Saturday, April 28, 2018

Where Ya Been, Friend? (Looks Who's Back Again)

Dear Internauts,

Missed me? 

As I'm sure you figured, over the last few months, I've written and rewritten this blog post in my head more times than my insomniac mind can calculate. Granted I can't count too high even on a decent night's sleep.

Still, on something of a whim, I figured it's time for an update.

Have I kept up with my 2018 goals/not-so-resolutions? Sorta kinda.

Don't expect much — never be disappointed.

So far, though, I have done some stuff, like...
  • Saw a few amazing and a few awful movies (you can guess which), including but not in the least bit limited to...
    • La Mujer Fantastica
    • Black Panther
    • Winchester
    • The Cloverfield Paradox
    • Annihilation 
    • Game Night
    • A Wrinkle in Time
    • Tomb Raider
    • A Quiet Place
    • Ready Player One
    • Pacific Rim: Uprising
    • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Read some good books (still chasing for the next great literary/genre fiction high)
  • Have been eating far more fruits and veggies and fewer deserts and junk food
  • Haven't gone on as many walks as I'd like, but winter seems to be ending so we'll see
  • Started meeting with a new therapist
  • Stopped seeing that therapist (not a good fit when they spend 80% of the session talking about themselves)
  • Started as the occasional driver for the Bridge, a local food pantry/clothing closet that helps a lot of families in the area (so far I only drove one person for a few months to and from some appointments, but it still counts)
  • Found an abandoned pig in the snow and coerced it into letting me give it a ride to a nearby horse sanctuary for the night (it helped that the car and barn were a lot warmer than outside, and yes I called plenty of other places but the horse folks were the only ones who picked up at 8pm)
  • Been trying to draw a whole lot instead of just zoning out as much. It's a way to practice and maybe get better at it but also take all the mess in my head and put some form to it if I can.
  • Similarly, I've been writing songs again. (That's right, an actual music-related bullet point.) The key was really to stop putting so much pressure on my self to write the best song I've ever written on the first pass each time I picked up the guitar. Don't know why that took so long to shake, but music and lyrics are this strange puzzle. Sometimes everything just clicks as if from the aether, and sometimes it's more elusive than a wholesome presidential quote. Really it just took a bit of honesty and self-reflection, trying to remember what in life makes me feel genuine and riffing off that.
  • With this new material, I had one less excuse not to return to the world of open mic nights. So far I've played at two in the past three weeks. I think we can do better, but self-confidence is a habit that's damn hard to unbreak.
  • Like story writing, for instance. In the past I've alluded to the notion of me writing a novel of the word and/or graphic variety. For the first time in, maybe ever (or at least recent history), I've completed a big step toward that goal. How it works is I start out telling myself it will just be a simple outline of the big story beats, but then I get caught up in what happens between those points and then between those points in infinite scope until bits of dialogue and a billion footnotes of possibilities mean I rewrite the same beginning 138ish times with little forward progress. However, this time I actually have a beginning, middle, and ending. It sucks and is a ridiculous, incomprehensible mess of melodrama and no pacing to speak of, but it's my ugly baby eldritch monster. I sense great potential hidden somewhere in the wreckage of this mind and language collision. Next, I'll do a bit of format cleaning up so I can maybe read through the thing, then I'll set it aside for a while to come at it later with fresh eyes for draft two. After that, if it still feels like a graphic novel v. the more traditional variety, I can start on page breakdowns for each chapter/issue. Then comes thumbnails and layout stuff. Hopefully, by then my art skills will be at least a tad better, and I can start bringing this story to the visual realm. 
  • But before I do all that, I've got another visual-type project to work on. Starting this week, I'll be deep-diving into an illustrated lyric video for my newest killer track. 
  • Oh yeah, that's right. Did I not mention? I just release a BRAND NEW SONG. It's one of the tracks I first recorded with Joe Casey back in 2016 (along with 2017's Painkiller). It's called TO SAY GOODNIGHT. And if the all caps hyperlinks weren't clue enough, you can listen to, buy, and download the whole frickin' song right here!!! If you do listen, drop me your thoughts on it.
  • Here's the cover art (like the video will be, it's somewhat inspired by a certain popular children's book). 


