Writing

At Night... by The Black Lex Luthor

Notoriously difficult is the writing process. Developing ideas for stories though, it can come quite effortlessly. I have about a dozen ideas for short stories and novels that are sitting on my Google Drive just waiting to be interpreted, re-written, analyzed and expounded. Time is not always at hand, though, and I find myself writing at night when I usually have a more creative mindset.

The night fuels my imagination. Probably because of its inherent connection to dreams. To the unknown. To fear. All these factors grant me the possibility of creating something fantastic.  Fascinating and even overwhelming, I find. And when I sit there at the table long enough, the words flood my pages.

Creating anything, comes with sacrifice.  Time, sleep, relationships…something must be relinquished to touch unreality properly.  At night, usually the most I sacrifice is time and sleep. I have no willingness to sacrifice my relationships anymore.  It’s not something I would do, anymore.

Let It Burn (The Price of Freedom) by The Black Lex Luthor

Pain is the price of freedom.

let it burn.png

Spirituality is present when you are ready to pay that price for freeing yourself of your pain. When you are comfortable with the pain, and can allow it to pass through you.  It will hurt.  It will burn you and may even send you reeling. But it is better to allow that pain to come and express itself fully, with you aware that it is there, than to push it away from you and never acknowledge it.

Imagine that your mother is dying, but you don’t know it.  You have no idea. But your sister, with whom you have a horrible relationship, has called to tell you.  Now, you love your mother but you loathe your sister.  So, you see her calling but you decide not to answer because you want to punish her still, for something she did so long ago that you can’t remember.  She keeps calling and leaving messages but you don’t even listen to them. You block her from your phone because she won’t stop. 

A few days pass and finally another family member calls and says that your mother has died.  You are hurt and sad and frustrated that you didn’t know. They tell you that your sister has tried to call you several times but couldn’t reach you. You then feel ashamed that you let your old grudge get in the way of the love you had for your mother.  You’re mad and distraught that she died before you got a chance to say goodbye, just because you were stubborn.

If you would have just allowed your sister that call, you could have embraced all the pain that you would have felt anyway and still had a chance to talk to your mother before she died.  In your avoidance, you caused even more pain to yourself.

We have to allow our pain its due.  We cannot hide from it because it will fester into something even more painful.  It’s like cancer when left untreated, except it doesn’t kill you physically.  It provides a more heinous result: mental and spiritual anguish.  This kind of torture is something that haunts a life and grasps hold of all that is good, ruining relationships and stunting your spiritual growth.

Let it burn now.  In my struggles I was just like this. I pushed things away that hurt me, or even those that I thought would hurt me.  I refused to listen to my friends and family that told me I was wrong.  I even allowed my pain to subvert the health of my relationship, nearly destroying my marriage.  The pain I caused my wife, God help me, was nearly irreparable.  But when I finally started to embrace that pain and see what I had done to her, only then was I able to heal our relationship and myself.  It was so painful hearing that I’d caused her so much pain, that eventually I had to go to therapy.  It was so bad at times I just fought with her about it, refusing to acknowledge her very valid concerns. My need for control was out of control, if you understand what I’m saying. 

I wanted to avoid what I had done. I needed to maintain the picture of someone who did things for valid reasons.  I wanted to justify my bad behavior.  All of it was just a vehicle for hiding from myself, fearing that exposing my true problems would make me a pariah of sorts.  But in my weakness, God makes me strong.  I was made whole by just yielding to that pain.

We are all broken individuals, struggling through life, trying to make it work.  Not one of us is truly special.  We are just people, trying to be loved by people.  People with pain and scars and misdeeds.  Human.  Don’t avoid who you are because you’re afraid of what someone else will think. 

Let that pain burn through you and be cleansed like iron in fire.

The Bird Revelation (Spoiler Alert) by The Black Lex Luthor

Mark 8:36 King James Version (KJV)

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

 

Dave-Chappelle-The-Bird-Revelation-Unprofessional.gif

I hope everyone had a good holiday. It was quite relaxing for me, and I spent a lot of time with the fam at home playing video games, watching movies and just enjoying my wife.

Now, my wife and I like to watch movies together, usually we can agree on some rom-com or mildy violent drama. This particular night, we ended up watching the final two Dave Chappelle specials on Netflix: Equanimity and The Bird Revelation. Initially I thought that both names described one special, but it was actually two different venues, with The Bird Revelation being filmed in secret at The Comedy Store in LA.

