The Writer’s Life: Perception vs. Reality

You know those scenes in movies where the character(s) are determined to work? They get into it, all happy with awesome music playing in the background. They wipe their brow off all tired, comical scenes ensue and within the three minute song the goal is done?

This happens with writing portrayals too. The writer sits at a computer, the ideas flowing and the sentences are running across the page. The writer looks pensively out a window, probably with their fingers at their temples, gazing through their glasses. 

How about the writer who has all the cool accessories? They have a cool notebook and pencil, or a laptop with cool stickers on the front and probably a cool bag to boot. They are well put together and look smart. 

The reality is that writing isn’t easy, despite the words rolling off the page and having a cool notebook.

There is so much more to it!

What isn’t shown is the editing and the daily struggle, the endurance to keep rewriting. 

Honestly, that is the bulk of being a writer, revising what you already wrote. It’s tedious, the opposite of cool, but the reward of achieving a fine narrative… worth it!

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Expanded Universe and Cartoons

Maybe it’s just me but cartoons are getting more complicated. It seems that cartoons now have an overarching plot, and an expanded universe with history and character back story.

I was thinking of the plot structure in such cartoons as Adventure Time and Steven Universe. They start off small, simple characters, simple stories and often filled with goofy antics. As the episodes progress, the world becomes bigger, deeper and scarier. We learn about the past, about deception and death. We learn more about those we called family, and how they are not so one-sided. 

I think this kind of “unfolding” story is popular because the progression of the story mirrors growing up. That is, as we grow up, the world becomes more complicated. Gone are the days of simple yes or no, good guys, bad guys and the world becomes more intricate, indiscernible, and often, darker.

These sort of stories are a type of “rites of passage,” which I like a lot. Trouble is that everything is so dark. I feel like stories have to be dark to be liked. Regardless, I like how these kinds of stories start of small and expand and develope. I’m excited to see how they evolve over the years. 

Maybe one of my own stories will leave a mark. 🙂

Winning

The Olympics are amazing. I’d watch them more if I had cable. Since it’s a popular topic I would bring it up to make small talk.

I asked one lady if she was watching the Olympics. She said no and expressed that she disliked them because, the athletes compete to be best in the world. She thought that was dumb, “best in the world,” because any noob could get lucky and be “best in the world.”

I didn’t want to start an argument, or insult her (she was a nice older lady) so I dropped it.

Being a writer, though, I can rant about her to my audience.

I decided on two points in my made-up argument with her in my head.

The first, is that Olympians train like crazy. They train at their sport more than we work at our full-time job. Take swimming 100m freestyle, for example. The qualifying time for the Rio games was 48.99 seconds. You don’t get lucky and just so happen to beat that time. You train as hard as you can. I believe that most games are the same way. These athletes don’t win out of luck, they win by hard work and determination.

The second, is that winning is a percentage. Just because someone trains like crazy, doesn’t guarantee a win. There’s a chance a noob could win, albeit small. Maybe their leg cramps, or they get light-headed and swim the wrong way and the noob has time to swim to the finish. It probably won’t happen but it could.

Look at a card game. Sure you might know the game inside and out, you might even know you’re opponents inside and out, but there’s still a chance that you could lose. 

The probability exists beyond card games. In sports, fans track a players stats, based on their history of successes and failures. In basketball, a professional player makes a free throw, but there’s still a percentage that he will make it or miss it. 

When playing games, when competing, one examines the odds of winning. In poker, Texas Hold ‘Em specifically, a professional can see what the odds are their opponent has a certain hand. They then base their decisions by playing those odds. But it takes a pro to even realize what the chances are.

The Olympians, and anyone that competes in any game, find themselves at the crossroads of odds, chances, percentages and hard work and determined training. Training doesn’t guarantee a win, nothing can, but the more somone devotes time and energy to perfecting their game, the more the odds of wining increase.

Introverts and Extroverts 

I am an introvert.

My wife is an extrovert. She is the life of the party. How is she feeling? Don’t worry, she’ll let you know. Have you met my wife? She is quite unforgettable.

And here I am, introverting.

I was thinking about introverts and extroverts. I don’t think anyone is 100% introvert or extrovert but rather, we all fall somewhere on the spectrum.

Being an introvert and living with an extrovert is all the background I really have in this study of tempermants.

I noticed that an introvert can be the life of the party, enjoy small talk, not be a bookworm and be aggresive.

An extrovert can be shy and enjoy quiet, alone time.

The difference between these two tempermants is: their reactionto people. An extrovert gains energy from people and social situations. An introvert spends energy in these environments.

These past five days or so have drained me. My brother-in-law came to town with his fiancee, who we met for the first time. My brother came for a day. An old family friend visited too. My bro-in-law and his fiancee are stillhere, staying at our house. I work all day talking to people on the phone.

My little introverted self is drained of energy.

I like people. I like talking to people. Sometimes I just need some time to myself and whether you’re introverted or extroverted, everybody needs a break. My break just so happens to include alone time.

My friend

Today marks 6 years since my friend passed away.

I spent two of those believing it was just an accident, that while living in NYC, someone pushed him in front of the metro at 3 in the morning. 

When I found out it was suicide, he died all over again.

I don’t want to get overly personal, because I still have trouble talking about it personally and I want to respect his family too.

I don’t always remember his day of death. Sometimes it just passes by but this time, I’ve been thinking about him a lot.

I think about his note, written inside a little notebook along with some musings, stories and drawings. It was the last entry. It said to the effect of, I was hoping for a miracle, but it wasn’t enough.” It’s based off the line from Bloc Party’s song Helicopter. We used to play that song on Guitar Hero all the time.

My interpretation of his suicide changes over time, sometimes minute by minute, but from that note… He just gave up. For whatever reason he was tired. He didn’t want to try anymore.

I feel bad. He was dealing with some serious demons. I used to feel that it was my fault, that I didn’t help him enough or wasn’t a good enough friend and in a way, pushed him in front of that metro train. Or that we all failed, friends and family.

Ultimately, it was his choice. 

I don’t believe he went straight to hell. God judges what’s on the inside and someone who kills themself is not in their right mind. God takes all thing into account.

I’m sure his in the afterlife regretting his decision. He’s made me and his family and other friends very sad, depressed, and question the purpose of life. I used to wonder if there was any point in carrying on.

I used to feel bad making friends with other guys, like I was replacing him or insulting his memory.

One time at a little memorial with friends and family of the recently deceased. I shared a memory and at one point said, “he was my best friend.” Someone corrected me and said, “is! He is your best friend.”

I continued because everyone was watching and listening to me and I didn’t want to argue but, be it rude, or an insult to his memory, he was my best friend.

Putting it in the past, as a memory of what once was, helps me cope. I wish he was here to meet my wife, play Pokemon Go and just talk to, but he is not. And he is not coming back. Whether I’ll see him in a life after this, that’s personal belief. I believe I will, but as far as mortal life goes, I will never see him again.

It brings me closure. I will always remember him but I can no longer be held down by it. I must cut the chain to the anchor and sail on. I’ll always remember that spot, it’s marked on my map forever, but there are other seas and oceans to explore.

His death has not set my life off of a normal, happy course. Life is still good.