goals

It’s December 3rd and, given the title, I’ve somewhat failed at my goal to write consistently for 30 days. However, I am accomplishing the result of wanting to begin the challenge and that is to write more, develop more consistency, try different ways of writing and seeing what happens.

It’s very hard to write every single day and I think more so, around this time of year. Sometimes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Other times, there’s just nothing to say or rather, nothing that seems interesting enough to say. I’d have an idea, sit down and begin flushing it out and as I began to explore it, it gets to a point where even I’m bored with it.

Creating this blog, however, has been sort of like going to the gym for my writing skills. There have been many accomplishments:

Poetry – 

I started writing a different kind of poetry than I have in the past. I’ve always been a fan of free verse style of poetry. I’ve often struggled with my own poetry because I am not very good at rhyming in interesting ways but poetry is more creative than that, I think. Similar to how art doesn’t necessarily have to follow the rules to be art neither does poetry have to follow a distinct set of rules to be poetry. I’m figuring out my poetic  voice if that makes sense.

Short Stories – 

I’ve never written a short story, exactly. I have stories in my head, all the time. My mind works like a movie and I have scenes of characters in mind; I often wonder what happened before or after this moment. I struggled for years to figure out how to expand on these moments and make it a story. I don’t think The Ship is going to be the next Harry Potter, but it is in an accomplishment in writing it, learning from it and moving on from it. In college, I had a scriptwriting professor who said,

Write your first script. Fight with it, agonize over it and complete it. Then put it away and move on. Then read it a year later and remind yourself how shitty it was.

This has stuck with me forever because that’s The Ship. I’m aware of the literary holes in the story but I’m getting it out, it’s almost to the end and the next story is going to be a little bit better. You have to start somewhere.

Thinking –

I’m being more creative and thoughtful. Having this blog has given me things to think about and consider as I sift through ideas on what to write about. It’s allowed me to be a bit more of an active participant in the world around me because that’s where my inspiration has come from. I’m more investigative as I look for something to spark my interest or speak to me in any sort of way.

Goals – 

I have a lot of big dreams for my life and sometimes it seems overwhelming and daunting to think about them. This is a confidence issue for me, as to pose the question to myself you think you’re that good to accomplish this? and it’s kind of like well… maybe? It’s a terrible idea to always consider the grandiose and forget about all the other things that have to come together first, in order to achieve that. However, I’m learning to set small, attainable goals and seeing the results of achieving those and building on that success.

I was concerned I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say but the blog is proving me wrong. Maybe I do struggle to write every single day, but I am writing more now than I ever have. It’s been interesting to see as well, what sorts of posts get more attention, as I explore different ways to write. Overall, it’s been a good learning experience and I’m pretty excited to see how else I can grow the blog and which ways it will evolve over time.

Well, those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends!

 

depression

My depression
is like
when my skin feels
like a prison.

It’s boney fingers
clasp around my ankles
and drag me down so far
the only voice I can hear
is hers.

She’s a bitch.
She’s married to anxiety
and together,
we enjoy threesomes.
and then sometimes its like
maybe
this
is
fine.

I met her
when I was 13,
I met Anxiety,
when I was 16
but I learned
their name when
I was 23
and learned
what it meant
to be
numb.

Or maybe I was 20,
when the orgy between us
was so intense
that pain in my chest
and the pounding in my ears
put me to sleep with the terror
that I was going to die,
in the middle of communications class.

My depression
tells a lot
of lies
like panic attacks are fun
and everybody hates you

Meanwhile anxiety
likes to
remind me
of every way I’ve made mistakes
and all the ways everything can fall apart.

and then sometimes
it’s like
maybe
this
is
fine.

It’s like
my muscles
are atrophied
and I’m
unable to move
from my bed
because
talking to a person
sounds like
a catastrophe.

But then,
sometimes
this
is
fine.


 

Those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends.

the ship v

Another installment of The Ship! You can get caught up with parts I, II, III, IV!


