December 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
To understand a person and how they came to be the person that they are today (though you never truly understand a person) you have to trace back to every day of their existence. Every day is a brick, a chair, a room with a trampoline as a floor since my lifehouse can have that, its my lifehouse metaphor. You may not understand the theme of this article by me only giving you a little bit of background into my upbringing, it simply will not suffice, but I can try.
I was raised by a single mother from the time I was 3, though I am sure she was always raising me alone from the time I was born, since my father had other places to be. I have one sister, four years older, and she was cursed with a curse that all sisters have: She is a girl, and girls, especially ones that are four years older, do not want to hang out with their brothers. When my sister was 10 and I was 6, she wanted to be 16 and I wanted to be 6. That’s just the routine for young boys and girls and so I did not play with my sister very often.
In fact, I can’t recall a single time that I did so without her feeling forced to do so.
So what is a boy left to do during his formative years without anyone telling him how to form? Watch movies. And when there is no television, as we canceled cable several times for financial purposes, make shit up! I spent countless hours jumping around the couch shooting imaginary bad guys with my imaginary guns. I put my action figures into action. I will never forget the time that I was having a funeral for one of my toys, a G.I. Joe lost in battle that was being given an epic send-off, and humming Taps as the other action figures carry his body to the grave, except for one fatal error: It turns out that I did not know Taps, or at least I had gotten confused, because my mother came by and asked why I was humming the wedding song.
*pulls tight collar away from neck and says ‘oh. boy.’*
But that was my childhood. Not the part where I accidentally passed a gay marriage bill for my action figures, but the part where I was living in a reality made up of either movies and television half of the time, or whatever war, adventure, or game-winning sports play that I deemed to be possible for the rest of the time. It’s not that I, at the age of 4 or 8 or 16 or I-should-probably-stop-now, actually believed that I hit the game-winning shot for the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (or that they actually allowed me nine attempts to hit the shot) because I am not a psychopath or completely delusional, but I did live with the idea that the world is whatever I want it to be.
I did not choose the reality as we know it. I did not create the Earth, the Sun, the Oceans or the iPod. Those realities are out of my hand. But whenever I want to, I can create a different world, a world where anything is possible and I can be anybody. Who would not want to live in that world?
In movies like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Science of Sleep, these imaginary dreamscapes are better described than what I could explain, but it’s something like that except without really seeing these worlds, settings, or characters. You just have to believe it. And so when I had time to myself as a kid, which was plenty often, I could be whoever I wanted to be and live where ever I wanted to live and the rules of science and math and physics only exist as I allowed them to exist. I don’t live in these worlds much anymore (I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t caught a few game-winning Seahawks touchdowns in my bed over the last couple of years) but that does not mean that I don’t still believe. Whereas I created these Universes* as a child for the purposes of entertainment and passing the time, now I use these same principles as a means of coping with the many unanswered questions that turn the Sun and our very existence into an enigmatic Rubik’s cube for which I will likely die before solving.
I am a logical and rational human being. I don’t want you to think that I have completely lost my shit. I know that the laws of physics seem rather legit. I don’t doubt that E does equal MC squared, even though I could not tell you how Einstein got there or how it makes my popcorn pop in the microwave, but I have no reason to think it’s bullshit. (I mean, I heard that nutrinos could fuck that up, but once again, not my field of expertise.) However, why do we, as people, have to stop there? Why do we have to accept anything and everything that has been told to us? You once told me motherfucking Santa Claus was real and THAT was bullshit, so why should I just bend over, look over my shoulder, and say “Sure, shove the laws of gravity up my butt, I’ll take it.”?
Yeah, gravity seems VERY legit. But what if I told you that tomorrow, there would be no gravity? Or that it would be like Moon gravity and we raised the NBA hoops to 25 feet? You can tell me that it won’t happen, but I will reply, “Why not?” And you would give me a verifiable 100% scientific answer as to why it wouldn’t, but that’s not really the point of what I’m trying to convey.
Here are some questions I would pose to you:
- What if time travel is real? How could you ever really know for certain? The life that you are living right now, what if it didn’t exist until a second ago? What if before that second, someone from the future went back in time and shot Abraham Lincoln and so now you’re Tim Carter instead of Tina Leone? What if Marty McFly was a real person?
- What if the Matrix is real? Fuck, how should I know??
- What if tomorrow you are eating Haagen-Dazs and watching Family Guy and then all of a sudden a vortex pops up behind your couch that leads to God knows where? Would you go through it? You most certainly would at least throw in the ice cream first or eat it all first.
- What if you weren’t even you until this very moment? What if you were transported into this body at this second and implanted with all of your memories that you think are real? What if you’re Quantum Leap but if Quantum Leap didn’t know he was Quantum Leap and what am I trying to stop from happening? Who do I have to stop from getting married or killed?
I am not trying to say that I necessarily believe all of the above because I pretty much don’t. I know that tomorrow I will wake up and go through my regular routine. The sky will be there, the Earth will be there, episodes of Sweet Valley High will still be around somewhere. I know this. But damn it, it doesn’t mean that I am absolutely and utterly against the idea that anything is possible. Please, for the love of Sweet Valley High, tell me that anything is possible.
