Yeah: you can judge. I am taking the next couple of weeks off. I am burnt out again. I had a couple of personal hits that I do not wish to discuss. I am getting everything sorted over the next week, and until everything is finalized, I cannot move on. I am sorry.
This blog post commends my 200th permanent blog post on WordPress! If you are one of those strange individuals who follow my every post, I’m sorry. If you just feel the urge to check in every once-in-a-while: I am also, very sorry.
I kid. I play. Thank you all so much for lending me your eyes as I type out whatever is on my mind.
I know that I have digressed hard from my initial regiment of posting about wheelchair life and my personal condition. It is not from lack of new information, just from me being far too overwhelmed at the incredible pace that everything moves at. I hope that I will have something substantial very soon.
As I have mentioned, the story from Hannah Jordan posts on the first of September. It is fantastic, and I am very excited to share it with you all!
As far as life things go, the biggest news that I have going right now is: I AM STILL ALIVE! Is that not cool?
Speaking of not being dead, You’re Not Dead is no longer in production. It is still available on iTunes, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Play, but nothing physical will be released again. I am sorry if you wanted a copy, but THANK YOU to those who picked one up!
Anyway, I will let you carry on with your day. Have a fantastic one!
Oh: to those keeping track. This marks 8hrs after my first anniversary with my beautiful wife. Also, exciting news: TOMORROW IS HER BIRTHDAY! So, please, leave love for her in comments and on social media.
There is something rather troubling when you get no feedback versus bad feedback. If someone hated your work, then they at least read it and felt strongly enough to say “that was crap!” before moving on with their life. When there is no feedback, you worry that what you produced did not touch anyone in anyway.
I remember playing shows and intentionally ruining a song or two just to find out if someone would call me out on it. Ironically, those shows were always met with reviews praising us. I say ‘us’ because I did that with pretty much every musical outfit I was with at the time.
What is the point that I am trying to drive home? Read the story, and respond how you see fit. Share with friends and tell them to read it ONLY if you see that as a fit action. Tell me you hated it if you hate it, but please tell me why. I am doing this to better my writing, and I will not learn anything if I am just left to my own devices. ESPECIALLY not now, being as I am editing my own work. If something is crap, if it does not blend, if the timeline of events is off, please tell me. There is a good chance that it was NOT on purpose.
Now for an explanation of this post: I did not know what to upload with this week. I have a couple of topics I would like to explore, but it became Friday before I even wrote the first word of this piece. Please forgive me.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I fixed the PayPal link on the last article. So sorry about that.
EQUALLY IMPORTANT: There is a hint of what’s to come up on the anewsin Publication page for September.
Joel drove up to the coffee shop despite the horrid conditions outside. He listened to the torrential downpour while he sent Elaine a text message. It simply read “I’m here.”
Her reply was even more simple: “here.”
He exited his car and ran as fast as he could to limit how drenched he would become. Any other evening would have been much preferred for this rendezvous, but duty calls.
Joel could not even observe the building through the rain. The drops fell in thick white sheets and he tried to limit his exposure to them by pulling his sweater over his head. The lights of other buildings and the street lamps made it clear just how hard it was raining, as the precipitation created a halo in their glow.
Elaine met him outside the building under an overhang. She was damp, but she had obviously been covered long enough to mostly dry off.
“It’s a mess out there: I almost crashed a million times.” Elaine confessed. She said this absent minded while she drained more water from her ponytail. She smiled at Joel. Joel thought her smile to be one of the most beautiful things ever. “How did you find driving over?” she asked earnestly.
Joel strained as much water from his clothing as he could.
“It doesn’t matter.” He said with a smile.
That smile quickly faded.
“What’s up?” he asked her with a serious tone. He was annoyed by her demand to come out, but he would do almost anything for her.
Correction: he would do anything for her. She is his best friend and most important person in his life.
“I just missed you. It’s been two years. I know things have changed, but I still care so much about you.” she responded and gestured that she would hold his sweater.
“I got it, thank you.” he responded. Joel wipes his hands over the sleeves to pretend to get the water off. The action was fruitless.
