Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
But it sure is a lot to me!
We're only 6 away from breaking 100 likes on the C.M. Humphries facebook Author Page!
You're already getting the free story in 2014, but I've challenged my self as a sort of early New Year's Resolution.
My natural disposition is to jump ahead of the present and continue towards the future. I have this terrific rock band I've been working with, some brand-new novels and short stories on the well, future blog hops, interview, etc. Things are good. But that's only now.
For awhile I had to take a little hiatus and get myself back together. For the first, I experience a shortage in the good ol' noggin', or an anxiety attack. A close friend of mine suggested it might be worth writing about, so here we are. If you've had a similiar experience yourself, make sure to check it out. If not, maybe it's worth exploring for the sake of understanding.
Here's the third installment of "Lucky Shot," another story from the lost files. I wrote this awhile back, and to catch you up to speed, this is the tale of Chance Black, his family, and a mad man.
Chance is a photographer for the Long Brooke Sync, a tabloid publication famous all around and outside of Chase County. His day starts as usual: he's late for a conference and a perfect shot at the C.E.O. of a corporation.
Luckily, Chance is able to take the picture the Sync paid him for, but his photograph contains a bit more than anyone expected. This unanticipated photograph is of great value to a man who is desperate to make sure it's never published.
That's all I'll spoil for now. If you need to catch up, here are the previous two installments:
Here's another addition of what Chris found while cleaning up some files. I wrote this flash fiction piece in 2008. Enjoy!
In an isolated cellar chamber, the man in black told me, “You can either have the photograph or the handgun.” Before me lay those two items on a table, two guards by the only door, and an undersized wooden chair that I was once strapped to.
“Either way I’m dead, right?” I asked.
“That depends. A gun seems the most useful. The picture can only hurt you more.”
I remembered the suffering I faced the minute I snapped a photograph of the man’s trade. He was smuggling illegal weaponry to average citizens in an abandoned factory.
“Or, it can hurt you,” I muttered. The gun’s probably empty, too, I thought to myself.
“Don’t count on it,” the man in black replied. “You’ll never make it out of here alive.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” I mocked the man with my tone.
“But a gun is worth complete silence. Choose.”
Blankly, I stared at the two choices before me for several moments. If I had gone with my instincts, I would have snagged the photograph and ran for my life. However, I knew that killing the guards was my only way out of the cellar chamber.
As the man in black glared at me, I began to shake and sweat. My palms were moist with trepidation, and I further feared, that when I went for the gun, it would slip right out of my hand. Then where would I have been? Dead.
I came to a decision. Faster than a blink, I reached out and snagged the photograph. As preconceived, I sprinted for the only door out; meanwhile, the man in black used the gun to fire wild rounds at me.
Most of the bullets missed me as I neared the guards. One shot, though, grazed my right shoulder, which I favored with my left hand. I kept the photograph near my chest.
Click, click. The man in black’s handgun ran out of bullets.
My immediate sense of relief blew away with the sound of the guards arming themselves with their own pistols. At their first fires, I ducked.
Somehow, I managed to survive. Yet, I still felt like a dead man. Knowing that I would never make it out unscathed, I decided to act like a hero. Swerving around the guard on the left side of the door, I was able throw my good shoulder down into his knee.
Echoing as the metal smacked the ground, I saw the pistol fall just before the guard. Quickly, I reached for the gun, and so did he.
Underneath the spray of bullets from the other guard and between the grasp of the guard on the ground, I struggled to maintain possession of the gun. Once I felt secure enough to do so, I hopped up to my feet and began to fire at both of the guards, who fell to ground after a few misfires.
I had no intention of killing them. They were just hired muscle, but I had escape in order to turn in the photograph.
As I started to feel confident, something struck me in the neck.
February was bitter cold; snow buried most of the land. Angry and in a neck brace, I watched as a man in blue walked up a stage and approached the lectern. A plaque was placed in his hands by a chief officer for turning in evidence of an illegal gun trade.
