Patron Blog #8: I’m Back!

Coming Back

So much has happened since I last wrote, but I think I want to start off by talking a little bit about why I haven’t written in so long.

Even though a lot of what I write on this blog is silly personal stuff or little observations or reviews, and I know I’m not actually making a career of it (yet), I do still feel this kind of intense pressure when it comes to writing. I feel like I’m going to mess up, or I’m going to look at the blank page (or in the case of WordPress, a blank square) and realize that I am actually completely not struck by inspiration and have no desire at all to write. That actually has happened to me a few times, and it sucks when it does, but that’s all part of the process, I guess.

I do write more than it seems. I take copious notes about my every thought on my phone/iPod/mobile device. I write a lot of poetry, take notes for my novel and for story ideas, as well as write down angry rants about religion and culture and things that piss me off. I also take screenshots of stuff on Facebook that I always mean to come back and comment on and write a post about but never do. And nearly every single day, I think of something I should be writing in my blog.

But I just don’t do it. And there are many reasons. One is that I sit down fully intending to write (often coming to Starbucks, which is where I am right now), and then I get distracted for a few hours playing with music or watching videos and then I don’t feel like writing anymore. It’s worse if I try to do it at night, because I rarely feel like writing without some kind of daylight (although it is night time right now).

But that’s going to change. Writing is important to me, and it’s also very healthy for me, it keeps me happy and productive. If I’m writing about what I’m doing, I have a reason to be doing it. And that’s why I’ve come back. It’s not that I ever actually went away, I’ve always been writing, even with long dry spells in between posts, but by “come back” I mean I’m going to make a conscious effort to write a lot more. Maybe not every single day because I know that’s just not always going to be feasible, but on a regular basis, at least.

And with that, let’s dig in.

Where The Hell Have I Been?

My life has been crazy, to say the least. In early February I noticed pain in the back of my mouth, and without going into too many graphic details, it turned out I had a bone spur in my mouth, which was incredibly painful and really hindered my ability to go to work because when I wasn’t bedridden from pain, I was taking heavy duty medication that made me sleepy or goofy, so I ended up missing a bit of work because of it. At the same time, my stepdad, who works in Georgia, had to go to the hospital because he was sick at work. My mom packed a bunch of stuff, not knowing how long she’d be away in Georgia, and went up to see him.

While I was home alone, dealing with all the pain happening in my mouth, it turned out that my stepdad had cancer, and it was rapidly worsening. There wasn’t even time to begin chemotherapy, and it became quickly apparent that he was not going to make it much longer. So, a lot of family scrambled up to Georgia to see him, and he did in fact pass away in the hospital. This meant a whole lot of changes to our family and to our lives, and I wasn’t able to help as much as I wanted to because I was still suffering all this awful pain from this bone spur.

Well, the funeral came and went and my mom decided to move into an apartment for a little while with my sister, while my older brother and his wife were planning to move down here and stay in the house with me.

This is where one of my best friends comes in. His name is Jake, and I’ve known him for about three years. We have a very close friendship, and share a lot of the same interests and passions: we both play piano, we both make music, we’re both big fans of Tori Amos and Imogen Heap, and we both have dealt with psycho religious families who treat us like shit for being gay. I’ve wanted to help Jake get away from his family for a long time, but unfortunately the opportunity has never really been available.

Since I knew there would be an extra room available, I asked my mom if I could invite a roommate to stay with me and she said I could. After many days of going back of forth, Jake finally agreed to make this incredibly big decision in his life and leave his family to come stay with me. It was difficult for everyone involved. His family are very controlling and didn’t want to let him leave, so he basically had to spring it on them at the last minute. At the same time, I drove about six hours to come pick him up and then had to deal with his family questioning me and even threatening to call the police on me, before I finally got Jake in the car and we got away. Soon after we got home, he actually had to go back to his family for a week to get the rest of his things packed and see some family who was coming into town, and being away from him for so long was torture.

I guess I can’t really say Jake is my boyfriend, we haven’t made that kind of commitment, but I do love him a lot, and he is very important to me. Right now as I’m writing this, he’s sitting next to me at Starbucks working on schoolwork on his computer (okay I just glanced over and it looks like he’s reading a Wikipedia article but you get my point). Having Jake around is… it’s difficult to explain. I’ve spent three years dreaming and fantasizing about what it would be like to live with Jake, and now he’s right here. Even as I typed that sentence I felt a sudden rush of vertigo, like I was in the middle of a dream. Jake has lived with me for a couple of weeks now but I still haven’t gotten used to it. Every time I see him it’s like a happy surprise. A reminder that maybe sometimes in life, things do work out the way you want.

