Category Archives: Writing


I can’t help but feel like I’m approaching a point where I’ll consider myself to be living, in most regards, in extremis. The Latin definition of the phrase is “in the farthest reaches,” or, a little more dismally, “at the point of death.” I’m not at the point of death, not in any literal sense, but I do find myself approaching the farthest reaches of what I once considered to be myself.

All elements of my personality and identity have been, in one way or another, called into question. Usually I’m the one doing the questioning, spurred by ideas and concepts I’d never considered but which, nevertheless, have drastic effects on how I view my place in the world and the very nature of that world. In the broadest (and perhaps most important) terms, I have been forced to question why I want to be a writer, and what I actually seek to do with that desire. I don’t know that I’ve found any definitive conclusion aside from the steadfast fact that I wish to tell stories. Beyond that there is so much doubt and worry that the place I’m sending myself will be a place of strife and anxiety.

Here is where extremis comes in: I am afraid that I do not care one iota for the consequences of my trajectory. As my heading has always displayed boldly (and, until recently, cynically), “The destruction of Earth is imminent.” Maybe not imminent in any really immediate sense, although we’ve already been witnessing the pre-fallout of anthropogenically-driven environmental catastrophe for over a decade now. Hurricane Maria is only a stepping-stone–the loss of life in the thousands and the property damages in the millions of dollars–that’s just one step on the long road to destruction.

There are no solid, tangible, identifiable products, no visible effects, of stories. Certainly the story a little Puerto Rican girl read the night before her house was destroyed may well have no bearing on the continuation of her life. But it might also inspire her, either because of a relatable and strong character she encounters, or because of similar strife viewed through the lens of literary clarity, or because of something else entirely random and unpredictable, yet beautiful in its sporadic nature: wonderment, hope, inspiration.

Artists deal in intangibles; we measure the value of our life on a rubric of that which can never be quantified. There is no mean, no median, besides that of publication sales, that can bring before the writer’s eyes tangible proof of their success. Even then, the quantification of success into figures and digits with dollar signs is a cheap excuse for merit, and not one any self-respecting writer should ever adhere to. What, then, is left?

Wonderment, hope, and inspiration. I believe they’re all we’ve got in these dismal times. It is increasingly important for us to look beyond narrow and petty conceptions of the self as a divided entity, separated from the world at large. It is increasingly vital that we acknowledge an inherent connectedness with all material things in this world, living and non-living. It is only through an acknowledgement that we are in this together that we will ever have any hope for survival.

In a microcosm of the web of terror and uncertainty that seems to plague so many, I have seen the burgeoning vestiges of a writerly community taking shape. It is a community of Millennials, driven by an almost childlike love for art to propagate more art that will in turn engender further awe and wonderment in younger generations (and, if we’re lucky, maybe a few Boomers will listen in–but probably not). It is an inspiring thing to know so many people (or to admire them from afar) who want to take their power of creativity to a larger stage. The greatest questions facing us in the future will be how to subvert the constraints of a streamlined system, of an audience-selective marketing strategy, in order to share our stories with a larger breadth of readers than merely those we expect or imagine–or exclude. International “boundaries” and “barriers” are more than illusory when they have the power to dictate the dissemination of information and entertainment (or, as I’ve begun thinking of them, for they are inextricably intertwined in this day and age, info-tainment). Such boundaries restrict the content produced by the people they contain to particularly selected audiences. This is dangerous, for it closes down a potentially-cyclical exchange of information and content. The apparatuses we’ve built up around ourselves do not make us free; rather, they constrain, mold, and shape us beyond the power of our wills and desires–thereby tainting the very aspects of our identities that we consider most natural and secret.

All of this is to say, in a pedantic and somewhat-pretentious manner, that we are utterly fucked, and we need people–young people with new ideas, old people with valuable lessons–to be able to share (and, unfortunately, by necessity, to publish) their stories so that they might reach as many audiences and niches as possible. The very fact that niche markets exist indicates the prevalence of certain kinds of writing and the power they’re given through the ever-inflating Advertising Monster with its Tentacles, Amazon and Google. In a period of history when the Truth is an increasingly rare commodity, it seems vital that artist-writers share their own Truths with as much vigor, strength, and prescience-of-mind as possible. It’s the only way for us to keep (or attain) a clarified understanding of the systems entrapping and manipulating us toward destructive ends.

Such tasks require serious sacrifices. I am increasingly of a mind that no artist or writer can truly devote themselves to their craft unless that is their sole venture, or, at least, The Paramount Venture above all others. This means shedding the idea that we must participate in a neo-capitalist economy, slaving in occupations we hate (or at least don’t love) in order to please financial purveyors of greed. It seems clear to me that the only way to create art that addresses and takes to task the problems of our day is to do so in extremis. To profane the apparatuses that surround us, we must ourselves first become profane.

Thank God nobody reads this blog. I’m quickly approaching a point where, if this was the 1950s, I’d be on all kinds of FBI Red Lists.

But, hell, it’s 2018, and the world has gone to shit. I cannot in good conscience adhere to the dictates of a society that actively seeks to repress, suppress, oppress, and destroy its own peoples. To accommodate a self-destructive system is the greatest act of schizophrenic self-immolation I’ve ever imagined, and I want no part of it–except to defile it.