At that moment I began to appreciate the power of knowledge. There was a time when artillery solved problems and was synonymous with power. Now a time had come where intelligence and technology proved superior.
While the determinants of supremacy had changed throughout time, man had not. At least, that’s what I thought as I watched my ex-partner take the glory of my efforts on stage.
Anyone considering college or who finished their college career recently, might be concerned about costs. There's no curtain in the way, though. Tuition and loan debt are not the best responsibilities to assume during or just after your college years.
From time to time, I've joked about a college degree and implied I'm so smart I traded $70,000 for a piece of paper that said I'm smart. However, the reality of higher education costs is a real concern lately, leaving many to wonder is college worth it?
Here's another rough draft section of "Armageddon as Expected". Enjoy!
II. The Masked Girl in the Barren City
We wrapped chains around the wheels, Allen and I, and it was a good thing we did.
This morning wasn't going to be easy, but no one expected it to be so difficult. One perk to living in a private community is the isolation from the rest of the word, and a little of the rural freedoms such as immaculateness and seclusion. However, these very benefits are anything but fortuitous once winter solstice proceeds. In other words, little things like road conditions can stand in your way. Normally the area is cleared, but this year we dropped the ball for sure. The high school that never closes closed. Snow plows were stuck in ditches.
And so was I. Everything's fine and the car checked out. The bad part is, I was supposed to work this morning. No matter what I do in life, if I agreed or am scheduled to appear, I do.
Since I'm reluctant to let this day of productivity go to waste, I think I'm going to start up a blog story. Between the threat of armageddon that never flourished and the man-we-thought-this-was-going-to-be-bad-but-not-this-bad weather, I found inspiration.
I don't know what this going to be, but it's going to be something. If you want to write one of the sections, just hit me up.
Otherwise, here we go . . .
Today I was spoiled with an opportunity to interview author Andrew Cyrus Hudson, the mastermind behind Somewhere in the Shadows: The Anthology. See, he's the guy who designed the book and had it made.
He's worked with multiple aspects of publishing, and his passion resides in producing a book from the ground up. He's also the guy who asked me to be in the short story collection.
You know that "Charlatan" thing I've been, admittedly, self-promoting like crazy as of late? That's the short story I contributed.
For now, here are the publishing-related questions and his uncensored response to them all.
C.M. Humphries (C):
C: How did you decide which authors would be in the anthology?
C: What were the overhead expenses for producing such an anthology?
C: What are your future plans for Somewhere in the Shadows or for other story collections?
C: Where can everyone find you online?
You Might Also Enjoy:
Ask Andrew Cyrus Hudson Anything About Somewhere in the Shadows or independent & self-publishing in the comments - and earn points towards a hand-bound edition of No-Injury Policy!
"And the Zombies Starved"
Zombies were all the rage back then.
It started off with movies like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, all the comedic romance stories disguised by those flesh-eating beasts. Cara and I’d watched them all during their midnight releases. When it first began, I was just as much a fool as anyone else. That was true until I remembered my distaste for the film Pearl Harbor. Some said Pearl Harbor was a masterpiece in the way it isolated a personal story from something much larger. Critics said it humanized the United States involvement in WWII. I said it was populist bullshit designed to sell the same old Hollywood love-story. It was a multi-million-dollar rerun masked by something that looked like war in the background—a love triangle and explosions in the distance.
Such storylines could’ve been juxtaposed with any other set of circumstances: an interstellar dilemma, an ominous dreamscape on Elm Street, inside of a failing 50s diner. Back then, it was tongues in throats and, oh yeah, zombies eating brains. But it was all the rage and it had everyone hooked.
One night after work, Cara came home with an atrocious set of heels painted black and green with something I assumed to be a face of a brain-munching undead. “You like them?” she asked. “I don’t think they make too many of them. They’re Zombie Heels.”
I nodded and kissed her before we went to bed.
