What will I create today?

Throughout most of my life I have been a lively, curious and outgoing person. I would do what interests me, I would take days off of work if I felt like it, I would see the world around me as a giant playground just waiting for me to play. A few years back all of that changed.image via mnn.com

Life caught up with me.

For a few years now I’ve been jaded. I’ve found it hard to have fun at anything that didn’t start with me drinking first. A wall grew around me and I started shutting friends out. I stopped hiking and camping, drawing and poetry, exploring both cities and nature. I viewed the world as a beaten down old man. I’m only 33 years old at the moment.

So much had happened to me over the years I believe it just finally caught up with me. I’ve grown tired and sore, I work more, I have people I need to take care of. Recently though, I wrote a novel. Like, holy shit! I wrote a novel!!! Yesterday I took pictures with my phone in a tunnel I was working in. I used to do a ton of photography and if I remember, was pretty good at it. I saw that tunnel as a playground and not my job site. I was walking back and forth looking at every little detail, trying to create beauty through a lens.

As I woke up this morning(a pillow smashed into my face, forcing me out of a lovely dream) I saw my bedroom a little differently. My lady looked just a little more beautiful than she has in a long time and even though we’ve been fighting, I wasn’t mad. This coffee I’m drinking tastes absolutely wonderful. The music I’m listening to, amazing.

img via flickr.comI realize now, as I type this, that I’m waking back up from a self imposed nightmare that was brought about by responsibility. The kid in me didn’t want to grow up and had been fighting back tooth and nail. Well, I am grown up and though I act accordingly, I put the kid on the shelve and in essence, put myself on the shelf as well. Today, all of that changes. Today, I am climbing back into my own skin and looking at the world through my own eyes.

I don’t know exactly how this realization came about. Maybe it was the novel. Maybe it was the pictures. Maybe both. I don’t know. What I do know is that right now, everything is brighter, more colorful than it has been in years. I’m excited for my day off.

What will I create today?

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A little photography amongst friends

Recently I took a short call, which means it’s only a two week job. Hey, it pays the rent, right? I just happen to be almost three miles deep in a tunnel, pulling fiber optic cable through vaults. Tons of fun! No. A lot of down time. Well, I was bored today while managing a large loop of cable, which, was being pulled very very slowly. As I meandered down the tunnel, I decided to do a little photography with my phone. Some of those I’m sharing today. All are done with just the Negative filter and a flash. No Photoshop editing except to resize and through my little copyright watermark at the bottom. I hope you all enjoy. Click on the image to get a larger view.

Img Via Nicholas Catron

Img Via Nicholas Catron

Img Via Nicholas Catron

Img Via Nicholas Catron

Img Via Nicholas Catron

Life is short, enjoy your coffee

It’s 9:10am and I just poured my first cup of coffee. Not too happy that I need to wait for it to cool down but it’s my own fault for not getting the coffee ready the time before and setting the timer. Oh well, such is life.

Yesterday, I spent 4 hours taking a breathalizer and a piss test just so I can go through another 5 hours of tunnel training(tomorrow) and getting badged for a two week, 3 mile fiber optic wire pull. It just warms the soul I tell ya.

img via stewart-timber.co.ukWhat it really does is help motivate me to work on my writing. To edit the shit out of this first novel, outline my second one, write a short story and start researching possible agents. I’m done being an electrician, I just need to wait until my writing can support me. If it ever can.

The life of a union electrician is one of constant contradictions and games. When you work in the trades, everyone knows you’re a temporary worker, you know you’re a temporary worker and yet a lot of people freak out when they get RIF’d(reduction in force layoff). Hell, I think I was pretty depressed about this last one for a week or so.

The problem is that companies often times build you up, telling you wonderful things to boost your confidence(and your production). They tell you about your wonderful attitude and great your work is. How awesome it is that you’re competent and don’t need supervision. They’ll talk at lengths about the next 3 year project they have and that it would be perfect to get you on it as soon as it starts rolling. Yup, they make you feel like you’re in it for the long haul and you know what, some people are. Not most though. Most of us, mainly because we refuse to be a brown-noser, get sent back to the Hall with a handshake and ‘thanks for your services’.

