Monday, May 7, 2012

To Create or Not to Create? Dumb Question

Until this weekend I had been fairly diligent about writing my thousand words a day. Often you didn’t see them because I chose not to post, but the were written. I did write a song this weekend, another one, but certainly not a thousand words. I am quite happy about the lyrics though. And the melody and chord progression, which I stole directly from Ron Pope’s “A Drop in the Ocean”. I’m learning to play a new chord because of it: Bb.

I am not torn up about this lack of writing, however. I enjoyed my weekend, as it turns out, and spent plenty of time being creative. From Thursday night’s open mic night to running a D&D campaign at a BBQ on Friday to sitting down with a friend and doing the same again on Saturday while drinking a whole bottle of wine, I shaped and created songs, characters and stories.

I feel like I need to make some kind of reason or excuse for playing D&D, arguably the most nerdy of nerdy activities. I don’t really like that feeling. I enjoy it, and that should be enough. At the same time, I regularly have people ask what the attraction is. For me, it is a way of exploring character and story with a group of friends. When I join a game as a player, I get to be part of the story that’s presented and help shape the story through my actions. When I run a campaign, I am the one creating the story and reacting to the actions of the player.

Right now I am using the campaign I am running to flesh out the details of a novel I am inactively writing. If you can imagine a world that drops Peter Pan, Narnia, Redwall, steampunk, the French Revolution and post-American Civil War race conflict into a pot and stir them all together, you’re starting to get the right idea. The world is about the size of the United States or Australia, whichever gives you a better image, and consists of 5 tiers, like half a wedding cake. Each tier after the first relates directly to one of the four seasons  due to the sun and moon being attached to clockwork hands at the back of the cake. The tiers are physical representations of social class.

The game takes place in an alternate dimension of the same world. It has the same problems, but the rules of the game allow for more prevalent existence of magic and monsters. Neither of these is particularly prevalent in my novel. Not non-existent, just not running rampant the way it does in D&D. What running the campaign is allowing me to do as an author is gain a better grasp on the world I’m writing, fleshing it out with characters, places and in some cases, events, long before I actually work on my novel. It has been interesting to see how some of the ideas I have have worked out when presented in actual situations where the players encounter and deal with them. To say that talking animals in this world are treated much like African Americans were, à la the company store, etc, is one thing. To have a player decide his character feels the same way toward humankind due to his mistreatment at their hands is another altogether.

It is clear that while I ‘failed’ to write, I did not fail to be creative. I certainly succeeded in broadening my understanding of the world I am creating. For my D&D campaign, at least, there exists a medieval “utopian” society of talking animals on the other side of a shadowy tundra where the sun never shines. The idea of it came unbidden as the party traveled through a subterranean cavern on Friday. And now, even that idea merges with another that hadn’t made sense quite yet. War, though of a more tribal sort, affects even that small part of the world. A small conclave of clockwork beings fight for survival against the aforementioned society. Not so utopian after all. Bwahahaha.

What I find my brief absence from writing truly did for me is whet my motivation to keep it up. While I am content with the turn of events, I find that I miss those words I wrote. For now I am going to continue with the plan I began with. I will to write a thousand words a day in any form or combination thereof. Perhaps as it starts to truly become a habit I will start to focus my efforts toward my creative projects. In the meantime, it is the practice writing that I want. The creation of an addiction that will lead to future glory. Someday, somehow, someone will buy a book I wrote. In the meantime, I admire those of you with the gumption to have already done so.

Two hundred words short. New subject.

I am going to take a new friend out to play around at my parent’s house and have dinner with my dad and me tonight. I should probably warn her that he is going to be there, on second thought. Oh well, I will do that when we are already on the way. For anyone following my adventures in the wide world of dating, no, this isn’t planned as a date. Tia’s new to town and started coming to my dance class a couple weeks ago. I invited her out to karaoke last Tuesday after class, just so she’d have something to do and people to meet. She came to open mic night as well. So far she’s pretty much up for anything, as well as seeming kind and pretty bright. I could use someone to get out and do the things I enjoy with more than a date anyway, so as long as we continue to get along, I think I will leave it at that. She is also taller than me. I may have a slight issue with the quote about women all being the same height where it counts. Turning my head up to kiss someone is weird. So. . . here is to just wanting good company and letting the river of life take its course.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just the Way You Are

Dear Ella,

You are, my dear, everything that is woman. I will never see what you see in the mirror, I cannot. From the way you talk, I do not want to. The woman I see is beautiful, she is real. You can deny me, over and over again when I compliment you, but you can’t deny this one simple fact: I love looking at you.

