You’re Not Dead version 2

I have noticed myself having a hard time accepting that people can do obvious things, such as walking. It’s probably just because I have spent damn near a sixth of my life in a wheelchair.

Oh yeah: that’s a thing. I have been in the chair for five years as of the 30th. Well, at least unable to walk. I guess it could be argued that I first used a wheelchair in February when I went to that aquarium in Toronto, and had done nothing by lie in bed for four months.

ANYWAY.

My point is more that, as people get make assumptions towards things I can do, I find myself surprised at what they can do. My wife and I have been apartment searching as of late, and our search has been limited due to steps to the door with no wheelchair access available. I forget that people do not have to be concerned with things like that. I forget that even a flight of stairs that travels up one story of a building is of no consequence to an abled. The threshold can be up a foot because people have knees and are able to get up that no problem.

I have a similar, but not as extreme, issue with the apartment I am in right now. There is a CM-high lip to get into my unit. I am able to get over it no issue usually, but it does create a challenge in the event I am carrying groceries, laundry, or packages.

On the flip-side, so I do not always bitch and complain how hard life is, watching someone who does not use a wheelchair try to do ANYTHING is the funniest thing ever. Everyone knows you push the wheels and propel the wheel, but there is almost always a moment of confusion that casts over faces whenever an able bodied person gets into a wheelchair for the first time.

AND GOD FORBID YOU COAX THEM INTO SOMETHING MORE COMPLICATED!

Anyone who has spent a few hours with me knows that I love to pull wheelies. Just stationary ones, and even then I am far from impressive. I THOUGHT. My dad tried to pull one after fixing my breaks up one day and fell backwards instantly. I had to hide my face because I could not hide the smirk that traveled across my face.

In anewsinPublication news, people who sign up on Patreon before the month is out at $3 or more are promised a copy of the revised and updated You’re Not Dead.
WITH THAT SAID:
I am still working on fixing all the things I placed awkwardly in the pages of that book. I have already added several pages by just explaining things properly. Who knew that if you write things well, they turn out decent?

ANYWAY: Next month I am releasing the first chapter as the ansP release. I will not be sending the Patreons anything until the book is done, and then they will get the book in its entirety.

Advertisements

That time they messed up…

A few years ago, a bunch of friends and I went to see Animals as Leaders and Between the Buried and Me in Toronto. I came with full expectations to have my face melted and my pride to be destroyed, but I left with nothing shy of unbridled hope.

CAFO, and this should shock no one, is one of my favourite songs of all time. It starts with a bang and never really lets up, not to mention that is has one of the strange syncopation bits dead centre of the song. My goal, before I ended up in hospital, was to learn every bit of that song. I knew full well that I would never perform it for anyone but me, but by jove! It would be such an accomplishment.

AaL jumped into their set and I was far from disappointed. Every accent was a perfect match, every solo was nailed, every motion was beautiful.

By the time they got to CAFO, I was expecting them to have already called it a night. I could not believe the stamina, not to mention the level of dexterity, that I was baring witness to. Sure enough, CAFO was going beautifully. I could not believe how fast every member had to be to keep up with the incredible pace already set by the recording, and they had amped up the speed for stage.

For those who know what tempo is, they moved the slider up 40-50 BPM faster than the recording was. To match that speed with the single=stroke rolls present in the beginning of the song is, for lack of a better term, stupid.

Then, they got to the part I could never quite match. They could not do it either, and just made a bunch of noise to mask the drummers flub. Some would say that it was a disappointment to witness a hero fail at a performance.

I was elated. I could not have been my pleased to see a mistake in my life. It was at that moment I realized that the person I put on the highest pedestal was just that, a person. It sounds stupid: foolish even. I argue that we are all guilty of idolizing someone, and we all need to remember that they are just people, even if they are the best at something. They had to become great, and were potentially worse than you when they started.

That is not to say that you should give up and never try, just be easy on yourself. know your limits and do not get too discouraged.

With all of that said: it is not a bad thing to think that you are not good enough! In fact: I would argue that no one ever is good at anything, but can always get better at it! The biggest catch is to not give into feeling inadequate and giving up. That is always difficult, but just realize that there is always better.

Take drums, for instance. You could be the best at what you play, held on high as the epitome of what is possible in the genre. Then, you come across Maps and Atlases, or Chon, and realize you strive to be the best over in that world, as well. So, you start at the bottom of another ladder that is totally unrelated to where you came from.

Now, that may sound daunting and debilitating, but the point is that you should enjoy the journey. There is no end, and you should not try to find one. That would be boring.

I am exploding

I need to take next month off from ansP, Not because I don’t have anything, but because I want it to be good.

I have written so many different ideas, but I am not happy with any of them right now. I need the month to tweak and skew to make everything perfect. I will make sure that December will have a release,

So, yes: the title is a mild hyperbole. It perfectly describes how I am mentally feeling right now. Too many ideas, no follow through.

