Sometimes, I think about the personality stereotypes associated with artists and writers and how they’re represented in popular media. Crazy, incomplete, wandering, idealistic, unrealistic, and poor are just a few words I’ve used to describe myself at holidays when a family member asks me what I’m majoring in or doing. In the past, I’ve had to make excuses for being a writer. I have some self-deprecating shame about it all, like I don’t want to take myself seriously. One exact conversation I had with someone five years ago went like this: “Oh ho, I’m a writer, but I’m also a bank teller, because you know writing isn’t a serious thing or nothing, ha ha ha, heh, ho.” I’m not sure why we’re punishing ourselves for embracing our passions and dreams, but society does its very best to make us uncomfortable with everything. Recently, new acquaintances have asked me what I do for a living, and I say: “Writer.” They usually don’t know what to say.
- With my stepsons recently, I’ve been watching Courage the Cowardly on Netflix. I’m not sure if I could find a more nightmarish show on television for children to watch than this hapless canine trying to protect his owners from a parade of abominations. In all my studies of horror and dark fiction, I have never witnessed such a galaxy of monsters. They include cannibalistic humanoid pigs, homicidal egg plants, aliens, chickens from outer space, possessed treasure chests, haunted television, and my own personal favorite, a crocodile acting agent who peruses the parched wasteland with a gaudy talent show. If you participate in his production, where the Spanish reptile praises you wildly for being an actor, you get turned into wooden puppets by some haunted webbing living in the walls. I’m not sure how you get there as writer, but I’m jealous.
- I’m a James Corden fan after being up late with babies to put to bed on the weeknights. I love Steve Colbert, though I’ll admit I liked him much more as a fictional conservative pundit on Comedy Central. James Corden has a unique format to his show, along with an insanely infectious personality that legitimately seems happy to even be in existence. Every segment, sketch, and interview James Corden does is literally overflowing with energy, like a nuclear reactor glowing wild with radiation in an 80’s action film. This type of life cannot be underestimated. The ability to insert unbridled and unrestrained passion into every fraction of your work is rare.Well done Mr. Corden.
- If you took any of the Ghost House’s from Super Mario and inserted them into a modern day horror film, you’d have one insane movie. Since I play Super Mario fairly often, like twice a week or so with my family, I’m exposed to these pixel landscapes with mock walls, doors, and rooftops. I always wonder how these settings would fair in reality, like Peach’s bright castle with green lawns gleaming like they’ve been blanketed in some supernatural fertilizer. One thing is for certain, if a Ghost House from Super Mario was real, it would be a certified hell house. Empty doors, traps, ghosts spinning in bleached circles laughing at you in the gloom. The moaning ache of withered metal gates echoing like a skeleton turning in its casket. Haunted pianos chomping the air in rabid snarls of tangled minor chords. Giant ghosts watch you from the shadows, and if you turn your back for a second they try to devour you with a phantom maw the size of a small truck. Yes, this could be a convincing horror film.
- My wife has been sick recently, and she has been drinking her weight in tea. I was looking at the bottle of honey next to the coffee maker. I wonder how many places those materials have been to be made into that bottle? The petroleum made to forge it, where did it come from? What faraway state or country had it been pulled and dissolved from its earthy belly like unwanted stomach acid? The paper glued to the bottle, what forest did it come from? Was it a slit of ancient skin off of a majestic Redwood on the other side of the country? Has that paper watched the crumble of a thousand different human civilizations? Whenever I think of all these raw materials made into our consumer goods, I think about those scenes in Avatar where all that bare energy gets pulled together into one effervescent stream to bond the world together with mystical links. If only rampant capitalism had that sort of elegance to it.
- We’ve hit spring’s first waves against winter here in Minnesota. There is moisture everywhere. It’s on the road. It’s on the trees. It’s on the air between blackness and streetlights, like some smear of an impressionist painting. It’s billowing out of the natural world like some sort of specter who was chained-down in solitary confinement. It’s everywhere except where it needs to be, which is in my skin. When you look at the splitting seams of flesh along your knuckles, like you were some unfinished doll from a factory, you think winter is literally peeling me apart.