It was decided at the meeting, that we wouldn’t bother the fully immersed until we knew what was on the rock. We decided we would send whoever volunteered, to investigate. I, of course, along with Ansel, chose to go. Opal elected to stay behind, she would continue the maintain the ship and monitor us. From there, another 50 agreed to accompany us.

We spent several months preparing for our departure while the ship meandered closer to the rock. Our androids continued to send back information about the planet. We accounted for every foreseeable possibility; we may not survive the journey, the landing through the atmosphere, how much power we need, the possibility of hostile life and the very reality, we would likely never see this ship again.

Our rocket was stocked and we were as ready as we could be. I was beyond thrilled but admittedly, even then I was scared about what we would find. What would life look like there? Would this place welcome us or would we be invaders?

We strapped ourselves in and began our initial checks. We would be in the rocket for several weeks before we actually landed on the planet. I didn’t want the ship to be pulled too strongly into the orbit of the rock, in the case this is all a big waste of time and resources. So, we set sail into the vacuum and set our aim on the blue and green rock before us.

Being in the rocket, was worse than the ship. There wasn’t anything to do, but wait and try not to let our fear and anxiety get the better of us. It was like telling ghost stories as kids, describing the utter terror of the unknown.

None of us had ever actually landed a rocket anywhere. Ansel and I had run through hundreds of simulations in our preparation but a simulation hardly compares to actually doing it.

Structurally, we knew the rocket would probably hold up through the atmosphere. We did not, however, know what we were going to land on. The ship would shake and rumble as it catapulted toward the rock from space. The exterior would catch fire in spots and I imagine we looked like a shooting star, crashing into the side of the rock, if anyone had been around to witness.

That’s exactly what we did, smacked down in, with catastrophic, cacophony of metal. I guess we use better brakes next time.

I don’t know how long it was before I heard Ansel calling my name and shaking me. I woke up, still strapped to my seat. His face was bleeding and my whole body ached.

“What is that?” I croaked through my helmet. My body felt so heavy.
“The gravity is a bit stronger than we expected but you get used to it. Take your helmet off,” he replied.
“Your face is bleeding,” I said, removing my helmet and cracking my neck in the process.

“What was it they said it that old movie? Just a flesh wound or something? He chuckled.

“How can you laugh and make jokes? What happened?” I asked.

“We crashed.” He said blankly and then “I don’t know how long ago, I’ve just come to myself. I don’t know if anyone else is okay or not.”

I began to unstrap myself from my seat and remove my suit.
“Can you pry the door open? Check on the others? I’ll see if I can reach Opal.” I said.

Ansel helped me to my feet. I was shocked to find nothing was broken but it certainly felt like everything was. Ansel went to the door and open the panel beside it to activate the manual latches. I got to work on the radio. My hope was minimal that I could get anything from it, the entire flight deck was dead but ideally, I could re-route power from somewhere.

The door from the flight deck creaked open.

“Oh…” was all I heard from Ansel.

“What is it?” I asked.

He said nothing and I felt something on my skin for the first time in my entire life. What was it? I walked over to him, his eyes locked on the other side of the door, a golden light was hitting his face. I have never seen light like that before and what was touching my skin?

I stood next to him and turned to see what he saw. A comfortable warmth hit my face as I was bathed in the same golden light. It was air on my skin. Real air for the very first time.

It took me a moment to realize the rest of our rocket had torn off and was scattered about around us. That explains why we didn’t have any power. I wasn’t expecting the rock to be so loud and quite at the same time. You would hear the air in the trees, as it whistled through. The colors you could see that are just here and not made by humans.

From a distance, we saw the passenger deck of the rocket. Around us, where tall structures that seem to fit in stark contrast to the wilderness that was working to consume them. These structures were old and falling apart but they jutted from the rock and touched the sky. They were all around us in various forms of decay. The ground was made of rock in many places, but green hair and leaves exploded from the cracks in the rocks. The green crept up the sides of the structures as if to lay claim to each of them.

