"You're Chasing Amy."

• Thursday, December 31, 2009 6 comments
You ever ask yourself why you do whatever it is that you do?



In 1997, director Kevin Smith released "Chasing Amy." I didn't see it in theaters -- I was barely aware of Smith in 1997, and I certainly wasn't in place where I could be sneaking out and catching R-rated art house flicks on my own. When I did eventually see it, it was at my Dad's house, as he had rented it and I had decided to sit in. I was a Sci Fi nut at the time, though, and really didn't pay the movie the attention it deserved, though I did see this aesthetic that I liked, this twenty-something, mid-'90s touch that was charming to me even back then, in the same way a Gin Blossoms song was. But I didn't know about Smith, I didn't know about the larger narrative, hell, as a rabid reader of Wizard magazine and a burgeoning comic geek, I didn't even recognize the comic book personalities [and their artwork] that litter the film.

All of that is probably surprising to people. I think "Kevin Smith fan" and "Randall Nichols" were used interchangeably for a while -- and rightfully so, I encouraged it, and even today, while I don't necessarily like describing myself just as "that guy," the "Kevin Smith fan," I think that's a way people think of me. And I'm not embarrassed, even though I think there's some part of me that would like to be thought of as more than that, that doesn't want to be reduced to just an obvious stereotype, because I think at some point all creative people want to be thought of as their own artist, with their own voice. But I don't have a problem with people looking at what I do and saying "This is a Kevin Smith fan's work." It's flattering.


"Amy's" the odd duck of his films. Of all of Smith's movies, it feels like the only one that's aged -- there's something especially '90s, especially dated about the way it looks. "Clerks" stand out because of it's breakout status and indie-level visuals, while "Mallrats," "Dogma," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," even "Clerks II" are in this sort of four color, comic book-like world, which seems beholden to no particular time-period [ironic, when you think of how much "Amy" is about comics]. And "Amy" exists in there, it is a part of that View Askewniverse in its own way, but it also doesn't quite fit.

And despite being considered one of Smith's best, it certainly has it's detractors. I think there are always going to be people who don't want to go to the dick-and-fart joke director for such an honest love story, people who come to Smith for stoner comedy and can't find that as much in "Amy," or at the very least don't find it with the same lightheartedness as his other films. I also run into a lot of people who identify LGBT, and are uncomfortable with the film, or find it insulting. I don't think there's anything objectionable in the movie, or at least not anything anymore objectionable than is normal for a Smith movie, which I've always felt was part of the charm about the style -- when you can say anything, and do, you really strip things down between characters, and can sometimes get to things you normally wouldn't be able to. But... I digress. It's not for everyone, a sentiment true for a lot of Smith movies, and especially true for this one.


There's a particular scene in "Amy" that I think about a lot when I'm writing, or when I'm trying to write, or sometimes when I think I may never write again. And it's an odd scene to think about, especially in the context of writing, because in my very first screenwriting class at Bennington I learned that a scene like that should probably never be written, or at the very least never be allowed to
make it to a final draft. But Smith left it in, either because he thought it was more realistic this way, or because he never had all these rules about monologues and characters saying more than they're doing, or because this is just how he thought it was supposed to happen, and be damned what anyone else thinks about it.

Here's the bulk of the scene, for reference:



INT CAR - NIGHT

Holden throws the car into park.

ALYSSA
Why are we stopping?

HOLDEN
Because I can't take it.

ALYSSA
Can't take what?

HOLDEN
I love you.

ALYSSA
(beat)
You love me.

HOLDEN
I love you. And not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. And it's not because you're unattainable. I love you. Very simple, very truly. You're the epitome of every attribute and quality I've ever looked for in another person. I know you think of me as just a friend and crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you'd ever consider. But I can't do this any longer. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't look into your eyes without feeling that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. I know this will probably queer our friendship - no pun intended - but I had to say it, because I've never felt this before, and I like who I am because of it. And if bringing it to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But I couldn't allow another day to go by without getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And I'll accept that. But I know some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there is a moment of hesitation, that means you feel something too. All I ask is that you not suppress that - at least for ten minutes - and try to dwell in it before you dismiss it. There isn't another soul on this fucking planet who's ever made me the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it's there between you and me. You can't deny that. And even if we never speak again after tonight, please know that I'm forever changed because of you and what you've meant to me, which - while I do appreciate it - I'd never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.

