A Capsule Update

I’ve been sick for a while. I’m talking about this to everyone and anyone who will listen. Ask my gf. Ask my brother. Ask last semester’s classmates. It’s a sickness that effects my brain. Where I have good days of minimal pain, and bad days of near complete forgetfulness, where I’m fighting to focus and get anything done. And those days where I have near complete forgetfulness are the ones where I’m congested, with a little cold, and my whole head seems to shut down. Just a simple, stupid cold makes me nearly incapable of basic function.

I had a great introduction laid out for my book, where I’d talk about real life complications while writing it; how, in the book, the story starts with a broken tooth and ends with a wooden one. Just like in real life, where my book began with a tooth operation (the reason for my initial tooth writing in the first chapter), and ends with the removal of the tooth and a long line of suffering. It would have been a great full-circle thing, a great anecdote to the complexities of how real life spatters into fantasy and science fiction. If my sickness had ended with the removal of that tooth, it would’ve been perfect.

It didn’t end. In fact, removing the tooth sent a whole new wave of bacteria into my system, punching forgetfulness and memory issues back to full throttle–something I had on lockdown since the beginning of November. Strange how you think you have a handle on something, in fact are nearly certain the issue is understood and workable, and then–nope. It isn’t the tooth anymore. It’s the bone, or the sinus cavity, or an abscess that isn’t draining. Or something even deeper: autoimmune, immunodeficiency, viral meningitis.

Yesterday was a nightmare. I woke up at 11:00 after having watched too much television the night before, took my diabetes medication, drank kefir and had a green drink for breakfast, checked my blood sugar: 195. Strange, given I had a salad for dinner the night before, hummus and broccoli and carrots for lunch, and a donut and coffee for breakfast. This meant I was fighting an infection. Again. Maybe the same infection.

Classes have started; day one was Tuesday, and I blankly stared at the syllabus on Wednesday, trying to understand what was expected of me for the semester. Hell, trying to understand the assignment for homework, due Thursday (today). I tried to read a short story, finished, realized I remembered nothing about it except it was by Octavia Butler (because I had been given that information when I was in a more receptive state), and that it was uploaded in an easy-to-convert-to-sound format and sometimes the fonts were shifted, the spaces between words longer than one. And the rims of my vision sometimes pulsed with my heartbeat because pus is putting pressure on your brain, on your eyes, the doctor said. Sometimes I can not see much at all, sometimes pictures move when in periphery, or seem to, because of the shifting sphere shape of my eyes. Straight up terrifying. What do I do? The low-grade migraine that flowed from the back to the front of my head, coupled by the pain in my jaw that I thought was an infected tooth now radiating from an empty socket, sending me into agony while trying to stare at a computer screen.

I readied a dose of $4,000/mo potassium powder, drank maybe .50 of product, felt better. Wanted to write. Wanted to do homework. Needed to get work done. I don’t have time for this, I thought, fell into the couch and watched some escapist scifi on Amazon Prime. Tried to have conversations with my brother online, slurred words coming from someone sober for months, my own damn mouth, wondering again what the hell is wrong with me, again, expunging that wonder in words to silence from the other side. Realizing, again, six doctors, two EarNoseThroat specialists said this is likely stress-related, and then some small-town allergist decided to give my face an x-ray to maybe see if something was going on up there. Yes, something is going on up there.

They’re calling it chronic sinusitis, or sinusitis that continues after four weeks. It’s been in my head for nearly a year now, perhaps two. My nasal cavity is clear as a whistle, always, but when I get congestion I fall to pieces. Sometimes something drains and my eyes roll in the back of my head from the sensation, like springing a leak where water shouldn’t go. Nurses tell stories of sepsis, people dying from sinusitis of late without really knowing why, “feeling” good one day, dead the next. I have a tremor in my neck, my hands that won’t go away. My ears sing like crickets some days, or cicadas the next, or a tintinning ocean tide. This is an orchestra of sick, perhaps of death, a death bloom of infection that grows and grows. I begin my third bout of antibiotics tomorrow.

Yet, this is another journey for my book to explain. Another parallel degradation of myself, burned into my main character as he trods toward the climax. This is a climax that may never happen, where my journey disrupts the flow of words by ending before the book does. Last semester I worried I won’t finish my finals if I can’t get this under control. This semester I worry I won’t see July.

