Apologies.

Did you know that sometimes you’re supposed to feel guilt? Like, sometimes you’ve done something wrong, and you should feel bad about it.

That’s a crazy thought isn’t it? 

I apologize a lot. It’s in my nature. I’m the type of person who wants to be liked; not because I’m insecure, but because I generally like most people, and it feels good when they like me back. That being said, I’m human. I say stupid things. I get my foot stuck in my mouth. Overall, I can be a real dummy dumb sometime’s. I’m shy and hyper and just a real mixed bag of thoughts (as you can probably tell from my blog).

But here’s the thing, I don’t apologize because I think it’s going to make people like me more. Even though I do like being liked, just like everyone else, when I say sorry it’s because I really mean it. 

One of the reasons I bring that up is because it really PISSES me off when people don’t apologize. You know the type, never apologizes for anything, generally a more masculine or proud person. They refuse to apologize even when they know they’re in the wrong. I remember when I was a kid, I said I was sorry to an older dude I knew. He said to me, “Never apologize, just say ‘my bad’”. 

I think that’s dumb.

RESPONSIBILITY

You know what apologizing does? It means you’re taking responsibility for your actions. A genuine apology means that you have reflected on your actions and acknowledge that you 

messed up. When you’re able to do that it makes you grow into a less selfish person.  

Being considerate of people you care about is cool.

THE WHEEL OF GUILT

Generally, when you feel guilty for an action that you made it’s good to reflect and figure out why you feel guilty. If you can accurately describe why you feel guilty, and you know that the fault lies with you, apologizing is the next step. You know what ISN’T the next step? More guilt. 

I hate it when people torture themselves with guilt. Yes I get it you’re just such a wonderful person you can’t believe you messed up blah blah blah. Are you finished yet? 

Guilt is a momentary sign that you need to make a change. If you want to crucify yourself because you did something wrong, you probably need some therapy, or jail time, or something. 

THE BOY WHO CRIED APOLOGY

Yeah okay so here’s the thing though. When you say sorry, mean it. Like I said earlier, when you become the type of person who takes responsibility and apologizes for their actions, people want you to be genuine about it. If you’re apologizing too much, or don’t seem honest about it, people are going to dislike you even more because you make the impression that you are a people-pleaser.

Self respect is dope. Chicks dig it. 

TIGHT ROPE

Do you apologize at all, or too much? Tell me what works for you, I’m still figuring out this whole “life” thing.

Photo by FuYong Hua on Unsplash

(Apologetic kitty-cat IS SO CUTE)

Love the head you’re in.

Aren’t you grateful for the head that you have? I’m super thankful for it, even though I think my actions would say otherwise. Don’t we all kind of treat our brains like our servants? “Say something clever!”, “Have a good idea!”, “Wake up!”, “Ugh, you’re so dumb why didn’t you say something better!”.
I thought about my brain like it was some sort of indentured servant today and it made me laugh. Just think you’ve got this little guy in your head all the time. He makes your body run as effectively as he can given the crap that you feed it. Then, on top of that it’s constantly working to give you ideas, help you remember, and essentially do your bidding all the time.
You’d think that you’d be able to give it a break when you sleep, but in actuality it’s working even HARDER while you sleep.
We all need to give our brains some love sometimes. So here’s a few ways you can do that:

  1. READ

YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING THAT WERE YOU.
Your brain loves reading. You may think that it hates it, that you’re bored. Well stop. Stop that. You love it, your brain loves it, keep reading. It allows you to imagine new places, have new ideas, experience things that you’re never going to experience in your own life. Reading is magical, your brain wants it.
2. Meditate or something
So your brain never rests, how do you give something that never rests a rest? You just don’t do anything apparently. Sit down, clear your head, smell some. . smells or something. What’s a soothing smell that clears your head? I think there’s tea that smell’s good. So I mean, I guess if you don’t meditate at least drink some tea.
Focusing on not thinking is a lot harder than you might suppose. It’s interesting how you start thinking of random things while you try to clear your head. Think of it like this, your brain is a servant that you are constantly yelling at and forcing to serve you at all times whenever you call. If I was that servant I would be on edge like nothing else if my boss just suddenly stopped yelling at me all the time. Your brain isn’t used to not being ordered around all the time, give it some time, focus on clearing your head, I’m sure your brain will love it.
3. Music
You know why you dance by yourself? Because you brain loves to feel the tunes. Gotta give your brain what it wants. Treat it right and listen to what it likes. Maybe you gotta pump those Lo-Fi jams and just settle into a comfy chair. Or maybe you gotta spray that Katy Perry all over the room and just get funky. Just like food is the way to a man’s heart, music is the way to the brain’s. . . heart. . . I’ve really gone off the wagon with terrible analogies.
4. Lastly, sleep.
Yeah just go to bed. I mean, it does make your brain work harder, but your brain still needs tons of sleep. It doesn’t help when you stay up late all the time.
Wait, I should go to bed.
I’m torturing my brain in order to write a blog late at night.
Ironic.