“Well, we aren’t the first.” Ansel said, “something was here before.”

I didn’t say anything for a long time and just stared at everything before us.

Finally, I said, “Let’s see if the others are okay.”


Until tomorrow, friends!

music

I grew up around music. My dad was always wandering around the house singing Ted Nugent songs. Our TV rotated between cartoons, MTV and CMT (the country version of MTV). My mom would blare Queen whenever it came onto the radio of our old, brown, Buick LeSabre. My brother would introduce me to the sounds of Three 6 Mafia, Metallica, and KoRn. I would find adolescent depth in 90’s pop icons and plaster my walls with posters of Destiny’s Child, The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

When I was roughly 10 years old, my best friend invited me to Wednesday night church activities. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the church Wednesday night is like the social night at church, there’s bible study/youth group and if you’re really lucky, choir or band practice. We started in the choir. Later my bestie joined the brass band at the church and she would play in the band (I chose the clarinet so… I sat with the security guard who would tell me stories about how he used to work in NYC in TV commercials, while we listened to them play).

Consequently, I joined the school band. I played the clarinet for some 8 or 9 years. I continued to sing in the church choir and listen to the brass bands play.  In large part, I came to music through classical arrangements and cheery marches. Through the church, I learned music theory and even helped write a song. My school band taught me the application of many of these things I learned in church. In doing so, I gained a deep appreciation for lots of different instruments and their voices. I loved hearing how a song bounces from one instrument to the next, weaving a story with the waves of sound. These songs told a story that progressed and emoted while wrapping around your head.

I stopped playing my clarinet when I went to college. I stopped singing in the choir.  I wanted to explore new interests. My playlists went from Christian rock, classical arrangements and Mozart to Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake and songs such as “Like a G6” —which I still don’t get. I’m not suggesting this phase of my life was surrounded in particularly “good” music. This, however, was the music that spoke to me at the time. I was having a lot of fun in college and that’s what those songs are often about. However, in listening to this poppy tunes, I learned a new way to enjoy music, dancing.

The first time I ever went to a dance club, I was about 18 or 19. It was a drag queen club and they had a put on a show (also my first time at a drag show). After the show, people could dance and I remember my friend Holly bringing me to the floor. I was standard white girl who moved like a bored. Holly said “you have to move your hips!” and tried to help me. I freaked out and left the dance floor and sat down. However, a couple years later, my college friends dragged me out of the house to go dancing and I learned to get over myself a little bit. It was liberating.

It was also in college that I discovered The Beatles. Obviously, I knew who they were and some of their songs but I never really took the time to listen deeply until I started hanging out with a boy named Jake. He would sing Oh! Darlin at karaoke and it was through him, I loved the Beatles and found again, the same things I loved about the early music I found; sounds that danced.

I chased that sort of hippie, trippy sound for years (still kind of am). I met Zeppelin, Floyd, Bowie, and Hendrix. I discovered guitar riffs that screamed with movement and resonated with my soul. I heard saxophones mimic the same riffs and fight for superiority. It was like I was hearing music for the first time.

It wasn’t just these classic rock geniuses, because their bluesy elements lead me straight to the blues and then to jazz. I became entrapped by the rawness of Nina Simone and Coltrane’s insane saxophone that always sounds new.

I don’t think I’d have such a deep love of music if I hadn’t started singing in the choir at church. I don’t know that I would’ve joined the band or at least stayed with it, as long as I did. Maybe I never would’ve learned how sound moves. Almost every phase of my musical tastes was because of an introduction from someone who knew me. My musical education is thanks to my bestie, The Beatles because of Jake, Miles Davis because of an old friend, folk because of my post-college roommate; and each of these discoveries lead to a new musical journey.

I think everyone in your life has something to teach you and the best ones, are the ones who introduce you to new music that blows your mind apart as it resonates through the vessels of blood in your body.

Those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends!

time

I walk between worlds
accumulating outliers
that drift
on outskirts
closer to the center,
than I can reach
on my own.

