Emotionally overrun…

I try to keep up with current events in the news so I have at least some idea of what’s going on in the world, but it can really take a harsh toll on my mental health. Especially as of late with the rapidly approaching election and the terrifying prospect of a horrific, degenerate psychopath becoming our next president.


Things that are good…

1.) We ordered new blinds for all of our windows. (All four of them.) The ones that came with the house were poorly installed and ill-maintained and the one in the living room doesn’t even cover the whole (seven-foot-tall) window. There’s also been nothing on the transom over the front door. Both cause a lot of annoyance sitting in the living room with blinding sunlight in the afternoon/evening. We haven’t installed them yet, but we have given ourselves the deadline of November 29th when Final Fantasy XV [finally] comes out and we’ll be spending a lot more time downstairs. I’m excited to have nice, clean, new blinds on all of our windows.

2.) Related, Final Fantasy XV is finally coming out at the end of November. They’ve been stringing fans along for over a decade at this point. Bob is such a huge FF fan and his excitement over the game is so gaddamn adorable I just want to squeeze him. So I do.

3.) This weekend is Bob’s birthday and I’ve made him a ridiculous cake experiment of cheesecake and lemon bars and I have no idea what it’s going to be like when I cut into it, but we’ll see how it turns out. It certainly won’t taste bad. I rarely bake anything these days unless an occasion calls for it, so why not go all out for my husband’s birthday?

4.) We’ve finally had a good run of hoodie weather and it has been a much needed relief for my bad-addled brain. We had to break down and turn the heat on this weekend, but I’ll take layers of blankets over hotter-than-hades any day.

5.) We saw Andy Grammer and Gavin DeGraw play at Mystic Lake. I have many things to say about it (we’ll see if it ever gets written) but in a nutshell…HOT DAMN they are both so fucking good at what they do. I’ve been waiting four years for AG to play a local show at a decent venue and he was SO worth the wait. And while Gavin DeGraw has been on my musical radar for more than a decade, I’d never given much thought to seeing him live, but damn. He’s good.

Gator came with as my Xanax for the night. He hasn’t been to a show since Red Rocks so it was fitting. And deliberate. Gator loves him some AG.

(Back Home [live] by Andy Grammer)

(Something Worth Saving [live] by Gavin DeGraw)

The Seven Year Itch…

Seven years ago I married a boy I met on the internet.

Statistically, we should be seeing a decline in our relationship at this point. The Seven Year Itch is something that actually happens according to research.

I’d say for us, the longer we’re together, the better we get.

Does that make us special?


Not really.

Plenty of people survive statistics.

My parents have been married for fifty years.

It’s not always rainbows and giggles and arguments with stuffed animals. We have ugly conversations and disagreements. We get stressed and irritated and snappy. But we communicate—even when it sucks—and we tend to talk everything to death. Things are far from perfect, but we’re US.

And I love US.

I can be my whole, awkward, weird, inane, obsessive self, and he tells me he loves me for all of it.

He is my sanity and my saving grace.

I love him more than I ever thought possible to love another human being, and I love him more every day.

I always have these elaborate plans in my head for commemorating our anniversary in writing, but really, simplicity works better.

Seven years.

And not the least bit itchy.

Can’t remember all the details…

Writing is a weird beast.

You’d think after two-thirds of my life, I’d learn to just roll with it, but it continually serves to boggle my mind.

I get these elaborate essays built up in my head, but when I sit down to write it out, it’s just an epic disaster of incoherence.

And…I think I just came up with a new tagline for my writing.



I’m writing new things.

And by “new” things, I mean a hodgepodge of existing ideas and characters cobbled together into a plotline that’s been rattling around in my head for a long time, but I never quite knew what to do with it. It has all the proper pieces—a Chance Records artist, a collection of previously used character names, a [different] version of Tyler.

Can I do the story justice? Time will tell. It’s certainly nothing groundbreaking in subject matter, but things are feeling good so far. Which is a welcome relief after so many long months of banging my head against the wall.

We’ll see where it goes.

The Letter…

TL;DR—I’m taking a hiatus from music.

I’ve been told there have apparently been a lot of rumors flying around that I’m in rehab for an addiction problem.