The next morning, on my way to work, I saw dozens of women pass by wearing green, red, and purple variations of the same goddamn Zombie Heels. When did the undead become so colorful? Even at work, women wobbled in and out of the sandwich shop with the click and clack of cliché until I had my first apocalyptic impulse. That was, I wanted to shoot every last zombie-sporting sucker right through the skull. Zombies were never meant to be cute, colorful, or cuddly. They were—and always would be—a mixture of medical and social experiment gone awry. If Hollywood turned the stories of Jack the Ripper or Jack Kevorkian into whimsical love stories, would women start dropping their day jobs for the glorious life of prostitution or start carrying around their own IV tubes?
My only sense of relief derived from the fact, when the customers ordered their sandwiches, they asked for BLTs instead of brains. And I only discovered sleep when I realized that one day the fad would pass. Be it the end of my beloved creatures as they were in their raw, gruesome forms, but the end of mainstream madness nonetheless.
But it only metastasized. The following morning, I awoke to a thump on the nightstand next to our bed. My eyes peeled open like fresh blood oranges to see Cara hovering over me with a grin that slit her face in half. “Look,” she shouted as she pointed at a book next the alarm clock.
I glanced over and saw a book with zombies on the cover. “Jesus, no,” I muttered. I read the back cover:
Roman and Julia are forced apart by their wealthy parents, never to express their love for each other again . . . That is until a scientific experiment to turn their parents into super humans turns them into flesh-eating monsters.
“Doesn’t it sound great?” Cara asked, truly impressed with her find.
“Do you realize what this is?” I asked her.
“Yeah, it’s a gory zombie book.”
“Gory—No, this is nothing more than Romeo and Juliet . . .”
Something boiled under my skin. Whatever it was, it hid under the façade of anger and consumed me in a matter of mere seconds. I snatched the book and showed Cara exactly what I thought of it by hurling all three hundred pages at her chest. The problem was, I aimed too high. The book smacked against her temple, and Cara dropped limp to the floor.
“Shit,” I yelled.
Back then, the police were overzealous and overabundant, and they didn’t care how or why your wife was unconscious in your bedroom. If you’d hurt her, the police would hurt you. So I ran.
Past all the houses on our street, down through the shopping centers and glass testaments to mankind, I sprinted for nowhere. It didn’t matter where I ended up so long as I was away. On my journey, though, something came over me.
Everywhere I turned there were watered-down zombies. Passersby wore tattered t-shirts with cartoon zombie prints. Chuck Taylors and high heels alike boasted some demented aspect of beauty coinciding with the zombie. Was I alone in the world? Maybe all these people were zombies in the Haiti sense; carrying on the last thing they were told or shown. On every corner, marquees contained zombie puns within the movie titles. There were zombies everywhere.
Enraged by the zombie rage, I hurried along my path of uncertainty, brushing by zombies on every crosswalk. I knocked down a woman in her forties when I saw her zombie earrings. I took out some punk on a zombie-themed skateboard and almost cried when I saw blood rushing onto the sidewalk from underneath his head. Right before I took a bus headed out of town, I knocked out all five members of a street band called The Lost Sombi.
Wiping off the sweat from my brow, I found a seat on the bus and tried to regulate my breaths. The bus reeked of cat-piss, cheap cologne, and mothballs. Together it stirred into a brew I’d associated with decay. Although my senses peaked and the bus ride was slow, I kept to myself. During the trip, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about Cara. Did I knock her out, or did I actually kill her? How many zombies did I take out during my escape from town? It wasn’t my fault—It was those stupid movies trying to cover-up tasteless and unmemorable plots with the walking dead. It was the devolution of mainstream society from Barbie to Zombie High.
Just when I thought I’d regained my composure, a little boy turned around and stared at me, before he shoved his Game Boy in my face. He said, “I just got this.” While his mother tried to stop him from talking to a stranger, the boy kept yapping as a remake of Zombies Ate My Neighbors flashed on the screen. “See, you go around and shoot zombies with Super Soakers and kill them, and you can throw soda cans and twin-pops at them, and you . . .”
