three week gap

Nearly a month ago I was talking about Star Wars and how that universe shaped and influenced me. Another major influence, I realized over the past week is the Aliens series. Honestly, if I wanted to spend all my time explaining and elaborating on what influenced me, I doubt I’d ever stop with that topic. There’s always another to mention. The truth of that comes down to something that my partner pointed out to me today. In one way or another, everything that I’ve watched has played a minor role in affecting how I work through the writing of this epic. I have a good foundation for things because of it, though I need to learn how to allow the current projects remain as they are and move forward with other projects at a later date. A prime example would be Star Wars setting aside I, II, and III, opting to begin with IV. If IV is what was ready, then IV is what needs doing. 

I started reading Jung, who I’ve never dove into. The benefits of reading his work are almost immediate, and I’m really glad that Jordan Peterson has so heavily discussed him. I have difficulty with execution, but I’ve already begun a little bit. On that note, I’m going back to the actual writing again. This was just a quick little aside I needed to make in order to be sure I updated and stayed on task. I’m a little upset that I didn’t do so over that past month, so I had to actually do so now. 

This is for me, because I need to keep on task. 

Universes; A Rant

I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a kid. My first jump into the Universe Lucas built came when my mother had a work event that was allowing for the children of her employer to go see Star Wars A New Hope in a private screening, and receiving a few small toy star ships. I can’t say for certain how many people attended, but I can say this for certain; I don’t even remember my mother at the event. I vaguely remember her being there when we were leaving, but the entire evening for me was just Star Wars, and those little metal mounted ships that were small even in my child hands. I’d imagine they were no bigger than those small “Hot Wheels” cars. I had gotten a Y-Wing, A-Wing (or as it’s come to be known, a Jedi Starfighter), the B-Wing which I couldn’t figure out how it flew best, but the X-Wing is what did it for me. That ship, in all it’s glory, took down the Death Star and ensured that the rebels lived to fight another day. That wasn’t just any ship, that was Luke Skywalker’s ship! My childhood self can’t contain the nostalgia I still feel to this day when I see an X-Wing spread into attacking formation and the four wings fully extend.

Those moments in childhood would only be cemented as I got older, flying my own A-Wing in “Shadows of the Empire” on my cousin’s N64, and much later flying an X-Wing (AT LAST!) in “Rogue Squadron”. Sure, Han Solo was a badass, but the real badass for me was Luke. He trained, learned, and could only get stronger. Han just had a blaster, and Leia… Eh. I wanted to have a lightsaber that actually worked, and didn’t just bend when I would hit something. I wanted to be a space knight Jedi, to save people and need no one. I wanted to stand apart and be a part of the secret Jedi order, knowers of all secrets, masters of the unseen Force that drove everything.

I’m almost 31 now, playing Jedi: Fallen Order on PS4. That same sort of majesty when uncovering new species and finding new Force powers hasn’t left me. It still amazes me how easily all the new information fits into the Universe I’ve fantasized in since I was a kid. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what I see in the Star Wars universe. The versatility of the stories that can be told within their framework is incredible. In the past five years alone we’ve seen a new trilogy, A bounty hunter origin story (Solo), a war movie (Rogue One), and a Western (The Mandolorian), all told within the exact same universe at different points in time. The magic of that universe isn’t that these things all happen, but that we’re always ready for more and more and more of it all. At no point have I seen something taking place in the Star Wars universe and thought to myself… “okay, I’m good”. There’s so much that can occur within the rules this universe has developed that it all makes perfect sense when you start watching.

This isn’t unlike the Marvel, DC, or even Stephen King universe’s. I think of all of these however, the one that really amazes me is King’s. The reason for this, is King doesn’t even stick to the same settings while he weaves the tale. We have the Vampires of Salem’s Lot, Pennywise the Clown, John Coffey, Danny Torrance, Bill Hodges, and so many countless others tied together at their center by the Dark Tower. It’s an ingenious mechanic that allows King to play a universe filled with whatever he might desire and still remain canonically relevant if he should choose to lob us an Easter egg here and there (it never ceases to make me smile when he does). The fun thing about this common universe motif, is that it reminds you of the truest truth of human life; everything is happening to everyone at the same time. Despite our inability to understand how everything is interwoven, this doesn’t stop everything from being connected, no matter how unrelated the events are. This “Butterfly Effect” without direct cause and effect is one of my favorite parts of reading King’s work, reading Comics, or watching/playing Star Wars. The over-arching idea that there is always something else happening at the same time, and we have the privilege to experience THIS moment. That’s something truly beautiful.