With all of that said, people backing me on Patreon for enough for early releases will be sent the rewrite of You’re Not Dead in the next month in absence of a release next month. I rewrote several pages and added some, as well. I feel like I released it too quickly and need to work on it more. As it stands, I am rewriting what I can in haste, and if I get enough interest, I will do an updated release in the next year. After that, I am going to never touch that book again. I am done beating that dead horse, but I need to fix some before I can let myself leave it forever.

Seriously: in the first few pages, I walk to the car, put my cup on the counter, walk to the car, grab some music, and walk to the car to drive away. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT I MADE SUCH A STUPID MISTAKE?!?!?!

Update Time!!!

I usually write blog posts by Monday and have short stories lined up for at least a month. For the first time in a long time, I find myself with a totally empty cue. That is not because I am lazy, but because I find myself with too much in my mind to make a coherent post.

I have written and rewritten this post several times. I refuse to leave you hanging for another week while I sort out my personal life and try to find even a stand of something interesting. Therefore, I am writing this! Is that not super exciting? I know you are having a hard time containing your sounds of enthusiasm and glee.

Know what? I’m just going to put the developments that have come, in rapid succession, over the last week.

  1. I found a new way to step! To make it more exciting: I KNOW THAT IT IS THE RIGHT WAY! I have been walking with my knees locked for the last year. I knew it was wrong, but I could make it KIND OF work for the few steps that I needed to complete when using the washroom or going to bed. DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A BEND IN YOUR KNEE WHEN YOU STAND?!?!?!? I did not. It seemed counter-intuitive to me. Why, when you are trying to stand, would you bend your knee? What is this magic?! Then, my wife mocked me for stepping like a pirate who has seen better days and explained the mechanics of the leg further than anyone has explained them in the past. Please keep in mind: she was a parapoligic for about a year and re=learned how to walk herself, so she is allowed to make fun of me. Well, let’s be frank, anyone can make fun of me so long as I know that it is in jest. I digress, I can now take a couple of more steps. Still no where near not needing the chair for open spaces, but things feel a little more comfortable AND I feel less silly. Oh, and my knees no longer feel like they are going to explode out of my flesh. So, I guess that’s a good thing.
  2. AMAZON REJECTED ME! By that, I mean the thing I was trying out. If I want to be paid by Amazon for advertising for them, I have to collect sales in my first “X” days. A fair number of them. In a reality that surprises NO ONE: I didn’t even get clicks for the links that I had made available to the public. I do understand Amazon’s wish the govern this, seeing as they already have thousands of people advertising for them. This increases the importance of devices like Patreon to make sure that I can keep doing this. I love writing, and I am always trying to find new avenues to do it. So far, the short stories are going well, and people seem to enjoy them. At least, they do to my “face.” WHAT A GREAT SEGUE INTO POINT THREE! segue is a stupid word.
  3. Story three is taking a lot longer than I wanted it to. I wanted to write something completely original. Like I mentioned in a recent post, I want to dissect and rewrite an old story idea I had originally come up with over ten years ago. In trying to do that, I have come up with literally HUNDREDS of premisses and intro paragraphs. All of which I get so far, then they fall apart. I have written most of them down in a document so I have them in case I need them later, but I am feeling the heat as I want to have the Patreon supporters their copy in just over a week from today.

So, yeah. See how not one of these points are longer than a few lines? Each would make a good blog entry if I could expand it further than just a few lines. I prefir to keep things at more than just a thought or two, though I do realize how just one thought would make things easier to follow.

DAMN MY MIND. BACK TO THE GRIND.

heh… that rhymed.
And so did that…

The Profits of Boredom

Ironic sounding title, but I owe a huge bit of gratitude for “boredom”

I starting writing because I felt, probably unwarranted, that I had found everything that could express my views on life. When I found myself restricted to a wheelchair and, with the kind of damage to my brain that lead to epilepsy, I started to write. It started with my views and opinions based around what happened so I could become okay with it myself, because it was very unexpected. Then, I started writing to fill my time. I really do not care if other people like what I put on the screen if I am entertained by it.

Thankfully for me, there is an interested community for what I have written, and it seems to grow with every release I make. It is a kind of masturbation: a way to relieve myself of my artistic drive, now that drums and touring are no longer an option.

I recently found writings I did when I was in high school. There is one, in particular, that I plan on cleaning up and creating a narrative around. As it stands right now, it is nothing more than a snapshot of where my mind was over ten years ago. In a way, the piece was my introduction into the world of fiction writing. I remember that I just finished reading Dente’s Inferno, and I absolutely played the “I’m 18 and I am deep” card, but I still enjoy the basic premiss, and still use it as a type of template for what I write.

Now, am I still writing exactly like I was back then? Hell no. I would write simple journal entries as entities that never actually existed. Most of them are just depression fodder and fed my need to express my distaste for the world as a whole. Now, I strive to explore a side of the human psyche that may not ever get expressed. I want people to look at situations they are in and think about how, if they were a little more detached, they might react differently. I want to expose human flaws and call into question the societal norms that we all feel pressured to display.

