WHAT KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT(PART 2)

SHELOB

LIVING  MY WORST FEARS

Yesterday I spoke about some things that kept me awake at night, mostly commenting on story ideas, and my childhood fears. Today, I’d like to talk about some things that aren’t writing related, and  some things that really worry me as an adult.

One thing that really worries me, and has always done so, is my daughter. From the time she was born, she worried me. From having a  bluish color at birth, to being in intensive care for having a cleft palate, and unable to eat properly. When she was four, her mother and I divorced, and I worried that she wouldn’t raise her properly, due to her own disability. I joined The Fathers Rights movement, and was active for five years in the organization. I returned to court on four separate occasions after that, and numerous returns for two trials. Conflict in the family left me no choice but to ask for primary custody, and when she turned 15, I was successful.

GRADUATION

She wasn’t happy about my decision, mainly due to the fact she had a boyfriend there. She stayed until she was 18, and moved back with her mother, despite the fact  the relationship went south anyway a year later.  After another boyfriend, and another mother’s boyfriend, she moved back because of wanting to go to college. She was allegedly assaulted and by her mother’s boyfriend, but due to the inconsistency of the stories, no charges were filed. I convinced her the best thing was to live with me for a while.

Once she was in college, she met a new boy. At first, I liked him, and thought he was the perfect match. After about about a year, he got a little mouthy with me one night and I had to throw him out at 3 in the morning. I really didn’t want to, but I had no choice. He stated he was going to move her out, and that she was sick of my bull, and I told him he needed to respect my rules. To make a long story short, she moved out with him anyway. The first night she was gone, I didn’t sleep a wink .

Once I realized I needed to listen to her needs more, I decided to let sleeping dogs lie, and let her have her way for now. If she’s meant to return back here, she will. She has always been the main focus of my life, next to my new wife, and it’s tough to live without her, but I have done so before, and need to trust that she will make the right decisions, even as a special needs child.

Me and Nancy

Other things that keep me awake, as I’ve stated before, are car problems. Just today my car wouldn’t start again. With the help of a neighbor, we were able to fix it, but I still have fears that it won’t start in the morning, and with the Lewis County Fair coming up, I need it to be reliable.

Another issue is my health, which I can control to some degree. I tell myself over and over that I need to be on a diet plan, get more exercise, and cut back on the soda, but always fail to do it. I lay awake in back pain, and not wanting to take narcotics, try to use Advil or Aleve to deal with it. It works to some degree, but not always enough. I lay awake wondering if I’ll ever work again, or ever get in shape enough to do so. Like so many goals, I just need to deal with the pain, and move on.

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And then there’s the world around us, which definitely keeps me awake. Just last night, at 1:30 in the morning, we received a call from a damn telemarketer, believe it or not! There’s the fire siren, two blocks from my house, that goes off whenever there’s a fire. It used to go off according to the fire, 5 times for a 5 alarm, 3 times for a 3 alarm, but that has changed, and it only goes off once, thank God. There’s the trains that whiz by at night, only living two blocks from the tracks, as well. Sounds a little like My Cousin Vinny, doesn’t it?

Then there’s the crap going on in the world around us; ISIS and terrorism, politics, the destruction of American values, the recent tension between the police and the public, and so on. These don’t keep me awake on a personal level, but they do make me appreciate what a nice life I do have, and glad that it hasn’t affected me personally.

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It does make me wonder what kind of world my daughter will live in when I’m gone, and if she’ll be inept enough to survive in it. Unless things change in the next few years, I see little future for any of us as a nation. Unless we can get past the hatred of one another, the lack of jobs, the increase of government control, or ISIS themselves, it will be a very dismal world in 20 years.

I’ll do my best as far as can with my own flesh and blood, and hope for the best. With a majority of us on public assistance of some kind, I just hope the funds are there for us to use in 20 years.  The new president needs to focus on changing our current foreign trade agreements because they’re working for everyone but us.

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It makes me think back to a simpler time, during the late 60’s, when I was just a young kid without a worry in the world. Inflation was non existent, and a person only had to work one job to support a family. My dad, of course, was the exception, and would never settle for just one job. Maybe things just seemed simpler because I didn’t understand how the world works, and that there is no such thing as a perfect life without worries.

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WHAT KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT?

