Disconnect

IDLE MUSINGS

Last week my family said goodbye to my uncle. Things seem calmer, but it's likely because everyone is going about their grieving in different ways. That and the fact I am not in close proximity of most of my family anymore. We aren’t talking states away, but I have a very small radius of travel; something I want to change sooner than later.

I spoke of another loss, one hopefully salvageable. It pales in comparison to a death in the family, but it's an important matter, nonetheless.

Before getting to that, though, I will start on a lighter note...

Your You’re the Writer

Yesterday was my review for the new company I work for. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. With everything going on the last few weeks, I had fallen a bit behind. The company uses a Self-Assessment form, where you critique your own work/skills/strengths/weaknesses/etc. It was interesting. Similar to some of the questions asked in the interview I had with the company.

Questions like: What are five strengths you possess?

Could you believe I could only think of four during my interview? It happened! Granted I was on thirty minutes of sleep, but still. I never really think about those kinds of things. What I’m good at, strengths, positive traits/skills. It was a bit easier this time around, thankfully.

I couldn’t print out the form, so I ended up writing my answers on index cards. I was excited when my manager seemed interested I used them. I may be obsessed, I use them for many things. She let me start the review.

“You’re the writer...” she began.

I must have told her I wanted to write and forgot. I think I got flustered, maybe embarrassed, and tried explaining I hadn’t written much in a while. It was, however, encouraging to make sure I do a little writing each day; especially my fiction.

The review went really well. Things were in order and we spoke about advancement opportunities, so I will be playing it by ear. It would be nice to shift into a new role, learn some new skills. Overall it turned out to be a good day, with a clearer outlook on the work front.

Wildflower

In a previous post, THE BRIDGE, I mentioned a Wildcard associated with NaNoWriMo.  This individual played an important role in inspiring my writing, encouraging me to complete NaNo, and fueling various other projects thereafter. Looking back, I apparently wasn’t completely aware of just how influential the individual had been to my work.

Now the part that some may find hard to believe, is that I had specifically asked for a Muse months ago. Asked the Universe, for all those new age spiritualists out there. So, I got what I asked for, but unfortunately not at the most opportune time, at least in terms of being able to explore it to a desired capacity. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I just wanted to write again.

So this Muse came into my life and that’s what happened. I began to write again. More expansive than outlines and ideas. Spending time with them somehow created a surge of inspiration and desire to create. I couldn’t explain it and still can’t. It just was. It scared me; still does. It played a factor in, to some extent, the breakdown discussed in that earlier post linked above.

While things were exciting for a time, eventually due to circumstances, the connection had to be momentarily released. I hope it’s a very temporary situation. It was important to myself to be realistic and honest about the situation, rather than pretend I was okay with it or that things would change. Continuing down that path would have bode negative for both myself and them. Different people at different places, but perhaps down the road the friendship will resume more fully.

Since the severance, I have coincidentally been lacking in my fiction. I’m sure a lot of it is in my head, but unless someone has known someone that created this effect, I can’t explain it. It comes off as magical. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t contemplated sacrificing some happiness in attempts to assure I could at least have access to just a taste now and again. It can be very euphoric.

Music plays a large role in my writing, and fuels a lot of my fiction. Not as fleshed out, but little blips of scenes. I’m hoping it will suffice, and that I can unlock that part of me that was unleashed when in the presence of a Muse. The belief is, naturally, that the source is within you and I agree (or so I will tell myself). The trouble comes in accessing it freely.

Wildflower is the name of a Smashing Pumpkins song I dedicated to this situation. To me, the song is about someone chasing another who is always out of reach. In doing so, eventually it becomes too much and they need to let go, or risk the task consuming them. That is the simplistic explanation.

The song took on a slightly different meaning when listening to it live, where the singer had changed a line of lyrics from "When it's far too gone, I'd move on" to "When it's all too much, I've had enough." Originally, in context, it sounded like he was giving permission to the other to move on once he became unmanageable. To go and be free and live without him. With the change, it is more giving himself permission and letting go (and how the original line was meant to be taken - at least in my theory). Either way, give it a listen. I love it!