The reason I love this so much, is I would love to capture that sentiment. I will write more over the next few days in regards to what and how I believe that is best conducted, but for the time being, I wanted to at least hash out a small rant on what makes the idea so important to me, and what inspired it for me. This is why I can’t simply write a single story, but instead must build a full universe. The process is much longer, but it convinces me of the truth in it. If the stories I write aren’t true fictions, they aren’t really worth my time writing, or your time in reading.

This is for you Mama. Thanks for always letting me run wild in those majestic worlds, and enjoying them with me so I never felt alone back on Earth.

Beneficial shame

It’s difficult to take credit for the messes we’ve made. The histories of other countries could tell you what atrocities 50 stars have caused. Not only is there the slavery on our soil, there’s the wars we’ve started for the sake of money, oil, political control; at the end of the day the word PROFIT is all that seems to matter. We’d like to believe some grand idea is behind this all that we can’t comprehend. Truth be told, it’s the same sort of god-thinking that made us mark ourselves “a Christian nation”. Truth be told, there’s very little that’s Christian about us, unless we’re discussing an Old Testament premise of the model Christian. We allow sex scandals to dominate our newsfeeds because we enjoy the villainy. We feel better when someone else is worse off than we are; instead of trying to help the victims we find a way to make them the culprit. Instead of learning how to check our neighbors have as much as we do, we look in their bowls and curse them for having more than or even just a different kind of grain than us. We look and we curse them because we feel that extra grain should’ve been ours. Why? What makes us believe we deserve more? Why not deserve less? Why not check to see if they have less and share our own? What pulls our sails toward greed instead of generosity?

I used to think that Capitalism causes it, but I no longer think that to be the case. Other countries rely on the capitalist system and they aren’t quite as egotistical and self-promoting. The narcissism is our inside joke that we share and feel embarrassed when faced with the truth. “What is there to be narcissistic about?” A species that hasn’t evolved it’s self in a few millennia. Taller, sure, but more adaptable? Hardly. Most of us aren’t “tech people”. Here we are 2,000 some odd years past the birth of “the savior” and we’re finally learning that skin color doesn’t dictate behavior. The shape of our heads and eyes don’t necessitate a personality, just a genetic origin. This was a major breakthrough for the human population, though it’s relatively common sense. Considering we will someday be scattered out into the stars (if we aren’t already, unbeknownst to us) it might be good of us to start letting differences be a source of happiness and not resentment. I appreciate that we’re trying, it just seems so trivial that anyone could still be clinging to an identity like nationalism or racism in 2020.

What I think irks me most about it is the willing ignorance to turn away from anything suggesting there’s no difference grand enough to make us less or more human. Despite the atrocities of any hateful human being, I do not fool myself into the belief that they are NOT human. They might be less intelligent, less aware of their fellow man, but not less HUMAN. Less humane, I’ll give you that. For me, this is the difference that really seems to divide us most. We think we’re incapable of being reduced to these deeds. We think we cant be swayed to hate others in such a repulsive way. We would be wrong to think this. I can recall a time when i was less intelligent with my anger. That time saw me hating many people without reason or just cause. If you were to dig back into my childhood and search, you could find people who might have thought me racist. I was bullied, and with that bullying came the confusion that a certain type of person was the reason i was bullied. For a time, i believed that only certain kinds of people bullied. Over time, I learned that it doesn’t take a specific ethnicity to insult, demean, degrade, and disgrace. It just takes differences, and the willingness to be threatened by them. That was a strong lesson for me as i grew older, and to this day I am happy to discuss it with anyone who asks because it was important.

Being wrong is important.

If you are wrong and learn to see that, you can grow from it, and doing so makes you evolve. You become a stronger person, a stronger human. When i finally realized that I had only perpetuated the cycle i was caught in, I stopped being so angry. I didn’t learn this in therapy, I learned it in literature. I can’t give you a precise quote, though i know this realization struck me while reading Albert Camus. While i can’t say i agree with everything Camus said or did, there are large portions of his philosophy that drive me to glee and shouts, simply because he gives reason and understanding to what i felt so long and couldn’t name.

This being said, let me come back to my original idea; It is difficult to take credit for the messes we make. The simple idea is an unmade bed; we must admit it is unmade in order to move forward and make it anew. This simple concept branches to all of life’s dilemmas. We cannot fix what we do not believe to be broken. With that in mind, i urge you all to review what is wrong in your life. Even that which you do not believe is your fault, and detach, align yourselves with “the vast indifference of the universe”, as Camus puts it in The Stranger. Find the things you are doing which bring you back into the cycle, and how you can alter them. I can say for certain, that as a country, we here in the USA have a tendency to blame the other half of the political sphere, and instead should take a gander at what our slant is. What have we done to participate, to perpetuate? It becomes a fun exercise in shame, and progress.