    So that's me at the moment. Hope you're doing well. I'd like to get back to doing this more, but I think I prefer it when I actually have something to really show you. If you'd dig it for me to get back to blogging more regularly let me know. 
     

    Thanks for reading,
    Odist

Monday, March 19, 2018

Practical Contemporary Socioeconomics (Lyric Ideas)

What’s the use for you, you useless loser
Stop selling me excuses or a bruise or two’s soon in your future
If you’re not a producer then you’re a lazy leech consumer
Waitin’ ‘round for the day they say who? you? yeah, you’ll do, sure
But I can insure your poor ass, you’re a glass of pulp without the juice, you’re 
A couped up, stupid fluke of putrid puke who can’t even say “can do, sir”
‘cause your attitude is so acute, your latitude has pulled the chute, for
A hint, look under tasks soon to be replaced by a computer
What? you want something brighter or safer or cooler
Well you’ll take what you can get because beggars can’t be choosers

Get up, get in gear, break your brain, beat your bod
You better make something out of nothing out of uneven odds
Turning nobs or scrubbing floors or waiting ‘round to get robbed
What am I kiddin’ you’re just another good for nothing, sorry slob
Don’t you come back here again until I hear you’ve got a job, so
Get a job, get a job, get a job, get a, get a, get a...

No more pretentiousness, just list your references
Nobody cares about your wish list or preferences
You’re in the business biz, so find a business kid
‘Cause life’s expensive shit won’t come for lowest bids
And you’re a lowlife, it’s obvious enough you’ll quit
Just like you always did, so why even bother with
Lookin’ at higher hits, when it’s less hit than miss
And more intensive bliss, comes after mortgages
And your college’s degree might help a bit
But even masters sit and wait with patience, since
You entry level ants still needs experience
Forget all common sense. You better make amends 
If you make anything at all you’re barely makin’ cents
So get a job, get a job, get a job, get a, get a...

You can work and work and work and work all day
And if you even get paid it’s a minimum wage
No one living can say it’s enough to live anyway

So we pray in god we trust and bust our butts to decay

Sunday, December 31, 2017

52/52 - We Made It!!!

"How lucky I am to have someone that makes saying goodbye so hard." 
- A.A. Milne

Dear Internauts,

It's over!

2017 is officially complete.

I do appreciate that you have a metric bajillion tons of content to pour through on your daily scrolling, so please know that I am wicked grateful for everyone who's chanced a glance at this weird blog thing I've been doing. We've averaged about 180 views a post, and that means this weekly experiment thing has been the most highly consumed bit of creative output I've ever creatively put out.

Still, the goal was never about how many of you lovely folks I can trick into looking my way. The original idea was simply to make something on the regular. Consistency, after all, is key. And though quality and the exact time/day of the release for each post have wavered, this has been the most consistent I've been on anything in a long time. The key there is that it's completely self-motivated. Sure, it's nice when someone would mention how they'd read this thing, but in large part the only thing that kept me going week to next was the building blocks of having done it before. Despite every way in which I know this could have been more polished, precise, punctual, or popular, the achievement of even putting up a blog post every week for a whole year was somehow it's own cycle of motivation.

We've been through a lot together. Sure, it's pretty one sided, but I still want you to know it means a lot that anyone is out there letting me slide a few slices of my madness your way. This time last year, I had just moved in with my aunt, uncle, and cousins and was back in Massachusetts for the first time since college. The following months were there own special kind of struggle as I realized that just leaving PA was not enough to suddenly fix my life or mind. Even as I was able to find some temp work and pay my own rent at their house, living with family in that area turned out not to be the right fit for me finding a way to transition into full independence. Obviously, life in that neighborhood and that house wasn't what either me or my family there had expected. When they told me it was time to go, I didn't have any other option but to return to my folks' in PA, which, honestly felt like such a huge failure.

