Author Archives: kingpollux

Writing as a passion

Writing (both fiction and nonfiction) is a passion of mine. I delight in it. I am driven to write by an internal furnace of desire.

It is frustrating when technology inhibits my ability to write instead of enhancing it. I can’t wait to get my computer set up so I can get back to writing at full speed.

For now, however, I am writing by hand and on my phone. This post, in fact, is being typed up on my cell phone. All of my recent posts, in fact, have been written on my phone. I can type pretty fast on a tiny little touchscreen, but nowhere near as fast as I can on an actual keyboard.

Writing is my passion. It is my dream to someday be published as an author. In order to better realize that passion/dream I am planning a break from the internet (if only for a day or two) to refocus and get down to the actual task of writing.

See you all on the other side.

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Preparing for the insanity of NaNoWriMo

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I have participated in National Novel Writing Month (with varying degrees of “success”) every year since 2013. This year I have a pretty good idea about what I plan to write, but it needs polishing.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a writing challenge that takes place every November where thousands of writers write a novel (at least 50,000 words) within the month. I recommend it for most writers interested in a challenge. While I don’t think the 50,000 word minimum required to “win” is a huge challenge, I try to focus on the concept of finishing a novel manuscript in under 30 days. That, to me, is the real challenge.

In the past I’ve put a lot of stock in “over-achieving” (which just means writing more than 50,000 words during November). This year, however, I’d be more than satisfied just to complete a novel or, at least, get a really good start on a novel. 50,000 words sounds like a lot, but most novels are longer than that (often significantly longer).

I’ve always been a “pantser.” That just means I do only very minimal planning and let my novels just “flow” out of me. I have tried to be a “plotter” or an “outliner” and it just hasn’t worked for me. This year I’m going to do more planning than I normally would do, but still figure the novel I write will be fairly off-the-cuff.

Anyway, back to working on my idea(s).

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

-Lykeios-

It is important to resist

There have been a lot of screaming headlines about Trump this past year and a half. Some of them are accurate and helpful, others are clickbait and can be ignored. It’s hard to know the difference at a glance without first identifying which media outlets deal in real, hard-hitting journalism or what Trump and his “alt-right” people like to call “fake news.” To be clear, there is such a thing as fake news.

That being said, don’t trust Trump’s word on what is and is not fake news for a microsecond.

It is important to resist the surge of white nationalism/supremacism, nationalism in general, and open hatred that has occurred since Trump announced his intention to run for the presidency.

It is important because it reveals your character and what you believe. Those who do not resist (in some way) are tacitly approving of Trump and his followers. Whether you support Trump or do not, saying nothing creates the appearance that you don’t care one way or the other. You can believe wholeheartedly that what Trump and his supporters represent is wrong all you want, but silence implies consent in this case.

Let me step back for a moment to clarify something.

Resistance does not (necessarily) mean going out and protesting in the streets. Resistance can take many forms. It can be in the things you choose to post/share on social media. It can be in what you say. It can be in what you do.

There will come a time when talking won’t be enough, but for now, at least do SOMETHING.

If you are a Trump supporter at this point I don’t have much to say to you, if I am to be completely honest.

For those of you on the fence about whether to support the president or oppose/resist him. Well, there isn’t much of a fence left thanks to Trump and his “make America great again” people.

It is important to resist.

Thanks for reading. As always, have a great day.

-Lykeios-

On Living with Bipolar…

Or whatever it is that is actually “wrong” with me.

Since I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I have mostly tried not to think too hard about it. Other than the practical way of thinking that comes from worrying about staying on the proper medicine and whether or not I am becoming manic/depressed, I haven’t really sat down to think about what it means for me to be bipolar. Many people talk about mental illness like it is a big shadow looming over them at all times. For me, it isn’t quite like that. I don’t often think about my “illness.” About the only times I do think about it is when a post about mental health/mental disorders comes across my Facebook feed, when my wife brings it up, or when my mom texts me to make sure I’m staying on a given medication and am doing okay. I don’t feel as if there is a shroud or miasma of unhealthiness hanging over me. It is just part of who and what I am.

For me, bipolar disorder has mostly become occasionally worrying about whether I’m becoming hypomanic or manic. I don’t worry as much about depression because I don’t have a “traditional” or “standard” presentation of bipolar. For me, my bipolar becomes an issue mainly when I soar up into mania. My mania is such that it quickly becomes dangerous for me. It isn’t that I become a danger to myself or others, but I have, on two occasions, become psychotic as a result of mania. Fortunately the medication that I am on keeps that from happening these days.

So, for me, bipolar is largely sort of an undercurrent. It’s always there, but I don’t always think about it. It’s there in the way I sometimes over analyze how I’m behaving, checking for signs of hypomania. It’s there in my wife’s reassurances that I am not acting manic or hypomanic. It’s there in the pill I take everyday before going to sleep. But it is (fortunately) not some huge black cloud ruining my life or keeping me from enjoying my life.

