Back and Forth

avengers-endgame-trailer-poste-720x405I saw ENDGAME, the fourth AVENGERS movie today [Note: two weeks ago]. One of its main themes is reality — mine, yours, theirs, ours. What actions and events of the past have shaped the reality, the truth we perceive today. It got me thinking about my own reality in that regard. What did I do decades ago that helped shape what’s happening now? What DIDN’T I do decades ago that has helped create what’s NOT happening now?

For months now, since perhaps late last summer I’ve been in this hyper-reflective mode, looking back and examining my past, looking for justifiable actions and inexcusable inaction. Earlier this year I’d told a few people that I was perhaps experiencing a midlife crisis of some sort. After all I have officially entered middle-age. This is normal, right? The nostalgia? The reflection? The past glories. Hell, even the rose-colored glasses, right? It’s all natural for persons of a certain age.

I tend to be obsessed with the relativity and connection of things and people, so I’m no stranger to being accused of obsessing with the past, but you see the past is akin to sports statistics: it, like statistics, is a record of actual events. So like runes you study it to assess the present with some hope of forecasting the future.

Today is merely yesterday’s tomorrow.

Another major theme of AVENGERS: ENDGAME was time-travel — going back into certain epochs of time to steal something of that time to help fix or course-correct current and future time. A lot of us are fond of saying: if I could go back in time I would change some things. Not everything. But maybe a few things, here or there, to help affect this or that. I feel that way quite often anymore. My purpose of doing so is completely for additive reasons, though. But of course to add is also to subtract because the actions are different sides of the mathematical coin. So there are rules to this, right? Laws that are inarguable and unavoidable.

That said, it doesn’t stop one from wanting to do it anyway. Lately I’ve regretted things I didn’t do more than things I did do. But, again, there is that duality of two opposite things being the same token, just different sides of it — a matter of perspective, ultimately. Inaction is effectively an action of doing nothing, of standing pat, remaining inert, etc. My choice not do something is still having done something. It’s just that in most cases my choices were wrong. I should have done this or that, instead of that or this.


The Quotable Me

A creative mind never sleeps.  A creative soul is forever restless. – BLR, 5/13/15

Art is about bringing together disparate souls that would otherwise not ever come in contact with one another. It is in that instance that we all become a little less alone. – BLR, 7/28/2015

. . . the arts are a great coping tool for the many things that ail us. Art can be good for daily stress, mental health, exorcising personal demons, enlightening oneself on life and helping us better understand the world and understanding our place within it. – BLR, 11/20/18

Sometimes love comes at a price too great for one’s emotional bank account. — BLR, 11/22/2018

The sleeting view outside my office window.


Reading ORIGIN for My Late Uncle

My eldest uncle – my Uncle David – who was five siblings ahead of my mother, was an avid reader of books just as I am. When he passed away from cancer earlier this year in the late Spring, he bequeathed his book collection to me, his favorite nephew. I had to buy a new bookshelf to accommodate the considerable intake. The man LOVED to cook (and eat, of course) so there were a large number of cookbooks that I didn’t really have any use for, as well as some other nonfiction, very little of which I had any interest in, but there were plenty of novels, some older obscure stuff, but mostly mainstream bestselling author stuff like Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and Jonathan Kellerman, among others.

While sick-and-dying in hospice care, yet hardly succumbing to death because he was too stubborn for that nonsense of going away quietly without a fight (if you knew the character my Uncle David was then you would know he gave Death all kinds of shit just BECAUSE!), he had been reading one of his newest book acquisitions, one with a catching cover you see because it was blue, my favorite color. The book was ORIGIN by bestselling author Dan Brown (yes, the DA VINCI CODE dude).

I recently pulled the book from my shelf and discovered that he had the novel bookmarked where he had left off on page 388 (of 461). I didn’t necessarily have any interest in reading the book anytime soon. However, an idea came to me, one that would be a specific way I could personally honor my beloved late uncle and that was quite simply the fact that I could finish reading the book for him. Don’t even start the book from page 1, rather just jump in cold at page 388 where he left off and read (and hopefully enjoy) the rest of it it for him.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Before year’s end. Maybe I’ll even be able to make some sense of it with roughly only 70 pages left.


Now That NaNoWriMo is Over . . .

Now that NaNoWriMo 2018 is over I can pretty much relax in the month of December. Some things I put on hold I can now dive back into again, first of which is a lot of reading. I bought all kinds of books in October, checked out a few at the library in November and I have a huge stack of backlogged comics and graphic novels to get back to. I’m also in the works of building several music playlists on Spotify to share with the world as I get back to being the little kid DJ I wanted to be at age 8 (before I discovered MTV and wanted to be a musician myself). I think the gift of music is one of the greatest things in the world and sharing music gives me a ton of joy. Speaking of music, I did find myself adopting an acoustic state of mind and grabbing my acoustic guitars for a few spells during November. I’m tempted to resume songwriting for yet another solo acoustic project, but I dunno, we’ll see. I should also start uploading music from the vault to the new online music platform I’ve discovered. Deal with my musical past before moving on to my musical future. Lots to do as always. And I’ll get back into a writing groove in January, which is pretty much a New Year’s tradition for me.

So . . . NaNoWriMo 2018 — how did I do and what did I learn? Well, I did about 25k words, a little over half the goal (the stats below pretty much say I half-assed it, haha). Short of the overall mark, sure, but not a failure because in prior years I didn’t even manage 7000 words, so this was quite the achievement, I think. As for what I learned from the experience? I learned to just . . . let go. Finally. Turn off, hell, FIRE that inner editor and just do a word vomit onto the blank page continuously with no looking back. Basically pants it, which I haven’t done in a very long, long time. Probably not since year 5 or so of my years of writing and I’ve been writing prose since 1993, more seriously since 1999 probably, when I got more serious about the craft, which ironically probably killed that free-spirited writer in me and I became more self-conscious and overly self-aware. I was starting to write to impress rather than write just because I was compelled to. Writers’ workshops and a few stints as a story editor made me even more hyper-aware of story and writing craft, but also greatly diminished my productivity due to my developing an obsessive-compulsive approach to my craft. NaNoWriMo’s ultimate purpose, aside from inspiring novelists to produce novels, is to ultimately inspire writers to LET GO AND BE FREE IN THEIR WRITING. Prior to this year, that was a nigh-impossible thing for me to do. And even though this year’s NaNo was a giant step in the right direction, I’m still a recovering self-editing freak. My therapy continues. I’m looking forward to NaNoWriMo 2019. Maybe I’ll really take a risk and start a completely all-new, spontaneous, unplanned novel project for that one. Ha!

Brandon L. Rucker’s NaNoWriMo Final Report

Target Word Count
Target Average Words Per Day
Your Average Per Day
Total Words Written
Words Remaining
At This Rate You Will Finish On
December 30, 2018
Lifetime Achievement: Total NaNo Word Count