Confirm my normality,
embrace the dissonance
of the configuration
that compiles
this shape
of human.

I’m an east coast sunrise,
an erratic display
of golden light
dancing on the Atlantic,
and the skies extraordinary ability
to fade from yellow to blue,
without ever creating green.

She’s an artist
the mother of us all,
she makes no mistakes
but rather, she’s Bob Ross.
Because there are no mistakes
in art…
just opportunities

And why shouldn’t
I dance on the Atlantic
with her wild, untamed
beauty?

How do you capture
the ocean?

Not to contain her
but to celebrate
a world inside a world;
crashing against the bits
of rocks that dare
to stand taller.
But she takes them with her
because even the rocks
are subjects of Time.


Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!

the ship iv

The past few days have been busy with family time over the holiday. Regretably, I haven’t been able to write, however today, I have delivered the 4th installment of The Ship. If you’re new to the story, you can catch up by with Parts I, II, and III.

********

We had been meandering for a few hours towards the curious object, when the androids finally started sending back information.

“Oh… Jade! Look at this!” Opal exclaimed.

She displayed the findings of one of the androids on the main screen of the bridge. It was the measure of its atmosphere.

“It’s got oxygen!” I said.

“Not just Oxygen!” Opal replied, “but nitrogen and… well, a bit less carbon than we’re used to but definitely enough for us to adjust to. Jade, it’s almost perfect!”

“Anything on the surface temperature?” I inquired.

Opal, scanning through the readout, mumbling off various facts of the object said to herself,

“I think it’s a planet,  it doesn’t seem big enough to pull us into orbit this far away from it. There must be something else….” she trailed off.

“Opal!” I said a little louder as she snapped back from her thoughts “surface temperature?”

“What? Oh, no not yet. They’ll take multiple reads from different areas on the surface to get a range of temperatures. That’ll take awhile. It’s got water though, lots of it from the looks of it… Oh! and land! Jade! What if this is it?”

“Oh be serious. We were born the ship and we’ll die on this damn ship.” I replied.

Opal rolled her eyes at me. What if it was? I thought to myself. What if we could actually get out of the ship. I mean really get out of the ship and feel the grass on our feet… and animals! Real animals?

“Where’s Ansel?” I asked Opal.

“I’m not his keeper.” she responded, “Why don’t you just call him?”

I glared at her but picked up the phone and waited for him to answer,

“What is it?” Ansel answered.

“The androids have started sending back information on the rock. The atmosphere is tolerable for us and it’s got water and land.” I said.

“Is that what’s pulling us into orbit?” He asked.

“We don’t think so. Opal said its too small and too far away to be pulling us in. She said there’s something else out here. She thinks we’re on the outside edge of a solar system.” I explained.

“Well, this is exciting. I’ll be right there.” Ansel said as he hung up the phone.

I began setting in the coordinates to head directly to the rock. At the very least, it’ll give us something to look at. If it has water and land, maybe it has plants and that would be amazing to see; everything is dead in space outside the ship.

“Oh my god!” Opal yelled as Ansel came into the bridge. “The average surface temperature is about 15°C with ranges of 58°C to -88°C!”

“That seems extreme,” I said.

“No, it’s probably the variations of temperatures from mountains and the poles and then along the equator of the planet. This has to be a solar system and the rock’s in the sweet spot.” Ansel said.

“Should we wake everyone? Tell everyone?” Opal was almost giddy with excitement.

“How many people do we have fully immersed in the Simulation and how many do we have that are fully in reality?” I asked.

“Most of them are in the Simulation. There’s only… 100 fully in reality and maybe another 20 to 30 more that sort of divide their time between the two. The other 800 or so are fully integrated into the Simulation.” Ansel said.

“Send a message to those who divide their time between the 2. Tell them they need to come back if they’re in. The rest of the people here, let’s gather them in the library and tell them.” I said.

“What about everyone else?” Opal asked.

“They made their choice a long time ago,” I said.