Tell me that we will all be able to fly tomorrow. Tell me that one day I will get to jump in John Malkovich’s head. Tell me that I can be Limitless like Bradley Cooper in Limitless. Don’t we all sort of get by on hope? Don’t we all sort of get out of bed for a reason and not only because we have to (because hey, you don’t have to do anything), not only because we want to, not only because of what already is, but we also get out of bed because of the things that don’t exist.
“I don’t have a girlfriend.”
GET OUT OF BED!
“I need to pay my bills.”
GET OUT OF BED!
“I can’t walk.”
SOMEBODY HELP HIM OUT OF BED!
Everything we do in life should at least hinge somewhat on the idea that we are going to get something today that we did not have yesterday. Is today the day you fall ass-backwards into a windfall of cash? Is today the day that you look in the mirror and are satisfied with your physique? Is today the day that new episodes of Arrested Development are released? We need a little something to motivate us to go on. We need a little something to believe in. Maybe for me, that little something is the ability to fly, to find a vortex, or to travel back to the day when stock in Microsoft was like $10 a share.
Maybe when I was a bored little boy whose sister wouldn’t play with him I created these worlds and beliefs to pass the time and make the day a little better, but even as an adult I still hold out hope that anything is possible- so that I may pass the time and make the day a little better. It makes the morning more palatable. It makes existence more fruitful. It doesn’t make the Universe more understandable, but perhaps easier to cope with since we know we don’t know very much about it anyway.
For me, that’s all I need to wake up. That, and an action figure wedding.
*Side-Bar About Creativity, Writing, and Comedy
People often attribute creativity to some inherent attribute that never had to be worked on or molded. Many people think that if you are an adult writer, director, painter, musician, or likewise, then you are just one of the “lucky” ones. I have told people that I write and they immediately say “Well shit, maybe I should write too!”
I can probably weave a quick tale, story, subplot, or narrative together for you right now but it’s not because that shit is easy to do. If everybody was a good writer, then 99% of screenplays wouldn’t wind up in a: Fireplace, waste basket, shredder, Recycle Bin on your desktop, or turn into emergency toilet paper. And guess what? If I turned in a screenplay to Hollyweird right now, best be sure that it would wind up in the same place. Maybe if I keep working on it for 8 or 10 or 15 more years, we will see what happens, but where I am today at 30 wasn’t because the writing fairy tickled my nutsack when I was 2 days old and said “You get to be a writer!” No, do you want to know how people become creative? They were really fucking bored for a really fucking long time and so every single fucking day they worked that muscle. For me, I did not work it with the purposes of turning it into anything; it was a means of survival. I watched 1-4 movies every single day. I made up shit every single day. I spent all day in class scribbling and doodling and making up villains, heroes, space battles, and monsters on paper because the I was more interested in that than I was in math. (Maybe an occasional pair of boobs.)
What did a scientist do in class? Probably spent all day in the lab because he or she couldn’t get enough of the beakers and such.
What did a philosopher do in class? Wondered what the fuck he or she was doing there.
What did LeBron James do in class? Probably jack shit because he was great at basketball, but hey, he was/is great at basketball!
Everybody everywhere gets something out of something. You are where you are at least partly because of the shit you enjoyed when you were a kid and how you spent your days. You: Perhaps a musician that picked up a guitar when you were 5 or 9 or 14. Me: Kind of a loser actually. I always had A friend, but I never had like 30 friends. So I coped with my childhood by making shit up and watching TV. You know how funny people are funny? They coped with the society of bullies or feeling that they needed attention or not feeling like they were good at anything else. I was a child that thrived, no thirsted, no hungered, no needed-or-i’m-going-to-have-a-fucking-fit on laughter. Nothing makes ME feel as good as when YOU are having a laugh. Comedians can go through 10+ years of stand-up before making any kind of names for themselves. The first few years are even rougher because you bomb a lot and frankly that’s no different than a classroom. You have to re-live the days when your first *fartnoise* joke causes rolling in the aisles, but dead silence because “Hey we’ve heard that one before, Kenny. Say some shit about crayons!”
I know a lot of people that read blogs, especially on WP, are writers or bloggers themselves. I’m not saying you, yes YOU /reaches through Laura’s computer screen/ are a person that would say that writing is something that comes natural to people, but a lot of people seem to have that inclination. Fuck no it does not come natural and neither does comedy. This is something you live with. This is how you cope. This is something I have been working on before I knew you needed to work on shit to get good at it.
It just so happens that writing for 40+ hours per week has only happened in the last two years. But there was a pretense of over two decades in which I fine-tuned and worked and molded that muscle. In retrospect, I should have been a doctor. But instead, I am a person that likes to write and make jokes. It was not natural.
*Side-Bar Over* *Overruled*
November 19, 2012 § 7 Comments
I made a new friend at work. He is much smarter than I am and insists to discuss topics that I had not dared to discuss with others. Perhaps it is not fair to say that I “dare not” because I did, in fact, dare, but rarely did I have to cite examples or quote authors in most of the day-to-day conversations I have. Deep discussions I have lean more towards the philosophical and rarely the factual. As much as I would like to say that I am a smart guy, I have no empirical evidence to prove this point.
I’ve fought too hard to be known as anything other than what I am: A lazy, drunken, immature, silly, goofy, fuck-up.
