I’m back with “Late Night Journal” folks. I know, I always say that, and then: poof! I disappear in a purple mist. But, I want to make this type of post more regularly.
It’s interesting though, I feel like this is the “Meta Journal” because I’m taking this entry to speak about the journal itself. I’m super happy because well, I’ve published quite a bit in this blog already, and I know it needs a redesign, it needs love and patience, and maybe some money cause I’m a lousy web designer (well, not a web designer at all actually) so… I know, I know…
But on the other side, I’m so thankful for all of you who read me despite my awful blog design and even the annoying, scammy-looking ads that WordPress.com decided to put on it (cheap suckers!). I will fix these things, I’ve just been quite broke after I lost my second job as I told you in the past, but guess what? Guess, guess! Yes, after some terrible interviews, weeks of anxiety, and harassing my recruiter, I landed a new job and my main purpose after taking the needed portion to adjust my family’s finances (the recession is hitting like a freaking bitch), is to start a big savings plan to raise some capital for both my online training business (technology related) and of course, for my artistic projects. I’m so thrilled!
Folks, feel free to feel happy for me, this is the result of so much suffering, believe me, if you like underdog stories, I’m your guy!
So what’s up with the journal?
Yeah, right! Thanks for reminding me, fellows!
Because I’m already dedicating most of my after-work time to my projects, it’s become a lot lately, so much so that I’ve had to rethink my time management strategies and reprioritize. And so, you don’t see me posting “Late Night Journals” that often since I’m also posting short stories and writing exercises mainly.
But something interesting has been going on for a few months, every now and then, when I have a new follower or a new like in my blog posts, guess where it usually comes from?
From my “Late Night Journals”! Of course!
So I’ve been wondering why this is so. I mean, I like them and I like writing them, but I honestly thought folks would feel more attracted to other pieces like articles on culture or poems, etc.
So I asked my wife since she’s super smart and a good observer and she told me: “people like to know about other people’s lives”. Ha! Interesting, it’s simple but it’s powerful, indeed the “Late Night Journal” is the most personal type of post I make.
In any case, I want to listen to my audience and I will start writing again the type of content you’ve shown a preference for. Because you know what? Your support makes me bolder, it encourages me to fight harder, be more disciplined and achieve the many things I’ve told you about in this blog, my dreams of art and freedom, my stories, and my thoughts on how to contribute to the lives of others! I want to inspire you, not by being perfect but by being brave.
“Fuck this, he’s the stupid one, he’s the useless one!”
Marco slammed the door, as a loud voice kept yelling unintelligible words, words that couldn’t be grasped, but whose sound could be understood by anyone, in any language.
As the distance grew and the voice faded, the boiling anger in his chest started to hurt him, betraying him, because he was keeping it in store for the bitter man back at the cottage, who clearly wanted him out of his life, but couldn’t bring himself to abandon him.
Marco believed this inability to act on his real feelings wasn’t a matter of decency, but plainly a fear of rejection, it was a small town and single parents were frowned upon, let alone one who abandons his teenage kid.
-“If he isn’t bold enough to leave, or kick me out, I will leave instead, I’ll find something, I’m old enough to make some money on my own.” He murmured as he hastened his pace and clenched his fists.
But he knew better than this, he was a good student with top grades, and he also had a very detailed plan for his life. Deep inside he knew this rejection, this constant reproach was his curse to bear, his price to pay. If he just managed to hold on for a couple more years he would go to college, miles away from the home that wasn’t a home any longer, but barely a shelter for the homeless; that is, himself.
But he walked, he used to walk. More and more, his weekends were becoming lonely walks, talking to himself and building fantasies. In these day dreams he became smarter than anyone else, he became wealthy and successful, he could see himself returning to town driving a car like no one in that miserable place has ever seen, and buying the biggest farms, just to let every crop wither, every animal die, and not a single soul would be able to do anything about it for he was now the owner and master of that stinky place.
-“Imagine the old man, making up excuses, ashamed, trying to explain why his son is such a disgrace, such a ruthless bastard”.
As time passed, the anger slowly evaporated, and when he was far from everything, he would let the pain take over and cry where no one could see him. He would just sit and cry by the creek because once he did, he felt like he was able to make it through another week.
Those tears, he thought, were like scales in his eyes that blinded him and wouldn’t let him see things for what they were; for it was only after dropping them on the grass that he would start noticing the small things he knew he would miss once he departed for his new life: the colorful birds chirping, singing and dancing like the ancient ancestors summoning the rain; the flowers enduring the wind, never defeated by it, and the wild hares who seemed to always be plotting schemes just like he did during his lonesome afternoons.
But this time, something was different. After the blinding tears came out, it felt like the air cleared and all that surrounded him, even nature’s ongoing celebration had stopped and became solemn, and silent. This made him feel uneasy, but also moved him into action, so he started walking further than usual.
