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In The Thick of It

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/28/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Ok. I’m going to get to the heart of the matter.

Life is weird. Life is hard. I don’t know why, but I’m going through a blue period.

It isn’t as though there’s any reason that I can discern for it. Life may be hard, but I am living my dreams. I am writing for the masses. I hope to make some money at it someday. My work is being read by more and more people. I am having fun losing myself in the universes that I create.

I also feel alone even when I am surrounded by others.

I somehow don’t know how to react to the taste of success. It could be seconds away from my fingertips, and I would have an attack of nerves. I’d get cold feet  if I had to give a speech in public. Maybe I should just read it in someone else’s voice!

I’ve gotten colder. I’m not going to lie. My inner warrior took over. My mind has been on nothing but self defense and survival for so long now, that I can’t seem to shut it off and just breathe. I can’t put down the sword.

How often does one receive an anonymous gift of flowers?

And how did I forget to breathe when I got that gift? It doesn’t seem right to me.

Plainly, I’ve more work to do in learning to accept friendship, gratitude, love, admiration, and respect. I somehow got the impression that I didn’t deserve any of those things. I’m not going to delve into my past. I’ve already been there and done that. It’s time to move on.

I made a video tonight with new free editing software. In truth, I’m not at all sure how I did it. I didn’t add any effects. I didn’t speed anything up or slow anything down. It just sort of came together and turned out pretty well. My writing is the same way.  I don’t know where the fuck the next sentence is going to come from, but I plunk down one and than another. Before I even realize what I’ve done, I’ve amassed more than a thousand words inside of an hour.

I feel like my life has been that way. I don’t have a plan. I just get up, suit up, show up and hope to goodness that something good comes from my efforts.

Life often fucks with me when I make too many plans. So I have to tread with some care, it seems.

I’m awfully tired lately. I have a short fuse. People who waste my time become nothing but irritants.

And I’m worrying everyone around me. Co workers shake their heads and wonder why I go silent. Friends ask me what the matter is. My parents cock their heads and furrow their brows.

I feel like telling them all to back off.

But I won’t. It isn’t anyone’s intention to get under my skin or to try to make me admit to things that I don’t want to talk about. But the only answer I have for such a question is “don’t give up on me.” I can’t speed this along. I’m obviously in it. I’ll figure my way out of it. I always do.

Though I wonder if I’ve spent my entire life living with such a pattern. Perhaps these mood swings are seasonal in nature. It might explain why I brood so much during the fall.

Then again, maybe I brood because I haven’t yet learned to recognize my own progress.

It’s a lesson we might all need to be reminded of. It pays to take stock, but to focus too narrowly on one single detail can be toxic.

I’ll hold onto my flowers. I’ll keep writing my stories. I’ll keep blogging, recording my voice and making my vids.

I’ll keep trucking. With some better rest along the way, even I might learn to see the bright side of life.

Until then, maybe it’s best if I just get through the obstacles in my way and move along until I give a damn again.

Anyways, enjoy the vid. I made this bad boy myself 😉

 

 

 

 

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My Best Friend’s Visit ..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/22/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

My best friend, J. Marie Ravenshaw came to visit me in New York. I made this video based on the pictures we took together during her stay.

And I love the song.

Hope you like the vid, J. 😉

-A.

There are many other projects in the works, but I was happy to take the time to do this. 😉

Enjoy!

 

 

Have At!

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/16/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

You want a video to indicate how I feel at the moment, have at this one ..

It’s Almost Here!

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

The ideas have been fine tuned. The words are in place. I have finished and edited the content of my book.

All it needs now are chapter names and a title worthy of its greatness.

It also needs a professional editor, of course. I just refuse to send mine utter crap.

Time to save massive amounts of money.

Time to celebrate. My succubus can’t wait to make your acquaintance .. really 😉

Have a video!!

 

Coming Back ..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I’d like to start this blog by saying that I was on a hiatus for a bit. A friend of mine came into the city and I decided to show her a good time. There are pictures. No, not that kind, you sick perverts!

As a result of my mini “staycation,” I stayed away from most social media. I didn’t even e-mail more than once, and that was to confirm that I was continuing a writing project that I started many moons ago.

My writing is going very well, I think, despite all the challenges that life seems to throw at me. I’m one busy motherfucker. I have the cleaning project in this apartment that has all but consumed my life when I am not working. I’m taking a break from that messy business. It’s done great things for this house and for my own mental health, but the process of getting cleaned up around here has been slow, and at times, so fucking aggravating that I want to snap someone’s neck and call it a day. I’m glad I took some time.