My fear, or, rather, my concern, moving forward, into my final year of undergraduate school, is whether or not one can truly profane a system without somehow being entrapped by it. I think entrapment must be a necessary pre-condition to the realization of profanation’s necessity, but is it necessarily enduring? or might one find a way to escape, to detrap oneself, while also pursuing an agenda of creative, constructive profanation?

In other words, the question of the year (for me) is: How do I tell stories that disrupt the bioapparatus without completely destroying myself in the process? 

For we are, whether we like it or not, products of the apparatuses that engender the very need for our original conception. Since these systems convinced our parents (and theirs before them, and so on) that they must procreate, how could we not inherently be products thereof? And are we ever truly our own, or do we always retain some vestige of the system that has created us?

War (still a working title) is over 1,200 pages by now. It is clearly a novel that struggles to answer these same questions. I hope that, by the end, I have found some semblance of a conclusion, maybe not a solution, but an answer, an idea…

For a while, I doubted that writing could actually save me, be a therapy as many suggest. I think I was right to hold that doubt, because no singular act will ever cure the possibly-uncurable human condition. Not for any one person, any individual self… But words are powerful; stories, doubly so. There is something here to be harnessed, to be wielded as more powerful than any legion of warheads. There is something here to be employed in the battle against entrapment, in the search for revitalization. It is worth persevering to find. And it brings me hope to see so many others of my generation asking the same questions, in their own shades and forms, through the act of creation.

It can only bring good things–even if there must first be a terrible storm.

[2:09 p.m.]



Endings (and the Beginnings They Spur)

As I wrote in a post earlier this evening, I finished watching the ninth and final season of The Office tonight. Alongside this, I also finished writing the first “Arc” of my series, The Chronicles of Troy.

I don’t want to elaborate too much, but Troy is something I’ve been working on since September 2012. Before that, the idea was for it to be a graphic novel series, and I even wrote a few scripts. I then decided to make it a short story series divided into “Arcs.” and each Arc would be comprised of fifteen episodes or short stories. The later stories proved to be longer and were novellas in their last few stories. The series is science-fictional, with a bunch of adventure, some mystery, and even a bit of romance. It follows an alien named Troy who travels the multiverse with two humans.

The series was inspired, obviously, by Doctor Who, but has grown into its own original work, in my opinion. The first half needs a lot more work, since my writing has matured greatly, but I’m proud of Troy‘s ability to differentiate itself and come into its own as a story and series. I’m so hopeful about what the series could become in the future, and want nothing but to make it a real, bona fide series people read. That’s my dream.

Anyway, I finished the finale last week. I haven’t had much of a chance to write a blog post about it till tonight, and now that I’ve calmed down about The Office, I guess I can talk about it.

There’s something so emotional about really finishing something. After working on this Arc for a year and a half, it’s incredible to me that I’ve reached this point. I almost thought I never would. I’ve got enormous plans for the future of the series and for what I’ve already worked on (lots of rewrites). I’ve come to love and admire these characters unlike any others I’ve written, and perhaps most importantly, I’m PROUD of those characters. They’ve developed at an unimaginable rate and to an unbelievable extent. I can’t wait to begin the second Arc, but for now, that’s just ruminating in my brain. Big plans.

With the end of Troy‘s first Arc and the end of The Office hot on its heels, I’m forced to become a little introspective and think about my life for a while. That’s what creative douche-bags do, isn’t it? In all seriousness, it’s rather odd to come to these endings in my life. I was so dependent on the characters in Troy for so long, and though I’ll return to many of them, there are multiple differences that I have to cope with and adjust to in the future. And the same goes for The Office. That show gave me such a flood of unexpected emotions, by the final season, that it hurt a lot when it ended. I haven’t depended on a damn television so much since I started Doctor Who, and not even Who has made me cry as much as The Office did.

There was just a lovable quality about all the characters in that show. You were devoted to them even if you hated them, and even if you were unhappy with an episode’s writing (season 8 was rough for me, and yet…). And Who hasn’t given me such major emotions, perhaps because it lives on. The finality of The Office‘s last episode, “Finale,” was so well written, and the characters were given such beautiful (if odd) conclusions that I was bawling for the last twenty minutes. That has never happened to me because of a story, and for that I’m ever more vulnerable about this show.

So, the introspection continues. How do I cope, now, with these endings? When my seven year-old brother passed away in 2010, I really struggled. Of course I did. And I will never say I’m “over” that event, because that’s impossible. But I had to learn to cope, to move onward while coping. Writing was my outlet, so now that writing is affecting me so much, I have to keep using it as an outlet. And as far as The Office goes, I’m going to have to start a new show. A good one. A really good one. I think I’ll watch 30 Rock next, and then maybe It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or Modern Family. I need something to fill the hole The Office left. I need that.

Life goes on. I’m going to rewrite the premiere episode of Arc I, and then I’ll start revisions. While I do that, I’ll be getting serious about starting to write Arc II. For now I’m giving myself a break, though. I don’t follow the “read every day, write every day” rule as much as I should, but I’ll live. I think I’ve earned a brief break. Soon enough it’ll be back to the grindstone, though.

I’m reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Love that book, and though I’m only a third of the way through, I highly recommend it. I’m sure I’ll write a post about it when I’m done.

That’s all for now. I’m starting to feel better. Blah.