I know I'm blessed to have parents who support me to the extent and with such love as mine do. Their acceptance, encouragement, and accommodation has kept me not just alive but somewhat stable for these past several years as everything else has just utterly shattered. Despite my understanding of and personal experience with depression, it's still so easy to think of my lack of success in certain endeavors or inability to reach certain goals as a failure of self, indicative of a lack in character. When family or friends would hint or straight up tell me that I just think too much or just need to try harder or get over it, it was difficult not to use that as ammunition in order to sabotage myself. Sure, I know that they come from a place of caring and misunderstanding the truths of living with mental illness, but with everything else going on in my head, being able to organize what outside messages were useful and which could be discarded was often too much to handle.

Thus, for the large majority of 2017, my inner drive was simply to stay out of everyone's way. Struggling to work up the energy to leave my bed, much less leave the house, was hard enough, but the instant I began to consider what possible impact my existence might have on others, all motivation quickly vanished. This made its way into my songwriting and even onto this blog, where the topics of what I expressed funneled into a self-centered spiral. After all, who gives a damn about my opinion on politics, social issues, or even human interaction much beyond that which I could directly explain from personal experience? The question of it anyone even cared about that could only be ignored because I had a blog to write, so in that way, the pressure of a self-imposed schedule allowed for me at very least to feel bad for myself in writing once a week.

I don't think I believe that my songwriting was vastly better when it was almost entirely focused on social justice matters, but at least then I wrote songs about something. Musically, I've been almost entirely on a dry spell this past year, and I can trace that directly to my lack of confidence conspiring with my lack of attempts made to create something new. As this is technically supposed to be a music blog, I've gotta be real with you folks, I have not picked up the guitar in a while. While I'm starting to believe again that I have something unique to give both musically and lyrically, I've too long let fear of disappointment, lack of motivation, and worry over how it might be received keep me from creating any new music.

I've met far too many songwriters who are way more talented than I am yet fail to produce new content due to getting caught up in the day to day mundanity and stresses of adult worker/consumer existence. I'm not saying that providing for yourself and your family is a bad excuse, but it's still an excuse. And if my excuse is my thoughts and feelings based in mental illness, well, I've seen over the past several years how that will only continue to be my excuse indefinitely.

For a long time, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. Whenever a big part of that would break down, I always had something else deeper inside to hold up as the core of something new. I'm a writer, a creator, an artist of some kind. Even without faith and a religious culture, I am still someone who passionately holds tight to and expresses what I believe to be right and wrong. Even when I feel alone and lost and like a failure when it comes to relationships, I'm still someone who loves and empathizes. Even when I can't stand/am terrified of other people in general, I still recognize something of our shared humanity. All this adds up to something, and most of the time being okay with who I am means being okay with the unknown. Most of the time being okay with the unknown means not being okay in the least.

Not being okay is okay.

I'm not anywhere near sure about where I go from here. Well, I can hope for certain things like independence, confidence, friendship, and security, I've also seen how fragile those things can be.

  • Independence: I've learned how important cooperation and accepting help from others is.
  • Confidence: I've learned that acting in the midst of self-doubt is all too often the only way any action gets done. 
  • Friendship: I've learned that since friendships come and go, it's alright to feel sad, confused, and heartbroken, but the way other people treat us is ultimately far more an indicator of who they are than who we are. Thus, learning to love and be confident in myself is necessary, because the past isn't gonna change, but my reaction to it can.
  • Security: I've learned over and over again that any level of safety is never enough to feel ready to take a risk and is always just as fragile as the next trauma. I'll face reality and make a choice under the weight of stress and pain, on good days and bad, because moving forward, the only certainty in life is change.  

Y'know I'd love to read down in the comments or on twitter or facebook or wherever, what your goals are for this coming year. I know new years resolutions tend to be more a source of eventually guilt/grief than continued inspiration, but if nothing else, please be encouraged by the fact that I wrote 52 blog posts since last January. I said I was gonna do something and I did it. Wanna know my secret? I just did it. Even when I felt like I wasn't "up to it", I did it anyway.

