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Writer's Block: Boldly going

Which fictional world would you choose to visit, and why?
I own a book titled The Dictionary of Imaginary Places which delves deep into over 1,200 imaginary worlds.  The walls of my bedroom are decorated with maps of fictional places.  This is an extremely difficult question for me to answer.  I want to visit them all!  Isn't this why we read, write, daydream, watch movies, and so forth, to visit all of these fantastic places and spend time among their heroic, mundane and even villainous denizens?

My first travel destination to come to mind was Oz.  Not the silly film version, but the far more expansive realm detailed in Baum's novels.  Then, however, I thought, "What about Wonderland?  What about Neverland?  What about Sunnydale, Dharma Island, Middle-earth, Azeroth, Metropolis and Gotham City?  Hell, why stop at one world if I could explore the entire Star Trek universe?"  See what I mean?  This is not an easy question with no single, simple solution.  I want a lifetime reality passport to come and go from all of these places for as long and as frequently as I please.

This, however, does not answer the "Writer's Block" question.  It's too broad of a response which requires far more than just this quick entry to justify.  For the sake of brevity and sanity, I will choose the fictional world about which I'm currently reading:  The world of David Levithan.  My first exposure to Mr. Levithan's writing was his Lambda Literary-winning debut novel, Boy Meets Boy, which I read while working in the children & young adults department of Barnes & Noble three years ago.  The story takes place in a small, gay-friendly town in modern day California.  At first, however, I found the plausibility of this setting difficult to accept.  How could any small American town be this fully accepting of its gay citizens.  Even at the high school level, the students are unfazed by the sexuality of their peers.  This isn't to say the book is free of conflict.  It's certainly not boring.  I just had difficulty wrapping my head around the absence of conflict in what is currently one of the most prominent civil rights movements.

This disconnect from reality did not prevent me from finishing the book, and I'm glad for it.  The story was excellent.  As I continued reading, my brain moved past the seeming implausibility and embraced the hope that a world like this could exist.  I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to live in this marvelous community.  Not only did I want to continue witnessing the lives of these characters, but I wanted to cultivate my own life, my own existence among them.

While not all of Mr. Levithan's novels may occur in this same reality, they do all contain similar themes.  I find each and every one of them a joy to read.  When I first picked up The Realm of Possibility, I quite literally would not put it down.  This book, similar to Spoon River Anthology, opens with a poem "written by" Daniel about falling in love with Jed and then ends with Jed's poetic perspective.  Along the way the reader encounters poetry by all of their friends and classmates at the same high school, each one somehow connected to another.  It was beautiful to briefly see through the eyes of each of these fictional characters, each with his or her own unique voice.  While Daniel and Jed's romance certainly hooked me, it was the story of Clara Barger that was the stand out highlight of the anthology.

As a bookseller, one tries to find something in the world, especially in pop culture with which to connect a book.  This makes it far easier to connect a customer to a potential read.  When I discovered a film version of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist starring Michael Cera was being produced, I talked the book up like crazy.  I special ordered multiple copies of the book for the store and put it in the hands of every teenager who walked into my section.  I loved it.  The movie was fun, but the novel which did not have to edit itself for the pleasure of the Classification & Rating Association as the film did, was outrageously more entertaining as was David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's follow-up novel Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (which, for the record, is definitely set in the same reality as Nick & Norah).

Currently I'm reading Mr. Levithan's most recent novel co-authored by John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  While the Wills Grayson are certainly the title characters, it's the very large and very gay Tiny Cooper who takes center stage, and there's nowhere else the character would rather be.  During the final leg of a birthday/anniversary road trip through Tennessee, I read a few chapters of Will Grayson, Will Grayson out loud to my boyfriend to keep him entertained.  The sight of our beloved Chicago skyline coming into view as I read about the characters own fateful night in the Windy City was truly magical.  Timing is everything.  He was so taken with the characters and their relationships he bought the book for himself and is also reading it.

Considering everything the United States is going through with DADT and Prop 8 and other inevitably obsolete nonsense, how could I not want to visit the world(s) of David Levithan where high schools produce openly gay musicals, drag queens work as intimidating club bouncers, traveling brothers find common ground, the US has elected its first openly gay not to mention Jewish president, and the ghosts of Valentines past, present and future teach us the true meaning of love.  -Jt

Writer's Block: Do you remember?