After a few minutes, he approached the abandoned mine, a ghostly place that served as a natural boundary with the closest village; none of the other kids in town liked being there, but then again, it felt like a better place to be than back home.
Something red was moving, actually flapping, near the entrance to the mine; this wasn’t an animal or a plant, it was something entirely different, something that was put there by someone, something with a purpose. He felt like going back to the creek, but couldn’t ignore the mesmerizing object, agitated by the wind.
Taking a deep breath, the slender teen drew near and crouched to look closely: it was a flag. A flag! From every single possibility of what could be found in that place, he found a small, red flag playfully moving, planted in the middle of nowhere.
This time he really felt like running away; was he being observed? Was this a prank? A snare? He looked around him, his heart was pumping faster: not a single soul. Even nature seemed mute, expectant, holding its sounds and motions, waiting for him to dig.
He couldn’t run away, he’d made it all this way to make this discovery, he had to see it through. Besides, there was not much else to do and this was far more entertaining than doing his usual pencil drawings, sitting by the creek.
Using a piece of wood he found, he started digging; at first sight, it didn’t seem like the pole was too long, but to his surprise, it wasn’t easy to pull it out. As he dug deeper, he saw something resembling a piece of cardboard; he took it out and dusted it off, it had something written on it:
“How did you find me? Keep digging and ”
The sentence was incomplete. He could now hear his own heart pumping, he dug faster, as if all he wanted was for the unexpected trial to end, and leave that place to take cover in his usual thoughts and the drawings in his notebook.
Two feet deeper, he felt the pole start to loosen a bit.
-“Almost there, maybe 1 foot deeper”.
Then, a new piece of cardboard appeared:
“we can play a game, after all this digging it makes sense to have some fun. Hi, my “.
Again, the sentence was left unfinished.
He needed to stop to take a break; his fingernails were filthy as were his clothes, he wasn’t prepared for this amount of work, with nothing but a piece of wood, and his fingers were already injured. It didn’t matter, he was almost done.
He shivered at the thought that once he was able to remove the flag, a new piece of cardboard will complete the unfinished introduction.
But he wasn’t prepared, no one could have ever been prepared for what was at the other end of the pole: a human hand, a skeleton hand the size of a 10-year-old, was tightly gripping the pole. Marco fell on his back, as he pulled the whole thing out of the dirt.
-“What the a-actual fuck?
Is… is this…?”
It was. Inside the bony fist, there was another piece of cardboard, the final one (he expected):
“name’s Armand, I’m dead.
But I guess you figured that out already. This was “Capture the flag” when you’re ready to play “Tag” enter the mine. I promise if you play, I will tell you why you’re playing with a dead kid, how cool is that? Hi-five!”
As he read the last line, the hand opened.
Marco would have screamed with all his might, but what came out instead was a gasp; he couldn’t utter a sound. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t close his eyes to stop seeing, nor could he release his new friend’s hand. He couldn’t make sense of anything, he could barely begin moving his legs to try and stand up.
But in the midst of all those things he couldn’t do, there was only one very clear thought in his mind, one thing he could do, the very thing he couldn’t avoid:
“I need to get back home, bring the flashlight, and enter the mine”.
Man life is so exciting, so much exciting oh my God!
Partly, because I never expected to say this, like ever.
Partly because it’s just so full of beauty and things worth discovering.
No naiveness here folks, I know the other part of it, oh boy do I know the dungeons and the pits of this world, and even other hostile worlds. But that’s an even stronger reason to be excited and love the beautiful parts of it.
Let me begin this article by saying: 18 subscribers to my blog, oh my God! And the only one is family, lol, cause I’ve made sure not to tell my relatives to cause this is a side of me I don’t want to share with most of them. So that means 17 complete strangers read something I wrote one day and thought “well maybe this guy’s worth reading again later”. And you know what? I take it back, you’re not strangers, you’re a beautiful, growing jjosuminded community and I thank you from all my heart for being here with me.
OK, so WTF’s up with the soda?
Yeah, yeah I was about to get to that, but gosh you’re so intense sometimes!
So, I’m in the last couple of days from my vacations for this year, then the weekend, and then a full week being on call 24/7 for cybersecurity incidents (man, the contrasts in this life). But I’m making the most of my vacations and part of it is reorganizing my artistic projects, and in general, assigning a lot more weight to my artistic life and coming up with strategies to accomplish this while keeping a roof over our heads.
As you probably know from previous articles, my biggest efforts in this second half of my life are focused on being able to get to a point where I can dedicate most of my time to arts and culture, which means eventually leaving my day job and it begins with literature but encompasses more than that.
It’s turned out to be quite the rabbit hole fellows, quite the fucking rabbit hole indeed! But it’s been fun, in fairness.
