Monday, April 28, 2008

So you thought you knew me...

Sorry everyone, but I've been hiding something from you all. There's more to my story than you all know. I'll let the link do the talking, as I think it's self-explanatory.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Picking the pen back up

For the past, oh, let's say a month, the first draft of my novel has stayed the same. No editing, revision, additions, or even subtractions have been made. Forty-four thousand seven-hundred and thirty-six words stared back at me last night as I opened the file on my desktop for the first time since early March. And that's when I realized it. It's time to pick the pen back up. Time to continue on.

You see, writing is easy. But writing well is a whole other animal. And writing something that someone else will want to read on top of that is extremely difficult. In fact, it's nearly impossible. Finding the motivation to pick up the pen again has been difficult with everything I've been going through. It wasn't easy, until I reminded myself that pain and sadness were the reasons I started writing in the first place.

Even the greatest authors struggled from time to time. It's been noted that James Joyce once spent ten hours crafting, perfecting two sentences for Ulysses. And Ernest Hemingway once told a friend that he loved having written, but he hated writing: it was too difficult, too draining, for him to truly love. So you see, I'm not alone, and that's comforting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Encouraging Debate and Discussion

It was recently brought to my attention that those of you who read my thoughts are discouraged from leaving comments because you have to go through a long, drawn out process to register for a Google account. Well, no more! I changed the settings so that all you have to do to leave a comment is click on the comments section, and type in your name, or you can even post anonomously. I hope this will encourage some of you to start talking and stop lurking.

More soon...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The gloves are coming off... (Update!)

Ok, so here's the thing. I had it in my mind that I was going to act out of character long enough to write something that, while completely truth-based, was incredibly mean-spirited. If only for one sitting at the keyboard, I was going to transform myself from the nice guy into the typical asshole, and air more than a little dirty laundry. The idea for the whole thing was fueled by sadness, then intense anger, and finally by some sort of revenge factor like I've never felt before. But then, something happened. A simple phone call halted the presses. A simple click of a mouse undid what could have been very damaging. All but one of you will have no idea what any of this refers to, and it's probably going to stay that way unless more fuel is thrown onto the fire that is my sadness and anger.

All is well, at least for now. Stay tuned...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thought for the day...

When you stop dreaming, it's time to die.

The Gloves are Coming Off...

What happens when a nice guy is pushed to the brink of becoming an everyday asshole. Coming soon...

Oh by the way. This one's going to get ugly. Hide the women and children. Family members might want to refrain from reading this one too (that means you Aunt Jane).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Memo to those of you breathing...

Yes, that would be all of you.

This is about each and every one of you. You all know deep down in the pits of your stomachs just how difficult it is to truly be alive, to interact with the world around you, to open yourself up completely, unprotected to the world. But what do you do instead? You try to cover it all up - "it" being who you truly are - no matter the cost or consequence. You project this badass image to the rest of the world, all cavalier and tough, yet the truth is, you're all no more than one sentence away from being brought to tears, provided it's worded right.

I chose a long time ago to acknowledge this. Unfortunately, so many of you still live your daily lives in ignorance, as if immune to this. That's why I'm writing. My point here is simple: Get your heads out of your collective asses and wake the hell up. The sooner you stop caring what other people think about you, the better off you'll be.

I say I chose to live my life that way "a long time ago". By "a long time ago" I mean at age 15. I was a freshman in high school when someone I thought was a good friend of mine "came out of the closet." You have to realize that in 1996 that term was relatively new, and not yet cliched. When he was all but crucified for it by his peers, he chose to try to take me down with him, spreading rumors and making accusations about me and my sexual preferences. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with gay people. I had gay friends in college and still do today, but times are different now. You see, in 1996 being homosexual was not yet "cool", or "fabulous", as they say in 2008. There were no television shows dedicated solely to gay men teaching the rest of the male population how to dress. Needless to say I took it hard - really hard. Being accused of being homosexual in 2008 is still rather tough, but back then it was ten times worse. Factor in the fact that I was only 15, and what you had was a pubescent boy ready to leap from the nearest accessible rooftop. High school is awkward and confusing enough as it is.

Then one day I woke up and, as if by some stroke of genius, stopped caring. I'm not sure why exactly, but I never questioned myself. What I'm telling you here today is that yes, we're all self-concious to a point, but the less we are, the happier we'll be. That, friends, is absolute. From the time we're born we're told we're special in our own way. Those of you in my generation can recall the television show Romper Room, in which the host started every show by calling each of us by name, as if she could see us through the television. In reality she was just throwing out a handful of common names. But at 5 years of age, how can your first thought after hearing your name emanating from the television speakers not subconsciously make you think something equivalent to 'Damn, I'm special.'

As a child, every one of you reading this was told that you could be whatever you wanted to be, and do whatever you wanted to do, if only you believed it. Then one day we turned 18, left the nest, probably for college, and immediately found ourselves in a world where millions of other people were told the exact same thing. Well, newsflash - and I hope you're sitting down for this - it turns out none of us are really all that special. Beautifully unspectacular, to tell you the truth. Sooner or later that will catch up with all of us, and when it does, well, let's just say I hope you checked your ego at the door. You can run from it, but it will catch up to you. I promise.

So my advice to you is this: STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. Enjoy who you are, both the good and the bad.

Embrace life, every day of it.

Be yourself, and be damned proud to do so.

Give more and expect the same from others (over time of course).

Act nervous when you're nervous. Act scared when you're scared; puzzled when you just don't know what to do. Cry when you feel like crying.

And when it goes your way? Smile about it, and don't ask questions.

And when it's all over - this completely bizzare, always unpredictable journey called life - you will stand a pretty good chance to be able to look back and, at the very least, be able to say that you had it good, and you made the most of it while you were able.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"A tradition unlike any other.."

Those are the familiar words that will no doubt roll off the lips of sportscaster Jim Nantz several hundred times between now and Sunday. Today, for those ignorant enough among you not to know, is the first day of The Masters, the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. I wish I could be at Augusta National this week, but we can't always get what we want. I was fortunate enough to go 8 years ago and drag my father along with me. When a preacher calls the place hallowed ground, you know it must be true. So, friends, if you don't hear from me between now and Monday, don't worry, I haven't died. But, if I have, tell the coroner to check the couch in front of the television at the house. My pick? Tiger. Who else!?!?

I might - and I stress might - check in to update over the weekend, but don't count on it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When it rains, it pours.

As the son of a preacher I've seen my fair share of death. I've felt it's incomparable sting and icy numbness all at the same time. It was a regular occurence in my househould growing up to see my father oversee multiple funerals in a single week, and there's one thing he always said about people dying: they tend to go in threes. What he meant by this was, not just one person would die, but multiple people in sucession. Of course, this was just a theory of his, with no scientific fact to back it up, but he had seen enough people die to base it off of his experience over a great period of time. My father's theory goes hand-in-hand with the old adage "When it rains, it pours." In other words, when things go bad, they go really bad.

This past weekend and the events it brought made me recall his "theory of three."
Where do I begin? First let me say that some of what I'm going to say here is extremely sensitive material, and as such, will be treated with great care to protect all parties involved.

I'll go ahead and address the lighter of the events. Most all of you know I've been a loyal Tar Heel fan since I was toddling around in diapers. Let me say this. Saturday night hurt. Bad. There's not much else that can be said about it, other than it was shocking. But you know what? It's only a game. Sometimes we, as fans, lose track of that fact. The only people to whom this statement does not apply are the idiots dumb enough to bet their paychecks on it . Their bookies are probably calling hourly with death threats. But for the rest of us, it's just a game. Don't lose sight of that. Just as there were one thousand editions of "the biggest game we've ever played in" before this past Saturday night, there will be many more of the same to come down the road. I promise.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to some more serious subject matter...

You all probably saw the quote I posted last week concerning love and trust. It doesn't take the IQ of a MIT student to know that those two things go hand-in-hand. When you love someone, you trust them. It's that simple. And when they break your trust, well, it hurts. It takes a real man to forgive someone for doing something incredibly foolish that could change the lives of all parties involved simultaneously. But it takes an even bigger man to look that person in the eye when they're explaining themselves to you and never get angry to begin with, nor to ever question their motivation in breaking your trust. This past weekend, I did both. That, my friends - that selflessness and understanding - is the ultimate display of love. I wish I could say more on this, but that would be improper. Sorry.

Speaking of selflessness...

It's one thing to talk the talk, but a whole other thing completely to walk the walk. In other words, it's extremely easy to say you'd do anything for someone, but when the time really comes when your profession of that level of commitment is called into action, do you walk the walk? Sunday night I walked the walk. And you know what? I've never been more proud of myself. Sure it cost me a great deal of sleep, induced stress, heartache, and overwhelming empathy for someone I love - not to mention the loss of a vacation day at my job - but I can wholeheartedly say it was worth it. I'd do it again in a second. No questions asked. Why? It's simple really. It's who I am. When I love, nothing stands in the way of that, not even my own personal interests. Isn't that what selflessness is all about?

I really wish I could say more about that here, but it is not really my place. This was more about letting everyone know that this past weekend was one of the hardest of my life, if not THE hardest. But you know what? I made it through, luckily for you all. Who knows what you all would have done without my knowledge?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Simply Amazing...

I stumbled across Jason Reeves on iTunes recently. All I can say is I'm glad I did. This song is called Photographs and Memories. I hope you can relate to it the way I did the first time I heard it. Enjoy.

Couldn't say it better myself...

Love is giving someone the power to hurt you but trusting him/her not to.

-John Albert Halili