What is your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is from infancy. I am unsure of my exact age, but it was definitely before I could walk on my own. My mother was carrying me in her arms as she strolled through a park with a nearly empty playground. She stopped near a domed-shape jungle gym with small indentations where the bars joined. Some of these pockets were filled with the dirty white sand from the ground below. As my mother conversed with another woman, I reached out to touch the sand. The grittiness against my chubby bare fingers was fascinating. I picked up a tiny handful of sand and brought it toward my face to examine it closer. Unfortunately this is where the all too brief memory ends. I can only assume I attempted to taste this new substance as babies are prone to do.

I cannot recall any further memories prior to my third birthday. This day, however, shines like a beacon. I was with my maternal grandparents in their living room. They are sitting, watching me and smiling. I'm sitting on the olive green carpet playing with a new toy, some soon to be forgotten gift when there is a knock on the front door. In steps my father with his mustache and shaggy 70's hair. His eyes look tired, but his grin is stretched from ear to ear. He has returned from the hospital where my mother has given birth to my new baby brother. Happy birthday to me. -Jt

The Callouses on Your Hands

Author's Note #1:  This entry was first published as a praxis on SF0 in response to the task:  Think of a physical mark on yourself that has a story behind it. Tell the story.  -OR-  Think of a physical mark on yourself, and invent a story story behind it. Tell the story.  Please, don't tell us which of these options you select.

Author's Note #2 (as stated on first publication): Following is the story of how, nearly a year ago, I acquired the star-shaped scar on the center of my forehead. This praxis is slightly expounded from the original as related to my six year old niece.

I enjoy night walking. No, I do not turn to ash or sparkle in sunlight. The sun and I, however, are not always on the best of terms. Luckily I live in a beautiful city that takes on a magic all its own at dark (See Night Photography).

After spending the day and evening with friends celebrating my birthday, I found myself still very much awake. I decided to embark on one of my late night strolls. These treks rarely follow the same path, and this particular walk found me exploring a nearby park. I breathed deep the brisk, yet comfortable September air crackling with the final bursts of life before the long winter sleep. The waning half moon hung sharply in the bright urban sky easily illuminating the turning leaves around me. Carried aloft by my farcically optimistic hyperbole, I nearly missed the dark figure slumped against one of the nearby tree trunks, until I heard a deep grunt.

I stopped to observe the shady mass, waiting for it to move or produce any further sound. I did not have to wait long. The figure shifted, a movement of what might have been a bent limb. I cautiously stepped off the paved path to possibly perceive more detail. Nothing. Creeping a few steps further, I suddenly heard an all too human grumbling.

Concerned, I gently called out, "Excuse me. Are you all right?"

Silence, but I could see the right limb moving as if digging at the roots of the tree.

Stepping closer and raising my voice slightly, I asked again, "Is everything all right over there?"

Startled, the figure hopped to its feet and spun towards me. The person was wearing a dark hooded robe which hid all but a large, prominent nose, thin lips and a weak, clean-shaven jaw. Grasped tightly in pale-skinned hands was an opaque sphere which briefly appeared to glow as it reflected the moonshine.

"What? WHAT?! How dare you interrupt my ritual. Were you spying on me?"

"No," I stammered. "I'm sorry. I only wanted to..."

"'Sorry' you will be!" he interrupted. "Marvolo Schmendrick does not suffer spies. You think yourself clever sneaking through night-shrouded trees like some kind of thief? Is that what you are, thief? Think you can steal my prec... oh, I see. Clever, clever. Let's see how well you sneak on beastly hooves of ghostly white!"

"No, you don't..." I started, but it was too late. The robed man flicked his wrist towards me, and with a brief flash of light, the world went dark.

I slowly emerged from the darkness as if rising from the bottom of the lake. A slowness to my movements as my body adjusted to an unfamiliar heft. My eyes blearily adjusted to the light of the moon and nearby streetlamps. I situated my forelimbs beneath my trunk and pressed against the cold ground until I could also get my back legs beneath me and raise myself up on to all fours. To clear the fog from my brain, I gave a great shake of my head, feeling my hair brush against the side of my face and hearing myself snort the chill from my nostrils.