The toughest thing is the balance between publishing continuously and building my community, and then writing in the way I want to write. So for those of you who are writers (I venture saying a big part of you are), you may find this familiar:
I start writing a poem. I was dark, waaay to dark, scary dark… so I think to myself “fuck, this has to be a poem attributed to a character, no way my conscious mind will accept this to come from me”
Okay cool, so what kind of world/ story does this belong to crime thriller. Okay, crime thriller it is, I begin writing a story.
Crime thriller story becomes so, so potentially good that it’s no longer an excuse to publish the orphaned poem, no, this really touches some fiber and some philosophical concepts I’m quite interested in. Scary moment: the idea becomes a novel (I did announce it a couple months back in this blog).
OK a lot of education and serious research beings in how to write novels, I buy a ton of new books and start taking notes and analyzing, I write some of it (paradoxically not what I’ve been doing the most). But OK, novel incoming.
Well, what do I write to keep my audience engaged? I mean, the novel can very well take a couple years, especially being psychologically complex and being my first novel, so…
“OK, OK, I know, I know… I have this idea I’ve been entertaining for more than a decade which is a fantasy/sci-fi medieval saga what better time to do it than right now! Not only that, paired up with my new obsession with Human + A. I digital artwork collabs I’ll get to publish an amazing story with groundbreaking community-oriented publishing, and blah, blah, blah… (see image below of concept art on this saga).
So as it turns out, the saga does require a lot of research on Central Europe in the Middle Ages, famous characters of that century, occultism and alchemy, and some “relatively accessible quantum mechanics”. Well shit, so much for releasing episodes weekly, at least until world and character building are crystal clear and it’s gonna take some time. So novel #2 is incoming, but still nothing for short-term publishing.
“Okay, it is my literary ignorance and laymanship (I know it’s not an actual word) that’s biting my ass, the solution is simple: short stories!” Indeed, this is the approach I’m currently taking but hear me out: I start brainstorming and come up with four killer ideas for episodical short stories related to a single theme, I ask my wife which one she likes the most and she picks one that’s about teenagers as a psychiatric institution, I start working on character development (world building it’s easy for me, cause I was a teenager in a psychiatric institution, lol) and bam! Guess what? It becomes to complex, intertwined, and emotionally engaging for me to keep it a series of episodical short stories, it deserves to be a big volume of its own. “Oh shit, not again”, yup, incoming Novel #3. (See concept art at the end of this list).
Right, so I thought: “The second idea out of those four, that one has to be the one, that’s perfect for short, well-written stories and give the people a taste of my writing while I work in the terrifying amount of 3 novels for a beginner author, yeah that should keep my sanity”. And indeed, this week I began with both the research and the structuring of it. What do you think? Am I alone here? Too fucking crazy still or just an ordinary writer’s journey. I’d love to hear your thoughts, you beautiful reader who can actually consume a full article I write.
Concept Art for the novels mentioned, just to get you excited 😉
Josué… seriously, what’s up with the S.O.D.A!?
OK, ok here it is:
Are you ready? (drumroll…)
Bubbly-Mirror-Starry Soda is the short-story series I told you about that was second on my short story list (OK, it was first but I decided to be a gentleman and please my wife with her choice, then it became a novel, oh well…)
The whole concept is related to the subconscious mind; see I’ve been reading, viewing, and listening to a lot of content about Carl Jung, and his breed of psychoanalysis, also some Freud but I’m in the earlier stages there. I’m absolutely fascinated by how behavioral patterns appear in the conscious life and decisions that are actually hidden and triggered by events, perceptions, and characteristics we have no clue about.
Moreover, one of the most direct ways of accessing these hidden treasures and horrors (both maybe?) is true dreams. Dreams are a window to a version of oneself that’s able to act out of the cultural, moral, and social restrictions that shape the conscious mind of an individual.
Bubbly-Mirror-Starry Soda aims to show this, with a degree of artistic license, through a series of short stories that will poke your mind and get you thinking about the depths of human consciousness and the contrast between the carefully constructed self and the denied self.
Now, what’s special about BMSS?
Answer: Bubbly-Mirror-Starry Soda is the version for fans, hence I can guarantee you will read much more personal and less filtered stuff in this version of the series exclusively here on jjosuminded.com, I’m not lying folks this is a token of gratitude from me to you because I love all of you 17 friends and all the others that I don’t have a record of in WordPress but are also here.
I hope you will love it, but you know what? Since we’re getting intimate and friendly now, let me ask you for two things:
I’m not a native English speaker. If you would like to help me on my path to becoming a better writer and would like to go full “grammar nazi” on me, I’ll actually welcome it. Likewise, if you’re a writer and you notice flaws you find concerning (even if it’s not something idiomatic), I’d like to hear from you.
As a clarification: I know what a proofreader is, and I know what an editor is. I intend to invest and risk my own buck when the time comes, to have pros do their job analyzing mine so I’m not trying to take advantage of you. It’s just special to me, to have my community send feedback because then you get to be more involved in my success story.
