11 Blocks…

We’re all on our own journeys. But sometimes when your mind won’t stop, you just need to take a minute and listen to someone else’s story…

11 blocks from my door to your doorstep

Three years later and it feels too close

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Tourist

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own mind. I don’t always like what I’m seeing or hearing but I have to remind myself that I volunteered to come here.

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own body. It feels familiar yet unf61166-short-quotes-about-lifeamiliar at the same time. Like the people on the streets or the lights overhead.

I don’t want to feel like a tourist in my own life. I came here for a reason and there’s no going back. I’ve gotten where I am because I worked for it. Because I wanted it. I’m not just spending a few days or a week or a fortnight in this life. I’m here for the long haul. For every challenge and every experience. This life is mine and mine alone.

And what I take from this life won’t just be souvenirs left to gather dust on a shelf.

The Reason

I create

I create to open doors and windows and minds.

I create to satiate the need inside of me.

I create…

I create in order to love, to discover, to climb.

I create to find a way through the darkness, to be reminded of the light.

I create a “me” that I see and a “me” that you see.

I’m creating me.

Those Who Risk, Win.

On Monday, I went to see Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo speak as part of the Directors Series at Tribeca Film Festival.

There was a point where Joss started talking about how, years after Buffy, he finally realized that he was writing about himself. That he was, in fact, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He realized that all of the emotions Buffy experienced and what she went through came from somewhere deep within. And it
wasn’tlarge_joss-whedon-mark-ruffalo-1 until it was over that he was finally able to understand.

He said the same thing happened when he was writing the character of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk for The Avengers. The character of Bruce Banner spends much of his time trying to prevent The Other Guy (i.e. The Hulk) from emerging and taking over. It’s something that he will have to learn to cope with for the rest of his life. In the 3rd act of The Avengers, Bruce joins up with the rest of the team as they’re about to take on an army of Chitari. Captain America turns to Bruce and says something along the lies of: “Dr. Banner, now would be a really good time to get angry.” And Bruce simply responds with: “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.” Joss said that one of the reasons he was so proud of that line from Bruce was because it made him realize, that once again, he was writing about himself. And that he is, in fact, always angry.

As I was listening to him talk about this, I began to realize something too. When I’m writing particular characters, they always seem to either be angry or sad. And if, like Joss, I’m writing about myself, then maybe, I too, am always angry or sad.

The anger I can get on board with. I do believe that a lot of the time, I am angry. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anger can drive you. It certainly drives my writing. It takes me to places that I never thought I could go. And If I’m being honest, anger gets me some really great dialogue.

The sadness, however, I’m not so fond of. But sadness is a part of life and sad things happen all the time. So why shouldn’t I write about them? But if I really think about it, if I actually dig deep, I feel as though I am sad. Though about what, I’m not entirely sure. But what I find is that when I write sad characters, I feel better on the inside. I get those emotions out and project them into something I can make positive. Something I can be proud of.

Joss said that, to him, writing is one of the best things in life. He loves the writing process and he gets so much out of it. He discovers what he’s capable of and what brings out his emotions. He said he was once writing something so powerful that as he was writing, he found that he was sobbing.

When I’m not [writing], I remember that I hate myself. – Joss Whedon

The degree of honesty and candor to which he spoke, was truly awe-inspiring. To be able to have that lens into one’s own self is nothing short of immaculate. And the fact that he shared it with a room full of strangers and continues to share it through his writing is one of the reasons he inspires me.

That’s what I want from my writing. I want to feel that catharsis that comes from simple words on the page. Not just words that dig deep inside myself and reach my soul but words that actually came from me. Words that came from my own heart and my own soul. Like Joss, I love writing. It brings me a joy unlike any other. And it feels like it’s what I’m meant to be doing. And maybe I am sad or angry. Or both. But even so, I know that I can take those emotions and do something with them. And hopefully by doing so, I can bring a little solace to other people and maybe to myself, as well.

Writing about yourself is risky. It’s opening yourself up to criticism and judgement. It’s showing your wounds and most of the time you’re not sure if doing so will heal those wounds or just make thing fester. But I wholeheartedly believe, that at the end of the day, it’s a risk worth taking.

“If you’re not writing about yourself, why are you writing? Why would you not want to write something that’s important for you to say to people?” – Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is a writer, director & producer known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo is an actor and producer. 

Inspired by The Daily Post Discover Challenge, Risk

Closeted Fear

In response to the Daily Post’s prompt “Closet”

When I was a kid I was afraid of my closet. The same way I was afraid to go to sleep with my door closed or the hallway light off.

In fact, when it came to sleeping, there were a lot of things I was afraid of.

