Friday, September 23


Good news, bad news time.

Do you find it difficult to juggle multiple ideas?

I do have good news. I'm happier. I'm coming out of that funk that had me so down recently. Thank goodness. I just kind of realized it today while working. I just feel better. I think there was a combination of things that really helped me out this time. There was definitely that comic book signing with J.T. Krul and Sterling Gates. It went so well. It was awesome. I've met Sterling once before, and it was cool seeing him again. And meeting J.T. was just an absolute treat. I'm a big fan of his writing, and to finally get to speak with him about things was so fun. Also, a band that I love, Thrice's new album dropped on Tuesday. Needless to say, it was fantastic. I've listened to it countless times since getting it. I also got a hold of Foster the People's album...and that thing is FUN. It's been doing a great job of keeping me bouncy and upbeat.

So there have been a few things helping me to remember to stay happy lately. The bad news is, unfortunately, about writing. All of my "Brother" materials are still sealed away in our old computer...and I cannot get them off at this time. It appears whenever I turn the computer on, it never properly boots all the way to the desktop. So, my initial solution of just moving all my files to an external HD or a flash drive won't work at this moment...and we'll have to figure something else out.

Since I am uncomfortable continuing to write for "My Missing Brother" without the rest of my pre-written material, and I am still anxious to write, I have to come to a difficult decision. Something I've fallen victim to more than once in the past. Do I temporarily abandon this exercise for another?

I'm really hesitant to make this decision. More than once, my past, fickle self will just leap from one project to another with no rhyme or reason...simply subject to my whim. Even though I do have a reason this time, it still feels like it used to. And I'm afraid it will encourage old bad habits for future ideas and exercises. I treat it like a gateway drug, you know? I'm afraid that changing over, officially, to another exercise of mine will jeopardize my newfound dedication and allow my mind to flippantly decide it wants to write something else whenever it wants.

Can I trust myself to make this decision, and stay dedicated?

Can I hold myself accountable for these ideas and promise to come back to it when it's time?

Another thing that's getting me on this is that this exercise, "My Missing Brother", really meant something to me, and was very close to who I am and why I write. It was meant to be somewhat exorcising. So, leaving it behind for something else feels like I'm betraying myself.

So a simple solution comes up: Why not just start over?

That's definitely a possibility I have not overlooked. I have the Celtx screenwriting program on the new computer, so why not just restart writing the script? A rewrite could possibly help strengthen certain areas as well. Give me a fresh start. But without the original material, I feel like I would be missing things. It'd feel like flying deaf and blind. So, who cares? Right? I should just at least try it, yes? If it doesn't work, then at least I've exhausted my options, and I wouldn't feel as guilty, possibly, in moving on to another exercise for the time being.

There is that. The other side of it is these other exercises are very attractive to me. They're exciting and fresh. I look at the one about the struggling screenwriter and a fire lights under me. I look at my fantasy-setting story, and I become inspired, imagining sprawling landscapes. I think about the story about the group of friends growing up, and I am filled with all sorts of ideas about how these people will be struggling through their lives.

So why not just start with a new one anyway? Without even attempting a rewrite on "My Missing Brother"?

That's where I'm torn. My feelings about both sides of it are strong, and I cannot decide. So that's causing inaction. Maybe I should just flip a coin. If I simply cannot decide...let's allow fate to decide. So here we go. I'm actually doing this write now, as I type.

Heads: I attempt a rewrite of "My Missing Brother"
Tails: I move on to another exercise for now

Call it! [flip]

Wow. After I caught it, I had to take a moment to breathe before looking.

It's Heads.

So there you go. It seems much easier with the decision out of my hands. I understand how Two-Face feels now. I feel calmer. Ready.

No more agony for me right now. I'm going to get started on this soon.

