I got home from my last class this evening a little before sunset, and was taking a minute to chill in my room for the first time since 9 am. The sun was somewhere in the process of setting or having just set; the sky had this grainy, stormy wash over it that bled into the gray of the landscape. There was a bit of a haze in the air from it raining earlier, but you could still see for miles across the entire valley. It was this dark sort of beautiful I can’t fully describe to you.

I’d post a picture, but I stopped trying to take them because they never do the view justice. You have to be standing there taking it all in with your own flesh and eyeballs, or else you miss out on everything. There are literally too many things to name, but once you’ve seen it compared to a photo you would understand immediately.

It’s the difference between being first row at a concert, or listening to a recording of the same concert shot from the nosebleeds by a cell phone. Apples and oranges, not even on the same playing field.

I’m taking in all of this view while lounging on my bed against the wall, looking out across the valley and I thought about any hundred random things. As the last of the today’s light died outside, a new one burst up in flames somewhere in my mind – this epiphany.

And up until right this second, I was going to share it with you right here in plain English.

But for some reason I changed my mind three seconds ago as I finished typing out my epiphany, and before I placed the period at the end of the sentence my finger drifted to the backspace key and laid down to sleep. Now here I am filling in the gap with an explanation I don’t really need to give.

So sorry for leading you on all that long to not actually tell you. I had something else I was going to say, but a little bird came and told me something that completely shifted my opinion on the subject. What it was isn’t important.

So again – my bad paving this long road to nowhere. I’ll tell you something twice as good if you listen long enough, I promise. I have more work coming in the near future and big plans to begin discussing.

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Sin City

I absolutely love it out West. Everything’s so much more free feeling, the weather is always amazing, and its so much more peaceful. Even in the middle of the casino floor or standing on the strip, there’s a tranquil feeling I catch in the air that I’ve never seen anywhere else before. You can find so many unique, odd little things everywhere you look. There are too many things you’ll see and laugh at and think, “Only in Vegas”. But mixed in with all the capitalism and glitz and debauchery is a difficult to describe charm that just tints everything. If you can let yourself relax and soak into it a little everything becomes fun. Granted I’m just visiting so I don’t have to live here year round, but I want to. It’s a blast.

This city is so much fucking fun.

Without a doubt this far from the last time I’ll be in the city, I know that for a fact.

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The popular belief today is that you can only die once, yet at the same time, a vast majority of everyone who has ever lived will die twice.  

I’m only going to die once though.


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I gotta get out of here

It’s only 8° Fahrenheit outside right now. With the wind chill, it’s -8°. If I wanted to go somewhere right now I’d have to Michelangelo the snow off my car for easily ten minutes. You could die out there in ten minutes.

I’m escaping this God-forsaken climate the second I possibly can.


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A Gift For You

I’ve already gotten way more than I deserved.

I hope you like it:

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Scream, Rise, Repeat

I haven’t been able to sleep much the past month and a half or so now. Whenever I’m able to, I wake up multiple times during the night in cold sweats. If I drink enough it will usually help me pass out, then I don’t remember my dreams. I can’t remember my dreams for the most part as it is, and when I can they’re always nightmares. One of them in particular is this weird re-occurring one, its happened nearly a dozen times now.

The dream always starts off in my room – sometimes I’m sitting on the floor, sometimes I’m standing. Wherever I start out, I’m looking out the windows over the horizon. The lighting makes it seem like it’s almost sunset, but it’s still very clearly daytime outside. The sky is hazy and overcast, no one is visibly walking around or in their rooms in the building across the courtyard from mine. Not a single sign of life. I feel like I’m looking for something, but I can’t figure out or remember what it is. My eyes are scanning the fields in the distance beyond the trees bordering campus when the door opens behind me and this girl walks in.

I’ve never seen her before, but they say every face you see in a dream is one you’ve seen in real life, so maybe I have. She’s pretty, around my age and has bright blue eyes and dark black hair. She’s dressed in dark jeans and a white blouse. She walks in and looks kind of alarmed, and stops and just looks at me biting her lip. There’s a moment where we both stand looking at each other, and then she looks sad. She shakes her head and asks me “What are you going to do?”