Holden stares at Alyssa. She stares back. Then she gets out of the car.

HOLDEN
Was it something I said?


And there it is, that big block of text that I was told to never, ever do, the big excited outburst by Holden "Fucking" McNeil professing his love for a woman he's not supposed to have, who should not love him back, a woman who's only response to all that could only be anger and horror at her friend's selfishness. And that happens, after Alyssa leaves the car, and Holden gives chase, as she screams at him in a darkly lit scene as it rain [more like fucking pours], yells at him to get back in the car, to just leave her there. He's done what so many of us have either wanted to do, or have done, been about as verbose about it as anyone could hope for, and gotten the usual, and most often expected response: "it's unfortunate that you're in love with me. It's unfair that you felt the need to unburden your fucking soul about it!"

She's right. And Alyssa stomps away, leaving Holden to stand there in the rain, completely rebuked and utterly dejected.
But that's not why it's great.

There's a beat. Not in the script, but in the movie itself, just natural pacing which Smith didn't put in the screenplay proper, with Affleck walking back to the car in the rain. And suddenly Adams comes rushing back, and leaps into his arms with this guttural cry, and they kiss. It's probably the only kiss in the rain I've ever been able to stand.


But it's a great moment, that one second, where Adams isn't even on screen, but there's a thought process there, a response or a cue that isn't shown, and it's not said [and it's a Kevin Smith movie, remember?], but it brings her character back, with all the weight of the two character's time together. I don't even have a word for that moment, "transcendental" comes close, but isn't quite right just a little too specific and not specific enough. But it's a moment to aspired to by any writer, and it's something that doing the most Kevin Smith-esque, single-frame talking-head scene isn't going to get you. It's like the look between Tatum O'Neil and Madeline Kahn on the side of the road in "Paper Moon," or that slight sag in posture of Orson Welles, standing lonely in Xanadu in "Citizen Kane."

You don't really write these moments down -- some people even say the actors make them happen, or the illustrator is the one who puts them in the panel. In some cases that's probably true. But I also think that sometime what's not written down is very much put there by the writer, and of all the things I try to do, I think these are the moments I reach for, that I hope I can pull off.


2009 will be over soon, and for the last two months of it, I have written almost nothing. Certainly nothing of worth. A friend even called it a crisis of faith. Haven't stopped thinking about "Amy" though.


Happy New Years.

They're going to eat him alive.

• Sunday, December 27, 2009 0 comments

The above image is from a collaboration with my friend Zoe Chevat [and that's a link to her blog, AnachroLush]. We were chatting the other day, and came up with the above scene of a poor, pretty hipster boy about to be eaten alive by some of the beautiful denizens of the Big Apple.

I've been thinking about New York a lot lately, probably because of "The Boys;" Derek Robertson is one of my favorite artists, and lately the book has been a little more NY-centric, with a lot of the familiar landmarks and such, particularly the Brooklyn Bridge . I get stuck on images from comic books pretty easily, and had been running scenes through my head with Robertson's city as my background. This particular one was something I had been toying with, but didn't have much for, and Zoe managed to snap it up, and do this sort of Bakshi-esque thing with it that turned out brilliantly. Very sinister, in the best sort of way. She sent it to me a couple days before Christmas, as a nice little holiday treat, and I've been meaning to post it here but the holidays have just kept me pretty busy, and when they haven't, I've been finding myself sort of... too down to be doing blog posts.

Which isn't to say Christmas was bad to me. Actually, things worked out pretty well, with almost all the presents getting to where they were going in time, plenty of Terry's Chocolate Oranges for everyone, and just general good cheer. And even though I'm not really high on getting gifts this Christmas, I got a lot of really great things, even some that I'd figured I'd have to buy for myself after the holiday was over -- like a new hoodie, and a new phone -- but no, I guess my needs were pretty well known, and even got a few fun items, a new bag, way more books than I expected, and a nice scarf. And then something that wasn't a proper gift, but something I was really hoping for more than anything else.

