Month: January 2014

Underwear, Weights, & the Magic Shoes

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The following are just several pieces of advice I’d like to share so that anyone who reads this might be spared the pain and humiliation I had to suffer.

When putting on your underwear, do it sitting down.Image

This goes for anything, really, that requires you to slip your feet through – pants, shorts, even socks.  Yesterday morning, when I was getting dressed, the toes of my right foot got caught in the waist band of my briefs.  Seriously.  I hopped on one foot, grabbed for the wall (which, being flat, doesn’t help much), uttered an expletive, then fell to the floor.  My neck, remarkably, did not snap.  By merely sitting on the edge of your bed (or chair, even the floor!), you can save yourself the embarrassment of having your other half look at you and say, “Did you have a nice trip?!”

Heavy, metallic objects belong nowhere near the perimeter of your bed.

I like to think I’m careful.  Heaven knows I’ve had my fair share of clumsy moments.  But clumsy and stupid are two different things, and what transpired next is just stupid.  I left my large, block-shaped hand weights next to the trunk at the foot of my bed.  Just left them there after I was finished with them.  Did I move them later in the day?  No.  Did I move them before I went to bed?  No.  Did I slam my foot into them when I woke up in the middle of the night to go pee?  Yes, yes I did.  Hard.  In fact, my big toe is now a lovely shade of purple.  I believe the correct color is indigo, but I digress.

Shoes, somehow or another, have a life of their own.

My shoes are magic.  Whether my dress shoes for work, or my sneakers for working out, they have powers to disappear and materialize at will.  Even better, they do this exceptional trick when I need them the most.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I spiral into such anger that the idea of throwing our television out the window doesn’t seem so bad.  Are they in my backpack from my last outfit change?  No.  Are they next to the couch where I might have kicked them off in exhaustion?  No.  Are they inexplicably under the bed in such a neat and tidy position as to force thoughts of ghosts or poltergeists?  Yes.  Very much so.  The same goes for my car keys (on top of the refrigerator? Really?), my lip balm (under the couch?), and my sanity (yet to be found).

In the event any of these inconveniences happen – or have happened – to you, I ask only that you breathe, find your Zen, and make a plan to rectify the problem.  Snapped necks, stubbed toes, and haunted shoes are no way to go about having a peaceful existence.

Thank you for your time. 🙂

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Endless Sense of Possibility

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When I was nine years old I lived in an apartment complex not too far from where I live now.  It was 1984, the year after my father left.  I remember it being a nice place to live, with a swimming pool and plenty of kids my age to hang out with.  It was a nice area at the time, no gangs like there are now.

One late afternoon, my friend Chris and I were sprawled out on the large patch of grass that bordered our apartment building.  The ground was cool and soft.  It was a spot we’d adopted for times like these: worn out from running and playing at the park across the street.

four-leaf-clover2

“You’re really bad at playing catch,” he said to me.  He wasn’t trying to be cruel, just insightful.

“I know.  I can’t play sports.”

“You can, you just have to practice.”

No amount of practice would ever make me good at sports.  I was thin and wiry.  My features were girly – soft jaw, feathered hair, skinny neck.  But I was friendly, and I had a sincere disposition I’d gotten from my mother.  It made me feel good that Chris had faith in me.

We were on our stomachs, picking at the small clovers that hid in the grass.  It was a way to pass the time while we caught our breath.  Then it happened, the unexpected, a rush of elation that made me sit up.  “Oh my god!” I shouted.

“Did you find one???”  Chris was up now, on his knees.

We huddled close.  There, pinched delicately between my fingers, was a four-leaf clover.

I felt such a pure and profound sense of possibility.  In my young age, my naiveté, I truly believed I had acquired three wishes.  It was like believing in Santa Claus all over again.  The world opened up to me.  Chris and I sat and actually discussed what we wanted, as if we’d wake up the next day and be a sports here and millionaire, respectively.  We wished for our families to have whatever they wanted.  We wished for more wishes.  We wished the day would never end.

I remember hurrying to show my mother what I’d found.  She was so pleased that she suggested I tuck the clover into a special place, right away, for safe keeping.  “Inside a book,” she said, “on a page you’ll never forget. How about the dictionary?  Under ‘lucky.'”  I did exactly that.

The next day I was not a millionaire.  Chris was not a professional baseball player.  We were not living in spectacular mansions.

