Make, and support, art

My post-work goal for the night was to get a little writing done (likely in the form of adding to Dissonance in Harmony, of course) before playing some Pokemon Moon and going to bed at a moderately reasonable hour. I love some quality video game wind-down time, but after seeing more news regarding President (using the term loosely here) Trump’s intention to move forward with defunding PBS…Pokemon will have to wait.

It would be easy to throw names at the Man-Child-in-Chief. Too easy.

What I want to do is, instead, charge you fellow artists to create. Keep creating, keep spreading art and encouraging (and supporting) others to do the same, and keep spreading wonder and joy and love that is otherwise being snuffed out in the name of further crushing critical, independent thinking in favor of lockstepping along to the wrong side of history.

Make art that is wonderful, and make art that is unsettling. Challenge the ever-loving shit out of people who dare question the value of art. Know that if Mr. Rogers were still around in this time of taking away PBS, a source of learning and magic for many children and the stuff of fond memories for how many, there would be Hell to pay.

Above all else, continue. Whether these next four years are great or bad material for art (with the former seeming more likely), it’s imperative that art continue, that easy access to educational programming be fought for, and that simple-minded, would-be dictators be challenged at every turn.

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My world is slightly askew

I had to Google “askew” because my brain kept telling me it’s pretty sure there’s an i in there somewhere, to which I (and Google) called bullshit. Joke’s on you, brain.

Today is an appropriately dreary day, as I just got back from vacation in the Outer Banks yesterday and my impending return to business-as-usual tomorrow has me feeling gloomy and out-of-sorts. It’s like waking up to discover everything shifted ever-so-slightly to the left with no explanation as to why, and I feel like I’m bouncing into every single wall there is to be bounced into. Something like that. If you’re reading this expecting poetic nuances, you’ll want to navigate elsewhere. The most thinking I’m doing at the moment is the standard focus on  writing (and my lack of discipline in regards to writing)…and if I should finally get off of my ass and either start unpacking or go to the store to pick up some of the essentials. The milk in my fridge isn’t technically expired, but the aroma it gives off when opened suggests otherwise.  Continue reading

Girls Make Games Kickstarter – Show it some love, people!

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I get really enthusiastic when I see people working on thing they’re passionate about. This is not news. This is news worth staying up for and sharing, and I’m a guy who loves sleep on the same level as Rip Van Winkle.

Girls Make Games is dedicated to getting more girls into making video games, which is an absolutely fantastic goal. The gaming industry brings in billions annually, and yet women only make up so much of this monster of an industry. Which is a damn shame. It’s 2014, people. The age of things being treated as a boys-only club needs to be sent off, but not after a stern talking-to for being a touch backwards.

The Kickstarter

If I urge you, dear readers, to support a single Kickstarter this year, let it be this one.

Step 1 – Click this link > https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2020158234/girls-make-games-grand-prize-winner?ref=discovery

Step 2 – Donate, and donate generously. This is a step in the right direction for the video game industry.

Step 3 – Encourage other people to donate, and donate generously.

Step 4 – Look forward to a future featuring a better-balanced video game industry.

Brilliant, fantastic people who do terrific things they are passionate about should not be turned away because of who they are, whether that’s related to their gender, gender identity, race, sexuality, beliefs, and so on. If potato salad can succeed on Kickstarter so well, imagine how awesome this one could do. More importantly, think of how it’s more than just the promise of food poisoning.

What are you waiting for? Go donate! In case you need the link again, click here.

Slowly escaping a writing funk

I am, at least in my own mind, very good at coming up with excuses for things.  There are times in college when I couldn’t go to the bar because I had some big writing project due and I’d not started on it, which often involved a raid in World of Warcraft that required my attention.  I’ve excused myself from social obligations with some groups of friends to make my way to other ones in similar ways.

Lately I’ve been making excuses for not writing.  Work has me so tired, and I just can’t get my brain out of this fog.  My days off are so full of errands and household chores, and I do want to relax a little.  To properly appreciate those last couple sentences, imagine how hard I was kicking myself while I wrote them.  They’re lousy excuses, and they make me feel lousy.  Hell, even as I type this I’m trying to not say how being all tired and foggy after work is totally a legitimate excuse, and I shouldn’t feel as bad about it, which is and isn’t true in equal parts.

I bring these things up because, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, I have publishing envy as of late.  Two of my good friends are published authors, and I know more people than that who have been published in the past.  On its own, that feeling of envy is bad enough (only made worse by how annoyed I become with myself for feeling such jealousy).  And then there’s my magnificent, well-known tendency to be my own worst critic.  Yes.  Just like every other person who creates.  I’m aware.  I look at my writing, then at the works of other writers (published or not).  I get that feeling of never being quite as good with the written word, or a sense of how the stench of my overwhelming mediocrity could easily be used to fumigate a medium-sized house on a good day, and an opulent mansion on some of my worse ones.

