Life behind the wheel

My father, while a decent man, always had a problem with drinking. He still does despite his waning constitution.

When I was 8, he and my mother were still into the party scene because they were still young, having had me out of wedlock. They would go to parties with their supposed friends and drink, and since my mother worried about what her mother would think, they would often take me with them.

Sometimes they would argue, sometimes they just had a few drinks then watched the rugby. A lot of the time they would sing karaoke until the late hours of the night. Those were the worst because they couldn’t sing worth shit.

But I could handle the singing and the arguing. What I couldn’t handle was the way home. We only lived a few corners away but my father was always so deep in his cups that he could probably drown on air by the time he got behind the wheel. I often asked my mother to let us walk home but she always said it would be fine. It never was.

Dad would swerve from side to side on the road like a roller coaster. Mom would screech at him to drive straight and I would be in the back, clutching the broken safety belt as if it would do its original function even though the thing was snapped in half. It was back then, sick to my stomach of worry and fear, clutching a useless safety belt with my parents hollering at each other in the front seats, that I thought I was going to die. It was the first time I realized I could die.

Now I can’t stand sitting in cars without a laptop or something to distract me.


Get a better mirror

Ready, Set, Done

10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!

Warning: This is a rant. Like it says above, No edits, pauses and looking back, so please forgive the grammar and – heaven forbid – spelling mistakes.

I had a thought today.

Which is surprising considering my recent track record on the matter.

I was sitting at home watching YouTube videos and enjoying the nonsensical humor they had when I started turning more towards things like People are Awesome. I saw young, beautiful people doing amazing things with their bodies (no not those types of things. Get your mind out of the gutter.). They were doing back-flips with motorbikes, they were breathing fire, they were playing instruments with such fine tuned precision that I thought there were little cogs and wheels turning in their appendages in order for them to play so masterfully. I was in awe of their talent, of their natural born skill at anything they did. I watched a little boy do skate tricks that made my head spin, I saw a girl ten years my younger playing a guitar in ways that made my fingers ache. Old people flipping boxes and burgers, speedily going about their day with superb proficiency. An Asian woman flipped boxes of cards together faster than I could chase down a McDonald’s burger, a man in his 20’s becoming one of the world’s greatest word smiths and even a young man finishing orders for meals at record pace amazed and surprised me.

I sat back and thought: “Wow. These people are amazing. I wish I was that good at something.”

That’s when the thought came. Here I was again, watching other people being amazing instead of striving towards that same level of perfection. It’s easy to fall into a rut and watch other people soar above you and think that you’re not good enough. You are the frog in the well, watching the birds fly above you and wishing for wings. I do it too. It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized my mistake. Those people had dedicated years, even decades of their lives to perfecting what they did. They hadn’t picked up a drum stick or fingered a guitar or back-flipped over a car in just one go. A lot of the time, they didn’t even know what they were doing. It was their dedication to what they loved that made it possible for them to get so far.

We often look at other people and think that they are so much better than us, at least that’s my mind set on the matter. We see them shining brighter than we ever have and don’t even consider our own light. You can get so use to seeing other peoples worth that sometimes you forget your own. And that can kill your dreams.

These ten minutes are up. So let me leave you with a piece of advice, quoting from my favorite poet, Shane Koyczan:

“And if you can’t see something beautiful in yourself, then get a better mirror.”

We crazy gods!!

As a writer, my biggest problem was starting a new story.

I would wrestle with myself repeatedly about the first sentence of every story I wrote. Sometimes I would even give up before I ever started on a new idea.

It wasn’t until I read a sort of impromptu guide written by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird, that I realized my mistake. She spoke about the difficulty of the first paragraph and not being afraid of first drafts. What really got me though, was a quote from another writer. I can’t remember his name but I know he said that writing is like driving at night with the headlights on. You can’t see your destination but as long as you have those beams illuminating the way ahead for a few meters, you will get there.

All writing is, is the ability to take whats inside our heads and put it on to paper. We may not get the exact beauty of the world or even a mere shadow of the brilliance behind our eyes but trying is the most important part. For me, writing is failure. Yes, we can dust it off, wash away the dirt and grime and polish it to near perfection but we will never truly re-create the gem that sparked this idea. The best we can do is attempt to copy it and even then it has flaws. But we try anyway.

