Archive for the ‘Brainwaves’ Category

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The World Still Spins Without You

June 21, 2011

Tomorrow it will have been one year since my father passed away. I don’t often talk about it because I never wanted to be “that guy” who made a big deal of it or let it define me. I think this has been accepted so I don’t think about that too often, even though that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it in general.

Though I always inject bits and bites of my own life into my writing, this was something I did not have any desire to show anyone. The first and only time I ever have committed this to ink was for an assignment in writing class in my last semester of college. I forget what the general theme was supposed to be, but my idea spiraled out of control and I ended up with a poem about what had happened nearly a year’s past. I think it made people uncomfortable; I don’t blame them for surmising I was a bit loopy. I realize nobody really knows how to react to it but me. I understand what I come from: a name that has been passed down for many, many generations, and I am the next in line. That’s something you can’t easily explain to everyone else.

Many people  proclaim their father is the strongest man alive; I was not exaggerating when I said mine was. He was wiry, yet he held up planks that supported the entire house’s frame. He performed physical feats I still cannot believe possible by a man of his age at 40 or 50 years, or his 5’11” frame.  He came from a past of physical excellence–documented in how oddly broad my shoulders are–and although the consistent bend and tear of life’s little problems did wear him down, he managed to smoke a pack of cigs every day and still do yardwork unheeded by the tar in his lungs. However, he was a computer programmer, first and foremost;  there from the very beginnings of Internet connections and the ascension of the Macintosh. He was, as I recall, the greatest source alive on how to fix any electronic component that existed. He took courses on things like that in college, but dropped out to pursue repairwork of hydraulic equipment and other mechanical things. A repairman never, ever entered our house, nor did any sort of plumber or electrician. Everything that had been installed or fixed or jostled with was his own handiwork. We once took apart an entire classic car and sold the pieces, one by one. When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate the sweet science of it, and maybe I never will; but I do respect the level of finesse he had for these things. In the same way, I did suspect his own stark confusion with the things I had begun to write, the quirky, twisty things the family heir had begun to jot down. The bloodline was stocked with firefighters, engineers, and programmers–to be somewhat artistic and cerebral was probably a strange thing to see spawn from that group. Regardless, he did want me to do what he hadn’t done: finish school. I hated school. If I hadn’t promised him I’d see it through, I might have challenged it and dropped off near the tail-end. This was, ultimately, my only reason for getting any kind of degree.

I do feel regret that I could not talk to him one last time. I feel remorse that he was, for the most part, consumed by paranoia, disappointments, and rage towards a life that may have cheated him well beyond his fair share. I grew up fairly frightened of him, to be honest. His anger and torment at what I could not perceive when I was so young still stays with me, as I mentally remind myself to consistently play it cool, turn the other cheek, show mercy and reserve judgment. To enlist in his old angers and frustrations would be wrong; I do not wish to fall into what made him so crestfallen with the planet. And thus, I’ve become a much more easygoing person in the last 5 or so years, subscribing to the notion that your anger can potentially destroy your inhibitions towards happiness.

“Life sucks, and then you die,” he once uttered, en route to his many interviews after former juggernaut of programming, Merrill Lynch, made him a victim of massive layoffs. He had been promoted many moons ago, and things had been going well. But, corporate standards demand less workers, less pay, and so he found himself in the brushfire. I remember he said he would go to church every day in the city, in Manhattan, on his break. He claimed he had simply run out of places to walk to, which was a wholly heartbreaking thing in itself to hear. I don’t even know if he was particularly religious, or if he sought shelter somewhere, anywhere. It is hardly blamable, given the timeframe; he watched the Towers fall firsthand, days after presuming they were invincible and mirrorlike, capable of reflecting even God.  I wish I was smarter, or at least knew what I do now—doesn’t everyone? I could have said something instead of dreaming about the next goddamn Mario game.

A world of regrets is not my intention. I know that just because you remember the past doesn’t mean you have to carry it with you; the what-ifs and the have-nots weigh you down, break your spine, and eventually cripple the will to move onward. It is useless to regret things when they have come and gone. Instead, I do remember the good things. I remember the first time we cruised in the classic Jaguar he had just bought, which was the first time he put in his Jeff Beck CD, therefore cementing my love of music and all things classic rock. I still think of him every time I hear our favorite song from There And Back, “El Becko.” I recall the car shows we used to go to, watching the rockets engulf the track and taking pictures of it. I remember shooting crossbows, several fishing trips, a few desperate computer viruses we conquered, my first beer being a Coors Light (I cannot stand the taste of that shit now) and learning to care for our dogs. He wasn’t around as much for me as he could have been due to the high-end jobs he possessed when I was younger, so my memories are scattershot. But I do know he had good intentions, even if he struggled through inclinations to simply hate the world that had done him so much wrong, like his father before him had done.

