The truth, no matter how ugly, is the truth.

Fair warning, this is going to be a first draft post because if I edit it I will probably never post it and I need to be honest with myself with some accountability.

So, the ugly truth is that I am lazy. I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to lately because I am tired. Beyond tired. Absolutely freaking exhausted. I am not sure about you other creative people but I have a hell of a time being creative when I am tired.

You know what that is, right? Alan, my dad, used to always say that excuses were like assholes. Everyone has them and they all stink. I am facing that fact now. I will never be tired so my option is to quit writing or not quit writing. I don’t want to quit. I sound like a baby. Yes I know it. So the only way to write is to write. Sans distraction. Sans excuses.

I have used this tired excuse and not being creative to justify doing other things to distract me. Painting models (which I love and helps keep me sane), playing the occasional game and watching a whole lot of television. I watch way more tv than ever before because my wife is working from home and gets in her hours after the babies bedtime. It helps keep her up as she grinds out the necessary work and I have a very likely co-dependent need to spend any time I can with her. Even something as loathsome as a video lobotomy.

I can feel myself becoming stupider. Whether as a result of the exhaustion, the couple of hours of tv a day, or the lack of writing I can’t say but I am.

What can I do to change things? Well, the first and most obvious is just to fucking write. Which brings me back to being tired and not being creative when I am tired. It’s not going to change. Does that mean I should just abandon that hope and take some pressure off of myself? Should I just harden the fuck up and do it even if it is crap?

Oh speaking of crap, what little writing I have been doing lately has been absolute crap. Awful, unreadable, agenda laden garbage that makes me stupider for having read it. Definitely not the kind of writer I want to be.

Which gets me to horror. I used to absolutely love horror and love writing horror. Then I had daughters. It is odd, but I feel like I don’t want to write that crap for them. I want to be better than I am and give them something to be proud of, not have to make excuses later like “yeah, my dad is a writer but most of his stuff is crap.”

That is me just being afraid and questioning my legacy I guess. Okay, I guess that this is the end of a way over due post here.

I have been finding time to write for my nerd gaming blog. So obviously the time is there more than the interest. Or is it just easier because it isn’t original and there is no pressure to be awesomely clever or witty?

Bleh. That is where I am. I am asking you for help because I don’t know what else to do.

It’s like a train wreck but in a good way

Seriously, hear me out on this. Having children is a lot like a train wreck.

You are moving forward on your life which has its own sort of inertia. Sure, you have bumps along the way but really, your life kind of moves along the rails. Every now and again you might find a stop that is interesting and you hop off and take a tour of the area, maybe take some pictures, try some new kind of food, hit the touristy areas and hang out, but eventually, most of us end up back on that train heading in the same direction it was before.

Sometimes the train breaks down and you are left straddling the iron rails for a while but eventually the boiler builds up steam and then you get moving once more.

And then, like that shiny penny on the track of urban legend BAM! You are off the rails, digging a trough 50 feet long and scattering daisies and poppies across the field. It takes a bit longer, but you eventually get the train back up on the rails and after a mile or two you realize that the track is completely gone.

I call this the second child.

So now, finally, the train of my life is starting to move again. It is a bit more battered, sure, and it takes a bit more steam to move but inch by inch it is heading off in a new direction.

I am looking forward to the new horizons and I invite you, if you survived the multiple de-railings, to hop aboard and take this ride with me, let’s see what wonders and terrors await beyond this next bend and through that tunnel.

Has it really been that long?

Wow, it has that is kind of insane.  I suppose it is also an accurate representation of my life for the last few months.  I could bore you to tears with whines about teething babies, crappy jobs, and unrealistic expectations but nobody really wants to read that anyway.

I’d like to say that thing are going to be changing and for the better soon, but that might be a bit too optimistic.

However, that being said, I have been sneaking in a paragraph or two along the way and writing down a ton of idea loglines so that is good.

That is it for this super short update, I just wanted to assure you that I am still alive.

10 quick (and hopefully not dirty) pokes

This is a quick 10 things, done in about 2 minutes or less in response to Dani’s 10 things post.  The topic and rules are over at her site, so go check it out.

10.  Poking an eye out.
9.  Pokemon – I know it isn’t exactly poke, but this is a subconscious do it quick kind of thing.
8.  Pokey – old west slang for jail.  I think it is old west, anyway.
7.  Ft. Polk Louisiana.  Not much more to be said here other than homonymnalicious.
6.  Pig in a poke.  I honestly don’t even know what this means.
5.  Poke as in slang for sex… excuse me while I try and get back on topic.
4.  Nope, still stuck at sex.
3.  Poking someone to get their attention.
2.  Pokecratic method.  Wow, my subconscious sucks.
1.  “Better than a poke in the eye” and here we are, back at 10.  That is somehow beautifully poketic.  Okay.  I’ll stop with the puns.  Blame this on Dani.