A few weeks ago I was spotted in New York very drunk and then very hungover. Two days later I was spotted at JFK airport and then in Minneapolis. Why else would I be flying to Minneapolis if not to check into the notorious Hazelden rehab clinic? (Never mind they also have a facility in New York.)

I am ashamed to admit it, but the rumors of being drunk and hungover are, in fact, true. I did also fly from New York to Minneapolis that same week, but I didn’t go to check myself into rehab. I flew to Minneapolis because I live there. While I do have a place in New York, my permanent residence is in Minnesota with my wife and son.

Despite the fact that I’ve always worn my wedding ring, it always seems to come as a surprise to people to hear that I’m married. Apparently I don’t give people the impression of family man. I’ve been married for ten years. I’ve been with my wife for fourteen total. We have a twelve-year-old son. I’ve mentioned them before, but they are rarely the center of any conversation relating to my career in music simply to give them a semblance of privacy and normalcy. My wife is not looking for any attention for being my wife and we both want to protect our son best we can from the horrors of a public life.

Over the span of my career, I’ve managed to keep my private life mostly private, and I’ve never been one to publicly air my dirty laundry. But as rumors fly about rehab and addiction, I feel the need to set the record straight. As I said, I’m not checking into rehab. I don’t have an addiction problem. I smoked pot once in college and didn’t like it. I’ve never abused prescription or recreational drugs. I’ve never really been much of a drinker. I know this all started with an episode of heavy drinking and a killer hangover, but it was one significant event in my life that drove me to get shitfaced like I did.

Finding balance between work and home is a challenge for anybody, regardless of circumstances. My situation is not unique. As a musician who travels constantly, it’s easy to just let the road take me where it leads. I have to put in the effort to make time to spend at home with my family, and make sure they have everything they need. Some people find that balance easily. Others, like me, struggle to figure it out. To say I’ve done a lousy job of it would be the understatement of the millennium.

Travelling the country (and sometimes the world) has its perks. Playing shows and getting to visit places I might not otherwise see is a dream job few get to experience. I am grateful every day for this privilege I’ve been afforded in my life. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, but I haven’t done it alone, and I do my best to give credit where credit is due.

My two biggest supporters (and toughest critics) have always been my wife and son. I owe more to them than anyone else. They are the center of my entire world. I would not be who I am without them. My wife is a brilliant, strong, beautiful woman. She works tirelessly to hold down the fort while I’m on the road, raising our son, and running her own successful business. She loves fiercely, cares deeply, and she does not put up with bullshit from anybody (not even me). My son is nearly a mirror image in personality of his mother—smart, strong, passionate, caring, every adjective a parent could hope for—though he’s also strong willed and stubborn and he likes to argue, which he gets straight from me. I couldn’t be more proud of the person he is growing up to be.

My wife and son are absolutely amazing human beings and I have taken them shamefully for granted. That is the painful, unfortunate truth of this situation. I have neglected my relationship with them for far too long. I have taken their love and support for granted, deluding myself that they will always be there, no matter how much distance I put between us (geographically and emotionally). Over the last few years I have put an ocean of distance between us and created a rift that is not going to be easy to repair.

That is why I’m here now. I have to repair this. It would be easy to throw in the towel and say we’re all better off if it ends, but I know that I would most definitely not be better off. I have to believe that they won’t be either. I’m taking an indefinite hiatus from music to focus on my family, to repair the damage, and heal the pain I’ve caused. It’s not going to be an easy fix. It’s going to take time to rebuild. It’s going to require my entire focus.

I know I’m exposing myself to ridicule and slander by sharing this piece of my private life so publicly. But there are people who are going to concoct their own stories regardless—they’ve been doing it since the beginning—so I might as well put the truth out there for those who are willing to pay attention. There is no sordid affair, no substance abuse, no gambling debt, no domestic violence. There is nothing exciting or scandalous about any of it.

It’s one man’s selfish stupidity finally biting him in the ass.

And because I know the commentary is coming, if this is published on a public forum, my wife and son have read and approved every word written here.

Hiatus is like a four-letter word in this business. It’s often the nail in the coffin for so many careers. I don’t know what it means for my future in music. I don’t plan to be gone forever, but if it comes to that, so be it. Music is vital to my life, but if having a long-lasting career means losing my family because of it—I would chose my family in a heartbeat every single time.

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. I can’t even guarantee I’ll be back. But until the time comes that I know for sure…

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for your support.

