what makes her happy – travel, even if that’s not exactly a viable way to be happy on a regular basis. But I explained that the fact that she knows what it is puts her ahead of the game by no small margin.
She seemed to take that well. We fingerpainted afterward. I wanted to fuck. But I know that she’s been feeling emotionally drained because of school work, and that’s a big part of why her sex drive has tanked out. It’s probably also why it goes back up – often in dramatic fashion – once school lets out for a week. She’s just really looking forward to her trip to Panama. I don’t blame her.
I worked on some more on the commission today, and I need to push it up to 5,000 words by the end of tomorrow. I want to get it confirmed and posted. Might be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll need something to post by the end of the day tomorrow.
I also made a bangin’ ass dinner tonight. 3 sauces. One was a tropical fruit salsa consisting of tomato, white onion, avocado, and mango. Added a touch of salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro. The second sauce was a baja-type Santa Fe sauce. Greek yogurt, buttermilk, along with a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. It tastes just like the sauce from Fiesta Jack’s back in the day. The third sauce was a combination of one half of a beefsteak tomato and 3-4 adobo chilies and their sauce. I added a dash of salt, pepper, and lemon juice and blitzed in the food processor until a paste formed. I seared up some shrimp, finished them off simmering in the sauce, and toasted some tortillas. All the sauces + shrimp came together in pretty damn good tacos with a couple cups of salsa left over.
I feel the desire to really nail my interview tomorrow. Being paid 50,000 a year would mean that I could afford for Fia to work at whatever job she finds brings her the most happiness and still be able to save for us to travel as often as possible on the weekends. Maybe we could fund the creation of an adventure van and save up until we can ride that bitch into the sunset out of St. Augustine, out of our jobs, and with our cats in tow. Do little recon missions out every weekend in it in the meantime. That’d give us plenty of time to write. With my discovery about video games and their relation to my happiness, I could just put a gigantic TV in it and do movies, etc. If that’s the kind of life I’d like to lead with Sofia, I might have to open my mind to physical media. Though pirate shit + Plex + whatever else would save space. Space would be at a premium.
Sofia and I are going to tell her parents that we’re getting married. I feel more at peace with the idea every day. I want to make her happy, and I want to be with her and our cats. It does scare me a bit, but it feels like the right decision to make for my future. She’s the woman that I want to spend my days with. Part of my apprehensions about it is that I can’t confidently answer “I can think of no one better,” because I never truly gave any other options the chance. It’s not like I want to go out and give other people a chance, necessarily, but it’s a weird thought. I love Sofia to death, and I’d do anything for her – but I think I said that to comfort myself from the thoughts I just had.
I know that tomorrow I need to just not think about anything. I need to go into it with the neutral attitude that will yield me the confidence and nonchalance that will make me look like the best candidate. I need to ‘wow’ this Lee guy. I’m going to do that by leaning into the knowledge that my happiness doesn’t live and die whether or not I have this job. Happiness is not going to die if I get it, and it’s not going to live if I get it. Money will be less of a concern in my life and having the job would free me up to spend it on things I’d like to spend it on, but ultimately the pursuit of money doesn’t develop me as a person, either. I think that’s sort of a tough pill to swallow for me, because I’m vain and materialistic.
Google just tried to correct “shit” to “ship” because it followed the word “pirate.” I hate that Google tries to fix shit in this know-it-all attitude. Fuck off, Google.
I really like that van idea..
I broke my streak on journaling last night in order to get a full night’s sleep instead. The jury is still out on the benefits that I derived from doing that, but I definitely felt well-rested and maybe a bit happier. I didn’t get a ton of work done today, but I did get a little headway on an essay that’s proving to be fun. I’ve entitled it “And then–she walked in”: Jazz Noir, Dark Jazz, and How Music Tells a Story. I’m not sure if that’s going to be the final title, as it might be a little overwritten, but it’ll do. I’m excited to see it fleshed out and finished. I hope it gets some smidge of traction online, and I’ll do my best to imbue it with some SEO-type shit like linking out to other articles, etc. I’m having a fun time writing it, even if it is a bit of a puzzle to put together and research. It’s a topic that I know enough about, though.
