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Posts Tagged ‘real life’

Three Rules to for Happy Marriage

In Non-Fiction on August 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

(Here I go upcycling.)

A few Fridays ago, I randomly caught a wedding.

I was hanging out with some cousins who were staying at The Gaylord Texan for a business conference. Afterward, when they had to go to an awards ceremony, I wandered around inside. For those who haven’t been to a Gaylord, they’re centers, are a mix of indoor mall and huge, open courtyard with restaurants, gardens, a man-made river, statues, lots of people, a sky of, well, skylights.

That courtyard-like space is air-conditioned like the rest of the hotel. So I stayed. It was so hot outside, so cool inside; dead grass outside, lush gardens inside. It didn’t matter that I stayed long enough for parking to cost $20. I turned a corner from some gift shops and found a coffee shop*. Through it, I saw an inviting balcony that overlooked the courtyard-like space. From the counter while paying, I saw a seated wedding party beyond the balcony, waiting on a lower level across the river for a ceremony to begin. I wandered with my coffee out to the balcony. Read the rest of this entry »

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Promise of the Next Dream

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM

You must check out Craig Thompson’s Blankets (and ALL of his other work). GO!

I’d love to collaborate on a graphic novel someday.

Not to Jonah Lehrer you, but…

In Non-Fiction on August 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM

For a little while now, I’ve been posting little personal life episodes to my Tumblr instead of here. When I logged into this larger format, I wanted to gush about so many things that honestly I didn’t want to share (whether others wanted to read or not, I would not assume to know), and so, not only did I hesitate, I forgot my password. The larger format, the large blank white space begged for me to type furiously.

Specifically, I didn’t want to type about the inconvenience of my December car wreck, the life experience of realizing that it only takes one incident (with little physical injury) to hurl you into financial frustration, or go off on the sometimes funny (mostly boring and tedious) tangents that I could go on. There are so many words for the experience. Unfortunately for my friends, there existed no lexical gap for the experience.

I’ll save all of that for a novel or something with funnier dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »

The Danger of a Single Story

In Fiction, Non-Fiction on August 8, 2012 at 8:46 PM

This is probably the TED talk that’s inspired me and resonated with me the most. I think of the heart of Chimamanda Adichie’s well-said words whenever I’m searching inside for an LGBT character and their story. Sometimes it seems as if LGBT characters can only share a handful of their stories/experiences, that if those are not the stories they are telling, how can they be LGBT? There’s more.

The Divorce Party

In Non-Fiction on February 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

M invited me. I just had to go.

Why? Because I’m a child of divorce? Because a few of my mom’s friends were always, in their words, “happily divorced” and “celebrating every day”? (Whether that’s actually as it seems is its own three-hour conversation.) I don’t remember my mom celebrating once we’d moved down the street. (Dad helped us move). I don’t remember either of my parents responding in any way to finally being divorced from one another. Maybe I was in school or band practice at the exact moment corks were popped. Guess I wanted to witness what I’d missed. In movies and on television, I’ve watched people exclaiming that their divorce “calls for a celebration.” In the next few scenes, they’re going out with friends, getting drunk, hooking up with a stranger, eating regret with breakfast.

I haven’t seen the celebration begin by inviting eighty-five friends to a rented out local one-screen theater for cake and live music.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, you see that guy over there?

In Non-Fiction on February 16, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I was sitting in a swing in the little kid’s area of the apartment complex while chatting on the phone. This tiny girl sat in the swing next to me for the last few minutes of my call.

As soon as I hung up, she turned to me and said:

“People who sit on swings are pedophiles when they’re your age.”

I thought it was absurdly funny. Clearly she had no real fear. Or did she sense I was gay and therefore wasn’t so worried since she was a girl? Who knows? I walked away and did what anyone would: I texted everyone. My friends thought it was a funny. Neither of my parents thought did. They both told me about these horrible rape stories they’d heard recently. !?!

