Archive for samurai warrior

Chapter 12

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/06/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

No, my faithful readers, I have not forsaken thee.

I’m simply tired. This has been a full work week. Yet I’ve managed to come up with another chapter for my Serial, Unbreakable. Be sure to read chapter 12, vote for it (because let’s face it, why the hell wouldn’t you?) and then get your friends to vote on my serial, and get their friends and family to sign up, read it, and cast many votes in my favor.

 

Bribery doesn’t work when you don’t have any money, folks, so I’ll have to rely on your good judgment.

 

Fuck that shit. Free Aikido lessons to the next fifty voters.  😛

On another note, it’s come to my attention that links to my current chapter may only work if one is signed in with an account already. This is strange, and not at all convenient. Methinks a conversation with my lovely editor is in order 🙂

 

Adios for now.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Samurai Mode

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/10/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

What have we here?

I wake up. Twelve hours have gone by since I crashed. The funk of the work week had to leave my body, so I showered. The weight of the work week had to leave my soul so I slept.

But my body still hurts. My mind is still full.

And when I open the door to my room, my old man gives me this look like he’s expecting my wrath to explode like napalm. He isn’t scared. He’s braced.

I don’t care. It’s time to go about my business.

The bathroom is hot and it smells. I feel like a layer of grease just settled over my body. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the sizzle of bacon. I would shower again, but the hot water has been turned off. Swell.

Errands need to be run. Bills need to be paid. And .. Are you fucking kidding me? Someone needs to be taken care of again.

I don’t do that anymore. It’s been made clear that I have no authority here. I’d flip them all the bird, but I’m in some sort of hurry that I can’t even explain.

After a short time on the internet, I find some coffee and get dressed. Like a bat out of Hell, I fly from my home, determined not to look back. I got up late, and it still feels like I’m the early bird of my house. I don’t understand it. It feels pathetic somehow.

The first order of business is to go to my bank. I don’t realize it until I step outside, but the humidity hasn’t gone away. New York feels like a Turkish Bath, except for the fact that I can’t walk around in the buff.

I don’t know why, but the humidity just makes me want to move faster. If I have to sweat, I might as well do it while accomplishing something. It’s the same mentality I had yesterday at work. There was no AC there either. The promised repairs on the system hadn’t been made. I wasn’t surprised.

I had a mountain of work to do. I leveled the mountain. I did it with an economy of motion. I did it with few words. There were no surprises.

That’s what a warrior does.

My mind hasn’t left warrior mode. I move across the street with as few steps as possible. I am aware of people only as moving obstacles. I see them in my periphery as I zoom by. Appearance matters little. Speed is of the essence.

But it’s my first day off of work for the week. My mental state flies in the face of that fact. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I understand this. Somehow, I’ll get to the point where I’ll relax.

Now is just not that time.

I make my way to the bank and wait on the line of people. I look behind me once I step inside the building. People walk inside, intent on the same thing I am. They all seek to interact with a machine. That interaction will be the longest one some of these people have with anything outside of their own essence. Why this occurs to me at this moment escapes me.

When my turn comes, I do what I need to do and I leave. No muss, no fuss.

I hold the door open for about nine different people before I even get to walk back outside. Somehow I beat the after work, pre dinner bank rush. I smirk as I step out onto the street again.

But I don’t run my errands right away. There is something else I need to do first. I don’t bother to make sense of it. I just know what I’m feeling. I’m pent up. There is aggression in my steps. There is tension in my muscles. My clothes feel like just another layer of skin. I am already naked to the rest of the world.

Almost.

The exception is my eyes.

I think about this as I thread the needle of my soul through countless other pedestrians on the New York Streets. My glasses are compact, graduated transition lenses. In the sun, they darken. At times, I forget this fact. I somehow hang onto to it today like a lifeline. Why? What is it in my eyes that I don’t want others to see? What am I hiding in the supposed windows to my soul?