I glanced around quickly for the robed man, but he was nowhere in sight. Relaxing, I started collecting myself. I tried to press my body into an upright position, but I could not. The weight was just too much. I strained again against the ground, but I could not seem to gain leverage. Frustrated, I gripped the earth to release some tension but failed to grip anything at all. I could not feel my thumbs. I looked down, but where my hands should have been, were hooves! Then my eyes began to cross as I realized what should have been the bridge of my nose was instead a long muzzle coated with silken white hair. I cried out in alarm, but instead of a human voice, a whinny reached my ears.

I was a horse. That crazy freak turned me into a horse!

In a panic, I trotted to a small copse of trees to hide from human eyes while I puzzled out what had happened and what I could do to remedy the situation. In my movement, I noticed a gleam of light above my head. I glanced up and saw the night sky but no distinct source of luminance directly above me. Continuing forward, I was once again distracted by a gleam directly above my eyes, but as before, when I looked up there was nothing of note. This time, however, as I lowered my head the gleam flashed a third time. I spun my head to the right, certain that the light source must now be behind me. The view of my snowy, equine body was shocking to say the least, but I still could not locate the gleam. I looked to the left to find more of the same. Annoyed, I again moved toward the copse until the gleam returned. This time I stopped and stood perfectly still. The light remained. Instead of swinging my head around, I slowly rolled my eyes upward. There it was. The light was not above or behind me. It was me, or rather it was reflecting off the long, pointed horn protruding from the center of my forehead. Excellent. As if hiding a white horse in a Chicago city park was not difficult enough, I discover that crazed sorcerer had transformed me into a mythical creature, a figment of imagination, a fantastical beast of ridiculousness and awe, a unicorn.

Son of a…

Come dawn, I found myself on the ground again, but opened my eyes to the welcome sight of my own human hand. I was human once more and fully dressed in the same clothes I was wearing during my evening walk. It must have been a dream. It was all too absurd to be real, and yet, I was definitely in the same park. How did I come to be asleep in the same copse of trees?

I walked home at a quick clip. The temperature had dropped significantly, and my all too human form was beginning to shiver. It was Sunday, and I was able to spend the day at home remembering, pondering, analyzing and imagining what the dream, as I had convinced myself it must have been, had meant.

As dusk approached, I finally gave my brain a rest and settled in at my computer to play my favorite online video game. After several hours of play, I began to notice I was frequently striking the wrong keys. At first I supposed fatigue was beginning to take hold, but when I looked at my hands, I discovered they were transforming. My thumbs were shrinking and shifting up my forearm while my fingers were solidifying into one solid mass. I raced for the bathroom mirror. My nostrils and mouth were stretching as my mouth began to elongate. My eyes were widening and moving further apart to the sides of my head. My mohawk and stubble were blanching as they grew longer. And in the center of my forehead, a dry wound was opening as shiny keratin sprang up from the skull beneath.

Fortunately, it was already past midnight, and my roommates were already snug in bed. I fled the apartment building as quickly as my awkwardly converting legs could carry me. By the time I reached the park, I was once again galloping on four long unicorn legs.

This was no dream. The sorcerer had place a curse upon me. Each night, or rather each early morning well before sunrise, I would transform into a unicorn. As the park was the only place I felt safe and hidden, I would spend these hours wandering through this tiny slice of nature, contemplating reality, magic, and how I could break myself free of this enchantment.

During the day, I would do my best to move about my life as usual. Often my mind would stray, and I would feel both fatigued and restless. Some days I would dread the sunset. Some days I would long for it, for the freedom from human restraint and propriety. Even when I would try to block thoughts of the curse from my mind completely, there was the constant physical reminder, the wound. After the second night, the horn left its mark on my human forehead. The mark would form a large embarrassing scab which I would attempt to hide with adhesive bandages and a scarlet baseball cap. Then at night, the wound would reopen as the horn once more took center stage.