And things with the family weren't weird [or not as weird as they could have been], and tonight I got to see all my friends here at home, which was a rare treat to get everyone together [Ally made it, who I haven't seen in nearly forever, and so was Mark, a really nice guy and friend of Dave's who we watched Wrestlemania with last year], and there are plans to do New Year's at Glen's too. Plus I think on some level my work paid off to bring my Grandmother Christmas, as she went from general apathy towards the holidays to actually going out of her way to get the tree on over the past couple of days. I even whipped up a batch of Ian's eggnog, from the recipe he posted here.

I don't know. The past couple of days have been good, a real reminder as to why this is just a nice time of year. I sort of wish they could all be like this, you know? Or at least a few more of them than usual.

Probably post again in a couple of days, at least get in something to usher in the New Year. I promised someone I'd look at a script they're working on, and my schedule is pretty full this week though, so when is a little up in the air.

Thank you, everyone. And again, thanks to Zoe, for the wonderful image above. I really like working with artists, even on small things, and if anyone else is interested in collaboration, even something small or stupid, e-mail me or catch me on Facebook.

Hometown Boy Makes Good.

• Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1 comments

I think it's safe to say the above picture has went "viral."

This is Mario's Closet, a t-shirt design for Splitreason designed my friend Glen Brogan. It's apparently blown up huge, popping up on several different gamer/8-bit enthusiast sites, and a lot of Twitter accounts and Tumblrs [including some Bennington people -- I think I realized just how big this had gotten when I saw Nick linking it, and I wasn't the one he'd found it through].

Anyway, the reason for this post is just to pass along how awesome it is to anyone who might not have seen it any where else yet, and to say you can still vote on whether they make it here. I have little doubt with it's popularity that it won't soon be a t-shirt though. It's the least I can do for Glen, who was kind of enough to invite me along to his family's Thanksgiving this year, which was really just a wonderful time, and way better than the cold Chinese food and cable TV I had planned.

Glen's also got a lot of designs already on the site, ready to be ordered for the holidays in t-shirt and print form. So go over and help an artist out, and get something rad for the gamer in your life.

You can see more of Glen's stuff on his own blog, Albino Raven, and the Autumn Society blog as well.

I bring you good cheer, and you bring me your pen.

• Thursday, December 17, 2009 3 comments
So I had one last Christmas-related shopping trip, and wound up calling my kid brother to see if he wanted to give me a lift. He was more than happy to [I think he wanted the chance to tell me about his new girlfriend -- and it's always great to hang with him], but he needed a little money for gas, which was fine as I still had some of my Pittsburgh money left over. While I was waiting on him, I phoned telebank to check my balance, not because I really needed to [I keep pretty good track], but because I was curious if a check I'd written a couple days before had cleared. What the feminine drone of the automated teller told me, though, was that my account was overdrawn. Really overdrawn.

That's right. Looks like someone has stolen my debit card number.

It's typical, I guess, for this time of year. That seems to be the reaction I'm getting from people. I can't for the life of me figure out how to put a freeze on my own account, or cancel the card, so sadly I just have to wait until I can go to the bank in a couple of hours and get all this straightened out. It's really hard not to get down about it though, because I've been trying this year to make Christmas work, and then some stranger out there just cuts me off at the knees. Not that I think this is personal, or targeted, because that would just be crazy, but it feels a little like that, like I pushed at the universe, and the universe decided to push back. And I'm pretty vigilante about this sort of thing, good passwords, secure sites only, keep account information out of my e-mail... what a pain.

I mean, admittedly, it could have been a lot worse, and the havoc this looks to wreck is pretty minimal. So, you know, small favors. Much bigger problems in the universe. And I'm sure there are probably other people who this has happened to, who weren't done shopping, who were holding off for that last bonus to buy their kids presents or their wife jewelry or something, and this would be sort of a Christmas killer.

So dick move random stranger. Dick move.

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Christmas, '09 - Letter to Santa

• Wednesday, December 16, 2009 0 comments
Dear Santa,

I'm really writing too late to ask for anything proper for Christmas. If I had, the list would likely be populated with the same old things, scarves, and flannel, and fingerless gloves, indie comics and novelty t-shirts. There was the Gits hoodie that I had my eye on earlier, which I promptly forgot about until sitting down to write this. Mostly things I want that I have no place for, things I cannot buy myself, things that can wait, and be wanted again next year.