It’s fine really. I’m just done with the games is all. Time to move on to bigger and better things. This is definitely not the first time in my working life that I’ve switched modes. Hell, I was a cook and even ran a kitchen in an italian restaurant. I worked as a sign designer and vinyl installer, photo retouch artist and a photographer. I built websites even for a time. Then I got into this and now, almost 9 years later, I’m spent.

Writing is what I really enjoy doing, even though it’s absolute torture. So writing it is, until I find something else that drivesimg via catholicvote.org me. Maybe next I’ll drive rally cars or something. Either way, the point of today’s post is to tell you people out there that you can do whatever you want, at any time. You are never stuck in one spot, you just need to go out there and do it. Motivation, focus, support.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to distract myself with youtube videos and coffee for a while.

Moving Forward

Often times, I wonder what the purpose of my blog is. Originally, I started it in order to get my writing(what little there is) out there and hopefully develop some sort of following. My goal in life, at this point at least, is to become a published author. Not just a self-published one, which I’ve already achieved that but one that has his books in bookstores all over the country, if not the world.

After writing on here off and on, showcasing my poetry and talking about my recent NaNoWriMo experiences, I think I’m going to start leaning this blog in a little more personal direction. I guess the poetry is pretty personal but you’d have to be one hell of a psychologist to figure just what each one means. I mean, I’ll start promote my writing of course but I’m going to start talking about a lot more things that interest me or whatever happens to be on my mind.

Today, there really isn’t much on my mind. I took a short call today(2 week job) which will pay the rent but still leave Christmas a little bare for the kids. We’ll do what we can and of course, grandma will take care of the kids as she usually does. This does help give me time to work on editing my novel.

One problem I am now facing though is a lack of confidence in my story. Sure, family and such think it’s great but hey, they’re family. I’m knee deep in the middle of the second draft but I’ve never done much editing so really I’m just fixing grammar and sentence structure as best I can. It’s hard to know if the story is interesting when I really can’t show it to anyone. It also doesn’t help that I’m very new to the writing industry. Oh well.

So anyways, this is the end of today’s post. Hopefully I’ll have something quite a bit more interesting for you all tomorrow. Maybe I won’t. Either way, you’ll get what I give ya.

Quiet As Kept, a NaNo novel

NaNoWriMo is now over and I guess I’m able to stop and catch my breath, right? No. I can’t. Now I have to start editing and polishing. In the meantime though, I figured I’d offer an excerpt from this first draft. So, to all who feel like doing a little reading, this is for you.

 

img via Nicholas Catron

 


Jim Williams sat on a tall wooden stool, hunkered over his desk. Squinty eyes glued to the computer screen, one hand sat ready at the keyboard while the other directed the mouse. Perspiration marched steadily across his brow as his heart raced, beating faster with each passing minute. His ragged breath stuttered as he exhaled.All around him, Jim’s coworkers, his colleagues and friends, busied themselves with their daily tasks. Fingers clicked away at keyboards, voices discussed and debated various variables, liquids were mixed, cultures grown and tests were done. Just an average day in the lab and as usual, Jim felt sick to his stomach.

Cursing under his breath at the sluggish speed of his computer, Jim hurried to copy all of his lab notes, personal files and those he recently uncovered to a small flash drive. The computer couldn’t go fast enough for his patience.

Looking up from the screen, Jim surveyed the lab. Everything seemed normal, nothing out of place or unusual but he knew better. He had to hurry otherwise it would be too late.

File after file was loaded onto the flash drive, its storage steadily filling up. Finally it was done and Jim breathed a sigh of relief. Pulling the drive out of the USB slot, he crammed it into his pants pocket. His fingers danced across the keyboard, a symphony of ticks and clicks drummed out as he set about activating a program he’d written only a few days earlier, once he realized what was happening.

As the program began to run he watched for only a moment longer, making sure it was doing its job and then with an unsteady turn he headed for the only exit.

The lab was laid out like a long wide hallway with benches and shelves, work stations and science equipment lining the walls. Tables and workstations were also setup in the middle, leaving two rows as walkways. Doors on each side led to rooms for specialized experiments, specimen storage, a break room and various other necessities. Jim’s workstation was on the far end, the last table in the middle, furthest from the exit.

Each step required every ounce of strength. Legs shaking, his feet felt like ice as he inched his way down one of the aisles. Kenneth Protrowski, a rather obese and sloppy man, stopped him dead in his tracks. Though his appearance indicated a gluttonous and slovenly nature, Kenneth was one hell of a researcher. It was safe to say that Jim liked the man.