***
So, I wrote this piece all because I was listening to the band with the greatest name of all time, “…and you will know us by the trail of dead”. I got into this band when I started working in a record shop and was looking for something new and not scream-y to put in the store payer. I did some research, and found out I could play that band with the amazing name. I was initially caught off guard with how ’90’s alternative they were. They were kind of that band I did not know I was looking for. I started with the album “Source Tags & Codes” but any album they released is joy to the ears.

Please allow my digression: I was going through all of my music when this song came up. I immediately loaded the full album and wrote this all out. My point being, music very much influences my writing style and mood.

Side note: this link is for the vinyl, and I wish I had that. If you purchase it (or already own it), let me know how amazing it is.

I Despise Steps.

I have been putting a lot of thought into what exactly helped me become (somewhat) adapt at using my chair. I still vividly remember the first few solo voyages being one of the most terrifying experiences in my life. The feeling of a complete loss of control is not a feeling you forget easily.

I hate to be that guy, but using a chair is definitely just that 2-syllable word that has fucked up many across generations: PRACTICE. I went from using an electric chair to a manual one, and that transition was, for lack of a huge backstory, easy. The power one obviously used less effort and was great when I was quadriplegic, but the manual chair is just so… so… Well, the power chair weighed 175KG and my current chair, while it does not fold, weighs 25. I guess the word I was trying to avoid is CONVENIENT. That word paints such a distorted image, so please allow me a moment to explain.

A power chair is great if you need it. If you have no use of your upper body, or are primarily on your own, they make navigating the world effortless. Learning from a power wheelchair was also handy, for me, anyway, because it allowed my body to get used to a different type of movement.

A wheelchair is very different to a car. A car you know that you are moving, but if it was not for the windows, your moving at such a high pace that everything seems gradual. Almost as if it is motion you are meant to be going at. The driver is (hopefully) always in control and, yes it would be a bad idea, you can bail out whenever you feel like it. Riding a bike is similar to a car from the standpoint that it is intentional, yet chosen.

A better comparison for a chair is a skateboard. You can control the movement, speed, and trajectory. However, it is a lot of fuckin’ work, things can mess with the flow you have going very easily.

Take going down that hill in your hometown: smooth in a car or on a bike, but it would not be great if you were on a skate or longboard. If you hit the crack the wrong way, you hit the ground.

Okay… that may have been too extreme of an example. It does work, in a strange way. The attraction to a skate/longboard is the perceived control coupled with immense speed. It does not change the fact that one mistake ends the fun very quickly and causes immense amounts of pain.

The hardest thing to let go of is something that I struggle with to this day. The ability to let go of all control and let someone else move the chair. As mentioned, my Wife and I recently went to Canada’s Wonderland. That place is huge. She had to push me a total of three times, and she had to talk me down from protesting through beads of sweat and clouds of dust a total of ten times: more than she did push.

Now, to make it clear: I am not a man full of pride and arrogance. There is just something innately dehumanizing about the practice of pushing someone who does not need it, and to accept that you need it is similar to admitting defeat.

I have heard people complaining about walking with someone in a chair that it is slow, but one has to remember that for every step you take, I take two. I may not be walking, but I am pushing with both arms. Really, that is truly where the electric wheelchair is fantastic: going out and about. There are also power assist wheels that just give a small boost to the user to make everything easier, but those are bloody expensive.

While doing the limited research I had to do for this piece, I came across the video. Cheesy at times, but very fascinating!

Do you have tips or tricks for using a chair? Please, pass them along! Leave a note in the comments!

*******

ansP News

I have the next two months worth of stories written. The Patreon’s who have set up payment of $3 a month get a PDF copy as of yesterday. Check your e-mail. If you have not received your copy and you were supposed to, let me know

******

No Amazon stuff this week. Instead, check out this live stream of really chill beats I found.

Books I read? REHASH [Now with links!]

I AM BRINGING THIS BACK
NOW BETTER THAN EVER!

The second of anewsinPublishing got released yesterday, so I have been too busy getting the advertising ready for that. I hope you all liked it! Hannah is a good friend of mine, and it feels like she has been one for many years. I truly loved the piece she submitted! The next one (which is to be released on the first of October) is one that I am very nervous to share with all of you. I have NEVER written like this before.

At the bottom of each blerb is a photo of a version of the book, that is actually a link to the Amazon listing for that book. Give it a tickle and consider buying it. It helps me a lot.

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 visceral 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 specifics 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. Disgusting, 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
Fantasty. Next!

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…

I FORGOT ONE IN THE INITIAL LIST!

Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey

Probably the darkest, yet still the funniest read on this list. I am embarrassed that I forgot to put this the first time I did this list. It contains the same insightful outlook that you would find in something like Without A Clue which, for those who do not know about that classic movie, is a look at the mystery genre through the eyes of an idiot. The story follows a man who kills killers by accident. My description does not do it justice, but just read the first few pages and you will fall in love with this endearing, twisted, yet still fantastic read.

***

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 October first, as well as announcing the next piece.