Serial part 1

Sorry it’s not Wednesday – going forward look for new bits added on Wednesdays.  The in-laws were in town so I didn’t get much time to write.  I am going with a bit of cyberpunk influence as suggested by Eddie.  I need a title, so if you have anything clever let me know.

——————-

They said after the Pak-Ind Exchange that the region would glow for a thousand years. In reality the fires burned and mostly died out and the Freeholds rose from the ashes as pretenders to an ancient legacy of greatness. The other nations of the world do their best to ignore the princes, pretenders, maharajas and maharanis who claim dominion. No one goes there if they have a choice which explains why Stuss found himself in Lamayuru.It was said that a demon lived in the lake of Lamayuru and a monastery was built there after the lake was drained and the demon vanquished. During the Exchange the valley was fairly well protected from the blasts by the surrounding mountains. Of course, the ash fell for weeks after, poisoning most of the fruit trees which once dotted the region. There was a single apple tree which seemed to thrive on the ash. The apples grew red and fat and it was said that a single apple would make the eater immune to the ravages of radiation.

Stuss’s current employer was that magical combination of rich and foolish.  He wanted a bushel of the apples.

“This is such a bullshit job” Stuss mumbled to himself.  At least he didn’t have too much to worry about from the radiation.  As long as there were no immediate EMPs the background radiation wouldn’t affect him.  The poor bastard he was imping couldn’t say the same.

His guide, a scarred Sikh named Jasbir, turned to look him. He said something in Punjabi and it took Stuss a second to access the the language and realize Jasbir was calling a break.  The monastery was still a couple of hours away.  He hoped Jasbir wouldn’t notice the pause.  The monastery was a holy place, forbidden to outsiders.

Stuss answered back “sure, this place is as good as any”.  He avoided looking at Jasbir as he spoke.  The guide was in his mid 20s with a thick black beard that had been twisted and greased flat.  His turban was a deep blue but the white dust of the road made it look more like denim.  He also had a huge weeping sore where there should have been a nose and every time Stuss looked at him all he could see was that cancerous wound.

Jasbir just stopped the Jeep in the middle of the road.  It had been hours since they had seen any other traffic – or life of any sort.

Stuss got out and stretched his arms.  The motion caught his eye and he looked at his arms.  They were skinny and dark brown and covered with tiny sores from the radiation.  He felt a bit nauseous at the sight and panicked for a moment that the imped wouldn’t survive the journey.  Which meant Stuss wouldn’t survive.  He couldn’t help but remember watching Houke die.

Houke had been the best of them throughout the entire process.  Stuss remembered that 3 am wake-up call when he was taken out of his MI unit and told of his selection for a new assignment effective immediately.

“Outside now, Stuss.  Your shit will follow you.”

Stuss was still groggy with sleep but he could tell that the sergeant wasn’t happy.

He was standing there, shivering in his underwear when the black civilian car pulled up.  The whole situation was surreal.  Stuss climbed into the back of the car, his thighs squeaking against the leather.  The driver didn’t turn around and when Stuss tried to ask a question he just turned up the China-pop to earsplitting levels.

He knew now that the whole situation was the final test – to find out how well he could handle being thrown into a completely bizarre situation and get his bearings.  He was quick enough to end up in the Cortical Suppression and Impression program.  When he was dropped off outside of the drab grey building which was to be his home for the next year he saw nearly a hundred other CorSup hopefuls.  It was surrounded with tall fences and signs warning of the authorization of deadly force.  There was a single four part gate that looked more like one of the locks of a canal and two armed and indifferent guards.

Most of the hopefuls had gathered together into small groups.   Houke was sitting on the curb by himself smoking one of those bitter herb cigs he somehow always had.  He was in his underwear, same as almost everyone, but he didn’t seem the least bit curious or out of sorts.  He may as well have been sitting in his room for all it bothered him.

Stuss watched him nurse the cig for a while before walking over to him.

“No, I don’t have another so don’t even ask” his voice was lighter than the words he was saying.

Stuss sat down next to him.  “What do you think this is about?”

“Don’t know, don’t care.  Yesterday I could throw a rock and hit the Caliphate, assuming I was dumb enough to leave cover.  You can bet your ass I am a whole lot more happy today.”

That was the only time Stuss ever heard Houke talk about his life before CorSup.

