The Desiderata: Part 2

Part II: Air and Beautiful Things

I knew the solution! I knew that I knew it. It came to me when I found a rumor or legend or falsity or truth about Socrates. I am sure many individuals have heard it but it was knew to me. For sake of your eyes, I will paraphrase, hopefully doing the story justice. Socrates was asked by a student what the secret to success was. So, Socrates and the man walked down to a river and waded out until they were up to their necks in water. Socrates then submerged the man and held him there until he turned blue. Then he let the man up. Socrates then asked him when he was under water, just before he broke the surface, what did he want most.

“Air,” the man said.

Socrates continued, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”

So, I had it. I needed it to be more than just a want to write. I needed it to be biological. I needed it to be in my genes. It had to be part of me. I had to eat to live. Sleep to live, Write to live. I finally had success nailed down and thus I had my writing nailed down. Easy!

I grew uninspired even more than ever. I wanted it more than air. To be published. To write the greatest thing I had ever written and damn anyone who didn’t think that my short story was anything short of incredible! I began to become bland where I hated myself even more. I actually bored myself (yes, it is possible!). A few days ago I was shuffling through Barnes and Noble and I decided to go through the writer’s reference section. I ran across titles that all had the secret to becoming a great writer and get published. They knew what Socrates didn’t somehow. They cracked the code! Yet, it was all just words on pages. Until I found a title that was quiet and yet spoke volumes. No get published quick or “write the perfect sentence now!”. No, it was simple: ‘If You Want To Write” by Brenda Ueland. I picked it up and I have been devouring it. It is such a beautiful book because it really is more than a “be a writer” books. It is really about looking at your creative side and then seeing how some of the greatest artists of all time were not the tortured money hungry individuals that so many of us are today. The type of creature I had become. I read it and learned of van Gogh’s impoverished lifestyle and yet how derangedly happy he was until he went insane. The beauty of the stars through his eyes must have been incredible. He painted what he saw and we are only fortunate enough to see a minutia of that. His paintings are worth millions now. However, when he was alive, his income generated by his paintings total was $109.

She started talking about being truthful. I looked at my own truth and I thought about the first thing I ever wrote as an adult. It was an episode of Smallville. It really was terrible. I laugh now. It was bizarro coming back from outer space and this conflict as he made Clark see the true side of himself. I did this for one simple reason. I was a geek. Still am, really. I wrote it for my best friend Ben, most of all. We had always loved that show and I had an idea. He encouraged me to write it because he wanted to read it. I wrote it and he read it and loved it. I decided to begin a few short stories and eventually began writing more and more screenplays. The first two screenplays I ever wrote were simply to entertain my best friend and my mom. They were really just caricatures of us but in the future and with subtle tweaks. All “what if” scenarios.

I smile now as I remember it. I think remembering our roots is a beautiful thing. This is my DE-evolution. I am going back to that idea that I am simply writing for my best friend. No more criticisms needed from critics in papers or individuals at publishing companies. I will write for my best friend and if people decide to publish it, they can. It is nice to know that my harshest critic is also my best friend.

In the end, I think Socrates was right. You do have to want “it” more than air. What I want more than air is to entertain my best friend and hopefully others will enjoy them as well. This is why this series of blogs are called the desiderata or “desired things”. I am going back to the beginning. Telling stories of my DE- evolution and all of these small, beautiful, desired things.

– Chris

The Desiderata: Part 1

Part One: My Disease

Hey Gang!

I must be honest. I suppose what follows in the proceeding posts is really my catharsis. My fall and redemption. I bare myself. In my core I have felt hollow for quite a while. I think it came through my writing when it came to fruition. There was a disjointed feeling when it came to writing this blog. It just wasn’t fun for me any more. I felt as if I had run out of things to say, which my friends know is an extremely hard thing for me to achieve. I was angry with myself. I could not point my finger towards one dastardly reason or another. It was just there. Shut in a room where I actively hide the key. I ignored my craft.

Once, I considered myself a writer before being a human. That was me, first and foremost. I was writing feverishly. I loved that and then came some winter in the life of my writing. It became baron. A wasteland of creative output. I didn’t have writer’s block (which in my opinion doesn’t exists), I had something else. The monster in the room was out and held me prisoner. I was unable to write. I would have great thoughts to bring about and when I sat down, I thought to myself, “This is shit. Complete shit.” I would then walk away. I kept saying that loathsome mantra until it became an infection. My disease that corroded me. I was used and done.

Weeks passed and I began to develop some stories. However, my submissions were rejected and I took it very personally as it was the most personal thing i had ever written. It felt like they were saying that not only was the piece not good enough but that I was not good enough. I crawled into a shell. I was trying so hard to get published. I had ambition out the wazoo yet it wasn’t enough. My disease began to spread with a vengeance. I became fearful of my own laptop. It mocked me.