Flash Fiction

I decided to try my hand at Flash Fiction. Essentially it is a piece consisting of fewer words than a short story. I believe under a thousand (or maybe three thousand?) words is common. There was a contest held a few weeks ago and the rules specified for a piece of fiction of 250 words or less. Writing within these confines is sometimes referred to as Micro Fiction. Also, as a fun twist, you had to use at least four of ten pre-selected words.

The words:

EVENING-QUARRY-ACCENT-ROSE-TEAR-MINUTE-GRAVE-CLOSE-ENTRANCE-BOW

It was a lot of fun and very challenging. I’d like to do more Flash Fiction. I feel it will help me in terms of brevity with my fiction. This past weekend I received the dreaded email stating my story didn’t make it to the next round of judging. That is unfortunate, but was expected. It was more for the experience of it. I don’t think I’ve submitted anything into a contest since high school; maybe first grade.

The piece was inspired by the circumstances involving the Muse, and also a song I was inspired to write during the period we were in touch. For that reason, it is a very personal story, but would love to share it.

I’m currently placing all of my fiction on a blog specifically designed for my writing. You can read my Flash Fiction contest entry there:

Dreams in the Shade of Ink: Fireflies

Feel free to check it out, comment, and explore the other writing projects I am working on! Any constructive feedback is always welcomed; both here and there.

Until then, I will endure the only thing standing between that fleeting inspiration and myself. Those words that wish to be written, but enjoy a good game of hide-and-seek.

Time.

Have you ever had a Muse? For those out there inspired by music, what song(s) or band(s) really gets your mojo flowing? Have you ever written any Flash Fiction? I'd love to read some from others!

A FAMILY AFFAIR

So this past week was another rough one. There were no sudden bursts of wanting to run into seclusion, but rather a chain of unfortunate events leading to loss. The two most prominent weren’t necessarily directly linked, but associated in the background.

One irreversible, another salvageable (or at least I tell myself); both healthy, in terms of allowing growth if handled correctly. If being honest, I can’t say if I will handle either in the best way, but I plan to try.


A Death in the Family

Last week my family buried my uncle at Fort Snelling. His passing was sudden, and just months after his father (mother’s side) passed. The cause is still being checked into, and I hear it could take weeks. I guess I watch one too many police procedural shows, because I thought it would be a matter of days, if that.

I wasn’t extremely close to either my uncle or grandfather. Both seemed to keep to their own lives, much as I do myself. They both would attend all our family functions, though. I can only attempt to imagine the pain my mother must be feeling. I feel like I fail in comforting her. It was even worse attempting to comfort my uncle’s daughters. I felt completely incompetent. I was unable to find any words, but I don’t believe there are always words for something like that. Sometimes words can’t express enough.

When I was first contacted, and still unaware of what had happened, I had multiple scenarios flash through my mind. I knew the news was bad, terrible even, and so I thought of my brothers. Mainly the youngest and the next oldest after myself. I guess I feel they would be the ones to find themselves in some sort of predicament.

Hearing my mother’s voice told me things were much more dire than anticipating. Instantly, I thought of a death in the family. This still secured these two brothers in my mind, but it shifted more to the next oldest. He is a stupid driver, and way out of reach now after having moved.

To fuel it, while my mother attempted to compose herself she said “Che...” and then had to take another moment. I then thought this meant that something had, indeed, befallen my brother. Finding out it was my uncle, I think she possibly thought, for a moment, she was on the phone with my brother; she had been attempting to contact him, along with the rest of the family.

So last week was the funeral. Once again, I was face to face with relatives I had just seen after my grandfather’s passing, but before that I hadn’t seen in years; some since being too young to even remember them. The same pleasantries were exchanged: the desire to stop meeting under such circumstances, and resolutions to become closer to one another. I believe the same was said at my grandfather’s funeral. It may be “standard issue” among many families in such an event.

I’d like it to be true, to come true. That these aren’t just pleasantries. I think people in general get too distracted with life and themselves that they don’t keep in touch with others. Whether friends, family, lovers; life happens. I’ve always been one of the belief that there’s always time. Even if just for a quick call. With the world being as connected as it is now, I have little room for excuses.