“What about…. what about my parents and my family?” Opal cried.

“You can make your own choice, Opal,” I stated and left the bridge.

I waited in the library for everyone to gather. I knew Opal was angry with me and I knew it would be difficult for her to decide to stay on the ship or to check out this planet. The planet could sustain us, based on all the information we have, but there’s only so much we can get from an android. We have to send expeditions and frankly, I’m tired of this ship. I’d give the people who are here the option to go with me or stay here.

Ansel came in and sat down next to me and asked, “What are you going to say to them?”

“I’ll tell them what we found and let them decide if they want to go or not,” I replied.

“What are you going to do with everyone logged in?” He pressed further.

“I don’t know. They can die for all I care.” I responded.

“You don’t mean that,” Ansel said.

“Why do you care?” I asked Ansel, “You already told me it’s possible to shut everyone’s life supports off and kill their bodies. They would just be downloaded to the Simulation. It’s where they want to be.”

“You’re right. I know how to end everyone on this ship without them ever knowing it but, that’s me. We’re talking about you. I don’t care if you kill them or not. I do wonder if you can handle the guilt that comes from taking life, though. Can you live with yourself? I know there’s evil in the Simulation but we both know that’s not all.” Ansel said.

“There are casualties of every decision,” I responded to Ansel.

“Listen, I’ll support you in whatever decision you make. Kill them or don’t just remember you’re the one who has to live with yourself at the end of the day,” he said.

A silent tension had settled between us when I asked too loudly, “So what do we do then? Just allow anyone to come with us? People like your parents?”

“I don’t know the answer,” said Ansel “maybe ask what everyone else thinks we should do. You don’t have to make every decision by yourself. This affects us all. You’re seriously going to expect people to choose between their loved ones and a planet that may or may not kill us? What about Opal?”

Opal walked in and avoided eye contact with me. I could tell she had been crying. She sat down next to Ansel and said nothing.

“Opal…” I began.

She cut me off, “I have nothing to say to you right now.”

I looked at Ansel who shrugged his shoulders. Everyone else started to file into the library.

********

Until tomorrow, friends!

sunlight

For years,
I was prisoner
in a cell
that wasn’t locked.

I held on desperately,
to the shackles
given to me
as justification
of anger,
and of bitterness.

I held everyone accountable
for every trespass,
and sin
made against
and to me.

I screamed for justice!
Because how could
someone treat someone
as insignificant,
and not have to answer
for their words?

How could they
be allowed to get away
with everything,
when I was here
cleaning up the mess
lies made?

I heard…
“the saddest part
    of a broken heart,
    isn’t the ending,
    so much as the start…”
and I wanted to
remain at the start
and fail to learn,
any lesson
of myself.

Because
if I could leave
my imposed prison cell,
I had no reason
for the bitterness
and anger
I had come
to identify with.

Outside,
was the sunlight
my achy bones
and frozen skin
throbbed for
form inside my cell.

It was time to leave years ago.
This place no longer served
any purpose to me,
except to house
a state I could not
support
at the expense
of the sunlight.

Those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, Friends!

 

 

teachers, poe and bradbury

The moment I fell in love with Edgar Allen Poe was the same moment I fell in love with Ray Bradbury. It was my senior year in high school and I was taking every literature class my school offered. This was American Literature taught by a shorter, nerdy looking man, with coke bottle glasses and almost always wearing a dark green shirt.

This man loved Poe and Bradbury. We had a whole section of the class in which we read everything Poe wrote. This was how he introduced Bradbury to us.

In the 1950’s Bradbury wrote The Martian Chronicles which is an episodic series of short stories that chronicle human colonization on Mars that already has life on it. As you can imagine, it makes a comment on colonialism but it also tackles an array of other ideas in modern, western society. Bradbury was keen on speaking out against censorship in literature and allowing TV to consume your life. He touches on this topic in his most recognizable novel, Fahrenheit 451 as well as in his short, Usher II found in The Martian Chronicles.