But I digress. Jake actually has a very good job waiting for him up in Washington DC this summer, so we’ve decided we’re going to move up there together. It’s scary and exciting and quite an adventure, but I’m ready for it. I think maybe everything I’ve done up until now has been building up to this. That’s why it’s so important for me to start writing again, and talking about what’s on my mind and what I’m doing. And on that note…

I’ve Actually Been Productive!

I started my Patreon about a year ago and honestly haven’t done much with it, apart from posting whatever I’ve been writing on my blog. A big part of this is because as a musician, I haven’t been able to do much in the way of recording. There is a piano at my family’s house but it’s out of tune and besides I only have one little USB microphone, which is not going to record even a decent quality audio. A lot of what I’ve been posting on Bandcamp has just been little snippets of sessions I’ve done late at night, and even a lot of that is improvised. It’s been very difficult to put together actual concrete songs.

However, now that Jake is here, all that’s changed. Jake actually has some knowledge about music production, as well as being a musician himself, and has the equipment to record using my keyboard. Now, my keyboard is a Kurzweil K1000, which is an instrument that was released somewhere around 1988, so it’s definitely more of a synthesizer than a real legitimate electric piano. As such, even though it has a lot of really cool sounds, a lot of them are somewhat dated, and the actual piano soundfonts are not really convincing enough to sound like a real piano. That being said, is still perfectly good to record demos with. I haven’t yet recorded any vocals but I have recorded a few very basic rough demos for some songs.

If you’re reading this on my Patreon, then you’re going to get your VERY FIRST PATREON MUSICAL RELEASE from me! Isn’t this exciting?? I’m certainly excited. Above is a picture of the little studio Jake and I have set up in his bedroom, with the piano being graced by the presence of a plush pig (I love pigs), an authentic poster promoting Imogen Heap’s very first show in the US during the I Megaphone era, and a painting done by my old roommate, which always makes me feel happy.

If you’re reading this on my blog, don’t feel bad, that’s where I’m actually writing this post in the first place. However, please consider heading over to Patreon and becoming my patron. It’s not that I want to be stingy with these songs, they’re just very rough demos and I want to finally be able to give something special to my patrons. All that being said, included with this post are three very quick little rough demos: one for a song called The Day I Met God, which I wrote the words and melody to years ago but which I only recently have tried writing actual music for. The second is for a song called Hate Crime, which was actually the first song I ever wrote back in 2007 when I was seventeen years old, an early version of which I played in my high school talent show. The third is just me fucking around with some of the string sounds on my keyboard and trying out what a possible string accompaniment to Hate Crime might sound like. All of these were recorded in one shot, and I haven’t edited out any of the obvious mistakes I made, which is why they’re called “rough demos” after all.

I’ve also just remembered to tell you all that today, Jake and I visited a music store, and I got to see a real life cello up close and personal for possibly the second time in my life (interestingly, the first time was at the very same music store, only it was in a different location then). There was a normal cello and then a MASSIVE one with this bright wood color, and I ran the bow across the strings and the sheer POWER of the thing was overwhelming. It’s like an orchestra all on it’s own. Just running a bow across those strings and feel the power of the cello was incredible, and it made me realize that I think I would really like to have a cello player to play alongside if I ever put together a band. Now that Jake and I are living together and working on music at the same time, I’m sure some collaborations will happen there as well. He did all the heavy lifting of setting up the recording and moving around files and such for you guys to be able to hear this, so if you like it, then you have him to thank!

There’s so much more to say. I want to talk all about how I want to really commit to getting fit and losing weight and being healthy, I want to talk about all the things that have been on my mind lately, things that make me happy and things that make me angry and things that inspire me, but for now, I think I’ll stop here. I hope you guys enjoy the songs and please feel free to let me know what you think or leave any comments you like. I’ll see you all soon!

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Patron Blog #7

Where have I been? Why haven’t I posted anything? Am I still writing my novel? What happened to my musical projects? Have I joined a Dionysian cult and wandered off into the hills to participate in ritualistic blood orgies?The answer to those questions and more, in this exciting patron update.

So first of all, hi. I know I’ve been absent for a while.

Truthfully I’ve been absent for a long time. Most of my blog posts begin with an apology for not having written more. But honestly, the apology is to myself. Because I want to write. I want to write badly. I just do these that keep me from being able to, or I try to put too many rules on myself and never end up writing.