They sat in silence until a harsh buzzing from the gates drew their attention.  A man in a black suit was leaving the compound flanked by uniformed guards.

“You will form into two groups.  Females on my left, males on my right.”  The man’s voice was soft but clear.

“Where are we?” one of the hopefuls asked.

“You are dismissed from the program.”  The man in the black motioned and one of the guards split off and hit the speaker with the butt of his weapon, knocking him to the ground.  He followed up with another brutal stroke the back of his head.  He collapsed in a heap.  Stuss hoped he was just unconscious but with hindsight he knew that he were they would have put a bullet in his brain after the hopefuls were filed into the compound.  In those early days, at least, they still pretended the program was voluntary.

Dream a little dream

Okay, this is a dream I had that kind of freaked me out.  It is one of those things that makes me wish that I was more anonymous in my blogging.  That being said, I am working at bringing more honesty to my writing so here goes, I’ll do the best I can with it, however, I am probably too much of an intellectual coward to go into full detail.
I was a priest or about to be ordained a priest in a more orthodox style religion – I was wearing the black cassock and in an old church.  The type to have wood decorations so old and dark they looked like chocolate.  Sometimes I was alone, sometimes there was another priest there with me – an older man with a grey horseshoe of hair around his ears.  Mostly I was alone.

The devil communicated with me tempting me and wanting me to allow possession.  I resisted, of course.  Then 7 beautiful women appeared, naked, in the nave.  They were tall and thin each with longish hair.  Their bodies were perfect but their eyes were dark and cold.  They came at me offering pleasure and distraction and as the first one came close and hugged me and started to nuzzle into my neck I hugged her back and started saying the “Our Father”.

As I was doing so she started to scream and thrash and her pale flesh began to blister.  Finally, as I finished, she vanished as a vapor.

Another came and me and the same basic thing happened.  And then a third, though on this one, the words of the prayer (which is easily the most basic, common and known prayer) started to slip from me.  At the same time I didn’t resist quite as much to the whispered promises.

Despite the wailing and thrashing each of the demons, for I knew them for that, would approach me calmly and willingly.  By the time I had dealt with the 5th one I was just so tired and didn’t really care any more so instead I willingly submitted as the last two walked toward me.

At this point I woke up in a sweat and was actually wondering if you sold your soul in a dream if it counted.  Then I decided I didn’t really care about that and just wanted to go back to sleep so I could take up with those last two where we left off.  There was also some vaguely conan vision of sitting in a throne made up of that dark chocolate church wood with the two still naked and exceedingly hot demon consorts on the steps of the nave below me while the rest of the church burned and I could hear people outside screaming and dying as the end came and me not really caring – well, not entirely true, more like me enjoying it.

So, am I damned or just tired.  Or just damned tired.  Writing it out it misses those surreal dream feelings but it still affects me.

Killer serial

So, as  I become a bit more used to the madhouse my life has become I have found myself doing a little bit of writing here and there.  Nothing really awesome, but it is more to get back in the habit of writing than anything else.  A couple of things have been helping out here – I read Duma Key by Stephen King – it was definitely my favorite book by him and that is saying something.  I am reading Game of Thrones – on book 2 now, finished book 1 in a week which is an accomplishment that was helped only by being struck with the flu and confined to quarters as it were.  And, just to add a little something else to the mix, I have been listening to the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast from HPPodcraft.com – I will add a bit about that a bit later but suffice it to say that even if you aren’t particularly a fan of Lovecraft, it is worth listening to just to get a greater understanding about what his life was like as he was writing the stories.

Anyway, as is always the case with me, the more I read, the more impulse I have to write.  Surrounding myself with this stuff and Eglentyne’s excellent blog (which has really been a life(sanity)saver – thanks Dani!) which brings me to the point of this 10 minute post (which is something I forgot that I had been doing and which is a great idea if I say so myself) – even I can shoehorn in 10 minutes.

So tell me, Patrick, what is the point of this post?  Well, getting back to what I was mentioning above with my impulse control disorder (aka writing) and having just heard a couple of the HP Lovecraft archived podcasts with a couple of his stories released as serials I have decided to do a serial right here on this very blog.  Not only will it get me back into the habit of writing but it will also get me back used to deadlines and just posting something even if it is horribly shitty.  The plan is to post some bit of fiction in a continuing storyline

So now you, gentle reader, if you can so be troubled to reply I have a couple of questions for you.  Do you have a preference on the day of the week which I post the new episode?  Second off, any preference for genre?  I am game for pretty much anything but if I don’t enjoy it it might just be a very short serial 😉

Also, just to set expectations, I am not planning on doing much in the way of editing on this unless it really takes off and I love it so it will be yours, warts of a first draft and all.  Well, as first draft as a notorious edit-as-I-write as I am.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this, I find my 10 minutes are up.