I promise you this, Ella: I will never, ever, desire any part of you be made of silicon or botox. I realize that I am one of those strange creatures known as men, but know that we as different and peculiar from one to another as you are in all your many forms. This man will proudly stand and declare that he will love you, not in spite of the lines by your eyes, but because he hopes they’re there because of how often you have laughed together. If your breasts are small, I will rejoice and enjoy them as much as I would were they not. I actually like them that way. I will never push you to get plastic surgery and instead will grow irritated if you take the idea seriously. When I touch you, embrace you, I want it to be all you, not your inappropriately titled “enhancements”. I don’t care what size your boobs are; they suit you.

I must let you in on a secret. Sometimes your sexiest moments have absolutely nothing to do with how your hair or make-up look. Whether or not you are “porcelained to perfection,” as I once described it. You look like an angel asleep with your hair spread across the pillow. I am equally excited by how you look in your pyjama pants, in spite of the fact that you might never dream of going out in public in them. I hope you are brave enough to do so, however. I certainly am.

I think it is only fair to warn you. I will want to take you dancing and after one of those incomprehensibly sexy slow cha-chas, I will just want you. Depending on the situation, I may very well not wait to get you into the bedroom, nor remove any of your clothing. Where there is a will, there is a way. I will be ridiculously, childishly disappointed if your undergarments aren’t sexy and will be equally ridiculously pleased if you aren’t wearing any at all. I will do my best not to express my disappointment in the former situation and do my best to express my pleasure thoroughly in the latter.

If you’re a little vain, don’t worry, I won’t be able to hide the fact that I love it. I may tease you a bit, but it will always make me smile. I may never understand your need to wake up at 6:00 in the morning to get ready for work at 8:00, but it is only fair; you are never going to understand how I manage to get up at 7:25 to do the same.

I swear that I will treasure your mind as much as I do your body and your ability to laugh at me for laughing at my own jokes. This is a necessity. I am obsessed with my own cleverness and I will love you as much for loving that particular eccentricity as I will if you cook for me. I will happily cook with or for you in return. I will want to play with you, whether we play tag, hide in seek, ping pong, Frisbee golf, or other, more adult games. I hope to lose hours admiring how much that little black dress flatters all those real parts of you I admire so much while equally entranced by the conversation we’re having over wine. There is no one aspect of you I admire more than other. I want it all.

Ella, if you are one of those many Ella’s I will never meet or come to know better than a hello in passing, know that in essence everything I have said will remain true. I boldly declare myself a man worth having and as representative of such, take what is important from this: there are men out there who are happy to love everything that is real about you. We don’t want a woman with the breasts of a porn star nor the stretched face Dr. Seuss look of botox. We just want you, au naturale. Just you, the way you look tonight.

Sincerely Yours,

P.S. I have included the lyrics I wrote this morning. Of a similar vein.


I’m not someone
with his head in the clouds
just a man determined
to tether romance to gravity

You may think that I’m unreal
but pinch yourself and see
I’m the real thing and you’re not dreaming
Better yet, just kiss me

I won’t come riding in on a white horse
I won’t come riding in, in shining armor
I’m just a man with his hands in his pockets
leaning against a door somewhere
waiting for you to stroll on through

I know sometimes it seems
like you must be Alice and this is Wonderland
like you are dining upside down
in a world that’s topsy-turvy

You may think that I’m unreal
but pinch yourself and see
I’m the real thing and you’re not dreaming
Better yet, just kiss me

You may think that I’m unreal
just kiss me and see
I’m the real thing and you’re not dreaming

You may think that I’m unreal
but kiss me so I can see
you’re the real thing and I’m not dreaming

And a thousand words, goodnight.

Copyright all creative content, 2012, dba m0rg4n blah, blah, blah

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Question of Rejection

A couple of situations I have observed recently have me thinking about what lengths we go through to avoid rejection, and how inconsiderate we become in attempting to “avoid” rejecting someone. I will admit, freely, that at least one of these observations is related to my own life. The other, more complicated one, is a situation a friend of mine is in. Two friends, you might say.