Do you find it hard to work on multiple stories at one time? What kind of techniques do you employ to keep them separated in your mind and writing area? Or do you feel totally loyal to one story until it's finished? How many ideas have you started and then left behind? How many of those were left behind for no apparent reason?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 19


I'm trying to climb my way out of this funk. I'm not well-equipped to handle this amount of anger and depression.

What usually cheers you up?

So, from my last blog post, you may know that I've been a bit down lately.'s been a real roller coaster this past week. I'm finally looking at the light at the end, but it's so bright that I can't tell how far ahead of me it actually is. So I don't know how far I'll have to go to reach it.

Basically I'm saying I don't know what I have to do to reach that happiness again.

Sterling Gates's Kid Flash Lost #1
J.T. Krul's Teen Titans #100
I've tried this. I've tried that. It all seems so up in the air. I have some things I'm looking forward to this month, and I'm sure I'll have a good time with those. I'm meeting DC Comics writer J.T. Krul (Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Captain Atom), and seeing writer Sterling Gates (Kid Flash Lost, Hawk & Dove) again, this Wednesday in Pasadena. I'm extremely excited about that. I also have a Chevelle concert the following Wednesday (and another meet-n-greet with J.T.).

That next Sunday, I'm flying out to Ohio to see my Mom...and then we're driving back to California together so she can live with us for a little while. I'm also very excited about this.

I'll be getting my own personal netbook next month, something I can carry with me places and whip it out whenever I feel like writing. Something to store all of my information on so that I can have it all in one, organized place.

"Nothing to show for it."
The beginning of November brings my birthday. I'll be a quarter of a century old. I'm not sure if that's something to be happy about or not I'm still struggling with that whole feeling of "having nothing to show for it" at this point (that's career-wise, mind you). How long is THAT lovely feeling going to last?

So I do have reasons to be happy. But last night and today, I was just SO ANGRY. It's like George Carlin said: I hate it when cashiers tell me to have a great day. What if I didn't want a great day? What if I had 364 good days in a row, and I just really want to have a shitty day?

It's like that. It's almost like I'm determined to have a bad day.

Last night, I felt so frustrated and destructive that I decided to try and be constructive with that energy, instead of internalizing it and causing myself emotional harm. I decided to take it out on the only kinds of people who can continually and silently take that kind of punishment: my characters. They take everything and anything I throw at them. I focused my writing anger into a writer character - for my next story idea. I wrote a quick scene in which the character, fed up with everything around him, contemplated and even attempted suicide in a heated emotional moment. But he chickens out. This turned into the scene that I want to start the screenplay with, maybe. And today, as I sat here, unusually pissed off at my work, I wrote more about this story...piecing the beginnings together.

It's turned into something that, while somewhat hollow still, I can go off.

So I'm trying to bring myself out of it. I'm trying to feel better. I want to feel better. But sometimes it's hard. It's difficult to just switch off angry mode. But...I have a couple days off now. My mid-week weekend starts tomorrow. It'll be good to unwind. Do some housework to keep my mind occupied. Then some more writing. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be wearing my angry face.

Thursday, September 15


Trying to deal with a few things in my life right now, and I'm struggling with it.

How do your personal feelings affect your writing?

Today I wrote out everything that I'm feeling about myself, specifically. It's pretty lengthy. It started with me saying how, earlier today, I felt really sick. And I was wrapped up in my own head thinking about my wife. I don't think I'm ready to put down on this blog, so publicly, everything that I wrote about myself. Frankly, I'm a very private person when it comes to that kind of thing. I don't want people offering their advice, I don't want pep talks, nothing like that. They always feel so empty, for some reason. Like...obligatory. I don't want pity encouragement. I guess I'm one of those "scary" types, where I'm outwardly very okay...but internally, it's very different. I can tell because my Mom can tell. Whenever I talk on the phone with her, she can hear it in my voice if I'm a little down...and she'll ask me if everything's okay. I'm usually pretty honest with her, about being less-than-okay if that's the case. But, again, I'm very private. I don't tell everything.

