Flirting With Nihilism

shouting into the void with questions about 21st century living...

If you've just woken from a coma and now find yourself unable to make sense of what's going on—or not going on—around you, let me give you a TL;DR explanation: The world's gone to shit in a relatively short amount of time. We all hope our current reality will be temporary, but there's no denying where we are in this moment.

Take a deep breath. Cry if you need to. One more deep breath.

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I recently submitted a short story to a literary journal. While I do not know whether the publication will accept my short story, I have already enjoyed the process. Maybe I enjoyed it because this submission was my first. Or maybe I enjoyed it because of whom the submission was to.

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Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the whole “human experience” thing right. The concern usually arises when I'm expected to reminisce and recall specific memories. Ones that some people take for granted.

The catalyst is often an innocent question.

“What's your earliest memory?”

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Google “how to accomplish sumthin awsum” and early in your research you will likely find advice suggesting to create goals. It's good advice because we find it difficult to achieve something when we don't know what the hell we're trying to achieve. Goals add clarity. Selecting our paths is easier when we know where we want to go.

In your research, you likely find advice saying that your goals should be reasonably attainable. Why set yourself up for failure by trying to achieve something impossible? You also likely find advice telling you to write your goals on paper. Typing doesn't count because typing is for the undedicated, the suckas. If you're not willing to pull out pen and paper and risk hand cramp by writing a couple of lines, are you even committed, bro?

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Today I’m another year older. Damn, where does the time go?

As kids, most of us couldn’t wait to get older. 10 years of age signified double digits. 13, the entry into teenage years. (In hindsight, we realize teenage-dom is something to dread.) At 16, we’re finally legal to drive, which means our parents will never rest easily again. When we’re 18, we convince ourselves we’re adults and maybe we even vote a time or two before we decide it’s more fun to complain about democracy than it is to participate.

We get to a point when we stop looking forward to birthdays. I can’t remember the last birthday I was excited about, but I do know I started dreading them at 30 because 30 hurt. Bad. The pain seemed to set into my bones once I was conscious of the fact that I had reached the milestone of the big three oh. Dirty thirty. More like hurty thirty.

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The engine turns and the car cranks up. The dash lights turn on and flash a time or two and then turn blank. Except for the tire pressure light. You stare at the orange light with the obnoxious exclamation point inside that strange curvy figure. The light wasn't on yesterday. You know because you check every single time you start the car. The temperature has dropped almost thirty degrees since your last drive, so that may explain the light's appearance. You're cutting it close as it is. If you take the time to air up your tires now, you'll almost certainly be late for work. You can't afford to resolve this inconvenience at this moment.

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This is a response to the write.as cue titled Writing which asks: What benefits do you see writing giving your life?

For me, writing is primarily about expression. Communication is a challenge for me and I’ve observed that it is a challenge for most others. Finding the right words can be difficult when you’re speaking off the cuff. Doing so can be increasingly more difficult if the conversation has turned contentious and the other party (or parties) won’t allow you to get your point across.

Traditional writing usually allows for a more controlled environment. Chances are that you can take more time to find the right words (or at least better words) than when speaking off the cuff. And it’s more difficult for others to shut you up. They can stop reading what you’ve written. They can write their own responses telling you why you’re an idiot. But at least you were able to get your thoughts out.

Also, as I’ve said on my blog before, I sometimes write about subjects that may make some people uncomfortable because I think it’s important that we talk about things we don’t want to talk about.

#write

“Daddy, can we buy a ninja?”

My son had asked the question so many times whenever we had gone to Frys, but I didn’t know as we got out of the car on a Saturday afternoon and headed toward the store that this trip may be the last time he would ask. I told him I didn’t have any quarters, which was a truth I would later regret.

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I spend so much time trying to get out of my head yet I've spent the last few weeks trying to get back in. The holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving disrupted the routine I had spent most of 2019 creating. One of my proudest accomplishments of the year was negated by a few days off work. 2019 was the year I realized the importance of consistency. And 2020 will by the year I focus on regaining and maintaining consistency while preparing for the disruption that will come with the 2020 holiday season.

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Have you ever asked yourself what are your personal covenants for writing? Do you require good grammar and perfect punctuation? Does the protagonist have to be likable? Do you want insight into the background of the characters? Must there be a happy ending? How do you feel about sequences of questions? Fragments and incomplete sentences?

I like to think that I'm flexible on all of the questions above and that I can get on board for almost any adventure as long as it's done well, but my favorite writing is about discovering and sharing truths. These truths may be universal or deeply personal. Existential or mundane. Whatever the specifics, my favorite writing reveals something often overlooked or unspoken.

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