This is for you Gareth. I love you and miss you.

Checking in

This is the first post of 2020. Hopefully that means something important, and I’ll actually get around to doing things in the right way this year. I’ve been working on my story for roughly ten years now, and it’s finally carved off enough of the original marble slate so that there’s some semblance of a statue underneath it all.

That doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near done, I’ve just removed enough of what it isn’t so that I know now what it really is. Most people have a snippet or two, some people have a secret but don’t know where it is along the timeline (or even who is involved), and one person other than myself has an inclination as to what is happening but if my ability to speak without communicating has done me any good, she’ll also be surprised in the end. It’s my hope that I can write about writing the story without telling the story itself. That would be reserved for actually reading the completed work. I hope that in recording the process I’ll be able to convey the difficulty in world-building (universe-building? literally?) without ruining the story itself.

That’s all for now. More to come. I promise.

 

This is for you, Fubba. I love and miss you.

Dear Moms and Dads, I Am an Atheist

More talks on religion with myself and the late Christipher Hitchens lead me to a conclusion. I have to apologize to my parents, because if their God is the one true God, I am certainly going to their version of Hell. That’s not something I can console them for, or even help them to reconcile with me. I don’t know that they believe in my being a good person to absolve me of my sins, or if the priest must first forgive me of my minor transgressions against mankind in order to be saved. That’s just an odd thought though, isn’t it?

Imagine reaching some giant gates where a saint in emanating robes tells you “look, you didn’t do a bad job. Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d let you in and let you join everyone. The fact of the matter is, you didn’t sing about God or tell people how amazing he is, so we’re going to have to torture your soul for all eternity in the depths of hell. You should’ve learned to be grateful to the almighty and given praise where praise is due”

I would hope it’s easier for my parents to reconcile that idea rather than condemn me as “dark-sided”, but it’s just the way they had been raised. I’m not certain that it’s fair to condemn people when the texts themselves all state in one way or another that only God has the power to judge us, worse still that there is no greater conceivable God than the God they follow… Yet, I’d like to offer you an example. What about a God that doesn’t want to be worshipped endlessly for what it has done, and instead looks to us as a hero does to the people they saved?

I’ve never heard of Superman or Spider-man zooming in to save the day and then stating “Now, you’d all better sing and offer up symbols of how grateful you are, otherwise I’m coming back and I’ll make sure you pay for it with your eternal soul.” Can you imagine what sort of God it must take to be so conceited or insecure that it needs to receive such constant praise for actions it committed ages ago? I’m only 30, and if anyone were to praise me for the kindness I’d served them last year alone, I’d be worried for their health. Imagine a God that wants constant recognition for the fact that it created everything at the beginning of time? Doesn’t sound like too good of an individual. This is why I don’t consider myself a part of these religions. They aren’t healthy for the individuals, and it doesn’t exactly bring comfort or joy to those involved. It’s a nice way of falling back when all is lost and saying “it will all work out somehow”.

I’d like to propose an alternative; instead of letting God be the reason you say “it will all work out somehow”, just let it all work out somehow. It always has before, better or worse. Whenever things went south and the worst came to light in the past, you kept moving forward. Why should the future be any different in that regard? Granted, you might Die. That would in fact be worse than anything that’s happened before, because that means you’re done and the story isn’t being written anymore.

I used to scare Joel back in Brooklyn when we’d smoke and talk about existence; “your window is open right now, but someday it closes. Someday that window closes and—” he’d yell at me and tell me to just enjoy myself. I was enjoying myself, and it just wasn’t the same way he always would. Sometimes the truth is terrifying, so we’d rather keep going with the lies. I like to think that I’ve done pretty well with the truth so far and can’t foresee a time when I’ll prefer lies to it. So moms, dads, and everyone else, I want you all to know now and forever, that I’m an atheist.

I don’t believe in a God, or some magical being that did it all for us. I think we’re hurtling forth through the void of all existence towards more existence, and there is no warmth waiting for us when we die. I think the tragic loss of losing loved ones is more tragic than we’ll ever be able to comprehend, definitely more so than your religions let you believe because they’ve told you that someday you’ll see them again. You’ve told yourself too. That’s too big a lie for me. I spent years distraught over my dead brother who I’ll never get to know. You were all so worried about me, but you all gave me the same lies that other people gave you, so i couldn’t trust your answers. I like the truth that you can’t stand better, because at the end of the day while it breaks my heart again and again, I’d rather have my heart broken and know that it’s mine for the 100 years I get here. I am the only Me, and I might have you to thank for that, and the pantheon (the inconceivably long list of chance happenings!) of choices that all my, your, and their, ancestors made all the way back throughout time and space, that allowed me to exist. THAT is so much greater than the cookie cutter response of “thank god”.