However, that doesn’t mean that I have entirely given up on bettering my education. I consider going back to school quite often, usually fantasizing about a degree in Astronomy thanks to my recent fascination with the Universe and what makes us so totally us. If I could actually learn facts about the stars and the blackness and combine that knowledge with my passion and experience in writing, then perhaps I could actually make a difference. Perhaps then my life would have a meaning greater than the meaning I have spent most of my life work towards: Making people shoot milk out of their noses with dick jokes.
One of the ways that my new work friend has encouraged me to expand my proficiency of what it is to be an intellectual is through the work of David Foster Wallace. My first initial thought when my friend, we’ll call him Matthew (because that’s his name), said the name of this author was that Wallace was definitely a name I had heard before. That he must have written poetry or perhaps a great novel of the 20th century. Just the fact that I had no idea that he grew to popularity in the 90s, that he was not yet 50 when he committed suicide a few years ago, or that he killed himself at all, is undeniable proof that I am so far removed from the world of higher learning that it might as well be as far away as the planet that is not a planet, Pluto.
I ask Matthew, “Should I read Infinite Jest, then?”
“Oh no. Definitely not. Try his essays first and work your way up.”
“What could be so hard about reading a novel?”
I didn’t have to get through (or attempt to get through) many of his essays before realizing exactly what he meant and why so many have perhaps tried and failed ‘David Foster Wallace’. Not because he was not genius, but because he was operating on a level above most of the rest of us. The part of him that so apparently made him one of the best authors of his generation and perhaps decades from now will be held in a regard higher than what he already is, his prognostications and feelings towards the world seem almost too perfect to not hold true. Now, I say that like now I am some sort of David Foster Wallace expert and that’s about as true as me being an expert on the climate changes of Jupiter; I’m neither of those. But I do have an early fascination with both, a preoccupation with fostering this need for more knowledge on each subject. Not because I have to. Not necessarily because I even want to. But only because I feel like there’s going to be a certain way that we all spend the rest of our hours here, and that seems like the best way I can fill mine. Even if we’ll never get an understanding of why we are here, we can at least attempt to get a better understanding of why we are here.
So I trudge through Wallace essays one by one, trying my best to attain knowledge and not only knowledge on the work of Wallace, but knowledge of everything. That’s the best part about it, his essays are a double-edged sword that bring you enlightenment on both the author and the subject. A rare quality indeed.
As such, I was reading this essay on television, entitled: “E unibus pluram: Television and U.S. fiction”
Could a title be a more fitting representation of it’s content? E unibus pluram; Out of many, one. The Latin phrase might be on the Great Seal of the United States, but if you polled 100 people on the streets of the Great United States, how many could tell you the meaning? For Wallace, it was likely as simple as an average American of 1999 saying, “He had sex with my MAMA!” It was at the tip of the pen for him, at the end of a Google search for many others. And so too would be half the words in the essay, to the point where each “difficult” word would be highlighted so that you could scroll over for definition. Except for me, not nearly enough words were highlighted. I was still befuddled.
Megametrically. Deus ex machina. Phosphenes. Turgid. Elision. Fecund.
I grabbed a few example (it only took a few dozen seconds) words that I would need the definition for. Words that half of which still have squiggly red lines holding them up above this sentence, so that they would not fall down below and crash into other words. Yet I can’t deny the beauty of them. How I long to work ‘Megametrically’ into a sentence of my own one day, besides this very one. How I yearn to create descriptions such as this one, one of the most perfect sentences I have ever read:
“Fictionally speaking, desire is the sugar in human food.”
Oh fuck you, DFW. Damn you for having the ability to write something so incredibly apt, complicated and simple. It’s the perfect description. The words stand side by side like the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. And best of all, I have seen, read, and defined all of the words in that sentence. It’s like getting Final Jeopardy right after having a terrible night at answering answers from the first two rounds. I know these words. That doesn’t make it a better sentence, just because it appeals to the non-intellectual like myself, or a wordsmith that’s not even amateur. It just makes it a beautiful sentence that I can read over and over again, without referencing dictionary.com. That’s all.
To be one, that would seem to imply that I’ve made an attempt at being a wordsmith at all and I absolutely have never done that. When I was a kid, I once tried to read the dictionary, as many kids are wont to do. Perhaps I made it a couple of pages. How many kids in the country have ever read the dictionary definition of Aardvark? It must be the most-read definition in history. But that’s as far as it goes. I didn’t read a lot of high-brow novels, I never pushed myself to seek answers beyond the page. If I read a word I didn’t understand, I did what most kids do and used the context to get the gist of it. How many of us have gotten the gist of many big words without ever getting a full understanding of it’s meaning?
Megametrically… I get the gist. I know ‘Mega’ and I know ‘Metric’ and I understand what ‘ally’ does to a sentence, plus I read the words around it. This has something to do with ‘MegaMan vs Metroid’!
And that’s when I told Matthew how much I have enjoyed reading Wallace, and also just how damn difficult it is. Now I understand why reading Infinite Jest would be instead like reading through the ‘Infinite Gist.’ I wondered to myself, “Can this be done?” Not now, this much I know for certain. But could I be ready some day? Will I ever have the acumen to get through a thousand-page science fiction novel filled with words that I don’t understand and also because pages on a book don’t grant you the opportunity to hover over for definitions? That’s when I had to come to this conclusion:
I’ve already learned words. I don’t know how much more I’ve got left in me.