I punched the kid square in the face.
The mother screamed and swatted at me with a zombie purse, as I stood up and smashed her son’s Game Boy on the grated floor. At once, the bus halted, and one-by-one, the travelers came at me.
Swiping the purse, I wacked and pushed everyone in sight until I reached the front of the bus.
Tossing the purse to the ground, I ran as fast as I could to an old hotel at the end of the next block. Inside, I pulled out all of my cash from my wallet and told the woman at the desk, “I need a room as high up as you’ve got.”
She threw me a curious look and remained still for a moment. A phone resided next to her, a few inches from her anxious fingertips. She tapped along the countertop, her slight movements drawing more erratic by the second. The woman peered up at me, and I stared right back at her. As she started to reach for the phone, she pivoted around and grabbed the top left key from a pegboard behind her. “You’ll need to write yourself in,” she said before she slid a clipboard of forms in front of me.
Back then, time eluded me. I might’ve stayed in the room for a few days, although it felt like months. From time to time, I clicked on the television to see if I needed to find a new hideout, but there was one time when the evening news surprised me with a different sort of newscast. On the screen, a woman so starved she might as well been a zombie reported the tale of a new cult hero. A video package displayed dozens of people boasting hats, shirts, and lunchboxes with my face. Not only did the merchandise depict an unauthorized interpretation of me, but in my hand was a shotgun pointed at a mob of poorly sketched zombies. The videos of my fans cut short when the reporter pressed on her earpiece and said, “We’re now going live to the hotel, where our ‘cult hero’ was last seen checking in. Breaking news, folks: I’ve just received word that police are now in search—”
I slammed my thumb on the power button of the TV remote controller and bolted for the window. The window wouldn’t give as I tried to lift it open, so I grabbed the nearby end table and shattered through the glass no sooner than the police plowed through the door of my room.
Down below, reporters and a swarm of fans with my t-shirts all screamed up at me. There was a way out, for sure. I could’ve escaped through a set of emergency ladders around the hotel, but I hesitated at the sight of at least 300 people cheering me on. Didn’t they get it? I guessed there were a lot of people who didn’t get it back then. Now I had to choose between escape and perpetuating the very thing I detested. It was either that or I’d have to succumb to the officers’ efforts to arrest me and go to jail as a wife-beater. One more glance at all the zombies below on the streets and I decided to do what was right. The right thing was not the rage back then. Arms straight out in front of me, I dropped to my knees and said to the police officers, “Please."
You Might Also Enjoy:
At some point in our lives, most of us have spent time with another human being, who at first seemed quite lovely and breath-taking, but later wanted to take our breaths away literally. While there might be some sort of attraction to said person or a deep case of sympathy, someone who is genuinely frightened or concerned by their significant other would make the hard choice of walking away. However, for those of us who were not the "psychopaths", we might've made the worst decision ever. Why? Well, you'll have to continue reading. You might just be surprised by what follows.
It's getting closer to bedtime and you're looking at your loved one, thinking about the ways you would love to express your love. The day was a long one, and now you want to share the excitement of a relationship and reduce stress in one fell swoop. You start with the sweet nothings and pillow talk shortly before your loved one turns to you and says they're too tired, too stressed, or they have a headache. Now, making love would be the cure-all in this instance, but it takes two to tango. Getting two people to agree about anything is difficult. So there you are, wanting to embrace your lover and wishing the stressors keeping you awake at night would go away. What do you do?
Halloween is already in the past, but for me the scares have only begun. Most people will read eerie stories or watch one of the thousand Stephen King adaptations they play on every channel before and after FX - just for one night! To me, this is the time of year during which I wolf down numerous eerie tales. However, as of late, I'm having a hard time finding some good, scary tales. It seems the villains have been watered down. You can save that stuff for the kiddies. If you want a better villain, consider what's next in this entry.
When expectations are high, money is tight, love is tainted and stress is ubiquitous, the citizens of Chase County will do anything to make sure they survive. From the deconstruction of a town to frivolous intercourse with strangers, No-Injury Policy explores the dark depths of human nature when social pressures peak.
