A Sneak Peek

This is a part of my attempt at a diary style story

They say people keep journals because they want someone to remember them when they’re gone. I’m going to keep this to keep myself from going insane. I swear to Christ, I’m starting to hear voices in my head and they’re arguing with themselves. Thankfully I found this satchel full of blank books, fancy pens and even some ink. Maybe they belonged to a writer or maybe someone with a love of blank books, who knows. At the very least, I’ll have something to wipe with.

One of the many things I truly miss is the feel of soft tissue on my ass. If I knew I’d spend my days using leaves and a phone book as shit paper, I would have made sure to have a stockpile of Charmin’s today. Then again, who knew the end of mankind was just around the corner? I was barely a year into living on my own, when it all went tits up.

I was doing the usual weekend stuff; playing games and watching movies and eating tons and tons of junk food. I think it goes without saying that I had nothing near to a social life. I have to admit that at that point, I hadn’t had a girlfriend for years. It seems trivial today, but back then, being single at my age was something of a social stigma.

Now here I sit; writing down my past in a book, sitting in an abandoned subway station, like some old man writing his memoir. Hell, maybe it is. Maybe this will survive and years from now someone will find this and make it a best-seller. If best-sellers are still around. You never know, this might even be the only recorded history left for archaeologists to dig up. If archaeologists are still around too.

I guess if I’m the last voice of the old world, I should probably start at the beginning.

Like I said, I was just pissing around in my apartment and then BLAMMO! huge explosion. I don’t know where it happened, but by the time the shock wave reached me it tore through the neighborhood so hard it blew out everybody’s windows, knocked out anything electrical and even turned over a cars.

I am not embarrassed to say that, after everything calmed down, I discovered I shit myself; I’m certain most of us did. I thought there was a terrorist attack or maybe the nuclear plant had some kind of meltdown. I think I spent hours just sitting and waiting for something to happen, but nothing did and that’s how it was for a long time.

I don’t know how many days I sat in my apartment; praying that someone would do something to bring back some semblance of order. More than anything, I wanted my mother. I don’t know for sure, but I think I may have actually cried for her; like a damn baby.

I think I’m done for know. I might start blubbering any minute.

ENTRY #2

It’s been a couple days since I wrote in this thing and I guess I should continue. Don’t want to leave those archaeologists wondering what happened.

When my stash of snacks and canned food started to run short, I decided I had to leave. I guess I wasn’t the only one, because after loading up a couple bags with food and some bottles of water, I walked onto the street to find people traveling in droves. Everyone was headed for hospitals and schools; probably hoping to find some shelters and answers.

I don’t know what exactly went through my head, but I found myself going the other way than everyone else. I never did like people and tended to be a loner; mostly from awkwardness. Instead of going deeper into the city, I left it. My Aunt and Uncle lived out in the country and even though I knew it would be a hell of a hike, it became my destination.

Even though my decision stemmed from my anti-social habits, it ended up saving my life.

After three days straight of shuffling away from the city, I arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s, with sore and blistered feet. I was happy at first; I’d walked longer than I ever had in my entire life and made it without getting lost once. I was as giddy as a kid in a candy store.

So imagine my disappointment, when I walked around back to enter and saw that their camper was gone. My Uncle took that thing everywhere; even to my Great-Aunt Dollie’s funeral. I thought I’d get lucky and my Aunt would be home, but after knocking for a minute straight, it was obvious they left together.

Thankfully they never left the place locked; a perk of living out in the middle of nowhere. When I walked in, it was like heaven. I could hear the low rumble of their old fridge. Their place wasn’t affected like the city was. Probably because they lived so far away. I found myself diving into the fridge and made myself some sandwiches, grabbed a two-liter bottle of soda and sat myself down in my Uncle’s recliner. I guzzled the soda and grabbed the remote; ready for some normalcy and hopefully an answer or two.

I got my answer and wished I never asked the question.

The first thing I saw were the smoldering remains of what was once New York City. Everything was gone and I mean everything. The only thing left was a crater and a scorch-ring at least fifty miles long surrounding it.