In Usher II, Bradbury paints an Earth wherein books are heavily blacklisted (as in F451) by the FCC and Mars is well on its way to western societal utopia mixed with the Wild Wild West. The “Moral Climate” society (along with the FCC) is in charge of all this censorship and they’ve recently begun dictating what is appropriate entertainment on Mars. Mr. Stendhal has built a replica of the House in Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher, on Mars. He too is against the “Moral Climate” people and generally the censorship of books. He gathers the idea to build the House and then invite every member of the FCC over in which he proceeds to murder them all, using the various murders in Edgar Allen Poe’s stories from The Murders of The Rue Morgue and The Cask of Amontillado. As he kills each member off, he replaces them with an android replica of themselves in order to keep the remaining people from panicking.

The story ends with Stendhal walling up the remaining member of the FCC, down in the cellar just as Montresor had done to Fortunato in The Cask of Amontillado. Stendhal leaves on a helicopter as the Usher II replica cracks and crumbles as it does in The Fall of The House of Usher.

It’s completely brilliant and I’m not doing it justice with my summary. I can’t express how good this story is but part of the reason I think it’s so amazing, is because I had to read all the Poe murders beforehand with the sole purpose of having a deeper understanding of Usher II (of course you can read Usher II without having read anything by Poe). My teacher that had structured the class like this, was Mr. N.

Mr. N generally seemed bored with teaching except when he talked about Poe or Bradbury. It’s awesome to watch people talk about things they’re passionate about. Mr. N was in the position all nerds would like to be in, he had an audience that he could make read stories he loved, so we could all talk about them.

I’ve had a lot of teachers that should’ve returned years before I had them. They were tired and burnt out and maybe a bit disenchanted. Some of them allowed their personal lives to cloud into their ability to their job. Some of them tried to be the “cool” teacher and forgot that they were still teachers. Occasionally, however, your teacher is everything a teacher should be. They’re interesting and passionate about the topic. They inspire you to explore something new. I had always loved stories and read a lot as a kid but Mr. N made me fall in love, not just with stories but with words and their power.

I didn’t know what SciFi was until I took Mr. N’s American Lit. class. I never read a story about outer space. My experience with Sci-Fi up to that point had been the X-Files. Mr. N not only introduced us to Poe and Bradbury but also to The Twilight Zone and stories like Meat by Terry Bisson, that is a story of aliens discovering humans as thinking meat and how insane that seems to them.

Sci-Fi is one of my favorite genres in any form of entertainment, whether it’s books, movies or TV shows. My love of Sci-Fi lead to learning more about space and one time, I even met an astronaut and completely fangirled. I’ve seen every episode of The Twilight Zone original series enough times to quote lines from it in daily conversation (of course, no one gets it because most people aren’t obsessed with Rod Sterling). I might not have ever known that I’m a nerd if it hadn’t been for Mr. N and Bradbury’s Usher II.

Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!

the ship iii

Another page in the world of The Ship. What will learn about Jade and her world today? If you haven’t already, I implore you to read Part I and Part II of this series.

********

I woke up the next morning and headed to the bridge. I was greeted by Opal, my copilot. I met Opal in the Simulation when we were kids. We grew up together, being each other’s right hand through all the hurdles of adolescence. We both found out about the Simulation at the same time.

Opal didn’t immediately leave the Simulation, as I had. It was the moment I had discovered my mother wasn’t a real person. She was an algorithm of human traits thrown together to see what would happen. How could I remain in a place that I couldn’t distinguish what was real and what was fake? I was raised by a Simulation that thought it understood what it means to be human but failed to understand what is beyond logic.

That wasn’t the case for everyone. Opal’s parents were both real people who had walked in reality. They had lived there for years, but were required to enter into the Simulation for the lives of their children. They were grandparents now to her brother’s children and saw no reason to leave anymore. Understandable, this reality isn’t kind to the elderly.