I start to laugh and I’m like “What do you mean?” and turn back to look out the windows. It’s night now and I can’t see anything, but my dream logic doesn’t find the drastic shift in lighting that strange. I’m just annoyed it’ll be harder to find whatever I was looking for. She grabs my shoulder and I turn again, and this time when I turn and see her she’s wearing a formal dress, silky material that’s a deep purple-mauve color. When I look down, I’m wearing a slate grey suit and polished leather dress shoes. The gleam of the shoes grabs my attention for a second, maybe because I wasn’t wearing any when she walked in, and the girl shakes me to get my attention. When I raise my head to meet her eyes again we’re standing in the middle of a giant cathedral – it actually looks and feels a ton like St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. The rows are packed with people and it looks like there’s no open seats left – everyone shoulder to shoulder

It’s a wedding that feels like it’s just about to begin – there’s a lot of energy in the room. All the groomsmen and bridesmaids are lined up on the altar in two lines, one on the left and one on the right. The groomsmen are all in white shirts with orange vests, and the bridesmaids all in bright purple dresses with orange accents. Purple and orange flowers are overwhelming the altar, as well as in little bunches positioned at the end of each pew. Decorative cloth banners of matching coloration are wrapped around the columns lining the aisle. We’re literally in the middle of the aisle in a crossroad between a gap in the seats that separates the cathedral into a front and back section. I feel like it’s not a good place to be standing, but no one seems to acknowledge us standing there. No one notices us.

“What are you going to do?” the girl asks me again, this time with greater urgency. Her grip around my arm tightens, I can feel her nails through the suit. I turn to look back at her, and she looks terrified. She’s facing the front of the church and I’m looking toward the back. The doors of the cathedral are slowly closing, and I assume it means things are about to begin. Then the girl has tears in her eyes and I ask her whats wrong. She’s still looking past me and starts shaking her head, so I turn to see what she sees.

There are flames everywhere. The altar is on fire, the pulpit entirely engulfed in flames. The flowers that had been decorating the altar are now destroying it, acting as the fuel for a blaze that’s going out of control. For a few moments it’s silent – no screams, no sound of the inferno, no chatter among guests who still haven’t realized it. Just silence and fire. The banners around the columns start catching and people run screaming as they swing down toward them. A cacophony of screams and roar of flames cut in sharply, shattering the silence. That’s all you can hear now.

I try to run out as the smoke starts to turn black and obscure everything. It gets harder and harder to see, flaming chunks of building come crashing down like little makeshift comets with sparks trailing off behind them as they fall. Honestly I think it’d be beautiful if it weren’t so terrifying.

That girl is running in front of me and then in a flash she’s falling, heels tumbling over her head as she somersaults onto the floor. Her head is bleeding badly and it smells like singed hair and metal. She got hit. I start to pick her up to carry her but I can’t. The smoke and heat are too intense, and I’m coughing and only make it ten or eleven feet before I collapse with the girl. And I don’t know who she is and it’s just a dream, but whenever I’m in it I don’t know it. So it seems twisted to say “fuck it” and leave when she’s out cold and can’t save herself. I can’t just abandon her, so I sit down on the floor next to her while the cathedral burns.

Then I think some more stuff happens each time, but I can’t remember it. Up until that point it’s pretty shot-for-shot and then there’s something else. Then I wake up covered in cold sweat and my muscles all tensed up, and I don’t know what happens at the end. I feel like it’s terrible, but I never get to see it. Or if I do, my memory can’t keep it intact enough to recall it once I jump up awake in bed.

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I used to get hyped about horoscopes when I was a kid. When I was in middle school I found this site with all sorts of horoscope, i-ching, tarot card, future-prediction stuff on it and quickly became obsessed. For a solid month or two I would hop on the computer in the morning before school to get my daily predictions before I went off to stand in the snow and wait for the bus. It was one of the highlights of my day.

Checking your horoscope that often, it’s not too long before you realize some of the things contradict each other, or the same sort of thing comes up multiple times but with different wording. Horoscopes are pretty generic; you could swap them out with each other between different signs and no one would ever be the wiser. They even sound a specific way – so if you’ve heard enough o them and one were to be randomly read to you, a lot of time you can tell it’s a horoscope without having to be told.

Tonight at my friends’ place one of them started reading her daily horoscope out loud, and the wording made it sound like a super-generic one. I didn’t pay attention to the specifics of it, but you could tell by the flow of the words it was a horoscope. Then she read another friends, and then I asked her to read mine.

At first it started to sound like the regular wish-wash, and right when I was about to dismiss it the words were different. I paid closer attention, and was kinda taken aback. I honestly didn’t know how to process it; it all actually made sense. It was still pretty vague, but it was definitely applicable to my life. So much that I almost wanted her to read it again, but I got the message the first time around.

For anyone else listening, it probably sounded just like any ordinary horoscope. For me, what I heard sounded something like: “the fuck are you doing? Time is ticking.”

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Clubbed to Death

This past weekend I was in Philadelphia and Saturday night found myself at a club. Straight up – I hate clubs. They’re way too loud, the music is usually obnoxious, everything is overpriced, they smell gross. This list goes on and on indefinitely. Mostly though, I can’t stand the people who frequent them. There are always way way too many at once, and they tend to be pretty scummy and sleazy. Oftentimes, clubbers are scrapped from the bottom of the gene pool and don’t make many efforts to hide this fact. I’ve found that they are never the type of people I want to hang around for ten minutes, much less a few hours.

