Do You Believe?

Over the years, my personal relationship with “religion” has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. Before, during, and after prison, I have (on some — and often many — levels) struggled with what I should believe, from a “religious” perspective. My core beliefs have always fallen within the “Judeo-Christian” context, but being a person who often overthinks everything, I’d never been content with a singular truth. Read More

The Grand Mosaic

My wife and I just went to see the film, An Interview with God. It was a good movie and I really enjoyed the intellectual banter and discourse between the reporter and the man claiming to be God. The plot of the movie is simple: A journalist conducts three interviews in three days with a man claiming to be God — The God, in the Judeo-Christian sense.

So this reporter spends three days asking God questions about the world, about theology, and about God Himself. But in nearly every conversation, the topic turns to the life of the reporter. Thus, as the interviews progress, the reporter struggles with his on introspective context rather than his objective journalistic context.

This film, of course, is intended to (among other things) prompt the viewer to ask him/herself, “What would I ask God?” Read More

This Purgatory

Please don’t tell me everything is wonderful now!

That phrase, painfully shouted by the band Everclear in their song “Wonderful,” perfectly describes where my mind is right now.

Today I was cleaning out our storage room and I came across several spools of old CD-R disks. They were ambiguously marked, which made me curious what was on them. Several said “CPU BACK-UP” but had no date, so I was curious what I could have backed-up from an old computer I had years ago. However, I wasn’t quite prepared for what I found.

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Some People…

Some people are merely petty, childish, bitter, and immature. And I just experienced a profound example of this concept.

My wife and I sat down to dinner with some friends at a local eatery recently. And as we were preparing to leave, a guy walked up to my wife and awkwardly stood there, looking at her without speaking. After a few more awkward moments, he finally extended his hand and spoke to her, slurring a drunken sloppy sentence resembling, “Hi, do you remember me?” The words stumbled out of his clumsy mouth in the same way he would later clumsily stumble out of the restaurant; it was painfully obvious that he was quite inebriated. Read More

Depression

It’s late at night.

Or, perhaps, it’s very early in the morning.

It’s dark outside.

It’s dark inside.

It’s raining.

I am sitting on my back porch, listening to the raindrops around me. They’re not merely raindrops; they are like the ones which make huge flat orbs on a windshield while driving through a late night storm — the ones that hit with an accentuated “thud.” I hear them hit the porch roof above me. I hear them plop into my backyard pond. I hear them falling.

Falling. Read More

Torturous Euphoria

I have my dream job!

Not many people can say that. I certainly took an unconventional (and unfortunate) route to get here, but I have achieved my goal: I am a full-time writer. Thanks to a pair of publishers who have taken a chance on me, my professional life’s #1 priority is my writing career. Everything else I do is simply what else I do. Everything else is just the other stuff — stuff that fills the gaps between the time I spend writing my work-in-progress. Read More

No Way Out

Allow me to share a parable I recently heard on The West Wing:

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you. Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, “Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

This parable perfectly illustrates why I do what I do — why I wrote After 3PM, why I make speeches, why I give interviews — that is why. I’ve been stuck in the depths of the issue I’m fighting — and I know the way out. Read More

“Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc” — Chapter One

There is something about the smell of blood — it never leaves the memory. When blood is experienced in mass quantity, there is a smell, and it smells like no other airborne emanation, except blood. It is the essence of life, but it is the emanation of death; it smells warm, even when it’s cold. It isn’t red, it isn’t maroon, it isn’t vermilion, it isn’t burgundy, it isn’t crimson, it isn’t scarlet — it’s blood. And blood in mass quantities, especially in an unfamiliar crimes scene, casts a dark shadow from the floor upon the entire room, upon the entire building, upon the entire world. Read More

You: 2.0

You will always be you. I will always be me. And there is nothing either of us can do about that. We’re stuck. You are you and I am me. And for some people, that’s perfectly fine. But for some of us with a regretful past of poor choices and unfortunate experiences, it almost seems like a dream to be someone else, if only for a short while.

But let’s be honest, that won’t happen. You will always be you and I will always be me. Yep, we’re stuck.

But there is still hope, there is still an option: Upgrades. Read More

Another Teacher

Another Wichita-area teacher was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student. This time, it was a Haysville teacher named Sheri Herrs — a P.E. teacher and track coach. She’s also married to a guy named Ryan. Sheri has (assuming she’s guilty) destroyed her career and scarred her marriage (which may or may not recover from this). She was arrested last night and booked into jail just before 7PM. She spent the night in the Sedgwick County Jail, and as much as I know she deserves to be there, I can’t help but hurt for her too — because I’ve been in the exact same situation, in the exact same place, thinking the exact same feelings of regret that she is feeling right now — at this very moment, as I type this very sentence, as she sits on a small metal cot with a flat plastic mattress, wondering what will happen to the rest of her life.

I’ve been there. I deserved to be there. She deserves to be there. But it could have been prevented. Read More

Baby Blue

I feel like Walter White. In many ways, the parallels are uncanny; I could write an entire book on the subject. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a villain, right? Granted, I understand that this moniker may be my own personal over-dramatization of who I am in the eyes of many people — but am I wrong?

I don’t like being the bad guy, and I miss being the good guy. But here’s the problem with that: I’m the bad guy now, living a good life. When I was the good guy (the respected teacher, husband, colleague, mentor, etc.), I was secretly an evil son of a bitch. So even though I was perceived as good, I was pretty fucking bad. And now that I’m widely-despised, I’m actually living the moral life I should have been living in the first place.

I’m not sure if that’s irony or not, but it’s definitely interesting. Read More

Solo

“Assume everyone will betray you, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Today is May the Fourth — affectionately known as Star Wars Day. So I’m obviously wearing my Millennium Falcom t-shirt and Star Wars: Episode IV is playing on my Blu-Ray player right now. I’ve loved Star Wars ever since I was a kid; maybe because, when I was a kid, life — and people — were so much simpler.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited for the upcoming newest installment of the Star Wars saga: Solo: A Star Wars Story, which chronicles the younger years of Han Solo (who is, incidentally, my favorite Star Wars character). Read More

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