As a kid, I never really thought about what a letter to Santa was. An entitlement, probably. Kind of terrible. Which meant I thought of you as something tangible, someone real, who could be asked for things. And I didn't always write a list, sometimes I would just tell my dad. Because you two worked at same time, you were ships passing in the night, before I knew that could mean something other than it did. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." All the movies, the books. No visual. Complete faith.

Faith. A letter to Santa is a little like a prayer. A wish. I thought about writing this letter as though it were a wish, and I would say something like "Dear Santa, I don't want any presents this year. I would, however, like to win one for a change." But that's more entitlement. What I think I deserve. It's not a wish.

I have wished before. I sat on the lawn at Bennington in the middle of freezing nights and looked up at a brilliantly clear sky, and wished on the stars I'd see falling. Usually, I'd just wish someone might come along and join me. Once, someone did. I don't know if that means wishing works. I don't think that's what I'm worried about anyway.

So stars, and eyelashes. A wishbone, once [and if I had a kid, I'd tell them to double that up at Thanksgiving with their Christmas list -- you've gotta work the odds]. Birthday candles, but I'd always get performance anxiety there. I think I once just wished they'd go out. Probably doesn't count.

There's a song, by this New Haven band called Miracle Legion, who did the music for "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" under the name "Polaris" [sans one member, though, hence the moniker]. "I could have you, with a wish/but what am I supposed to do, with a wish that won't come true?" I think Ian burned me the CD. Before all that other stuff, about stars and eyelashes, that song is what I think about when I think about a wish. Not the greatest vote of confidence for wishing there, but that's just me. That's the sort of thing I'd probably wish for. I certainly could, but again, according to Mark Mulcahy, that might be sort of futile.

I'm rambling. So much of what I want for Christmas, or rather want out of Christmas, are things that I don't have anymore, and probably can't get back, at least not now. All these romantic notions in my head about big families and big meals, caroling, lights, horse-drawn carriages and really sentimental reasons to get all bundled up and go out into the nightly cold. Plus kicking-and-screaming shopping trips, brutally awkward conversations, and mad dashes to get every last minute thing done. Not to mention a lot of other stuff that is vaguely lame, and sometimes terrible, but absolutely brilliant if you have the right people, or right person, willing to indulge with you.

Of course, these things don't come as gifts. They're more the reason I want to give gifts every year. So I guess instead of asking for them, I'll just wish that the holidays find those I care about well, that the few parcels I sent out today arrive safely on time, and that any letters I manage to write are not unwanted by their recipients. They're small favors, Santa, but also the things I can't quite do on my own.

Merry Christmas,
Randall

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Christmas, '86-'88

• Sunday, December 13, 2009 1 comments
I haven't been feeling very well the past few days, but I wanted to do something nice for the up-coming holidays.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of pictures. But when Justin and I were going through comic books a few weeks back, I'd found a cache of older snapshots I hadn't seen in awhile. I'm not entirely sure where they came from -- mom would periodically hand me pictures, and Dad gave me a lot of them a few months before he died, ones that were probably assumed lost in the divorce shuffle.

Most of these are from Christmas in the late 1980s. The scans aren't the best. And not all are entirely flattering pictures of yours truly, but I share them because this is the time of year when things should be shared. Even things we'd normally consider private.












One of the reasons that I like Christmas so well is that it's really the sort of holiday that's just for everybody. No matter which of the various religious or non-religious traditions you recognize, there's something there for you, and unlike Halloween it isn't just for the children, or like Thanksgiving which is just a family affair. And there's even an argument for it being a parent's holiday, in that so much of the leg work is done by parents, to make the season so magical for their children. It's really a time of year that's for everyone.

Save, perhaps, for the lonely.


This last one is a little before my time. December of '82, the back of the photo reads. My mom and dad, looking so young, and my Grandpa Cole. Two of these people are no longer with us.

I miss you, dad. You always worked so hard around this time of year to convince me you knew Santa. It's funny how when you're six, that's not such a stretch, especially since both of you worked nights, right?

Merry Christmas, everyone.

"No one can help you but yourself -- in other words, you're fucked."

• Wednesday, December 9, 2009 1 comments
I've been thinking about writing this for the past four weeks. Maybe a little bit longer.

