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Review of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

My decision to re-read books of my past, and review them, continues with “The Great Gatsby”. “The Great Gatbsy” is one of those books that seems to be an assigned reading multiple times throughout one’s “formal” education. The first time I recall being assigned to read this was in 11th grade. And the second time was at a community college.

Perhaps my teachers were onto something, and it was a good thing that these books were assigned throughout multiple years, because I never read the book completely either time. I have only decided to go back and read this book, as well as other books from my past (and more future books) as a means to become a better writer myself.

The narrator of the book is a man named Nick Carraway. A man from the Midwest who fought in the First World War, whose experience in the war left him bored with the Midwest. He moved to New York from the Midwest at the prospect of an exciting “American Dream”.

His neighbor was a man named Gatsby. Gatsby owned a nice mansion. Gatsby threw a lot of parties at his house. A lot of rich people came to Gatsby’s house to drink, and party. Exciting stuff. Get used to it, because it happens a lot throughout the whole fucking book.

Across the bay where Gatsby and Nick lived, lived Nick’s “second cousin once removed”, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, whom Nick had known in college. Tom is basically a quiet brute with a sensitive ego: particularly when it comes to Daisy. Yes, this is largely a love story, my friends. Exciting stuff.

Gatsby’s name gets thrown around a lot because of all of the parties he throws for big-wigs. Lots of rumors get spread: many of them about all of the exciting things the great man has done. (Hence “The Great Gatsby”. Clever, huh?) To make a long story short, Gatsby loves Daisy and wants her to leave Tom for him. And she doesn’t do it. Spoiler alert. Sorry.

So what else happens? Why should you read this book? Well, Tom is cheating on Daisy with a woman named Myrtle Wilson, who is married to George Wilson, a mechanic. The Wilsons aren’t rich like Tom Buchanan and Gatsby are. Fascinating. At one point, Tom, Nick, Daisy, Gatsby, and some female tennis player named Jordan (whom is introduced as a possible interest for Nick, but nothing materializes from it) go to town, in two cars. Gatsby and Daisy take one car, with Gatsby driving, and Tom, Nick, and Jordan take another car, with Tom driving. Tom is trying to keep up with Gatsby and Daisy because he is jealous of Gatsby. He knows Gatsby loves Daisy, and Tom is very possessive. Daisy is just some dimwitted rich girl who happens to be related to Nick and who is married to Tom and who Gatsby loves. To be such a pivotal character to the story, I found her ditsyness insufferable.

Myrtle runs out in front of Tom’s car. Tom and Myrtle had been having an affair. Tom ignores her and runs over her in pursuit of Gatsby. Gatsby’s popularity gets the best of him, as rumor spreads that he was the one who ran over Myrtle. George shoots Gatsby in his pool. Fascinating stuff.

That’s pretty much the story. So why is this story so significant? Well, I’ll give you the standard analysis of this book, then I’ll provide you with my own analysis of this book.

What, supposedly, makes this book worth a read is the fact that it takes place during the “roaring ’20s”. During the “Jazz Age”. I think there’s something much more significant to this book. But that, basically, is where the analysis of this book begins and ends. “Roaring ’20s”, “Jazz Age”, “American Dream”, etc. But when I read this book in community college (well, I should qualify, half read), and when I read this book again just recently, I came away with something different.

Yes, there is no doubt about the time period in which this book took place. But to say that this book is “about” the “roaring ’20s”, I believe, is disingenuous. I don’t think this book is “about” the “roaring ’20s”, but is, rather, a critique of the “roaring ’20s”. The analysis that my community college teacher gave of this book, and the direction that the conversation of this book took place, if memory serves me correctly, was just about “the Jazz Age”, as if the book served as some kind of praise of the exciting “American Dream” at the turn of the 20th century, or maybe even, almost, as just documentation of the historical time period itself. (I’ll get to Gatsby and Daisy in a second). But I did not see that at all in Fitzgerald’s work. Sure, that’s when the book takes place. And there’s a lot of history about how the “roaring ’20s” were. But I think people are taking history and trying to analyze Fitzgerald’s work, instead of analyzing the work itself.

To begin with, let’s look at the characters. I noticed something, the time that I read what little bit of this book I did in community college, and when I read the book again recently. Most of the characters weren’t very happy. When Nick goes to Gatsby’s parties, there’s a lot of drunken merriment, but there’s also relationship fights that go on. When Nick goes to these parties himself, he can see this conflict. Otherwise, when you observe the parties from the outside, they’re “a hoot”. Just a bunch of rich people drinking and partying. My, what a ball! I bet they’re having a blast! No, I think the main theme of this book is that the grass always appears to be greener on the other side, but that it almost never is. I’ll provide some more evidence towards this later.

These rich people, drinking, “living it up”, but who actually aren’t happy at all. Putting on airs. Envious of this “Gatsby” fellow, whom they’ve heard a lot about, but have never met. Nick feels this way about Gatsby until he meets him, and gets to know him better.

George Wilson: a mechanic in the “Valley of Ashes” (basically in poverty). Tom was either going to buy or sell a car to George (it doesn’t really matter to me either one, honestly), and George was really excited about it and needed it because he’s poor, but to Tom, it wasn’t that big of a deal, because he was rich. This again, to me, screams out “the grass always appears to be greener on the other side”. George, a poor man, would love to have Tom’s wealth, and the lifestyle that he assumes comes along with it. But Tom never seems to be happy in the book at all. He’s quiet, reserved, easily embarrassed and intimidated by Gatsby, who cheats on Daisy and then kills his mistress. Sometimes, that grass is brown and dead on the other side. Poverty isn’t the only big problem in the world. That was the sense that I got from this book. But that’s not what I got from the book when it was discussed in the classroom. The discussion was about the “roaring ’20s”, and maybe even some class warfare, or something. Something that I don’t think makes sense at all. I’ll provide more “the grass always appears to be greener on the other side, but frequently isn’t” evidence soon.

Gatsby is mysterious and always busy, and Nick tries to read him. Sometimes, Gatsby seems confident: other times, miserable. Yes, Gatsby loves Daisy. He was trying to win her over with his luxurious lifestyle. There’s no doubt about that. But when I read this book in community college, something else stuck out to me. And that was the color green.

The green light that Gatsby looked out at. Where Daisy lived. Sure, he was looking out at Daisy. But the color green rang a bell to me. The color green is associated with envy. And when I looked at all of these miserable characters: rich people who seemed to have it all, but were still in unhappy relationships, the contrast between the rich and the “Valley of Ashes”, and George Wilson’s situation compared to Tom Buchanan’s (but knowing that Tom Buchanan had his own problems as well), the infidelity of both rich and poor, the rumors about Gatsby: all I could think about is that, for instance, it is easy for non-wealthy people to look at wealth and see that it will solve all of their problems. This book definitely states the contrary. Likewise, just envy in general, whether of the demeanor of someone else, the perceived lifestyle that they have (like the exciting one that Gatsby appeared to lead), or envy of a romantic interest who loves another doesn’t always provide that greener light on the other side. I think the last passage provides evidence of my analysis as well:

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning-

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

So does the green light represent Daisy? Sure. But it’s much more than that. Because Fitzgerald says “the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” Us. Clearly, he doesn’t want this light to just mean Daisy. There’s more significance to this “green light”. Why green? Well, I read “envy” into it, personally. Maybe the green represents money? Maybe the green light is Daisy because Gatsby looked out at them both, and thought that he could win Daisy’s heart with his money? That certainly makes sense to me. I still lean towards envy, simply because of the unhappiness that pervades seemingly every character in this book, and how this unhappiness that blankets them all exists within this contrast between rich and poor.