No sooner than the meek taste retribution, however, they encounter the demons that have aided authority figures to the top - demons that refuse to lose control no matter what it takes.
No-Injury Policy is the 1st short story collection by C.M. Humphries, showcasing seven of the eeriest tales from every town in Chase County: Raven's Crook, Lovington, Lakeside, and Long Brooke.
Following along as I provide a snippet of each story in the collection. If there's a picture to the left of the premise, that means I blogged on a topic from the story. Be sure to check them all out.
Let's face it, we're part of an interesting historical period. Or several. There almost seems to be an ideological Civil War taking place within the United States, one that might determine what is right, what is acceptable, and what is illegal. No matter what your stance is on an issue, you probably realize it's important to stand up for what you believe. However, let me suggest that you spend a little more thinking than acting.
(BLOG ETHIC NOTE: You might notice I use "they" instead of "he" or "she" in many of my posts. This is an effort to remain gender-neutral and a choice of craft I implemented during linguistics courses at Ball State University,)
The reason show is more of focus than tell in a story is all due to the way we perceive information as human beings. Interestingly enough, Amanda Davis, a Byrn Mwar student, wrote, "It's become clear to me that humans' primary sight organ is our brain."
Even the recent democratic speech made by Bill Clinton tried to apply this notion. Rather than making promises to change America, he spent time getting the audience to visualize the democratic plan step-by-step with actual facts and practical explanation. Whether you side with democrats isn't relevant in order to see the way Clinton came off more emphatic and believable than any of the other speakers for any side of the presidential race.
If you apply this theory to the page, you'll quickly realize why certain books entertain and inform better than others. Sure words can be written on the page that tell the story. With a little more craft, a great description can provide an excellent visualization of geography and set the tone. But what's more effective, is constructing a story in a such a way that the reader can relate to multiple layers of the story, especially a character's actions - what a character does without much explanation.
In No-Injury Policy, I strive to showcase stories that rely more on character interaction than anything else. I haven't neglected eloquent description, and sometimes a little tell sets the scene like the beginning to a theater production. But if a character does something, then it's important that they don't need to say why. It should be obvious. And as for the things said character does, readers should be able to think, "Yeah, I thought about doing something like that before."
The general concept is to set characters in pressing social constructs (that nature of trangressive fiction) and have them live out the reactions we all wished we could live out. One example is the story "Sleep" from No-Injury Policy. In this story, a character named Adam Hope is a recent graduate/writer (how creative of me, right?) who is pressed by the norm of finding a "real" job. In short, he loses a lot of sleep while trying. We've all been in situations during which stress kept us wide awake through the night.
However, Hope is sickened by the expectation of having a great career right off the bat. The thing is, he's not alone. The rest of Long Brooke can't sleep, and soon they'll all going to show society just what they think. The idea of demonstrating our angers and frustrations to someone or something pressing is a dream for many of us; therefore I hope many of you will enjoy the tale. Admittedly, the story's a little off-the-wall.
It's this kind of retaliation that I think makes a good story. A character is in an extreme version of everyday life, faced with crushing social constructs, they want to break free, show people what they think of their norms, and pursue a vocation they truly enjoy. In most cases, a character who acts out the way we all think about doing is always the protagonist in our eyes.
Occasionally the bad buy will make us cheer on the inside, but that doesn't mean the character is the antagonist. He could simply be the anti-hero, or he could be the antagonist in the literal sense: The opposing force in front of a hero's goals. Then again, every protagonist is someone else's antagonist.
The same argument could be made for recent college graduates. You spend four years deep in ideology and practice, but once there's a taste of the real world, things change. Some of us live out our dreams. Some of us keep trying. And the weaker of us simply gives in. As the butler from "No-Injury Policy" says, "You're too young to understand now. You might say you would't do things just for money, but when you're an adult you'll be surprised at what you won't do for money."
