#The52Project (16) – “Write an essay on the topic of Writer’s Doubt.”

The beast of Not Believing has lived with me a long time.

As far as I can tell, for all 22 of my years on Earth, it has lurked deep within my being, hungering insistently for the destruction of my fragile, but genuine love for language itself. Although it only shows its actual face on rare occasion, in the quietest hours of the night, I can always make out the sound of its breathing: a cruel, rumbling snarl that swears no word, no syllable, no letter I’ve ever typed has merit, a piercing cry that says my work has never been worth reading, a sharp roar that strips away any semblance of accepted self competence.

No matter how constant or concerted my attempts to do so – and believe me, there have been many — I have not yet found a way to destroy the backing soundtrack of my imagination. I don’t think I ever will, truthfully. The same sounds have tortured every producer of prose before me, and will almost certainly repeat in the heads of those after, as well.

But I have found reprieve from all the noise and from my inner demon in the moments when the words lying before me come alive, singing a song I will never hear anywhere else. Sometimes, I can catch a snatch of it after a particularly satisfying sentence, or following a turn of phrase. On extremely rare occasion, it even plays in full at the end of a finished piece.

Where and when I encounter it, though, are far less important than what, and what it is is some combination of honed passion, honesty, and vulnerability, traits shared by all writerly voices, but finally clicking together in an arrangement that resembles no one else’s. Something that is mine, and mine alone.

In those moments, I have won. I have quieted the beast inside of me, able to drown out its shrieks and yells with my own voice – not the voice granted to me simply by virtue of speaking or writing or birth, but what I instinctively know to be, beyond anything else, my voice. This must seem like such an odd, and perhaps even hollow, way to claim victory over what is destined to be a lifelong nemesis, but the knowledge that such a thing – a voice, authentically my own — even exists reminds me why it is I keep struggling with language, all doubts be damned.

True, a voice is not a guarantee of a work of worth, but no work of worth will ever exist without a voice. And in these moments, brief and fleeting as they may be, I know again with whole hearted-certainty that I might one day have both.

I simply have to keep at it.

#The52Project (15) – “Write a wrestling promo.”

Pro wrestling has a long, long tradition of guys using packaged segments to talk. This action, known as promo cutting, is essential for revealing motivations and building storylines, as well.

Everything – including parallel and egregious/repetitive name dropping – here has been done intentionally, remaining as faithful as possible to actual/real life wrestling tropes. Cutting promos is a chance for me to blow off steam irrationally, in a way I would never present myself in my normal writing. Have fun with it. 🙂

I did.

Continue reading

Orange is The New Black Character Power Rankings

I could write volumes on Orange is the New Black – what it means, what makes it such a great show in the first place, my thoughts on season 2, so on and so forth. Instead, though, I’m just going to drop some thoughts on the various characters, based mostly upon quality of acting performance, character depth, and general tolerability/likability. [SLIGHT spoilers from Season 2 has factored into these rankings, but takes a back seat to entire body of work.]

Agree? Disagree? Enjoy the fantastic 13 episode run that released on Friday, then sound off. Continue reading

#The52Project (14) – “Write a letter to your soulmate, but it’s ten years before you meet them.”

Hi.

We don’t know each other yet…and in fact, we won’t know each other for a long time, even after you get this letter. It’ll be another ten years from now before we meet, ten years before you discover the embarrassing fact that even at age 32, I still sometimes watch wrestling, and ten years before you even hear my name said out loud. [You’ll probably mispronounce mine. That’s okay, most people do.]

I don’t have the slightest clue where that meeting will be yet — I couldn’t tell you if it’ll happen in when I’m wandering through my new life in Los Angeles, or back home in San Francisco, or at some other, as of yet unimaginable location far from my list of places lived. Maybe during one of those trips that Sebastian is always harassing me to go on and I will finally consent to.

To tell you the truth, when that day comes, it’ll already be at the wrong time, because I was hoping to be married and with kids years long before then. With that goal clearly not met, you will almost certainly find me surly, shy, and distant at first, somewhat guarded and skeptical that I’ll ever find the right person.

Just be patient with me. Being a bit of a slow learner, it’ll take me a while before I learn the far more important lesson: that you are that right person.

I like to tell people I’m an open book — and I’ll probably tell you the same — but you’ll be the only one who gets to scribble in the margins, the only one who gets to read all the chapters whenever they like, and the only one who co-authors the plot going forward.

And though I definitely won’t realize it right away, you will still be that right person, even if — sorry, especially because — you don’t check off all of the “boxes” or qualities I think I’m looking for. [Expecting you to be able to love football enough to diagram plays off All-22 tape might be a bit much as it is.] After all, with me being the over-sensitive, bumbling idiot that I am, and ups and downs inevitable between even the best of soulmates, our lives will pretty much never resemble a perfect fairy tale. Why should you have to?

Besides, adventures are better anyway.