It’s funny how as children we learn so much and yet have no memory of doing so. I can tell you where I was when I learned the story behind Olympic cheater Ben Johnson, because I watched a documentary on ESPN a few weeks ago. I can tell you where I was when I first watched Vertigo and learned more about the catalog and style of Alfred Hitchock. I can tell you where I was when I first told a girl that I loved her.
What I can’t do is tell you where or when I first learned that green is green. Or what the state capital of Virginia is. Or that a cow says ‘Moo’. Or that I’m 100% sure what the state capital of Virginia is even today. (I want to say Norfolk. Oh shit, I am wrong! Sorry, Richmond!) And I certainly can’t tell you anything about how I learned the definition of any of the words that I am typing now or when I learned how to use these words. It just happened. It’s like how your computer downloads an update in the background without you ever being acutely aware that it ever happened. All you know is that your computer is up-to-date or that you’ve got a virus and ‘Lots of sexy ladies in your area want to meet up now!’ We can’t go back and expound on the moments, typically, of when we learned a word just like we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how we learned to eat or breathe. We just do. I don’t know how I know the word ‘the’, I just do. That doesn’t mean that I can’t learn what a ‘deus ex machina’ is or that I don’t want to know what it is since it sounds so sexy, it just means that retaining new information like that is so much harder now than it was when I was six.
When it comes to learning something so mundane and simple as words, am I eternally doomed to ignorance?
Of course not. There is just as much opportunity to learn new words as there is to read the Harry Potter novels, to see a play, to finish a crossword puzzle, or to find out the mysteries of another galaxy. If I can pretend like it’s possible to go back to school and become an astronomer, then it is absolutely possible that I can expand my vocabulary from a few hundred words (which I assume it is) to a few thousand (which I assume is the maximum possible.) It’s only a matter of taking the time and exhausting the effort to do so.
I just have chosen not to exhaust the effort. Not now, but not not ever. By reading through David Foster Wallace, I am committing myself to a life that won’t be ignorant of the existence of the words, even if I sometimes choose the gist over the total understanding. Eventually the gist will have to make way for the truth, if I were to ever dream, or dare to at least, to make it through a 1000-page opus like Infinite Jest or another several years of schooling. Such is the course we must decide to take on the remaining hours of our journey here.
For whatever that may mean to each of us, megametrically and otherwise.
June 18, 2012 § 8 Comments
Whenever the question of “What kind of music do you like?” pops up, I never know quite how to answer but I know this much is true: “I don’t care what kind of genre you are in, just play as hard as you can and give it everything you’ve got.”
Like most people, I wouldn’t be able to break down my music tastes into a single genre. “All kinds” is basically my answer too. But what a rapper might have in common with a rock band, this is what I’m looking for: Putting your guts into it. Ripping out your soul and making a song like it’s the last one you’ll ever make. Not having anything left at the end of the day to give, and waking up the next day ready to start over and do it again.
Truth. Honesty. Speaking from the heart. Divulging yourself to a point beyond vulnerability and going to a place where few people would dare to go.
These are a few attributes of good art to me and it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a singer, a filmmaker, or a comedian. People are drawn to honesty more than anything else and that’s what I try to do with everything I make because that’s what people want to hear. That’s what people want to read. That’s what people will have emotional reactions to.
Sometimes when I write something I’ll have a gut instinct telling me, “Woah man, are you sure you want to reveal this about yourself to a bunch of strangers?” and that’s almost an automatic signal to me that I’m doing it right. If I have to question whether or not I should, I know that I have tapped into something that makes me very vulnerable. I know that I have opened up a wound that could hurt very bad. But I also know that those deeper places in our mind, body, and soul are the places that both make us unique and also bind us as individuals. It’s that part of us that we feel unsure about because nobody talks about it but when they do, we know we’re not alone.
My dream job is somewhere out there as a writer. I have not pigeonholed myself yet into a certain area of writing, but one of those areas is sports journalism. Over the past year and a half, I have worked very hard at sports blogging and every day it pays off a little bit more. Just this past weekend I met and interviewed Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll for the first time. If you remember my vision board post last month, you’ll know that meeting Carroll was on there and now I’ve marked something off of my bucket list. That’s pretty awesome and it gives me validation in what I’m doing and working towards.
On the other hand, I think most people would find that the path I’m taking there is unorthodox. That perhaps I’m making improper steps along the way that will never allow me to be a big-market journalist, namely by having this personal blog and by doing things on YouTube that will make me too niche, too weird, or that won’t allow people to take me seriously. Can a writer talk about his dating life in one place and expect to be taken seriously as a journalist on another?
I believe so. I believe that the people will allow that truth to speak for itself.
I may never “make it” as a sports journalist but I know one thing: Nobody else is going to set my path for me. I do have a vision for my future and that vision includes creating something new in that world of writing and not doing what has already been done before. ”A sports journalist can’t do that” is the exact kind of motivation that I need to prove “that” wrong. I’m going to do it this way and if I don’t make it, I’ll die trying.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m some great writer or that I am the future of sports writing or anything like that. I’m not going to tell you that I’m right in my assumption that this will work. I only know what my gut tells me and it’s telling me that this is the right path for me. I think that it’s right to listen to your gut above all else and to take chances when and where they present themselves. I’m trying to identify what I see in future trends in this business are or what they could be, and I believe that I can get a head-start on those trends.
I look at someone like Tyler, the Creator and I see a young person in hip hop that is challenging every notion of the proper steps you take in that business and being successful because of his honesty and truth about the business. I think whether or not you like his music, his message, or how he is going about it, you have to respect that like Sinatra, he’s doing it “his way.”