“You aren’t good enough”

“You’re wasting your time”

“You should give up”

“No one will ever read your work”

“You have failed”

These poisonous mantras continued. That was until a series of events built up to become my antidote.

(continued)

It’s Kind of a Love Story

Hey Gang!

I have had weight issues most of my life. I call them issues because it is not really a problem in the sense that an issue is easier to fix than a problem. You solve a problem but you address an issue. I guess this is the culmination of my address. The one to myself and all of the versions of myself that I have been. All those roads that led to this place. This position where I find myself. But first, let me take a selfie….

Kidding. I do want to go to the beginning.

I was in a terrible car accident when I was four and I had thee unfortunate circumstance of remembering it wholly. The glass and twisting of metal. The ways the car bent around me and compressed my mother’s body. The screams thereafter. It all haunts me to this day. That trigger when you hear screeching tires in the distance that bring you back to that day. These memories in the periphery that somehow engulf us. Mold us and shape us. Molded me. Shaped me.

I got older and I blamed a lot of the crash on myself. Probably because I was only in traction for a year and hold only a two inch scar and yet I see my mother’s scars. That guilt I still have. It caused me to go into a deep depression at around 13 and the way I coped was food. Plain and simple. I ate and got depressed and then ate more. I never wanted to think about that day and that was my coping mechanism. How do you tell someone that they remind you every day that you should be mangled and ripped like them? How do you say to someone, “I am sorry that the crash was so unfair. That you have so much metal in you and I only have a few scars.”

Visible scars I suppose.

It’s funny to think about now. There is this terrible cycle that becomes a part of you. You become depressed. This depression causes you to eat. One day, you see yourself and how much weight you have gained which makes you even more depressed and so you cope by? YOU GUESSED IT!!! EATING! This cycle is one of sadness and disgust but within an individual. There is so much that people whom hate overweight people have to say about it all. They say, “How can you let yourself go?” and things of that nature that somehow suggest portion control. However, it is my contention that being overweight (or underweight) is a symptom to another problem and not the problem itself. Take, for example. during the renaissance, individuals that were overweight were seen as beautiful and important not because being overweight is beautiful but because it was a sign of wealth. You had the money to eat and you did. So you gained weight. The reverse is now a reality. The less money you have the less healthy food is available.

Empathize with me for a moment. You have to pay the bills. You know you have two kids and $650 rent due in a week. You also have the light bill and the cable bill plus gas. You know this leaves $20 for the next two weeks. Do you think buying salmon is a great idea? Do you think buying a large box of quinoa is going to put food in three people’s bellies for two weeks? Or maybe go to mcdonald’s and make it last off the dollar menu.

Being overweight taught me quite a few lessons. I met people whom were completely facade driven. They saw you and made snap judgements. You see how you are judged and you begin to judge yourself. This is commonly known in communication as the “looking-glass self”. I see what the world tells me I am and I did. I looked an saw this overweight beast in the mirror that I did not recognize. Until i was about 23. I started a job that forced me to be in shape. I started losing weight and really started to see something better in the mirror. I started to look in magazines and see these muscular adonis-type figures that were becoming more hallow. This body image was being forced on me by people in a room somewhere in L.A. who thought that this is how I should look.

I hated the way I looked up until then. But then I made a promise to myself. Each week I would look in the mirror and say what I enjoyed about some physical part of me. The first week i said, “I like my eyes. I have nice eyes.” The next week I said, “I like my lips. I have nice lips.” Years go by. I had the support of my friend Nate, luckily, and my adventure continued. I liked more and more of myself. I began working out and eating right. No more fad diets or weight shakes. It was about me. It was beautifully about me. I would treat myself at each milestone. I would buy an album I always wanted. I would by myself shirts and ties. New shoes. These material things were trophys. Each one was representative of a goal I had met.

Now, I have lost quite a bit of weight and I am almost at the lowest weight I have been at since I was 14. This is sad but true. However, it doesn’t matter what size I wear, i always carry around that weight. The weight from the accident that ignited the physical weight I gained. I have forgiven myself for not being as injured as my mother. I now look in the mirror and see myself. All those parts I said I liked combined into what I am. What I have become. Now when I see myself in the mirror I see all of those liked pieces that have become an individual I love.

So, I guess when you love yourself you become open to loving other people. Such a beautiful world.

I suppose gaining all of that self-efficacy and self-esteem makes you someone you can love and who wants and deserves to be loved.

All in all I guess it’s kind of a love story.

-Chris