Sadly, I fall into the category of not specifically doing so with those I know. I don’t believe I make excuses, though. I understand that I have had multiple opportunities to do so, but haven’t. It isn’t hard really. Make a call, send an email, a text. I feel worse on my end, because I don’t have near as busy a life as many others I know. I have no excuses, and I try not to pretend I do.

For a brief moment, after the death of someone close, people seem to remember there are others connected to them.  A blip of connectedness. Their lives slow down, they have time to think and look around. That innate desire in everyone, in humans, to be close to one another kicks in.

In their heart of hearts, they want things to change. They want to be closer to those they have drifted away from. The hope of that is generally short lived. Soon life resumes and back into the vortex they are sucked.

So will this time be different? In most cases, there are a small percentage of individuals positively affected by such a traumatic event. Individuals that dedicate and convict to such changes they want to see happen in their life. It’s wonderful, yet a shame specific circumstances had to unfold to spark that change. It seems a path most of us are doomed to repeat over and over again.

I think, and hope, my cousins are among a few who will undergo this transformation. Both showed how strong they were in the wake of their father’s death. I was extremely proud of them. I learned the oldest (possible they both do?) has a beautiful voice that I hope she continues to use to express herself, whether through music or some other manner.

My heart and love goes out to them and to everyone affected by this tragedy.

On my end, I hope to let go of some guilt. Some associated with my grandfather, and some with my uncle. Pointless hangups. Perhaps I will finally make the change and be more in touch with others outside my immediate family.

If I don’t, I don’t really have an excuse.

II | INTERLUDE | II

-Like the Changing of Seasons-

Sometimes in life you meet people that you just connect with. These connections can be on various levels. Family, friends, romantic interests, etc etc. There is that pull that opens the pathway to something new. It is almost like you just fall into place. You get a sense of belonging somewhere; it is new and exciting.

It is like that new car smell. Okay, maybe more like the first snowfall of Winter; beautiful.

For romance, you think about the person a lot, if not all the time. You wonder how they are doing, when you will see them next. You want to hold them, kiss them, make love to them. You can’t wait for the next time you will hear their voice or receive contact from them.

Feelings of acceptance, understanding, and possibly lust or love overcomes you, and it can be euphoric. Perhaps you want to dance naked in the rain. I have yet to do that.

It is different for everyone. Some try rather hard to ignore and block it out; I do my best to embrace it, I’ve lived the life of intentionally pushing it away. That can lead to abrupt, disoriented endings.

It’s like going out, slipping on the sidewalk, and cursing to the heavens about how you hate Winter and the snow. Already forgotten, the peaceful yet exciting stirrings the snowfall just brought out in you moments ago. Now you are just sick of it. It wasn’t what you thought it was. It was a trap! Those emotions you felt were drawn out through trickery!

When connections abruptly end in that fashion, it can be devastating. It can feel like a vibrant, taut cord, connecting you and another, being cut; the end snapping you. Confusion. What just happened? Were you not just engaged in a beautiful exchange of life, love, and understanding?

Most times, this violent dismantling of a connection is the result from a lack of communication.

I understand people become busy in life. It is true. I also understand that even while busy, in this day of age of instant connection to one another, that a prolonged lack of communication is usually a sign or hint that the other party has “checked out” of the building (If once a romantic interest, they likely found... well... a new "interest"). There are occasions this isn’t the case and it is a misunderstanding. If so, then they should easily be repairable by none other than: Communication.

This generally applies to newer connections. Long-term connections are a different beast altogether. These are also friends, lovers, family (the same mixing); they, however, have the backing of time.

Deeper, long-term connections tend to naturally flux over time, if at all, but never die. They pulse. The soft, slow rhythmic beating of life’s heart. Like the changing of seasons. They are always there, and you know it. Their love is constant as time slinks by and life takes over. You know that if you lose touch you will eventually find your way back again. They, you, and the connection in between simply are.

These connections can be hard to build up to, especially with new people, but I would rather put in that effort over receiving (or dealing) an abrupt snap of disconnect any day.