Thank you for everything.

I will [hopefully] see you on the other side.


Over and under…

Writing is hard.

I’m still in a bit of recovery mode after my mental meltdown over one single writing project.

And while we’ve had a few moments of mild reprieve from gross summer weather, I’m still feeling the effects of SAD. Though I do have a little bit more of a handle on the anxiety that has been all-consuming now that I know where it’s been coming from.

Getting back to writing after an inadvertent break feels a bit like floundering. I’ve spent a lot of time staring at my writing folder trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with myself. I’ve spent just as much time staring at a blinking cursor in WordPress. I’ve started and deleted a dozen posts, trying to cobble words together into something resembling coherence. I’ve tried writing about something other than writing, but everything comes out wrong.

It happens.

It’s nothing new.

Things go in cycles, though I can’t tell if there is a definitive pattern to it all or not.

Basil is still on his Whatif??? crusade, but believe it or not, some of those whatifs actually involve characters other than Tyler. Miracles never cease, I guess. I’ve been writing things, and some of it is okay, but it’s not quite what I want to be writing. I have ideas, but they’re stuck inside my head, trapped behind some sort of unidentifiable barrier I can’t quite figure out how to break through.

It’s frustrating at best and infuriating at worst, but all I can really do is ride it out until it passes.

In the meantime, I poke at existing stories, write what I can, and read through the stuff that reminds me why I do this in the first place.

Also, listen to music on repeat.


(I Go Through by O.A.R.)

I love this band so damn much.

The usual session…

If we’re being perfectly honest, I’ve been a colossal train wreck lately.

No, no—more than usual.

I’ve been struggling with some bad anxiety, which drives the depression to serious lows, which fuels the anxiety, which drives the depression, which…you get it.

There are things that are easy to identify in terms of what’s causing the issues, but they are not the only things. And while Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a pretty safe assumption when I can’t explain why I feel the way I do, I know in my gut that there is more to it.

I’ve been dealing with this shit for over thirty years at this point.

I know when there’s more to it.

I just don’t always know what that more might be.

I don’t know where exactly my thought process was going—I get lost so easily in there—but a combination of things tipped me off today.

Our last electric bill was ridiculous. Which means we’ve been running the A/C constantly. Which means the weather has been constant misery. We live in a townhouse surrounded by neighbors on three sides. This works to our advantage with heat in the winter, but in the summer, not so much. We only have three windows that open and they’re all west-facing. This is a miserable position in the summer. When temperatures reach 80 and humidity gets above 50%, there’s no being comfortable in this place. So air conditioning 24/7 it is.

We usually get a nice summer cold-snap with temperatures in the high sixties or low seventies with low humidity (open windows! hoodies!). It’ll last a few days and give some much needed reprieve. But we’re approaching the middle of August and we haven’t had that yet. The weather has been consistently above eighty. The humidity has been consistently above 50%. It’s forecasted to stay that way for at least another two weeks.

Looking at the weather report causes me irrational levels of irritation over the numbers and I just want to start breaking shit.

Or just start crying.

I usually just start crying.

I wish I was kidding.

I’ve written about this before. If I’m at all prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s not in the winter, it’s in the summer. And while the thought hadn’t crossed my mind for awhile, I had a light bulb moment today when I realized that SAD is likely a significant contributing factor to my colossal train wreck status as of late.

Especially when I read the line The condition in summer can include heightened anxiety.

It doesn’t provide an explanation for everything going on with my mental health as of late.

But it does explain A LOT.

And while I don’t have a lot of effective solutions for dealing with it right now, just knowing what it is helps immensely.

We’ve made it to August. We’re approaching mid-month. Soon it will be September. Soon the temperatures will drop. Soon the windows will be open. Soon nature will die and so will the allergies. Soon it will be winter and we’ll have a whole new whine-fest on our hands.


September is 23 days away.

I’m looking forward to it for more than just the weather…
…vacation days
…our anniversary
…new music
live music

In the meantime, I’ll muddle my way through somehow.

I will survive.

I always do.