Book Club: Hamlet.

I’m renaming my book reviews to Johnson’s book club. That way I don’t have to clarify that I’m not really reviewing these books. I’m enjoying them, and talking about what I like about them.

That being said, let’s dive into it.

I enjoyed this book. I’m hopelessly lost when it comes to reading books in ye-old-English, but the parts that I understood more or less I really enjoyed.

It fascinates me how much of our modern language and even phrases come from Shakespeare. My favorites being, “To be or not to be” and “Get thee to a Nunnery!” I mean, I haven’t heard “Get thee to a Nunnery!” that much before, but I can guarantee that it’s going to be a thing from now on with me.

Shakespeare has a way of writing characters that really makes you feel connected with them. They are intense, emotional, and they say exactly what is on their mind. Some of the characters are more one dimensional than others, like Ophelia compared to Hamlet, but you can still see where the smaller characters are coming from, and relate with them.

Hamlet himself is obviously the most interesting and standout character. He’s got problems. His mom’s a hoe, his dad is dead, his uncle murdered his dad, you know stuff like that. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark though, so you know what they’d say in the middle-ages:

“MO PROVIDENCES MO PROBLEMS”

Shakespeare is the master at crafting characters that you want to listen to. You want to hear their opinions and feel their intensity. They each come from a different place emotionally, yet you still want to hear each and every one of them when they get up for their turn to speak.

Hamlet is meant to be performed. While I was reading it I imagined every character standing in the spotlight and speaking their lines. It really made me desire to go and see more plays. It’s a method of entertainment and expression that I hope never dies, because while it is similar to books, or television, or movies, or whatever, it’s really in a league of it’s own.

It’s a special art, I hope it is always with us, just like Shakespeare.

Magic.

I revisited one of my old blogs tonight as I was procrastinating writing this one. It’s probably one of my favorites that I wrote. Not because it’s anything incredibly special, but because I was really inspired when I wrote it; it’s called: Let It Be. . .

I’m particularly fond of it because it felt like it came from a really personal place. I’m not really afraid to bear my soul to strangers on the internet, but most of the blogs don’t drill that deep.

Anyways, I said that because I wanna talk about:

SEGUE

I wanna talk about

THE CREATIVE PROCESS.

or what I like to call:

BRAIN MAGIC.

One of my favorite albums of all time is by Dan Auerbach. The album name and title track is called “Waiting on a Song”, which accurately describes the creative process for musicians, artists, writers, etc.

The way you get a good idea is you wait for it.

I mean sure, smarter men than me probably have a much denser and more effective creative process. Maybe they play Mahjong and smoke a pipe while conversing about the stock market WHILST compiling poetry in their mind.

but I, peasant that I am, have a simple process:

When I want to create something I sit and think. Generally I think and stare at a wall, or drive in a car, or listen to music. Generally I listen to the air passing between my head.

(Sometimes when I’m thinking and listening to music my shoulders do a little jig that possibly helps the creative process, don’t know, have to investigate that further.)

It’s meditation, basically. When you’re focusing on clearing your head it makes it easier for you to think of ideas that you like. That doesn’t mean that this is the only way to have good ideas. Idea’s have a way of attacking you like a helpless animal when you least expect it; but it helps to make yourself available.

Go get eaten by that idea.

I don’t know if that was a good analogy.

Where was I going with this.

Your creativity (in my opinion) also stems heavily from your emotional state. Which I love. Your mood has a way of bringing out some really awesome sides of you if you’re able to tap into it in the right way. Some of the most provoking or inspiring thoughts I’ve had (like in the blog I linked above) I had because I was feeling a certain way.

I mean, obviously.

God is this just a state the obvious blog now? “Hey wanna start having ideas? maybe you should sit and think about them.”

Ah, well, too late.

Bye.

Obsession.

I think I read a story once about one of Einstein’s quirks: He’d often skip meals when he was working. He just forgot to eat. When he had an idea it enveloped him; he was consumed by it and couldn’t think about anything else.

Don’t you wish you were like that? I do. I’ve often been the type that doesn’t commit fully to my “brilliant” ideas. I’m sure you’ve had it happen before: You’ll get super excited to accomplish something new and interesting to you but after a while you lose a bit of steam and your momentum hits a brick wall.