Now, Dave is hilarious. Both specials hit home with topics that we grappled with throughout 2017, like Trump, the me-too sexual misconduct allegations and trans-sexuals. Dave is unapologetic, but he does offer his sympathies about how he makes people feel about what he says. Good stuff, you should really check it out when you have time.

That being said, I want to discuss The Bird Revelation for a moment. Dave is very candid here towards the end of the special and paints this somewhat cryptic analogy using the last few bits of the book "Pimp" by Iceberg Slim (I need to read this, but I already got it locked in on my Hoopla app). I say somewhat cryptic because once he lays down the last line of the special, you should know what he meant by the whole thing. You should get the analogy.

So, spoiler alert. If you plan on watching it, come back and read this later.

You good? Ok. So, Dave talks about the term, "mileage on a ho". In street terms, this means how much a hooker can turn tricks before she officially goes crazy. Too much mileage means the ho will end up being useless to herself or anyone else. Anyway, Iceberg Slim is about to let his Bottom Bitch (his best and most profitable ho) go because she's at the end of her mileage. But, he convinces her to turn one last trick. This last trick has her drugging a client and stealing a briefcase of money.

Now, in the midst of it, the deed is done but the client ends up overdosing. The chick calls Iceberg to tell him she needs help. Doesn't know what to do. Iceberg says he'll help her, but lets her know that he has no part in it because she's the one that gave him the drugs. still, he'll help her get out of it. He calls one of his contacts to get the body out. Pays him from the case of money. Pays a doctor, too.

But, after all of that, he tells her that she owes him. That she will need to work off that money he just spent to get her out of trouble. Even knowing she's at the end of her rope, she ends up tricking for him for a few more months.

And he says that's why he went to Africa. Do you get it now? Once he said that I was immediately hit with an "AHA!" I just stared for a second like I'd been hit with the greatest revelation ever. It was just so on point. Basically, Dave said that he realized that Comedy Central was trying to pimp him. He was their "Bottom Bitch". Even though they knew he couldn't do that damn show forever, they tried to game him by throwing a bunch of money at him. But all that would do is make him compromise himself in a way that he was not willing. Not only was it insulting to him, but it shook him to his core in a way that he really needed to get away and think about his life and what he wanted.

Dave is really good at what he does. Really damn good. Probably the greatest comedian ever. But he wasn't going to be pimped. And I get that. What's really sad is that most of these Hollywood types don't even know they're being pimped.  But Hollywood is the greatest hustler there ever was, and most don't know the difference between freedom or chains.

Being good at what you do means calling your own shots and knowing when enough is enough. And Dave knew it was over.

Ask yourself, what do you do in your life that makes you compromise yourself in a way that causes you stress? Do you go on with a job that grates on your soul just so you can get a paycheck? Recently one of my good friends decided he had worked his pointless gig enough and he needed to go back to school. But I knew that he'd had enough way before then. I knew he'd gotten all he could out of that job and it would do nothing for him anymore. It was time to go. I knew that years ago. I just wish he had known. But everyone gets their wake up call when they need it, I suppose.

God's wisdom will guide those that are open to it.

 

Insight from Mr. Robot by The Black Lex Luthor

Started watching Mr. Robot, again. 2nd Season.

Interesting watching Elliot wrestle with this other part of himself, trying to hold it back,
to obstruct the tidal wave of electronic disaster he wishes to unleash upon the world. 

And he realizes it's futile.

How amazingly human that is, to struggle against insurmountable odds. David and Goliath
rewound and replayed with today's pristine standards.

Brutal.

What is to be left, if we choose to give up? Are we just hopeless, hapless Ronin, roaming the
countryside, hoping to be given a purpose again?

Elliot needs purpose, or else his life is just a struggle of pushing a part of himself so far
down that he smothers it. Or, maybe that's just it. That's what life is for some of us.
Starving our madness until we are deemed sane.

Is that human? All human?

His struggle against the inevitable intrigues me. As well as this esoteric portion of inner
turmoil, where we come to these glorious epiphanies about life because of what we endure. 

Because it's fascinating to see the cauldron bubbling from inside. And, most importantly, it's good for my writing.

Mediocrity by The Black Lex Luthor

Maybe we all need to be ok with being mediocre at something.
We all can't be geniuses at everything and anything.