Funny, my wish now, as an adult, is to experience that feeling again.  That sense of vast, unlimited possibility.  The rush of being completely free of responsibility.  My life is wonderful, and I certainly have no complaints worth mentioning.  But to be carefree?  To not have those hurdles ahead?  To not be confronted, everyday, by adversity?  It’s interesting how your wants change when you become an adult.

Childhood is gone.  The magic of a four-leaf clover doesn’t exist.  I am curious sometimes, what I would do if I happened across another four-leaf clover.  Would I feel that spark of possibility?  Would I place it into the safe page of a book?  The pessimist in me says “Let it go, Sean.”  But the optimist in me says, “There’s a little possibility in everything.”

Process?

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So, fellow writers, I’m curious about your process. More specifically, your “rotation,” if you will.

I tend to work on several short pieces at the same time, but obsess over getting ONE finished, so that my other work suffers, my novel as well.

How do you work this out? Do you focus on one thing, including edit and rewrite, then you call it a day?

Or do you work on several things at once, going back to each piece as necessary?

Or do you have your own, unique take on how to get work completed?

I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom: New Year’s Resolutions

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Well, 2014 has arrived.  You have to admit, if you really think about it, it’s surreal.  When I was a kid in the 80s, the idea of the year 2000 was mind-blowing.  It was unfathomable.  Movies had us believing cars would fly, skateboards would hover, and phones would be hand-held (one out of three isn’t bad).  And now, here we are, beginning our 14th year of the 21st century.  Pardon my French, but that’s some crazy shit.

I’ll be 39 this year.  That’s another uppercut to the jaw.  How on God’s Green Earth did I make it this far?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased with this (though my crow’s feet and love handles might disagree with me).  I’m alive.  I have a great relationship.  I’m striving for better things.  I’m an intelligent human being!

So why, in retrospect, have I managed to not achieve or do the things I’ve set out to do so many times before?

I know why.  It’s because, in being human, I’m riddled with faults.  More than I care to count.  I’m like the Bonnie and Clyde car after their final shoot-out.  How, then, to go about fixing it?

First of all, I will accept the understanding that their is simply nothing to “fix.”  To perpetuate the idea that I’m broken…well, that is nothing but a set-up for failure.  What I will do is make an honest and genuine attempt at making decisions that will better my present and my future.  This means – you guessed it – making resolutions.  And what’s so wrong with that?  I see some of you rolling your eyes. The idea of resolutions give us pleasure, even if short-lived.  It gives us a sense of purpose.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I’m sure the list will grow as time marches on, but I’ll share a simple few here.

1. Writing.  I love to write, this is not a surprise to many of you.  My output of said writing, though, hasn’t been up to par.  In fact, it’s been lousy.  In the past, I’ve put pressure on myself.  Quantity over quality.  Style over substance.  I shoved myself into a little box: “Get Published!”  I refuse to do that to myself in 2014.  Would getting something – anything – published make me over-the-moon happy?  DUH!  But what I’d like to achieve, more than anything, is to produce quality work I’m happy with.

2. Health.  In the past, I’d have easily written ‘exercise’ over ‘health.’  I used to work out to get thin – that is, after all, the socially acceptable goal, isn’t it?  It’s tenfold in the gay world.  I’m by no means out of shape, but instead of a golden vision of six pack abs, I’m now seeing that ’39’ blinking at me like a red light warning.  Translation: You’re not getting any younger.  At my age, exercise and diet are to maintain my health, not to see how big my biceps can get.  Granted, I am pleased with how regular exercise can change my physique, but that’s really just gravy.

3. Friends & Socializing.  There are two main functions to this particular resolution: to be a better friend, and to make new ones.  I’ll admit it, I’m an awful friend.  I don’t answer my phone.  I don’t return calls.  I flake on social gatherings.  And for what reason?  I could go into a lengthy, psychoanalytical description about why I am the way I am, but what purpose would that serve?  To be a better friend…well, that will take some fine-tuning and I will blog about that accordingly.  To make new ones?  That will mean getting out there in the world, and I’m not quite sure how yet, but it’s becoming imperative.  My intellect needs stimulating.

I like to think these are favorable resolutions.  

Of course I could have more grandiose ideas: Buy a new car!  Save $10,000!  Adopt a baby!  Save the world!  These, however, are the resolutions of a pure optimist, something of which I’m still working on.

I will say, that is one aspect of my life that has improved with aging: despite all things, no matter how difficult or eye-gougingly frustrating, my optimism has definitely begun to outweigh my pessimism.  Ah, the fine ingredient of any practical resolution!