For example. I’m best at writing in conversational style. A really professional looking, article style blog post, is difficult. It’s difficult to get my thoughts together enough to even begin writing. And the irony is that writing is HOW I get my thoughts together.

I’ve tried several times throughout the course of writing in my blog to create little “series.” I’ve attempted several times to number my blog posts, but then I get caught up trying to figure out what actually COUNTS as a blog post (fun fact: I recently went through my blog and counted. This is the part of the paragraph where I would tell you what the total number was, but as I just now discovered, I have no idea where I put the notepad document with the number on it. Anyhow, it was over 200)

There are a lot of series or features I want to write on my blog: I’ve wanted for years now to do a thing called “spotlight” or possibly “let’s talk about it,” where I just pick a topic (usually a thing, like a movie, an album, a video game) and just write down my thoughts about it. No pressure, no outlines, just conversational. I also want to do top ten lists about songs I love or albums I recommend. I want to do a series where I just rant about religion and about society. I have notes written down for all of these, but I never get around to posting them. I took some notes during my trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC that I want to post, but again, I haven’t gotten around to it.

So why am I not writing? I want to write. I see things every day I want to write about. I have thoughts I want to chronicle. But I freak myself out by attempting to give the writing structure before I even say what I’m thinking. And then there’s the fact that some days I just write better than others. As you can see, today is not an eloquent, professional day, it’s a scatter-brained, almost illegible day.

But that’s okay. The most important thing is that I write.

So. Where have I been?

I went on a trip, back to Delaware to stay with my two friends who I lived with for a year. And joining me was a very special guy who lives in England, who came to visit me and some of our mutual friends. We had an amazing time together. Two weeks. We went to Washington DC, we saw some monuments, we went to the Holocaust museum, we went to a lot of restaurants, and I tried my best to fit in everything American I could imagine while he was here. We went to the beach, we went to an island where wild horses live, and we did a lot of kissing, snogging, and making out.

He snogged me so hard that his chin stubble rubbed my face raw. It was terribly painful. But I still think that’s a pretty cute story.

I realized, while I was there, that I haven’t been living since I left Delaware. I shut down, emotionally and mentally, and I’ve been existing, but not living. And I realized that as long as I’m near my family that’s never going to change. So I made the decision that I’m going to get out. I did my taxes, and I should have a hefty return coming to me. I intend to use that money to get my car on the road again, and get the hell out.

So where do I go? Well, that’s been a big issue. Several friends offered to help me out. One in Portland, Oregon, one in Austin, Texas, one in Massachusetts, and another possibly here in North Carolina. It’s been difficult to know who to choose or what to do. Each option provides issues: some of them are just too far away to reasonably drive without spending a crazy amount on food or lodging, some of them offer great possibilities but are in an area where I don’t want to live, and some of them are with possible roommates who’s credibility I honestly can’t vouch for, and I don’t know who I can trust.

I waited for several weeks for my tax returns to come in the mail before discovering that in fact, they’d never been submitted, so now I have to mail them in. It’s been aggravating. I feel like my life has been on hold, and the worst thing is that I’m getting used to being here again. I’m getting used to living in my mom’s house, getting used to being… not dead inside, but silent. It’s like who I really am just burrows up inside my chest and waits until it has a chance to get out.

I have to get out. It’s a matter of survival. So, when I get the money, I’ll make a decision, one way or another, and get out.

What have I been doing?

Mostly nothing. I’m serious. I’ve been laying around, not exercising, eating poorly, playing video games, masturbating and watching quiz shows online. I have been doing a lot of reading, and I’m excited to do a sort of review about a series that I’m reading. But in general, I’ve stalled.

Like I said, being here just drains the life out of me. It drains my will to do anything, my will to better myself, my will to be alive. It’s the only way I know how to survive being in the presence of such a controlling and abusive person as my mother. I have to tread lightly to try and avoid upsetting her, but that’s unavoidable, as she is perpetually angry at someone, and always more than willing to blame it on me, or my sister, or whoever else is around her. I have to get away.

I just keep telling myself that I can do this. I can get away. I can survive. She will tell me that I can’t go it on my own, but maybe I can.

Amidst all of this confusion about where to go, who to choose to help me, I came up with a surprising idea.

I could just go it on my own.

Where?

There’s a place here in North Carolina which, from my perspective, is sort of the promised land. It’s a place called Asheville. It’s up in the mountains, and it’s apparently a haven for gay people, hippies, and art nerds. There’s a college there, and supposedly there are lots of massage parlors, vegetarian supermarkets, there’s a place called The Light Center in the mountains which is like a spiritual healing retreat. There are a lot of pagans there, and it just generally seems to be my kind of place. Also it’s supposed to be utterly beautiful.