It’s been a while…

Okay, so, it has been a while since I posted. I have been busy.

Yeah yeah, you are right, that is mostly bullshit. I have had a few minutes here or there to post something.

The thing is, the longer I put it off, the more I got it built up in my head that I had to have a really awesome “welcome back” kind of post. You know, the kind that said I was in the deepest darkest jungles of South America picking strange and mysterious plants which just may hold the cure to cancer and a life everlasting.

Obviously, this isn’t the case. In the end, I just decided to embrace my mediocrity and just get on with it.

What do I have to be thankful for?

Picture my mom took

My mom took this picture on her vacation and I am using it without permission.

Ah Thanksgiving is just around the corner which is a nice reminder to be grateful.  Eglentyne is much cooler than I am and has been posting things every day in November that she is thankful for and here I am, the day before Thanksgiving phoning it in.  As an aside Dani, and all joking aside that is a really cool thing you have been doing – it is tempting for me to carry it on going forward.  Every single day there are so many things to be thankful for that one a day should be easy.  However, I also have the free time (and attention span) of a fruit fly on a banana plantation (does that make any sense at all?) so we’ll see how that goes.

And here is my list:

An awesome wife, two gorgeous daughters, friends who are far better than I deserve, ditto on the family, a good job that is challenging to me and letting me learn a ton of new things, a creative spirit, a quick mind, a healthy body, enough freedom to make choices that are bad for me, people who know that I love them and think of them even though I am lousy at staying in touch, that I got to spend the time with grandma and gramps that I did, that I wish I had spent more time with them, that I am lucky enough to have more than 1 family and the different perspectives that has given me even though I don’t remember any Spanish any more, my service in the Army and all of the people I was fortunate enough to know even if I didn’t realize it at the time, that I am an American, the grace of God, tales of redemption, that I lived long enough to see a zombie show on TV, the sunrise is beautiful, a clear day and blues skies that are beautiful, cloudy rainy beautiful days, the beauty of the night sky, the fact that I stumbled upon a Navajo prayer many years ago that quite literally changed the way I look at the world and which I leave to you, my friends.  Open your eyes to it and I swear you will see it.

Walk in beauty

In beauty may you walk.
All day long may you walk.
Through the returning seasons may you walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may you walk.
With grasshoppers about your feet may you walk.
With dew about your feet may you walk.

With beauty may you walk.
With beauty before you, may you walk.
With beauty behind you, may you walk.
With beauty above you, may you walk.
With beauty below you, may you walk.
With beauty all around you, may you walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may you walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
living again, may you walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

Who will you always be?

We had our Thanksgiving potluck at my work today.  I brought a very tasty apple crisp (thanks Miriam for the recipe!) and it all went pretty well.  The food was good across the board, especially a Brussel sprouts dish someone made and someone else brought a really tasty sweet potato casserole.

Anyway, as we are standing around milling about I realize I don’t really know many of these people.  When that happened I have a moment of panic and kind of switch into a default mode which, for me, is trying to be helpful.  It’s what I do when I am nervous.  It may sound cute, but in reality it makes me very uncomfortable.  I suddenly feel awkward and nervous and stupid.  Obsequious even.

I am suddenly that fat 9th grader I was over half a lifetime ago.

I want to be liked and accepted.  Not that you likely care but I moved around a lot as kid.  My mom was married 3 times which means I was abandoned in a major way 3 times by the man who was my model and my idol.

I am older now and know that situations and people change and situations change and we all make choices but that is how if felt.

I had to make new friends every time I moved and had to say goodbye to friends.  At some point the pain outweighed the benefits so my naturally gregarious Leo nature became more subdued.  Sure, I could make friends fast but I stopped wanting to because it was inevitable we would say goodbye, promise to write each other knowing that we wouldn’t and then (maybe) connect on Facebook 20 years later.

Which brings me back to the potluck and the realization that even though I have had a full and awesome life of doing many amazing and quite often stupid things.  I have a beautiful wife whom I love and have been married to for 10 years and dated for nearly 5 before.  I have 2 gorgeous daughters.  My name is even different in that I made a very conscious decision to go by Patrick instead of Pat and my last name is not the same as it was when I graduated high school (thanks to the Army and another not terribly interesting story).  I am still kind of fat, but other than that really superficial thing I couldn’t be more of a different person.

And yet some part of my core will always be that kid wanting to be helpful so you will like me.

Who will you always be?