I don’t say this to diminish or downplay the profound and crippling effect bipolar disorder can have on many people. It can and often does cause someone’s life to implode (or explode). It is a serious diagnosis to deal with, but it shouldn’t define those of us who have it.

Thanks for reading, have a great day.

-Lykeios-

Broken Computers Everywhere

So, the laptop I was using to write my latest novel crashed last week. Which means I may have lost an entire chapter (sadly I was dumb and didn’t back up the writing as I went). The desktop I’m supposed to be using, while not “broken,” is not set up yet. So, I am without a computer.

While I should probably keep writing by hand I haven’t yet. That’s a little sad because I usually enjoy writing by hand. I think maybe I’m still sulking over that lost chapter. At some point I will rewrite it (hopefully soon), but for now I’m just focusing on work and other stuff at home.

This brings up a good point though, if you are passionate about something you will find a way to do it. When I think about it, my obstacles are relatively minor. There are people in this world who don’t own any computers and never have. Fortunately, as I write this, I am getting the urge to break out my journal and start writing again. That’s the nice thing about having a passion, you really do find any way to keep doing it.

Anyway, I have to go to work soon and the Big Bang Theory is on.

Thanks for reading! (Now get back to what you’re passionate about.)

The Outernet

As a species we are becoming more and more comfortable living our lives on computers, cell phones, and other technological devices. We spend less time outdoors than ever before. Our friendships are often virtual. Our family relationships are governed by our ability to interact on social media and via text message.

This isn’t a post about the “evils” of the internet. I’m not someone who would ever advocate for less technology. The internet is great. It does keep us connected. It puts new learning at our fingertips.

That being said, I do think I should spend more time away from my devices. I’ve found that I get immense pleasure from communicating face to face or writing by hand (*gasp* yes, with a pen!) or going for a walk. I think everyone could benefit from stepping away from the internet. We should explore the outernet (i.e. The “real” world).

However, I do think we need to stop thinking of the internet as somehow not a part of the real world. It bugs me when people say “IRL…” or “in the real world.” The internet is a part of the real world. Who you are online is who you are “in real life.” You don’t magically change just by staring at a screen and pecking away at a keyboard. Sure, we might behave differently or speak differently online, but that’s just another mask that you wear. Even in the meatweb we wear masks and behave differently based on who is watching us.

The outernet is beautiful. It’s visceral and real. The internet is beautiful in a different way. If we could see all of the different connections between all of the computers (and by computers I mean anything with a computer chip in it) the result would be an amazing web of strands connecting almost everything around us. Even buildings can be computerized. Just remember that, though the internet is part of the real world, it is still not biological. It isn’t a substitute for actually doing things and getting exercise.

The outernet is where we touch, feel, smell, eat, drink, copulate, etc. etc. etc. It is where we are meant to be. We are evolved to be out in nature. We are not evolved to live in a digital world…yet. We’ll get there, but for the time being, get out in the outernet and experience life.

You’re rarely as good as you think you are

You’re writing the next big seller? You’re going to be in the next big blockbuster? Great, now prove it.

Most writers, actors, and other artists aren’t as good as they think they are. I know I’m not. It’s the blunt but honest truth. If you’re going to make it in one of these fields you need someone (preferably yourself) to keep you accountable and honest. If you think you have the ability to be the next big hit then think again. Be as objective as you can when you look over your work. Take off your rose-tinted glasses. Have someone else (another writer, a layperson, an editor, it doesn’t matter) look at your work.

You aren’t as good as you think you are (unless you are, but I’ll come back to that later). There is always room for improvement. Encouragement is always good, but don’t fill yourself up with self-congratulatory nonsense. You don’t have to be your own “worst critic,” but be realistic about your abilities. Practice the things you struggle with. Rewrite that manuscript. Perform that scene again. Paint another landscape. Keep going.

I’m at the stage where I have a few manuscripts completed and I’m bracing myself for a long haul of editing and rewriting. Then comes the slog of submitting my work to agents and publishers. My wife is in the same stage. I know my writing isn’t up to snuff yet because she constantly tells me “your writing would be better if you did x” or simply edits the crap out of whatever I’ve just sent her to peruse.

Also, you need a team. You need people who will encourage you when you’re upset and people to bring you back down to earth when you get too proud. Artists do not live in a vacuum (though many of us would like to sometimes). If you want your hobby or passion to become your profession you need to work with people. You need people to give you their opinions. Why? Because you’re going to go out there and showcase your work to a much larger audience. So prepare yourself for that.

Do smaller things. If you’re an actor take that small background role or that commercial gig. If you’re a writer start a blog and set it up for monetization, write an article for the local paper. If you’re an artist, take commissions. Etc. Some artists have this idea that their work is some sacred, holy thing that must not be sullied by the exchange of money. Well, that’s a damn good way to end up in the poor house (assuming you’re not working two other jobs to support yourself). Drop the pretensions. You should┬ábe paid for your work if you’re as good as you think you are.