Temporary Working Guy

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Every job that I’ve had has been seasonal or temporary in it’s own way.

On my resume, it’s the same answer after reason for leaving? I enjoy the change. This passed year, I’ve been a zombie in a haunted attraction, a spring garden planter specialist, a receptionist in a tax office, a manny while the family was looking for someone more perminant. I’ll even be paid to recover from a drunk driver wrecking me. Didn’t even need to apply for that one. Word of bumper.

On Tuesday, I return to the tax office.Though it’s a full-time job, the boss actually calls me part-time because he has another receptionist who he’s employed for several years. She prefers to go home around early afternoon. And to only work Monday-Wednesday. He has another lady, his neighbor actually, who answers the phone from her home and schedules appointments. So I’m more an office assistant and a coffeemaker. But he calls me his part-time receptionist because he’s used to that title being associated with that work. The job is easy and the biggest perk: when he was late arriving for his first appointment and I was waiting in front of the locked door when the client arrived, I would offer to drive the client quickly to grab lunch or breakfast or coffee somewhere close, and they would always insist that they get me something. Always. Lots of free food. Lots of, “You need to fatten up” comments.

On my last day last year, as I filled out the last of the extensions for people who hadn’t been…well, y’all know why people ask for extensions…the boss came up to me a said, “Jake, you’re smarter than you act.”

I ummm…what?”

You could do taxes. You don’t need to be applying for receptionist jobs. You’re smarter than that.”

And his opinion of his full-time receptionist is…?

“Well,” I answered, “I don’t mind learning more but it’s not a career that I’m interested in.”

He said, “Well. Maybe I was wrong.”

That was the only occasion when I thought, “Glad this is seasonal.” 

Fairies

In Non-Fiction on February 7, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I went for a walk by the very large lake nearby. There is a Frisbee golf course in the field that I have to walk across in order to reach the lake. So many groups are out there during the evenings and weekends.

Just in case you didn’t know, many Frisbees have little lights on them. Magenta, electric blue, banana. That way, they can be found if you happen to be playing around 1AM on a Tuesday morning. When I first moved here, it was about a month before I figured out what those little zips of light in the dark were. My first thought: fairies.

When a Frisbee almost hit me in the head tonight, all I thought when I saw the light was, “FAIRY!”

Gas and the Policeman

In Non-Fiction on February 6, 2012 at 5:04 PM

When the car gaslight flicks on, I’m one of those people who keeps driving. For days. I’m not going cross-country. Just to the store, bank, Starbucks, to see friends, to class, to random neighborhoods to see if they’ve tossed any good knickknacks or furniture on trash day. (College apartment days are still in my blood.) Of course, (Mom and Dad, if you’ve discovered and are reading) since I’m unemployed, I’m also touring all of the businesses that I’ve applied on-line and in-person to so that they can see my smiling face and know that I’m serious. Of course, I leave my Starbucks in the car. (It won’t make you seem the right amount of desperate.)

A million gas stations are passed. A million times I think, “Should I?” Then I think, “Hmmm…next time.”

Not so easy to do in my new rent car, a lipstick red KIA Sol.* I saw a cartoon once where the passenger shouted to the driver, “Look out!” long after they’d launched from the cliff. He is the gaslight.

I only had about 5 miles to go the other night when I was driving home. Of course, stations were passed. I parked at home, spent the day in. Last night, though, I thought, “I should go ahead and fill up.” I had a busy Monday planned.

I made it about a mile before the car shuttered, then stopped. The two stations on my side of the highway were closed. I only had cash with which to pre-pay inside. So before the shutter, I had started up the overpass to the other side of the highway. The engine died as I was descending. Thankfully, the stoplight on the other side glowed green. Brakes didn’t lock. I rolled with the momentum all of the way to the turn-in lane for the gas station. Then I could roll no more.

