If you've just woken from a coma and now find yourself unable to make sense of what's going on—or not going on—around you, let me give you a TL;DR explanation: The world's gone to shit in a relatively short amount of time. We all hope our current reality will be temporary, but there's no denying where we are in this moment.
I recently submitted a short story to a literary journal. While I do not know whether the publication will accept my short story, I have already enjoyed the process. Maybe I enjoyed it because this submission was my first. Or maybe I enjoyed it because of whom the submission was to.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve fallen in love with Taco Bell Quarterly. The premise makes it easy: It’s a literary journal dedicated to all things Taco Bell. In the past I had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about Taco Bell, but since discovering this wonderful journal, my patronage has increased. Now I got Taco Bell on the brain, yo.
After reading through a few stories and poems, I thought, Yeah, I wanna be a part of this. So I set out working on a short story titled “A Taco Bell Breakup”.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the whole “human experience” thing right. The concern usually arises when I'm expected to reminisce and recall specific memories. Ones that some people take for granted.
Google “how to accomplish sumthin awsum” and early in your research you will likely find advice suggesting to create goals. It's good advice because we find it difficult to achieve something when we don't know what the hell we're trying to achieve. Goals add clarity. Selecting our paths is easier when we know where we want to go.
In your research, you likely find advice saying that your goals should be reasonably attainable. Why set yourself up for failure by trying to achieve something impossible? You also likely find advice telling you to write your goals on paper. Typing doesn't count because typing is for the undedicated, the suckas. If you're not willing to pull out pen and paper and risk hand cramp by writing a couple of lines, are you even committed, bro?
Today I’m another year older. Damn, where does the time go?
As kids, most of us couldn’t wait to get older. 10 years of age signified double digits. 13, the entry into teenage years. (In hindsight, we realize teenage-dom is something to dread.) At 16, we’re finally legal to drive, which means our parents will never rest easily again. When we’re 18, we convince ourselves we’re adults and maybe we even vote a time or two before we decide it’s more fun to complain about democracy than it is to participate.
We get to a point when we stop looking forward to birthdays. I can’t remember the last birthday I was excited about, but I do know I started dreading them at 30 because 30 hurt. Bad. The pain seemed to set into my bones once I was conscious of the fact that I had reached the milestone of the big three oh. Dirty thirty. More like hurty thirty.
My son had asked the question so many times whenever we had gone to Frys, but I didn’t know as we got out of the car on a Saturday afternoon and headed toward the store that this trip may be the last time he would ask. I told him I didn’t have any quarters, which was a truth I would later regret.
I spend so much time trying to get out of my head yet I've spent the last few weeks trying to get back in. The holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving disrupted the routine I had spent most of 2019 creating. One of my proudest accomplishments of the year was negated by a few days off work. 2019 was the year I realized the importance of consistency. And 2020 will by the year I focus on regaining and maintaining consistency while preparing for the disruption that will come with the 2020 holiday season.
Have you ever asked yourself what are your personal covenants for writing? Do you require good grammar and perfect punctuation? Does the protagonist have to be likable? Do you want insight into the background of the characters? Must there be a happy ending? How do you feel about sequences of questions? Fragments and incomplete sentences?
I like to think that I'm flexible on all of the questions above and that I can get on board for almost any adventure as long as it's done well, but my favorite writing is about discovering and sharing truths. These truths may be universal or deeply personal. Existential or mundane. Whatever the specifics, my favorite writing reveals something often overlooked or unspoken.
I have a habit of underselling my life story. At first glance, I usually say that my life has been boring, which is fine with me because boring means no drama. But when I take a look beyond one of my preferred defense mechanisms, I see that I have been hit with plenty of drama and therefore also with plenty of excitement. This conclusion also aptly describes my 2019 in review.
2019 brought its fair share of challenges, but it also brought some rewards. In those ways, 2019 was a typical year.