I figure, these are my problems. Nobody else should have to deal with them. Hell, I barely want to deal with them, why should I put that responsibility on someone else? No, these are for me to work through. Now, all this talk may seem all dark and ominous, but I can assure anyone reading this...I am not the self-destructive type. I used to be. Back in middle school, I was very depressed and all of the pressures eventually got the best of me, and I broke down to some pretty frightening thoughts. Luckily, a friend of mine, Chris, was there to help pull me up. I will always remember that day, Chris, and I will always be thankful to you.

However, I still battle various forms of depression from time to time as my roller coaster of a mind dips and rises to all the extremes. Today seems to be one of those overwhelming days, where everything starts culminating into one gigantic monster that appears unbeatable. Issues with my own writing, situations at home, and questions about my own future. Everything is pressing in on me, cornering me, and like a wild animal I'm looking for a way out. But at least I'm still fighting it, right? I think that's where some of my sickness was coming from this morning, that internal conflict.

I want to be happy. I want people around me to be happy. I'd also like to be able to contribute to their happiness. I understand what needs to be done to become happy, but then another aspect of my mentality, my personality, kicks in and I become unmotivated to do what needs to be done. I become lazy. It's a vicious cycle, my friends. And thus I am stuck in this perpetual loop. Things get better for a little bit, and I get lazy, and things get worse. Then I get desperate, work a smidge, and become complacent when things are a little better. This process is my enemy. I need to eliminate it. I need to take responsibility for my actions, much like my character, Daniel. We both try to run from our problems, to mask them and block them with other things that make us happy. We try ignoring them completely. And then we're surprised when it comes up and bites us on the nose.

I wonder how much of a nose I'll have left by the time I finally learn my lesson and change my behavior for good.

Thanks for reading. I'm trying not to be so self-pitying with this blog lately. But if I don't put the words down, like I did earlier, I'll just go insane. My thoughts need to be expressed, organized, and exorcised. Here's to the best in all of us.

Saturday, September 10

Writing Exercise - A Childhood Memory

The following is a writing exercise where I discuss a childhood memory. Check out the assignment here: Girls With Pens. This story is all true.

Kids are funny creatures, aren't they?

They're small, make funny faces and sounds, ask silly questions that older humans don't dare ask, and they can spin the most interesting - if however disjointed - stories you'll ever hear.

I was that way when I was little. I made all sorts of faces. Told stories practically on the spot. I was indeed small. So I fit the bill for what a child is and should be. Webster even contacted my family to ask to use a picture of me for their definition of "whipper-snapper". Whatever happened to dictionaries not using pictures anymore, anyway? Makes that joke totally old-school now.

Point is, I was a pretty entertaining little thing back in the day. Just ask anyone. Never a dull moment, I assure you. Medicated for ADHD, politely asked not to return to my elementary school of since-Kindergarten for fifth grade, gleefully disruptive in class, and ALWAYS imagining bigger and greater things.

Looking back through "the blur" - as I call my overactive creative mind (I don't really but I should, shouldn't I? Makes me sound all established and stuff) - I seemed to always have this affinity for television and film in some aspect. I always tried to view how I played as if through the lens of a camera in a sort of "this would look cool like this" manner. I was, according to Mom, somewhat bossy of my friends when it came to how to play and what to do. I suppose this came from being an only child and being used to the game going how I designed. I would even get behind the literal camera every now and then to try my hand at some professional, Spielberg-esque storytelling. Yes. Professional. At eight. You don't know, you weren't there. Me an' Spiels were tight, yo.

Set the scene. It's January (or February, who cares?) in 1994. Southern California. For those of you familiar with the time and area, you probably remember the '94 Northridge earthquake. Our "big one", if you're the type to exaggerate everything. I live just outside Northridge, so yeah...we felt it. Well...most everyone did.