Recently, I came across this guy, whom will remain nameless, that was ecstatic that he'd published his own book. Yeah, I've done it. Twice now. And they are, reasonably average at best and at worst, blaring horns of resounding mediocrity. Testaments to my own self-aggrandizement. 

And also, labors of love.

So, his labor of love, if it was that, was a terrible read.  From the beginning, it was hard to read. It started out with sentence fragments and over-explained situations, taking us stutter-step through the main character's waking moments. 

As much as it was hard to read for me, I can only imagine that someone with better skills would find my best work hard to read for them. I can only guess.

Anyway, as delusional as that guy was, I can't be one to deny my own delusions. I suppose I think I'm a better writer than I actually am, with more potential than the law allows. That I'm good at something, without putting my all into it for more than a decade. I haven't suffered enough to be a good writer. To even say I'm a writer, maybe I'm subconsciously hoping that I'll receive some validation that has weight.

It's possible that the delusions persist as a human condition. Just to help us reach our pinnacle, if there is one. 
 

Scratching Its Way Out by The Black Lex Luthor

I've been working on a few short stories, hunting and pecking in my head, piecing them out inch by inch. It's great to see how much I've grown, writing. I've also been doing some Critter critiques on Critters.org.  This has helped the most because I can see just how much other writers struggle with how to express themselves. How to push out a head full of dreams on paper is a daunting errand. Some won't make it to the finish, but I intend to overcome all obstacles.

I think that immersing myself in my loves and joys has given me so much hope! My wonderful wife, lovely and sometimes frustrating children and various horror and sci-fi stories that I'm reading lend so much to my progress. I'm glad of that, for sure, as the days are dreary without them.

These short stories may be nothing. So what. Who cares if they don't hit the mark of commercial success? All I know is that I have to write them. That's all that I feel, the need to create, scratching its way out of my mind.

Writing again by The Black Lex Luthor

I shudder to think of a life much less than I have or could, noting the great difficulty with which I gathered myself to this place. I'm horrible at finishing things that require great focus, or at least I was, and I feel as if my body can't hold it all together. It's as if I'm that old bear you had as a kid, tattered and dirty thing, tufts of cotton pouring out at torn seams, dreadfully misused but immensely loved. Ugh. Everything hurts.

Let me just say I have not yet withered into a heap. I'm not that pile of leaves in the back yard waiting to be bagged up and tossed with the yard waste. I'm still standing! I'm still strong. I believe in me and I'm working towards something better. Something epic. I need to create my legend. NEED. It will take so much work, but I'm no longer afraid.

I've been listening to different podcasts that are exemplary and basically have deified the genre for me, that I am singularly sold on the idea of writing. Podcasts like Psuedopod, Starship Sofa, Lightspeed, Nightmare Magazine and No Sleep are my mainstays. They've basically jump started my fascination with fiction once again. The hooks are in so good they've drawn blood. I'm excited.

I'm excited that I'm passionate about these stories in my head. I've also joined Critters.org in order to get some much needed feedback and critique on these burgeoning ideas. 

We'll see what the future holds. But if there's anything I've learned in the last few weeks, the future is mine to shape. It's all up to me. If I fail in this, it's my fault. Yet, who's to say that could be considered failure?

 

The Witching Hours by The Black Lex Luthor

"There is one simple thing wrong with you. You think you have plenty of time." - Don Juan Matus

There are witching hours each day. The hours, speculated between 12am and 2am, that supernatural activity is most prevalent. Pagan mysticism. These hours are also said to be prohibited for any Catholic worship. But I ask you, do you put limits on your worship? Are there limits to the work that you will do, especially when it needs to be done?

Hours that ask questions and we delay the answer. We delay because we fear work. We fear the hard answers. We are the bird that cannot learn to fly, for it has never left the cage.

BUT THE CAGE WAS NEVER LOCKED!

Just try the fucking door and you will be able to walk free. Is this too much for the average person? Must be, because there are only a few that can escape the illusion of lack that blinds the world. Charles Bukowski was a staunch proponent of work, because he understood that hard work sets apart the powerful and the mundane. Michael Jordan. Salvador Dali. I could name hundreds.

Man doesn't truly want freedom. True freedom, means WAR. A war within the self that means challenge and frustration. It could mean uprooting everything that you thought. All that you believe. Sleepless nights. Poverty. Disdain.

We cannot be boxed in when work must be done. So the witching hours will see work as well, and you will defy the tenets of restraint and age old codes of performance. You will be free.