If that’s even remotely true, then writing is an act of lunacy. It is the constant repetition of failure after failure. A futile gesture to the ethereal.

However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. As writers and readers, we are drawn to the struggle. We love a challenge and although many of us quit before the end, myself included, a few keep going and make their dreams reality. I guess, you could call us Gods in a way. We take nothing but thoughts and turn them into physical gestures on a page. And we sell them to people and they read the stories and they tell them to everyone else. Creation in its most pure sense.

I’m a very quiet person. I keep my head down out of fear and lash out when I’m disturbed. I live a very subdued life and with this blog, I hope that will change. But I guess that’s why I loved writing, it is the one place where my fears and insecurities can’t touch me.

I think it’s the same for almost everyone who decided to pick up a pen or sit at a computer and write something. Maybe that’s why writers are such odd people. After all, all we’re good for is howling at the moon.


Dreams: Potential or Hogwash?

Winter Dreaming by Josephine Wall
Winter Dreaming by Josephine Wall

Warning: This is a rant and as such, it will be left mostly unedited. If you are sensitive to grammatical errors, please leave a comment on my mistakes or if you liked the post, comment on what parts you liked. Feedback is crucial to making great content.

Ready, steady, go!!

I have a dream!

Well, I had a dream. Last night. It was like watching a movie based around an all-time childhood favorite, Coraline. It was about two brothers whose parents had tragically died in a traffic accident caused by a misplaced vegetable cart. As such, the children now live with their aunt and don’t eat vegetables. They completely abhor the stuff and spend their days burning down trees and ripping the grass from ground in the fields surrounding their aunt’s house. One day, as they are making their way to their usual hiding spot, Timmy, the younger of the two, is kidnapped by an unknown assailant, right in front of Billy’s, his other brothers, eyes. Billy, distraught and helpless, calls out to anyone who will listen and out of the ground sprouts a giant human-like creature made of wood. The creature agrees to help Billy find his brother and the two dive through the dead trunk of a giant tree into a phantasmal and horrifying reality where “all children’s fears go when they’re outgrown”. And the journey is peppered with danger and crazy characters, some who wish to help and others who wish to harm, but all based on creatures akin to children’s worst nightmares.

Can Billy summon the courage to overcome his own fears and save his brother? Or will he succumb to his hatred and fear, not only of the world that stole his family but also of himself?

The above was a dream I had today. I was injured yesterday after a skateboarding accident and had to remain sitting or lying down for a few hours. I dreamed of Billy and his brother and the whole thing played out in clay-mation (my favorite type of animation). This is a story that, if told properly, could be a favorite for the kids and the adults. I am, however, not interested in writing this story. It was a fun idea I thought up in my sleep. And it got me thinking. Why don’t we use our dreams more?

While we sleep, our sub-conscious comes to the fore-front, kicking and screaming for it’s chance to shine. All our inner most thoughts and desires are displayed behind our eye-lids and a lot of the time, we don’t remember them. Sometimes we do and we simply ignore them as flights of fancy.

If they are our most honest thoughts, why not use them to our advantage? I tell you now that even though the story is not my cup of tea, it could be worth checking out and whats wrong with trying something once or twice? It wouldn’t hurt to write a page or two and see where it goes from there.

So be honest, how many times do you have dreams that make you stop and think, and then dismiss them as casually as you would dismiss a fly?

Daily Post Prompt: Litmus, Litmus on the wall – One Question

I would be nervous.

It would be my first time talking to you, a stranger, and my pessimistic nature would make me think up an infinite number of ways this could go wrong. Does my breath stink? Did I take a shower today? Are my teeth yellow? I would be focusing so much on whether I should have shaved beforehand or if you found me interesting that by the time you finished speaking, I would be drooling onto the table.

If we were to be friends, you would ask: “Are you okay?”


DP Photo challenge: Endurance – To Endure

To me, the epitome of endurance are writers.

No one has the mental stamina to imagine vast, intricate worlds like a writer can. To sit for hours, thinking up people and creatures and tragic events that break the collective hearts of characters, readers and writers alike. To endure not only the scrutiny of others but our own as well.

To endure, that is what it means to be a writer.