VARLOO

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

Every night when I hit the hay, usually about 1:30, I lay awake or at least a half hour before I finally fall asleep. On a good night it will only be ten minutes and I doze right off. Lately life has been a little chaotic. Last night, my car died, and I had to get a new battery today. I didn’t lose any sleep over it, because having some automotive knowledge, I was able to just buy the battery and put it in myself. But there have been some nights where I have been so distraught or excited that I either have trouble sleeping or can’t sleep at all.

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Now some of you may think writing about aliens, monsters, or giant arthropods would be enough to keep anyone awake at night, and you’re probably right, if I were a normal everyday person who is afraid of that stuff. The truth is, however, that this is what I grew up with-Dracula, the werewolf, Godzilla, Star Trek, Land of The Giants, and so on. I embraced the darker side ever since I was six years old, and where most boys built car models, I built monster models. Scary movies would almost never scare me to the point they’d keep me awake, albeit a few exceptions-The Catman, which I have spoke of in an earlier post, and my brother’s imitation of Dracula, which he usually did when I was sleeping and he woke me up by screaming.

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As an adult, however, these things now do keep me awake-with ideas. There have been nights that I don’t want to sleep, but know I have to, because I’ve been working on my latest novel, and not only flow with the story but immerse myself in it. Many of my plot lines in my second part of my science fiction series have been designed while I lay awake in bed. I imagine the world they live in, what they say to each other, and how their outcome will be. This is nothing new to me; when I was a child I invented a whole different imaginary world of my own because I wasn’t happy with the one I had.

This doesn’t mean I wasn’t a happy kid. I loved being with my friends, what few I had, and played baseball, football, kickball, and other children’s games, but I always had my other option-playing with my action figures, play dough, drawing, and yes, writing. Even before I actually started writing stories, I was writing comics, drawing animals and monsters and such.

ALICE

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a family I knew as a kid. Their mother had recently died, and I attended the memorial. The sisters were very surprised to see me, and thanked me repeatedly for showing up. The oldest son was my best friend until sixth grade, when we were separated by schools. We would sit for hours at my house and draw, creating monsters, and naming them. He had me beat at over 1000 pictures, but I know I had at least an impressive 500 of them.  When I spoke with him recently, I found that he had changed a little over the years, but he still had a great interest in the same things I do. His sister mentioned something about sending my books to him, and that she knew he would love them.

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Another thing that sometimes keeps me awake is the anticipation of an event, such as a book signing, or a musical performance. No matter how many times I perform in front of a crowd, I still get those butterflies in the stomach, and the words that I knew so well in rehearsal come out all mixed up and jumbled. I find myself singing the same lyric twice, or forgetting the words altogether. And don’t even go there when talking to the crowd; I’m sadly lacking that magnetic personality that relates to a bunch of strangers in a room, but I try my best.

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I don’t get as nervous with book signings, but I do worry about things such as the table set-up, whether I need to bring something extra, and how many books to bring. Recently, and this Saturday, I have to worry about the weather-wind, rain, and anything else Mother Nature decides to throw at me. I do sometimes wonder if I’ll be able to achieve my goal of 20 books in 20 years before I die, especially being overweight with an irregular heartbeat, sleep apnea, and my susceptibility to gall stones, Pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

SPECTRE OF THE GUN

Nonetheless, I push onward, not because I want to, but because I feel I have to. When I was injured at work in 2013, I realized that God gave me a gift that I always had, but never really pushed myself to achieve these goals. Being unable to no longer do hard, physical labor, I began to write. Even though it’s still more of avocation than an actual vocation, it has helped me deal with being unable to work, and has given me a new purpose in life, which is to expose the world to the imaginary world I created as a child, and to the readers of science fiction and fantasy everywhere!

 

FLIP, FLOP & FLY

CITY MARKET 2

IN THE LAND OF OZ

I only have one word for Sunday’s City Market event that I attended, in hopes I might sell a few books, or my oil paintings-FRUSTRATING.  The event is held the second weekend of the month in Armory Square, Downtown Syracuse, in front of the MOST building.

I signed up for the next three months to help promote my books as well as my oil paintings. Although I did sell a few paintings, the turnout was less than desirable, mainly due to the crazy weather that day. It started as I was setting up, and it began to sprinkle. The wind picked up, making it difficult to set up my canopy. This canopy I ordered on Ebay, which I thought was a folding one, but turned out to be more like a tinker toy project. It was difficult to set up by myself because of the wind. My neighboring vendor helped me set it up, but I had to tie it to poles, trees, and tables to keep it down.