This cycle continued for about a month. On the twenty-ninth evening after my initial encounter with the wicked magician, I found myself once again sitting in the park awaiting the transformation. My only companion was the waning half moon peeking boldly through shear cirrus clouds. I sat. I waited. I waited, and I sat. No transformation came. When the sky brightened with the approaching daybreak, I was still very much human. Apparently this punishment came with an expiration date, and my sentence had been served. Served, but not forgotten. The wound on my forehead scabbed over and eventually healed, but it left behind a star-shaped scar. This is the tale of my memento that magic is neither illusion nor trifle.

All I Can

Fifteen months ago, I lost my most recent romance. Four months later, I lost my job taking with it my income and insurance. Two more months, I lost my last surviving grandparent. Another four months, I lost my health, hope and any desire to reclaim either. It was a rough year the climax of which was a scary time indeed.

It took love, support and a swift kick in the rear from my friends and family, heavy meds from the docs, and plenty of rest and recovery of my own to get me back on my feet. Then I needed to teach those feet to walk again. The physical rehabilitation that followed was surprisingly empowering. I had fallen so far; there was nowhere to go but up. Each new day brought small but noticeable improvements to mobility, strength, appetite, and renewed determination.

This summer has brought an unexpected evolution of self. I feel healthier, happier, more energetic than I have in years. I look in the mirror, and I no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed of the man looking back at me. As the self-loathing hermit melts away, I'm continuously motivated to be active and social. I walk down the street or bike along the lake, and it's the world and me and me and the world, and it's good. It's good continuing the journey. It's good to be alive. -Jt

“Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?” -Henry James

Life Is the Journey

I have got to be the luckiest unlucky man alive. My new roomie, vimandvigor kept the weekend very social and uplifting after a little unexpected personal drama on Saturday afternoon. Although it was MONEYPENNY who swooped in and gathered up the hot mess that was me immediately following the drama. She fed me and took me to get inked. Now I'm sporting a new tat to remind me of words better stated by Ernest Hemingway:

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end."

I just simplified it to "journey" on the back of a turtle shell. Slow and steady and all that. Take time to really enjoy, absorb and appreciate life during this little chunk of it we have. Certainly a fitting sentiment on this U.S. Memorial Day following the recent tragedies in Myanmar and China. These much larger national and global events definitely put my own heartache in perspective, but the support of the two wonderful people mentioned above does not go unappreciated. Much love and thanks. -Jt

Falling With Grace

Life is so achingly short, and it can be so easy to think so little of oneself for most of this time. When we discover something empowering, a lift above the rubble of our own self-imposed mediocrity, how can we do anything less than take hold for dear life? We grip and cling and maul for fear of falling and once more losing ourselves. In the process, however, we begin to erode and destroy this "savior". Then the question becomes not if we can hold on, but if we should. -Jt

"No more yielding than a dream"

Twice now in the past few weeks I've died in my dreams. Two weeks ago while I was visiting my parents in Ohio:

It's the first day of another year of high school, and I'm the new kid in town. During attendance the teacher discovers I'm in the wrong classroom which of course garners snickers from my new peers. She sends me to the vice principal's office to rectify my course schedule. The office area has a small, open waiting lounge with a couch, a couple chairs, table and some potted plants. There are several office doors along two of the walls behind the lounge. In front of the nearest door is a half-walled area with an African-American man with dreads sitting at a small desk. He is currently speaking with a student regarding her schedule. More students are lined up down the hall waiting to speak to him as well. There are a few other students and teachers milling about the lounge area. The man works his way through the line until he gets to the two kids in front of me who seem to have had their schedules switched. Suddenly a loud bang like a car backfiring startles everyone. The door beside the man's desk bursts open and a boy walks out with a gun. He's calm and focused. He fires two shots dropping each of the students who were in front of me in line. He then turns the gun on the guy with dreads who is trying to talk him down. The boy fires causing the man to spin around. He looks me dead in the eye just before he collapses to the floor. By this point panic is in full bloom. Kids and teachers are running and screaming trying to flee the shooter. I turn and dive behind the couch in the middle of the lounge. A few seconds pass with no shots. I push up, lifting my head and shoulders up from the floor just as the gunman walks around to my side of the couch. He studies my face for a moment before firing a shot into my chest. I fall back to the floor. I feel him breeze past me as he starts firing into the crowd of screams. There is chaos until... I wake.