It wasn’t just New York. Almost every major city and the entire East Coast were nothing but craters and smoldering ash. I was right. We were attacked, but not by terrorists or some other foreign power. We were attacked by aliens.

I know aliens may be part of everyday life for you, but they were once considered something out of science fiction or some crazy man’s ramblings. They were supposed to be an impossibility.

Every news anchor I watched knew as much as I did, but from what they could gather, we were bombarded from space. The bastards didn’t even bother entering the atmosphere; they just fired on us from as far away as they could. I know they scare the shit out of us, but they started this whole thing like pussies. I think they wanted to get rid of as many of us as they could, before setting foot on our planet for as little resistance as possible, but when they finally came and they came hard.

The first ships we saw

ENTRY #3

A week’s passed and I haven’t slept for almost two days. I heard some noises last time I was writing and had to find someplace to hide. The Grays have hunting parties that run through the old city ruins now and then; can’t afford to get caught with my pants down, because I just have to finish writing a sentence.

I’m hunkered down in the outskirts of the city, so I figured I’d write something down today, while things are quiet. Plus, I’m starting to find this stuff puts me at a sort of ease. So let’s get back to it.

When the Grays came down, it wasn’t like in the movies with giant ships slowly emerging through the clouds in an orange glow. The news stations showed footage of speeding metal blurs the size of Volkswagen Beetles; zooming overhead and mowing down everything on the ground with blue laser bullets or at least something that looked like bullets.

Even from where I was, I could see the smoke in the distance. The home I had left behind became a war zone and in a single day only a handful of people survived. That’s how it was throughout the entire US; these extermination squads zipping over populated areas and killing anything in sight. I knew it was only a matter of time before they made their way further out when the survivors started fleeing from the cities.

My Uncle was a bit of a gun nut, so I raided his shed for some weapons. Unfortunately, he took almost his whole arsenal with him. Knowing him, he packed up everything into the camper and took it all up into the mountains; definitely a hike I was not going to make.

He did leave behind a hunting rifle and his old colt; both with little ammo. Top that with my limited know-how of guns and my chances were looking bleak. So, like I did last time, I packed up food and drink and just started walking.

I’ll admit, the first couple weeks were the worst I’d ever had. After running out of food, I felt like I was starving almost immediately. My body just wasn’t use to not having food when I wanted it. One night it rained and I was just a sobbing mess; cold, wet and scared out of my mind. I’m surprised I survived and that was thanks to the very unaware deer I found at a stream. Considering I couldn’t make a fire and only had a sharp rock to cut it up, I did managed to eat; though it did make me sick for a while.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to look for supper.

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Wind Knocked Out of My Sails

To say that I feel pissed and defeated would be an understatement right now. Because of a simple fuck up, I’ve lost 2/3 of my story. Months of work gone because I tried to divvy up the chapters into separate documents. I selected two chapters and cut them; the idea was to paste them into a 2nd document and then the last one from there into a 3rd. In a stroke of genius, I decided to copy the 1st document to save time. However, it never occurred to me that once I’d copied the document I lost the text.

I spent five hours going through everything online to get it back, but everything points to it being gone for good. Even resetting everything back to the time I messed up, only the computer settings would be reset; not the documents.

If I could go back five hours, I would beat the shit out of me for being so damn stupid.

Take my advice and back up everything. Even the tiniest shred of anything you want for later, save that shit and make a thousand copies… or just set it so it automatically makes back ups. Whichever works for you.

I’M BACK, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

And here I am: back after a long “hiatus.”

So, what have I been up to?

Nothin’. Yep, whole lotta nothin’. I’m still writing, but, as usual, something else always crops up: Family, drama, family-drama and the ever dreaded Writer’s Block. In my “downtime” I’ve tried to keep busy, but sometimes I feel like I have the attention span of a squirrel with ADD stuck in a peanut factory.

During this time, I became *gasp!* a Youtuber. Yep, decided one day that I too felt the urge to spew my opinions to the masses, since they would obviously want the hear them.