But my mindset since I’ve gotten back from that hiatus has been one of purposeful relaxation. I don’t want to delve back into the rat race that quickly. I’ve got to catch up with myself. I’m a bit tired of putting the needs of others above my own. My balance has been off in that respect. It happens. Life hurls its many curve balls at me, I get busy, and I don’t take the time to take care of me. I get sick or I get sick and tired. Those are apparently very different states of being according to my mother.

Cue studio audience laughter.

Parents have a way of making their adult children think about the course of their own lives. My parents are no exception.

A friend of mine engaged me in a discussion this afternoon before work. Of course, it started when the word “denial” came up. The word “denial” immediately puts me on the defensive. I won’t make any bones about that. But my friend, as far as I could tell, was genuinely concerned that I don’t appear to know how to slow down. Our discussion took on several different dimensions of course, but this is the one that stuck with me all the way through work this afternoon. It’s the one thing that I kept thinking about as I hurled myself into my captains chair and tried with utter desperation to bring the fun in.

If I have to try that hard to bring the fun in, perhaps the vacation wasn’t long enough.

But this is not the first time that this has come up in discussion this week.

Another friend of mine expressed concern that I won’t let anyone into my heart.

A third friend of mine seems worried that I don’t talk much.

My co workers seem to think I’ve become withdrawn.

With all these concerns coming to the fore AFTER I’ve just had a vacation, I was forced to consider the very real possibility that people simply didn’t like that I was gone for as long as I was. Even today, people expressed concern that I was in the back of the store at work pretty much my entire shift. My job sort of requires that right now, so I have little choice. But even I have to admit, after so much public face time and customer contact, being stuck in a little alcove in front of an elevator processing returns all day long feels isolating.

I’m beginning to worry.

My parents have put their two cents in. For some reason, their interjections on this subject have made me angry.

My father tells me “kid, you look tired and you work too hard.” Never mind that virtually every other day after work, he makes plans for my time that involve even more home projects that I am getting rather sick of doing. I have to shake my head at chuckle when he does this and then tells me “relax, kid,” as though I’m the one who keeps coming up with all this shit.

On the other hand, this is what my typical week looks like.

I wake up at 6 am monday morning. I prepare for an early work day. I got to work at nine.

After work, I do a load or two of laundry. It takes hours.

After that, I edit my story and try to catch up with my friends.

Maybe, I get some sleep.

The next morning, I do MORE laundry before a closing shift at my job.

The third day is a morning at work. If I’m lucky, I can rest after work this day, except I almost always have errands to run concerning my family. Even better, I’ve got writing projects that I’ve been putting off for so long that I try to do some of them. But my brain is so shot and I’ve had such a tiring previous couple of days that I get very little done. I start to wonder where my discipline has gone.

And then, I do the social networking thing.

Oi.

Thursdays are my last day at work for the week. I want to say that this means I have some fun. I can do that most of the time. But then the drama begins at home. Someone at home always has to make a scene at the end of my work week. Drunken arguing ensues. I slam my door and try not to regret that I came home at all.

Friday and Saturday. These are supposed to be fun days. Of late, they are replete with a lot of work. My cleaning project is foremost on the list of chores. My autistic brother decides to intervene by making noise and complaining when I won’t let him play with my keys. I try to maintain good humor and patience through all of this, but the previous week has been stressful. I compromise on everything. I don’t even get to use my bathroom when I want to this day because my father is busy doing an hour and a half long asthma treatment two times a day in our only bathroom. I’m getting angrier, but I press on because I know that this will all be worth it, right?

Meanwhile, I have NO social life to speak of in this city. I don’t hang out with family. That may have something to do with the fact that they all seem to want to give me advice that I don’t ask for. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been gone from most of their lives for so long that they no longer can relate to me in any other way. Some of them scare me with their sheer ignorance. Others are just living their lives, and we’ve remained separate for long periods of time.

I was gone for ten years. I won’t deny that it hurt some people. But I won’t apologize either. That was my time to figure out some things I needed to know. I’ll ask those of you who bother to get to know me again to remember that.

But I’ll only ask once. I have no energy to repeat myself.