Me? I was fast asleep. Always could sleep through anything. And I would have too, if it weren't for pesky, protective Mom. Here I am, enjoying my dream about something really awesome, I'm sure, when my mother comes tearing into my room, wraps her arms around my sleeping form, and RIPS me out of the comfort of my bed and over onto the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bean bag chair I had next to my bed. She clings onto me here in the hope that this new positioning will save me if the ceiling collapses. Because bean bag chairs are magic.

A week or so after the quake, I get a hold of a video camera (God, help us all) and start filming my family while visiting my grandparents. My father, step-mother, aunt and cousin are all present on the back patio under the false pretense of a little bonding after a traumatic natural event. But I know why they were really there. To humiliate and frustrate me to the point of tears.

I decided it'd be a good idea to put on a news show with the camera, since everyone's talking about the earthquake. Now, here comes bossy me. I give everyone fake anchor names - well, I try to, but my father - thinking himself a comedian - feels fit to deal out his own, witty names. Frustration number 1. I roll with it for now. So I to introduce some breaking news. My father exclaims, "Breaking News?!", gets up and goes to a chair that's there, points to it and shouts, "THIS CHAIR! BROKEN!" Everyone laughs. Everyone but a little eight year-old boy with a camera and a dream. Frustration number 2. "NO!" squeaks my angry little voice, "Talk about the earthquake!" So he does. And then he starts shaking and vibrating. My step-mother and aunt are quick to catch on and participate too. My six year-old cousin, the only other one standing, shakes and stumbles around (he really needs acting lessons). "Oh no!" announces my father. "Aftershock!"

And cue another shout of frustration (number 3 now) from me, the camera dips and turns all about as I fling my arms around, and cut.

Here's where I have a serious talk with each and every one of them. This is going to be a professional, no-nonsense news show, goddamnit. I will not allow my illustrious eight year-old film and television career go down the crapper because these jokers find it funny to make the veins in my head pop out. Now stick to the f*#king script. (I'm sure I said all that)

The camera fades back in on a group of politely seated adults on a sunny day. There are little-to-no smiles, as the news should be (from my perspective). My father holds an awl upside-down for a microphone. He starts talking about some breaking news ("BROKEN!" shouts my cousin, the funny little bastard). We address the seriousness of the earthquake. The broadcast is over. The camera fades out. I got what I wanted.

Frustration number 4. Did I have fun? No, not really. I could have, if I had embraced my father's carefree and humorous attitude. But I had control problems back then, and they got in the way. I'm surprised nobody hates me now. Well, my aunt probably does. She's crafty.

Kids really are funny creatures. Instead of being flexible and ready for fun, they insist on focusing on the bad parts and pouting, throwing temper tantrums, instead of doing what makes them happy. Why? I'm not sure. All I know is that I got my video, the way I wanted it, and now I can look back on it any time in disappointment that I had acted that way.

Lesson learned, I guess.

Yes, I still have the video.

Thanks, Girls With Pens, for bringing that painful memory back out of me.


I'm not quite sure how much longer I'll be able to take this. A bit overdramatic? Yeah, I do that.

How do you avoid your breaking point?

The computer's back from the losers at Geek Squad, who WAY over-priced me. In fact, it was so over-priced that we didn't have the work done it needed. Just had them send it back. So the computer's not very healthy right now. We're looking into other solutions (I work for a computer hardware parts supplier now, so who knows?). But enough about that.

Not having that, and not having continual access to Twitter and this blog has been somewhat aggravating. I definitely don't want to start lashing out at people through my frustration. I've been feeling this anxiety lately. It definitely came about while out with some friends the other night. It's weird - I'm out for drinks with these great people, and we're having a good time and all, but I suddenly get this unsettling feeling that I'm not doing enough when it comes to my writing. Where the hell did that come from? Out of nowhere! I'm familiar with this anxiety, it happens occasionally, especially when I haven't been writing for a while. Just yesterday, I Tweeted that I had a compelling urge to blog, but didn't have any subject to blog about.