He chose to leave the time reference alone.
“Anyway, how do you take your coffee now?”
“Just black, thanks. You inspired that.” she replied while opening the door to the coffee shop. It was very busy in spite of the weather. Almost every table had a patron, most of patrons had a warm drink.
Joel walked up to the counter to order two black coffees while Elaine found a place to sit. This order made his life easy: no need to remember orders, or worry about giving someone who ordered black the cup of someone who ordered just sugar.
The clerk was an old woman who had obviously been doing this very job for far too long. Her hair was grey and disheveled. It was Joel’s assumption that she was at the end of a very long shift.
“What do you want?” she asked, as if Joel was disturbing her. He chose to ignore her brash tone to avoid an issue.
“Two black, no sugar.” He replied quickly in a matter of fact tone to avoid additional questions. He did not enjoy confrontation, and he rarely felt like dealing with brash expressions of self-righteousness. He, over the years, learned to keep distance from such situations. He knows he would just say the wrong thing if he “poked-the-bear.”
He stood at the counter while the old woman turned and started pouring the black-gold into paper cups. Joel had been to this provider of warm beverages a few times, and the coffee was decent. In fact, he would argue that it is the best the city has to offer. That, unfortunately, was not saying great things about the city.
Of course, that appraisal does not include the coffee he could make. It was the best ever. This was a fact that was never proven, but Joel knew it true. He assumed no one would argue him if he said that, seeing as he drank literally dozens of cups a day.
The woman placed the paper cups on the counter. Joel picked up the cups and marched over to the booth where Elaine was sitting. It was closer to the counter than he would have liked, but there was no reason to sit by the window.
“How have you been, really? The hospital stay freaked me out. I’m sorry I didn’t come to visit. You know: Mother Life.” Elaine launched into conversation right away, talking quickly while effortlessly avoiding stuttering and slurring. Joel was thoroughly impressed. He could barely say his name without screwing something up, and he thinks that he speaks well.
Joel waited for her to pause before he jumped in.
“I’ve been good, all things considered. I have made a couple of friends out where I moved, and they took care of me when I needed them to. My house is ‘not-bad’, even though parts are rotting away where I stand. The TV is terrible, though. I still need to do something about that. How have you been? How’s the little one?”
“Good!” Elaine replied excitedly.
She ended that thought very quickly. The two of them sat in silence and filled the awkward tension by sipping at their coffee.
“So…” Joel broke the silence after a minute or two. He was starting to feel mildly used.
“I think I love you.” Elaine burst out the revelation. “I have for a long time. Known: that is. I know I have a child. I know things have changed. I also know you still have the same morbid sense of humour and the same bleak outlook.” Her eyes glazed over and she started to look almost behind Joel, as if looking at his face would make everything harder: make everything more real.
“I miss those things. My ex was very ‘PC’ in most ways. It was the next best thing to impossible to go a few days without him making me feel horrible for saying something I thought was hilarious when, in all actuality, I was just trying to find an excuse to laugh. I missed having you to call. I missed having you around the metaphorical corner. I missed our time together. Over time, it developed to just missing everything about you.”
Joel was not expecting the explosion of feelings. He was silent for a while after the confession and just stared at the not-wood table between them. Elaine was afraid she said too much. It was clear by the panic in her eyes that she was afraid that Joel did not feel the same.
Joel took a long sip of his coffee, cleared his throat, and tried his best remain calm. His response started in a very quiet, almost whisper. He never took his eyes away from the surface between them.
“Do you know how long I loved you? Did you know that when we were driving down country roads together, blasting music we enjoyed back in high school, I wanted to hold your hand?”
Joel struggled to stay calm and his voice became frantic and his volume increased slightly. He finally lifted his eyes and stared straight into Elaine’s.
“Did you know that I found you the most beautiful girl I had ever seen? You vanished. You ran away. I spent literal years going over and over conversations we had in my head to see if I could find what I said to make you no longer want to come around.”