Most of the time the desire necessary in order to accomplish a task and the desire we think we need are nowhere close. I can honestly say that most days this past year, I didn't want to even open my eyes. I feel like I've simultaneously somehow slept through the past 52 weeks and not slept for the past 52 weeks. I didn't even want to get up and hang out with my parents today, but I did because I'd promised them I'd make buffalo cauliflower bites and play card games. When I was so tired I kept hitting snooze and falling back into the weird nightmare I was having about growing up on a dust farm, I was not incredibly enthusiastic about figuring out the breading and sauce and how to use the toaster oven like a real oven.

But I didn't need to be incredibly enthusiastic. I just needed to do it. I only needed the absolute minimum of wanting to. Like when I got a root canal a few months back. I didn't have to really, really want to go to the dentist. I just had to want to enough to get up, get dressed, and go. How many times in my life have I gotten up, gotten dressed, and gone somewhere? The process is practically habitual once started, and yet before getting started why do I feel like it's either gotta be I'm 100% ecstatic about it or it's impossible? That's not necessary.

For many of you I imagine this is the process for going to your job. Hopefully, you all enjoy your job. I've never had a job I particularly liked, and I don't really understand people who do like their jobs. It's kinda like all the worst things about school plus the stress of being treated as less than a person by everyone around you, not just the bullies at recess. However, when I have had a regular job or even a temp job, the going and the doing was never the worst part (it was the people mostly). The trick was always just before that, like working out. Once I'm in my workout clothes and on the machine or headed somewhere it's not too bad, but just tricking my feet into socks and sneakers semi-regularly is worse than any amount of reps. It's all a mind game.

All that to say, I'm not gonna just make a list of promises to you or myself about what I want to do this year in vague terms I'll soon fail to fulfill.

Instead, here are some things I don't promise, big and small, but am just gonna do because I'm just gonna do 'em.

Everyday, I will:
- Take my medication
- Play guitar
- Write a page
- Eat a vegetable
- Take a walk
- Draw for an hour

Every week, I will:
- Apply for a job (until I get one)
- Look for a therapist (until I get one)
- Work on the Painkiller music video (until it's finally done)
- Write a song
- Go to an open mic

Every month, I will
- Read a book
- Post an acoustic song up on Youtube
- Post an update on this blog*

*I'll post more often than this, but my goal is to create more content of many different kinds, not just blogposts, about which I'll keep you lovely folks updated via this site and other social media.

Also...
- No more buying sweets and/or deserts for myself
- No more self harm
- No more looking at pictures and/or following social media of former friends who no longer give a damn about me

Here it is, folks, after the wondrous monstrosity that was 2017 for myself and so so so so many others and situations around the world, I don't exactly expect 2018 to be the absolute opposite. 365 days is a whole lot of time. 52 weeks is way more than we can really take into account all at once.

The joy and pain of hoping is that it either has nothing to do with what I can control and therefore is like a ball of positivity floating just out of reach OR it is completely within my control and therefore is just something I gotta do or it won't get done.

For most of this year, I couldn't visualize who or what I wanted to be because I didn't believe that I could be anyone or anything at all. Believing isn't enough to get anything done, but it's usually a necessary first step. The rest might just be all about doing it anyway, no matter how you feel.

Sometimes I won't have the right energy or mood to do what I think I should. That is a reality of life that I've had to come to accept. Still, the kind of positive attitude I need to help me survive those times is strengthened by what I make out of the times when I do have just enough energy to do something. It needn't be perfect by my or anyone's standards, but as it's all I have to work with, then I can do something with it or not.

And therein again lies the hope, that someday I can live with a little more empathy, confidence, and passion, and a whole lot less fear, despair, and hate.

Here's to 2018.

Here's to you!!!

Thanks for being there this past year, every week, and as always...

Thanks for reading,
Odist




Monday, December 25, 2017

51/52 - Happy Hollandaise

"Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."
- Terry Pratchett

Dear Internauts, 



Thanks for reading, 
Odist



Monday, December 18, 2017

50/52 - I Don't, Because... (What Holds Ya Back?)

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” - Allegra Goodman

Dear Internauts, 

Hey! We've reached the 50th entry in this year of weekly blogs. It's hard to believe that we've come so far and are almost at the end of 2017. I want to thank you for sticking with me this far. Feel free to reward yourself. Go see a star wars. 

Anyways...