When I see other blogs, the one thing that I’m looking for is honesty. Is that person taking chances in their writing and revealing something that makes them vulnerable? I see a lot of anonymous blogs that do this but very few blogs that reveal all of themselves, knowing that you could just as easily identify this person on Facebook AND know that they suffer from depression. Or that they’re a virgin. Or that they cry themselves to sleep every night since their last break-up. Basically, anything that’s really difficult to share but also realizing that their vulnerability might help somebody else out in a similar situation.
The internet is a glue that connects all of us but how are we using that to our advantage? We have to find the truth about ourselves and then try to find out how our experiences might help out somebody else, because at one point you may have also been given inner-strength from a stranger on the internet. Every time you use that honesty, you’re paying it forward.
When I listen to a song, I want to hear it in their voice that it hurts to sing what they’re singing. Or that it feels amazing. Or that it’s all that they have to give. Whatever emotion it is that they’re trying to convey, you can hear it in their voice.
When I watch a movie, I want to see the actor pour into the character with everything they’ve got and draw onto their own emotions and experiences to cry, or laugh, or die. I want to see the director and writer give us real truth and emotion that you don’t see often enough in film.
When I read something (however rare that is) it’s the same thing. I ask for no less than what I’ve been saying this whole time: be honest, be faithful to your emotions, be vulnerable. At least, that’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I want to be.
Maybe you want to be a writer, a painter, a singer, a banker, a bus driver, an inventor, or a teacher. There’s a million different jobs, a million careers, a million hobbies, and a million ways to get there. I think that a good lesson is that no matter what it is you want to be and no matter how you want to get there, that you set a goal, you decide how you’re going to accomplish that goal, and then you give it every single ounce of sweat you’ve got until you reach that goal.
There is no “can’t,” there is only “won’t.”
You can’t get there or you won’t be willing to work at it until you’ve done it?
I consider this post to basically just be a Mission Statement for myself as a writer. This is what I am hoping to accomplish as a writer, every day. This is the only way that I want to make it, if I ever do make it. This is my path.
What is your path?
May 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
Remember when The Secret was a thing?
I remember watching the video with a friend about five years ago and basically the only thing I took away from it was that if you can envision it, it will come true. That the powers of the universe are greater than we know, just as long as we believe.
After two days of really envisioning the things that I wanted, I gave up. Hey, this is 2012 and I am an American with ADHD so if you can’t deliver in 48 hours than screw off.
Either way, I have decided to make a “Vision Board” or a “Dream Board” because I am bored. (Get it?) These are the things that I want!
1. Allison Williams. Star of Girls on HBO and daughter of NBC anchor Brian Williams, she is my current Wendy Peffercorn. Maybe you think that Girls is a show for chicks, but then why did they have Allison rubbing one out in a bathroom two weeks ago? WHY I ASK YOU, WHY? That was for me. ;)
2. It’s Scrooge McDuck diving into a pile of gold so I’m sure you can figure that one out. You know how some people call money, “Duckets”? I wonder if that’s where it comes from.
3. Vacation. This plane is headed to an island in the Philippines. Yeah, I could go for that.
4. Finish a screenplay, become a full time writer.
5. Seahawks. Championship. That is all.
6. To live every day of my life like Ron Swanson.
7. A baby tiger. Seriously, look at that little cutie! I’ve been watching a lot of Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet. It’s a show about people that have dangerous pets, including lions and tigers and then those animals kill their owners because wild animals will always be wild. But if you put that little guy in my lap, I’d probably be willing to have my jugular ripped out too.
8. Meet my hero, Pete Carroll.
9. Respect. LOL! YEAH RIGHT! I’m making vision boards with Allison Williams and baby tigers.
10. This is the carne adobada from Gloria’s mexican restaurant in Culver City. It’s actually right by my place so this is an easy to accomplish goal. Seriously though, this is the best food I’ve ever eaten. If you’re ever in LA, GO THERE! It was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and actually made Guy Fieri tolerable for 8 minutes.
11. Twitter followers. Okay, this probably sounds lame, but hear me out. Wanting a lot of friends on facebook = lame. But people actually get jobs if they do well on Twitter. It has to do with #9, Respect. @MeganAmram got really amazing writing jobs because of her TWITTER! This is unfortunately the world we live in… @kennetharthurs
12. Yoga Pants because Yoga Pants. Shit I love this current popular style.
Also, here is Allison Williams in Yoga Pants:
I’ll have what she’s having. (That doesn’t really apply here.)
Check, please! (Also, doesn’t apply. But they sound funny, right?!)
Helllllloooo, Dolly! (Closer.)
She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine. (There ya go.)
Finally, I did this while I was bored. It is stupid.
April 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I don’t know if I really have a point of this post, but I just wanted to tell people that I’ve got an all-expense-paid trip to the Big Apple tomorrow. It’s a short trip, only three days, but I haven’t been to New York since I was very young.
You know when you tell people that you’ve been to certain places when they ask you “Where have you been?” and there are those cities that you name but you know that they don’t really count? Well, at least now New York will count. I won’t just remember “Hey, this is like where Kevin went in Home Alone 2!” It’ll be a legit, adult trip to New York.