The heart don’t listen…

…to words of wisdom
I could never get myself to understand…

I am in an extremely fortunate and privileged position in that I don’t have to work. (Not that my mental state is really in any condition to, but that’s a whole other discussion.) Bob has a good job that provides us with a comfortable income. We can pay our bills, save money, and budget for the things we want. He is okay with me not having a job. To certain degrees, he prefers it that way because he knows me. I struggle a lot (a-fucking-lot) with feeling like a leech and being completely useless, but again, a whole other discussion.

I have an opportunity to focus fully on the one thing I know I want to do with my life.


I don’t have any aspirations to publish anything—aside from here—but maybe someday if I ever finish something I don’t hate, that plan may change. I really don’t see that, but stranger things have happened. (I met a boy on the internet and married him, after all.)


Writing is hard.

This isn’t some brand new epiphany I’m having over here, but sometimes it slams home a little stronger than others.

For the last…lengthy frame of time…I don’t remember when I really started it…I’ve been making a more deliberate effort to write every day. And by that I mean, sitting down and actually focusing on writing while attempting to avoid other distractions. (see: the internet) It feels like I’m rarely very successful, but I think I have made marginal change.

In my efforts to write more I also decided to make an effort to focus on one project instead of juggling the eight…ish different ones I had been spreading myself over for too long. And I did that…to a certain extent. I did allow myself ventures into other folders when ideas struck or words stalled, but for the most part I was focusing on just one story.

I did get some decent writing done. But spending so much time on it made me realize how many things were wrong with it. And I had no idea how to fix it. I spent a lot of time beating my head against the wall trying to figure things out, and ended up getting incredibly frustrated and burnt out.

That last tweet is supposed to say then Bob but instead it says the Bob, but really he is THE Bob, so it still works, even with the typo.

I’ve been talking to Bob a lot about all my writing woes and the issues with the project I’ve been working on, trying to sort out what I need to do with all of it. The conversation that followed that series of whiny tweets knocked me on my ass.

Maybe I need to just be done with that project.
Be done with trying to fix it.
Put it to rest and let it stay there.

To say I was bordering on a panic attack would be an understatement.

To my recollection, I have never actively stopped working on a story. Yes, I have quit working on countless projects, but it has always happened gradually, fizzling over a long period of time as the inspiration sputtered out and other stories took over. I have never made the conscious decision to just stop.

Facing that decision literally brought me to tears.

It scared the absolute shit out of me.

Bob reminded me that is OKAY to fail. It doesn’t make it suck any less, but it’s okay.

Being the natural problem solver that he is, he made a number of suggestions to help me with my problem, and one of them made me panic even more than just stopping one story.

A writing cleanse.
No writing at all for a week.
Actively stop thinking about it.
Focus on something else entirely.

The very idea of stopping one story made me cry.

I couldn’t even breathe at the thought of not writing at all.

When the writing is in short supply, the mental health takes a tragic hit.

How could I survive not writing on purpose?

And then…without even realizing I was doing it…I took a break…

Sort of.

I didn’t make the conscious decision to take a break. I just…did. I opened Word. I opened files. I stared at them. But I didn’t write anything. I did read through some things. I spent a hell of a lot of time thinking about all of it. I even found another story in the archives to shoehorn ∞Tyler into. I didn’t write anything on it, but I spent plenty of time brainstorming it.

It wasn’t exactly a cleanse.
It wasn’t even a full week.
But it was far more than I was open to trying, even if it wasn’t entirely on purpose.

It was absolutely miserable.
It was a really shitty four days.
I cried a lot.
(Though that has also been heavily influenced by the horrific state of the world as of late.)

By Friday night I was in such a bad place. Bob and I spent several hours talking through it while I cried even more. (It wasn’t just writing at that point. There’s other shit tormenting me too.) We didn’t find much resolution, but unloading helped immensely. Snotty, weepy pillow talk can be incredibly cathartic all on its own.

Have I mentioned lately that my husband is fucking fantastic?

Because he is.

I don’t have a damn clue how, but I really did hit the jackpot with him.

Maybe if I had done a true cleanse things would have been less miserable, but I don’t know. Past experiences have me inclined to believe it would have been just as bad or even worse. I’ve gone long stretches without writing. Those were miserable times I don’t care to revisit on purpose.

At the time Bob and I were having the initial maybe it’s time to stop conversation, I had music playing—as I do. (Nine Days on repeat.) Somewhere during that, the song Star started playing—the life and struggle of a musician trying to make a career out of the trade. Not exactly something I can relate to, but a line stood out that so perfectly fit my mindset at that moment (and in general) and caught me completely off guard.