So as you can tell, I do my best to avoid going to clubs at all costs.

I was in the city for a conference run by UPenn and they rented out this huge night club for all the kids at the conference, and because the friends I’d come with were all going my options were: a) stay alone in the hotel room, or b) go with them. Having only one last night in the city and nothing substantial to do in the hotel room, I went with them. A few adventures ensued on the way, and before long we were transported to the club from our hotel via school bus – only the highest grade of transportation of course. Getting inside, the club was actually pretty cool to just see: all the lights, smoke, confetti and sparklers in champagne bottles they had was pretty crazy and absorbing. I also got laced with some sort of drug right before getting to the club though, so that probably has a lot to do with my aesthetic enjoyment of it. It was still overcrowded and unreasonably loud, but whatever was in my system muted my distaste toward all that. That’s a tale for another time though, this story has a different focus.

A few nights before on Thursday me and a couple of friends got a drink at a bar, but I didn’t have enough cash on me at the time and my friend covered my beer. I owed her a drink for this, so when we were at the club we went to get one so I could repay her. We were at the bar and I ordered our drinks (it took two tries to properly convey it all over the music), and after getting them the bartender punched them into the register. I imagined it beeped, but if it did my ears will never know. A big green $25.00 flashes on the screen – reason 3 clubs are lame. I never mind spending money on a friend though so I gave the dude my card to swipe. This is when I realized I still needed to tip him – significantly because of the price – and dove into my wallet. I only found George Washington and his worn twin brother left in attendance in the folds of my near vacant wallet. Not at all an acceptable tip, especially when this guy had to suffer in this hellish environment much longer than I was subjected to.

I took the pen he’d given me to sign the receipt for the drinks and flipped one of the two singles over. On the back across the bill, I scrawled my signature in large letters and dated it in the bottom left corner. When he returned to accept the receipt, I handed him the bills for the tip and pointed at my name on the back.

“This is all I have, so what I did was sign this one. Make sure you save it – within three years I’m gonna be famous and it’ll be worth a ton more money, trust me.” To be honest, I’ve gotten so use to being written off when I say things like this that his response caught me by surprise. He nodded his head, leaning forward to speak.

“What are you gonna be famous for?” he asked.
“I’m a writer, so books and stories. I’m an artist too and maybe that eventually. But definitely writing first, and soon.”
The bartender nodded his head in agreement and smiled, extending his hand to me. I shook it and he thanked me for the bill, and he said he’d see me around.

I like the idea somewhere out there in the world someone can hold me accountable now – it motivates me a lot more to get to making it all happen. I met someone recently (not the bartender) who without even knowing me told me I haven’t been putting my all in, and they were right. That’s changing though.

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A Novel Idea

My laptop has been out of commission for a while now and it’s been incredibly difficult to get to write on a computer, which has been particularly awful because that’s all I’ve wanted to do lately. Last winter I got really into writing by hand and since then that’s how I’ve done a majority of my work, filling a few spiral notebooks up since then. A large part of that is linked to the fact I’ve been writing more poetry/flash fiction/letters these past months, not longer-length prose work. For anything longer than a brief short story, I prefer to work on a computer. Writing a novel by hand would be the best, but I also know I don’t have enough time to do that at this point in my life haha.

Every year since starting college, I’ve attempted to do the whole National Novel Writing Month thing. Attempted is a key word here because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten even halfway to the 50,000 word finish line, much less crossed it. So this year, with almost 6 months to go before the cushion of college expels me out into the actual world, it’s really important to me that I actually finish a novel. Novels aren’t even my thing anymore and God himself may never get to see the finished product, but I’m definitely finishing one. It’s critical to me.

Since I only just got my computer back and November is almost half over, I’m significantly behind the suggested rate of November-novel-writing progression at this point. I also have way too many things going on right now in my life that are much more pressing, which means finishing a full novel before November 30th seems pretty unlikely. So I figure I’m shooting for the more realistic deadline of my 22nd birthday. That gives me a nice cushion at the beginning of winter break if I need to finish it up, though hopefully it can be near completed at that point as it is.

I guess we’ll all find out.

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Some Days You’re Up,

And some days you’re down.

That’s just how the game works. You can’t let it get to you though. If you just sit there waiting to get out of the hole you find yourself in maybe you will, maybe it’s just a matter of waiting and you’ll find yourself in a better place eventually. But you’ll get out of it a hell of a lot faster if stand up and try to climb out of it on your own.

I used to waste days sitting in that hole, waiting for a rope to drop down from nowhere and save me. Days I might have been able to turn around if I tried hard enough.

Always keep your head up. Bad things will happen, people will say nasty things, and you’re gonna get hurt. The world isn’t always a nice place. You’ll win some, and you’ll probably lose a lot more. But don’t give up – even when worst comes to worst, you can always find a reason to smile.

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