The Morning Views

The beautiful thing about life is that as long as you keep breathing, life keeps moving forward. I’ve been fortunate enough to welcome a new member of my family. Slater William was born two weeks early and has brought nothing, but joy since his first breath. Due to his early arrival, I was granted a once in a lifetime birthday present. That right, we share the same birthday!

Kelli and I have shared so many amazing memories and witnessed great things since we’ve been together, but all pale in comparison to this human we have made. They say parents don’t raise their children, but rather children raise their parents. So far,  even just 10 weeks in, nothing could be more true. Neither Kelli or I have all the answers to this crazy thing called parenting. A lot is done by instinct and even reflex. Honestly, it’s mostly trial and error. There are smiles and tears. Sometimes, we do them both simultaneously. Therein lies the beauty of parenting and perhaps the secret to life. Nothing in life worth doing is easy.

I’ve looked at my baby boy a million times since he was born. He’s changed the way I view the world. He’s changed how I approach decisions in my life. Gone are the fly by the seat of my pants days. They’ve been replaced by a more drawn out, selfless decision making.  How have you fared as a new parent? How have you looked at the world in a new way?

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More Apologies, Less Time Away?

Blogging. Something that has always been a troublesome task for me and it always bothers me when I look at my calendar history on my dashboard and see 3+ months of no activity. I mean, how hard is it really? Open your browser, vomit onto the page with your words, make two people laugh and be done. Am I right? I actually have written quite a lot since my last blog entry, but I have found that none of it seemed to be relevant to this actual blog. I’ve concentrated mostly on my novel and now I’m gearing up to do NaNoWriMo in November.

So, for those of you who do follow, or once did for however long, I apologize. I do try and make an effort to entertain here as best as I can while still have a life functioning outside the page and also make progress with my novel. I’ve also discovered that while I write quite a bit, I’m also starving for the help of my fellow writers. Let’s be honest, writing is a team effort. Very few people, if any, write cover to cover and do it all themselves. So I’ve decided that I’d like to attempt to put together an online writing group of sorts. A place that you can come and exchange writing with your fellow writers, and for those of you who may be in my area, another venue to post and critique others.

I have yet to work out all the variables behind this group, but rest assured over the next couple weeks more details and areas of my blog will be open. Any and all are welcome to join once we get underway.

I encourage everyone to check out my Facebook page as well. It updates when the blog updates and it’s a great place to send questions.

Look forward to all the writing in the near future for you guys. 😀

The Key to Flight

September 17, 1888

John hardly looked twice at the man. He pulled his gun from his holster, a well-worn Colt Dragoon Revolver, and shot Edward in the face. He spun it in his fingers and slipped it back into the holster

We are finished here. He turned and looked at his men standing behind him.

“This man,” he pointed to the limp body at his feet. “He is a castaway. A deserter of his men and people. More importantly his family. We are family and we don’t leave each other behind.”

His men whispered to each other, but maintained eye contact.

John had a bit of hitch in his step when he walked off towards his officer camp. A few men scrambled to grab the body he had just shot down.  They took it just outside where they made camp and buried their former brother-in-arms.

“It’s all an experiment.” John looked to the old man, Jack.
“You gonna kill us all John. Are we no better than them?” Jacks tired eyes looked back at John.
“If that’s what it takes. These men need to be men. I’ll kill them all and run through this land with a gang of the undead if that’s what it takes.” John prodded the fire, just a little too heavy handed.
“I don’t believe you.” Jack spoke.
“What’s there not to believe.” John pulled his gun from his holster once more and pointed it between Jack’s eyes. “Shall I begin with you?”

Jack was old. He was tired. He knew an idle threat when he heard one, but something that burned in John’s eyes now burned in his soul. John meant every word that he said and Jack new it. He’d witnessed enough people getting killed to know when a man meant to end another’s life.

“So what’s your plan?” Jack asked.
John clicked the hammer back up into place and spun it back into the holster. He took out his rolling papers and began rolling a cigarette with the remaining dried tobacco he had in pouch.

“Take the fortress.” He licked the outter edges of the papers and squeezed the tobacco into place.
“The fortress? You mean Ticonderoga? Place has been deserted for years now, what do you plan on getting out of there?” Jack asked.

John reached into his pocket. “It just so happens that I have the key.” John showed the key to Jack and quickly snatched it back into his palm and placed it back into his coat pocket.

“Brilliant, John!”
“Tomorrow we head North. Gather the men and get some rest.” John walked away to his tent without saying another word. He could tell Jack wanted to say something, but he ignored him.