I remember once in elementary school, we were having a Read-In. You know, one of those Midwest things where kids brought their sleeping bags to school and we would basically spend the entire day inside them while the teacher read us stories.

One of the stories that our teacher read to us was about a young girl whose bedroom window faced the cemetery outside. As I recall, as the girl slept, a demon or a ghost of some kind climbed in through her window. I don’t remember how the story ended exactly but I remember being terrified. So much so, that I still remember the story some 15 years later. (This also gave me a fear of cemeteries for a while)

So I was afraid of my windows. I would refuse to have my bed near the window for fear of something coming in through it to get me. I was afraid of my closet and would make sure that it was closed before I climbed into bed. I was afraid of sleeping with my door closed or with the hallway light off. It made me feel better to know that my parents were up and that they were the source of the soft noises as I feel asleep. I wanted to be able to see them going about their evenings. Knowing that with them there, I was safe.

Now, I can’t sleep with my door open. I have to have all the lights off, including the hallway or kitchen light to even entertain the idea of sleep. The closet can be open. In fact, it’s always open. I don’t even think I’ve shut it once.

I still have a slight issue with the window though. However, being on the 5th floor of my apartment building, it doesn’t seem to matter as much. But when I go back home to visit my parents, I sometimes think about unsavory possibilities that lurk outside the window of our ranch style home.

When I was a kid, I was afraid of a lot of things. Things that would seep into my dreams or prevent sleep altogether. I’d like to say that I’m no longer afraid. But I guess I’m just afraid of different things now. But maybe that’s okay.

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

The Fight is Done, The War is Won…

Sometimes we must fight in order to be free…

I thought about trying to write something that would be just as powerful as the 30 Seconds to Mars song, “This is War”, but then I realized that the most powerful thing to be said is the song itself.

The connection I feel to this song, and the band itself, is a strong one. It’s one that I developed over the last few years and one that I feel to be unbreakable. This song, and the entire self-titled album, was written under the constrained circumstances of a $30,000,000 lawsuit with the record label EMI.

And although the band had to go through every possible roadblock to get the deal that they deserved, they were still able to make this incredible album and overcome everything that was holding them back. They made this album without a record label to their name and it turned out beautifully. They weren’t about to give up the fight for something that they wholeheartedly believed in.

So without further ado, This is War.

A warning to the people. The good and the evil. This is war. To the soldier, the civilian, the martyr, the victim. This is war. It’s the moment of truth and the moment to lie. It’s the moment to live and the moment to die. It’s the moment to fight. The moment to fight. To fight, to fight, to fight!

To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world from the last to the first. To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world. It’s a brave new world! 

A warning to the prophet, the liar, the honest. This is war. To the leader, the pariah, the victor, the messiah. This is war. It’s the moment of truth and the moment to lie. And the moment to live and the moment to die. It’s the moment to fight. The moment to fight. To fight, to fight, to fight!

To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world from the last to the first. To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world. It’s a brave new world. It’s a brave new world!

I do believe in the light. Raise your hands into the sky. The fight is done, the war is won. Lift your hands toward the sun. Toward the sun. Toward the sun. Toward the sun. The war is won. 

To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world form the last to the first. To the right, to the left. We will fight to the death. To the edge of the earth. It’s a brave new world. It’s a brave new world. It’s a brave new world. 

A brave new world. The war is won. The war is won. A brave new world. 

To learn about the lawsuit with EMI, check out the band’s award-winning documentary, Artifact (2012), directed by Jared Leto, currently streaming on Netflix. It not only follows the band as they record their album, This is War (2009), but it exposes the harsh truths about the music business and shows that sometimes, the only thing you can do is fight.

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Key Takeaway

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

The best advice I can think is one that I had to tell myself for a long time. It’s one that I sometimes still have a hard time accepting.

Don’t pressure yourself into writing just because you feel like you have to write. 

With a blog, it can feel like you should have new posts all the time. Something fresh and clean that your readers are excited to read about. However, if you don’t have anything to write about, then your writing won’t feel authentic to you.

Don’t write because you feel pressured into it. Write when you have something to say. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be something that you deem important. If it’s important to you, it will feel important to your readers.

There are many times when I go a while without writing. And in that time, I feel like I should be writing all the time. And yet, I don’t have anything to write. I get writers block quite often and when that happens, my blog is filled with tons of drafts that never get published.

In fact, I’ve only published two posts in almost a month. And that’s okay. Or so I have to keep telling myself.

I found that the best thing I can do is find something that inspires me to write in any way possible. Even if it’s just two sentences or two words. And sometimes you just need a little…prompting. A little something to get your juices flowing.

But at the end of the day, don’t feel the pressure from others, your blog or yourself to write. When you have something to say, it will flow lovingly from your fingertips.

But until then, take the time to find your inspiration.