Now, I’m not going to put any links here, because it has nothing to do with writing and more about me just bitching. I’m one of those faceless types; using an avatar or disembodied voice, with a bunch of pictures and clips to show my points. While that’s as far as I’ll go about my channel, I will say that it is quite challenging.

When I first jumped into it, I was just learning as I went along. Had to learn video editing, recording proper audio, writing scripts, how to alter pictures (not make “fake news” pictures) and plenty more.

It was hard for me, because I chose the more difficult route of not just looking at a camera, but I can honestly say that, if you are able, make one of your own. Whether you show your face or not, it does help you get over some social awkwardness; talking to “crowds,” improving your vocabulary (you find yourself wanting to say more than the usual key phrases you already do) and so on.

I’ll even give ya a little hand. You can check amazon for cheap webcams. I found one for $12, couple years back. Webcams come with audio capabilities now, but in case it doesn’t, or you prefer to use just your voice, all you need is a mic and it doesn’t have to be something you find in a sound booth, just anything that’ll plug into your computer and record your voice. I use a PlayStation 3 headset with a mic.

On the matter of audio, there’s free audio software called Audacity. It’s easy to use and ther’re plenty of useful tips on YouTube.

To dabble with pictures, I use software called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). It’s basically the poor man’s Photoshop. Again, plenty of online tips and tricks.

For my channel, I use clips from other videos and pepper in some funny bits from movies or shows. I use keepvids to download a video and then VSDC Free Video Editor to get the clips or soundbites I want to use. Remember: tips are on youtube.

… Hmm. When did this turn into a “Make your own YouTube Channel” post?

As I was saying, I keep getting sidetracked and things get away from me. For the past 2 months, I’ve been engrossed with writing and it’s not even for a story (I’ll touch on that another time). So, if you wonder what the post’s title means, it’s simply that I could make another post tomorrow or another year or two down the road. I do work on my stories, but I only devote so much attention to then, until I have to get back to my other writing project and dear god it’s draining the life outta me, so who knows how much work on the stories I’ll get done or if I’ll be on here more often than the hibernation cycle of a cicada.

This has gotten a bit long and I’ve gotten a bit tired. So, with that, I thank you for your time and hope you have a good day.

Happy writing.

Pitfalls of Being a Successful/Unsuccesful Writer

Title sound confusing? Well it’s just something I’ve noticed in some amateur writers; this self adulation for being a writer. I made a profile on FB for my Pen Name and that’s as far as I’ve gone (I consider this blog as a separate entity). Oh yeah, and a twitter that I don’t even use.

Some have gone an extra step in hiring someone to build up their rep, before they’ve even finished a plot for a story. Some just get it in their head that they are going to be successful. They are going to have a best-seller.

The problem is when they spend more of their time building themselves up instead of their writing. I like writing this blog because I like rambling and if I had more time to myself, I’d ramble on video (though I don’t sound like a jabbering idiot while typing). Some write blogs expecting to become blogging sensations; ignoring the story they haven’t come up with yet.

I do have some writing to get back to, so I’ll sum it up quick:

Don’t get ahead of yourself; simple.

Happy writing.

JTL

X-Mas fun

Two days to Christmas and I’ve thankfully been done with my shopping early this month. Unfortunately, having “free time” hasn’t aided my writing; just so many choices and my mind has plenty to add for each, but I just can’t stick with one. For now, at least. I always get this problem from time to time and I eventually narrow my focus.

Was able to enjoy The Force Awakens and, without spoiling anything, it just feels so right; it is a part of the Star Wars universe, unlike the prequels.

Okay, back to work. Right now it’s modern sci-fi versus regular ol’ traveling through space sci-fi.

Ya’ll have fun ‘n Merry Christmas.

JTL

Lack of Progress

It’s around this time of year, where I find myself looking at the progress I’ve made and, as usual, find that I haven’t made much headway. Always something. If it isn’t personal issues, it’s family, friends, or just life in general. To add to it all, there are the distractions that come with the modern age: Telly, games, social sites and… Youtube.