Negative self-characterization forces a disproportionate emphasis on inability, or, in less obnoxious terms, I suppooooooooooose I don’t do things because I think I can’t do those things. Rather, I don’t believe in my ability to be successful in the attempt. 

Success—that ever-nebulous fluidic frustrater—readily adapts to my insecurity. 

I don’t because it won’t be my best.

I don’t write a song, because it won’t be the best song I’ve ever written. 

I don’t write a novel, because it won’t be the best story I’ve ever told with the best words in the best order and structure. 

I don’t draw a comic because I can’t draw well enough to convey the images in my mind. 

Most inconveniently, this crushing doubt often waits to fall until I’ve walked partway into the booby-trapped house of trying and, like a bulbous amateur, stepped unknowingly through the trip-wire of comparison. 

I don’t because it won’t be the best.

I don’t write a song, because it won’t be a hit. 

I don’t write a novel, because it won’t be an instant classic/bestseller. 

I don’t draw a comic because it won’t be a staggering work of genius which both reflects the best of and elevates the medium, blending words and pictures with perfect clarity and style to a degree reminiscent of while also transcending all my favorite graphic novels from Fun Home to Maus to Sandman to Cable and Deadpool

This is certainly not helped by the nagging conflict arising from consuming some mediocre piece of media and simultaneously reflecting on how much better I could do and how I could not even come close to the very basics of how it got made. Sure, for movies, plays, comics, and even songs, there’s usually anywhere from a handful to a couple thousand people behind the project. That doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about popping into one aspect of the production and managing to destruct the whole circus from the inside out. With novels or my songwriting, though, there’s just me facing down the glare of greatness. No matter how many writing blogs, interviews, quotes, or lectures remind me that the first draft is always (and is supposed to be) awful, the fear of ultimate failure prevents me from even taking that little leap. 

I don’t because it won’t be the best right away.

Truth is, I have boxes of notebooks full to the point of illegibility with songs, poems, and story fragments I wrote as a kid. Like some kind of creative stomach bug, I couldn’t help but puke up ideas. And just like literal vomit, they stink, make my insides hurt, make my eyes water, and are full of half-digested chunks of stuff made by other people that used to look appealing. Still, they exist, and maybe that’s worth something. After all, instead of even trying to keep creating, am I now just paging through some five-star cookbook without even setting the pot to boil? 

From an enormous accumulation of junk, there might be a line worth saving here or there. From the unadulterated outpouring of thought run-off, maybe some semblance honest expression. From the mad dash for my phone or a pen and scrap paper, maybe enough obscure notations to begin a shaping. 

It’s optimistic, sure, and we both know that’s not my style. However, this shift from writing and drawing and playing and imagining in excess to this dry sense of listless wandering didn’t happen in a bubble. Adulthood isn’t some concrete robotic function of assimilation wherein we shed the youthful, foolish flesh of wonder and delusion. 

I don’t because it won’t be “perfect”.

For a heaping chunk of my life, I could measure success in letter form and/or percentages marked in red pen. For years, at regular intervals I would not only be told whether or not I was succeeding in my role as a person but to what extent. Not only that, but I was surrounded by a very distinct range of my peers, starting with the year we started breathing on our own. Breaking it down further into the location where our parents moved us then into (sometimes grades or interest based but most often) completely random class groups of fifteen to thirty-five, we were lined up in rows and tested on the consumption and regurgitation of information, all of it preached at us as if were the most important thing we would hear that day forever. Pretty soon, biases formed and vertical mobility became something of an illusion. Do well enough early on and the expectation of future perfection is implicit and harshly monitored. Do poorly enough early on and the expecation of even having a future is moderately considered at best. Also, sometimes they made us run laps. 

But now I’m supposed to be some kind of adult. Like, I’m supposed to have been some kind of adult for a little over nine years now. Sure, there’s college or whatever, but even nearing the end of my junior year in high school, I was already realizing the standards for excellence among my peer group had started to dematerialize. After decades of having to know what they wanted I had to suddenly know what I wanted. In my case, I didn’t wanted to try this higher education thing, but my settings were all still stuck in what my default authority figures wanted for me. I’d trusted them so far without an inordinate piling-up of life-threatening situations, but then it turns out that adulthood may literally be trying to kill me. 

