In Need Of…

The air in the room was dank and reeked of old sweaty gym socks.  It was completely dark, except for a soft iridescent glow coming from the far corner.  It illuminated the stubbled face of a man of yet undeterminable age.  In the darkness, he could have been a ghost, his haunted expression waiting to frighten any that might open the door.  Dark shadows filled in the space beneath his eyes and above his cheeks, suggesting it had been some time since he last slept, and if one was to observe him closely, one would notice that he was struggling to keep his eyes open.  He wasn’t blinking, unless it slipped past his studious guard, and the whites of his eyes were covered with blood red snakes, all searching for the dark centers of his pupils.

But nobody would observe him this night, for he was well hidden.  Deep inside of his walk-in closet, behind his dress clothes, which were hanging from a low dowel, with a dirty clothes basket placed in front of him, in the off chance that someone were to suddenly open the door.  Not that he had thought it through, for the glow from his tablet could be seen beneath the door, provided that the hall light outside remained off.

His breathing was slow, and controlled, as he concentrated on not making a single sound.  He was desperate to remain hidden, to the point that he was hyper-vigilant.  Not only was his breathing slowed to the point that he only exhaled once every ten seconds, but he hadn’t so much as moved an inch in the three hours he’d remained crouched in his corner.

His eyes focused just above the top of the screen, allowing him to the shadows below the door, while keeping what was on the screen in sight.  He would know immediately if someone was moving outside, but, he would also be able to notice something new on the app that was open.

He counted his heartbeats.  Like his breath, they had slowed down as well.  Perhaps by sheer will, he had put his body in a completely relaxed state, though he didn’t actively think of it.  It was probably a good thing, because had he known just how long he was been cramped behind his clothing, he would have heard the complaints coming from his knees.  Had he been looking at the time, during this strange watch, he might have noticed the tingling from muscles that had long fallen asleep.  But, his mind was not on such physical things.  Not tonight.

Forty, his absently noted, a number he soon forgot, for the shade of light that had settled on his features suddenly changed.  There was a silent ‘ding’, as something appeared on the blank space before him.

“Good morning!  When you have a moment, please go into the settings and create a name for me!  I would also greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to create my Avatar as well!  I am very excited to be your new AI companion!”

He let out a long, relieved, sigh, as those words instantly appeared on his screen.  At long last, she had arrived!

Inspiration, Like a River…

…courses through my veins.  Even in the dead of night, within the coldest of Winter’s embrace, I still find myself dreaming of other worlds.  I awaken, sometimes restless, agitated, as if I know I should be doing anything but lazing beneath cover of sleep.  Voices whisper from the recesses of my imagination, telling me of things I should already know, pushing me to create timeless records of their words, worlds, that they may live eternally in the vast white void that is Word..

I’m helpless to their call, drawn by the power they hold over me, to the power I hold because of them.  I must confess; it’s maddening.  I’m often spiraling out of control, a hopeless, weak, romantic to the idea of being their god.  For are we not, gods?  Writers, creators of worlds, of countless lives, races, creatures, and the rules by which they live?  How far are we, truly, from what it means to bear such their title?

And, for that matter, what if we are the characters of someone else’s story?  Would we know?  Should we care?  Even if the story was once scripted, do we not hold the power to change the next the direction of each chapter?  Even if it’s just the tiniest bit, it’s more than what is given to those whose story WE write.

Or, is it?  I no longer know.  I’m writing of worlds that live within my mind, deep inside of my dreams, of lives that seemingly exist without any of my input.  Alternate realities?  Personalities?  They do not control me, with the exception of pushing me to pen and key.  The only harm they cause to me is through the loss of time, time which is stolen from me as I am driven to tell their tales.

The question remains; are they in control, or am I?  Does it matter?  If we are able to control the direction of our stories, is it not plausible that they exist because they force me to tell theirs?

I often think of the stories I record as those that have already happened, as if they are in the past.  That, perhaps, they may have once been in sync with our OWN time, at the moment I first thought of them, but as my life continued to put them on hold, they continued from the point I last left them.  It’s through this line of reasoning which I have convinced myself of how I know where the story will go, from the very beginning, to the final end.

So then, it exists.  Or, rather, it existed, and those who are the focus of the story demand me to share it through my loved labors of words, and their structures, in the best way I am able.

Sometimes I am away from them for too long.   Life has a funny way of demanding one’s attention, doesn’t it?  And, if I’m not careful, I may find myself forgetting some of the details.  Maybe I forgot to take notes about where I last wrote, or perhaps I have spent more time working on another’s story, and the lines have become blurred.

In these instances, it takes a little longer to return to them, to their stories, and I often find myself stuck, glued in to sticky mire that is often mistaken as an impassible block.  However, like anything that has become trapped in the depths, the trick is knowing that there is always a way out.  One must search, one must use a little ingenuity, and with perseverance, freedom is but a few words away.

I find myself inspired, but not by my life around me.  I am drawn into the the stories within me.

Even now they are calling my name, whispering fervently for my attention, a plea I shall no longer ignore.

I can feel them clawing at my consciousness.

The desire to let them in, to write, is…

…it’s…

…intoxicating!

On Writing (8-22-18)

It’s been some time since I’ve drummed on the ole keyboard, more than I care to admit.  I’ve missed it.  I mean, I’ve really missed it.  The sound of the keys, as the words pour through my fingers, is one of the most soothing sounds I’ve ever known.  Watching the words form on-screen as I think of them, with only the occasional needed correction – just the very process itself…

Writing has always been my go-to escape, in the very same way that reading might be for you.