The next day the spent the day traveling and stopped at an old abandoned home along the nearby lake. The entrance to the house read L-O-G. John had read about this house, but never seen it. League of Gentlemen? It didn’t mean much to him. They were a bunch of crazy wizards from before the War. The place had been abandoned for about a half century.

John’s camp was full of miscreants. Most of these guys fought with John in the war, but many have been picked up along they way and didn’t always share his views. John’s family had been executed a few years earlier and those who didn’t know John didn’t really fight with him for that reason.  Guns for hire mostly, outlaws, rapists. They stuck around because John offered protection and a warm meal.

Horace the Bear looked towards John from the back of the pack. He was so large it was like watching a grizzly bear ride a horse. He always wore the fur of a bear as well. There weren’t any grizzlies in this area of NY, but the legend was he killed one with this bare hands. Horace turned to the skinny man next to him

“I’d follow John Marcy to the end of the Earth, but something isn’t sitting right with me.”
“You better keep your voice down,” Colton shoved Horace. Horace gave Colton a tired look. Don’t ever do that again. He thought.

“Something about this family, that I need to find out.”

John nudged the already open door with the end of his revolver. He signaled to jack to check the side of the house. John pushed the door open and a dark figure ran past the door towards the back door.

“Stop!” John called out. The man turned and looked at John as he approached the back door, but it had already been eclipsed by the dark shadow of The Bear. The man bounced off of the Bear’s chest and onto the ground. John picked him up by his lapel and threw him against the wall.

“Who are you?”
“I’m no one! A vagrant, nothing more.” The man said in a panic. John recognized the shield on the shoulder of his worn coat. John gave shot the wall beside his head.  The baseball size hole startled them men outside, throwing a few of them off their horses.

“Now I know that isn’t true. Let’s try this again. Who are you? The next words better tell me exactly that or that hold there, will be right, there.” He pressed the hot tip of his revolver against his forehead.

The man cowered with his hands above his head. John cocked the hammer back on his revolver. “I’m waiting…”

“Flight. Raymond Flight.”
John’s excitement was quickly eclipsed by wave of explosive anger and then overwhelming peace. He signaled to The Bear.

The end of rifle butt connected with the back of Raymond’s head. His body fell to the floor.

“He comes with us.” John said.
“Who is this?” The Bear asked.
“Someone important.”
That isn’t good enough. The Bear thought.

The Bear looked turned and walked out of the door and hoped on his horse next to Colton.
“I think we’ll have some answers soon enough.”

Lesson 2: You Can’t (Failure)

You had to know this was coming.motivate

This part of the lesson requires a little mental fortitude. This is more of an acceptance and perseverance stage of your life. The reality is, and this can be a tough pill to swallow, you can’t do everything. There will be periods failure and times you can’t seem to overcome an obstacle.

That is okay.

I learned an important lesson about six years ago while managing a restaurant. Nothing in life, worth doing, is easy. How can something so simple be so powerful in looking into ones future? That is what I sat and thought about for quite some time. I knew this all along, but it didn’t resonate with me until my boss had said it out loud. He drilled it into my head. Every time I told him something he asked was hard or too much he looked me in the soul and said, “Nothing in life, worth doing, is easy. There should be a challenge in everything that we do. If something you want to do requires you to give up many other things and even the chance to loss something, do it! At some point we should all look down at our bloodied hands, literally or figuratively, and say, I can’t….I just can’t.

At this point there is two ways you can go. Flip the situation on its head, persevere and tell yourself YOU CAN! Try again, because nothing in life worth doing is easy! I won’t elaborate too much on this because we spoke of this yesterday.

There is also power in recognizing that your are currently incapable of completing your current goals. Cut your losses and move on. Sometimes continuing and trying to accomplish a task could a) cause serious injury or death or b) put you in serious financial trouble. Know  your limits physically, mentally, and financially.

Failure is an option. Fall seven times, stand up eight.

 

Lesson 1 – You Can

You’re amazing. You’re intelligent. You’re unique.

Amazing adj. – causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing

A famous comedian once commented on how our use of vocabulary is most often incorrect. People are amazing. We never cease to amaze one another and it’s truly a wonder how we came to be where we are today. We are capable of impossible things and we can do just about anything with set out to accomplish.

I’ve had thoughts of speaking with younger kids and even high school age kids on the subjects of self-worth and even addiction as I’ve battled very recently with my own addictions. Having kids and young adults understand their own self-worth in a world that doesn’t always teach that sort of thing is important to me.

