Dead space and dying stars

I started this blog as a lament of how badly I’m performing as a writer, but about a quarter of the way through the original draft, I got inspired and banged out a “Millennium Men” story.

So I guess I’ll post the first draft, as-yet untitled. Note that I haven’t read it over yet and won’t for probably another few days.

Meanwhile, I really have been failing as a writer. Just not failing as hard as I usually do.

For one, I’ve been totally uninspired by the “Wrath of the Damned” Twitter account. Something about where we ended up just doesn’t do it for me. I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.

UPDATE: Actually, about a quarter of the way through this second draft of this blog, I started work on the “Wrath” twitter again. Laziness is preventing me from starting over for a third draft. So just deal with it.

Anyway. So I was feeling bad about creation lately. I still feel like I need to be doing more, and spending less time doing things like watching the new “Battlestar Galactica” blu-ray set. And even though I have gotten some new stuff going lately, it doesn’t make me feel any better about what I’m doing. The general feeling that something is wrong persists.

Basically, it’s been a painful couple of weeks in the creativity department.

My thoughts on friendship have been spiraling, which puts kinks in projects like “Millennium Men.” A group of 10 of us spent four days camping in West Virginia, along with white water rafting, and the experience was illuminating, hilarious, and troubling.

I was disappointed to learn new things about my friend Matt in particular. Matt when drunk can be an unpredictable person, but there were some serious falling-out moments that took place during the trip. He managed to alienate most everyone there.

Things are a bit strained because of these developments, but whatever. I haven’t spoken with anyone who was on the trip with me in about a week except for Nick. No one else has made much of an effort in my direction and I’m okay with taking a little space from them. But the whole situation harkens back to the idea that my friends and I are largely pulling in different directions. We might be outgrowing one another.

That kinks things up for me when I’m trying to write a novel about friendship and camaraderie when I don’t actually feel a lot of that. I guess partially that’s the point.

Anyway. The light of a few friendships might be dimming. What’s weirder is my lack of real problem with the development. A lot of it feels inevitable.

Some of it feels necessary.

The old complex I used to have about losing people is almost entirely gone. I feel like my life is streamlining down to a handful of people I really care about. Shedding skin, losing vestigial relationships, filling dead space with things that really matter.

I lost myself in another city five hours away. The guy that returned from Chicago isn’t the same one that started out there.

That’s for the better in all cases. Specifically, the maintenance of life I used to do no longer satisfies me, if it ever did. That applies to people too. Only the most important people in my life, I’m finding, deserve my time and effort.

That’ll do. Maybe next time I’ll post an outline.

Oh, that’s right. I’m writing an outline for “Millennium Men.” That’s significant because I never do that. Starting to get serious about the business of writing.

Published by Phil

He's like, you know, the guy.

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  1. This is in no way a defense of Matt, as I feel his pointed outburst is a much different thing than the gradual slinking away of friendships, but I don't know if I can agree with your assessment here.

    It's all about priorities. 100%. When people graduate college, they (eventually) have to make money in order to support themselves. Some have dreams tied up in this decision, which can lead to people moving, spending more time working, and in general spending more time away from friends. It's not like in high school where our top priority was to have fun with friends, with very little standing in the way. Even school and sports and other extracurriculars put us in situations with friends. College was much the same, but our focus was more on education, and our physical distance apart was greater. But the relative proximity and freedom of time allowed us to still see one another and party. Now people are working more, free less, and are ever so surely moving apart (physically) to align themselves with their dreams, desires, and sometimes their flatout need to work.

    At least from where I'm standing. Though there are of course conflicts of work and distance, I can't imagine that if I still lived in metro detroit I would see you all as little as the rest of you seem to. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. But then again, I suppose I left, so that too says something about my priorities.

    The biggest factor is women. You're in a situation now where you spend almost all of your time with Caitlin. But if she weren't there, who would you spend time with? Probably your friends. Same goes for Taeh, Dan, and Richard. Oh wait. Richard has never touched a girl.

    Any way, point is, ultimately, that friendships shouldn't be about how much time you spend with that person. To me the definition of a (close/real/good) friend is one that doesn't need to be in constant contact. And when you are, when you're together again, you still speak the same language. Or at least, remember the language that you and that friend speak. Dan and I never talk. Ever. But when we see each other it's like nothing's changed. I don't think either one of us need the satisfaction of regular contact to know that we'll be friends for a very long time.

    I used to grow up wondering why nobody's parents had any friends (except for family and the parents of my friends, really). The answer is: they get jobs. They get married. And that sucks to me. I don't see why they're mutually exclusive. Maybe I'm just blind and my friends really aren't my friends, but I'll be damned if I don't go white water rafting again with you guys in 30 years.

  2. ^ This!

    A few comments on the comments:
    1) Dan never talks to anyone that's not directly in front of him. Ever! In fact, if you call him, and he happens to be busy (but sees that you called) 75% of the time he won't call you back. I've asked why, but he's never given me a good reason. (He answers most questions with some variant on "meh") I'm not saying everyone should try harder for him because he is such a speshul snowflake. Just pointing out.

