kaizen

I know how it looks. I’ve spent almost all the extra effort I put into writing that got me way ahead of where I wanted to be. Part of that is in the design.

I’m a big believer in kaizen, big changes wrought by a series of seemingly innocuous and small changes. When I got back into writing, I wanted to build up my stamina. Three to four thousand words a day was killing me, so I thought – try a hundred. Just for a few days.

Then add a hundred. It only takes me maybe four or five minutes to do that, which is extremely manageable in a day. Add another five here, another five there and you build up stamina. It doesn’t seem like an imposition, to say, I’m setting aside two to three hours every day. Five minutes is easy. And it’s easy to blow past it if you’re in the zone and want to finish what you’re doing.

Now, I have it about thirty minutes, and while I’ve been slacking lately because of work and depression, I know it’s not an imposition. Thirty minutes for the thing I love doing? Easy. In any case, all my words that I got ahead by when it was all easy and low targets is almost gone and I’ll have to buckle down again if I want progress.

Expect that shortly, although… not today.

Target: 800 words
Written: 50 words, novella: The Mungk

look, i know

I know I’m being unproductive. I know I’m being a bitch.

It’s a realization I have to turn into motivation, and not crushing hopelessness.

Luckily, I’ve gotten far enough ahead on The Mungk that I’m still somehow ahead of the targets I set for myself.

Even had time to enjoy a cigarillo for reaching a milestone a few days ago. I almost forgot how much I like cigars. I love all the indulgences, and not even in excess anymore.

Lucky me.

Target: 800 words
Written: 152 words, novella: The Mungk

worries and doubt

I know this blog does little to market me. I don’t promote it, beyond having the link available on my social media profiles, and it’s not exactly engaging in the sense of providing value.

It might have some salacious interest, in the sense that anyone reading gets to understand the frustration of a struggling artist as he tries to discover his place in the world, whether the art he wants to create is viable and whether it’s actually possible to find a way to live with some sense of joy in this crazy world.

There’s a point I reach every time I sit down to really write, where I just want to chuck it all and start over, but that’s not the way the world works, is it?

We can’t just throw the baby out and start again. We have responsibilities. History.

We do not exist in a void – a fatal error I made in my youth before I learned to see past my own nose. Truth be told, that is still an issue at times, and only really became something I was able to move past in the last four or five years.

The Mungk was meant to embody the hopelessness I felt, the constant sense of impending doom, where everything seemed to get worse and worse and every action taken to make things better only drove me further into despair when they failed. Life, particularly in the last few years, has been a hell of an educator in that regard.

I am trying something different with future ideas. Ironically, one of these ideas is similar to The Mungk (and in fact, I have at least two more pending ideas that revolve around ethereal dark entities guiding us toward destruction in the works – based on hopelessness, appetites, addiction and depression, though certainly not so delineated as that).

However, unlike The Mungk, these later ideas have positive resolution. Three wins and one loss isn’t bad, right? Of course, I’m months, if not years, away from having time to tackle these.

Kindness plays a huge role in this, and while I’m a big advocate of kindness and compassion and understanding, actions are what matters there, and outside of family, I’m not sure I’ve lived up to that advocacy. Even inside family, at times.

My incompletion is forever a source of pain, but also a driving force. I’m not sure I could exist if I were already complete. Completeness, perfection – these things imply stasis. Fluidity, growth, retraction, change – these things give us movement, places to go, things to contemplate and discover. Omnipotence is boring. Static.

And static decays, always.

Going forward, I need to focus on kindness. On its theories and application, in philosophy and in reality. In words and action.

Still, I worry it’s not enough. I don’t need to take over the world; I just want my part of it to be better for having me in it – in actual fact, and not simply appearance.

I’m not certain I’m living up to that promise. I certainly haven’t during the last hundred-and-twenty-plus days of enduring misery while writing The Mungk. My goal over the next few months is to do better, to find that spark of potential and come to a better understanding.

And through my actions, maybe put a few of these doubts and worries to rest.

Target: 700 words
Written: 145 words, novella: The Mungk

forty-five

I don’t know why, but this birthday feels different. Perhaps it’s because I just went through one of the roughest periods of my life. Call it my Mungk phase, in which I learned most definitely what I did not want in my life.

It could also be my mother-in-law’s hospitalization. I’ve already had three grandparents die, but this is the first in the generation right before mine that’s gone. Everyone younger has been more tragic than fact-of-life aging.

I’m definitely feeling it. Still, I can’t claim no progress. I’m writing a novella. I had three things published – two short stories and a haiku. I wrote a one-shot comic that could be fun to draw (and it’s increasingly looking like I might need to do that myself, despite my lack of ability).

The process could be good. Find the pitfalls on my own so I can have a better rapport and understanding with future collaborators.

As I head into a new draft of The Mungk, having ideas for a four-issue crime comic, three more short stories (including one that strays into novelette territory) and another couple of poems, I’m actually a little proud, even if the work is a bit raw and I’m feeling less than inspired lately. I’ve read over forty books since I penned that first haiku back on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve read almost five hundred comics. Lost a pound. Built my meditation practice up to five whole minutes a day. Listened to almost a hundred and fifty albums. Learned forty new recipes.

I get it. It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s important to acknowledge even small steps forward. If The Mungk was about feeling all the bad things at once to understand how I don’t want to feel, the next one has to be about finding a way forward. Finding a few moments of kindness in the dark. Being nicer to myself, included.

Target: 700 words
Written: 1324 words, novella: The Mungk

running up that hill

No offense to Kate Bush. Good song, but I’m on a Nirvana kick. Matches my mood.

It’s taken a lot of strength to get up off the floor and keep moving this week, with this godawful workplace, my wife’s mother’s hospitalization, new floors being put in, a thousand different chores popping up at each moment…

Plus, I’m trying to write still. And read a little. I feel a little like Abel in Middlewest, tossed violently on the wind by circumstance and relentless emotion. Beautiful comic, FYI. Props to Skottie Young and Jorge Corona. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colours are fucking gorgeous. Buy it if you get a chance.

I love stuff that hits you right in the gut with bad feelings, and then does its best to pull you out. The Mungk doesn’t quite fit that concept, but maybe the next one will. A glimmer of light, in the dark.

Target: 700 words
Written: 498 words, novella: The Mungk