I worry that I’ve swung my katana too hard. I’ve scared people away with my intensity. I’ve intimidated them with my inability to slow down. I’ve elicited concern and, in some cases, alarm from my nearest and dearest.

And I won’t lie. I am tired. So tired.

But I can’t stop fighting. I have goals to meet. I’ve got a life to live. I’ve got dreams.

Are all of these things supposed to fade into nothingness again like they did before? Are all of my own aspirations supposed to take a back seat again because I grow so tired of trying to balance it all on my shoulders?

I can’t allow that. If my ten year absence taught me anything at all, it is that I cannot allow my dreams to fade. I will not allow anyone to tear me away from my writing and my art. I can’t bear the thought that I have to sacrifice those things again so that someone else will think I’m doing something “practical” with my life. FUCK PRACTICAL! Practical doesn’t make anyone smile when they wake up in the morning. Practical is what you reserve for balancing a budget or figuring out how to dress your kids for school while writing a grocery list.

It’s NOT the word you use when you talk of love for something, or someone.

.. I’m afraid I don’t always know what real love is.

That scares me more than anything in this world. All this hard work and all this running around, being fast and efficient means nothing. All this motion and repetition leaves me feeling cold on the weekends. It leaves me feeling rather irritated with most people.

Am I growing colder?

Is exhaustion taking away my humanity? Am I killing my own spirit with too much work and worry?

These are legitimate questions.

The calm of a weary warrior suffuses my being. It is the calm that comes before the storm.

Maybe as I wipe the blood from my sword in my private forest sanctuary, I’ll stick the blade in the soft earth, lean my head upon the hilt and just weep.

 

 

 

 

 

Know Yourself

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/18/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Have fun with this latest post. I don’t have a bouncing ball for you to follow, so my words are below.

There isn’t much to tell.

A lot of good things come to those who get up in the morning, suit up and show up for life. Hard work and discipline help me to surmount the obstacles that stand in my way. I toil, I fix things when I break them, I put things back where I found them, and I try my best to leave the world a better place than it was when I found it.

But it appears that there is yet another lesson to be learned in all of this. Social networking, making new friends, and sharing the ups and downs of life with others have made something crystal clear for me in this past week.

I take on too much.

I’ve been forced to draw lines in the sand with people these last few months. Unneeded drama really does unsettle me. I don’t exercise patience with those who would choose to surround themselves with it. To embroil myself in the “he said, she said” arguments of others leaves me feeling confused, angry, and ultimately alone. I try my best to avoid it.

But even my best efforts can fall short.

I do try to be there for the people who matter most to me. I’ve made some beautiful friends. They all have varied personalities. But I have a tendency to want to look out for people who mean something to me. When I was younger, that manifested in a strong desire to rescue others who appeared “lost.” It even led to what I thought would be my ultimate life calling.

I wanted to be a therapist.

But life happened. Some people came and went. Others stayed. In the last decade of my life, I discovered some ugly realities about people and choices.

Fast forward to my life in New York City. I can count the close friends that I have on one hand. When I devote myself to someone, I remain loyal no matter the cost. But that means that I must watch myself in my dealings with others. I must chose my words carefully. I must not make promises that I know I can’t keep.

Now I’m here. I’ve realized something as I lick my wounds and prepare for the battles that lay ahead.

Among people there may be no such thing as unconditional love.

I’m here to propose that maybe that’s not always a bad thing.

Among my truest friends, there are varied talents, desires, and life goals. It can be quite the adventure to navigate through all of those to get to know these people better as time goes on. The ones who have stuck with me the longest are the ones who are willing to let me get to know them, and to get to know me in turn. These are the ones who listen to me as often as I listen to them. I can’t really say that any one of these friends has a drama free existence. Frankly, my life is replete with opportunity for melodramatic nonsense. But the realist in me wants to know that the people in my life can hold down the fort until I get to the scene of the carnage. The pragmatist in me needs my friends to exercise self awareness, to know when to put up and when to shut up. The warrior in me knows that I can’t be there for everyone all the time.

I’ve lost sight of that somehow, and it bothers me.

My inner samurai seems to have his sword drawn all the time now for someone else’s defense. What happens to a warrior that rescues all his comrades in arms? Does he ever see the enemy coming from the side if he’s busy smiting the pursuers of his friends?

If I am a friend, it’s until you find some way to make me deviate from my course. Those who know me  well are in no doubt of my sincerity or loyalty.