The past few weeks I've been trying to find some kind of order in my life. Or not even that, I guess you could probably call it just taking inventory, trying to say this is this, and this is that, and this is what I have. Which I guess isn't odd -- I'm always self-analyzing, that's even what this blog is about in a way, and I imagine there are at least a few people who will read this and chuckle when I say "but this feels different from that." But this does feel different from that, and if only because I'm feeling so reluctant to try and get a handle on it all.

Even now, I'm sort of dancing around it.

I recently had a pretty big opportunity fall through -- not even "fall through" in the traditional sense, but just the parties involved in said opportunity stopped returning my calls, and I found myself without the thing that I thought would be my major focus for most of next year, and perhaps the greater part of my near-future. I didn't talk about this job here, because I was asked not to, and I'm still not going to get into it because, well, I just don't think this is the place. The main point is that it's not something I feel comfortable depending on anymore, and that changes a lot of things.

It particularly calls into question my living situation. Staying with my grandmother was never supposed to be a long term solution to getting kicked out of my house. It's certainly true that being here has afforded me a lot of luxuries -- I've had plenty of time to write, and probably wouldn't have been able to crank out the work I have on "Unfilmable," "Nova," and the still unfinished "Trendsetter" [not to mention a handful of smaller works] if I'd had to get a real job to support a rent check. I got almost a year with Dad, which let us work a lot of things out, something I'm really thankful for considering how suddenly and unexpectedly he died. And when he died, I was glad to be here for my grandmother, who had to bury her eldest son, and didn't need to go through that alone.

And I've been useful here. I would never say my grandmother depends on me, because I really can't think of anyone more capable, but chores, shopping, various things around the house -- these are things I've been able to do for her to make her life easier, and earn my place here, and the fact that I'm probably a big, temperamental inconvenience of a house guest. And that's good. I think there are some things about my personality that keeps me from being fully satisfied by the good I have done here, and yet without being arrogant I know I have done some good, and that has been a lot more important than some of the more selfish things that I've committed my time to.

So, I've been privileged, privileged to not have needed a job, to have a roof over my head, to be of use to someone, and to have been able to write, and by proxy, write about my writing here. And that's been okay, that's worked for the past year or so, and it's not that it isn't working now, either, but it's just... not a good idea anymore. I'm not waiting on anything, I'm not really building towards anything, and that makes all this sitting around, all this house work, all these sleepless nights seem sort of pointless.

And the writing. I keep asking myself what I expect to do with this now. Writing a screenplay seems more than a little pointless when I know I have no connections, no crew, and no interest in my work. And I don't really have the skills, equipment, or money to pursue these things on my own, and honestly I don't think there's anything in me that wants to be a filmmaker anyway. Handle the creative end, as a producer, or something like that? Sounds great. Write a story? I mean, that's why I'm here, that's what I love. But get behind a camera? That has never really sounded appealing to me, except in the most extreme cases.

If I'm honest with myself, it's not even the kind of writing I want to be involved in. My interests there came from the fact that I love movies, and that I wanted to get into comics -- and the only way a lone writer seems to get into comic books anymore is by way of film. And comics, that's what this has almost always been about, that's what I've always enjoy the most, that was one of my defining moments, when I cracked open that box with Sam and mine's SULK: The Morning After on that cold night in Bennington. Or when a certain redhead approached me in the dining hall to tell me she liked what we'd done in Murmur. Or when I'm getting new pages in my e-mail from Justin. That's what I get the charge from, and if I've enjoyed writing anything this past year, it was probably the script for "Real Quality Comics," where I went back to basics and just... wrote the book like I'd want to see it.

Which is another problem with my living situation; I'm not meeting new people, let alone new artists, and I'm not in a place where I'm finding a lot of folks excited about doing comic books. Illustrators are not as plentiful as one may think, and I'm certainly not finding them when most of my days are spent at home, or in the local Kroger's. Harder still is finding someone willing and able to work with me, which, hey, I'm trying to make easier too, but there's really no way to know if I'm making any progress until I actually get to work with someone new.

And I have been so lucky to have Justin, but I've also given him a huge job, and he's got other project's after "Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name" has finished. When we're done, who knows how long until he'll want to do another with me, and I think between the two of us we've pretty much decided this book is going to fall under the header of "practice." So again we hit this question of what, and who, is next for me. I know what I wanted to be doing by this time, writing books, working with one or two artists who just "get" me, and want to do what I do, all the while selling my wares at various conventions and churning out wonderfully depressing things like what they do over at Modern Mythology.