I don’t because adulthood is literally trying to kill me.  

The life of a child and teen is designed to make you into something, while everything after that seems to be about being that something. Or maybe it’s about rejecting that something? Coming to terms with it? Deconstructing it? 

I don’t know. Do you know? Is anybody out there? HELLOOOO!?!!

Besides the fact that my peer group is more obscure, diverse, and several billion times larger, there is no longer an obvious score card for success. Okay, so we can draw a nice parallel between how grades “aren’t everything” with how now money “isn’t everything”. Of course, grades can determine a lot of your future and that future can determine a lot of your finances and finances can be the difference between both where you live and, well, if you live. 

Y’know, money isn’t the key to happiness, but since Donny’s parents could afford to send him to summer camp where he made a nice lanyard, whether or not he ever finds the key to happiness, at least he’ll have a place to put it. 

But hey, being happy isn’t everything either. Everything isn’t everything, so what does that matter? 

If the only mirror I have to look at is a photo of someone else, I’m gonna miss a few things.

I don’t because I don’t. 

If I look at a cup of flour or a single egg and can’t see a birthday cake, that’s rational. 

If I look at that flour or that egg and get upset it’s not a birthday cake, that’s stupid. 

If I look at the four or the egg and can both picture the birthday cake and recognize that they’re not the same thing, that’s perspective.

When I make pancakes instead and decide not to compare them to the birthday cake that could have been, that’s growth. 

And  “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”

I do because I must. 

If nothing else, there’s always compulsion. If I leave a little blood at the scene, it may not be the perfect crime, but it will still be mine. 

Thanks for reading, 

Odist

Monday, December 11, 2017

49/52 - Leaving the Boat (an overextended metaphor)

"Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more." - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Dear Internauts,

Imagine spending your whole life on a boat. Every day is about the nautical. Everything is the sea and the parts of the boat and everything to do with sailing. You've seen land maybe but never landed. And then one day you just casually wonder out loud where the boat is headed. You've spent every day of your life in the mindset of one on a sailing journey, but when the idea of direction or destination is brought up, it's quickly hushed or dismissed. The boat is a vessel of transportation and yet transportation is kept vague and obscure.

Now, for the first time in your life, the boat is not the world but a part of the world. And you are not a boat-person but a person on a boat. The idea is confusing and incomplete, but could you be a person on an island? You've seen people go overboard before. Some drowned and some were saved, but what if there was another option? You'd seen people on other boats passing by. They did not drown just because they weren't on your boat. The people who waved from land did not die or beg frantically to come aboard your boat for fear of the land they stood on. So you begin to question those who were once on land but now sail with you. They all so prefer the boat that they now talk as if they too had been there all their life, the language and variety of life before fading into a flat, colorless void.

You sail on and on. You are good at it. You know all the ropes and knots and tides and jargon. You don't have the skill or the words to express this disquiet in you. You do your best to keep sailing, though the disquiet grows.

Then one day you wake up and feel so strange. You climb to the deck and it bows and bends before your eyes. You can't find your footing. You hold tight to the mast but lose your balance. Your fellow sailors try to help but they can't understand. You can't possibly describe it, but for the first time in your life, you're seasick. Dizzy and nauseous, you trip and fall off the bow.

The waves take you down. You can almost hear them yelling for you. They throw a line, but the water is too rough. You are pulled too far away. You pump your legs and arms and gasp for the surface.

When it seems like all is lost, you find yourself treading water. Cautiously, warily, you swim back to the rope and let them pull you back up. They celebrate your return by quickly getting you back to work on deck. You're happy for the familiar purpose and the safety, but you can't help but feel a bit used.

When next you see land, you can't help but wonder what it would be like to reach it. Your queasy stomach returns and you can't ever find your balance the same. Passing an island one night, you take a reckless chance and dive into the water. Using your newly learned skill, you swim to the beach. In the shallows, you stand up. You lie on the warm sand and you eat the citrus fruit from the trees and you look, for once, out at your boat from afar. For the first time in your life, you feel truly still.