A policeman was behind me. I put on my emergency lights. He honked and passed me. He pulled into the gas station. Another man pulled up and asked if I needed help, but I smiled and waved him on with a “Thank you.” Surely, the policeman and anyone working inside the station would help enough. When I walked between the pumps into the station, the policeman was purchasing coffee and hot dogs. I told the guy at the cash register my story. While staring hard into the back of the policeman’s head. He left. The man behind the counter suggested that I buy a gas can. He was surprised that I didn’t have one. Also, he was shocked that I had left my car there in the turn in. The policeman came in and asked whose car that was in the turn in.

!?!?!?!

Deep breath.

“Mine, Mr. Officer.” I said it in a high voice, too. He asked why I didn’t have a gas can and was surprised that I’d left it in the turn-in lane.

So I explained that I’d recently been in a wreck. I stressed that a drunk driver had hit me and that I was injured. For the past two months, it’s brought me the sympathy it should, gotten me out of lifting a lot of boxes. I might tell that story on this blog soon. Anyway, that’s why I didn’t push the car in, I explain. That and that it was chilly outside. But I didn’t tell him this last part. And to top it off, I was unfamiliar with this rental. “My Camry let me go about 40 miles after the gaslight came on. I only went about 5 miles with this one.”

He had sighed a lot while I was talking.

“You should always have a gas can in the car,” said Mr. Policeman, and then he left. But he came back before I could worry. With a gas can. “Give him enough for a gallon,” he yelled at me. I knew those hot dogs were waiting.

So the nice policeman put a gallon of gas into my tank. I prepaid for the rest, pulled up to a pump, and began to fill. While there, Mr. Policeman parked at the pump beside me, walked over, hot dogs and coffee in hand, and started chatting.

“A lot of you kids do this for free gas, you know?” he said. He sat his coffee on the top of my KIA. “It’s Obama. He has you all thinking you deserve free stuff.”

Yes, I’m in Texas. But no, no, no, no. This isn’t the norm. People just don’t come up to you and begin to trash Obama. Plenty voted for him in Texas among the plenty who did not.

Policemen are a grab bag, though. Some are nice, patient, or they just want to get on with their day. Then some are of the other extreme, i.e. bored and full of themselves and ready to make you suffer to some degree for it. And hunger makes the rest a mix. But I like policemen. Most days, I’m still in that Kindergarten “policemen are heroes who will always want to help you no matter what” state-of-mind. And this one was nice enough to put gas in my tank.

“Honestly, I’m still learning about this car. It has a smaller tank too than my old car.”

“Well plenty of you do it.”

He step to the side when the pump shut off. Tried to dunk his crumpled hot dog wrappers into the trash can beside me but missed each time. He was picking them up, dunking, missing as I left.

Putting Myself Out There…Over There, Too

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2012 at 7:04 PM

So I found a couple of writing contests (fiction and non-fiction) to which I really want to submit. Whether or not the pieces that I really want to submit are what the judges will be looking for isn’t really the biggest motivation.

You gasp? You shake your head? I know, I know. I may not be published yet but I’ve seen the scheming. Y’all come to submitting for contests like anyone on Project Runway or Top Chef. You figure out what you can submit that the judges will love that still has your style and flare.

I’ll work that way soon.

This time in my life, having a reason to revise and polish the piece is the perfect motivation to finish. I’m one of those cute fellas who needs a writing class or other form of deadline to spur me into finishing. I write everyday. Fiction, non-fiction, funny emails. I wrote that blog post yesterday. Did you catch it? That blog post had as clear a deadline as this one does. The rest of the time, I project hop. This one gets a page, this one gets a quick bit of editing, this one gets a sentence, this one is the reason why I decide to break for a snack.

I have some goodies. They deserve a chance at having lives of their own. There’s one contest with a judge who is an author who is gay whose book I admire. He won’t be reading all of the entries (screeners) but I hope that he will get a chance to read mine. And who knows. I’ve submitted to one already. Then I saw a shooting star and wished for the first prize money.

That reminds: the only ouch in the whole process really is the fee I have to pay out to each contest entry. While unemployment presents extra time to write, it also presents fewer opportunities to earn back the money that you just spent a couple of times last week driving out to Dallas to hang out with friends.