There's also the elephant in the room, the prospect of me trying to write a novel. I keep going back and forth, yes I will, no I won't, it's too big a job, it's not something I can do, but maybe if, etc, etc. But again I come to the same problems as the screenplays, the lack of connections, I don't know any publishers, and I certainly don't have an agent. Writing just to be writing is how I stay sane, but there is this question that keeps coming up -- is this a hobby, or is this something I can realistically turn into a job?

Other things. I'm certainly past the threshold of being discovered as some sort of savant. This little voice in the back of my head which keeps saying "If it was going to happen like that, it would have happened already" is very persuasive, and if I am playing the long game at this, then I need to start figuring out a way to balance that with the things real people do, like rent, and bills, and work. And historically anything resembling an occupation tends to put a dead stop on my creative drive... which is really a whole other fear, and probably not something I should obsess over as much as I do. But I'm terrified of winding up back in that place I was in when I worked at the book store, where I couldn't bring myself to write with the few hours I had to myself at home [and to this day, I don't know I'd have survived that whole time had Anna not been supporting me].

I look around, and I see the success of my peers, too, and while I'm thrilled for them, it is a good reminder of how little I've done. I'm not going to grad school, I don't have some wonderful job, I don't live in some commune-like township where everyone knows everyone and there's a wicked two-kegger every Saturday night. My friends like John and Glen are selling things, and growing in notoriety, you might even say popularity. Justin and Staci are getting into galleries, so are a lot of folks from school. I know many of the writers I had class with at Bennington are getting published. Ian and Heke are in Japan. And that's not even counting all of my friends who have found some place new to live, or someone to marry, or are starting to become actors, or directors, or kick-ass music producers. Other have found directors, or are starting shows. And I'm at home, with my biggest claim to fame being... this blog.

And not all of those things are things I want, but all of those things are success, which I've seen precious few of. I miss a lot of those things, those comforts, hell, even the discomforts, of which I'm sure there are [things are as never as rosy for our loved ones as we believe they are]. And there are things, selfish things, that I have begun to want as time goes on, that aren't afforded to me because of the way I've decided to live and conduct my life. Some of them people would probably thing of as stupid, material things, like comics [re: indie books, and graphic novels] or clothing, and a digital camera, for this space, because I think some pictures might liven things up a little. And some of the things I want are way more important, especially to my sanity, like friends I actually see, relationships that don't exist solely on the internet or in letters [not that I take any of those relationships for granted -- they, like the people I have them with, are brilliant], a social life, maybe a girlfriend or something like a girlfriend again. This is all stuff I feel like I've sacrificed, to do what I've done, to still be here. I was more okay with it a year ago. I'm less okay with it now.

More than any of that, and I know most people who know me won't believe this, but there's also a part of me that's felt this need lately to just... get involved, and maybe take on some public service. Like, if I need to get a job, if I need to do something with my life, that I should actually do something, something charitable, something helpful. Like teaching, or social work, or just... anything, where I can actual give back, where I could help someone, or at least try. To make my life feel like it was worth something. To make it feel like I've done something. And I'm looking into that, and trying to find something in that vein.

There are other things I want from life too. I'd like to go back to school, eventually, though not today, both because I don't think I have the money, and because I worry I'm not ready yet, that I don't have the focus, that the slacker sensibility that just let me... slide by mostly on being clever in high school and a lot of college isn't out of my system enough to really get from that what I'd want. And if I did go, I can't help but think I'd want to wind up someplace prestigious, which might be a bit of pipe dream, but... after Bennington, I just can't think about taking a step backwards, academically. And I'd like to travel, and I'd like to not do that traveling alone, if at all possible, and I'd like so many other things which just don't seem possible now. And some therapy. I'm starting to think a little of that would be good for me.

Staying here though, I know none of that will happen. Money, and insurance, and such.

I don't know what any of this means for me, either. I doubt this entry is some first step, and it's certainly not a grand gesture to show everyone I'm sorting my life out. This year has been awful, and I've fucked up getting a new job and moving away so many times even before things turned into one giant shit storm. So I don't know. I just feel like some things need to be done differently.

