Closing Time

ktflkda-l_i_get_awesome“So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits. I hope you have found a friend. Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” -Semisonic

You know how it is at the end of the night (or the early morning in some cases), when you’re so tired you can barely hold your eyes open, but you know you have to somehow make it home, so you do. You don’t remember how you got home, but you woke up in the late morning hour with a hangover and a dreadfully hazy recollection of the night before. Perhaps you even have a text sitting on your phone from someone you don’t know, or at least not that you remember anyway, and their words hint at the two of you being best friends. You scratch your head and chalk it all up to the drinking, telling yourself you won’t get that drunk again.

But it’s a vicious cycle: the partying, the staying up until all hours, the random people you co-opt into being your “friends” for the night, and always the alcohol permeating everything else. I should know. I used to live that lifestyle. It was called my late teens. For some people it’s their entire twenties. For others it’s still going on now, and for those people I have a wealth of sympathy. It can be enticing, to get that buzz, to lose your inhibitions and do things you wouldn’t do sober, but it has its consequences. Believe me. Why do you think AA is so pervasive in our society? People want to stop, but it’s so difficult.

I’ll tell you a story. It was one night just like many others during that time period for me, when we had gone out drinking, then stumbled to somebody’s house (not sure who lived there, actually, even to this day), and the drinking picked up again. There was beer, and wine coolers, and hard liquor, and grain alcohol, and pretty much anything else you could think of. Sometime along the way I had gotten that pleasant, warm feeling that made me feel invincible. I called it my Superman buzz. It made me the life of the party. Continue reading “Closing Time”

Six For Saturday

six_lgIt’s amazing to me how much happens during the course of a normal week, and you know my brain goes about a mile a minute. So I thought at the end of each week I would sum up the top six recurring thoughts in my head, or just ideas or stories that hit me in just the right way that week. With no further ado, here are my first Six For Saturday…

  1. I received the first copies of my new novel in the mail on Friday, and I held my breath to see just how they came out. I love the typeface, the layout, and the cover, all things I was most worried about going into it.
  2. I completely fell in love with Lorde, listening to her album in its entirety several times this week. Honestly, I think my wife is so tired of hearing me sing “Team” and “White Teeth Teens,” but I can’t seem to help myself.
  3. I rediscovered goodreads.com where I updated my author page, started a giveaway, and reviewed several books that I finished in the not too distant past. It’s amazing to me to be able to connect with other readers and authors in a place where it’s encouraged.
  4. My daughters were on their mid-winter recess this week, so I got to spend a lot more time with them than normal, and I realized they are a lot like me. It’s funny, but I was talking to my wife about it on Wednesday and she said they got the best parts of our personalities, and the worst parts of our attitudes. I concur, especially after hearing “It’s not fair!” from both of them several times this week.
  5. 20 years is a long time, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Only two months until my 20 year high school reunion, and it seemed like everything this week was reminding me of it, from Facebook friends mentioning it, to me finding some of my writings from back then, to photos that showed up when I was going through my files to consolidate my pictures. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around where those 20 years went.
  6. The Olympics.

Sam

When the World Ends

The-End-Of-Seattle“We ate the food. We drank the wine. Everybody having a good time. Except you. You were still talking about the end of the world.” -U2

There are so many books these days focused on what might happen after the world as we know it ends, books like Divergent, The Hunger Games, Prodigy, Uglies, and Matched. And in these books inevitably some horrible thing happened, involving human greed and devastation, that brought about a mass change in the way people looked at and interacted with their world. There are many movies that mirror that dramatic change as well, films like After Earth, Oblivion, and 12 Monkeys. As a society we are obviously obsessed with what comes after life as we know it.

I’m intrigued, however, about why we seem to think the world will go through some type of apocalyptic war and need to be cleansed by something that turns horrendous itself. Perhaps it’s because we tend to go in cycles, with good times and bad times, but human nature always wins out regardless. Human nature is of course greedy and self-serving. I remember watching White House Down and thinking about the motivations for the characters to do what they were doing, holding people hostage, killing people indiscriminately as they were. Then it hit me that they were just looking out for number one, what regular people do every single day in real life.

That’s why so many of these characterizations and plots revolve around horrible things happening, because when individuals are self-serving, it leads to chaos, anarchy, and war. We fight little wars every day, as singular human beings, but larger wars escalate as well, and it’s easy to see how they could morph into world-wide catastrophes. I often wonder what would happen if every single person did one thing every day to help someone else, how much that would change anything. I honestly think it might. If we’re thinking of others instead of ourselves, we would make decisions to help the collective instead of the decisions we make that lead to dissension. Continue reading “When the World Ends”

Mid-Winter Memories

snow_through_windowI remember winter breaks when I was young. My sister and I would get dropped off at Nana’s house, my mother driving us in the old, powder blue Chevy Nova that made the sputtering noises as if it would die any minute. Joy and I would make bets as to when it would finally expire, but it never seemed to care.