I've been back in Chicago in my own familiar bed for a week now, but this morning:

My father and I are driving through an upper middle class suburban neighborhood that casually wraps its way up a small cliff overlooking a sprawling forest. I'm unclear as to whether my father is simply exploring (as he's prone to do when he's behind the wheel), or if he's showing me this neighborhood for another reason. The houses are large and architecturally unique from each other. Everything is well maintained, and the people we see outside all appear content. There is a wide turn, but my father does not slow down around the curve. A woman walking a sizable dog is crossing the street. She is coming up on our left, but the dog is still on the right side of the street. If we swerve in either direction we will hit one of them, but the van is moving too fast to stop before we hit the leash stretched out in front of us like a finish line. As we plow through the leash, the woman is yanked off her feet, and her body bounces across the van's hood. I'm in shock. I look over to my father who stares forward looking lost. Now I see the street has ended in a cul-de-sac, but my father isn't slowing down. He actually begins to speed up as he jets over the lawns between two of the houses. I think he's panicking. I think he's actually going to hit and run. Then I realize I can't see any more neighborhood in front of us. The ground drops out beneath us as the van flies over the edge of the cliff and into space. I look at my father again. He looks sad but calm. I say, "I love you." He replies, "Yah," without actually looking at me. We've reached the apex of the arc, and I look forward again as the front bumper dips downwards, and we start plummeting towards the ground. The view is amazing. The forest is rich and green as the trees come racing toward us. Branches smack the windshield for a second until... impact. Then, I wake.

Don't really know what any of it means. Not sure if I want to, but I had to get it out of me. -Jt

Holiday Ass Kisses, Part One

Today is a good day. Thus far not one for the history books or more importantly for a LiveJournal entry, but it has been a nice. Now I sit here watching silver droplets slide down my windows against a cloudy sky of bright gray while nibbling slices of eggnog fudge and sipping a cold glass of milk. My mind begins to wander back to the source of this fudge: Goofy's Candy Co. at Downtown Disney in Orlando.

My parents really know how to bring the family together for the holidays. As 2007 came to a close, their Christmas gift to me, my brother, and his wife and kids was a six day vacation to Disney World. It was never a monetarily practical vacation when my brother and I were children, but better late than never!

Holiday Ass Kisses, Part One: The Travel Industry

The actual traveling was not fun for me. Except for a lovely Christmas dinner with the effervescent nihilistic stylings of Ms. MONEYPENNY at Ye Olde Nugget O'Gold, I spent the day doing laundry, cleaning and packing. Ok, that's a total lie, and we all know it. Not the dinner part. That was truly lovely, and New Jersey doesn't know how lucky it is to have her trapped there. The productive part of the day, however, is most certainly untrue. I chatted online and played WoW. Surprise! Hey, it's a holiday, and I'll celebrate it how I see fit, and then babble endlessly in a defensive manner about it on LiveJournal if it damn well pleases me to do so.

What was I talking about?

After the multiple courses of Christmas tastiness, I went home and then started laundry and packing. By the time I finished, I only had a few hours left before I had to leave for the airport. I took a long hot shower, shaved, trimmed and styled the hair, really took my time sprucing up and feeling good. I packed up the last of my toiletries, bundled up for the Chicago winter, and set out on my journey. I was about ten yards from my building when I realized my jeans felt funny. I reached for my right pocket and realized in a rush of panic, that I had just left my keys in the lock of my apartment door inside the locked complex. Good start, Mr. Town. Good start. I woke up my poor neighbors (the time was 6:15 AM on the day after Christmas) and besought their holiday spirit to let me back into the building. They're cool peeps, so it wasn't an issue. I just felt like a giant, spastic, fatigued fool.