It’s exhausting, giving up on your great ideas. Why can’t I just be like Einstein? Why can’t I just have that “obsessive” personality. That would just be so much easier. . .

Obviously that’s a naive thought. Guess what? You can be exactly like Einstein. He may have been “obsessed”, but I think the better term for it would be two fold: He was extremely disciplined, and laser focused. When he bent his mind towards a problem he would focus on it with all of his intensity. You could make the excuse that he was a supernatural genius. That people who are able to accomplish as much as he did have to be gifted.

He certainly was gifted, but you’re not trying to solve Einstein sized problems, or chase Einstein sized dreams. You’re dealing with ideas and dreams that are coming from your own head.

You’re capable of becoming completely obsessed.

You know, in a good way.

Don’t read this and start stalking people.

A Conversation.

One thing that I’d love to work on in my writing is telling a story through dialogue. To me, that feels like a really hard thing to accomplish. Whenever I’ve attempted to describe how a character of mine was feeling I would always just describe it through essentially their own mind. 

I’d think to myself, “oh Reggie is angry here at this part, so I’m just going to say he’s filled with rage”. That just seems like the logical thing to write, but obviously that leaves out an important element to writing: The reader. Does that make sense? When I say, “Reggie was filled with rage”, that leaves no room for the reader to draw his own conclusions based off of my creative work. 

Sometimes you need to do that, but sometimes it’s better to show rather than tell. I could say, “Reggie’s eyes blazed”, or “Reggie slapped Frank in his face with a rubber ducky”. You know, real righteous indignation. When you write about what the character is doing physically it leaves a little bit more room for creativity, both on the part of the reader and writer.

So, with that being said for literally no reason, here’s two guys talking in a prison. 

One of them is visiting the other:

Victor Winslow gently tapped his hand against the table in patient agitation. A thimble was fitted perfectly to his pinky, and it clanged softly with every tap. His eyes were glued to the door where the guards would be admitting the prisoners into the rest area. He breathed deeply. A bead of sweat ran down his right temple. 

The man was lead in after a few minutes by some guards. His hands bounced against his hips due to his restraints. His eyes were slits, buried by his furrowed brows. When the guards sat him in front of Victor he seemed surprised.

“You’re not my brother. What do you want?” The man said, biting off the sentence angrily. “He’s supposed to bring me some cigarettes. You got cigarettes little guy?” The man’s eyes scanned Vic greedily, and rested on a small bulge in Vic’s jacket, “Did you hear me guy? Are those for me?” The man’s voice sounded a little softer, pleading. He pointed with his restrained hands at Vic’s coat. 

Vic’s hands shot to the outside of his breast pocket. He fluffed his jacket quickly, attempting to hide the contents of his pocket. The metal inside it bounced heavily as he adjusted himself. “I don’t smoke.” 

“Then what do you want?” The man exclaimed importantly. “I don’t got time to sit here while some kid stranger stares at me.” He tried to throw his arms up in agitation but the restraints stifled him. 

Victor’s hand shook violently. His voice quivered, his eyes watered, “You don’t know who I am?” He said shakily. 

The man in chains shrugged with piercing anger. Not dignifying the question with a verbal response.

“You killed him” Vick whispered. “It was barely a year ago, and you can’t even remember I was there.”

The man’s eyes widened. “You’re the guy he was with. You threw me in here. This is your fault” He yelled. “That old man just needed to hand it over” he boomed like a cannon.

“Sorry I didn’t remember you” He smirked,  “You look like even less of a man up close”.

Laughing, the man signaled to the guards. 

Victor leapt across the table, forgetting the steel in his coat. His bony fingers closed in an iron fist. He smashed it bloody against the larger man’s face until the guards tore him away. 

Victor wept.

He tossed the gun away outside the prison.

Something like that I guess. 

Momblog.

A Love Story I Never Wrote.

I’ve been listening to a LOT of Lana Del Ray. 

Us super-fans call her LDR. No we don’t I made that up. I have no idea, but on her newest album it says LDR so… There’s that. 

It makes me want to write flowery sentences about love and stuff, so, disclaimer I guess. . . 

I dunno suck it I’ll write whatever I wanna write about.

Thank you so much for reading my blog, seriously,

suck it.

I had an idea for a story a while ago about a man writing about a girl he had fallen desperately in love with. He’d been travelling in Paris and had hired her as his tour guide. They spend the entire day together travelling all around the city. She takes him to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chappelle, The Eiffel Tower, you get the idea. 

