All posts by R. Todd

About R. Todd

I'm older than I think I am and younger than I feel. I'm stuck in the 80's but relevant to today (oh I hope that last part is true). I think I am more of an enigma than I really am, but somehow still confound those who try to figure me out (or they just look at me weird, so I infer that). And I really hate my first name. Husband, father, Navy Vet, UCF graduate, cat owner (translate.. slave), wannabe writer, and all around big kid who is stuck in an adult world. Overall, I just... um.. something to something, blah blah blah. And that's all I got to say about that.

The Last Few Days…

I’m just going to say the last few days, but the absences I have been accruing can all be summed up in… man, life just goes by if you blink.

But that’s not the point of what I wanted to touch on today. No, I’ll do that in future posts (those will happen, honest, I swear, okay… I’m going to do my best).

No, today… today was the second day in a row that I woke up with a thought niggling away inside my skull. Like one of those songs that gets stuck, that you are forced to sing in your head over and over and over again… until you are so tired of it that you just have to hear it one more time (ELO is infamous for this with me).

Yesterday, the thought was just two words. Two words that became three words, that became the title for a short story I’m feeling the need to explore. The funny thing is, when I woke up, the words I had echoing in the cavernous hallow that is my brain turned out to actually be the wrong combination of words.

So, when I was looking up the definition of the words, I found it hysterical that there actually was a definition to them. And it turns out, I may not have been wrong. And the idea I had for the initial story didn’t make sense with the words I had… kind of like I’m sure this isn’t making any sense either…

And then the title became complete when I add the letter “A” to the title. Now, I’ve got to work on that story.

And today, today I was roused from my sleep by this idea of star crossed lovers. So trope, I know, but it was this comical scene in a bar that was playing over in my head. I let it ride for a bit, let it fester in my gray matter, until I finally had to roll out of bed and start putting the idea down on paper (wait, does it count because I actually was typing in Word? Anyway…).

In the process of writing down this idea, it started to morph a little, and it felt familiar to a story I had heard before. Okay, less story, more myth. And so I looked up this myth, and started trying to adapt this story to the myth, seeing how I could pull some of the ideas out of it and run with that.

So far, I’ve got a smattering of ideas, and I was trying really hard to squeeze the story into… well, rather expand the story… the myth, making it fit, fill all those spaces that had already been filled before.

And I had an epiphany of sorts as the whole thing started to fall apart…

Stay true to the story.

So, I stopped trying to expand it away from what was originally organic in my thoughts. And I think that’s one of the biggest issues I have.

I tend to overthink the story. It’s like overworking the batter for a cake. It just tends to ruin what should be a wonderful thing.

But, yeah…

There ya go. A point. I guess.

Don’t overthink your process, just do it.

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Life Happened…

I wrote this in December of 2015, right after I finished my Associate of Arts degree, and never published it. I’m not sure why. I mean..life happens. I guess that’s why.

 

Life happened.

I have been told that it has a tendency to do that.

But, while I put most of my life on hold to work toward finishing my A.A. degree, life continued as if I didn’t matter.

Can you fathom? Seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it?

In the last 6 months, while I set aside my creative writing and some of the flash challenges I normally partook… partaked.. partooken? Ehh, whatever… I took part in (yeah, that works), pushed aside my gaming addiction for homework, and forsook (I got that one right… I think) my personal relationships to attend class, 6 months passed by. I know, I said 6 months at the beginning of the sentence and it seems redundant, but my point is that 6 months just zipped on by and I wasn’t a part of a lot of it.

Quite frankly, that kind of irritates me.

And now, at the end of those 6 months, I have my Associates of Arts degree (emphasis on English, of course) and I am on winter break before I dive back into school to start working on my Bachelor’s degree. But there is this void in my life. I got so use to the business of school, the constant deadlines, the homework and papers that needed to be done, the readings that need to be.. um, read, and the always present looming threat of failing a class, that now, in the calm and afterglow of it all, I can’t seem to relax.

The best way to describe it would be like running off a… you know what.. better yet, let me just show you what it feels like…

Yeah, that’s about right.

My life has been on hold while streaking forward at an incredibly increasing pace. Sounds a bit impossible, but because of my schooling schedule, I have placed a lot of what I would normally be doing on the side.