What did it for Opal was finding out her husband wasn’t real. Every meaningful person in Opal’s life was real and that was enough for her to remain in the Simulation. I envied her for this. When she had met William, she felt a sense of completion and was eager to emulate the companionship and completeness she saw in the people who surrounded her. They had children together and followed a dreamy, perfect projection of their lives.

It was a Thursday and she mentioned to William that she should visit me in reality. She wanted him to come with her but as she said this, William stared back her with a confused look on his face. She came to a stop in her sentences and the room fell silent. Opal explains it as the loudest silence she had ever heard because even though there wasn’t anything making physical noise, the inside of her head was reminiscent of the ancient nuclear bombs we read about in our history class. William wasn’t real, because William didn’t know he was a Simulation. Their children weren’t real.

It was three years ago, Opal left. We’ve been working on the ship crew together, ever since. When I stepped through the door of the bridge, she didn’t notice me. She was intent on a beeping noise and a map of the stars being laid out before us.

“What is it?” I asked.

Opal jumped slightly and replied,

“I don’t know, we are getting pulled into orbit and… the ships sensors found a rock, I think with possibility of something to sustain us. I sent out the androids, see if we can get anything on it.”

“Well, that’s the most exciting thing to happen in 3 years. How long will the androids take?” I asked.

“Probably a few hours,” she explained.

I let out a sigh and then said,
“I went back in yesterday, to speak to Sam.”

“You did!? What happened?” Opal cried.

“He’s married to someone else. She’s not real though and he knows it! He designed her! Like that’s weird, right? …I don’t know how he can stand it. I asked him if he was ever coming back and he said no.”

“Yeah, definitely weird. I mean… obviously.” she laughed and then asked, “Are you okay?”

“I am. I don’t know why I went back. I guess just to confirm it, closure or something.” I replied.

“I think you’re doing just fine without him. You’re the captain of the whole ship, you could shut him down if you really wanted to. Fuck him.” She stated and then asked, “Should we get Ansel, about this?”

“No, not yet. Let’s wait for the androids to get back. It’s probably nothing important.”

“What would we do, if we ever met hostile life out here?” Opal pondered.

“I don’t know. I mean we’ve never found anything overly remarkable anyway. It’d be kind of cool though… if we survived, obviously.”

“What’s it beeping about?” Ansel asked as he entered through the southern door of the bridge.

“We are getting pulled into orbit and the ship found something on a rock. I’ve sent out the androids to get a better read on it, see if it’s worth checking out.” Opal explained.

“Oh good! I thought something broke again.” Ansel laughed to himself.

Ansel had been fascinated with the ship ever since he got in reality. He had left the Simulation when he was 15. After living on the streets for several months, he met Kegan who told him not to worry because even the Simulated streets were better than reality. When Kegan realized Ansel didn’t know about the Simulation yet, he opted to tell him the truth as a way to comfort him. Ansel didn’t see it as a comfort, however. He became obsessed with the notion of a Simulation until he read one day, children as young as 14 could enter into reality if they chose to and with parental permission. Ansel forged his parents signature and went to the Oracle to ask for a release. He never went back.

He first searched his parents in the log book to see if they were real. He had hoped they weren’t because at least then he could just hate the machine and accept humans might not be bad and had simply lost control of the Simulation to create such trauma for children. As he went through the register, however, he found that there is a deep darkness in humans, when the names of his parents came up on the screen.

After that, Ansel became obsessed with the ship and how it worked. He wanted to know everything about the Simulation and what the ship was designed to do. He became the apprentice to the head engineer, Liam. Liam had never had children and took in Ansel like a son. He loved and cared for Ansel and I think if Liam hadn’t taken care of Ansel then and cooled his fire, he would be a dangerous person now. Ansel still felt anger and bitterness towards his parents but could understand they are the outliers.

When Liam died, Ansel took over as head engineer of the ship. Opal has recently become his apprentice. She’s more interested in the software of the Simulation and how it’s structured rather than the actual ship. She’s been increasingly obsessed with the Simulation for the past few months. I suppose we all have our hobbies, what else are we going to do for the next 3 – 6 years?