What is July but a marker of time? I joked to a friend that I lived longer than Jesus, that this was my Jesus year of 33, and at least I have that accomplishment. Perhaps only just. Perhaps not. And what are accomplishments but markers of time spent?

And even this, this post, this discussion, is my strange way of pushing forward. I only realize that now, subconsciously everything planned out before I realize: one class requires short stories, and last night I worried I’d have nothing to write. Nothing at all. And I worried I’d sit for days in front of a computer screen and write nothing, all stopped up like a wine cork pushed too far in the bottleneck. This is not nothing. It’s about nothing. The fear of nothing. The fear of whole, abstract existence. The fear of not finishing. But why? But why is a good question.

Despite all the strangeness of this sickness, my conscious self and subconscious self are so in tandem I find joy in the simple understanding that still, I create.

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Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading

My Nine Year Novel, and Why It Isn’t Published

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Warmest winter day ever.

Spring break is almost over! Yaaay (boo)! I still don’t have all my homework done. Exactly what I expected to happen this break, despite spending over 15 hours on courses already.

Between paper research that may or may not include multiple watchings of Idiocracy and This Film is Not Yet Rated, I’ve also been tackling professional representation/improvement on my writing work. My journey with this, the greatest failure and success of a novel, is a long and sordid one: one I wish to talk about for others in a similar field.

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Structure in the Age of So Much Literature

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(I imagine Yes is the only living thing ~ EE Cummings)

I recently read a Twitter post from a pro-tip wielding writer (by the name of Delilah S. Dawson), and did a little bit of research on what she referred to (that bit o’ info is a blog I’m subscribed to, filled with extremely helpful information. I recommend you subscribe to him as well. WARNING: offensive language used on that site) concerning “Story Structure.” That link is far more succinct than anything I could say  about it, so I won’t say a whole lot more about it beyond anecdotal evidence.

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This is What Happens When I am Inspired

Artist and glassblower Chihuly, as shown at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Artist and glassblower Chihuly, as shown at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

I try to surround myself with inspiring things, people, conversation. I try to also surround myself with moments of conflict and moments of peace. When it’s in balance, I find an overwhelming love of existing, of simply walking through this world in balance. I find few things more rewarding. I have a need to live a fulfilling life (as we all do).

If not for my dreaming, I’d be a completely different person. My imagination isn’t so great, while waking. It’s corny, cheesy, lame. I must work really, really hard to create. It has a penchant for the ridiculous. But while sleeping? It’s as if I developed a whole other person that sometimes orchestrates whole novels in a single night.

I dreamed last night. Like I used to, so long ago, I dreamed a great big vast dream that laid out several passive questions I’ve been asking myself, and answered them. But before I talk about the dream, I must talk about what inspired it.

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Reading, Writing, Video Blogging, Hiking, and Podcasting, a Whodunnit Thriller

Taken at Carondelet Park.

Taken at Carondelet Park.

I recently made two major changes to my life. One, I had the good fortune to catch the eye of a phenomenal woman (who I call Orchid, on here), and Two, I began pursuing alternative ways to keep my work from overwhelming me. I can’t write while I work: no access to a computer, a desk, or anything resembling a stable surface. I can’t read while I work: too little time, too much work to do, and the job is rarely finished until I’m driving down the road and onto my next one.

So what did I do? I listened, and in more than one way. My coworkers have been bugging me to buy a bluetooth earpiece so we can talk while we work, and Orchid mentioned how much she enjoys listening to podcasts on her long drives to and from work (1/2 hour each way, if traffic cooperates). I bought the bluetooth with two things in mind: socialization with others and listening to music/podcasts.

Podcasting has changed the way I see almost everything. Continue reading

I Prefer Music With a Punch

Took this over the weekend.

Took this over the weekend.

I had a spiritual experience at a gay bar in Buffalo, New York, four years ago.

If you know me at all, you shouldn’t be surprised.

I went to Buffalo for two reasons: as part of a paranormal investigation crew investigating a pair of haunted locations, and to eat as many buffalo wings as humanly possible. After the investigations and two buffalo wing meals, the crew went on a bar crawl across the city. I’m not much of a drinker, but I went anyway because I wanted to see New York night life. It ended at a gay bar with loud, pumping music, fog machines and a very large man on the back patio reading tarot with a vulnerable lisp.

He wasn’t bad.

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