Of course, the longer you live, the more you'll become for which you'll become responsible. In this sense, priorities need to be made in order to fulfill those responsibilities, but the dream still lives on somewhere. And this is where a good story comes in: It can at least allow us to imagine the things we always wanted to do. It only makes sense a good story can relate to us in such a manner.
While I aim to have my characters live out our best and worst ideas, it's important to note they are all "manning up." This is the difference between a great speaker and mumbler. It's the difference between a good character and a flat one. And it's crucial to real-life. In college, you learn all the things that are important to you. In some cases, you might even have a strong sense ethics. Unless you act out what you know, the information can dry out and render itself useless.
If you wish the world would operate a different way - a better way - practice that method in front of it in a manner is relatable to many, one which they can support. You might just be the catalyst for revolution.
You Might Also Enjoy:
Freddy Hope is the victim of some serious insomnia in the story "Sleep" from my upcoming short story collection No-Injury Policy. The reason sleep is the topic of many of my stories is due to the one writer stereotype that is true about me: I often can't sleep or forget to sleep at a reasonable time when I'm working on a new story or novel.
However, the cure for both Freddy and me might be as simple as taking a nap. In the Rethinking Sleep article of The New York times, there are many theories on how sleeplessness arises, and now it's not just for the creative types. You could find yourself forgetting to sleep even if all you have is a cell phone.
If you hate your boss, you already know you're not alone. Let's face it, if you have a 9-5 you've heard all the chatter about how so-and-so is a suck-up or how the boss is arrogant, evil, sexist, stupid, etc. You might've even demonized your boss for a weak paycheck, a lack of hours, some personal comments, or favoritism. However, to play devil's advocate, your boss probably has a lot of responsibilities. When your boss has to focus on a lot every day, there might be some oversights, which really sucks when you're the oversight. But what if your boss turned out to be truly possessed by a demon?
It's you or me.
Before I piss you off too much, let it be known that I've had some pretty crummy jobs with crummy bosses. I'm talking about the kind of boss you wouldn't want to cross in an alleyway at night without bail bonds.
Shady hours, paychecks, responsibilities, unnecessary discipline, retaliation, favoritism: I've faced them all. Hell, I've even been at the wrong during the wrong time. Something went wrong one day at one of my previous jobs, and I was the victim of verbal assault and a little shoving. And I demonized the S.O.B. I actually felt like he was controlled by some paranormal entity that was ravenous for vengeance.
But what if my boss had been really plagued by some sort of demonic curse? That's when "No-Injury Policy" from No-Injury Policy comes in. It starts off with Nicholas Tanner, a family man, in search of a job to help support his household. Though I never specifically state it, the story does take place around the 1930s, a time when workers' unions faced a huge revitalization.
He works on a lumber mill that's known for being a harsh work environment with unacceptable pay, but for Mr. Tanner, it's a matter of money. Some income is better than no income. Once he works for the Douglas Lumber Mill for a few months, he starts to notice some of the rumors are true.
When he tries to support a workers' union, he faces real violence in the workplace and at home. When he tries to expose his boss, he learns he's actually a demon.
This is a fun story because we've all demonized our boss before, and in this story you get to live out the adventure of bringing an authority figure down.
What it comes down to is owner versus employee. While we all have certain obligations and bills to pay, a business is a business. With that said, a business will do whatever it needs to survive.
Your boss might actually give a shit about you, but if you're asking for a few dollars or a day off, he might think twice if it might risk his job or how the big wigs view him. In essence, if it's you or him, he's going to take a little self-interest. Wouldn't you do the same?
Passing the buck.
When your boss has to choose between his own job and yours, the decision may be quite easy. The problem is, once a situation is avoided altogether, it doesn't stop it from existing. Instead, the problem keeps snowballing until it's a real monster.
In a realistic sense, the problem you worked to deter may end up coming back to haunt you. Through a wacked-out metaphorical twist in the story, the demon posessing the owner of the Douglas Lumber Mill cannot be avoided; it has to be remedied.