I’m going to visit there first thing when I get my car on the road again. I’ve wanted for a long time to try and go there, and I just thought… maybe I should just do it. I’ll have a bit of money to fall back on, so I should just go, find a place, find a job, and start living. Maybe I don’t need someone else to take care of me.

I still don’t know what I’ll do for sure. But I know that I have to do something, and maybe this is what I’ve been waiting for. Maybe this is my chance. My chance to be alive.

As for my novel.

It’s been a difficult journey. This book and I are constantly battling one another. I want to write it, and yet I know so much and so little about it. I have years of notes, scenes, and scrapped chapters written, and still I’ve never truly gotten started on it. My most recent attempt was a bit of a false start. I got stalled in the first chapter and couldn’t get past it, despite trying to rewrite it. I’ve gone back to the drawing board and given myself an outline, and I plan to start again.

I don’t know how many false starts this book will have. I don’t know how many rewrites there will be. But one day, it will be born, it will be alive, and people will see it. And I will be seen. And I will be able to live on, because my heart will be written down.

So what am I going to do now?

I’m going to start writing, with a modest goal of doing a little writing every day, even if it’s something small. I’m going to go back to working on my health, and going to the gym on a mostly-daily basis. I’m going to try and help myself to get out of this situation, and I’m going to keep trying when I fail.

I plan to start writing blogs again soon. Updates about my life, about my interests, about my thoughts. Rants and ideas and recommendations, pieces of me, laid out for you to read. It’s what I want to do.

I’ll be back soon. Thank you for sticking around. There is more to come.

Patron Blog #6

Hey everyone.

So surprisingly I haven’t posted much in the way of updates or blogs, but I have actually started getting down to the business of some real writing. Currently sitting at Starbucks, my new favorite place to be creative (my room has a desk but it’s very cramped and claustrophobic, and it’s in my family’s house which is a pretty toxic environment. Also their wifi is much better here), but there is apparently a huge winter storm coming, so naturally all of North and South Carolina have to shut down the moment a snowflake hits the ground. As such, they’re closing early so I only have half an hour to write this.

Also between that paragraph and this one I completely forgot that I was doing this, and ended up writing someone a long Victorian-style letter on Facebook asking for dick pics. Because I’m not just sexually deviant, I’m CLASSY and sexually deviant.

So I’ve finally finally finally started writing my novel. No bullshit. And though it’s been a week or two since the last installment, that doesn’t mean I’m not working on it. I’ve started a project to transcribe all of the notes from my phone, computer, emails and various other places into one extensive document or set of documents, but that’s not even nearly complete.

I started writing my fantasy novel, which has for years been referred to as Fairy Tale or the Fairies Awakening. I don’t know what the title will really be and I’ve been reluctant to call the first draft by either of those names because I’m superstitious that it will inherit the problems of Fairy Tale rather than being it’s own project. As such I’m just referring to it as “my fantasy novel” for the moment.

Things changed when I got the idea of including a goblin as a character. I’ve noticed that just about any mythical creature or magical being has already been translated from it’s original folkloric form into something beautiful and modern: vampires, fairies, elves, werewolves, shapeshifters, and on and on. But I haven’t seen a lot of beautiful, elegant, and inspiring goblin characters. The only one I’m even aware of is David Bowie’s Goblin King from Labyrinth. I saw the movie somewhat recently but I didn’t actually finish it, and truthfully I found it a bit boring, but the Goblin King was the only thing that I really found interesting. So I thought it would be fun to try and translate goblins into some original. I’m sure someone else has already done it, and when it comes to fantasy it’s difficult not to trod upon ground that has already been done to death or that was already done better than anyone else can really hope by Tolkien, but it’s worth a try. And either way, it gave me the creative boost I needed to start.

I wrote the prologue a few months ago, and it’s still the same, I just excised a little expository passage from the end of it and started chapter one afresh. The new version of the story has a distinctly different feel, which both excites and scares me. But I’ve received good feedback so far from everyone who’s read along. I’m also learning a lot more about what my weaknesses are, which is scary but also a good thing that will help me improve as a writer. I’m also starting to figure out what it is I need to research, and I haven’t really begun that process, but I figure I’ll probably research as I go along.