“I’ve questions about your most recent results,” the man said matter-of-factly, onion breath hitching a ride with his words. The smell immediately assaulted Jim’s senses. Bile crept up to the edge of his throat, his already nervous stomach quickly turning weak. Jim didn’t know if he could hold back the nausea that had taken root.

“I noticed that some of what you reported initially had been deleted today. I needed that information for reference. “

Vomit jumped from Jim’s mouth, arcing out and splashing down on Kenneth’s shoes. Jim pushed past the man and ran to the men’s restroom. As he crashed through the door, he could hear Kenneth’s startled curses and a few murmurs from various colleagues.

Grasping at the sink, Jim turned the water on and rinsed his mouth out. After splashing cold water on his face, Jim stared into the mirror.

“C’mon Jim, you can do this. Just walk to the door and leave. This is no problem and no time to act like a child. It’s time to go,” Jim gasped out. He stared into the mirror a moment longer, half expecting his reflection to respond.

With the acrid taste of vomit clinging to his tongue, he turned and walked out. Moving swiftly toward the exit, numerous people attempted to see if he was alright but each one received a grunt as he walked steadily past. Resolve was growing strongly in Jim as he approached the door to his salvation. He knew just how important it was for him to escape, not only for his life but for the rest of the world.

The door to the exit, his only way out, opened. Marching in, a group of two dozen armed soldiers crowded through and halted less than ten yards from Jim. The lab erupted into a flurry of questions and exclamations. Were these men cleared to enter the lab? Had they gone through the proper sterilization processes? Are they shutting down someone’s project? Who were they going to arrest? Everyone had questions.

Darting through a side door, Jim found himself in the kitchen that serves the break room. Across from him was a double sink with counter space and cupboards, both above and below that stretched to the adjacent walls. To his left stood two refrigerators, an oven and range, a microwave and an area for preparing food. The right wall was empty.

Oh Jesus I’m fucked, he thought as he scanned the room. He could hear someone giving orders in the lab just behind him and his mind raced, analyzing every inch of the room. Quick as he could, Jim raced toward the sink. Opening the cupboards below the sink, he climbed in. Squishing himself into a small ball and laying on his back, he made himself fit, though barely. He closed the doors and quietly prayed.

“I want everyone out into the main lab, now! We are shutting this down. You will all be sent home and will receive both an email and a letter stating what’s happening next. For now, it’s time to go. Please line up on the left side, single file. Everyone will be checked to make sure you take nothing with you. Do not be alarmed, this won’t take long,” the man said in a loud and commanding voice.  It was apparent to Kenneth that this man had been in a position of command for quite some time and was used to people doing as he instructed.

As people lined up, the buzzing murmur died down to a low mumble as people whispered to each other, worried about being let go and what might happen to their research and experiments. A group of soldiers started walking down the lab, checking under tables and searching for anyone hiding while another group went to each of the rooms.

Lying crunched up on his back under the sink; Jim caught his breath as he heard the kitchen door open and heavy boots march in. The boots moved steadily around the room, not stopping to look into the cupboards. Sweat had broken out across Jim’s face as he trembled slightly in his hiding spot. The boots faded out of the room and back to the lab.

It wasn’t long before the soldiers finished their search and lined up along the wall, opposite the scientists and researchers. With a nod from the commander, the soldiers raised their guns and opened fire on the scientists, killing all before a single scream could be let out. A small team of soldiers walked down the line of bodies, shooting those in the head who still breathed. The rest gathered the bodies and loaded them into long black coffin-like bins. Once filled, each bin was sealed and wheeled out.

Hours passed as Jim lay hidden under the sink. The top part of shirt was soaked through from tears, crying as he realized that could’ve been him killed with the others and ashamed that he was the only one to survive. Some of those who died he’d known for years. Some were his friends. The bastards were going to pay for this, Jim knew. He was going to make sure they suffered for this cold blooded atrocity.

The noise had died down and disappeared hours earlier and Jim decided it was safe enough to at least come out of the cupboard. Opening the door slightly, he peered into the kitchen. The light was off but as he opened the door all the way, the motion sensor caught sight of the movement and the fluorescent lights blinked on, bringing with them their all too familiar hum and buzz.