I won’t guilt people by ending with “you better appreciate yore fatherz.” I don’t know your fathers, I don’t know the dynamics, etc. But I will say that what I understand to be most important is that happiness is deserved of everyone, and no one ought to think otherwise. To live in consistent anger and frustration is easy, but working past that takes a little bit of conviction. I wish my father had tried to understand that.
You can’t change people sometimes. You can’t change everything sometimes, and accepting that is crucial to making any kind of progress. And sometimes, there is a greater lesson still in realizing you can’t always effectively metabolize that revelation into something that helps—you can’t transfigure yourself in accordance to what needs to be done. Being fake does not help.
But there’s still that certain nagging instance that people do put up walls. They think they do not deserve good things. And that is perhaps the most difficult thing to realize of all, and that is probably the one most outstanding thing I’ve learned in one year’s passing. This is followed by the notion that time is never, ever wasted striving to make the world you live in a much better place. At the risk of sounding like an after-school special, I will counter my statement by admitting I do believe all happiness does originate from within self-reliance, self-respect, and overall doing what makes you happy. But beyond this, the best thing about realizing that is perhaps sharing that with others, because no life is worth living in sadness. Judge me all you want for sentimental shit; this is what I will always believe.

By disappearing, the world still spins without you; though I find my pace altered a bit.

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How Do You Build Words?

June 9, 2011

I cannot describe architecture for the life of me. When it comes to strange, surrealist garbage, I am become the incinerator; I devour that stuff easy. But writing about the way a building feels or looks has never been my forte. Granted, I haven’t had to really do this for any story in the past, but now I’m coming up to that inevitable moment where I require a visually succinct image of where I’m going. In the same way my sense of direction is on a goddamn bender, I know how things should look in the architectural but I don’t necessarily know how to talk about it. And so, research had to be done.

Another half-finished story required the type of research I couldn’t easily accomplish: visiting a morgue and knowing everything about the process of the occupation. Thankfully, there exists the Internet and I was able to at least glean some preliminary explanations of what actually occurs there, though I suspect I need more material–hence, a half-finished story.
Lucky for me, I suppose, I’ve lived in NYC forever and I have a good grasp about what buildings I wanted to mesh together to form a godlike structure of classiness. I knew I wanted to use the Rockefeller Center as a reference, and of course I immediately thought of the Empire State Building. In the case of the skyscraper, I was more curious about its interior—the exterior would not be as important. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts.

For my first picture, I came across this one. I apologize I did not keep track of where the hell each picture is from; just trust me, it’s either the ESB or the Rock!

Now, I liked the overall shiny gloss of this; it conveys a sense of finesse to the place. I also liked how there was an initial description of the marble used in the hallway and the grandscale lobby, which gave me a sense of how to properly point out and give names to the material used in the fictional version of this passage. However, it looked too much like a bank to me. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the cramped quarters here, but….I envision something a bit less confined. Claustrophobic spaces, I find, heighten intensity and anxiety and carry a sense of dread in them. I was going for a theme of airiness; a space aloft by way of how relaxed the atmosphere was. I needed something wider.


This was a bit better: it conveys a different drama than the previous picture, and it also possesses the scenic view of the city I had dreamed up early in the writing process. The black, onyx floors have that waxy feel to them, refracting things to make them seem even more elegant or spacious. Did you know that Onyx isn’t how they spell the Pokemon? I was flabbergasted that it was not the first Google result until I realized it was spelled differently. I figure that the pleasant mesh of dark, refulgent onyx below crackling marble and a variety of statues would be a regal attire for this imaginary building. And as for statues:


I wanted something that gave the appearance of nobility, though not quite heroic. I wanted something that wept, and this was one of the first results from the previous searches through the material of both buildings. For all the grandeur in the location, I also wanted that sense of underlying menace, and the bowed heads provide this better than enclosed capacity.

For now, hammering out the details will be a tad easier, though much work has to be accomplished in the vein of meshing together all these ideas. If I was skilled at illustration perhaps it’d be a breeze to convert that into literary merit, but I can’t draw to save my life. I do feel that characters can also add a dimension against the scenery, breathing meaning into it by way of their walk, their talk, the shadows they cast. So, in that respect, I’m not worried. After all, the devil is a gentleman and his taste is impeccable.

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A Piece Of Mind

September 18, 2010

I ventured into the park for the first time since I returned home yesterday. It was considerably later than usual, around 7 or so, and the whole ordeal was very different from the January walks through it. I wasn’t used to the abundance of trees masking 80% of my vision through the old shortcuts I partially memorized; the sky was virtually covered up with leafy hands, playing immature games with me as I wandered along. I did want to turn back after a few minutes so I could catch the sunset bleeding away on my shoddy camera, though I decided to cut through a wide detour on the side of the path to get a better look.

It was a darker place, definitely not meant to be explored at this hour. You could have scared the ghosts out of Hawthorne with this place; ritualistic spaces and circled meeting grounds had been formed from nothing but weathering and fallen trees, totems birthed from lightening and storms. The faintest haze of comatose blue managed to struggle through; it was truly a disorienting but otherwise beautiful scene. And, I might add, slightly unsettling because I was alone and unarmed. (I hadn’t planned on this trip, so I didn’t take my knife. A shame, as there was a large rock I could have etched my initials to.)

After some pictures, I decided it was getting too dark to proceed, so I retreated—but in the middle of the so-called proving grounds, rustling came from the right, and then to the left. My brain immediately called up images of wolves and coyotes, or even witches—so I didn’t stand aloof for too long, instead walking very rapidly with occasional glances over my shoulder. I don’t know what was in there, but it was in there. I imagined, wildly, that something or someone had been tracking me in there. And as my heart quit racing upon the familiar path out of the woods, I felt indescribable peace that there was evil which existed there.