The plan is to stop.  Stop with the envy, and the days of fretting my writing being bad.  Definitely the excuses (I mean, in regards to writing; no promises elsewhere).  At the very least, I’m going to work on remedying these things.  On a related note: I have what I think is a pretty cool idea for a scary story.  It’s almost October, which means I need to get ready for my usual month-long celebration of all things Halloween (read as I will be eating so much candy corn and caramel apple lollipops that all dentists within a five mile radius of my house will feel a sense of overwhelming dread).  What better way to get in the Halloween spirit than scary stories?

And other story and writing ideas have cropped up, too.  In short: onwards to MS Word!

What I’ve been up to (other than short stories)

I feel like this blog has been neglected in the sense I’ve only been going from short story to short story with less of my typical commentary, which sort of detracts from my overall misadventures in fiction being posted.  And that defeats the real purpose of this blog/web site/whatever, which is to broadcast my rampant narcissism across the internet.  Obviously.

So I’m still adjusting to my very-first full-time job at a place I won’t refer to by name so as to not, you know, get in trouble.  I’ll be honest, though; I love it.  It keeps me busy, and it’s a lot to get used to, but I’m already very happy with the way things are run.  I also have an amazing boss (who has an amazing boss as well, who I have talked to on a few occasions).  However, getting used to forty hour weeks after working sixteen hours one week, thirty-some another, and so on, is a bit taxing.  By a bit I mean a lot.

On top of all of this, I have lots going on that I’m not quite willing to reveal yet as it’s all still very much in the works.  Things I can say, at least: I’ve started keeping notes in my Hobbit Moleskine about my (Un)expected Journeys, and whether or not that ends up manifesting as Misadventures in Nonfiction or something will remain to be seen.  I also am now the proud owner of a Hyundai Sonata, courtesy of my parents’ tremendous generosity.  It also means more responsibility, which is something I was unaware I had so we’ll see how that goes.

I should like to point out I’m not dead, homeless, in some really horrible state, or anything like the previous, so I’m doing pretty damn well, all things considered.  I say that ignoring the way I worry myself to the point of health problems, of course, and those are all things I will never likely post about in great detail on here because reasons.

Lastly, I wish you all a happy Memorial Day, and offer up some serious digital high-fives and salutes for everyone who has ever fought on behalf of the US (or any other country, or for any cause no matter how big or small it may be perceived for that matter).  To see people exhibit such courage in any situation still renews what faith I have in the human condition, and that’s a hell of a feat in itself.

On getting better

A while ago, a good friend of mine (who I’ll refer to for the sake of this post, as I refer to him in general, as Doc Martin) posted the video I’ve attached (shared? stuck to my blog so you’ve got to at least notice it if you read this post?) below to Facebook, and it really resonated with something inside me.  Probably because I was still at a point where paying back student loans seemed like figuring out some long-dead, alien language never meant to be grasped by humans, looking for jobs was still a terrifying prospect, and I was fairly certain I would never figure my life out.

Much of the above remains true, and the song still resonates with me.

Continue reading

So…tomorrow’s election day.

What’s up with that?

Cheesiness aside, this is a topic I’ve been wrestling with myself on how to tackle, because it’s something that’s been gnawing at my thoughts for a fair bit now.  No, I’m not about to say why a vote for Obama is a vote for (good thing here/bad thing here), nor am I about to do so for Romney or any of the other candidates.  I trust enough people are decently informed (I promise this isn’t a dig at people being informed, but wording shit like this requires a fine-toothed comb I do not posses in my present state and that’s a giant pain in my ass) on the issues that matter most to them, and have decided whose views and beliefs matches their own as completely as possible.  The nagging, gnawing, unpleasant thing in the back of my mind is this: whether it be Obama, Romney, or another candidate you intend to vote for, please go out and vote.

Yes.  Go forth and be a part of the great democratic process of voting for the next President of the United States.

Why, Phil, are you spewing stuff about politics when your blog is supposed to be about fiction?*  Because I believe in the importance of participating in the voting process, regardless of your overall feelings toward the election, the months and months of ads (horrible and tiresome as they can, and do, become), and the unfortunate divide between parties.

Hence my urging to vote.  That, and I honestly don’t give a damn what people think, post-election, if they can follow their opinions with “Well, I didn’t vote” or some variation of such.

Stay safe, happy voting, and remember; it may suck if your candidate doesn’t get elected, but the world will keep on keepin’ on Wednesday.  I’d say “Hey, can’t we all just get along,” but, historically speaking, people who say that seem to lead much shorter lifespans and end up suffering a terminal case of being shot.

*Or maybe you’re asking why I’m talking to myself in the third person, which is a perfectly reasonable concern I will dismiss in a perfectly reasonable fashion.**

** I totally forgot I had meant to insert a footnote, then remembered and felt like an asshole because of it.  I’m conveniently blaming eight hours of retail and elderly people saying “Gimme,” which SHOULD NOT BE A PART OF ANYONE’S VOCABULARY, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.  Pardon the caps lock.