And then, by accident, I started working on a SECOND book right after the first. This one isn’t a fantasy novel, it’s an autobiography. My life has a lot of pretty ridiculous stories, and people always enjoy hearing me tell them. I’ve thought about trying to tell them through standup comedy, but I’m afraid that they aren’t inherently funny enough to hold the attention of an audience with the expectation that they’re going to laugh. Margaret Cho can do it, but I don’t know if I’m quite ready. I still want to try standuop at some point though. But more on that later.

Fifteen minutes now until closing time, I have to hurry up. So anyhow, I’ve decided to start writing an autobiography focused around my ridiculous, entertaining, hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking sexual history. I like talking openly about sex and I accidentally discovered that writing this will give me the perfect platform to talk about my feelings on a variety of sexual topics: monogamy, polyamory, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, all of the things we don’t want to talk about, I want to really bring them out into the open and try to start an open and honest dialogue about them. Maybe it will destroy any chance I have of being a reputable author. I guess I can’t say that I don’t care, but I also know that I can’t remain silent when there’s something important that we should be talking about.

I also want to thank thank THANK you guys, I’ve received a few new patrons and a couple of BIG pledges, getting me past my first milestone goal of $20 per month. I just checked back and I’m actually back down beneath $20, so I guess someone must have left or changed their pledge, but either way it’s fine, my Patreon is growing little by litte, and I’m confident that if I keep providing, more patrons will come.

I don’t have much time to talk about anything else. I will say that I wrote another installment in my sexual memoir, but truthfully I’m a little afraid to post it. Put plainly: it’s about my brother. I was raised an only child, my odler brother was adopted before I was born and raised by a distant family member, so I didn’t really get to interact with him until I was thirteen and he was nineteen, and I was just coming into my sexuality, and I had a big crush on him. He was a beautiful guy who walked around the house half naked all hours of the day, and I was this shy awkward little gay guy who’d never so much as seen a guy with his shirt off, and I just couldn’t help but develop a huge crush on him. I know that that ruffles people a little, and I understand that. I talk in graphic detail about my sexual interest in him. Nothing ever happened between us, but I know that that could be something that might be disturbing for some people to read. But I want to TALK about it, so that I can understand my own feelings and maybe start a discussion on incest, and where the line is, and what’s healthy and what isn’t.

But I’m afraid to post it. And it isn’t even the biggest secret I plan to reveal in this book. So… it’s scary. Let me know if you’re interested in reading and I’ll try to work up the courage to post it.

Until next time, guys!

Patron Blog #5: Watching My Every Sound

It’s been a bad few days. Come to think of it there are many ways in which it’s been an altogether bad few months, I would be tempted to say 2016 was a bad year like everyone else has been saying, and no doubt much of it has sucked. But I did spend the majority of the year in a safe home, even if I just couldn’t make it work in the end.

The depression has been REALLY bad for the past week or so. About a week ago I spent several hours sitting on my bed, listening to some of my favorite sad songs in Audacity, slowing them down to play at 0.70x speed. There was this hot pain in my chest and stomach, and I wondered if I was going to be sick. It was grief that I felt. I don’t know what I was feeling grief for. Maybe for my hope. Maybe for my life in Delaware. Maybe that in the end I’m back here, jobless and living with my mom, with no goals in sight.

I thought about college and how I never got to live my dreams there. I never got to live in a dorm room with a roommate who shared the same room, and do all those silly roommate things, and become friends with him. I never got to make lots of friends and be part of big groups wrapped in blankets watching movies in the dark. I never got to have dramatic breakups with boys on campus, and fuck three guys at once while trying to keep it down in our room. I never got to go to class in my pajamas, to stay up studying.

I just… sat here. Sat here and got fat and got diabetes, and my testosterone dropped to dangerous levels and my viatmin D failed me, and my depression got deeper, and the depression meds made my hard cock go soft, and my eyes drooped and fell, and I sank and sank and sank. Sank into mud, into the earth, into a warm well of sadness and sat at the bottom and looked up defeatedly at the sky above.

I’ve tried to write. I’ve failed the last couple of days. I mean, I wrote. It’s not even that bad. But the inspiration wasn’t there. I waited too long to write. I keep trying to push through but there’s so little to work with there. I can write the scenes just fine when I’m speaking them aloud to myself in the shower. But on the screen when I type… I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I don’t know about anything. I got angry at my sister and slammed on my breaks in the middle of the road and told her she could shut the fuck up or get out of the car. I was so ashamed of myself for pulling such a white trash move. I felt like my mother.

My mother is near, and she sucks my soul from my being, like a vampire. I’m so empty, so empty, so empty.

So empty.