I dragged my luggage two blocks to the first bus which arrived without too much wait. It dropped me off right at the stop for the second bus, but this wait was far less brief. I could feel the minutes ticking away as my ETD deadline trudged steadily closer. Finally the bus arrived and deliverd me to the train. Originally I thought this bus-bus-combo which only took me two neighborhoods out of my way would be far more practical than my previous train-train combo which took me all the way downtown, and then back north again even further than where I had started. Wrong. By the time I reached O'Hare, I only had 40 minutes to catch my flight. I frantically accosted a United employee asking him which terminal housed the American ticket counters. He helpfully directed me to terminal 2. For future reference of all you ORD travelers:

  • American Airlines is housed in terminal 3.
  • If you find yourself in terminal 2, and you need to be at terminal 3, do not follow the signs pointing to terminal 3. This will take you to the shuttle which could keep you waiting up to 15 minutes. Simply leave the building and walk the 50 yards.
  • If using the self check-in to claim your ticket, you must do so 45 to 30 minutes before departure time.

    Needless to say, I missed my flight. Believe it or not, this is actually the first time my tardy ass has ever done this. Luckily, the prompt for standby tickets popped up before I could lose my shit. I selected the next flight to Orlando, passed through security unhindered, ate breakfast, and napped. When my standby flight finally started boarding, I started praying to whatever powers would possibly listen to please get my sorry self on that flight and safely to my family. I was one of the last two passengers they boarded. Thank you. Goddess, Buddha, Hermes, Fharlanghn, whoever listened and decided I deserved a respite from traveler hell, thank you.

    Not that this respite was free mind you. When I did finally arrive at the Orlando airport, I was misdirected by a travel agent yet again! Do these people even know where they work?? Then coming home again at the end of the vacation pushed me right up to the very fine edge of the postal worker abyss.

    First I should point out that I was not late. In fact the resort made sure I was at the airport with ample time to do my last minute souvenir shopping in the plethora of Disney and Universal gift shops housed in this monument to human flight and all-American consumerism. When the return flight finally boarded it was very much on time. I guess it's more entertaining to have a captive audience before they tell you there will be a delay due to adverse weather conditions at the destination. No worries, the insanely dreamy metrosexual hipster Aussie sitting next to me provided a delightful distraction. Speaking of, when we did take off at last, his white-knuckled dread of the turbulence was delicious. I guess attraction can be amplified by fear.

    Am I unfocused today or what??

    When we reached ORD, we were stuck in a holding pattern until they could de-ice the runway for us to land. Escaping the plane, I was off like a shot. I managed to stop for urinary relief and still managed to be the first passenger to the baggage claim. I didn't miss a beat. I saw every single piece of luggage unloaded from our plane. And then the next plane. And the next. Fuck me.

    I asked the attendant why I was the only one left from the three flights unloaded at baggage claim 14, but there was no suitcase for me. He scanned my ticket, and retrieved my belongings which had arrived on an earlier flight. That might have been nice to know... um, before I waited for an hour! At least it had arrived at all. I am not looking forward to the vacation where they lose my luggage.

    Thus begins the reverse trip of train-bus-bus, but now it's not a cold early morning. Oh no, it's a snowy New Year's Eve littered with drunken revelers. Did I mention one of the buses I had to wait for was in the heart of the Wrigleyville bar scene. Who has more fun than me? Who, I ask you? No one that's who. My life rocks. For the benefit of the sarcastically inept, please allow me to point out the previous statements as a prime example.

    By the time I was safely home again, there was only half an hour remaining before the ball dropped ending the old year and welcoming the new. No way in frozen drunken Chicago hell was I leaving the apartment again to be trapped on public transportation when midnight struck. Revelry be damned.

    This takes care of the unpleasant portion of the vacation. I will follow up tomorrow with the actual Disney experience.


    Schrödinger's Cheshire

    I cannot stop smiling lately. My frustration level hasn't decreased, and yet, I walk down the street grinning like a madman. At work, the more asinine the customer, the greater my mirth. I think I've even freaked some people out by simply laughing out loud for no apparent reason.

    Perhaps I'm still high from the holidays at Disney World. It could be the new year, but it doesn't usually affect me like this. Maybe it's the handful of multi-vitamins a co-worker gave me: paroxetine, I think it's called. It's also possible I'm simply insane.

    Wouldn't that be great?! Crazy people get all the good shit. The fun meds, the stylin' straitjackets and bathrobes, and best of all, the complete lack of responsibility. Seriously, these folks get away with murder... actual murder! They do whatever they want, blame it on their addled mind, and then get pumped so full of drugs, they don't have to cope with guilt. Now that's the real Catholic heaven.