I took a break from writing erotica today, too, except for emailing a current commissions client about a story idea – which, predictably, complicated the project a bit more than I wanted it to. I was trying to be magnanimous and client-satisfaction-focused. That’s what I get for that.
I had a troubling thought today, which sort of put to question my desire or even “need” to write. I guess it’s one part troubling, one part relieving. I realized that my happiness that I’ve gained from writing so much in the last month doesn’t need to be exclusive to a state of joblessness. Joblessness doesn’t necessarily correlate with writing frequently, it correlates with prioritizing my free time to make myself happy. That realization also brought me to consider what things I use to take up my free time and what really makes me happy. The distinction between pastimes that make me happy and pastimes that.. pass time.
Specifically, I think video games is a pastime that passes the time instead of making me happy. That comes with a couple of caveats, though. Video games that are a vehicle for me to spend time with Sofia and my other friends is time well spent. It’s important for me to judge how I’m using my time and use it wisely. Video games can, and have been, a strong source of inspiration and an avenue for creativity. But I think that literature, film, art, and the natural world are inspiration sources that I would like to spend time getting to know.
It’s an intimidating prospect– it really is.
I don’t want to give up on something that might, genuinely, be good for me. I think it was in the past, and I was talking about that kind of thing with Sofia. In the past, in my childhood, these escapist hobbies like video games and roleplaying were a form of escaping my troubled circumstances. Moreover, I came to the realization that oftentimes in high school, in my teen years, it was much less about who I was spending time with than when I was spending time not totally by myself. When I was by myself, I was creatively unfulfilled and at the whims of my abusive environment. When I was with other people, it was yet another escapist medium. It’s sort of weird to think that it didn’t really matter to me who I was spending time with, but rather that I was using the activity of spending time with other people as yet another escapist activity.
Sofia is an exception to the rule. She seemed authentically interested and invested in me as a person. She wanted to spend time with me, for some strange reason, given the circumstances.
But now? Video games feel like a time sink. I’ll spend two hours playing video games and look back wondering why I just wasted that time. It doesn’t feel like time well spent. It feels like time wasted. Time that I could’ve used piecing together the puzzle of a writing piece. Writing frustrates me, but it’s the right kind of frustration. There we go again – systemic versus transitory misery. This time, it’s wrapped in the context of frustration. I wonder if video games are part of my systemic misery? Freaky. I need to do some more consideration on this.
I want to take the time to sit and come up with a couple of lists: one list that outlines timesinks that make me happy, and one that covers timesinks that are only timesinks.
Valuable Timesinks (What develops me as a person):
- Spending time with Sofia
- Watching films & television
- Reading non-fiction articles
- Reading editorials
- Spending time with the cats
- Planning the future
- Maintaining a clean living space
- Playing music
- Listening to podcasts
- Listening to music
- Exploring the world around me
- Planning ways to explore the world not around me
- Chatting with friends
- Finding new restaurants to try
- Exploring new foods
- Attending live music events (I don’t do this enough)
- Advancing my writing brands
- Networking for my writing brands
- Holy fuck, I have two writing ‘brands.’
Valueless Timesinks (What does not develop me as a person):
- Playing video games
- Specific rule: games that have minimal intellectual value
- ex: (Rainbow 6, Overwatch, GTA, replaying old games)
- This does not apply when it is in a social setting (ie. interacting with friends)
- Working a 9-to-5 job
- Specific rule: this is an ‘emotional’ value list. Obviously need money.
- Playing guitar could almost go down on this list, but I’m not sure why
- Reading reddit/Twitter, etc mindlessly
- Contributing to a Discord server (see previous journal)
- Watching Youtube videos
- Specific rule: Has to be of a certain ‘caliber’
- Mega64 falls into this category, sadly
- Seeking the approval of other people who don’t matter
- Not sleeping
I think this list can be accurately described, instead of “valuable and valueless,” “what develops me as a person” and “what does not.” I changed it.
An important caveat to point out is that not everything I do needs to develop me as a person. I just need to be aware of the difference and prioritize my time as such.
Boy, am I feeling sick. Not like, debilitated, but not good in general.
My fucking ear/jaw still hurts. My head is feeling weird. My stomach is feeling weird.
At least my calf is feeling better, so I can run tomorrow and feel good doing that. I’m excited to try and bust my ass going down hill and beat my time. Maybe this is the part of my running hobbyism that evolves into a chase for the endorphin rush of beating my best times over and over again.
I raked in another commission today, another $40. But I invoiced the guy, so it charged me. Oh well. It wasn’t too much of a price to pay for a lesson learned. I mean, it essentially charged me 100 words worth of work that I won’t be paid for. I guess it’s always harder if you think of it that way. Ultimately, not too big of a deal. I’m also very close to being done with the second Sparrow chapter and then I can pick up another $50 commission. All this work back-to-back is feeling pretty cool. Consistency always feels good, though, doesn’t it? I’m expecting another influx of fans and interest in my writing style once I post some more content tomorrow and even more so when I post another Sparrow chapter. He wrote a lot of this next chapter, so I’m a bit worried that he’ll want to post it on his page. But maybe not, because breaking up the story like that would be dumb.
It’s 1:46AM and I want to play a little Rainbow 6 before I go to bed. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not. It’s probably not, but I can feel my mind being made up that I’m going to do it anyway. Whatever. It’s not a big deal. I just need to get up as normal tomorrow and accept that I’ll be tired.
I didn’t eat very well today. I had yogurt, berries, and coffee and didn’t eat again until around 6:30 where I proceeded to put away 2 sausage links, 2 bacon strips, hashbrowns, and 4 pancakes. Whatever, it was worth it because it was fucking delicious. Not better than the stuff my grandmother used to make, though.
I can feel the sadness washing over me when I think about my grandmother, and I really don’t want to get bummed out tonight so I’m going to move away from that topic.
Excuse me while I check the obituaries for my family members.
I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. Fia had a really good idea that we’d send them a collage card of our accomplishments and our apartment and our cats and our travel and our work. Send something to all of them and include notes to people who I think deserve to hear from me. Say thank you to Casey and Kyla for everything they did for me. Maybe I need to start drafting that stuff.
Everything checks out, fortunately. No results for ‘Nella,’ even. Good news to all my Nellas out there in the state of Florida.
Ordered a vibrator for Sofia tonight. It was a no-brainer. I want to help her improve her mental health state surrounding her own body. She deserves to be more comfortable in her own skin, and I don’t just think that it’s important I play a role in facilitating – not helping, facilitating – that improvement to her life because I’m her boyfriend and have some measure of obligation to it, I want to because she deserves it. I want to see her be happier in that way. It’s important.
She alluded to ordering a strap-on so we can indulge some of my own dark fantasies. It’d take some serious ‘letting go’ for me to get on my knees and ‘suck off’ Sofia, but I think it’d be down for it. Funny enough, I’m understanding why Fia may have found the thought of me being dominant over attractive. Both of us had sexual fantasies. She needed dominance, prompting, to get her to explore them. I needed to be dominant because I needed to see that I wasn’t fucked up and weird for being as sexually versed as I was for my age. It was mutually beneficial, and I think that’s cool. Now I kind of need the opposite to happen, but it’s a bigger ask for Fia to be dominant to me in the way that I was to her. She’s less of the personality type – but I think she has it in her. It’d be interesting to see how it manifests. In both of us. It’d be interesting to see how well I’d take to being a dicksucking submissive. It turns me on, somewhere in my mind, but I’ve got a mental block about it.
Now I want to jack off and go to sleep, fuck Rainbow 6.
That’s it – that’s all I have to say. I’m going to go beat off. Good night.