Another week concluded. Another week started. Sometimes, I feel like the modern world is just one hollow metronome swaying back and forth like a dead bird’s trembling skeleton along the side of a highway. Medical studies say most heart attacks take place Monday mornings. We get up. We go to work. We come home. We get ready for work the next day. We sleep. We get up. We go to work. We do it again. It’s sort of like this dance class I took in middle school where we learned how to waltz. Not a single kid was interested in doing it. We looked like a bunch of those inflexible wooden figures you sketch in painting or drawing class to get proportions.
- I’ve been thinking about Midgard recently. Not the realm of humanity described by Norse mythology where Odin and the giants wander when bored. I’m talking about the Midgard from Final Fantasy VII. Google an image of it. Midgard is a futuristic city, which glows with phantom energy in an industrialized circle of dark metal and teal lights. I’ve been thinking about this city, this luminescent gem of gaming lore, because I wonder if it could be real someday. Within the game, this city uses human souls as electricity. Would we actually do this if we had the opportunity? The sky is dead and black above Midgard, like the natural world doesn’t think this city deserves sunlight.
- This last week I played Mario 3D World with my stepsons for family game night on the Nintendo Wii U. My youngest stepson started the game without us, after being incessantly reminded to wait. In a diabolical move, I quickly joined the game as he paraded unapologetic through the bright and colorful world of snapping flowers and wayward pipes. I turned into the harbinger of pain, the hooded executioner, and the evil stepfather who stifles youthful vigor with an iron fist of doom. In the Mario game, I constantly grabbed my stepson, and threw him off any nearby cliff. Wherever he would go, I would chuck him off the pixel-landscapes, and into the cartoon void. “Off the cliff. Guess what? You’re going off the cliff. Say hello to the cliff. I do believe that’s a cliff. Another cliff. Off the cliff again. Did someone say, cliff?” These were my typical maniacal eulogies. I did this until everyone else was ready to play. I’m sure he probably dreamed about precipices, smiling clouds, and the terrified howl of Mario trailing into oblivion.
- Little disappointed by the news that Star Wars Episode VIII has been pushed back. Of course, this isn’t a surprise. Disney will want as much breathing room between the next film and Episode VII. The hype will have buckled people’s souls at this point. They’ll be crawling to the theater gasping for explanations of Rey and Luke Skywalker. I’ll be right there next to them. It’ll look like that big pile of snarling zombies from World War Z.
- The cold broke here in Minnesota like a bad virus. The air isn’t searing anymore. I feel like I’m not being preserved for spring. It’s always a little concerning when nature starts to adopt cryogenic-like tendencies. Now, we’ve hit those January snows that silently drift out of the sky like bits of lost piano music. They look like pieces of heaven being shaved apart so the sun can meander through the overcast. The best part of this winter light could only be the way the evergreen trees glow. They’re living luminescence, like beacons to spring and summer, when the greenery wraps around every willing piece of concrete in a verdant hum. They make the world warm, but it only lasts a second.
- A really cool and rewarding thing happened to me at my reading on Thursday. After reading my piece I Can’t Change the Sunlight, and the program ended, a woman came up to me afterwards. She looked afraid to talk, yet, excited, like something serious was molded to the tip of her tongue. It was weighing her down. I could see it shaking on her eyes. She was a friend of mine who I seldom see. I was surrounded by people at the podium. She knew some of them like my wife, and a few others, but there were strangers present too. Despite this circle of awkwardness and unknown, like the lunch table on your first day at a new school, this woman came up to me and said: “Your nonfiction really inspires me. I really like it. And, actually, I think I might suffer depression too.” Page views and money are great. I want to support my family with my writing. However, when people comment on pieces about their own issues, or approach me like this at readings and admit deep emotions, I feel the hope for our entire species for just one second. All those spinning molecules hidden in our cells and painted across space stop colliding for one celestial moment. Hearing that I’ve helped people is the greatest gift I could get. So, thank you everyone who continues to support me and my stories. I couldn’t do it without you.