Having kids understand that their $10-$15/hr job is important to both society and themselves. The most important message we can give our children in their early years is that they, in fact, CAN accomplish anything they want. There is a lot of nonesense that we are fed through our early years that the most important thing is life is to go to college and get a degree. If you don’t do this, you can’t get a job and you’ll work in a crappy job the rest of your life.

Wrong!!

What people forget to tell you is that you can follow your passion. YOU CAN be happy at work everyday. YOU CAN be one of them. Our lives require hard work and purpose. We face challenges everyday and people who say we can’t or we shouldn’t. Ignore them. If someone is not going to be a positive influence and tell you that YOU CAN do something then they have no business influencing you.

The two reasons you will never accomplish something in life is 1) you told yourself you couldn’t do it. 2) Someone else said you couldn’t do it. Everything in this world was impossible until it wasn’t. Don’t stop until you amaze yourself and those around you. Use your brain, and remember you are, in fact, unique.

YOU CAN, YOU CAN, YOU WILL.

In need of an ear or have a question? Feel free to contact me here.

Their Dance

dance

Their Dance, the story you are about to read,

Was inspired by two people I watched back in my home town.

Wednesday night, during summer, is a night filled

With music and friendship.

People come from all over town to enjoy

Local and live musical artists.

What I witnessed between these two people

Was beyond words.

The following 152 words will never do the scene justice.

But just for a moment, I witnessed true love.

This was the beginning of my inspiration

To write about this beautiful world we live in.

They were twenty years old again. Holding each other in their arms, they dance like they were the last two people on Earth. Slowly, they turned in the autumn night and smiled at each other and exchanged a couple of laughs. The Eagles – “Love Will Keep Us Alive” played in the background. A kiss from Him reminds Her of His eternal love. She sheds a quick tear as she recalls the days they spent together on The Lake. Forty years seems to pass so quickly when are in love. Now a prime 60-something, but still as spry as ever as He spins Her. Around and around she spins and with a dip, he catches Her with his other arm. The music comes to a slow stop as the instruments die out.

“I love you,” She says.

“And I love you,” He pauses and puts his forehead to Hers. “Now and forever.”

Day 11,193

Man writing in a journal.

Today, I awoke from my slumber like any other day. I opened my eyes. Quite anticlimactic, I realize. Now, as I sit alone on a bench I find myself observing the nuances of my handwriting. I notice how profoundly awful it is. I swear a demon occupies my arm in an effort to block all communication I have or ever will have with the rest of the world. If I die and all that is left of me is my journals and notes, the world will never know what it is to be, the Beard.

What a thought…My life suddenly ending today without provocation or warning. As easy as turning off a light switch, but never replacing it with the same bulb. I can only speculate that the final moments of someones life are filled with every possible image of ones life and every question uttered in one indistinguishable moan or groan. I imagine at some point we could develop the technology to witness the final moments of someones mind.

I’m not talking electrical patterns and synapses, but rather the actual signals that are interpreted as images across the victims optic nerve and onto the brain. Sounds are interpreted in a similar fashion, I assume? I would be more interested in the sounds of the world around me at the time of death. The ambient noise of the world around me. The gasps of air of the near passerbyers, the splashing tears of loved ones, or that awkward moment where a disaster is funny, until it isn’t.

Finally, I thought to myself. All the questions, comments and concerns come out in our final moments as white noise in our groans of pain, suffering, or acceptance. Imagine for a moment the technology to separate each wave length of sound into the question we asked ourselves and our loved ones. Perhaps they are messages we wanted to deliver one last time. Messages of love, hate, or indifference to those we knew.

Strange thoughts today as I prepared revisions on my Anthology that I will self publish in the next couple of months.

2016: The Struggle

enough

Enough is enough!

My past couple entries on my blog have been separated by a least 5 months each and I need to stop it! I spent so many years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds keeping myself motivated only to fall flat on my face.

After getting over a severe gaming addiction, yes I said it, addiction, I’m now ready to take on my writing world head on. I made a lot of excuses, alienated, and hurt many that I loved, all for a thrill that only I could possibly enjoy.

Was my time wasted completely? Absolutely not, I met some amazing people in 2014 and 2015. They taught me quite a bit about myself and the world. I’m grateful, but where life matters the most, I have been absent.

This morning I read this article. I adored every word Jennifer had to say and could relate on just about every level. We are our own biggest critic and with that we often tell ourselves that we can’t do something because 8 million people on Facebook didn’t validate our opinion. What I have found is that social media has made it easy to share ideas and feelings instantly, but very little of what is being passed around on Facebook has an substance. Everything that has 10k+ likes and shares all share one thing in common. They don’t surpass 200 characters. When was the last time you saw a NY Times Best Seller being passed around on Facebook? Never, but what you did see was a picture of the cover that book or the author.

