Creative fuzziness and beach fantasies

That sounded a lot better in my head than it did in the title bar, but I don’t feel like going back at this point. Laziness wins this round.

Right. So I’m at a particularly frustrating point of stagnation where no new story ideas are really appearing in the murky, soupy goo that is my imagination, but present projects have halted to some degree. I’m continuing to work at them, but I’m also a particular kind of drained that doesn’t want to let up. This is a rare and luxurious time that I am grateful I’m not writing on a deadline or being depended upon by publishers (except for the short Five Nights At Freddy’s piece I need to write after this, which I actually forgot about for a moment there). It’s like turning on the television only to find static on every channel. More easily to relate to: it’s like turning on the television and having a million channels, but nothing to watch. I do have three boxes of Story Cubes (Story Cubes, Story Cubes Actions, and Story Cubes Voyages) that I may start making use of if this dry spell persists. On the plus side, I have returned to writing in my journal. That must count for something, probably.

I’m painfully aware that the best solutions for creative block of any sorts is to keep pushing yourself and creating new content, but that has gotten to be a bit of a monumental task on top of everything else (I’ve been marathon-cleaning my apartment, for instance). I don’t feel particularly guilty for hitting a dry spell and not feeling hugely motivated to fix it so much as I feel frustrated that my brain has chosen to go all soft and empty on me when it did. It’s obviously my brain’s fault, that’s the take-home point here. I really should give the Story Cubes a try, too, so maybe tomorrow will be the day I do exactly that.

As for now, however, I am already thinking fondly of my upcoming trip to the Outer Banks with my family. My mother and stepfather will be renewing their vows this summer, and instead of going on the Alaskan cruise they’ve wanted to go on since the honeymoon they never had they have decided a trip to the beach is in order. Make no mistake: I may be outrageously pale and not fond of the outdoors. Alternatively, I do love going for nighttime walks along the beach, having a private pool where I’m not as self-conscious about being a small hippopotamus, and being in the company of my family in a beach house (where privacy and hiding are both plausible when that company grows tiresome). There will be much reading and writing, too, but also plenty of winding down and enjoying the occasional alcoholic beverage (with or without tiny umbrellas).

Keeping all of that in mind: I still harbor a weird, mostly-irrational fear of the ocean, as I recall one vacation that happened after a hurricane. There were bazillions of jellyfish washed up on the shore and drifting about in the shallow water, and I was convinced they would kill me if I got too close. I never claimed to be a particularly smart person, people.

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Continuing to strike a balance

Vacation time has weird, magical properties. It begins slowly, passing like standard time. Suddenly, before you know it, the week’s over and it’s time to go back to work. I realize, of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow’s Thursday, which means I have three more days of this week. Possibly one next week, but I can’t remember my own schedule (This is somewhat embarrassing, I should note, as I make the schedule. Womp womp.) at the moment. I’ll be heading back to good ol’ Altoona in the morning, which means I’ll be getting to cleaning and unpacking and whatnot. Alternatively, I still have plenty of time to squeeze in a little more rest and relaxation.

Tonight’s title is a bit inaccurate, as I’m only gradually migrating back towards striking a balance in terms of how much fiction writing, blogging, and reading I do in a week. I’ve done more reading and writing this week than previous weeks, which isn’t saying much since my fiction writing has been lagging. So has my reading. Shit happens, really. The important part is that I’m making progress, so instead of belaboring the point I’m going to enjoy a bit more work on my novel-in-progress later, but not before enjoying the company of my mom and stepdad.

Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely song from Steven Universe:

And so my vacation countdown begins

Yes, I know I sort of started said countdown already, but the official marker of “I’m almost on vacation” is really that I have one workweek between me and freedom. It’s not even a vacation about the destination so much as it is just not being at work for a week (and a few extra days), as I have reached a level of fried that is typically reserved for batter-smothered Oreo cookies and overheated hard drives. Sadly, I’m really proud of that joke because it came to me naturally despite my brain being all liquefied and so on. I’m constantly somewhere between high-strung and ready to pass out, which probably isn’t particularly healthy.