“That’s really not fair!” Elaine shouted as a sullen look fell over her face. “I loved you then. I have done the same thing: tried to find out what went wrong. What was said. What I did.”
They both looked at each other with mortified expressions. Their eyes were both tearing up with a combination of relief and anger.
“You know I’m sick, right?” Joel’s voice dropped back to a whisper, yet his eyes never came off of hers. “You know that I will never be the person that you deserve?”
Elaine’s eyes dropped again, and Joel felt very awkward but thought he was keeping his composure very well.
Joel spoke after a moment of silence. His voice was calm, but he sounded as if he could start screaming at any moment. “I can never be sure of what is real and what is not. I am assuming this is all reality: I am assuming this is the way that I see it.”
“Joel: you’re passed out.” Elaine responded, suddenly very calm. “This has never and will never happen. You just want it so badly. In ten minutes, you won’t even remember this. Fuck, you know that you might never see me again.”
Just then, the room suddenly vanished and all the people went with it. Joel and Elaine were just suspended in black, illuminated by an unknown pale green source.
“Why?” Joel pleaded, half at Elaine and half to the world. “I just want my friend back. I just want to talk to someone from my past.”
It was no use. As soon as Joel realized that it was all in his head, Elaine froze in time. Her beautiful eyes went cold and lifeless, and Joel could feel tears rolling down his face as she slowly disappeared into obscurity. He was left alone with his thoughts again. He wanted out. He wanted something. He was confused, upset, and lonely.
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?”
Joel screamed into the abyss as the tears continued down his face. He had started to sob uncontrollably.
“Even in my dreams I am FUCKING PATHETIC!”
The black space around him seemed to absorb the echo of his confessions.
Elaine slowly dissolved into the background starting from her face.
Joel was alone.
He lay down onto the not-ground. There may not have been a floor, but something cushioned his body. His face was pillowed by his arms.
No one came to his aid.
There was no sound.
Only a deafening silence.
In a city, somewhere, a heart monitor lets out a piercing squeal.
In a city, not far from where you are now, a girl’s heart breaks.
I hope you enjoyed my attempt to write a fiction. Please support me on Patreon.
I am proud to thank the few people who continue to support me in every way.
If you wish to support this piece, but do not wish to fight with Patreon, here is the PayPal link where you can offer what you want.
Yes, I am updating on an off day. I am itching to remind you that the first anewsin Publication “Elaine” comes out Sunday! I hope you like it. I am working towards releasing a teaser for the next release, and will make sure to have that ready by August. It is written by my good friend Hannah, and it is very beautiful and dark and just… I LOVE IT SO MUCH! *insert a bunch of gargling noises of approval here*
I have also updated Patreon to have two new tiers. A $3 offer to receive anewsin Publications (from now on referred to as ansp) early, and a $10 tier for bragging rights. So, please check out my Patreon with an open mind and an open heart.
In the week before the first short story launches, I thought I would post some of my recommendations for other pieces to read. Now, to not delve into a rabbit hole, I am sticking to one book per author (in cases I love more, I will simply let you know what to read.) and I will also be keeping graphic novels and comic books to myself. There is just simply too many to list, and I do not feel like creating a war around fandoms. I simply do not know enough myself to justify why I would stick to one name or publisher over another. This does not even mention having to dive into the hundreds, if not thousands, of different issues.
1984 by George Orwell
I am going to start this list off with a classic that people have either read, or know out of its impression on the world, as a whole. The description of this horrible world that is too close to the one we live in now is what attracted me to this book. It describes things in our modern world almost too well considering that it was written over 50 years ago. Details are verseral and almost disgusting, but the book always maintains a glimmer of innocence. Please note that I said innocence and not hope. There is little to no hope in the world that is constructed by George Orwell. I love this book.
jPod by Douglas Coupland
Hilarious in the most bizarre way. The book follows a collection of programers at a video game studio based in Vancouver, Canada. With that said, the location does not actually matter all that much, the tale focuses more on the strange, yet relatable, experiences of one member of the tea, n particular.Pot, lesbians, and normality is the bread and butter of this tale, and if that does not even skim the surface of what is in this strange tale.