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Want more? Part IV is available! Until tomorrow, friends!

having a REAL job

I’ve had a lot of jobs since I entered the workforce when I was 16. I’ve worked everything from fast food to evictions, to tech support. I struggle immensely with working and I’m sure I’m not alone. It isn’t that I don’t like to work, it’s that I feel like every job I have is a waste of my time and intellect.

I know it’s a millennial thing to want meaning in your work and I realize that we can’t all have really cool jobs that are deeply meaningful. That’s not to say, of course, that what I find meaningless is equally meaningless to someone else. I just can’t stand the idea of spending 40 hours a week, roughly a quarter of my time doing something that doesn’t matter. When I worked in the call center, I recall sitting there asking myself am I going to just sit here at this desk, getting yelled at by people who don’t know what a power button is, for the rest of my life? I don’t know how anyone can stand it and I truly give people in call centers mad props for dealing with the psychosis of the general public.

Maybe it doesn’t bode well for me, that I’ve only held 2 jobs, longer than a year since I graduated college. My first big girl job out of college was doing evictions at a property management company. As you can imagine, the work was rather unpleasant. No one wants to tell someone they have to get out of their house. It’s the only job I ever been fired from and in retrospect, I wasn’t a very good employee. I made an effort but I was young, inexperienced and under qualified. I worked there for about 3 years.

Then, the next significant position I held, for 2 years, was a call center doing tech support for cable TV. This is the 2nd worst job I’ve ever had (next to McDonald’s). I was well on my way to gaining a position in leadership but ultimately, I couldn’t wrap my head around that being my life. I once decided to follow money over passion and I’ve regretted it ever since. Was I going to stay doing work that was deeply unsatisfying just because it paid well?

So I quit. I was living in Florida then and decided to move back in with my dad (because I’m a millennial) and go back to school. I’m oversimplifying for the sake of not boring you to tears. I should note, it’s significantly easier for me to uproot my life when I find it’s not working for me; I don’t have any kids, I’m unmarried, I don’t have any assets like a house, that I have to consider. I do have credit card debt and student loan debts which to be honest, that’s a post in and of itself and I’m not going to spend any time with that. The point is, I’ve chosen to build my life in a manner that allows me the freedom to figure out what’s going to be satisfying.

I decided to go back to school. Since I have the aforementioned student loan debt, I opted to not take on more debt, and pay for school out of pocket (hence living with my dad). It occurred to me, I was more or less reaching the end of my skills. I knew customer service really well but other than making a movie (what my B.A. is in) or talking about books, I lacked any meaningful skills that would allow me to break out of the customer service mumbo jumbo. Why not get new skills, then? I opted for a job that has a relatively high turn over and something that won’t be dramatic when I do find a position my aligned with my long-term goals. I work at Whole Foods.

Now, I opted for a place that I don’t really have to invest in. I care about my job and make efforts to be good at it, but ultimately, I know this is just a stepping stone. My family does not understand why I opted for a $15/hr position at a grocery store when I can easily do any number of real jobs that pay significantly less and have more stress.

That’s what my dad said to me today when I mentioned I don’t normally work 5 days in a row and that I was tired. What are you going to do when you get a real job? was the response I was met with. As if I don’t already have a job. My family is always telling me about such and such place and I can’t justify working somewhere that isn’t going to matter to me, once I’m done with round 2 of school. Like I can’t justify allowing a company to invest me when I’m not going to invest in them unless it’s something I really want to do. They don’t seem to understand, I’m in a transition phase of life.

The reality is, not everyone can work their dream job. I’m probably not going to be an actor and maybe I’ll get paid to write one day but writers aren’t known for being millionaires. Does that mean I’m going to stop trying to get my dream job? Of course not, but we still need people to work at grocery stores or pick up trash or any number of jobs in the service industry and I don’t think it’s healthy to look down on these people or act like they don’t have a real job.

Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends!