Florence + the Hendersons

1

When I don’t sleep

everything takes on meaning.

Buying cigarettes, the Dog Days are over,

and I start thinking things are new.

I start thinking about what I want –

what I have to do and why.

I start thinking I should listen

to those gurus who died out a decade ago

when the new millennials stopped believing

their lives are their own.

2

I grew up with guilt

for what I had, though it wasn’t a lot.

It was everything.

It was more.

3

I started smoking in the house.

I’m rebelling against the only thing

holding me back:

Myself.

I never got over the idea.

There are no rules.

No one’s watching.

I do what I want.

If we never existed,

no one would know.

If we never existed,

no one would know to care.

Meaning comes from doing this anyway.

4

I stopped listening.

I stopped writing songs.

I stopped letting myself elevate

above the moment and become eternal.

But sometimes…

Sometimes I’m up early and

walking through a convenience store

and the dog’s been walked,

and the Lady’s buying breakfast,

and the bills are paid. There’s gas in the car.

And then a song comes on

and I mix up the name of the band

with the mom from the Brady Bunch

and I start laughing as I move to the sound.

A Procrastinator’s Self Aggrandizment

1

It occurs to me that as I get older, I tend to have fewer of the realizations – the epiphanies – as I experienced as a young person. It’s probably for the best. I take it as a sign that I’m less sure that what I’ve grasped onto is correct; I no longer believe that there is such a thing as truth. This isn’t to say that certain facts are not by definition true, only that my subjectivity is incredibly limiting, and I do not know that what I would take as science would really be more than hearsay.

2

Case in point – I recently had a fight with my significant other. I think we may still be fighting. I think we’ve been fighting since the day we met, but we refuse to acknowledge it. I no longer believe that we are fighting with each other. I’m beginning to suspect that we are at war with ourselves instead – with reality as we know it and the disappointments and fear of disappointment therein. Perhaps this is the very thing that attracts us to one another.

Or not.

It feels as though – and I do find myself relying on feeling more than fact these days – we can see each other so clearly while the other sits in complete darkness of themselves.

It’s as true as anything, I suppose.

3

Case 2 – in a more scientific sense – I believe what I am told about gravity. I believe that there are things called physics and chemistry and biology. I believe these subjects exist, and that those who study them can produce incredible things. Hell, I believe that these sciences built nearly everything I can see. I cannot, however, quite convince myself that the universe in which all of these sciency things dwell actually exists at all. We could very well be living in a simulation. At the very least, we could be but one dimension among many. We could, in ‘fact,’ be one giant organism experiencing itself through some confused circuitry, at war with itself because the nature of the universal body appears to be that of entropy – of the slow dispersal into the chaotic – while the organizing force called electricity seems to be dissipating, dwindling into cold black death.

4

Did I mention that I’m an optimist?

I get obsessed about things. I read stacks of material and listen to hours upon hours of talking heads, and I think that I may be closer to understanding something. Philosophy and economics and sociology and… well… it all feels like the same thing. But then it occurs to me that these subjects are ‘soft.’ They’re observations made of the behavior of people who understand little about those ‘hard’ sciences and even less about their own motivations throughout a given day.

5

And I wonder what I should be doing.

I wonder if I should be doing anything.

There are plenty of things that I could be doing. Focusing on work, whether corporate or my own writing. I could be reading more, learning more, understanding more. I could be opening up these ideas and feelings with the woman who has agreed to be my wife. I could be working toward growing closer to her, expressing my love for her, cementing my future with her, forming shapes of soulmate architecture as the time dries on the canvas of our personal history.

I could be. I should be.

I’m just finding it hard to believe that the old adage is true: Everything worth having requires work. Nothing is free. I cannot just sit around and wallow in the moment. Roses die as you’re sniffing them.

Anyone who’s ever known me knows that all I’m doing now is finding flowerier ways of saying – of lamenting – the things I’ve always fretted about.

Is that what I’m doing?

6

I am trying to get myself to finish writing my novel(s). I get stuck in my head and I’m trying to dig my way out. It’s like this with everything I do: I think. And sometimes thinking feels as good as doing. And sometimes writing shit in a notebook feels as good as saying it out loud. And sometimes saying shit out loud makes everything more real – makes the GOALS take firmer shape – points me in a definitive direction (a course which I can later alter in mid-stride when the real idea comes into focus).

And maybe that’s the realization. The epiphany, as such: I don’t know where I’m going until I’m moving. I never move until my intention is made clear. I never feel that my intentions are clear until they’ve been said – until they’ve been written – until they’ve been read – until I feel heard – until I’ve at least given myself the chance to feel some external validation – until I’ve been given the opportunity to either a) bask in the glory of a “hell yeah!” or b) give the naysayers the finger and do what I want to do anyway.

 

Hedberg with an ‘e’

I miss Mitch Hedberg. I know, I know. Everybody does. But hey… I’m feeling nostalgic. I still find myself mimicking him. I’ll be sitting in my dining room, reading the label of the ketchup for my hotdogs –

“I don’t like calling them hot-dogs, man. Like, dogs, man. Like, Hey, you wanna see my dog? He’s hot. Hehehe Yeah, Man, He’s a hot dog, man… Now let’s eat him with a little ketch-up.”

Clearly, I’m not Mr. Hedberg. But that cadence is fucking addictive. He just let it flow. He’d throw that laugh in the middle of it, and the audience would laugh, and then he’d laugh at the audience, and then the audience would laugh at him laughing at the audience, and then he’s right back into questioning the necessity of bringing ink and paper into this.

I miss where I was when I heard him the first time. He takes me back to it, almost. I was a teenager or maybe just a little older. I was looking for myself. I was searching far and wide – inside and outside – and I kept finding myself in a bad way emotionally; I’d put on one of Mitch’s albums (Yeah, that’s right. I feel like I can call him Mitch like I know him), and he’d just make me fucking giggle. Sometimes that giggle would build into a full bellied laugh, but just that giggle, man. That first couple of jokes where he’d start talking, and you’d just shake your head at the corniness, and then he’d hit you again, and you just couldn’t help yourself, and then… It would just keep coming. An hour full of one-liners, two-liners, three at the most. He’d be all over the map, and he’d keep you right there with him. When people fell off the wagon, he’d gather them all back up again with something like, “Yeah, fuck that joke, man.” That acknowledgement of the crowd made everyone get right back on board.

I could go on and on.

Instead, if you’ve got a couple of hours, and you feel like mourning the loss of greatness one more time with the people who loved him…

Listen to this – with Doug Stanhope and Lynn Shawcroft

Los Enchiladas – Mitch’s movie! Starring the likes of Dave Attell and Todd Barry, as well as some people I don’t recognize. Oh Marc Maron‘s in it. Check it out, man. Hehehe Yeah.

Twenty-three days

I keep dreaming of people dying.

I saved your soul in a coffee mug

And drank you with a little cream

You were always sweet enough.

.

It reminds me how I never asked

How you’re doing, only hoped you’re doing well

While pouring declarations down your drain and saying

I’m sorry. Hope you don’t mind. I can’t help myself, I can’t help myself, just look at what your doing to me.

And this dream comes, and I’ve got 23 days to tell you, 23 days to say I’m selfish, 23 days to say I’m stepping out of my own way and asking

How are you? Where are you, even? Did you find what you were looking for? Did it find you?

.

I keep dreaming of people dying.

I keep dreaming of finding myself crying in the hall of that old apartment building above the river where we sat watching the water trickle through the dam.

I keep dreaming this was all real and that I ran away from it, that I ran away from you because I was always doing the chasing, and all I wanted was to be chased in return, to feel a hand pull at my shoulder and a voice to ask me –

.

I keep dreaming of people dying of old age, of regret, of sadness and happiness and boredom and delight.

I keep dreaming that I’ll outlive you all, but we both know that’s a lie.

.

I keep dreaming of people dying, and every one of them makes me think of you,

like a tangled ball of string in the corner of a closet I haven’t opened in a decade

still just sitting there waiting for me to pick it up and tie more knots.

.

And here, I’m doing it again. I’m telling instead of asking, and see? Didn’t I tell you? I cannot help myself. Even in the face of death.

I heard you say once –

While I was taking a breath from all my talking

That you only ever wanted love,

And I thought that my cue.

.

I keep dreaming of people dying, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they do. It doesn’t matter if I cry. It doesn’t matter if I feel anything at all.

.

How are you?

Time Travel in Fiction: Why Over How

Auston Habershaw

After having a conversation with my agent the other day, I’ve decided my next novel project is going to be time travel based. I wasn’t really planning to write this particular novel at this particular time, but he feels its the best career move right now and that’s basically what I’m paying the guy for – his advice – so why wouldn’t I take it? Anyway, the point here is that I’ve been thinking (a lot) about time travel in stories today and I want to share some of my ramblings.

One of the questions I’ve gotten recently is how the character in my time travel story is going to travel through time. What are the rules, in other words? Is time linear or non-linear in this story? Are we going to be dealing with the Grandfather Paradox or the Butterfly Effect or what? What about free will? Now, it…

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Types of Time Travel

Found this floating about. Seems about right to me.

McKay Captain McVey

Answers About Time Travel

While science fiction is often less “science” than “fiction”, one puzzle that has baffled authors, philosophers and physicists is that of time travel. Is it possible? If so, can you change the past? If either of those questions leads to a “no”, why not? And either way, what are the implications and how could we know?

While I haven’t spent much—read “any”—time working at an advanced particle accelerator, and have yet to publish my very own science fiction, I have studied time travel extensively from a philosophical point of view. And while I don’t claim to have a definitive answer, I can illuminate on what those answers should address. Through the course of this paper I will show what considerations need to be solved in order to answer these questions, what possible and likely answers would be, and what implications could be inferred from those likely…

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Micro

A prompt response.

I knew a guy who microdosed LSD. He worked at that pizza place on Waters, you know? That gourmet take-home place? He was the guy tossing the pie in the oven.

His name was Cuz. At least, that’s what everyone called him. I never bothered to ask why. I was too busy listening to him wax poetic on topics of the soul.

Okay, his doses may not have been “micro”. But that pizza was fire, man, I’m telling you.

Anyway, one night he says to me, “Cuz,” he says, “you know they’re coming, right?”

I’m like, “Who?”

“The aliens, cuz. You know who I’m talking about.”

“Nah, dude. You said aliens?”

“Yeah,” he clarified, and then he pointed. “You know, cuz. You one of them.”

I laughed, because, I mean, what else are you supposed to do, right?

“You one of those time travelers, cuz.”

I laughed again, confused. “I’m a time traveling alien?”

“No, cuz,” he said. “Aliens are just us from the future.”

Inefficient

a prompt response

I have it all right here with me: every word of the story waiting to be yanked out of the ether and transformed into the easily consumable media to which we’ve all grown accustomed. I wouldn’t be sitting here wasting my time if there was actual work to do.

I’m good at the actual work.

Yeah, it’s all done: this hobbyhorse is shod and tacked. It’s ready to be ridden across the open range of someone else’s imagination. But my laziness – an orange-eyed monster whose skin fits me so well – he keeps convincing me that there’s something else to do, that the sequence starts earlier, that I should sit still and wait. The answers will come to me.

We all know this isn’t true. At the very least, it’s an inefficient way to live a life worth reading.