But I do make mistakes. I do, on occasion, open my mouth to switch feet. As eloquent as I can be, I have used the wrong words, and made the wrong impressions. I have hurt other people’s feelings. All I can do is apologize and move on. I can’t be perfect. Nature is as close to perfection as anything gets on this planet, and even it can get under my skin.

Only someone who knows themselves well will understand and pursue what makes them happiest in life. At some point in adult existence, people draw their own conclusions about life, love and the  universe. We all must move through this world on our own, and yet we can’t do it by ourselves.

It is one of the many ironies of my own existence that I’ve stopped trying to puzzle out.

If I meet you along the path of my own journey, the warrior in me simply hopes not to cross swords with you. The friend in me might stop and offer a greeting. As an older brother to someone vulnerable, I’m used to being a protector.

But I am no mind reader. I never was. I must make do with the information I am given.

I make no promises and I tell no lies. In the end, you can all think of me what you will.

I think I heard a movie quote once that sums it up rather nicely.

“Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun.”

The Journey Continues

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/04/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Follow the bouncing wine glass. I’ve got some celebrating to do 🙂

Imagine this.

You take a journey with one man into a dark place.

He meets what he thinks is a woman, who then takes him to the darkest place there is.

He meets another woman who is worse for him than the first.

Time passes for the man, and he meets more and more strangers that help to elicit massive changes in his life.

By the end of trip, the man doesn’t recognize himself. He’s met so many strangers, immersed himself in so many experiences, good and bad, that he is not the same person that he was when it all began.

I’ve taken such a journey with such a man. The man is in my head. He’s a character in my first fictional  book. He has spoken to me of his travels. He has relayed to me his trials, his victories and his losses. He and everyone else he’s met along the way has had something to say about the world in which he is now immersed. His life has been forever changed, and I have had the pleasure of telling the story in a way that only I can.

I finished telling the tale of the first part of his trek last night. The last chapter was written. I saw it, and it was good .. or so I like to think.

The next step of my journey has yet to begin. I like to think I have a decent book in my possession, burning a hole in the memory banks of my computer, waiting to be read by millions. But there is reformatting to be done. And then comes the first round of edits by yours truly. Beta readers may need to peruse my work, and then I get to submit my piece to a professional editor and hope to goodness he or she likes my stuff enough to give it a chance.

Like my character, my journey is far from over. Also like my character, I had no idea that this experience would bring about such change.

Looking back at the rather vague summation of my book, it occurs to me that all people undergo such an adventure. Each day brings a new opportunity to travel roads yet unexplored. Each choice that we make brings about changes that even the sagest of us cannot always foresee. Not all of these changes are going to feel good, but they may all be for the better.

The only constant that I see in life itself is change.

And it is good.

As I read other books, I make my guesses as to how far along the authors are in their own personal travels. When I began to write again after a ten year absence, it almost felt clandestine. It was as though I was passing secret messages along to those who could decipher them. I was doing it in the hopes that someone out there would understand and support my efforts.

But as I began to find others along the same road, my voice became stronger. I rediscovered muscles that had long since fallen into disuse. Anyone who has begun physical training after a long absence can attest to the pain that this can cause, especially when they try to go too fast too soon.

Sometimes however, like a whirlwind romance, fast can be amazing.

It will be less than a year since I grasped my muse by the hand, pulled her to me and reclaimed her. Right now, she takes the form of a saucy succubus with luscious curves, including the horns on her head. She’s a bit like the Mystique character from X-Men, however. She assumes different shapes at various times. All of them inspire me.

And my voice is strong and loud. It is no longer a whisper. Just ask anyone who has heard my voice acting in recent months.

I’ve done many things since my return. I’ve reviewed and judged the writing of others. I’ve helped others to edit their own work by lending my voice to their characters, adopting them and making them my own for the briefest of times. And I’ve written until my eyes crossed and my fingers cracked under the strain of repeated typing.

I’ve also founded a blog that I love, undertaken social networking, and made some friends that I know will stay with me on this beautiful and harrowing journey.

As of last night, I finished my first book, and I am proud as can be. I’m aware that my quest is far from over and there are many forks in the road. I think I’ll take a different path and explore short story writing again. I miss writing vignettes that inject fear into your veins and trap it in there like a rat locked in a wooden box.

It’s time to revisit Nox Arcana, turn off the lights, bolt the door, and scare myself to death.

Wanna go for ride?

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