We would pull up to the house in the early morning hours grumpy to be awakened at such an hour during vacation. Nana always waited for us just inside the front door. We could see her silhouette outlined against the glass, past the ripped screen, in her bathrobe and fuzzy slippers.

Of course we were bundled up to face the elements in our big, puffy coats with frayed scarves and knitted caps. The crumbling front steps of Nana’s house were a welcome sight because we had seen them countless times before, and they felt like home. Nana felt like home when she opened that door and enveloped the both of us in her arms, a big smile on her face as she ushered us inside.

We quickly shed those outer layers because Nana always kept the house as “hot as hell,” our Uncle Nolly would always say. He lived with her because he had nowhere else to go, and he was constantly blessing us when we entered. I was never sure if his blessings were real or not, but I always felt like I couldn’t make fun of him for it because they might be. Uncle Nolly was blind, but he had an uncanny knowledge of where we were at all times when we were in the house, and he would mumble as such, even when we were trying to hide. He often smelled of smoke, which was comforting in its own way

We would pass by his chair on our way into the dining room where Nana would have hot chocolate waiting for us. Of course it was rarely ever still hot by that point, but those chipped mugs were as familiar to us as our own names. My mom was long gone, and we began to take bets as to her mood when she would come back to retrieve us from our winter’s day. Some mornings the 8-track player would already be on, providing a subtle soundtrack to our conversation that was always well-scripted. Continue reading “Mid-Winter Memories”

What Men Don’t Do

man_vacuumingNearly fifteen years ago there was a movie called What Women Want that saw Mel Gibson shed his chauvinistic ways when he begins hearing women’s thoughts. It teaches him that women are sentient creatures too, and they deserve to be understood and appreciated for that. It also shows him that perhaps his way of always doing things isn’t such a good path to take when it comes to dealing with women, and with the things he thought defined him as a man as well.

Often men are generalized, but those generalizations come from a vast majority of them actually being a particular way. How often have you known a guy who won’t ask for directions no matter how lost he is? When was the last time you saw a man cry in public? Can you count on more than one hand the men you know who would skip a sporting contest to go to the ballet because the woman he loves wants to go? Perhaps you know some men who are the exceptions, but here’s a list of some generalizations that generally stay true.

What men don’t do:

  1. Admit when they’re wrong
  2. Know when to give up
  3. Accept their faults
  4. Wash their hands
  5. Plan their wedding
  6. Act their age
  7. Talk about their feelings Continue reading “What Men Don’t Do”

Checked Out: Week 6

morris unbrokenI got back to reading in bed this week, something I had gotten away from probably for the past year or so, and I had forgotten how good it felt to prop my pillow up, shut out the rest of the world, and read. I also rediscovered the joy of heading to goodreads and checking out what a lot of my friends are reading. Lord knows I’ve got a lot of books in the queue anyway, but it’s still good to get a glimpse of what I might want to read in the future.

This was also the week of Reave, the debut novel by C. Miller. I finally got to it in my list, and I’m glad I did. I finished it during the course of this week, and you can read my review of it on goodreads. It’s always great to get into a new author, and for me this one was also special because I’m a huge fan of C. Miller’s blog, and we’ve become good friends as well. It was definitely my honor to get a copy of Reave for my birthday gift. Now I look forward to reading more books in the series as they are released.

Here is what I’ve Checked Out this week…

  • Unbroken, by Paula Morris
  • The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Tyrant’s Law, by Daniel Abraham
  • The Disappearance, by Bentley Little

I started reading The Disappearance nearly three years ago, and it stands as one of the books I’ve taken the longest time to read ever. And it’s not because I don’t like Little’s writing. In fact, he’s one of my favorite authors, but for some reason the plot didn’t jump up and grab me, and the story took too long to develop. Every few months I’ll read another chapter, but I’ve decided I want to just finish this one once and for all. So I’ve put it in my Checked Out bin and I’m going to finish it soon.

The most recent book in my bin is Unbroken, the second novel in the Ruined series. I posted a review of Ruined on my other blog, if you’re interested. I’m very curious to see how Morris follows up the dynamic first book in the series. It honestly seemed to me like a standalone book, so I’ll definitely let you know how this one stacks up with hopefully a unique storyline that advances the characters and doesn’t leave them stuck in neutral.

The other two books in my bin are in process. I am slightly farther in The Tyrant’s Law than I am in The Impossible Knife of Memory, but both are very good, and both are keeping my interest to this point. When I’m done with both I will post reviews on my other blog. See you next week!

Sam

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