To this I’m sure many of you will say, but Mr. Beard, if 10k+ people are exposing this book then that important. Its exposure.

Sure, but how many of those 10k+ are actually going to read it because they saw it on Facebook? Optomistically, maybe 100 will actually pick it up, not all of which will even finish. My point? We began writing however many years ago because it satisfied our imagination. It satisfied some part of our mind. We hunted and pecked our way into a new world and brought a few others with us, but ultimately we loved it.

I’ve told countless peers during my writing days that its about loving what I do. That’s how I escape the feeling of failure. In addition, I surround myself with people who give me a sense of purpose outside of my writing life, just as Jennifer points out.

There is a very good chance that no one will ever shit about what we write, but very few of us start writing to satisfy millions of people at once. We do it to satisfy our own morbid curiosity of what it takes to create life out of lifelessness.

What I Am

Reading back on the previous article, Who I Am, I noticed that it may have becomes something different then what I had originally intended. There was never meant to be any slander or libel. In fact, she is one of the most beautiful, carrying, and amazing people I have ever met.

The point of the article that I was trying to make is, not all gamers are souless and lifeless. In fact, some of the most upbeat and successful people I know sit in a chair 8 hours a day and make stupid amounts of money doing it. At one point, I had a viewership on twitch that reached about 50 viewers per stream. This number might seem insignificant, but at the time I’d only been live streaming for about 3 months. I held a regular schedule, about 4-5 days a week for 4-6 hours.  Everyone knew that at 8am HST/ 11am PST that I was going to be roaming the continent of Tamriel in search of the riches it held. Donations of all kinds came in to support me even allowing me to do frequent giveaways and upgrade my keyboard and mouse. Had this continued uninterrupted I could be sitting pretty now.

Some of us have a plan. We hold a business mind frame and people see that. My IRL friends could wrap their head around the fact that I was getting paid, sometimes large donations, to sit and play video games! The proof was in the pudding, donations ranged from $2 –  $150 and with decent frequency.

But in the back of my head I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointing someone else. So my attitude started to drop, the schedule fell apart and I became what looked like to some as just A Gamer.

What am I? I’m a business man. At one point I had a great thing going and I regret not capitalizing on it earlier. The future is unclear at the moment, but I know that fans of “The Beard” can expect at new chapter soon. Life throws curveballs, but just keep your hand back and eye on the ball and hit it to the opposite field.

If you’re interested in watching my channel it can be found at http://www.twitch.tv/thetomshaggy.

P.S. If you’re upset about typo’s or grammer, this blog is not for you.

Who I Am

There seems to be much confusion in my current life. I thought since I don’t write as often, and yesterday was a big turning point in my life, that I might share with you some things that seem to confuse some of the most important people in my life.

I’m a gamer. I enjoy video games. I game  to the absolute limit and it takes up a lot of my spare time, but I’ve developed relationships with people. Some have remained and others have been fleeting, but regardless I take it seriously. Some people go to a bar every night and waste money on alcohol and chasing the same floozy across the dance floor. I fill my Steam wallet with funds and buy games to do battle in a virtual space to claim bragging rights.

None of this though changes how I feel about anyone in my immediate space IRL (in real life) for those who don’t vidya game. I was recently told by someone I love dearly that our relationship could continue on no farther. It broke my heart and still does as I type each remaining letter. I had so many plans for her and I and it breaks my heart to know that none of them will ever come true. I have so many memories of her and I in so many places. I now know that none will continue.

This is okay because we will both grow and become better people now. We can live out our lives the way we want and be all the more happy.

While I didn’t always make her the happiest person in the world my heart was always in the right place. These are only words and words are only as good as the paper they are printed on. The truth is, in her eyes, I did not live up to her expectations. In her eyes, I chose all the wrong things. The only thing she did wrong was ask me to change the person I am. No one, not even her, should have to change.

I am a gamer. I love games. I love you. They are side by side. My interaction with the world comes from behind a screen a lot of the time. I love little things. Making breakfast, keeping the kitchen clean. I like coming home and surprising you so that we can get food at your favorite restaurant.

Some people enjoy alcohol, cigarettes, heroine. I enjoy video games. Not one person will change that. I’m not entirely sure why I’m posting this article, but I believe the point was to shine light on something that a lot of women and maybe even men don’t understand about the ones they love or loved.