Once I had it anchored, the rain came, and it came heavy. My paintings were soaked, which bowed them. They did dry out, and I was able to straighten them, but during the hours I was there, it was difficult to keep them dry. The books got a little wet, but it was the paintings that took the brunt of the onslaught of nature’s fury.

The wind proved to be the main issue, sometimes knocking over items, sometimes pulling canopies right in the air. Most vendors kept one hand open to sell their merchandise, and the other holding on to their canopies.

I did learn a few things while I was there, however. As I had known from selling flea market items in the past, sometimes a sale doesn’t come right away. You have to be patient as a vendor; some days you do well, and some days you don’t, and Sunday was a day I didn’t sell much.  The other thing I learned was that networking can sometimes be just as important as a sale. You can meet people who can open you to other events, such as vendors, or even customers. I met a young man who told me of a place where I could display my artwork for sale for a mere $10, which is a great price, especially when some galleries charge 100 times that.

The last thing I learned is that I need to not listen to the weatherman, and trust my instinct. If it smells like rain, it probably will rain, so dress accordingly,  and if I see a wind coming, better batten down the hatches, unless I want to try parasailing!

BIG BROTHER

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IS BEAUTY ONLY SKIN DEEP?

Scientists, writers, and stargazers have always been fascinated by our giant neighbor, Jupiter. It is the subject of science fiction stories and countless movies, such as 2001,  Europa Project,  and others. It has fascinated astronomers for centuries, especially because of its unusual giant red spot, which has swirling winds of 618 km/hr.

NASA recently sent the Juno Probe to our big brother, which completed its five year, 1.4 billion mile journey, and will fly within 2,900 miles of Jupiter’s swirling, violent atmosphere of gases. It will study the composition of the gas giant, its gravity, and its magnetic field. The radioactive storm of high energy particles traveling around the field near the speed of light are believed to be the most violent in the whole solar system.The brain of the probe’s computer is housed within a vault made of solid Titanium.

JUNO

The only other probe that orbited the planet was the Galileo. Jupiter is so large that 1000 Earths could fit inside it.  It should be interesting to see what the probe discovers once it enters the atmosphere, and whether it even is able to withstand the enormous pressure of it.

THE REAL INDEPENDENCE DAY PART 2: PATRIOTIC APPARITIONS

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THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE IN GOVERNMENT

President Truman once wrote a letter to his wife that the white house was as” haunted sure as shootin.” Many reports of noises and apparitions have been reported there, and some of the most influential people in government have been witnesses.

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The most well known ghost has been that of Abraham Lincoln. He has been seen in his bedroom, which was an office at the time, and sitting near a fireplace. The first person to see his apparition was First Lady Grace Coolidge, who lived there in the 1920’s. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a guest in the White House, and just took a long bath. When he came out naked, he saw Lincoln at the fireplace. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Mr. President,” he was rumored to say, and Lincoln gave a brief smile and disappeared. Others who claim to have seen him are Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower. People have also reported seeing his son, Willie as well, who died on 1862 of Typhoid fever.

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There is also the story of David Burns, the former owner of the land where the White House sits, who is reported to walk his headless body around the grounds at night. Abigail Adams ghost can be seen in a cap and lace shawl carrying a laundry basket to the East Room. There were also several sighting during the Taft years. Several people have heard Andrew Jackson as well, either laughing or swearing behind the closed door of his office.

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Imacon Color Scanner

First Lady Ellen Wilson requested that the rose garden be dug up and removed. The ghost of Dolly Madison appeared and refused to let the workers do so. Since then, the smell of roses permeates sometimes in the hallways.

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Ann Surat’s mother, Mary was hanged in 1865 for her role in Lincoln’s assassination. She can still be seen knocking on the front door of the White House asking for her mother’s pardon. She is also seen sitting on the steps every July 7th.

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But Patriotic apparitions aren’t confined to just the Capitol. One of the most haunted places in the battlefield of Ghettysburg, Pa. There is a claim that there are perhaps more spirits here than anyplace in the world.

Whether or not you believe in ghosts is a matter for another post, but experiencing a haunting is the ultimate proof. I have yet to truly experience any “spirits” of my own, but it’s not for me to say if the stories are true or not.  We used to believe that the gorilla and giraffe were a myth, until someone actually saw one. Perhaps they are the same as us, but on a different level or dimension, or perhaps they really are what’s left of us when we die tragic deaths.

I’ll be on vacation from my blog for a few days, but I’ll be back on July 6th with another post or series. Until then, have a pleasant holiday, and if you’re traveling, drive safely.