Thinking forward to vacation and bypassing this upcoming week, however, has also created something of a conundrum. In the same way many people yearn for the next weekend, I’m wishing away much of next week (including the drive to Pittsburgh next Thursday, which is further complicated by the Carnegie on and off ramps being closed on the Parkway; thanks for that, PennDOT) for the sake of next week, which could be excellent or terrible. It’s still just potential. I mean, I know seeing my family for the first time since Christmas will be fantastic and all, but there’s no guarantee the other bits of my vacation will have been worth this wishful bit of time traveling. That’s one whole week of time, complete with possible and probable good experiences, that I’m attempting to will out of existence. That, too, is probably not very healthy. There’s a lot to be said on the way many people live for two days of the week and exist the other five in hopes of making it to those two previously mentioned ones. On a related note, I’m beyond ready for my next tattoo…so that’s probably a strong indication that an addiction is a-brewin’.

Defending my wishes to bypass next week, and all of the hideous responsibilities it threatens, are the following: Jason, my brother-paladin, and Chrisy, my New Yorker sister who has accomplished far more than I ever will, are going to be home when I am. I will also get a chance to see my grandma, possibly my father, and some other relatives, so that, too, is wonderful. There will be much reading and writing in the later hours of downtime. At some point, I need to make stuffed french toast because cooking for people is loads of fun. I can’t, therefore, be completely damned for looking forward to these wonderful times, even if the bulk of my actual vacation will be spent cleaning up my apartment because there’s still shit in boxes from the move.

Ultimately, I’m going to get through the bad parts of this upcoming week by reminding myself of how much fun I’ll have with my family (and thinking about the impending Comedy = Tragedy + Time tattoo). I also vow to enjoy the good next week brings, no matter how limited it may be. Makes for a bit of a win-win situation until I’m on vacation, I think.

 

The strange monetization of childhood nostalgia

Update: Found the link to the obscenely expensive Pokemon cards! Here they are: http://m.ebay.com/itm/400606778392?_mwBanner=1&roken2=tf.pSEM=.bTlM=.g105.cfb#prclt-JXSmr1pZ

Disclaimer: I go into this post acknowledging my experience is not an entirely universal one. My parents have, and continue to, do everything they can to ensure my happiness and comfort whenever possible (as well as the happiness and comfort of my siblings). This is something that no number of thank-yous can possibly make up for in any number of years. I say this because, though I doubt it will necessarily become an issue, I want to address that I’m aware that not everyone’s parents are insane enough to shell out the frankly-absurd amount of money for the latest Lego sets or whatever, and that’s on the basis of everyone coming from different social and economic backgrounds, and so on. If I offend anyone, in any way, with this post, I apologize. This post is probably going to wax a bit nostalgic, too, which is something I can’t apologize for because it’s literally part of the post title. You knew what you were getting into before you even got to this point, people.

That last bit may have sounded a bit dour, and that is largely because I have just dealt with the fourth and fifth calls to Navient (the off-shoot of SallieMae now responsible for crushing the souls of current and former college students everywhere). It has not been a particularly cheerful morning. This information comes in handy, however, as something caught my eye as I was scrolling through Facebook in the brief time I have left before I head to work.
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Christmas Cheer/Pox

It’s now officially Christmas day and I still have all the eagerness of my much-younger self when it comes to presents. The key difference now is I am very excited to share something special, carefully selected after a mix of gift-hunting and procrastination, in hopes I make at least one person’s Christmas a little brighter.

Unfortunately, the only thing roasting on an open fire seems to be this writer. I’m fairly certain I have a case of the Christmas Pox, complete with fever, aches, and a generally bah humbug sensibility. Fret not, as I am at least fighting that last symptom tooth-and-nail as I refuse to bring down the mood today. Continue reading

Post-Thanksgiving, post-hiatus…er, post

It certainly feels like it’s been ages since my last post, which makes sense since I dropped off of the planet (from a blogging and social media standpoint, at least) after the hundred days of blogging finished up. Thanksgiving reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for, and Black Friday reminded me that people are absolutely, completely, and irredeemably insane at times (but not all of them, so at least there’s that). I somehow, to the surprise of quite a few people, lived through another trip around the sun. I’m now a year closer to thirty, which feels a bit odd to say because my childhood goal-mapping said by this point I would either be a sagely old man dispensing wisdom or an all-powerful overlord of all creation, but I appear to be neither. Maybe that’s for later in the year. Continue reading