But if I give up I’m afraid I’ll disappear…

If I don’t have writing, what do I have? Putting all my eggs in one basket isn’t the smartest move, but I really like that fucking basket and it’s the only one I have. Writing is such a significant part of who I am. It has been my one true passion since I was twelve years old.

The ridiculous thing about all of this is it’s really JUST ONE STORY.

Nobody told me I can’t write anymore.
Nobody told me I have to give it all up.
It was just a suggestion to put ONE project to rest and stop torturing myself with it.

But this is how my brain works.
One little thing goes wrong and suddenly everything is in CRISIS MODE.
I KNOW it’s ridiculous.
I KNOW it’s anxiety being a royal dick.


But there’s very little I can do to control it. It’s incredibly frustrating and absolutely exhausting.

So I cry.
I unload my woes on my saint of a husband.
I wrap up in blankets and cuddle my stuffed animals.
I listen to the same music on repeat.

I will survive.
This will pass.
Things will get better.

I’ll sit down in front of my computer and write.

I don’t know which story it will be, but I will love it and hate it and fight with it and obsess over it and things will be okay.

It’s a reminder I need far too often.

Things will be okay.

(Star … Nine Days)

Lean in for a sweet ride…

I have eight-thousand-some-odd tracks in my iTunes library. And I have a few hundred CDs that have never been ripped to digital form. (When I condensed all of our physical media into a smaller space, I realized just how many albums I have that are not on my computer. It would take days to rip all of them.) And I’m always on the prowl for more.




Even so, I have a habit of listening to the same handful of artists over and over again. It’s kind of ridiculous.

And by “kind of” I mean EXTREMELY.

When I actually venture outside of my ad nauseam collection I often find myself wondering why I don’t listen to a given artist more often. There are some that just sound so damn good, but I keep falling back into the old familiar.

Nine Days is one of those bands. They’ve been on my radar since they hit with Absolutely (Story of a Girl) way back in 2000. It took me until I was up to my eyeballs in iTunes to finally add them to my library, and eventually add in the rest of their catalog. They put out a crowd-funded album in 2013 and they’ve been lingering on the outskirts of my music consciousness ever since.

They just put out a new album last week. Complete with a Sweet Sixteen version of Absolutely. And as I listen to it over and over again, I find myself wondering why don’t I listen to these guys more often?

They are So. Damn. Good.

While their last album had a little more country twang to it, this one returns to the more alternative sound of previous ventures. There’s still a little twang here and there, but overall it’s still the Nine Days sound.

Obsolete makes me feel kind of old as it calls out outdated technology that I once made heavy use of.

Snapshots is fitting to the modern age and the always-connected aspects of life, reminding one to stop and actually experience a moment instead of just recording it for posterity.

Conspiracy probably amuses me far more than it should as it mentions D.B. Cooper just as the FBI announced they’ve put the unsolved mystery to rest after four decades.

The whole album is solid start to finish. John and Brian split pretty evenly on vocals and they create some pretty fantastic sounds.

It’s damn good.

That’s really all I can say.

Another perfect lie…

Conversations in Geek Love: You couldn’t have told me that nine years ago?

R: Can I park there? What does that sign say?

S:Patients with children parking only.”

R: Oh fine then. Whatever.

S: If I have a kid, but don’t have them with me, can I still park there? Technically I’m a patient with a child.

R: I think you need to have the kid with you.

S: Whatever. Just because I don’t have them with me, doesn’t mean I don’t have them.

R: Wait—is there something you need to tell me?

S: I said “what if I have a kid.”

R: I didn’t hear any “what if.”

S: Honey, I need to tell you something. Tyler isn’t a fictional character. He’s real. I actually have a fifteen year old kid.

R: You have a kid you never told me about!?

S: All those storylines about Tyler are just an elaborate way to confess I’ve been hiding my kid the entire time I’ve known you.

R: Oh whatever.

Don’t wanna mess this up…

Sometimes I find myself falling into the abyss of reading old blog posts. I’ll go to look for something I wrote and suddenly it’s six pages of posts later. And in the process I usually completely forget what I was originally looking for in the first place.

Par for the course.

Most interesting to me are the posts about writing.