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
My favourite book, by far. I cannot go too far into spacifics without giving away parts of the plot, because it is hard to pinpoint what exactly is a spoiler. Maybe it is because I know the ending I am saying that, but it is one of those tales that you can figure everything out in the first 100 pages, if you are really good. Disgustng, beautiful, demented, hilarious: this book has everything. I want to recommend it to people who enjoyed Fight Club, but it belongs in Sci-Fi just as much as any other genre.
Wheel of Time by Brandon Sanderson
Okay, I will put a little effort into this. Think Lord of the Rings without being so impenetrable. It is a series, but it is good enough to keep reading past the first book, yet light enough to make it feel like you are not wasting braincells on trivial details and non-sense. No offence to LOTR fans, I love those book. I am most saying that if you like LOTR, you should have already read these books. If you did NOT like LOTR, I get it: reading those can feel like a never ending slog to figure everything out. Especially when you finish the main trilogy, find out and read the Hobbit, the realize the Silmarillion exists, then the extended universe created by the games and movies…
Oh, there are many more, but none stick out like these. This post was inspired by To the Salt of the Sea. She publises some amazing works and I am a huge fan of her. Show her some love, tell her I sent you.
Also, remember that I am publishing a short story on the first, as well as announcing the next piece. Without saying too much, I can say that it is amazing. As soon as I have the first bit fixed to where we are both happy, I will be posting a sampler for you to see.
NEWS ABOUT YOU’RE NOT DEAD
As I was writing this, I got word that it has been two years since I released my first book! With the contract I signed, physical copies will no longer be pressed as of the fifth of July. Digital copies will always be around.
I got about 200 words deep into this topic, when I decided to look back at my catalogue to see if I had done something like this before. I had. I feel silly.
One thing that I did not talk about (because I was not faced with it yet) are the fucking cabs in this city.
I, to those who did not realize, used to live in Hamilton. Now, I live in Burlington. You can actually see Hamilton downtown from my living room window if you can look past all the buildings.
It’s behind Ikea.
What I did not and could never expect was how different the cabs were. Regardless of time, Hamilton was there to make sure you had a wheelchair taxi at your disposal. Four AM or four PM, you were covered.
Burlington, on the other hand, almost pretends that people in wheelchairs do not exist after dark. Accessible cabs do not exist after eleven, forcing you just to give up and go to bed.
Stores have wheelchair ramps and doors, but it feels like it is out of obligation. Rooms are never designed to fit a chair, main door theshholds are always too large, and everything is horrible.
But, enough of me wincing on about that. What about political?
There are laws in place to protect people who find themselves, whether acute or not, in a wheelchair. Are they enforced? Fuck no. There are government buildings where automatic doors open the wrong way, there are a plethora of ramps that are to steep, and God Forbid you have multiple disabilities: the job market cannot handle it.
For example, I am paraplegic and epileptic. I have searched for a job. I wold love a job. My body is too unreliable. No, employers cannot discriminate about your disability here. They can find other avenues, however. They can stress the fact that you cannot leave your post until it is time, health condition be damned. They can point out pitfalls in layout and pose the question as “… but that will not be an issue, right?” The point is taken.
I fully admit that I have a limited scope in dealing with this kind of bull. Between knowing that I am the only disabled person in my building and knowing that, no matter how much I really want to, I cannot go back to my old job, my ego is fractured into one-thousand pieces.
….and do not get started on government assistance. I have had a right bitch of a time getting medical coverage for the two medications I need and STILL do not have any coverage.
What really hurts me, and I double checked that other article, is people who knew me before still assuming I could (at least half) do what I could before.
Or people who never knew me before assuming that I am using my disabilities as a kind of crutch.
Oh, there would be a special place in the afterlife for people like that, if one exists.
NOW THAT I HAVE GOTTEN THAT OFF MY CHEST!
anewsin Publishing is having its first release on the first of July. I have updated the Patreon to include an awesome perk that if you donate just $3 a month, you get the upcoming story early! I hope you like it!