Which brings me to another point, one that's probably been apparent from my posts lately; I haven't really written anything of note in the past month. It's not writer's block, not really, because the ideas have been there, but the motivation hasn't. I've been down. I haven't seen the point. And I'm worried again, like I was after Dad died, that if I can't write when I'm at my worst, do I really have any business writing at all? If this is what I want to do, if "a writer" is really what I am, shouldn't I be able to just man up, and work anyway? Or is that unrealistic? [Feels like I'm wrong just for wanting to give myself that sort of pass...]

I don't know what any of this means for the blog. I'm not stopping now, at any rate, though I do feel like all these things threaten this part of my life somehow. I'm still working that out in my head, though.

But this space is clearly still useful to me. And that's something to consider.

I don't know. All of these possibilities sound fine laid out like this, but actually making any of it happen seems so foreign and unlikely, and makes me feel bad that these things which come so naturally to my peers are such a struggle for me. I don't know what's next, and even the baby steps towards them take up a lot of time and energy that usually goes towards the creative side of things. And that does affect the Mojo Wire.

Anyway. Brain dump. Here's to starting over.

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Christmas, '09.

• Thursday, December 3, 2009 2 comments
Something oddly familiar about typing this.

Why? Well, right now I'm sitting at my grandmother's computer, as we recently switched to Suddenlink for our internet/phone/cable/plumbing, and I let it slip my mind to pick up a wireless router for our new cable modem. It's sort of...ridiculous how completely that can cripple my online activity, but the choppy crawl that this five-year-old PC calls performance makes it near impossible to run more than one program at a time. I actually had to reinstall Firefox just to keep the computer from freezing when someone talks to me on Facebook chat, or when Blogger auto-saves something, with background amenities like AIM of Google Talk absolutely out of the question. Hell, there's not even a working media player on this machine. Anyway, it's very similar to the situation I was in last December, where I was pretty much living off someone else's computer.

Not that any of this is the end of the world. We'll just file it under "pleasant reminders of how privileged I usually am," and move onward. It's not like I haven't been busy.

Lot of moving around going on. What I didn't mention last time was that even with all the comic books I'd moved into my room, there were several Rubbermaid tubs still full that needed transferring to long boxes I didn't have. BCW Supplies came through like no body's business, though, and when I woke up this morning UPS had dropped off my new boxes. Getting the books out of those rubber containers and into long boxes took a little longer than I expected, mostly because the new cable package has a couple of movie channels, and Empire Records had just come on. I'd recently suffered through the extended cut [I'm being unfair, but I just really prefer the original, and the director's edition makes me miss it], and the menial task being accompanied by the good movie made it feel like kismet.

Plus it kept me from stopping to re-read comics, which can easily turn the job into an all day affair.

I also put up the Christmas tree. It felt like time, and I was worried that if I put it off until later in the month, I wouldn't get done. I could really tell my grandma was pretty ambivalent over whether or not we decorated -- which I can understand perfectly, especially considering what a job it is, and how this is going to be the first Christmas since Dad died. I've been trying not to look at it like that [which, I know, I know, usually I'm up for any reason to be miserable], and even though some of the Christmas stuff was in rough shape, I think I did a good job. One of those times I sort of wish I had a digital camera, so I could take a picture, and share it here. Technically, this is the first tree I've ever trimmed wholly on my own, and I think it came out well.

Had plans to clean out the storage room today too, but I just didn't get to it. One of the chores that has been on the list for a little while, but I've been so busy that I keep pushing it back. Not that I'm complaining -- everything that's been getting done is necessary stuff, and I've even knocked out some Christmas shopping, which I'm trying to do this year with the money I had for the Pittsburgh trip that didn't happen. Plus all the regular week-to-week errands have doubled, which I'm sure is because of the Holiday Season.

I guess it doesn't sound like so much when I lay it all out like that. I did a little writing the other day, this thing I've been toying with about peeping toms, and incest, and meth heads, but there's some part of it that just feels a little too low brow, a little too blue, and I don't know if it's a worthwhile use of my time or not. There's something about that kind of subject matter that I feel weird approaching casually -- like if I'm going to write about it, half-assing it isn't an option, anymore than pulling a Chuck Palahniuk and treating it like a sideshow would be. A classy way to be classless? I think that might be what I'm shooting for.

Have to see. Anyone trying to get in touch with me, e-mail or Facebook is the best way. Or a direct message on Twitter.