I believe the future is always better than the past in some small, inconceivably better way. If all the human race ends, it is because that serves all of existence better for having sacrificed humanity. ”So it goes”. We cannot let ourselves just be for our own sake, we have to live for each other. I can’t and never could live for a “God”. I love you guys, and I’m sorry if you think this is a sad moment. I’ll gladly tell you why it isn’t in another post if you want to know.

Moving to Wisconsin/Parents/Honesty

Turns out that if you leave me to my own devices and don’t giv me a deadline the only thing that ends up happening is I drink and watch TV with the love of my life. Happiness has a problem, folks. It breeds complacency. I have to start actually looking for the things that piss me off now that life has been upgraded. Despite all the new stressors that renting a home comes with, I do firmly believe that they are all worth the struggle and by far better than the struggles of living at home with parents. While it took me quite a long while to reach this point, I do not feel I should’ve done things differently. Here at 30, I was able to undertake all the alternatives and understand what a life of parental dependency might look like, which provides the joys of this alternative: living on your own with someone you chose far outweighs the difficulties of living with the people you couldn’t choose.

I want to draw the distinction between loving my parents and not wanting them as room-mates. My parents have always held me close and kept me as their own. The difficulty with this is I couldn’t establish myself as someone who deserves a voice (let alone actually deserving a voice) in matters of the household. No one should be able to dictate what their parents do in their own household, and I can state from experience that things grow worse if you try to. Being given parental control on your parents is a terrible scenario to be in, because you will start to resent them for their shortcomings, instead of accepting them for who they are. It’s a very shitty feeling, and I don’t wish it on anyone, but I’m certain that anyone who has parents that have lived to an older age can speak to it. It becomes a very frustrating situation when you start to understand people’s behaviors better than they do. This isn’t to say my parents aren’t good people, because on their own and without my impositions, they really are. They’re fascinating individuals that give their children everything they can, and that’s all anyone can ask. There is some tragedy to that, and i’ll cover that in a bit.

It took leaving NY to understand that everyone would be okay once i stepped away and let them all get on with their lives. This is an issue i’ve always had; control is my natural setting, and Kailey might be the only person on Earth that i fully love enough to get things done. That’s a harsh statement for the people i love to read, but it’s the truth. I don’t accept my parents flaws because I’ve seen them as Gods in my childhood, thinking they’e capable of so much more than they do now. I have a perceptive flaw that leads me to believe they can do so much more, but i forget that the things they did when i was a kid were just as much happy accidents and seat-of-their-pants decision making as I do today. They didn’t let me see movies above my age-range because they were cool, they did it because they didn’t know I shouldn’t be watching any of them. They didn’t tell me what they felt about each other because they thought i should understand their internal conflicts, they did it because they were pissed and had no one to vent to. That’s a really important distinction; it made them less human in my eyes to think that they could and should share their thoughts with their loved ones. The problem there arises in how I came to understand honesty. People usually lie. People don’t often think their feelings over and give exact reasons for what they’re feeling. This means when I tell my parents how i’m feeling, they expect it’s something i’m saying to butter them up or make them feel good; It’s not. They really are amazing individuals who did their best, and I know that. The shitty thing is, that also means they have to accept that however I turned out is their “best” effort. That’s not an easy pill to swallow. I know this because i’ve undergone it to some degree, and can’t imagine what the full effect must be. 

Few things hurt worse than giving it your best and still falling short of your goals. The caveat is, if you never did it at all, you’d carry that regret your entire life through. Worse still is knowing that you can’t face the part of you that makes you do it, and knowing you’ll have that come up again and again. It is a widely used idea of hell; repeating your worst mistakes over and over without any power to correct them. 

I say this because I’m certain that moving to Wisconsin was the right choice. It wasn’t some idea I tossed around. My partner joked that I might have cold feet in the moments leading up to our moving in together. She joked because she knew there was no chance in all reality that I would. I can say for certain that I made the right move because no part of me doubted moving in with her, and it’s one of the only things i’ve ever done in my life that i can say that about. That’s what heaven really is, by the way. It’s committing acts so pure and free that no harm comes from it whatsoever. These are very rare things, I might add. In all our joys and sorrows, we should strive to commit truly harmless acts and avoid repetitious harms. Couldn’t help but plug some moral philosophy, but you’ll come to know that’s just how I work. 

To anyone reading, thanks for taking the time. I’m going to try to be more consistent with this, but for the time being I can’t guarantee my next post date. Erratic posting will be a thing for at least the next month or so, until a solid schedule becomes routine. I appreciate any and all support, and home you’re all well. Frustrations and honest attacks are welcomed.