I will be kept busy all of Tuesday, but Monday night and Wednesday morning are all for me to explore Manhattan. I’m very excited for this trip and to meet some new friends. This is definitely a week that makes being a writer feel extra awesome. It also finally lets me get some use out of my silly iPad.
If you don’t hear from me for a few days, this is the explanation, but maybe I’ll have some New York-themed posts this week. See you soon.
April 3, 2012 § 13 Comments
I get this question a lot. My answer is probably too brief or too cliche to really do it justice. I’ll do my best to answer it right now.
I don’t remember the first time I blogged and I probably never will. My memory has never been very good, which is probably why I started documenting things in the first place. I need to have some sort of record, something to help me recall what happened with an explanation, otherwise I worry that I won’t be able to find it when I need it someday. I guess you could say that I’m an information hoarder.
Where it all started, I don’t know. I didn’t write a lot as a kid but you could probably say that I have always had an itch to be “creative.” Teachers in grade school would give us assignments like writing short stories or drawings (some of which I still have and will share) and I was always happy when they did. Creating stories was nothing new to me, even as a young boy.
You tend to get creative when you don’t have anyone to play with. (That sounds like I had no friends but it just means that I usually only had one best friend at a time until high school.) In my room, I would design entire new worlds in my imagination and act out fantasies of fighting and diabolical intrigue with nothing more than action figures or just finger guns. (You never get too old for finger guns. Pew Pew!)
So putting that creative energy into short stories was easy, but I never really incorporated writing into my non-school life until I was in college. That’s when I began to write blogs on sports and movies simply because I wanted to. It was how I would prefer to spend two to three hours of free time, but researching history and finding the answers to questions that other writers might not have ever asked.
It just grew from there.
1997 was the first time I saw the movie Scream and the first time that I wanted to write a screenplay. Movies like Scream from Kevin Williamson and The Usual Suspects from Chris McQuarrie were the first time I can really recall thinking how amazing it was that you could write a set of circumstances in a story that would blow the viewers mind in the end. I wanted to find out how that was possible and what I could do to become a screenwriter as well. I wanted to make just one thing that would help me leave a mark on the world so that I wouldn’t be forgotten when I died.
Maybe that sounds silly or trite, to think that a movie like Scream would have an affect like that on a person or that it would really matter, but to me Williamson has already left his mark on the world because he left his mark on me, a total stranger. That’s amazing. Not only that, but he inspired somebody else and what’s more amazing than inspiring someone that you’ve never met?
So it was a combination of my desire to be a screenwriter and my insatiable need to learn and research that led me to writing blogs. The blogs I created were non-fiction but all that mattered was that I was learning how to put words together in a way that made sense and was visibly appealing to the reader. By having a dual background in screenwriting and non-fiction reporting, it’s helped me to become a better writer that hopefully can entertain and also inform. That’s my only goal really.
When a person tells me on FieldGulls, a Seahawks blog, that they showed one of my articles to a non-sports fan and that they loved it, that is when I know that I’ve done my job. Just hearing that maybe I did something good makes me feel great already, but to know that I entertained someone that didn’t think it would be possible to give two shits about an article on the Seahawks makes it all worth it.
I have never put as much work into anything as I do into writing. I have never given much of a shit about anything as I do about writing. Which still doesn’t answer the question as to “Why writing?”
There’s the old saying that your dream job chooses you, not the other way around… or something like that. That’s a cop-out and it still doesn’t really explain why I would choose to be a writer. Especially because of this one important fact:
I am kind of sensitive and if I think I do something that sucks and then put it on the world wide web, it tears me up inside.
And yet, I write all the time. Over the last year, I’ve grown to writing on five different websites and totaling over 20 articles per week, so what am I? Some kind of sado-masochist? yes
Seriously though, by doing that it helps me overcome my fears. My fear of failure, my fear of rejection, my fear of being stupid. All of the repetition, practice, and testing what works against what doesn’t, has helped me to become a better writer and also someone that has a thicker skin towards acceptance of constructive criticism. I mean shit, I started a YouTube channel starring ME and I would never imagined that I could handle putting my face out there when it seemed hard enough to simply put words out there.
I don’t think that writing chose me, as if writing was a tangible being like a sports team that took me with the 18th pick in the Writers Draft, I just think that every little step along the way during my childhood and even up until this very moment has simply led me to that: This very moment.
The moment when I’m sitting here writing about why I am a writer on my blog where I write stuff. One can’t really explain how the steps form or why the dew drop falls to the left and not to the right, but all we know is that the steps did happen. My steps led me to here and I’m very happy about that. All I really know is that writing is what I love to do and it’s what I want to do. I hope to have a greater stage one day, and that I can inspire somebody like past writers have inspired me so that I can leave a mark on this world.
There seems to be some sort of aura around choosing a life of creativity and being great at it. Whether you’re a painter, an actor, a writer, a filmmaker, anything where you can create something simply by imagining it, it seems like people hold that as a higher esteem. But that’s not it either.
I work at a shipping company and I was recently speaking to the one of the managers. He was telling me about how he got hired and how he got to his position as manager. He told me that he never dreamed as a kid that he would one day be a manager at a shipping company (as obviously no kids dream of one day being a manager at a shipping company) but certain steps in his life, ones that he could have never predicted, led him to his current position.