A lot of my writing about writing is pretty much just me talking my way through (thinking out loud, in a sense) whatever project is currently eating my brain. I reread posts so many times before I actually publish them, by the time I finally hit that button, it’s all just a blur of letters that may or may not spell actual words. The surprising thing is—things I’m pretty sure are just absolute shit are actually a lot more coherent than I originally thought. Not all of it. But far more than I expected.

What makes me wonder, is how much sense does any of it make to some random stranger who happens to read this stuff. (Though I can count on one hand the number of people who visit this place and I don’t need all my fingers.) (I am okay with this.)

It all makes sense to me…to a degree. Sometimes I read things and have no flipping clue WTAF I was talking about, but I’m sure it made sense—in some bass-ackwards sort of way—at the time. But since I know all the details of whatever story I’m rambling aimlessly about, I don’t always see what does and does not make sense from an outside perspective.

If it comes off as absolutely incoherent drivel, that’s fine. I write for myself here. If other people choose to read it—hey, I appreciate it, but I won’t be offended if you run screaming and never come back. If I had any aspirations to be social with people, I might seek out actual feedback from kids who are not wholly familiar with my demented little brain.

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

Guess it’ll just remain a mystery.

The past six months (Already??? WTF???) worth of writing can pretty much be summed up in two tweets.

(The fixating is a whole lot more than just writing, but right now we’re just talking about writing.)

I started a story dubbed Lightning. Why Lightning? Your guess is as good as mine. It was a mix of old ideas from various projects and some new[er] inspiration from a few different sources. It took some finagling of the character names, but I was mostly content with the way things were playing out in the early pages.

And then BASIL showed up and initiated an avalanche of Whatif??? and Tyler to the Infinite Power.

Because he’s an asshole.

Scout was intended to be just a pile of Scenes Without Stories, providing me with an outlet to purge some of the crazy rolling around in my head. It’s since been reworked into something entirely different, that may or may not actually make a complete story. The reworking probably belongs under its own code name but…ehh…logic.

Haven (versions 2 & 3) spawned after I started looking at an idea I’d recently stuffed in the Stalled folder. (Code name Haven, in case it wasn’t obvious.) It was short lived on both versions as something wasn’t quite meshing with the [new] characters. Which was fine because a certain creature shoved a wrench in my face in the form of a Train song.

Lightning v2.0 kept a few elements from Haven, but shifted in an entirely different direction with the core characters. Why I named it Lightning 2.0 is a mystery (though it’s slightly more fitting to this story than the first) but I haven’t come up with a different code name for either version so…it stays.

Next Gen is a little muddy how it was spawned. I can’t pinpoint anything specific, but there were pieces that I really liked so it grew rapidly into a full-fledged storyline. And aside from the characters, there’s not really much for overlap with other stories, which may or may not have everything to do with why progress has been very slow on this one.

Trust Fund v2.0 came up while digging around in the Stalled folder in a bout of writer’s block and frustration. I started mulling over the original story and a plot point that I had considered in the beginning, but ended up cutting out. I put that piece back in and it ended up changing the entire story considerably, giving it a level of substance it didn’t have before.

Pictures stemmed from a separate trip into the Stalled folder, pulling pieces from other ideas that warranted revisiting. Certain parts make it largely similar to Lightning v1.0 with a role reversal, but digging deeper into the story, it’s different enough to keep both.

Fleet is just an outlet to purge the crazy from my bad-addled brain. It’s not meant to be a complete story. It’s just a series of conversations between characters that don’t fit in anywhere else. Writing this kind of stuff is surprisingly effective in clearing the murky waters Basil stirs up when he’s on a rampage.

Every single one of these “stories” falls under the Stephen Tyler marker because every single one of them revolves around a group of characters that can be largely interchangeable from story to story. It’s repetitive and confusing and I’m okay with that. The circumstances vary from story to story (mostly) but the core characters all largely stem from the same inspiration point. This is how my brain works. I’ve stopped trying to figure it out. If I just go with it, things eventually fall into place in a way I can actually work with.

I’ve been beating my head against the wall over all of these ventures, knowing that if I’m going to have any success at all, I NEED to focus on just ONE AT A TIME. Balancing all of these attempts simultaneously is never going to work no matter how hard Basil tries to convince me otherwise. Some of them belong in ye olde Stalled folder, but they’re staying put just to keep all of the inanity of Stephen Tyler together.