My Xbox cries to me some nights, begging me to play a game. My DVR is starting to threaten me with erasing some of the shows that I have let sit idle and unwatched for too long. Hulu is even chiming in with some of the shows that I loved to watch starting to disappear from the cue (because apparently, you have to keep up with the current episodes or miss out… ).

On top of that, anything even remotely writing oriented has been relegated to the simmer spot on the back burner.

And now that all my schooling is over (at least for this semester), the walls I have erected to keep all that stuff away have dropped, and everything is clamoring for my attention.

All at once.

A few days ago, while having a conversation with a blogging community friend, her comment to my dilemma made me put my situation into the following thoughts:

It is very akin to being in a bucket and the floodgates open up, you struggle to stop all the water coming in, frantic because the onslaught is overtaking you, putting your hands here and there to stem the flow, feeling the water rising, your heart rate quickening, just trying to find a foothold in order to at least stand a chance.

All the while, because of the panic and the self-inflicted need to accomplish stuff… let me say that again… stuff… you fail to recognize that if you just take a deep breath and go with the flow, most of that stuff will take care of itself.

Life is funny that way.

But the trick is, not to let the inflow of stuff kick off the anxiety of failure. That will just kill you. And I would love to tell you I have learned this trick, but truth be told, I am constantly having to go back and relearn it every few months. I think they call that… life.

 

P.S. (from today in 2018… ) I still have this issue. That’s a hard trick to learn.

I’m Scared to Death…

I’m scared to death to write. Ok, that might be a bit of an over exaggeration, but the truth of the matter is, sitting down to my computer and putting words on the page has me almost petrified.

I’m not talking about this kind of writing. This is just free flow from my brain, and I really don’t care so much about what hits the page. I’m talking about my stories, my book ideas, those things that haunt me in the middle of the day and taunt me with the voices that tell me:

“You’re not good enough.”

“You really think you can finish a book?”

“Who do you think you are, Stephen King?”

All the voices I grew up with tearing me down from the inside. I know I am not alone in this dilemma, but it feels very lonely when I look through the notes I have spent time on, developing a storyline, putting effort into making characters real, and believing more strongly in that voice from my past that says they will never live than to the characters that yearn to be heard.

I use the atypical excuses… not enough time, too distracted, no inspiration, I’ll do it tomorrow… all just an appeasement to myself that I am using to try and hide from the fact that I actually might write something someone won’t like.

But, really, what if they don’t like what I spent the time and effort into developing?

Does that even matter?

There are so many arguments out there that say “Write to write” or “Write what the audience wants” or “Just write.” Is there a wrong way with all those writes?

Daunting, frustrating, deflating.

Seriously though.

Am I good enough?

Wait… Did I Hit Something?

So, last night, about a mile-and-a-half into my ride, I thought I saw something shiny and small in the road, just in front of my tire. I heard this *fwipping* noise and I was sure that I had run over something and it had kicked up into my front wheel. I slowed down (okay, I was only doing around 13mph, but still…) and looked to see if I could see anything.

Nope…

So I did a quick survey of the wheel alignment against the frame of the bike. Everything seemed okay. Did a quick glance at my back wheel and nothing seemed to be flailing about back there, so, I figured everything was good and pedaled on.

Except, something felt off.

Another hundred or so feet, I stopped and did a much more thorough check of my front wheel. Spokes seemed okay. And since the noise seemed to have come from there (and not wanting to lose any more time) I got back on and got back to it.

The riding was a bit rougher this time. Peddling felt labored. I had to downshift. That didn’t help. Something…yep… something was definitely wrong.

I looked down at my read tire, comparing it to the frame. The tire was bowing. And i knew… I just knew…

I stopped, got off my bike, and looked at the rear-wheel. It took less than a second to see the offense.

I broke a spoke.

Every rotation, the rim would rub on the rear brake caliper, which was what was causing my issue.

Luckily, I was at a spot on my route where turning around wasn’t so bad. I was less than a mile from home, so at least I wasn’t at mile 5 or something. But, my ride was over.
The bike and I limped home. In one piece… minus a spoke.

Today, I dropped her off at the shop, but she won’t be ready until probably Monday. Guess I’m breaking out the back-up tonight. Gotta get the miles in, after all.

Just like that…

And just like that, I’m reminded about how cancer hits us. There we are, going about life, and something is off. Just like that. Except, it’s not as easy to fix as replacing a spoke or hopping on a back-up bike.

If only it were that easy.

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