They end the day together at a cafe. She stays for a long time and they chat about nonsense and life. She’s charming and funny, and he’s enchanted. He’ll write from his perspective about how stricken he is, how much of a fool he is, how miserable he is. He has to leave in a week, but all he can think about is how he needs to spend more time with this beautiful tour guide. 

My idea would have focused on the man’s passion. He’d write about her piercing eyes and genuine smile. It’s hard for me to describe it, I think it sounds like this:

I am writing this in a hope to appeal to my own reason. To somehow exchange this hopeless adoration for any other misery on earth. To trade my unfounded, unwanted, and unknown love for slow death would be a sweet deal. I’ll die when I leave this beautiful city. When I first arrived two days ago I didn’t see color, only black, white and grey. I found the color in her eyes. I found the beauty in her voice. I am a man on fire. Miserable and hopeless. She’s awoken such passion in me that I doubt before this week I was ever truly alive. When I set foot back home in America I will be worse than dead. I’ll be a man who experienced true life, true love, who’s soul was finally set free and then forced back into it’s iron cage.

I’m mad and wretched. I try to write the words to describe the feeling, for which there are no words.”

I was thinking about tragic love I guess. The man knows he has to leave, and that she doesn’t even know how he feels. Because obviously he’s crazy. Who falls in love with someone they barely know? Their tour guide? That borders on crazy obsession, right? 

So the story goes on, he hates himself, he loves her. She’s oblivious, as the man wishes for oblivion.

He does the thing he knows he shouldn’t do, he seeks her out. They explore more of the city together, then they simply talk and get to know each other more as friends. They connect on a genuine level. Then he has to leave. He fights every passionate instinct he has to stay and confess his affection to her.

He just leaves. 

I dunno, I just like the idea of someone feeling super strong emotions towards another person to which they never reveal it. I think it’s romantic. He resigns himself to misery because being rejected by this woman he loves would destroy him.

God, I need to stop listening to LDR. These ideas are whack.

But you read it so suck it I win bye bye. 

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

 

 

Gettin’ Saucy.

When I first started serving I remember taking this order to-go. This lady ordered some entree over the phone with a baked potato. Over the phone I remember she said specifically that she wanted butter on top of the potato.

Great, okay awesome, I’ll make sure you get your butter, lady. I’ll give you all the butter you want I don’t care.

Yeah I forgot to put the butter on the potato. 

So I completely forgot the butter on this order and I just continue working my shift. About half an hour later this lady calls back LIVID. She screams incoherently through the phone about butter for a few minutes and hangs up. I didn’t know how to console her. She didn’t want to come back and get butter so I just hung up the phone. I felt terrible. A potato without butter is a crime against humanity. 

So that was years ago. Isn’t that funny? I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast two days ago but you forget to give someone butter ONE TIME and she never leaves your memory.  

That’s what guilt will do I guess. 

I’d like to say that I never forgot another person’s request on a to-go order, but we all know that’s not true. Either way though, I never understood why these people got so fussy about small things going wrong with their order. 

Until today. 

Today I asked for a simple thing from the people at Cane’s. By the way before I go on short disclaimer: I love Cane’s. They have the best chicken fingers in Tulsa hands down. Small complaint? Not enough sauce. Never enough sauce. If you don’t have sauce it’s like eating a plain potato with no butter. Have you ever eaten a potato with no butter? 

Might as well live in the Gulag. 

So it’s drive-through time. I’m starving. I get chicken fingers. I SPECIFY the amount of extra sauce I want. I have such faith in these Cane’s people (God bless them) that I don’t even check for the sauce before I drive off. 

Imagine that, I’m driving home salivating from having to smell these delicious golden meat crisps sitting lovingly in my passenger seat. I’m thinking about nothing but eating these tendies as they swim in sauce. To my horror, though, they forgot the sauce.

Anger and frustration welled within my soul as if it was just thrust into a boiling hot fryer. I was powerless. I picked up the phone to call the people at Cane’s; rage pulsing through my slender fingers. I was determined to get satisfaction for this bland and disappointing meal that I was forced to endure, rather than the beautiful chicken picnic I had imagined.  

I almost pressed send, but  the potato-butter lady swam through my sauce filled head. I could still imagine her little pink face yelling at me through the phone. 

I sympathized with her, I sympathized with the people at Cane’s. I ate my chicken in thoughtful silence.

Be nice to service people. Also, check your food before you leave drive-throughs. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s petty to get mad when issues like that could have been easily preventable. 

Like and share.

Or Gulag. There’s always the Gulag. 

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Book Review: The Magician’s Nephew.