I have 9 days left.

In the beginning, there was a first blog post, Silly.

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2012 at 1:21 PM

About a year ago, Claire Legrand, my mom’s boss’s daughter and my former high school bandmate and the soon-to-be new rock star of Young Adult fiction (from what I can tell from my mom and her boss’s excitement), had as many people wanting to publish her first novel as that handsome policeman on The Walking Dead had zombies wanting his brains. From what I understand, Jesus will even be coming back a little early in 2012 to give her a read.

So I sent her an email asking her how I could take steps to maybe have Jesus add anything I’ve written to his cart also. It would be fun to be on the Jesus Kindle. She told me to start a blog, start a twitter account, but that she wouldn’t elaborate until I began bringing her hearts of baby unicorns. I became overwhelmed. I had to keep my futon folded up to make room for the baby unicorns. I had to get a second job to pay for all of the gummy bears and rainbows and unrefined, virgin coconut oil that it takes to plump up a baby unicorn heart to her liking. Meanwhile, in the last bearable moments of my hard-earned days, I wrote.

If I found a spare moment from it all, I also turned to my fellow writing friends to ask for advice. Mostly I just reminded them that they weren’t writing. They would sob, beg, “WHY?!” The only one who had been published, demanded that I bring him a bucket of lava before he would tell me any of his secrets.

All of these tasks! I’m not Hercules!

So I put it off. And had some vegan ice cream. And had some more vegan ice cream until the baby unicorns whined that it wasn’t fair that I had vegan ice cream and that they didn’t. So I focused on hiding my vegan ice cream instead of writing.

But then one particularly chilly night, I had a nightmare: I’d turned into my fellow writing friends. I became a Non-writer. Gasp! I woke in tears. Why? Because I actually almost, practically was a Non-writer. I crouched in self-flagellating shame, crying out that I would give the baby unicorns all of my vegan ice cream if they would just go away.

But then I saw the new Shepard Fairy mural in Dallas (I live in a Dallas suburb. Got lost trying to get lost.) that says ‘Rise Above’. And I told the baby unicorns to, ‘Shut it!’

And for the first time, I saw respect in their eyes.

I pictured each of my non-writer writing friends, and said to myself, ‘Mr. Jacob*, they need a leader.’ I’m not yet published, not yet awarded anything except for pats on the back with good ole’ keep it ups but I’ve decided that 2012 will be the year. Hopefully I’ll serve them well, inspire them. Rome wasn’t built in a day but I’ve had almost 28 years to get my act together.

So this blog begins! Now…

Hmmm…Hmmmmmmm….

Hi! How’s life? I’m Jacob, 27, a little over a month from becoming 28, living in a suburb of Dallas, poor after so much unnecessary spending on Starbucks and gas. For what it’s worth, I’m gay. You look great in that, by the way! Whatever it is that you’re wearing. Just. Great. I know it has a latte stain on but you pull it off.

So I’m not sure what else to write about today. I’ll read around, sacrifice another baby unicorn to Claire in order to get some pointers. (P.S.: They’re only for her. Please don’t try to bribe me with advice in exchange for baby unicorn hearts. I’m tired. I have lots of horn puncture marks in me because they haven’t yet figured out how to hug right. But any free suggestions would be lovely. I’ll compliment any of your latte stains. I might even complement them, too.)

So that’s it. Officially signing off:

Jake Off.

Oh that’s a little raunchy bit of a raunchy sign-off, isn’t? Gave yourself another latte stain? Well, I’m not taking responsibility. You’re grown up. At least you look it. I recommend jojoba oil for your face if you look older than you are.

Hmmm…I could go with “Peace, love, and rainbows”. That could be my sign-off. If I put that, I can just scroll up and delete the mention about being gay.

I’m decaffeinated. Who needs to say good-bye?

Until I write again!

* (always polite and formal here),