The other night Bob and I spent a good chunk of time talking through all of this stuff. He challenged me to summarize each story and tell what I liked and didn’t like about each one. We do things like this every so often, especially when I’m spinning my wheels at the bottom of a hill. He’ll be the first to admit he really doesn’t know anything about writing, but hearing the details of a story as a potential reader, he asks a lot of questions and gives me some perspective I have a hard time seeing as the writer who knows all the useless and dirty details. I had to keep clarifying which version of Tyler I was talking about (because seriously) but when all was said and done, he gave his opinion on which story I should focus on, and when I step back and look at them all from a distance, I think he’s right.

Doesn’t mean I won’t still keep stabbing at all the others when the inspiration strikes, or the blocks interfere. But my primary focus needs to be on ONE.

So Lightning v1.0 it is.

Makes sense.

Things unseen…


Here’s the thing about life:

It happens.

Sometimes a whole lot of it happens all at once and leaves your mind spinning.

When life happens, I feel compelled to write about it. I’m a writer and writing about life comes with the territory. It helps me work through the convoluted mess that is my brain. It helps me remember when things happened. But the problem I often run into is that there are certain things that I want to do justice when I write about them. I want to be coherent and detailed. So I start planning and plotting, and that leads to over-thinking, and then I get overwhelmed, and then suddenly it’s months later, and WTAF how is it the end of April already?



In abbreviated bullet form. Because if I try anything else, it’s not going to get done. And I need to get this done for my own sanity.

1.) Bob got a new job. He wasn’t looking for one, but an opportunity presented itself and he decided to pursue it. He’d reached a dead end for growth at his previous job and this new one has plenty of growth potential. It’s a similar position with a somewhat similar company, but a very different environment, and so far a much better fit for what he wants out of his place of work. There are a multitude of pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons, and even after the first week he was noticeably less stressed and run down. It’s been a full month now and so far, so good.

2.) My grandma died. She was 99—six months shy of her 100th birthday. She had seven kids, eighteen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She’d been on the decline for a few months and her mind was mostly gone. My mom called me on a Sunday afternoon to tell me it was coming and by Tuesday she was gone. The funeral was on a Saturday and we had beautiful, sunny, warm weather (In February! In Minnesota!) for being outside at a cemetery. The fresh air and sunshine were a great relief after a full Catholic service OY. Now Bob and I no longer have any surviving grandparents. And that really sucks.

3.) When I went for my annual physical, we discussed my allergy issue with raw produce and my chronic sinus inflammation. I got a referral to an allergy doctor and tested positive for eighteen out of thirty-nine common allergens. I am allergic to cats (no surprise, cat exposure = week-long recovery), dogs (!? that’s news to me), dust (and we have the dustiest house ever), and all things nature (ragweed, grass, trees, oh my!). I got validation on an Oral Allergy Syndrome diagnosis (it has NOTHING to do with eating organic) and was told DO NOT eat raw fruits and vegetables. I also tested positive for nut allergies and that’s an automatic EPI-PEN. And fun story—insurance does not cover an EPI-PEN, it’s $537, there is no generic, and it expires after a year. While I’ve never had a severe reaction to nuts (just the oral allergy issue), I’m still at risk for a life-threatening reaction. So either I spend a large sum of money on something I’ll likely never use (and throw it out when it expires) or I save the money and risk an unexpected reaction and be completely unprepared for it. (Either way, it’s still a trip to the emergency room.)

4.) I have more appointments that need to be made in the never-ending marathon of figuring-shit-out, and that involves making phone calls, and panic attacks over trivial bullshit like picking up the phone fucking suck. Panic attacks, in general, fucking suck.

5.) There is no shortage of family-related drama because toxic people are incredibly difficult to get rid of.

6.) The A/C in my car is dead and that’s a repair bill I don’t care to see. But warm weather is on the way, and a car with black interior is pretty much a one-way ticket to heat stroke for someone who gets overheated pretty much daily in the shower. God. Dammit. Joel.

7.) Writing is kicking my ass and as I’ve talked about ad nauseam—when the writing isn’t happening, everything else in my bad-addled brain goes to shit.

8.) We spent $537 on the damn EPI-PEN.