Sometimes reality just feels like a twisting cyclone, an image-wild hurricane with a rare and momentary peaceful eye glowing at its center. I wish I could find that paradise more often. Life can be so chaotic. So many of us are waiting for that idyllic scene to happen where you’re on a cavernous porch rocking back and forth on a sweet summer day. You’re on a white swing with someone important next to you, and the sunlight looks like a lyric from a Lana Del Rey music video. In this dream, you’re so calm you fall asleep like a statue. In actuality, these moments of peace only exist for more than a few minutes, but then again, they’re not supposed to go much longer. The earth keeps spinning whether you’re happy or sad. This is good, because peaceful moments eventually become boring to have just to yourself.
- Do you ever feel sorry for you computer? My laptop died last year, and I haven’t bought a new one, or gotten it fixed. We have a spare desktop that runs very slow, and still uses Windows XP. Recently, they’ve stopped updating Windows XP for many programs, including Google Chrome. My computer struggles to run this basic search engine. I can feel the virtual memory being bogged down, like a half-paralyzed dog dragging itself across the grass. I want to put it out of its misery. I want to put it down. I can hear the hard drive spinning tirelessly, like a black hole on some sort of vacuous deadline.
- The book I’ve been reading this past week was The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy. I met Benjamin Percy in-person at a reading at NHCC a few years ago. He also was the guest of honor at a convention I’ve attended in the past. I was excited to start reading his new apocalyptic take on Lewis and Clark, but I could only make it about 30 pages in. The guy is a great writer and storyteller, and a heavyweight in the writing community. However, his prose is so thick, it’s like wadding upstream in a muddy river, only skeletons and mutants have replaced the sediment. Sometimes, I think as writers we are hypnotized by the notion that we cannot describe an image in a simplistic way. We have to make it original, unique, and exotic. The byproduct of this cliche-dodging obsession are massive sentences, which could be small pieces of Flash Fiction by themselves.
- I’ve been watching Enterprise recently on Netflix, which is the prequel to the original series and all its spawn. Not a bad show, though the setting and style of the show is what really stands out. You’re not piloting through space wrapped in clean strips of magical technology, which glow along your hull like undiluted light. The original Enterprise ship is bulky, unwieldy, and symmetrically plated like a stretched turtle shell. The diesel engine is gone, but its overgrown metallic skeleton remains, like primitive echoes to the underbelly of a truck. Everything looks big and awkward, like the practical use of technology has outpaced the Feng Shui. This environment seems more realistic to me, which is logical since Enterprise takes place just a century from now. Time can give you a feeling of kinship with these science fiction and futuristic television shows.
- Besides suffering from severe depression, I also deal with seasonal depression as well, which I mostly contribute to living in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. There are many variations to depression, like the shades of physical decay that take place on presidents after eight years in office. I’ve almost bottomed out with it. Pretty soon, I’ll start climbing out of that thought-numbing pit of introversion, and back into the world of the living. I always feel like Ed Harris in the Abyss when he falls off those rocks and hangs like a wingless angle over the deep.
- I’ve been hearing dark murmurings of the polar vortex returning to the Midwest over the next week. That scares me because the last time that frigid cage was wrapped around us like the paws of frost giants, the entire world wouldn’t move. I remember out driving one night during the polar vortex, and noticing that in the searing blackness light didn’t even like traveling. The normal trails of headlights and stoplights were still and cautious, like a lone deer about to enter a sharp sheet of underbrush.
Here is a quick list of what I published last week. First, I wrote a Flash Fiction piece about a prodigy being imprisoned in a mine for being different. Second, I wrote a nonfiction piece about our obsession with the apocalypse in popular culture. Third, my wife had a new series of pictures go up in her photography column. Fourth, I wrote a little blurb about love.
Thank you for reading. Have a great and safe week!