An old pair of journals I didn't post earlier

Note about the following: This is an amalgamation of a couple of old journals I never got around to posting because, at the time of their writing, I thought they were rubbish. Now however, I realized that they merely reflect a slightly more harried state of being and (even though I had to slightly edit the first one), I feel they are worthwhile to post. So, here those are; I hope you find them valuable in some way.

Old Journals

Originally, I wanted to make this post to sum up my writing experiences with this blog. Very briefly, I had intended to talk about the mistakes I made in certain chapters (such as failing to follow the "show, don't tell" rule in chapter XVII; and all of the grammatical and spelling errors throughout; and how a lot of chapters were rushed and it shows; and how certain characters and plotlines weren't addressed gracefully; and how no one should ever ever ever try writing a serial novel for their first book unless they are an extreme masochist or have the money and the time to do it), but the thing is, this hasn't been about the mistakes for me; it has been about the successes.

All my life, I have had difficulty finding things that I cared about enough to put any significant effort into them. But with Fallout 101, it has been very different. Largely, I have you, my readers, to thank for this--your comments, positive and negative, have helped bring the literary world and the world of expectations, money, and society into perspective for me. I remember receiving a particularly harsh comment/review on amazon during the month of May, after a post mentioning that I would put the novel on hiatus for a bit, and all I could think was, "Where is this man's sympathy? Can't he remember what it's like to be twenty one? Overworked? Underpaid?"

But here's thing--his comment showed me that my readers... my lovely, lovely readers... are not some patient audience at a second grade play, clapping their hands and cooing lovingly at the children, even as they walk the wrong way on stage, mess up their lines, and deliver a flat performance. You are paying to read this novel and, more than that, are investing your time in it. And in an ideal world, I would have delivered on the promise of an electronically delivered serial novel.

But that is not how things are. And that is okay, too… The mistake I made was that I was writing for the wrong reasons: I wrote so I could make deadlines (based on some preconceived notion of ‘principle’); I wrote so I could make money (which meant I didn’t exactly plan to not be able to afford rent when it didn’t come); I wrote so I could get people's approval (not realizing that I didn’t need it to be happy); I wrote so I could be acknowledged (see point 3).

And of course, on all four accounts I have so far failed. But that is a success all its own, because if things hadn’t happened the way they did, I wouldn’t have the insight into false starts and missteps that I do, and I don’t think I would truly understand that happiness does not come from other people or from things; it comes, at least in my case, from being okay with the way that things are… whatever that is… and from moving on with life while recognizing all the beauty inherent in every moment.

And with that, here is a journal I wrote while I was in the midst of a fairly upsetting situation that eventually led to my being homeless. At the end of the following journal, I mention that I need to let go of this book/my readers, and that it my “truly be my last post,” but please keep in mind that I wrote that at a time when I really didn’t know if I would have the chance to write again, and that I do not intend to stop doing this blog until the book is done, so long as I am able to keep doing it.

“Journal from September 27th

This morning, I had a fascinating moment wherein I realized that I don't have the faintest idea of what I will be doing in one week's time, or where I will be. There is something both frightening and intensely freeing about this, and stranger still is that I know I asked for it. As a child, I used to say to myself "Today's the day... Today's the day I get a clean slate and can start over; a new and better person."

Curiously, some ten or so years since then, it looks like today really is that day. For the first time in my life that I can remember, I now find myself in a place of pure potentiality, neither beholden to the world nor wanting anything from it. I have no debt to speak of (though little money as well), few material possessions, and few things tying me to the world of modern society. But then there is this book and this blog--the one thing I haven't been able to let go of. Family, friends, habits, comforts... I have had to release the majority of these things in pursuit of myself and my identity--sometimes easily, and sometimes with no small discomfort--and I had hoped that in doing so I might come back to each of them with renewed vigor and understanding.

However, that hasn't been the case... We all know that letting go is hard; sometimes, even when you find something new to replace the old, you can't help but feel a pang or a dullness as you remember your past; and sometimes, nostalgia gets the better of you and you struggle to return things to the way they were, not realizing the present moment and its infinite capacity to give.

For me though, having learned certain things about my life and about myself, I have come to understand that I let go of the entirety of my past for a very simple reason--because that is the way of things. Relationships, interests, and habits die just like anything else, and we are only afraid of that death if we don't believe in the all pervading goodness of life, and all the love there is on our planet.

At our cores, we are extraordinarily beautiful creatures; all of us, without exception. But understand this: That beauty is buried when we forget how to love; when we give our children Ritalin instead of loving their unique exuberance and their creative spirit... instead of allowing them to thrive in an education system made for them instead of tailored towards intellectuals; when we mistake money and cars for freedom and independence; when we pollute the Earth instead of tending to gardens, feeling the life in the wind and the trees and the ocean and the animals; when we build up systems (education, social, etc.) because they make us feel secure, instead of breaking down systems and encouraging each and every person to realize just how truly capable, powerful, and extraordinary they are.

This isn't some just Hippy-dippy bullshit, by the way. It must be more than that, and I know because I was absolutely normal as recently as three years ago--I was nineteen and I loved my car; I loved my video games; I thought girls, friends, and money were all that really mattered in life, and that a college degree was going to bring it all together. Oh, I was afraid, too... depressed, lonely, and lost, and searching for an answer. Just like the majority of Americans.

But I didn't want to turn to medication. I knew it was one of two things for me: Either death or... I was going to fix myself.

The problem is, when you start to change, your world changes too. When I used to get depressed, I would play a video game, or watch a movie, or get mad and get in arguments with people and be a general tosser. The thing is, once you have seen the true you--the 'you' that is free of worry, free of anger, free of fear--you cannot go back. Once you know how fully capable of happiness and love you are, you will strive to feel that way again with such single pointed enthusiasm that, unless you lose sight of yourself, you will be willing to give up everything to find the true meaning of self, life, and love.

And now I have just one last thing to give up. And that is this book... my readers... your approval... your kind words, which shall surely morph into further thoughts of disgust or apathy or resentment; and it is my desire to have your approval that is the only thing keeping me from stepping off the ledge and falling into the abyss. And I know that abyss only looks black from where I am standing; and still, I can see the cracked light lining its edges faintly; and I know that it is the only way I can go.

And if this truly is my last post, at least for some time, I just want to say that we need to love each other. All of us and everything. Otherwise, this world just won't support our weight, and it will split in half, spilling our bodies into space.”

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