Rolling over and crawling out, Jim pulled himself onto the laminate floor and stretched. Wincing, he attempted to stretch out his cramped muscles and instantly thought that he would need to see a chiropractor once this all was finished.

When he was finally able to stand, Jim searched his pockets. The flash drive was still there. A sigh of relief quietly escaped his lips and he made his way to the main lab. Peering out of the doorway, the labs lights were off but from what he could see, it was completely empty. Opening the door fully and walking out, he realized that the military had taken everything. All the lab equipment, computers, specimens, notes…everything. It was as if no one had even been there.  There had been though. A whole team of people working tirelessly for what they thought was for the good of humanity. Instead, they were lied to, used and then murdered. Thrown away with the garbage; Jim would not let their efforts, their lives go unnoticed. He would expose the truth. He would make them pay.

Creeping out of the lab, Jim quickly mixed in with the various technicians and scientists littered throughout the rest of the building, making his way for the parking garage.

“Hello Dr. Williams, where are you heading off to?” A tall military man, an officer of some sort, stepped in front of him and stood with arms crossed, his voice stern and commanding. Alarm bells rang in Jim’s mind as he recognized this man as the one who gave the orders to kill the others.

“You wouldn’t be trying to leave now, would you?”

“I…I-I was just going to th-the bathroom,” Jim stammered.

“Why don’t you and I go have ourselves a little chat first. I’m sure you have a lot you’d like to tell me, don’t you?” The commander asked though it seemed to Jim more of a command. Grabbing Jim by the shoulder, the man’s strong hand spun him around and led him in the opposite direction.

The pair walked in silence as Jim desperately tried to think of a way to escape. With a jerk, the man changed their direction again and opened a door. Leading him in, the man closed the door behind them.

They were in a small maintenance closet. Shelves lined the back wall full of various cleaning supplies. A mop bucket and dust broom huddled together in a corner while a pile of small boxes laid claim to the other corner.

“Now then, let us have that talk,” the man said, spinning Jim around to face him. A hard fist slammed into Jim’s stomach, taking with it his air and ability to breath. Something even harder came across his jaw and this took away the light. Jim Williams, head scientist and researcher for the Artemis Project lay unconscious, nightmares taking shape in his mind as nightmares took shape in reality.


Yeah, this just happened

Oh yeah baby

As of today,I have finished my very first novel, Quiet As Kept. It was also my first attempt at NaNoWriMo and I have to say, it was just plain crazy. Talk about an accomplishment! 50k words in 30 days?!?! How the hell did I do it? Especially since I’ve never written a novel before. Well, to be perfectly honest it only happened because of the amazing support of two awesome people. With that I say THANK YOU to those who helped kick my lazy ass into gear to get this damn story written!

Now, I get to edit. Yay. I’ll probably celebrate first though.

The Last Two Days

Okay so, here I am this snowy Saturday morning sipping my coffee and listening to my 2 year snore away in my bed. I was laid off 8 days ago, I have a flat tire, my fiance is mad at me about something but won’t tell me what(she wasn’t mad when we went to bed so I probably farted in my sleep or something) and I only have today and tomorrow to finish my novel for NaNo.

It was motivation that started me and support that’s kept me driving but this is the time for focus. The only way I’ll finish this final 11,979 words in time is focus. I mean, really, I should be focusing on my story and not this damn blog.

I’ve never had much of a goal in life besides women and fun. Really, that’s about it. Never any long term goals at least. I’ve floated through life on the whim of the wind, going whichever direction it took me. Now, here I am, attacking the first big goal I’ve ever had and I have to admit, I’m doing better than I thought. That is because of support, plain and simple.

Without support, I wouldn’t find the motivation to drive me forward. And for all the support given, I have to say thank you.

At times I wonder if I’m even that decent of a writer to actually be publishing my work. I mean, I’ve only self-published one short story so far and that’s it. My family say they like my work and I’ve even received two five star reviews on my short story but the doubt is still entrenched pretty deep. I guess I’ll find out once I get this story finished 100%.

Anyways, I’m rambling now. I need to get back at my story. Enjoy your day and go read my short at SMASHWORDS. It is on sale for FREE from now until Christmas. Don’t say I didn’t give you guys anything. Just enter in this coupon code and enjoy a great little read on this cold morning: YS23F