They aren’t really in the situation together, and that is the issue. He thinks he is in love with her and that they are happily ensconced in a relationship. She, last I knew, has no intention of being monogamous. This isn’t to say she is cheating on him. In her mind, they aren’t in an exclusive relationship. It is clear, however, that even if she has sat him down and tried to tell him, he didn’t get the picture.

It is interesting, watching the story unfold. As it often is with me, I have a sense of dramatic irony. I know more about what is going on in the background than all the characters in the story do. I keep the moral quandaries of others to myself and let them dig their own graves, so people tell me things they often don’t share with others.

I am not sure what I think about her choices. They bother me, to a certain degree. She continues to move forward with their level of intimacy in spite of her distaste for the intensity of his. Beyond being somewhat lonely in this town, I am certain that she enjoys the fact that he practically idolizes her. She states that she doesn’t want to lose his friendship and that is where I really start to take issue.

Unless her feelings for him magically transform into something greater, the whole thing is going to come crashing down at some point. He is going to climb higher and higher on the wings of Icarus until they melt under the harsh light of reality. Their friendship was doomed from the moment he fell for her. He told her in a drunken conversation months ago that he didn’t think he could just be her friend.

At this point, what is the path they are traveling but selfishness on her part? She is afraid of losing someone she is almost guaranteed to lose, so she holds on and allows him to mislead himself. Indeed, she allows her actions to continue misleading him as well. I am not really looking forward to the inevitable. Even more so because I listen to our mutual friends talk about their relationship in the same terms he does, and whistle to myself internally.

I find myself wondering about her deeper motivations. What are they? Is there some fear of being alone, of rejecting or being so thoroughly rejected she loses a friendship? Is she too afraid to stab Caesar in the front, as was Brutus? Will Caesar’s last thoughts run through our friend’s mind as he finally sees through the mask and cries out, sadly, “Et tu, Brute?”

In my world, where no one is negligently plotting an assassination of the heart, I find myself frustrated by the simple mechanics of rejection. If only I was the one doing the rejecting. No, I am simply testing the sincerity of someone’s plea for friendship and finding it lacking. Did I expect better? No, not really. Did I hope for better? Well, I am always one for hope.

This brings us to the crux of the matter. Why is it so difficult for us to reject someone outright? We have become a world of silent rejections, which I find worse than an honest one. I put my hand out in friendship with an invitation to a specific event. The woman I am referring to plead work. Understandable. A more general query was ignored.

Why ignore me? Am I not good enough for a no, if not a no, thank you? I assume if she honestly wanted to build a friendship, she would have replied with at least tentative interest. It is difficult for me to accept a silent answer. My opinion of myself is too high to easily take being ignored. If she can’t reject me to my face, fine. But what harm to have the common courtesy to actually reject me. We all want to be acknowledged. Acknowledge me, even if it is with a negative response. Even a rude acknowledgement would be better than no response at all.

It seems to me that the answer is that we, as a society, are as afraid of rejecting people as we are of being rejected. Tragically, in our fear, we do more harm than we might ever do with a direct answer. Cut me with a sharp knife and it will heal cleanly and quickly. Tear my pride with the rusted, jagged metal of silence and the wound becomes infected, it festers, it heals slowly and scars.

Who do we truly save from agony when we try not to hurt someone’s feelings? I think it is a selfish, self-preserving action we take. It is not his or her hurt we fear, but our own guilt at causing harm. The wounds of negligence, however, are easy to ignore. We don’t see them. We have moved forward, moved on, nursing our own aching hearts. We are “innocent” in our ignorance.

I ask you not to, no matter the situation. Don’t offer to be my friend if you aren’t sincere. Reject me out of hand, if you will. Say to me, “Fuck, no.” Say to me, “No, thank you. Sorry.” Let me move on when I catch my breath instead of leaving me with this gaping, seeping sorrow. I know I am good enough for the effort it will take for you to give me that simple negative. I will recover faster, better, stronger if you have the common decency, the common courtesy, the respect to acknowledge that I am an adult capable of hearing, “No.”

Not getting rejected would, of course, be great. But when it happens, don’t fuck people with your silence.

And a thousand words, goodnight.