I do find that I manage to learn new things on writing and I’ve upped my typing speed a touch. Still, I need to find a way to buckle down and get things done. I may need to find the time to unplug myself and hide away for a bit; which’ll be hard as balls, with Christmas coming up and, no doubt, the dramas it’ll bring with it.

I think I’ll call it. It’s late (Technically early) and I don’t do well with lack of sleep.

Happy writing.

JTL

The Past Come Back To Haunt Me

I would never deny what a huge pack-rat I am, but even I was surprised to find an old story I wrote when I was in my late teens; back when I could churn out a story with full chapters in less than a month. They were terrible or poorly worded, but they came naturally. I sometimes wonder if learning more of the ins and outs of writing has hindered me a bit; focusing on the little things every writer is “supposed” to worry about.

This one was one of the those that was actually pretty good, though poorly written. Back when i wrote for fun, I made three good stories. The best one is lost forever, but now I have two of my better ones. The other one is hard to clean up, regardless how good it is, but this one I think I can polish it to the point it could make a damn decent book. And luckily for me–as far as I know–it’s actually original. It’s a detective story, but the happening within are not like any I’ve read… still, you never know.

That’s it for now. Just felt like sharing this little tidbit.

Happy Writing

JTL

Being Lazy Bites Me In the Ass

Well it would seem my procrastinating nature has screwed me over; namely, my email. I haven’t checked it in so long, AOL reset it, as though I just started one. Guess my silly ass better pay attention from now on, if I’m gonna pretend to be serious about this.

In other news, after a recent move, things are slowly settling down, but drama follows wherever I go. Had a brief relationship, but that just wasn’t in the cards. She was just too young and immature for me; the kind of thinking where you want a relationship, yet don’t want to be in one isn’t what I’d call a logical one.

There’s not much more than that. The story is coming slowly, but it’s coming. A huge drawback of depression is the lack of will to bother with anything and depression is something I’m in abundant supply. No worries; this isn’t a pity-poo post. Just a nod that, like every human, my life has its downs.

And back to the grind I go, while my mind can focus on the writing.

Good luck and happy writing, folks

JTL

Always An Uphill Struggle

God, I need to keep up with this more, but everything–as usual–is hectic. I understand persevering though hardship and all, but I could use a break. My writing’s been so intermittent and unfocused, it feels like it’s getting worse; like somehow I’m losing it.

For me, it’s a scary thing. There was a time I was a skilled artist; mostly comic-style drawing with the tiniest bit of dabbling in paints. Then I had that one big seizure and boom; gone almost overnight. My drawing ability became sloppy. I can see the image vividly in my imagination and I know the way it’s supposed to be done, but as soon as pencil touches paper, something gets mangled from my brain to my hand and I find myself trying to draw a hand or at least position the fingers properly.

We all have–even if it’s a tiny something–that make us happy. For some of us, if we lose it, we can find something else to replace it. For others, it’s not as simple; especially if that thing was an integral part of your life.

Well, I’m done bein’ a party pooper. Off to do some self-pitying and then try writing some more

Home Turf

As I work on my supernatural story, I’m using my city as the backdrop; giving me a slight leg-up on describing locations and some people I’ve based my characters on. King has been known to use the same method with his novels; so you know it’s a formula that works.

Caution should be used, however. While using people and places you know; you don’t wanna get hung up on them. If every other paragraph is giving the names of all the locations of your hometown, you’re gonna lose your readers real quick. You gotta keep the references to a minimum and don’t spend an entire page describing every little detail of “Gus’ Diner on the corner of King and Princess, where bar fights happen on a nightly basis and that your friend John had a chair broken over his head, when he went in to ask for directions, when his car broke down, while he was on a date with you sister who snuck out after your parents grounded her, because she got an F in English, after she spent too much time with her friends who keep her out all night…” While I doubt someone would write that sloppily, you can see how annoying it would get.

Go ahead and throw in some detail, but just enough for the reader to grasp the gist of the layout and the atmosphere within. In a few chapters, I’ve only used the name of the city, a high school and a local hospital; no need to overdo it.

That’s enough randomness, Happy writing and have a good one.

JTL