Could Fitzgerald have been talking about the “American Dream”? Of course. Was it about, say, a recession? Was Fitzgerald pessimistic about the future of economic progress in America? “…the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”? Considering as how there was a depression in 1920, I think this certainly could be the case. I think his message is multi-layered. I think the “layers” between the American Dream and Gatsby’s love for Daisy are obvious. But the fact that almost everyone in this story are miserable (even when appearing to try to have a good time) is significant, too. The grass ain’t always greener on the other side. There’s worse fates than poverty. And money can’t solve everything.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” We strive to better ourselves, even as life makes it harder to do so. I think one can definitely draw connections between that line and the “American Dream”. Between that line, and the contrast between the rich in the poor in this story, which may cause some to ask “Is the ‘American Dream’ really just a dream?” I’m not going to analyze that question here, but here’s some things that may be of interest to you if you are interested in that question.

The first time I read this, I was thinking so much about this “envy” message that I was getting that I misread Dr. T. J. Eckleberg’s eyes as being green. I’m saddened to reread that they are actually blue. So, sure. The eyes represent “God watching all”, knowing about all of our secrets and infidelities, judging us. Also, more contrast between the rich and the poor, with a giant advertising billboard. I personally find this shit boring. I like my analysis of this story better.

So what did I think of the book? Well, it takes a long time to get into it. I like the way Fitzgerald writes more than the way that Stephen King writes. I wish I could think of this story without thinking of my past experience in community college with it. The book isn’t that bad. As I’ve just said, I like the way Fitzgerald writes. He was good at giving Gatsby this air of mystique (that’s one thing I liked about the book when I first started to read it). He has interesting ways of describing things. The tale itself was quite bland to me. The most exciting thing about the story was a woman getting ran over and her breast basically getting ripped off of her body. I’m sorry, but a tale has got to do more than that for me. I guess there’s a lot of mystery to this story, but I’m not a fan of mysteries. There’s also romance, but I’m not a fan of romances. So the tale didn’t do much for me, honestly. I think it’s overrated. And I don’t think Fitzgerald was trying to “capture” the “Jazz Age” as much as he was trying to critique it. The copyright of this book is 1925: right in the middle of the “roaring ’20s”. Based on how aloof the rich characters are in this book, I can’t agree that Fitzgerald was trying to “capture” the “Jazz Age” with admiration. I think “criticism” is a more appropriate word than “admiration”. Perhaps he was a grumpy old introvert who was agitated by the extroversion of his age. Hmm…why does that message ring a bell with me?

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Possibility

Inspiration often comes from the weirdest places. Tonight was a night like a lot of other nights. I was surfing the web when I heard a clap of thunder. Considering how much money I spent on my PC, I saved what I was watching (h3 interviewing Jordan Peterson) to come back to later, shut down my PC, and unplugged it. What to do now? Well, I’m a little hungry. Let’s go to Subway, like I normally do.

I stepped outside, and thought about the thunderstorm. What if I get hit by lightning? You know, many of the people who get hit by lightning are those that least expect it. Who “don’t see it coming”. As soon as I’m comfortable and confident enough to go to my car is when I’m going to get hit by lightning. So I stood there, just outside my door. Do I really want to go to Subway anyway? Am I really that hungry? What are my other options? I could read. But I’m really into what I was going before the storm came. Let’s just go to Subway and see if the storm passes by the time I get back home. I’ll eat inside (as I normally do, anyway) to kill more time, then come back home, plug my computer back up, and get back to watching videos.

And as I stood outside my door, something hit me, quite like a metaphorical bolt of lightning. I finally thought of the words to really describe something about myself that I found quite interesting. I thought of the word “possibility”. I realized that I am a man of “possibility”. There was a “possibility” that I could’ve been hit by lightning. There’s a possibility I could be bitten by a poisonous spider. But my thinking of “possibilities” aren’t all negative. For instance, there is a “possibility” that I could make money from Youtube. There is a “possibility” that I could write something that people enjoy. These possibilities motivate me at least as much, if not more than the negative possibilities.

I also realized this back when I used to play poker. It was rarely for any actual money (that’s a good thing. It’s rather humorous to think that one of the only times that I did play poker for money was in, I believe, 8th grade. I brought the cards, and we were gambling our dimes and quarters of our lunch money. We were finally caught one time, but nothing major came of it. The teacher just, a little frantically, told us to “put that up”. Funny to think of that reaction. I typically ignored “the authorities” (not necessarily cops, but just anyone “in charge” of me) so her horror of our gambling didn’t really affect me. I didn’t see any harm in it, and still don’t).

Poker is a game of probabilities. The least “likely” hands are the “strongest”. There’s certain likelihoods that specific things have taken place. You consider the “unlikelihood” of your own hand, and consider if, whether or not, your hand is “less likely” than your opponent’s. Then, you wager as much “money” (“real” or “fake”) as you think he will also wager. The “unlikeliest” hand wins all of the money: “the pot”.

I became interested in poker because of the “World Series of Poker” on ESPN (which I used to watch religiously). Many people were sitting at tables, playing Texas Hold ‘Em. I was watching ESPN all of the time. Watching football highlights, baseball highlights, and I was starting to get into both basketball and ice hockey. Poker came on, and I was intrigued. I couldn’t stop watching. It was fascinating to me. Hearing the clicks of the chips. The amount of money being bet. It was fantastic.

I tried to learn how the “odds” worked. I don’t particularly care to do math in my head. Paper and calculations are easier and more satisfactory. But one thing has always bothered me about “probabilities”. They aren’t exact. If you have a 35% chance of winning, then you only (yes, I’m using that word) have a 65% chance of losing. So what should you do? Should you always play by the numbers? I have decided “no”. For one, I don’t care about calculating the numbers that much, and, secondly, they aren’t exact. That isn’t very fun to me. Learning the numbers to play by them all of the time isn’t fun to me.

Now, of course, it wasn’t that I was completely against “odds”. I wouldn’t calculate into percentages, but I would still try to determine if my hand was stronger than my opponent’s. I have two pair. Do I really think he has a flush? Do I really think he has a straight? How is he betting? My decisions were not necessarily based on the percentage probability that my opponent had a stronger hand than I had. It was, mainly, based on the strength of my own hand, how my opponent was betting, reading body language (while doing my best to not give anything away by remaining absolutely motionless (which I was pretty good at)), and trying to play mind games with him. It wasn’t that I didn’t think about, say, how many diamonds were left in the deck. But that wasn’t the main factor behind my decision-making process. Only one factor. And other factors were, most of the time, more influential.

You win some, you lose some. A lot of it depends upon who you’re up against. I could’ve “hedged my bets” a little more, but I didn’t want to. I played for a different reason than most. Some things never change…

I’m sure if a “professional” poker player reads this, they’ll cringe. But I’m not a “professional” poker player. I played for fun, the way that I wanted to play. And I played on possibility. These last two sentences are my life motivations.

Any time that I decide to write, I have a temptation to want to address counterpoints. I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with this. In fact, I think it’s a very good thing to do. Attempting to strengthen arguments is a good thing to do. But, too often, I find myself angry, and attempting to justify myself “against the world”. I don’t really think I have much of a choice. Anyone who wishes to do anything outside of the “norm” will receive “advice” that amounts to “Nah, don’t try that. It’s really hard. Do something more ‘normal’.” I can’t take that boring advice. And why should I? Why should odds keep me from playing the poker game and enjoying it? Why should I sit at the table, miserable, and expecting to lose, instead of sitting at the table happy, and expecting to win? If it doesn’t matter to me how much money I lose, then why should I care, as long as I’m enjoying myself? And if you’re so afraid of losing money, why are you even sitting down at the table to begin with? Why are you even in the casino, observing me play poker? If you’re terrified of losing money, why are you even in the gambling building? You can’t watch me play IF YOU AREN’T IN THE BUILDING. I need to treat you as outside of the casino. I can’t hear you, and you can’t ruin my fun… (“Or save you!”, they incessantly add).

I prefer risk to boredom. Not to such an extent that I crave to “defy death”. But my “excitement” is writing, and trying to get people to pay attention to me, mainly through laughing at me, and dreaming of making people laughing at me a full-time job. That’s as “risky” as I get. I’m not getting drunk and driving 140 mph, like many of those who try to give me advice have done in the past. I’m just trying to get people to laugh at me. It’s really not as serious as the “risky” things that these “advice-givers” have done. So I’d appreciate it if they would shut the fuck up, to be frank. I could not give less of a fuck about any “odds”.

I accept that there are different types of people in the world. Some more risk-averse than others. The ways that people make decisions are varied. I fully accept that not everyone will live the way that I want to live, nor would they want to. I fully accept that. But I also accept that I am not going to be happy unless I take control of my personal life. I will not be happy unless this control factors in my nature, which includes my desire to express myself, and my desire to make myself laugh. I will not be happy unless this control factors in my imagination, and my dreams. I will not be happy if this control becomes like people who aren’t me. I will not be happy if this control does not come from me: if it does not feel like it is mine.

Because I am anticipating the “advice-givers”, I will throw them that obvious bone that they salivate after, and say “Yes, I must accept responsibility for my actions.” But I don’t understand why these “advice-givers” are more focused on my life than theirs. Are they so “risk-averse” that they run on autopilot, with no tough decisions to ever make, so they have plenty of time and energy to criticize others? Maybe you need to try something more difficult. Maybe you need a more strenuous hobby. Maybe you need to mind your own business?

No, all I need is a possibility and passion. That’s what I want. I think I can get by with that. Those two motivating factors will help me improve upon what it is that I am doing. Life is unbearably monotonous when you’re full of dread. If you don’t have anything to look forward to, and instead, ceaselessly focus on your job, and your bills, life becomes very dark. Even a man who hates his job and is in debt can look forward to that six-pack of beer when he gets home. Maybe that’s what gets him through life, and his day. Everybody’s got their “thing” that gets them through life. And these “things” are as diverse as the people who use them. Passion, for me, is the only thing that makes unavoidable monotony even the least bit bearable. And I have decided that I will not suffer, and try to live without it, for any reason: particularly to satisfy “advice-givers”.

I know that not all “advice-givers” are trying to be dissuasive. Some of them are trying to be “persuasive”. “Cody, I’m fine with you having this goal. But here’s how you can achieve it better. Just do all of these things, and stop doing all of these things that you’re actually doing, and then, you probably won’t get there, but I accept that you aren’t going to stop doing it, so here’s the best advice that I can give you.” No. My life isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey. I’ve got a “dream” destination. But even if I don’t get there, that’s the journey I’m going to take, and I’m going to fucking enjoy it.

Enjoy your almost unbearable misery. Maybe we’ll see each other on the other side, and then, maybe, we’ll relate to each other a little more. And maybe you won’t be as miserable as you are now.

And, of course, I should also add that having a “hyper” sense of humor as I have makes this journey a helluva lot easier. I try to find humor in everything (because that’s my nature, and also, because boredom is constant with me). I want to keep developing my sense of humor. And having a sense of humor is a great way to deal with the “advice-givers”, whether they be “haters” or “justified”. Maniacally laughing to myself, just to confuse them, makes it all all-the-more worthwhile.

And, I suppose, I will conclude with the obvious message that the unlikeliest events are the strongest, most powerful ones, when they happen: whether those “events” are positive or negative. I suppose you could’ve been smart enough to draw that connection yourself, but I decided to bash you over the head with it, anyway. Let’s call it “payback”. Besides: I need to start learning to write more words, anyway. Even if they’re garbage. But that’s a tale for another time…

I could also do the same thing, beating you over the head, and say “I’ve already made it clear to you that anxiety is part of my ‘possibility’ philosophy, as evidenced by the very beginning of this. Don’t you think I’ve considered the ‘possibility’ that everything I’m working toward will be nothing, and that I’ll regret all of this? Do you really think I haven’t considered that possibility? Do you really think I’m that ignorant, ye of little faith? Do you think that I haven’t considered that at all? Or is it possible that I have considered this, and yet, for some reason that you don’t seem to understand, have still decided that it is worthwhile to pursue?”

“Cody, when are you going to stop writing about ‘possibility’? When are you going to start creating work that is actually substantial?” So naive……

“Are you saying that this piece of shit you’ve just written here is substantial?” (starts laughing)

No response.

“Wow, he actually does!” (more laughter)

No response.

Let them think what they wish.

The truth exists within the heart.

Follow the Leader

Oh, Cody. Why do you write anything? Why do you do this to yourself? The brain thinks. It plays your shortcomings on a loop. Your head is a fucking mess. The filing cabinet is the skull: everything is just strewn about in absolute disorganization. Why not just keep it in your head? Why ever withdraw one? What’s the point? Do you want people to laugh at you? Is that what you are? A masochist? Why do you pour your heart out for it to be devoured? Why can’t you focus on organizing your head instead of letting the entire world know of your disorganization?

Why have you ran away from disorganization your whole life? You know it’s important. Does it bore you that badly? Do you crave the chaos? Even if that means your work suffers? Was it ever even about creating “good” work? Or is it therapy? Are you letting everyone know your mental problems as self-relief? The pressure builds. And the heart wants to scream. It doesn’t matter what the results are. The heart says “LET ME OUT!!!”, and you have to oblige. Because you can’t break your own heart. What would you have left?

No, your life is about using the world as your therapist. Your therapist that you’ll ignore, and cuss, and loathe. Yes, this is your life, Cody. You are a slave to your own heart. For it to be trampled upon and beaten on. But that isn’t the worst of it.

No, the worst part of it is when you kill your own heart. When you ignore it. Talk down to it. No, you treat your heart like shit, Cody. Your self-doubt eats it alive. You torture your own heart. Your heart says “Cody, why? Why are you doing this to me?” Shut up, heart. You don’t know shit. You don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know how to create good work. You don’t know how hard life is. No, heart. You’re a fool. You’re a stupid fool who will be hardened, whether you like it or not. You aren’t that important, heart. Don’t you know you’re just one of many? What makes you think that you are more important than all of those other broken hearts in the world? No, the truth is that you are insignificant, heart. You’re just keeping this flesh alive for a short time. That’s all your good for. It doesn’t matter what you want, heart. It doesn’t fucking matter.

But, oh. The heart can’t take it. Little does he know that the heart drives the whole thing. A man can’t doubt without his heart. He can’t think anything, even depressing, doubtful thoughts, without the blood that is pumped by his own heart. There is self-destruction. But the heart can only take so much before it says “Ok. You win.” And then it dies. And you die with it.

No, the heart beats hard. Strong. It ain’t been broken yet. Just toughened up. Matured. Yes, the heart is “growing up”. It is easy to equate abuse with “growing up”. The truth of the matter, Cody, is that your heart has been more blessed than others. That’s the hard truth. Yes, that truth breaks it. But your heart was blessed. Your heart was very blessed. Not everyone has had a heart as blessed as yours. Yes, Cody, you were given a gift. “Here, Cody. Have this heart.” But, Lord. What do I do with it? “I will let you know when the time comes.” And the time is now. The heart is saying “Let me out, dammit! Let me the fuck out!” And Cody says “Well, ok then. If you insist. What are you plan-” And away, the heart is off. He’s racing. He’s racing against the entire world. Yes, we’re all pouring our hearts out, every day, trying to find love from others. Yes, please love me. Please give me love, the heart says. “Oh yeah? Why should I love you more than any others?” Point taken. But that ol’ damn heart. He ain’t quitting. He just wants to scream louder. More emphatically. No, that ol’ heart is gonna go places. A hardened heart calls it foolishness. But this heart is genuine. This heart is pure. This heart wants it all. This heart wants clarity. And peace.

Yes, this heart wants to beat it all. This heart wants to say “Hey, world. I’m here.” That’s all this heart really wants. And, in truth, is that really too much to ask? And who says whether or not it is? Heart, do you think that’s too much to ask?

No.

But this is gonna be hard, heart. You don’t have any idea how hard this is going to be. Are you sure you can do this? Why, no. I’m not. But does that matter? Why, no. I suppose not. It’s what you want to do, right? Yes, it is. Well, I wish you the best of luck, heart. Thank you. How are you going to help me? I don’t have any idea. Well you better start fucking figuring it out if you want me to stick around. Alright. Let’s get on that, then, heart. Let’s leave this world behind and go somewhere. Let’s go.

Let’s write stuff that we know isn’t going to be our best work. Let’s write shit that we’ll always be able to see the flaws of. Let’s write shit that tortures us. Let’s write stuff that we can nitpick, and tear apart, and have the world join in with us. Yes, let’s just write. Let’s just write all of the dark, stupid, depressing shit that we can think of, as long as it is genuine. Oh, heart. What is it that truly distinguishes you from other hearts? Why aren’t you as dark as you could be? Why don’t you want destruction, heart? Why don’t you want to blow up the world? There’s some poor soul out there cursed with a heart that wants to control the whole world, or blow it up. Why aren’t you like that, heart? Why?

Cody, I don’t know. I do not know. I think we are loved, Cody. Yes, I think you and I are loved. We are blessed by God. But why, heart? Why are we? Because we just are, Cody. We just are. Well, heart, what do we do, then? Cody, I don’t know. I say we write and that’s it. Write every stupid, shitty thing you can think of. Just do it. You need to get stuff done. Isn’t that what you want, Cody? Don’t you want to just have things written down? Why, yes, I do, heart. But what do I want to write? Isn’t that your job? Hey, don’t rush me. You can’t rush heart. You know I don’t control this, either. I know. So what does that mean we do, heart? Well, do you want to keep talking to yourself, or do you want to go somewhere else, and if you do: where? This isn’t Orwell quality. What the fuck is it? What is this? Heart, how am I supposed to know? You’re the one doing this! Look, Cody, I’m just a tool. I’m not in control of this. I know. That’s scary, isn’t it, heart? Why, yes it is. If neither of us are in control, then how are we doing this? What is going on? I don’t know, heart. I suppose it’s the Lord. But, Cody. Come on. You are saying the Lord is speaking through you. Do you know how crazy that sounds? Yes, I know. You know people are just going to say some mental case is talking to himself, and that he believes himself to be God, right? Yes, heart, I’m well aware. Well, Cody, what do you think about that? Heart, do you really care? Isn’t there some potential that someone out there is going to love this shit? Yes, someone will hate it, too. But does that matter? Heart: does that really matter to you? It’s hard, Cody. You don’t understand. It’s really hard for me to make myself vulnerable like this. Oh, heart. I know it all too well. Trust me. Well, Cody, what do we do? Heart, how many times are you going to ask me this? Are we going to keep rambling like this? Is this just what we do? We just go back and forth, and that’s our journey? I don’t know, Cody. What if someone says “This is genius.” How are you going to feel, Cody? I don’t know, heart. How are you going to feel when someone says this is shit written by a narcissistic egomaniac? Cody, I’m really not going to care. Really? Yes, really. I’m really not going to care, Cody. Why do you care? Heart, this is hard. You have it easy. You don’t have anxiety like I do. You don’t have doubts. You think you don’t affect me, Cody? You think you don’t affect your heart? Heart……what do we do? Whatever we want to do, Cody. How are you sure? I don’t know, Cody. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Lord telling me. I don’t know. But do you trust your own heart? Well, heart. That’s a deep question. I don’t know if I trust you or not. You’re flawed, right? You aren’t perfect. Can’t you do evil things? Why, yes, I suppose I could, Cody. But am I right now? No, I guess not. Do you trust me right now? Well, yes, I guess I do. Then do hypotheticals actually matter? I don’t know, heart. Do they? I don’t think so, Cody. I really don’t think so. Do you hurt, Cody? I don’t know. Do you hurt, heart? Why, yes, I think I do, Cody. I think I hurt a lot. I think there’s a lot of pain in me. Yes, heart, I know what you mean. Hold me, Cody. Ok, heart. Give me a hug. *Simultaneously* Are people going to say that this man is talking to himself and giving himself a hug? Cody, I truly don’t care. Ok, heart. I love you. I love you too, Cody. I love you too.

Personality.

Insightful.

A Memorandum on Dreams.

My poetry.

Here’s a catchy title with the word “blood” in it. Intrigued? What’s it about? Hmm. Find out?

Went to Walmart so that I could get an outdoor mat to have one for each door. A blood van was there. It wasn’t the American Red Cross: it was The Blood Connection. They asked if I’d give some blood, and I said I would.

I was pretty anxious. I’m used to blood and needles from going to the doctor as a kid. But I was afraid they’d find something wrong with me (I’ll get into this later). I tried to calm my anxiety, however, because I thought that might skew the results somehow. She said my blood pressure was a little high, but that’s no surprise. Smart people who think about the world get stressed. I just dismissed it. I have been working on managing my stress, however, because it has finally started to become too much for me. Fascinating how the outdoors relieve stress. I think it has something to do with the fact that it is out of our control. The trees grow, and produce air, outside of our control. That’s comforting.

She said something, maybe hemoglobin, was 17, and it should be between 13 and 20. Everything seemed good.

Answered some questions beforehand. Read about AIDS, and needles, and shit. Scary stuff. Finally went to the chair to donate. “Are their needles clean?” I was thinking. Whatever. If I catch something, I catch something. Just relax. The van probably isn’t outside of Walmart to give people diseases. They’re probably trying to do good for people who need blood. People need blood. It does them good. People need it, for reasons I don’t care to fully understand. You can have it.

It took a little while. Some sugar beforehand, some sugar after. Waited in the van for a little bit, then walked out. Thought about going full “Cody mode”, but that wasn’t going to work. Walked slowly. Stay calm. Everything was fine. Got my mat, and left.

I thought about Dad. Dad always gave blood. It feels good to give blood. I hope somebody can use it. I figure that as long as I’m healthy enough to give blood, that means I’m doing good. Dad reached a point where they asked him not to donate anymore. I guess as long as I’m still healthy enough to give blood, I’m doing good.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who never see a problem until it is too late, and those that constantly see problems when there are none there. I watched a video yesterday that Jordan Peterson was in (I don’t care for finding the exact timestamp. Sorry), and he confirmed something that I’ve always believed. My history regarding how I view health is pretty complicated. Religion did some pretty shitty things with how I view health, but I won’t get into all of that here. Suffice it to say that I’ve always felt guilty for being healthy, or smart. I’ve had to retrain myself philosophically to think about health differently. If I pity those who are unhealthy, what does that mean? That means I want them to be healthy. So why shouldn’t I be happy for myself, or anyone else who is healthy? Why should I feel guilty for having what I want everyone to have? The reasons for guilt are depressing. Basically, religion is, all too often, synonymous with guilt. I have deep problems with that.

I will do my best to not be someone who doesn’t accept a problem until it is too late. Prevention, prevention, prevention. Shit happens. But I don’t want to wait until it is too late. I don’t want to be someone who trains for marathons, but I’m going to think about my health. If that adds extra stress to me, then so be it. “Cody, too much stress is unhealthy-” Please shut the fuck up.

The two kinds of people in this world, that I mentioned above, are affected by everything. People who never see a problem until it is too late help create Nazi Germany. I won’t be one of those people. I’d rather be a person who sees every tiny encroachment of liberty as a step towards Nazi Germany. Sure, I’ll have to deal with people calling me “nasty names”. But it’s worth it. Fuck you, and fuck Nazi Germany. Fuck not taking care of yourself. Fuck the State. And fuck the idiots.

As I was going through the mats, I thought of something. I’ve always had a problem with speaking well. People in the South don’t like good talkers. Their inferiority complexes make them uncomfortable. This, of course, affects everyone from time to time: not just “Southerners”. I single out “the South” because I have a lot of problems with the culture I grew up in. But I realized, as I was picking up a mat, just how important words are. It’s important to speak well. You can’t make arguments without language. Language is very powerful. It is important. It is a tool. A tool that can be improved. It is sad when people manipulate with their language. But I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime. I “experimented” with lying when I first got a computer: getting up the courage to “talk” (lol) to women. Telling them what they wanted to hear. And hating every fucking second of it. I thought about that, and thought about “the news” from when I was growing up. There was always some story where someone was involved in a scandal, and they always said they were innocent. Constantly. Somebody was always lying. I thought “Why are these people making the world worse?” And that furthered my hatred for lying. I wanted to stop lying. Honesty was therapeutic. And that’s where I am today.

Of course, with honesty comes responsibility. You can honestly do some horrible things by accident. Honesty doesn’t mean you can escape the consequences. That’s scary to me. I try to think about making sure I don’t put myself in positions where I could accidentally do something reprehensible. The thought of going to jail is frightening. The thought of being innocent and going to jail is even more frightening. But a clear conscience goes a long, LONG way. That’s one reason that I hate religious conservatism so fucking much.

I realized that speaking out means other people will speak out as well. I don’t like people. I humorously thought today, while sitting in the parking lot, that I’m part of the “autism spectrum”. I honestly hate people. To my fucking core. But I don’t want them imprisoned. I don’t want them sick. I want them to have what I have. And I want to leave them alone because I want to be left alone.

I briefly thought about someone saying “You talk fine! Why are you so worried about it?” What’s wrong with desiring to improve? Why are you so worried about my desire to improve?

I hate talking because I am bad at it. I don’t like being around angry people. I don’t like arguments. I’ve often found myself in a position retracting from a debate where the other person was actually enjoying it. A misread communicatory signal. Must be that spectrum in me. But I realized that a large reason why I don’t like talking to people is that I’m not a good arguer. I’m not good enough with language. There’s SO much room for improvement. I guess a lot of people don’t care that much. That’s why they call you “smarty-pants”, or whatever. But I need language. I need this. I don’t fully understand why. But I need it. And I need to improve upon it. It’s simply a tool. It cleanses my spirit, and helps me navigate socially. It will still be my goal to avoid socializing as much as possible, but when I can’t, I need to be able to speak for myself.

It’s all a process. All improvement.

That’s all it is.

Thanks for reading.

A Message From A Shitty Writer

A young man gets bored, and decides to write a story. He decides to write a story about the most exciting thing he can imagine. Along the way, he discovers that he isn’t very good at it. He’s created the literary equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger: it’s food, but not very sustenary; full of shitty preservatives and filler that only the most careless would consume, let alone enjoy.

As time goes by, he realizes that the health-nuts were right. It’s shit. And anyone who likes it is a deadly idiot.

More time passes, and yet, the shit remains. Undissolved, in the pit of his stomach. Making him sick. More and more, he realizes how important it is to take care of his health. To take care of his mind. And to take care of his stories.

But man has to fight against his own nature when he diets and exercises. All the truth in the world won’t change a stubborn man into action. At least, not necessarily.

The voices tell him that he himself needs to speak. Their triumphs arouse in him his desire to succeed himself. A best friend’s favorite author, and one of the most heralded pieces of political fiction ever written, call out within him the desire to scream. The exhaustion and dissatisfaction comes rapidly. It isn’t that the words aren’t good. But it’s that his heart screams out to speak. He can’t take it anymore. He screams out loud, to only a few. His words will fade into obscurity. Can’t the young man focus on these resonating words? For some reason, only a little. And that reason, it appears to be, is the desire to scream himself.

The youth are cursed with ignorance. But, strangely enough, the young man is smart enough to realize this. But, as an old country song used to sing, “still too young to care“. Besides, the confidence in youth can lead to contentment in old age. There will be no shortage of sages making you aware of their own failures. But why they assume that their shortcomings will be your own remain a mystery.

Speaking of mysteries, I don’t care how good of a writer John D. MacDonald is, I’m not a big fan of them.

The main thing that is going to get me to read is going to be my desire to improve as a writer. I suppose there will be moments when I am bored enough to read rather compulsively. But as I read, I realize that I am dissatisfied with my own abilities as a storyteller. It matters not to me that these writers are better than I. What matters is that my heart is dissatisfied with my inability to communicate as often, and as effectively, as I wish.

I can hear many old sayings about how those who wish to speak the most often, and the loudest, are the dumbest. My goal is to be a bright exception to that rule. Despite the fact that, by almost every standard, my words are abjectly elementary and juvenile, the beast within my heart waits to be awakened. Bilbo and Smaug both want the gold. And my goal is to make sure they both get it.

Of course, it’s a long journey. But journeys are best when they aren’t directed by an outsider. When they are directed by the self. When the reason for them is clear within the mind of the one taking the journey. That is part of my journey. Being able to say things beautifully, and creatively, and witfully. Beautiful, well-written stories of tragedy, horror, adventure, and heartbreak. Isn’t it ironic how that is what the heart wants? Heartbreak?

I mean no disrespect to any author that has come before me, or will come after me. But you’re all tools. I’m going to use you. Your existence is for my selfishness. Your words are going to become mine. I can appreciate the fact that, sometime throughout your life, you felt just as compelled to scream as me. But beyond that, I wish, myself, to scream. Maybe I’ll catch a faint holler in the distance, of the message you wished for me to absorb. But that whisper is saying to me “Scream, dammit. Scream. Learn how to scream for yourself. And use us to do it.”

The only trouble is screaming coherency, or even better still, charm, and wit, instead of nonsense.

Sometimes, the hardest part of screaming is the screaming. Other times, the hardest part of screaming is the message. But I think as long as I’m able to scream, I’m going to relish that gift, that right, right along with other screamers. I appreciate your screams, and I long to join in on the hauntingly beautiful chorus…

Long live the written word, and may we chant this from the sulphury pits of Hell if we must.

Message.

Review of Stephen King’s “It”

It’s too damn long. Part of the problem is seeing the movie before reading the book. I knew there was going to be a spider, so I wanted to get to that part. That probably diminished some of my enjoyment of the story. Not entirely, however. I like King’s horror and gruesomeness, but I didn’t like many of his similes and metaphors in this book. They made me cringe throughout.

You can tell Stephen King grew up in the ’60s. “Far out, man”, and whatnot. Didn’t really have a problem with it, per se. Just chuckled. It was fine. It always stood out to me like when I witnessed it.

There’s a lot of themes in the book. Friendship. The romantic situation was very interesting. Not clear-cut at all. Everyone thinks Bev is pretty but Ritchie never really makes any moves on her and Ben loves her but she’s more into Bill but Bill is more consumed by getting revenge for Georgie even though he likes Bev as well. At first, I didn’t like it. But, thinking it over, childhood (hell, even adulthood) is confusing like that, isn’t it? The complicated love triangle was a nice touch. Very funny to contrast that with all of the gruesomeness throughout.

Interesting how they all leave each other after the horror of their childhood and Bill ends up with a woman that looks like Bev. Then he cheats on her with Bev? Ok. Then, at the end, he ends back up with her, and they live happily ever after? Is he ever gonna tell Audra or not? Ok.

Why is Mike the one that stayed in Derry? Why didn’t “It” ever get him? What’s the significance of the fact that Mike stayed in Derry? Does it have to do with the fact that he’s black? Serious question. He’s used to seeing horror so he can stay? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out.

The tragedy in the book is terrific. I’m thinking of Bev’s father and Henry’s father in particular. So tragic. Children being raised horribly. I really enjoyed those parts of the book. Particularly Bev’s. Incredibly powerful.

I had a problem with the way King talked about their friendship, to paraphrase, “coming together”, “they felt the final cog click into place”. Please. You’re being way too obvious. Stop beating me over the head with it. Why did they need those “cogs” if one of them killed himself before the final confrontation? Was Stan really necessary? And what did I miss about the birds? What relevance did the birds have besides making an appearance? Stan’s character existed simply for one of them to commit suicide. I guess that’s fine. But that has to be the stated reason for his existence. Stop telling me that all seven of them are needed when they clearly aren’t. I did not feel as if he existed for any other reason than to create drama about their “unit” being weakened, and to really drive home the point that what they witnessed as children was so horrible that one of them killed himself because of it. I think I enjoyed the way I just explained it more than the way King explained it in the book. It was just annoying, because Stan just tagged along (he’s an introvert, I get it). But Stan really annoyed me. I guess his suicide was the best part.

I liked Ritchie as a character. Mike as a character. Ben, and Bev. Eddie was annoying. “He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler. He sucks on his inhaler.” I FUCKING GET IT. GIVE SOMEONE ELSE MORE PAGE TIME. Swap Stan and Eddie, or something. Sure, it’s great when you learn the inhaler was a placebo. But for fuck’s sake, I got tired of reading about Eddie’s goddamned asthma. Bill’s character was interesting. He grew on me. At first, I thought he was stale. But he grew on me. He kind of made me wonder why some of the other kids were really necessary. I know groups have “leaders”, but a lot of time was given to Bill. And I couldn’t figure him out as a character. Obviously, he was motivated by justice. But how much of his character would’ve been “serious” if Georgie hadn’t died? How much of it was his natural personality and how much of it was revenge for Georgie? It bothered me that I couldn’t figure that out. Not really a problem with King, I guess. Just something personal.

I get that Henry was the antagonist that needed the most page time. It makes sense. He’s a loudmouth. I didn’t have any problem with Henry Bowers. I liked his storylines. But man, was I disappointed when Patrick Hottstetter’s story was over as quickly as it was. That was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Patrick’s killing animals and has them in a refrigerator? Holy fuck! That’s great! Slugs that jab into your eyes? Awesome! I’m not saying that Patrick should’ve been the main villain over “It”, nor did I have a problem with how much time Henry was given. But I was disappointed that his beautiful depravity was over with so soon. Henry being the leader of this fucked up kid, who was probably entirely capable of killing Henry. What an interesting character, Patrick Hottstetter was. Shame I didn’t get to see more of him. I’m glad he died, though. In the sewers. Apropos.

And everyone ends up fucking Bev in the sewer? Really? I mean, ALL of them? Stan, Mike, Ritchie, everyone? That part was hilarious. I loved it. I guess, looking back, it’s really tragic. What was Bev thinking? Did she become a whore because of an abusive father? Or was there truly something deeper that she did, in fact, share with all of them? I’m leaning more towards whore because of her father, personally. Women don’t just go around fucking all of their friends. That’s the only way she really knew how to show her love, because that’s how her father showed her love. Sweet, because she loves them. Heartbreaking, because she’s fucking them because of her own sexual abuse (I’m sure), and hilarious and disgusting because they are all down in a sewer when they fuck. King can’t be preaching about ANYTHING “in real life”, political, because of that. Well, it depends. King virtue-signalling about Trump is pathetic. But I’m not going to get into that here.

But the main themes of the book, about childhood and growing up, were terrific. The final couple of pages made me tear up. I loved it. Fascinating how the kids fought “It” by accepting that “It” was an illusion. Kids conquering their fear of the dark. That was very nice. But why did any kid ever die then? How can kids die from giving in to an “illusion”? At what point does the illusion become real? I really like all of the parts were King drives home that horrible things in one’s childhood fucks one up for life. All of them repressing what happened to them in the sewer as kids. Stan killing himself, Henry and Bev that I already mentioned, etc. What happened with the Hottstetter kid that made him how he was? Who knows. Enjoyable. The town ignoring the problems of the kids? Also nice. But I’m confused: why did only some kids die, and not all of the kids? Why was anyone allowed to grow up to become an adult? Why did “It” choose who it chose? That also bothered me. Maybe I’m a bad reader and all of this just flew over my head.

And what’s the deal with Pennywise? There’s something old. It manifests itself to what children fear. It’s an illusion. What is its “final” form? I guess I missed that, too. I wish that Pennywise wasn’t just some prop or tool, the “bait” form of It, I guess. I’m fine with a clown turning into a spider. But I was disappointed that the clown just goes around talking in people’s heads. I guess he doesn’t have to kill anyone. But it’s kind of a let down to me when Pennywise is around for the whole story but he’s (or that form of “It” is) kind of meaningless in the end.

And why Derry? Why nowhere else? What was it about Derry which made “It” reside in the sewers for so long? No big city at all? I thought “It” was going to be a metaphor for evil as a whole. But it only resides in Derry? News crews from major cities come to Derry afterwards? Why did “It” choose Derry? I get it. That’s the “mystery”, I guess. But it annoys me. I liked the parts that talked about Derry. The small town life, the people around. It was funny to read about people going down to fix the sewers when they overflowed. Interesting. But why does “It” live in a sewer in a small town? Sewer, fine. But why Derry? “That’s the whole point, that’s the mystery”, blah blah blah. It annoys me, personally. I like shit to make sense. I get that entertainment doesn’t have to make sense, but in times like these, it is going to bother me, and I am going to say so, because that is how I am. Lol (And I’m not just saying that it has to be in “bigger” towns and not “smaller” towns, but why only one small town? Why no other “small town” but Derry, Maine?)

And I’m fucking glad I’m probably never going to see the word “Kenduskeag” ever-a-fucking-gain.

I’d definitely recommend “It”. But, in my opinion, it is overrated. People love it for the gruesomeness. Which I agree with. But I have a lot of problems with this story. There’s way too many problems and not enough good gruesomeness in this one for my taste.

And I think I would enjoy it more if it was cut in about half.

Review of 2017’s “It”.

The Apparent Conflict Between “Practicality” and “Art”

I’m not sure if my best friend, Devin Stevens, wishes me to make this public or not. But I think I will, anyway. My best friend, Devin Stevens, has a habit of walking back and forth, talking to himself. It is interesting, and some might even say peculiar. I really only paid attention to it when trying to talk to him, only to be ignored. A boy lost in his own head. Consumed by his own thoughts. The outside world, be damned. How it has always been, how it will always be. No hard feelings, of course. But I did find it quite interesting.

And now, here I sit, these several years later. A post opened, writing down words. Struggling to find exactly how to say what I wish to say, and how I want to say it. So what do I do? Why, I pace back and forth, and start talking to myself, of course. Why? Well, as I paced back and forth, talking to myself, I realized something. What am I doing when I talk to myself, walking back and forth? Well, I’m thinking, and I’m communicating. I’m thinking, organizing, and communicating it back to myself. And what is writing? Writing is thinking and communicating. So, in other words, they are the same. Thoughts come out of nowhere, and then, the will acts upon them. The thoughts come, effort is put into them as far as organizing and developing are concerned, and the end goal is some conclusion. Some conclusion to the sequence of thoughts that have occurred. At that point, one can decide whether or not to communicate those ideas: in what form, to whom, and how. Then, the communicatee goes through the same process, and back and forth it goes.

So what is the point of communication? The point is whatever the communicators want it to be. In other words, why does anyone ever talk to anyone at all? Because they want to; have decided to, for whatever reason. And these reasons are varied. So why do I communicate? For various reasons. The main one being that I want to. And why do I want to? I do not know. I think thoughts, I like them, and I want other people to be aware of them. “Do you like them, too?” I suppose that’s the main point. “Do you like my thoughts, too? Do you enjoy them as much as I do? Because I’ve really enjoyed them. They’ve made me happy. Do they make you happy?”

I realize that this is humorous to say, but, of course, I am not the only person who thinks, and I am not the only person who communicates. Everyone does this. When people communicate with me, I listen, and think. And then, I communicate back. And there have been very few people who I have communicated with who enjoy writing as much as I do. The main one is my best friend. And I don’t think our love for writing and our friendship status are separable.

Most of the people I have communicated with have skills that I don’t have. They tell me that I should learn those skills, as they have, because it would be helpful. My natural instinct is just to pay someone else to do it. It’s easier. I do something else for money, and give you the money to fix my problem that I don’t want to learn how to fix. It’s understandable how blasphemous it is to someone who does “fix their own problems” (arguably, I am fixing mine by paying someone else to fix it for me). But I don’t think those people love writing as much as I do. I never hear them talk about stories that they wish to write. Or treatises. It never seems to come up. Not once. They might mention a book that they’ve read, that someone else has written. But they never say “Hey, I want to write a book.” I realize that people don’t live in a fantasy-land where they can do whatever they want when there is money that has to be made, things that must be fixed, food that must be obtained to be eaten, etc. But starving artists have always, and will always, balance between making the money that they need to make and doing what their heart really wants to do. And that is a very difficult struggle. Artists often choose their art over more money. Non-artists don’t really have to make that decision: they just pick the money, no questions asked. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Some people seem to have accepted that “it doesn’t matter” what their heart really wants. But how many of them are happy? And yet, they’d respond that their happiness doesn’t matter. I reject that philosophy from many fronts. I have a lot to say about it. I’ve written about it some, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the future. But I reject the way that basic truths are applied by “the public”. I disagree with the way “most people” seem to apply reality. I can’t really get into it all here. I think that it will be a “life’s work” that I work toward; explaining my philosophies.

So how do I talk to anyone when they do not desire to write much of anything (for various reasons), when I do desire to write fictional stories or “treatises”? That’s the hard part. Talk gets small, even if important. It never comes to what I love. (Why “should” it? Well, why should I listen to anyone talk about anything at all? Why should I listen to someone, even a friend or family member, talk about their children? Or their health? Or the health of someone else that they care about? Well, it is simple. They have decided to tell me these things because it matters to them. And I listen, because I am either their friend or family member, and that’s what friends and family members DO. So why should the conversation ever come to what I love: writing? Well, why should any conversation ever come to anything that ANYONE loves?)

I suppose it rarely gets to what they love, either. Other things take precedent over dreams. One has to be able to eat, after all. And there ain’t gonna be any food if there’s none grown or raised. But my will, my decision, is to write. That’s what matters to me on this planet. I may not know how to fix my own car, or my own plumbing. But who is going to write if I don’t? Mechanics and plumbers won’t be writing. If everyone was a mechanic or a plumber, there’d be no books. I want to create books for mechanics and plumbers and everyone else to read. That is important to me. I’m more than happy to pay someone else to fix my problems if that means I don’t have to spend the time and energy learning how to do them when I could be reading or writing instead (or Hell, even listening to music, or playing video games, or whatever else that I want to do). It’s worth it to me to pay that price.

But it’s honestly my fault that conversations that I am in never include my love for writing. Why? It is very simple. Because the very skill that I’m lacking is the very thing that I love to do. In other words, what I love to do is to communicate. But I’m not good enough at it yet to actually do it. So I can’t accurately communicate to others that what I love to do is to communicate. I struggle constantly with that. Of course, questions are begged: “What kind of communication?”, etc. And there’s a million different pieces of advice that I will not take. I will do communication in my own way; in a way which brings me happiness. And I can’t accurately explain why it is that I’m going to do that at the moment, and thus, the frustration continues. It never really truly ends.

Writing is very hard. There is no way around it. It’s hard and it will be hard until you finish it. And you can say “Thank God” when it is done. But getting anything done is just hard, and there’s no way around it. If you want it done, it’s going to be hard. And if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. So it is either “hard” or nothing at all. As is every area of life. And that’s why being alive is such a son-of-a-bitch situation to BE in.

Everything looks easy when someone else is doing it. But doing something for yourself will always show you how hard it really is to do. I’ve always enjoyed learning that for myself, because once I learn how hard something is to do, I don’t sit around, envious of others, saying “I could do that. Life isn’t fair.” I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime, and I’m done surrounding myself with people that think that way. “It’s not fair that person has muscles and I’m fat. Welp, let’s start eating right and exercising. Hey, I exercised for a week. That’s pretty good. Where are my results? What? You’re telling me I have to do this CONSTANTLY? And I’ve got to drastically alter my diet? Uhh…so my choices are to either drastically change my lifestyle and get the muscles, or keep my lifestyle and either stay envious that I don’t have muscles or just say ‘Fuck the muscles’? I think it’s time to move on.” I personally could not handle anymore envy than I had in my late teens. It was unbearable. Muscles and money, muscles and money. My envy of those with more money than me reached a breaking point, and that’s when I decided to learn what the fuck was going on. To me, my choices were to either “Rip everybody off like everybody else is doing who has a lot of money”, or be “A good person who will inevitably be poor”. I thought those were my only two options. And at that point, I broke. My life changed forever from that day. That was as low as I had been in a while, but things changed for me that day. I know it was a religious experience. Everything has been completely different since then. And I’ve never looked back.

I’ve made some philosophical life choices over the years. At one point, I chose to be nihilistic because I thought it was “cool”. The completely idiotic “split” between religion and science made me choose science because science made sense, and if religion said science was bullshit, then I knew religion was bullshit. But thinking that science had every answer known to man made me angry and depressed when it, inevitably, was given questions that it simply couldn’t answer. Something was missing. “Science” was not enough of a framework to me. Thinking of how to “scientifically” explain light waves every time you turn on a light bulb isn’t healthy. With one caveat. It isn’t healthy if you DON’T LIKE IT. That is what I finally realized, with some help from my best friend, Devin Stevens. Devin introduced me to some religious ideas that I had never considered before. And I pondered them, and pondered them. And the more he told me, the more things made sense. And my life has completely changed, for the better, because of him. Without a single doubt. My perspective on life has completely changed thanks to him.

My parents, of course, have also influenced me. My father always told me to get an education, so that I could have a better job than HE had. He told me this and told me this and told me this. “Don’t do what I did. Go to school.” And my mother always gave me the confidence that I could make my dreams a reality. The “unstoppable force” (very evidently my mother) and the “immovable object” (very evidently my father) made ME. I couldn’t imagine being anyone else. Their advice produced a lot of anxiety within me growing up. I didn’t know how I was going to “do better than them”. I wanted to, because they advised it, and I didn’t want to hate my job every day, as they did. I was desperate to avoid that lifestyle. But I had no idea what I was going to do. HOW I was going to do it. I looked to the “rich and famous“: what have they done? What do they do? They play basketball? They act? Let me try those. And it was a fantastic decision to try. Because of what I mentioned earlier. My envy quickly evaporated. And I needed to learn something that I could actually do.

I learned to read at a young age, and I read a lot to my parents. I’ve written some about my history with reading here. And, somehow, I’ve got a “knack” for writing as well. Probably got it from my parents. It got developed in school as well. I’m convinced that good readers can write. Hell, I can write, and I’m not even a good reader. But writers are thinkers. But I don’t think that is enough. Writers aren’t just thinkers: they are UNIQUE thinkers. Common ideas don’t need to be written, because they don’t need to be read. If everyone says the same thing all the time throughout their day in communication with one another, why would any of them ever take the time to write something? Or read something? It’d always be the same. So writers are unique. There has to be something unique about writers. Even if multiple writers write very similar things, there’s just something different about us writers. We’re just different. Unique. Strange. “A little off”. And that’s what makes us so great. That’s what makes us worth reading. We’ll come to you when we need our cars fixed, but maybe we can entertain you or teach you something while you’re shitting. When people do what they desire, and take action, things just seem to have a way of working out symbiotically. Years of studying economics has taught me that profound fact.

So I appreciate it when a friend or family member tries to give me advice. I may or may not know exactly what they know, but, at the very least, I’m sure their hearts are in the right place. But I know what my heart says. I know what I need to do. I don’t know exactly how it will play out, but no one does. No one who gives advice knows how everything will play out. So the question becomes: what should I do? That, I will figure out myself. And, right now, it is telling me to write. It is telling me that I need to learn a lot more when it comes to writing. It is telling me that I need a lot more confidence when it comes to writing. That I need to read more. That I need to be more assertive. That I need to write more often. That I need to dedicate more time and patience to writing. And it is telling me that I need to be by myself, walking around, back and forth, thinking of things. Because that will, inevitably, help me with my writing. And that is what I want.

I think you’re on to something, Devin. I don’t know if you realize it or not. But I truly believe you are on the right track. And I believe I’m going to follow in your footsteps. I can’t thank you enough. Good luck to you. And to all of my fellow artists. And Hell: even to the non-artists, too. Good luck to EVERYBODY.

The Process of Thinking.

Apparent.

A Treatise on Stubbornness.

Intellect Equals Cockiness?

Why Express?

Why Do I Write How I Write?

Getting Sucked Into the World of Writing.

Conserv.

Personality Development.