So it's definitely that there's this feeling eating away at me, and it's becoming violent with me. Maybe this is my muse, trying to knock me around a bit like a wife that won't make a sandwich. There's something in me, fighting to be noticed, used. It's even come to the point where, in lieu of actually writing, I've started just imagining stories in my head and letting them play out.

Like the picture above, I feel like each of my threads have been cut, one by one, just to see how long it will take to get me to the last one, and to the point where I just go crazy. So I've been trying to do things to get my mind off it and to keep me from that moment. It's been working, sure, and I'm pleasantly distracted, but apparently it's not enough if I'm having these bouts with this anxiety and it's making me twitch.

It's come to this, then. I need to find some way of being able to stick with my writing on a regular basis - computer problems be damned. Right now, I'm sitting in a new-paint-smelling office on a slow Saturday at work. There's definitely enough time to open up a Notepad document and just start writing. Thing is...I'm not real comfortable working on the "My Missing Brother" story, really, because it's been so long and I don't have all the information here. So maybe I'll try something else. Just a simple exercise. Maybe I'll try one of Girls With Pens' writing prompts that they regularly post.

All I know is I need some fun. I need something that's stimulating and interesting. Who knows...maybe it'll turn into something to add to my list of ideas that I want to develop.

Do you have anxiety attacks about writing/not writing? How do you overcome that feeling? How long have you gone at one time without writing for any of your ideas? Do you find regular, non-related exercises helpful?

Thanks for reading! Go check out Girls With Pens too!

Sunday, September 4


UGH. I'm having such a hard time with this, it's almost embarrassing.

Are YOU reliant on social networking websites?

Well, the computer's in the shop. And, the way it's going, I don't know when we're getting it back (thanks, Geek Squad, won't ever be using you again). It's a simple fix, really, but their communications systems are completely unreliable and useless. So, the absence of the computer has done three things to me, I've found.
  • I can't write. Okay, that's a bit general. My "Brothers" story is all contained on that computer. No backups. I know, I know...I'm an idiot. Point is, all my notes, the script and story so far, is all on that computer. So, yes, I could write if I wanted to. Just paper and pen, right? But there's no reference. There's nothing I can look back on if I need to go, "Hey, what was that back there again?" Is that an excuse? Some people may say so. I feel it's a legitimate concern. What if I do all this writing, and find it's no good because of contradicting elements that I'm forgetting? Is that an excuse? Up to you, I guess.
    • Also, when I hand write like that...I don't know what it is, perhaps the fact that virtually my entire adult life has been spent at a hand cramps up really quickly and hurts, quite a lot actually. So I have this aversion to writing by hand. Another excuse? Could be, I suppose, but I'd rather not be in pain, tell you the truth.
  • The second thing not having a computer has done is bring me to see something about myself - I'm totally dependent on social networking to survive. Alright, a bit overdramatic (but, hey, that's what I'm known for). This is actually a coupling of two things: no computer + new job. At my old job, I had the leisure time to just browse Twitter ([at]chambernaut) all the time. Seriously. Constantly. Same with Facebook. But now, I don't have that kind of time with this new job. Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVE my new job. It's pretty sweet. I'm finding that I miss that time, though. So, now, with the computer at home gone...and the absence of Twitter throughout the day...I'm getting twitchy. I really feel like I'm missing out on things that I'd otherwise know and enjoy.
  • Finally, it's the same with Blogger here - I used to have the time to go through all the blogs I follow and read the posts and participate (sorry, Jami!). Not to mention update THIS blog, which is why I haven't been posting new content as regularly as before.

So that's basically my pain right now. Twitter withdrawals and a burning need, yet hesitance to write.

I'm curious to know what you think.

Am I making excuses?

Do you find yourself making excuses for not writing, when you know full-well you could be writing at that very moment?

How many days can you go, comfortably, without looking at Twitter? Facebook? Blogger?

Thanks for reading!