Slap Yourself, You Deserve It

Do you ever take a good, long hard look at that person in the mirror? No, not when you’re getting ready or seeing if you have anything in your teeth. Just stop some time and look in the mirror with no reason or motive behind it. Now, what’s the first thing you do? If you are anything like me, you are probably assuming the role of some fashion, appearance or weight loss judge. I realized this increasingly over the past year, but I pick apart everything I see.

Quite frankly, it’s miserable and not to mention stupid. Oh, and I’m not talking about just me, this goes for anyone with the same intention. If you look in the mirror and the first thing that comes to mind isn’t happiness, then this is your slap. Here, <!@*SLAP*@!> (that’s the best I can do for you). Mind you, don’t stand in front of the mirror out of pride or vanity. That makes you a douche. Guy or girl. Don’t let your looks or build be the thing that distinguishes you.

When you look at your reflection, find the positives that make you, you. There’s no need to be a critic, you’ll most likely have people filling in that void throughout your day, silently or vocally. Why be on their side? Seriously, f%@# them.

It started as I stood in front of my mirror wondering why I am blessed with my father’s eyebrows yet my mother’s ability to grow a beard, then it hit me. Who else doesn’t like how I look? Followed by an immediate response of, who cares? My wife doesn’t, my friends don’t. Who am I trying to impress? I’m not famous. I’m not in the public spotlight. My Facebook friends? Please, I doubt that anyone could come at me with anything that I couldn’t either shrug off or turn the mirror around and ask, “really?”

So, today, I’m lighter. I’ll slowly shed this criticizing monster that lives inside and focus on who I am and who I’m striving to become. I write, and I write pretty decent. That’s a strength that I’ll recognize when I look in the mirror next time.

Who will you see? What are you proud of doing? Think of your job. Does it make you happy? Do you see the differences you’re making? If you dig and dig and can’t find it, I hope that you know what your passion is and fulfill it in the meantime. Otherwise, you’ll be one of those people out there. You can see them all the time, the life light in their eyes barely flickering. Their self-loathing has consumed and spilled out on the people around them or whomever they encounter. They are the ones that feel life owes them something while doing nothing. They are the ones that forget to say things like, thank you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, hello and goodbye. They are the ones that drive like the road is their own and you should bow out of their way (yes, I’m talking to the man in the red Nissan who was a dick sack on my way to work this morning. You, sir, were a giant asshole).

Point is, be the person you can look at and see the good on the inside, not necessarily what you see on the outside (although, do take a little pride in how you look. Everyday is not Wal-mart/laundry/stomach flu day. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and put on clean clothes… after you shower). If you pick, pick, pick then do me a favor and slap yourself. Make it sting at the very least. And then tell your reflection that you deserved that. Also, if you are a vain d-bag, slap yourself a couple of times with the same mantra. Only way to be slap free really is to enjoy yourself just under the point of hubris.

I wrote about this today mainly because it was on my mind. I had no pertinent words of wisdom about writing. Plus, this ranting will get buried in Facebook under about 5,000 posts showing off Halloween costumes and other stuff. So, the audience fallout will be minimal. This week’s stats are low anyhow, haha.

Hope everyone stays safe and has a great Halloween!! I’ve included red Nissan’s dickish behavior below.


Journey of 1000 Miles

I Talk to Inanimate Objects

“I’m finished,” I murmured to my keyboard as I concluded my long-awaited ending.

“Now what?” my keyboard blankly suggested back.

“Shit, keyboard, quit pressuring me…”

Okay, so my laptop is a pushy little bastard, but that question certainly ran through my mind. I had been working in little stints for years up to that point and after setting a deadline, I came to the end of the trail. Once I was there, I expected something, but there was no direction and no more worn paths to follow. I was stranded.

Like most early writers, I assume, we all have an itch that needs scratched in terms of writing. We satisfy our cravings by getting our thoughts out onto paper and when our story is complete story, well, who takes it from there? Well, at this stage, we still do. No one is looking for our work; no one cares if we’ve created something completely by the efforts of concentration and imagination; and no one knows our names. (This is aside from you, mom and dad, love you guys)

We are waiting in the dark and preparing to emerge. For some of us, it will be a persistent movement from crawling to walking into the spotlight. For others, the trail will be muddy and uphill and if we want to make, we’ll have to claw and believe in ourselves like never before.

I am currently learning that editing is the world’s largest chore. The demons on the page are corrupting the literary soul of my work and I am needing to play exorcist to cast them out (“I cast you out!” – Max von Sydow, The Exorcist). Funky placed prepositions or an over-abundance of the same word again and again and again has me questioning if I ever passed an English class throughout grade school. Luckily I have a small team of holy divers that are diligently plunging there way through my work in order to show me what exists beyond my blinders.

Family is the #1 resource to any new writer, followed closely by any long-standing friends. Now, my mother and father will love anything I create. My father will tell me what’s wrong and where my strengths are shown. My wife will be my best critic because she has no need to pull punches or sugarcoat the obvious in her mind. She lovingly points out all of the faults that I have painstakingly transcribed over months of work. My best suggestion to anyone seeking this free editing help is to listen.

As writers and authors, we know what our story is in our minds; but it will take many sets of eyes to show you how other people will see it. I have read my first story so many times that I am like a child on the third round of leftovers for the week, I crave something/anything different.

After I get through my initial edit of catching grammatical mistakes, the second edit that helps me with structure, the third edit that restructures it to make sense, and the fourth edit that polishes and ties one chapter to another; I am finally working towards the fifth (hopefully last) edit where I make sure that I am completely happy from where it starts to where it ends. My best way of editing this portion is to read it aloud. If it sounds good in my ears as well as my head, I think I’m doing the right thing. It tells me how hokey some scenes might be, how overused some words are, and some areas that might get extra jolts of life that have been laying dormant in my imaginarium.

So, I talk out loud. I talk thru dialog to make it run together naturally. I talk to my computer screen, to the radio in my car, to the walls in my house. I look like I’m guano crazy. But I make it work. Each lunatic step helps me edge further.

As I see it, I have climbed the ladder of a literary high dive (and that was the easy part). Now, I am exposed. I’m becoming visible to a small crowd below, getting ready to plunge into the water that will be publishing. Each step of progress I complete gets me one step closer to looking over the edge, toes curled around the lip and holding my breath until I decide to leap. I will get to the pool below where book-lovers, critics and fans will all judge my performance. I hope that when that time comes, I have made it entertaining enough to watch me dive again, faster and with better poise.

For now, I have made it a few timid steps as I work up the confidence to get to the diving point. One thing I will not do is stop moving; I will dive. If I belly flop, cannonball or make it through like a spear, you will see me go up again. I have too many dives in me not to.