If the buck is passed in "No-Injury Policy", the demon might need a new host. That's what demons do, right? To stop anyone from thinking I've spoiled the story, let me assure you I never take the predictable route if I can help it.
However, there is a story I've written in which the demon does take on a new host. You might recognize the name Douglas from the lumber mill. In fact, Raphael Douglas, Sr. is the grandfather of Liddell Douglas from Excluded. How he is possessed is not how you would think. The demon has to go through great lengths to reestablish its hold on the Douglas family.
A lot of my stories pass on ideas between the towns of Chase County. Many of my characters bump into each other. But no matter how unordinary my tale might be, it represents something very familiar. So if you hate your day job or you boss, maybe Excluded and No-Injury Policy are for you. If you would love to take down a tyrant in your life, they're especially for you, and I welcome you to continue reading for a sample of "No-Injury Policy".
Oh yeah, share your tale of an evil boss or pass this blog along for a chance to win a copy of No-Injury Policy. Score the most points, which is explained here, and I'll make a hand-bound edition just for you. Who's the worse boss you've ever had (no real names or real business names, please)?
Excerpt from "No-Injury Policy"
If you're reading this blog right now because you have nothing better to do, then this entry might be for you. Don't despair, though, I aim to show you how being an outcast or even a loser is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to you. Bill Gates, Stephen King, Lady Gaga . . . All these people had rough starts. They sat alone during high school lunch periods. They were the last picked for sports. Now they're the most prominent names in their fields. Why? Because losers are more creative and make the world not only go 'round, but they also change it. Don't believe me? Believe science.
Almost anything can inspire me to write. As Stephen King would say, "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, while the rest of us just get up and go to work." There's no reason to force inspiration, and sometimes, it's best to make time and push out some creativity. However, when it comes to my fiction, a story really fleshes out when I discover a new fear.
While no one enjoys the sensation of being lost, I always feel I have a good handle on location and rarely panic when I make a wrong turn. Let's face it, some of us aren't as geographically savvy as others. When we're totally lost, we're scared shitless for a moment. That's me in New York last summer. And the following is what both provided inspiration for a story and the fearful turn it needed.
It's only a few hours since you fell asleep and already you're jolted upright in bed with a sort of panic. Your mind races with all the things you need to complete or improve. While in the story "Sleep" insomnia is entertaining, in real life it's not quite the same. For writers, insomnia and sleep deprivation aren't unusual terms. The sleepless writer is even a stereotype. However, staying awake for countless hours can be detrimental to writing. creative thinking, learning, repair, and concentration.
Before you read this there's a good chance you checked your Facebook. If you scrolled around your news feed, you might've also scoffed at all the wishy-washy relationship nonsense. Let's not kid ourselves. Sometimes you wonder if anyone has a working relationship. But here's the thing: I stumbled across the answer and I'm going to provide the first step towards a working relationship for free. Now, this post has little to do with eReaders (as the title might've implied) and more to do with books, both digital and print. Ladies and gentlemen, future avid No-Injury Policy readers, prepare yourselves for bibliotherapy.
Make a Goal.
Safe habits, I'm sure.
What better way to start of the new year than discussing goals?
Many of us have already broken our New Year's Resolutions, but there's a perfectly good reason. See, in order to truly meets your goals, you have to set them realistically. Quitting cigarettes, for instance, can be done, whereas other scenarios cannot.
Don't worry: The dots will connect shortly.
One scenario which always leads to failure is the weightless concept, and I think it's a great metaphor for this topic.
Define What the Goal Means.
I wonder if this cat wishes he could lose weight.
All too often, the weight-loss New Year's Resolution is made. This is a promise to lose a ridiculous amount of weight within a year's time. The goal, however, is often misguided.
What does it mean to lose weight? Say you're 400lbs and want to reach 340lbs by the next year. Not impossible, but the goal implies many sub-goals.