    This smiling thing isn't new so much as a regression to an earlier state of being. Before becoming embittered by my roaring twenties, I was quite benign. Boring and bland at best, but always blissfully beaming through my blasé boyhood. Shit happens, eh?

    Is this happiness or something else I'm feeling? Does it actually exist, or have I simply convinced myself it exists? What is its source? Assuming it can be prolonged, how do I sustain it?

    Regardless, I've missed this feeling. I like it.


    PS-- The whole paroxetine thing was just a joke of course. The OCD remains unmedicated, but I did talk to a co-worker about it. I'm fairly certain it's the source of my chronic tardiness, and she suggested checking out the free therapy offered by Howard Brown. I'm considering it, but apparently they expect you to be on time for the appointments.

    Where Freedom Lies

    Contentment eludes me. I've fooled myself with complacency, but how can someone who does not develop be happy? A one time act of rebellion against tradition has trapped me in... what? Fear? Denial? Laziness? It's time to borrow a philosophy from Frosty Robert and be bold.

    I'm not writing enough. I'm reading like mad lately which is great, but while there's plenty of influx, there's little to no efflux. Instead creative energies are being channeled into addictions such as Warcraft and WoW and World of Warcraft and that MMORPG where you craft war against other players. It's a new year and a new opportunity to rediscover forgotten interests.

    I admire the LJ peeps who post multiple times a month. That's a habit I need to nurture. Even if it's pointless BS (and let's face it, most of LJ is), at least I'm exercising that awesome little part of my brain that creates. I'm pretty sure it's not completely rotten yet. Hm... *pokes it with a stick* Wake up, you little bitch!

    There was a brief flash of artistic talent that burst from my uncultured fingertips during the first couple months of college. I had just moved into the all male dorms and was drowning in a torrent of fraternal testosterone. To some perspectives, that might sound sexy as hell, so let's bring the focus to keyword "drowning". I was a closeted virgin who didn't know who he was or what he wanted from college, from life. Tension, fear, loneliness, frustration were all building inside me with no focus on which to release it. I started drawing. I don't know why or how, but suddenly I could put a pencil to paper and produce something beautiful. No hint of this talent had ever manifested before. It was an absolute rush. Eventually I fell in with the theater crowd, tumbled out of the closet, and met the former love of my life. The talent faded. The drawings stopped. I want it back.

    Speaking of theater.. no. Moving right along.

    I hate traveling. What a giant pain in the ass. I love, however, visiting new places, experiencing new things, meeting new people. Being taken so far away from my apartment that hiding from the world is simply not an option is wonderful! It's the getting there, the dealing with the travel industry and other tourists that is so completely rank. This is a huge part of why I spend so much time on WoW. I love exploring the world Blizzard has created. There's so many beautiful, amazing things to see in the game with other players from all over the country; why leave the house? Of course a lot of the less fantastic scenery is actually based on real places. I wanna see those places. I wanna meet those people sans the spells and swordplay. Ultimately the pros outweigh the cons. Must endeavor to travel more. Also, this is an area where the new journaling habit needs to take a firm hold. Over the past several years, I've had my first experiences of major travel: Hawaii, Philippines, New York City and Disney World. Each of those vacations brought forth this amazing energy. Unfortunately, it's sucked right out of me within days of returning to Chicago with no record of having ever existed. I've never been much of a photographer which is fine since I'm surrounded by people who are, but I need to write. I need to put that energy to text before it fades or is lost completely.

    Lastly, I want a boyfriend. Yeah, yeah, I know I've spent copious amounts of time and words paying lip service to the joys and freedoms of being single, and I'm not refuting any of it. The thirties, however, have brought a new perspective to the table. The little games I play with myself: waiting, hiding, pretending. I tire of them, so it's time for this boy to get aggressive. The dating scene still leaves a horrid aftertaste, but not every Jelly Belly tastes like rotten egg. Or vomit. Or earthworm. Or earwax. Damn.

    There it is. I made resolutions. For the first time since 1999 when I resolved to never make another resolution, I've gone and embraced a holiday tradition. Damn, again.