You return to the boat, but this time they don't throw you a rope. You climb up and try to begin your work again, but when they see the sand left by your feet, your fellow sailors become afraid. Some are offended, others incensed. When asked, they say they aren't acting any differently, but soon they don't talk to you as much as talk at or about you. You do your best to clean up any sand, but they see it where there is none. Soon, you find your cabin has been filled by another. Even your job is taken eventually. You're always welcome on the ship, they say, because where else is there to be.

Years later, in some desert city, you'll find a picture of the ocean and on it some ship sailing, an awful lot like your old one. You'll write a letter perhaps, to put in a bottle someday, and visit the beach when you can. You'll wonder if the sailors ever think of you. You'll rub the old callouses on your hand and turn the page to a picture of a jungle or field, never quite feeling like any one place is the right place.

When you ask those around you where they're headed, sometimes they'll tell you. But even when they don't know the answer, they can understand the question.

Sometimes you wish you'd never come to land or fallen off the boat. Often you wish you'd drowned that day. You never quite forget the sea-shanties. You never quite get the taste of fish out your mouth. You never stop missing the smell. The scars and rope burns never heal all the way.

And even on land, you still sometimes feel seasick.

But some night, without you hardly noticing, you closed your eyes for the first time in a bed and, as you drifted off to sleep, you didn't feel the waves.

Thanks for reading,
Odist





Monday, December 4, 2017

48/52 - Digiventure

Dear Internauts,

I think I spent the past two weeks half asleep. It may have something to do with winter setting in, but if we're honest, this kind of deep descent has happened at all times of the year.

What got me moving again was the other day when I went to check my phone for the time (and date), and it just wouldn't turn on. No charge or pressing two buttons at once or whatever would do the trick. Sure, I'm not exactly anyone's emergency contact, but on the very off chance of something happening, I forced myself to roll across the floor in various directions till I looked slightly human.

The first place I took it said they had no idea, and the second place required me to go to somewhere I'd never been to without being spoken at me from the little box—currently deceased. As if in some kinda period piece, I sauntered over to some chaps on the sidewalk and queried for directions. They disagreed and gesticulated something about an overpass. I funneled the averages of their answers through my jittery skull, the effect of somehow both too much and too little sleep. Plus, I'd now talked to three strangers for the first time in as many weeks. My morning brain pills strained out across the sweating ruffles of gray matter.

Half an hour or so and the signs gave up on my destination, but I hadn't. The sudden appearance of a fitting road bent my neck to cracking. A city of consumption. Between my bed in mushroom county and the touch screen maps of the mall, I'd travel two decades and yet people still leave their trash beside stone fountains. I sketched this one as I waited for my appointment, omitting the brown paper bag for artistic license, counting the seconds by not counting them. Screw perspective, I thought, and kept the eraser in my pocket.

The phone was dead. There was no denying that. Blame is corporate lubricant, but in this case I got off cheap as free. Their fault. New phone. Same phone. New same. Still no calls, so I could've slept in.

The process of passwords and codes and next and next and do you agree kept me back and forth enough times that they set me up with one of the ones they give extra training. Still, the reasoning for technological distress is the same as it's ever been. 'It shouldn't be doing that' works well enough so long as the outcome is that it does eventually do what it should. (Is that what parenting is like?) He, the genius and seventh stranger I'd talked to that day, managed to be disarming enough from the revelation/admission that he too is into art and music. More than into, he's a composer, engineer, studio pianist, and commercial artist who's worked on albums, commercials, tv pilots, and years of other varied gigs. Talk of what tech is available/affordable to the most cutting-edge apps and gadgets to finding a balance between work and art as work. Eventually, my phone fixed itself, and I realized I'd had an actual conversation with another human being. At least I think that's what those used to be called.

I slept through the next two days, I think. The plot-lines and characters of my own dreams become more complex and harder to escape in times like these. It's not simply a matter of the physical energy to do activities so much as the mental capacity to imagine a motivated self into existence.

Today I tuned every string on my guitar down a half step, and it was like a whole new instrument.

In case you were wondering, as someone who lives most of my life in the past, there really isn't much of a future here.

Thanks for reading,
Odist