Now, if you really ARE that good then why the hell aren’t you raking in cash? You should be rolling in it. If you’re genuinely the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling then get yourself published. If you’re the next Sigourney Weaver, Ryan Reynolds, or Meryl Streep then get out there and land some big roles. Also, why are you sitting here reading this crap? Go do the thing.

Finally, if you’re the sort who is their own worst critic: take it easy on yourself. Get someone else’s opinion before you discard your latest effort to the trash heap of broken dreams. Keep working at it. There is no such thing as “talent” there is only practice. Practice beats “talent” every time.

Anyway, I’m finished now, so go do something. I know I’m going straight back to my latest manuscript.

 

 

A White Boy in Downtown Part 3: Meeting the Family

This happened a day after my first experience with crack cocaine.

I'd apparently successfully proved I wasn't a cop, because Teardrop greeted me with a "Hey! white boy!"

——————————————————

I walked up to the makeshift tents in front of the Pov with a giddy, adrenaline feeling in my gut. This was exciting. The danger, the fear, the exhilaration. It's a thrill to say the least.

Teardrop, and the hulking tall and well-built black man with a touch of gray in his coarse, wiry hair, calls out to me. I'm already getting used to being referred to as "white boy." Really, it makes sense, I'm about the only white 22 year old around.

I greet him and he immediately hops in my car. He directs me to a motel a ways south on G street. When we get there he knocks on the door. To my surprise a woman answers and, once she determines who it is, she opens the door.

The woman has clearly seen better days. She's skinny, almost evacuated, her skin is sun darkened (but she's definitely white), and she looks at least 40 or 42. I'm introduced to her and we enter her motel room, which is surprisingly clean. It's then that I find it she's a hooker (should have known).

She's introduced as "Rose" and I tell her my name. Teardrop jokes about how I hadn't even told him my name the night before.

Then, we get down to "business."

The glass crack pipes come out (sometimes called "stems" because they're just straight tubes of glass). I ask what the wadded up ball of stuff is in the pipes.
"That's Brillo, white boy, can't smoke rock without Brillo," Teardrop explains.

They take their hits and Rose passes her pipe and asks if I've ever smoked before. Teardrop tries to stop her from sharing (he seems genuinely interested in keeping me off crack) but I say "No, I want to try it more."

So they give me a little piece of rock and teach me how to smoke. First, you melt the rock into the Brillo then you tilt the pipe down and pull the lighter farther away (so you don't crack the glass) and pull the pure, thick white smoke into your lungs.

Again, the high is really good, but not what I will experience in the future. I get a little more chatty, a lot less nervous, and definitely more relaxed

We spend the next few hours chatting and passing the pipes around until the crack is gone. At that point I decided I should head home (it's late, around 3 AM).

On the way home I think about the cool people I've met so far and about how good the high feels. A small part of my brain warns me I'm enjoying it too much, but I shush it.

Yea, that wasn't my first or last mistake.

Woah!

It has been TOO long since I wrote on here!

I am planning to return and completely revamp my blog.

Please excuse my crazy behavior when I first started. I was still a little manic.

I hope all my followers and readers will return and check out my future posts.

Thanks!

Why I still listen to punk rock

One day I happened to mention to someone that I really enjoy punk rock. What was this person’s response? “Good luck with that.” The first thing I thought to say in return was “Fuck you man!” I didn’t, though, it just wasn’t worth it. I don’t listen to or support many of the ideals of punk rock because it’s popular. I don’t listen to it because it is unpopular.

I listen to punk rock because it means something. The fire of passion in these songs that I scream along with speaks to me. It’s not about thrashing in a mosh pit or starting fights or shouting “Fuck the police!” It’s about life. It’s about wanting something more than the normal, the standard. It’s about feeling that passion about something.

Lots of the bands I listen to are politically fueled. They write and sing their songs for a reason. They’re advocates in their own way and many of them aren’t afraid to join picket lines.

Another reason I like the punk ethic is the DIY attitude. This is something lost in some modern punk rock I think. The pristine recording quality found in modern studios just doesn’t hold the same punch as the gritty, shitty recordings of Misfits or Sex Pistols. Sure, I listen to well-recorded punk rock, but it’s the do it yourself part that speaks to me. Something about accomplishing something with your own two hands is powerful. There’s an energy to be found in crafting your own jacket or shirts. Hell, even spreading bleach on a black tee can mean a lot to me. It’s easy and it’s messy and it’s punk.

 

It’s about anarchy. While not all punk music is about anarchy and not all artists are anarchists, many of them are. I do what I can to carry a little anarchist tradition with me wherever I go.

So sure, wish me good luck. Tell me some platitude because you think punk rock is dead. I’m still here and the fight isn’t over.

Raise that black flag high in solidarity!

 

 

 

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