When he was a kid he wanted to be a football player. Wanted to play in the NFL and live a dream out of being on his favorite team. That’s obviously a low percentage dream. It doesn’t happen for many people, even ones that play at the highest level of college. Millions of kids play football and only a few new ones are accepted into the professional ranks each year. It’s a dream that’s mostly just a dream. Most of us will go on to be professionals at “regular jobs” so does that mean it’s less important that being a football player or a writer or the President of the United States?
Well, yeah, it’s less important that being the POTUS, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important.
The manager I spoke with told me that over time, being the manager at a shipping company became his passion. He’s been here for 15 years and he’ll probably be here for another 20 or so until he retires. It doesn’t really matter what you do but life will be a lot more fulfilling if you’re doing what you love to do. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t leave this world without having inspired people along the way.
Writers inspire people. Doctors inspire people. Managers at shipping companies inspire people. Mothers inspire people. We all have the ability to do so, but it’s only those that pursue with everything that they have that will ultimately be successful.
So why do I write?
I write because every little moment in my life led me to this moment. I write because I want to leave my mark on the world and if writing is the only thing that I love to do, if it’s the only thing that makes me excited for tomorrow, then writing will be the avenue that gives me the greatest chance to inspire somebody else to do the same.
I guess you could say that’s why I write. Also, because it gave me a chance to tell the world how stupid the song Billionaire is.
Thanks so much for reading!
March 20, 2012 § 7 Comments
For whom the first 99 posts and the rest of my life would not exist.
Go back to what I wrote yesterday and you won’t see my mom. Go back to what I wrote a week ago and see if it has anything to do with my mom and you’ll find that the answer is obviously “No.” Go back a month, a year, or decade and none of it really had much to do with my mom. Sharing a few memories here and there about my childhood and adulthood and sure, there will be mentions of her, but for the most part I have written about sports, movies, and my poor excuse for a dating life.
That is my life: Writing, sports, and movies. It’s what I live for and what I could never do without and while you won’t usually hear me mention my mom believe this: Not a damn word I’ve written would be possible without her. It’s not just because of the “miracle of life” and how she brought me into this world, it’s more about how she helped me navigate through it and I can sum that up in one word: Encouragement.
It’s pretty ridiculous to believe that your son is going to write a movie that gets made by Hollywood or that he’ll win an Oscar or “make it big time.” I mean, it’s downright delusional and the practical thing to tell your kids as they get older is that they’ve got to start focusing on how they’ll find a real job so that they can pay their bills and be financially secure. That believing you’ll become a professional writer is about as reasonable as believing you’ll be a race car driver or an X-Men superhero. But I did believe that I’d become a professional writer and I did believe I’d join up with the X-Men and it’s all because of one person…
It was my mom that saw my passion for films when I was very young. It was my mom that took me to the video store when I was absolutely desperate to see something new. It was my mom that allowed me to watch horror movies, even if I was a little too young, but only because scary movies were my absolute favorite and without which I would have never become a writer at all.
It was my mom that took me to see movies like The Sandlot, even if I did get those “embarrassed to be seen with Mom” feelings as I got a little bit older. It was my mom that sent out dozens of letters to my favorite actors and had them send back autographed pictures addressed personally to me. It was my mom that stopped at Blockbuster on her way home from work one summer day to rent Scream, the movie that made me want to write. It was my mom that setup a “Hollywood themed” college graduation party. It was all my mom… the same person that gave me this dorky personality. :)
My mom was the one that followed my sports writing, even if she didn’t care for sports. My mom was the one that encouraged me to move to Los Angeles three years ago, even if it did mean that I was quitting my job without a new job waiting for me in LA. Every single bit of my inspiration to be a writer, from John McClain in Die Hard to Punky Brewster and MC Hammer, has at least one fingerprint left on it by a certain person; My Mom.
If I sat here and told you that raising two kids as a single parent wasn’t easy, I’d be fabricating a conclusion to a scenario of which I have no experience. I was only the kid, so who the hell am I to pretend to know what it was like to raise me and my sister? The best guess that I could come up with is this: Really. Fucking. Hard.
I sat for a moment today and thought about how I was coming up on my 100th official post on KennethAuthor and reflected on the past year and what I have been able to accomplish in that time. Starting with Ray Guilfoyle at FakeTeams.com letting me join up as a blog writer for fantasy sports, finally getting back into a rhythm on writing articles again. Then seeing the website grow exponentially in that year and getting recognition from SBNation.com and feeling proud that I had a small part in that. From there, Danny Kelly at FieldGulls.com asked me if I wanted to write for my favorite Seahawks blog. Hell yes, that was like a dream come true. From OkCupid I came across the profile of Jen Friel at TalkNerdyToMeLover.com and asked if I could get a guest spot and she graciously allowed me to post something every Thursday on her amazing website.
In addition to all of that, Danny asked me to help write on Seattle.Sbnation.com so that I could write on all things Seattle sports and I even recently started a YouTube channel for FieldGulls, finally starting to realize my dream of turning written word into video. Back in December, I reached out to fellow TNTML writer Melodie Tao about any advice she could give me on marketing and she suggested that I start my own blog and have yet another medium to write, except now I could write about anything under the sun. It was awesome to be able to become a writer on already established websites, but to be able to see KennethAuthor grow and then get FreshlyPressed… it all made my heart swell up with pride and think that maybe I could finally be on my way to become a professional writer.
So an immense Thank You to Ray, Danny, Jen, and Melodie. Without you guys, I don’t know where I’d be today.