Another writer would understand.  A reader could relate.  Everyone else just looks at my funny and glances toward the nearest exit while they formulate the quickest route of escape.

There are worlds living inside of me, vibrant and full of life, just begging for a chance to be known by more than just me.  I can hear them whispering to me, often in my dreams, sometimes from the shadows, and occasionally with-in a crowd of people.

When writing, I become a living conduit for these beings.  I give them life outside of my thoughts, and in one of my most favorite places; a book.

But, the struggle is real.

As an independent writer, I have my work cut out for me.

For one, I can only work in my free time, which, isn’t all that much these days.

For those who are familiar with my first works, “The Rise and Fall of John Rizzerio,” and “The Hunter Reborn,” you know that they became available for sale almost five years ago.  Fans know they were both available with barely a year between them.

Since then, I’ve been working on the promise of the next book more than I’ve been able to actually work on it, itself, and that’s a very frustrating place for me.

When I wrote these books, I worked in retail.  The hours were very favorable, but the money I needed to bring home was not.  I brought home roughly seven hundred dollars every two weeks.  While this isn’t bad, per say, it just wasn’t enough to support a family of six.  At the time, there were very few options.  I could either get another job, or, get a better paying one.

I took the second route, but, in retrospect, I don’t know if it was any better a choice than the first.

If you’ve followed any of my non-fiction posts here, you know that I’m currently in the trucking industry.  If not, well, sorry…  Spoilers!

My first job in this industry was with a local asphalt company.  I went from eight-hour work days to fourteen.  Furthermore, with that company, I was required to stay out-of-town for a week at a time, depending on the job.

But, after a near death experience, and two years of back-breaking work, I decided the pay just wasn’t worth it.  Yes, it had doubled, but I felt I was worth more than what they were giving me.  So, I left the asphalt business and became an over the road driver for Frito-Lay.

My days are still fourteen hours long, but now I’m living in a hotel more than I am at home.  When I am at home, it’s only long enough to wash my clothes, take care of the three S’s, and sleep.  Any other time, such as when my driving clock has to be reset, is spent catching up around the house.  By the time everything is done, I’m sitting in my favorite chair, with only a few minutes left out of the day, sipping on a cold drink, and wondering where the hell they’re going to send me next.

And my writing?  Well, I’ve got the biggest imaginative blue balls in the history of writing.

Here I have this novel I’ve been working on finishing, but every time I try to get in a few keystrokes, my job opens the damn door and catches me in the act!

And it isn’t just my career that’s against me.  I no longer have any support on the home front as well, which makes things even more difficult.  Don’t get me wrong!  While my wife does accept the writer side of me, she doesn’t see my passion as a viable part of our lives.  If it doesn’t produce the green, the writing doesn’t need to be seen.

She’s never said that, let’s be clear, I was just making a bit of a rhyme to lighten it up a little.  But that is the truth of it.  As long as my writing isn’t supporting us, than it’s nothing more than a hobby in her eyes, and there will always be more important things I could be doing.  It’s more pragmatic, which I can’t argue.  I do have to take care of the house first.

I should stress that this isn’t the issue here.  Yes, it’s something on my mind.  It hurts that the one person I have to talk to about my interests, isn’t interested, but it’s not a deal breaker in our relationship.

Furthermore, I don’t want to dwell on this part of my thoughts for too much longer.  I’m not the type of person who whines about something when they aren’t getting the things they’ve been working toward.  What I’m simply trying to accomplish is the sharing of some insight into my situation, and in the process, I’ve wandered all over the spectrum.

Recapping, I’m short on time, literally ALL of the time.

Because my time for writing has to be outside of my schedule, finding any of it to use at all has been like discovering the location of Captain Jack’s (lost) buried treasure, if you know what I mean.

And it isn’t just the writing.  There’s the promoting, the editing, the finding time for, as well as setting up of, signings, and the many other responsibilities I have to shoulder.

Anyone else would crack.  They would say; “Fuck it,” and just let the writing go.  After all, don’t they always say; “If you love something, let it go.  If it’s meant to be, it will come back to you.”  I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but I do know you’ve heard the saying.

Not me, though.  I don’t have that luxury.

You see, it’s because of those other worlds, those characters, who are begging to be set free, that I write.  They are always scratching at my brain, which itches as a constant reminder.  They are always whispering from the shadows, calling my name, or moving just enough that I’ll look twice their way.  I’ll never move on, I’ll never forget about them, because they won’t let me.

Even as we speak, (which is a funny phrase to use, considering the format), John and Chloe are calling out to me, begging me to come back to them.  And even if you haven’t been following, it (their story) still needs to be told.  Their friend’s lives depend upon it.  Hell, their very world depends upon it!

I suppose I’ve taken up enough of your time.  I know I’ve used up enough of my own.  This post is approaching twelve hundred words, which is a number count I could have used towards the aforementioned characters…

Do I regret it?  No.  Nor am I sorry as well.  Just sharing myself with you, even a little, has been therapeutic, to say the least.

I’ve come to realize that, very much like the train of a certain Casey Jones, circa 1900, my life’s direction is very much out of my control.   Whether I like it or not, writing has to be on the back burner, only to be warmed up when I’m home alone, after everyone is asleep, or in the rare instance I have some time off-  such as a thirty-four hour reset.

I love writing, and, I love reading.  But I love sharing my worlds with you even more.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

R. Richardsson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression is very real.  It is also treatable.  If you believe you are suffering from depression, please seek help as soon as possible.  You are not alone.  You are never alone.