Sub-goals are like tropes to genre. You say the word "horror" and "blood" immediately follows. To lose weight, in this instance, one needs to change their exercise and dietary habits. Change in exercise implies when, where, how, with whom, and to always remember why. To diet means changing what you eat, when you eat it, how you eat, why you eat, who you eat with, and all the things you do before and after you eat.
Then there are sub-goals of confidence. To lose weight, you have to remain confident through moral support, self-loathing, new clothes, and so on.
Never Let Your Goal Get in the Way of Who You Are.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
The aforementioned goals are unique in the fact that they do not necessarily define you. The guy trying to lose weight isn't "the fat guy trying to lose weight." He can be anyone, anywhere trying to improve himself.
And the woman trying to kick the butt for good is not known as someone who solely tries to quit smoking. She does other things.
Yet when goals refer to work, somehow this identifies a person, although I would argue losing weight and quitting smoking are better determining factors of character.
For instance, I want to publish a new novel by the end of the year and keep writing. This makes me a writer. And in the public eye, everything I do has to be based upon the idea of me being a writer.
What about the fry-cooks? Does every choice made reflect the fry-cooks? Of course, not. Hell, they might prefer to bake all their food.
For whatever reason, certain goals in life are described as "purpose". Is my purpose in life to be a writer? No, of course not. I'd say it's to live, be happy, and share the intrinsic wealth. "Write" is a verb, something that can be done by a human being. Same with work, play, sleep, eat, and fart. All if you take any of these things away, it will change my personality, but won't necessarily define me. Unless I'm the guy who never farts.
So my resolution this year is to be myself and have my goals, but never confuse the two. Let's not allow verbs to determine everything about the content of our characters. They say actions speak louder than words, but didn't someone have to conceive the idea of the gun before it was made?
You Might Also Enjoy:
Does Everything Suck?
Like television channels, I flipped through all the noise on the internet, searching for something to wrap my mind around. To be fair, many articles on websites went unnoticed this morning due to preoccupation.
Preoccupation? Whaat? Yeah, exactly. My mind. Preoccupado.
Whether at home, in the malls, at work, or during our other activities (I'm referring to vocation), stress layers on thick, like an old fruit cake.
I mean, stress is that disgusting and that impossible to chew.
If you can't chew all the garbage shoved in your mouth, what do you do? Blow up like Mentos and diet Dr. Pepper - that's what you do.
And why? Why does this time of year always mean pent-up mental struggles? Is it the harsh work hours? Is it bustling streets full of desperate shoppers, trying to snag impossible gifts for their loved ones? Is it because we're no longer enjoying the lovely outdoors and hanging out as much?
I'm convinced it's mostly the latter. We don't have as much fun when the winter weather rolls in. Rolls in. Who am I kidding? If you live in the mid-west or east coast, then you know winter blitzes in with nothing gentle about it. From now on, I'm going to slouch outside, in the snow, in a beach chair, sipping a cold brewski.
I read this article about "play" and have come to realize the meaning to life might be the little moments in which we relax and have fun. While the article seemingly stabs at those redefining play with educational toys and restrictive characteristics to play, I argue the problem is play stops after elementary school.
Think about it; what's the best part about high school or college? When you're allowed to run wild. This can be having fun or putting your education to use with your own imagination.
How about work? My favorite part about work - and maybe the only reason I ever clock in - is just to clock out. Breaks, lunch, going home. All anticipated experiences I couldn't find anywhere else but work. If I didn't groan and moan every day, during the long drive, I would find no pleasure in the few moments to myself.
Play is fun. Play is pointless*. Play is necessary.
I'm calling for a nation-wide Day of Play. Seriously, great federal holiday idea. I mean, we only get one holiday off a year (for most jobs), and that's assuming you belong to a specific ideology.
So what do you guys think? Is a Day of Play necessary to keep us from killing each other over nothing? Let's start a petition right now! Or just bitch loud enough about it for the world to hear.
*play develops creativity, imagination, and stimulates mental activity. Not to mention it helps maintaining exercise in your day under certain circumstances.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.