As if in response to this thought, a woman stares my way. She’s wearing a form fitting blue sun dress. She’s also wearing shades. The corners of her mouth twitch upward. I can’t help but return the gesture, even as I rush by her like a bullet train with a cracked out conductor.

Is this how New Yorkers interact now? Maybe it’s always been this way.

My father tells me stories about running into friends on the street all the time. I’ve walked with him for years. He used to be like me. When there was a slew of things to do, he did them with a brutal sort of efficiency.

But he got older. Silver and grey encroached on his beard like a reverse oil spill in the Hudson. Somehow, along with that silver came a propensity to slow down and look at every random thing he could in every store that he ever shops in.

It drives me to the point where I grind my teeth and want to stomp my foot in frustration.

Running errands with him will always be this way now. I’ve had to learn to accept it. I’ve also had to learn to say no when I know that the frustration will make me want to kick him in the shins. I don’t know that it’s his fault. He’s retired. He spent 21 years of his life doing a job that I can’t even imagine doing. He’s earned the right to slow down and smell the technicolor flowers.

So why can’t I do that?

The work week has come and gone. Granted most of my work has been fast and somewhat hard on the physical body, I can handle it very well.

But I’m not a spring chicken. I’m in my  thirties, still trying to figure my shit out. I’m trying to launch the life that I want. I don’t want the life that others think I should have.

It’s difficult to get people to understand that part of me.

I’m reconciling all of this as I continue to speed through people. They simply look like columns of light to me shooting out from a flowing blue stream. I can shuck and dodge my way past objects like that.

At times, I don’t want to deal with people, but it’s easier to get lost in a crowd. That irony will always be with me in New York City.

Today is no exception. My quick footwork gets attention from some. The way I’m dressed gets attention from others. I meet people’s gazes, glances, or glares with equal measure. I don’t shy away from anyone’s attention anymore. When I consider that I am editing a book that I hope to get published someday, I can ill afford to be shy much longer. When I consider what I’m writing about, spotting the Naked Cowboy on Times Square in his tightie whities might not be such a big deal. Being a New Yorker almost makes my direct personality a necessity. The reputation that New Yorkers have for being blunt is well deserved.

I came home for a reason. It had nothing to do with family. It had nothing to do with the economy or with my aversion to Midwestern living.

I returned to reclaim my muse. But to do that, I needed to reclaim who I am.

That process is never easy. It’s taken me a year of living here to remember the parts of me that I loved. Like a defragging, I’ve had to sort through and remove the other parts of me that no longer serve.

The most straightforward part of my psyche is also the most unnerving. This is my inner Samurai.

In the moments where I speed walk along Times Square and find the wormholes that let me punch a hole through the world, I am in Samurai mode.

In Samurai mode, I don’t waste time. People have called me ninja. I used to think this was cool. But I realize now that they only call me this because I move when they’re busy standing still. I act when they are busy reacting.

I get from point a to point b when people aren’t even paying attention.

If I do this to you someday, it won’t be because you blinked and I seek to dazzle with preternatural speed. I’m simply in my Samurai state. Since it seems I can’t walk down a NYC street without being noticed, I can’t really be a ninja anyway. But I can still move too fast for you to catch. I forge ahead with purpose. I exude the strength of my will. It seeps from my pours. It crackles like electricity. It strikes like forked lightning through a turbulent sky.

I do this because I must. I have to get beyond the confusion and mediocrity of my past. I need to surge past the static waters of my immediate surroundings.

I will make my way to the future. If it means we befriend each other along the way, then so be it. You can either raise your weapon and join me on the road to your own future, or you can stay out of my way. In samurai mode, I feel no compassion. I sense no sadness from others because it doesn’t register. I have no mercy. Those things slow me down. They keep my wheels spinning at the times when I want to be skimming over water or soaring  through the air.

In samurai mode, I won’t stop to mourn you if you fall.

If nobody else will unclip my wings, I’ll use my sword to unclip them myself.

I will draw blood from God himself if he tries to stop me.

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