Throughout my childhood if anyone asked me what my favorite book was I would always go straight to C.S. Lewis’ classic book about two children hopping between worlds. I had only read it once, and that was very early in my reading years. So obviously the book has some sentimental value to me. I had feared that re-reading this book was going to somehow tarnish the wonderful memory I had of this amazing adventure I went on as a child. 

That didn’t happen. What did happen was I got to relive a special time in my life. I rediscovered Narnia, I flew with a Pegasus, I watched as the great lion Aslan created a world with a song. I watched these two kids hop between worlds on an incredible adventure, which ends in a surprisingly grounded and emotional way. 

As an adult who loves to read, at times I felt as if there should be more. There should have been more detail, there should have been more history, “oh the kids end up in Narnia at the perfect moment where some lion is creating it with a song? Well that’s convenient.” you know, the more cynical side of me appeared at times. Though now looking back, I can’t help but reprimand myself and be truly inspired by the simplicity of this masterful and well thought out book. 

If you’re a writer or a creator of any kind you should be inspired by the people who created simple things that are beautiful. That’s exactly what the magician’s nephew is. It’s a simple children’s book that is absolutely beautiful.

Be inspired by this book to do something simple, and do it well. The idea behind this book is this: “what if there was magic that took you to a different dimension?” It’s essentially the same as the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, right? C.S Lewis takes two characters and throws them in this portal to a different world. He doesn’t flash a bunch of details about how it works, he says it’s “magic”. He doesn’t take you to a wild assortment of worlds; he takes you to two. One that introduces the villain, and one that introduces Narnia. 

The end result of this adventure is that the protagonist gets to save his mother, but this takes a backseat to the setting. It’s not the goal of the story, but it’s a consequence of the hero doing the right thing, which I thought was neat. C.S. Lewis does an amazing job at throwing you into an adventure with no goal besides discovery. The end goal is revealed as the world is fleshed out. There’s no “Frodo taking the ring and setting off on an adventure” moment. You’re thrust into a weird situation and you follow the main characters as it unfolds. It’s brilliantly simple. 

Complex narratives with winding plots and intricate stories are great, but the truly great stories take a simple premise and make it impossible to put down.

C.S. Lewis knew how to do that.

Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash

Anger.

Hey it’s August, and it’s me, Johnson. Let’s catch up:

I got a haircut.

I’m still listening to IGOR on repeat.

I’m moving back to Tulsa in a couple weeks, which I’m excited about.

My car keeps beeping and blinking lights at me, should I be worried?

Oh and I got flipped off by a little old lady today.

That little old lady gave me the inspiration to write this blog today.

Thanks I guess.

So I’m driving to work today and I stop at a four way stop sign. This stop sign is wonky. It’s wonky because one person has to stop a little further back than everyone else, and has to drive a bit longer through the intersection.

I had stopped at this part of the road and was progressing cautiously through my turn as old lady begins to stop. Old lady then begins gunning through the intersection before I had completed my turn, and flips me off. I assume she did this because she didn’t realize that I had already stopped at the intersection, and was completely, totally, in the right.

I had to tell you this story for two reasons:

1. Because it makes me feel better to tell others how right I am.

(reason 1.5 To prove that the angry old lady is a dummy dumb.)

and reason 2.

To prove how bad misplaced anger is.

I mean, obviously. But I guess some little old lady’s don’t know that yet.

Now, I say misplaced, but what I mean is this: I think anger stems from problems people have in life. It’s a consequence of your own actions and the actions of people around you.

Even more, I think anger stems from people not getting what they wanted, or what they expected. When people expect to be treated a certain way, or with a certain respect, and they’re not treated that way anger is a common response.

Anger is a tool, and like all tools you have at your disposal you can use it incorrectly.

Anger is a strong man’s weapon in order to correct injustice, and make change in your life. It’s a weak man’s tool to put other’s down, while not actually making a difference in anyone’s life.

Being enraged and taking action on impulse because of your ‘hot head’ is what I would consider stupid anger. That’s a child’s form of anger that sadly, some people don’t grow out of.  Making rash decisions based off of emotion is generally a mistake.

Being able to pause and look inside yourself. To understand why you feel angry, and to think about what steps you should take in order to affect the right kind of change that would be better for yourself and for people around you; that’s the right kind of anger.

Little old lady, this blog is for you. You flipped me off, that made me a little angry. Now, I know that we all have different ways of expressing our frustrations. If somehow, you made your way to my blog, I want to wish you all the best. I hope you take this experience to heart, and focus on becoming a better driver.

She was pretty old though. . . .  So. . . Not likely.