    2) I wasn't on the trip, I heard about it through Dan, and I've heard how Dan felt about it. I think some things were said that might be forgiven… but not really forgotten, and I'm relatively certain they'll affect the relationship for quite awhile. Just because Dan looks ok on the outside doesn't mean he thinks everything is fine. He's one of the people who just suddenly snaps and no one sees it coming.

    3) I think there must be something about the area that trends toward parents not having any time for friends. In my parents' case, they work long, thankless hours at jobs they dislike, and it leaves them brain-dead when they come home. They don't have the energy for friends. They barely have the energy it takes to stay awake to watch TV. So I guess the key to having friends and a life after employment is to get a job that you enjoy. (Good luck, right?) At the same time… parents might not have friends because their spouse and kids have become their favorite people, or something. I'm one of those people who can't handle too many friendships (I end up feeling like I can't invest enough time in people if there are too many; like I'm spread too thin or something), so that could explain SOME people, at least…

    4) Being friends should happen organically – if it's taking too much effort (which is subjective, but you'll know when you hit that point), then it's probably time to quietly distance yourself… it probably won't even be conscious. You'll just suddenly realize you haven't seen or spoken to X in forever. It happens. At the same time, I admire you guys for trying as hard as you have. (I regularly prod Dan to initiate things, because he complains of distance sometimes too… yet does nothing about it *boggle*) More things like the rafting trip (perhaps sans-drama next time… ^_^;;) would be an awesome thing. If I get my way and we move where I want to move, you're all welcome to stay with us. (Perhaps not all at the same time though… lots of people in a small space!)

    5) It's fine to want a life you build to include a person, but make sure they are on board (Which you have… just saying). I always have a hard time expressing how I feel about things like that, so my family ends up thinking I'm too dependent and am sacrificing my own life for someone else's, which really isn't the case. Perhaps in the future I'll just hold up a print off of this post and point at it. :p

    In summary: TL; DR

  3. Agreed.
    1) Yeah, it's always been this way with Dan. But it works. An example of it not working is Richard, who has allowed his introversion to excommunicate him from the group. Dan would never do that; he wants to be there, always.
    2) Clinton and I talked about this at length last night. But…I'm going to keep this subject off the blogosphere.
    3) Yeah, I understand that perspective. I think where things get dicey is the idea of "effort." There are two different kinds, I feel. On one hand, you have to make an effort. But on the other hand, it shouldn't feel like "effort." Does that make sense? It should just be you being friends. I guess if I called Dan all the time (for example) and he never wanted to talk and never called me back, that would be one thing. But even that shows a lack of understanding from one or more parties. We know we're friends and we know what it takes to maintain it. There's no question about it.
    4) Guess that's pretty much what I just said. I like the use of the term "organically."
    5) That balance is all subjective, I suppose. Amanda and I love spending time with one another, but also appreciate time on our own. I love her friends, but don't always need to be there. Each couple finds this on their own. But I know that no matter what happens in my life, my friends will be there (in some capacity, at least), and vice versa. That's something I'll never take for granted.

  4. This seems like it probably came off as harsher than it was. I just meant that the events in W.Va. changed my thinking on a few things.

    For one, the whole thing with Matt was more of an issue because of what it represented. Disappointed is the key term for what I felt. I'm not still mad at him. But I also feel like his outburst colors what I thought I knew about the kid. Dan said something about how there are aspects of the things Matt always says to you (like money, looks, etc.) that you always thought he was just kidding about. That outburst made Dan wonder what the guy really thinks of us.

    We all get drunk and say stupid shit to one another. All I was mentioning was that it twisted the picture a bit.

    Anyway, my point overall was just that my perceptions of a lot of things and a lot of relationships have been changing lately just because of the fact that my life recently realigned in a completely new fashion. I had a similar experience in Mount Pleasant this weekend. Sometimes I wonder, like with Matt's outburst, just where we all fall in relationship to each other. It's like I stepped up on a big rock and now I'm getting a new viewpoint on my life.

    But the post was just about how that's coloring my writing, and how thinking about some of that stuff recently gave me some irritating writer's block. I actually struggled to write that post for a long time because I couldn't rightly put it together. When I finally did finish it, all the issues I was trying to exorcise by writing it were already resolved and I already feel better about everything. It was just that some time needed to pass and I needed to write down the fact that I feel like a lot of stuff is all changing at once.

    Anyway. Hope that clarifies things a bit because I'm not that negative.

  5. I didn't think you were being negative. And venting always helps me; I get that, too. I'm glad writing it down helped you suss it out.

    I know what you mean about a new perspective… Although a lot of the times I get up on my proverbial rock for a new viewpoint I don't like what I see. I hope you saw things you were glad for.

    All this talk makes me think there should be some kind of hanging-out happening this weekend. Make it so. (…Number 1. /nerd) Call me/Dan (as we function as one unit. :p) if we don't call you first.

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