And without my mom I would have never met any of you.
Thank you Mom for everything you’ve done. Thank you for believing with total conviction that I could accomplish my dreams. Thank you for the thousands of dollars spent on trips to the movie theater, the video store, and the writing teacher. Thank you for always being proud of my work, even if you sometimes disagreed with it’s content. Thank you for seeing my vision as well as I could see it myself. Thank you for being “delusional” and for being a dork.
Today I still sit here as a writer making a few bucks a month and without a movie or an Oscar to my name, but still with the dream kept alive and my mind as sharp as ever. None of that would have been possible without you Mom, and I wanted to just take this moment to tell you how much your support and guidance means to me. When I finally get that Oscar nomination, I know just who my date will be…
Love you always,
March 9, 2012 § 5 Comments
What a trippy-ass experience these past two days have been.
If any other WordPress bloggers out there are waiting for their moment on the WP FreshlyPressed page, I just wanted to share some of the experience because it’s been somethin’ else. I can’t be grateful enough to WordPress, my new blog followers, all of you that have hit the like button, all of you that gave the article a read and maybe perused some of my older posts, and all of you that cared to share and comment. All I have to say is…
It means a lot to me to have you all stop by and maybe stick around for a bit. I have been working hard at writing for awhile, but this blog was new and for the first time it was a blog that was mine. It was something that I had created, so recognition feels good. Yeah, I’ll say it, it feels good and it’s a nice boost of affirmation that hard word pays off and I’ll promise you that: Hard Work Does Pay Off.
I write for five different websites, including this one, and I just started a YouTube channel as well. That’s about 20 to 25 articles per week plus writing and editing videos that are starring me. And if you’ve ever looked at me, you’d see why I’m apprehensive about standing in front of a camera! But all of that hard work slowly turns into a payoff, so if you’re an aspiring blogger, keep at it. Don’t ever stop. Write more and when you’re done writing, write again.
I started Kenneth Author back in December and when I navigated around WordPress I saw the FreshlyPressed section and thought, “Damn, I need to get on that!” Why? Because in my efforts to become a full-time professional writer, you need to have people read you. I figured that would be a good start. So I wrote an email to WordPress asking them how I could make that happen. This was the email I got back:
This was my reply
I was going to schmooze Karen into putting me to the top of the list so that when I finally wrote something that tickled her fancy, BOOM, I’d be pressed as freshly as my work shirts. (I don’t iron, and my work shirts are wrinkly, which makes it a terrible analogy.) I never heard back from Karen. :(
However, maybe yesterday was the day that finally got Karen’s attention. Maybe she too has struggled with Online Dating and this was helpful to her so she Pressed it. Or maybe I just got lucky! I am a person that writes a lot of words and I am absolutely OBSESSED with research, so when I started to write the post on Online Dating Statistics, I had no idea it would turn into something so long but what can I say… Us online daters have a lot of interesting info.
Suck it offline daters! You’re not as interesting in 2012!
(With that being said, I fell in love with a number of Gravatars yesterday. I want to tell some of you “I Love You, Already!” and I also want to tell all of you that I Love You, as well, in a different way. I am still going through many of your blogs because I’m grateful for a chance to get to know a lot more people on this series of tubes known as “the innanet!”)
Just as an example of the spike in hits that a FP posts gives to a blog like mine, take a look:
All I have to say is “Gadzooks!” I went from six-to-midnight when I saw my blogs hits go from six-to-midnight, too. As the freshness of press begins to wear off and as the hundreds of email notifications stop coming in (I feel like a tool when I even speak of this, because I’m a very humble person) it’s giving me a chance to reflect and think “Hey, that was pretty awesome” because everyone likes to know that they’re being seen. That we’ve done something neat in our corner of the web.
I’ve had prior successes on the Seahawks and TalkNerdyToMeLover websites, things that made me feel googly-moogly inside, but this was especially neat because KennethAuthor is just me. I made it. I talk about a lot of random shit, but as days go by, it’s becoming more clear what’s been good and what hasn’t. I just hope that no matter what the content is, it’s entertaining.
As for Kenneth Author, it’s time to get back to business as usual which usually includes reflections on childhood television, the crushes I had when I was ten, my dating life (but more often that that, Netflix reviews because they happen at a staggeringly higher rate), weight loss and fitness and other things that make me go hmmm. (Arsenio Hall’s entire life is currently in the public domain. If you ask him to appear at your birthday party he HAS to be there.) If you’re new to KA, you’ll find that I’m pretty much too honest and shit because I don’t get embarrassed. I had to let go of shame when I was very young because of my weight problem! But it’s cool cause now I’m an adult and I can hang and I can stay up as late as I want and spend $400 on candy if I wanted to.
If there’s anything you want to say to me directly, I’ve added a Contact form because I’m super lonely . No, because I’m super nice! That’s what I meant!!! I’m not lonely, duh. In regards to the OkCupid post, I’ve learned a LOT from your comments and it’s given me even more perspective and is sort of like bonus research, so that’s awesome, but I want to hear stories FROM YOU! I want to get deeper into your online dating experiences and maybe you have a question about the horrors of mine, but didn’t want to say it in the comments. I’ve seen on other sites where people get to interact with their readers and talk about questions and sometimes when I get questions or hear stories, it means half of my article is already written. I like that. \Thanks again!