Would you also share my work if you really, really like it? But only if you really like it enough to share it with people who are close to you.
A final disclaimer: you see how I said Bubbly-Mirror-Starry Soda is a version of this project that’s exclusive for jjosuminded.com community? Yeah, that’s because there’s another version, and it’s more oriented to be commercialized, you know part of being able to become a full-time artist is to be able to pay bills with my art. But I’m not getting greedy, and I’m releasing the first 10 stories here first, then I’ll look for some PR and marketing and will try to find a way to commercialize it (if you have any ideas, I’ve so far only thought of “novella” or trying to sell the rights for T.V, etc), possibly making it a book of short stories and self-publishing it, although I might knock at some editorial doors.
This other version is also gonna be quite something, I believe. It plays with the same concept of the subconscious, but it has a more macabre angle to it, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves as I publish the first 10 stories here. The commercial angle comes from the fact that the stories will deal with a deceased famous person in history or pop culture, so I’ll also let you figure that one out 😉
The series is called “In The Wings of a Raven”, and here’s the concept art for it:
Well, that about does it, I’m going to turn 36 in exactly 6 hours, and I’m very enthusiastic to begin another year of my life surrounded by these beautiful projects and characters. Thanks for reading me, lots of good stuff in the oven for you, please buy my books when I publish them, I promise you’ll have a good time and it will change my story forever, for the better.
I will start pasting my LinkTree to every post from here onwards, I’d like to be available for you, read your messages and be able to reply to you personally, and the best way to do it is through my social media so feel free to reach out to me if you’re liking my work.
Yeah, that’s right, and while we’re at it, it’s a bit of an exercise in procrastination to help me deal with the overwhelming paralysis I feel right now, concerning, well…. writing.
I brought myself a nice cup of cognac my wife gave me for my birthday (hey, it’s in 21 days but it’s so good that I think it will not last until the 21st), and chose again to listen to Liszt since it’s proven so gentle to my brain, took my dog to his bed so I’m alone and uninterrupted, killed a freaking fly that was driving me crazy and finally ended with all potential distractors and set my mind into developing my serial story I plan to start publishing short-to-midterm. I just stared at the screen, confused; how is it possible that I don’t know what to do? I’ve been viewing a lot of YouTube videos, taking the whole 2020 collection of Bran Sanderson’s lecture on fantasy and sci-fi writing (highly recommended, link here: )
I’ve been reading short stories, and a couple novels, taking notes of it all, building worksheets with new vocabulary, and viewing shows that develop stories with elements in common with what I want to do: folks I’m going deeper and deeper every day into my project of becoming an author, I’m dead serious about it.
But still, I read it somewhere that “the difference between an aspiring author and an author, is actually sitting down and writing”; or something to that effect. And it’s so basic for so true, but folks it’s by no means an easy task.
This morning while I was showering I came up with so many ideas, I took the whole series way deeper than I expected in my head, but I sit down and… nothing. It’s like I feel the angst that blocks me and I start wanting to do different things; so what I did was download a couple character development templates and start working on that; it’s not the same as writing a scene (I started episode #1 last week so there’s been some progress) but it’s working in the preparation for the story so I’m OK with that, filling up a comprehensive questionnaire about my characters is also helping me realize dark spots in my story plan and the need to be more thorough.
I guess an additional complication that’s playing emotional tricks on me, is that the story is inspired by a rather unusual series of events that happened in my life when I was a teenager, events that turned around every notion I had of my future and so it has a huge emotional weight in me, even more than 15 years after. Why would that be, I wonder? I wish I didn’t feel any old pains, life always has plenty of them to offer 🙂
In any case, I realize by writing this I’m actually not writing the story I meant to sit down and advance today, so I’m leaving you to face my demons. Wish me luck fellows!
I have a headache, like a pretty bad one and I hate it. Feeling ill lowers my motivation a lot, and I hate the feeling of losing time; when I’m ill it’s difficult to be creative and thankfully, I was still able to bring a laptop to bed and work on my writing for a fair amount of time.
I took two pills a while back, but I’m starting to feel relief after a while of listening to Liszt; maybe it’s the combined effect of both things. Music can be a real emotional burden for me, especially when I yearn for something new that touches my soul and I can’t find it, but more often than not, it’s just magic, a true spice to the dullness of the mundane life and even in my current situation, a real medicine for my pain.
I’m planning an episodic series about patients in a mental institution and I’ve been writing down the whole concept tonight, I seriously believe it’s gonna kick ass and I will publish it here first, then probably in Medium and I’m thinking Wattpad as well.
When it comes to how I organize my projects and thinking, I’ve had to find the freedom of being myself while also aiming to be more disciplined; it’s a thin line and a delicate balance that requires a lot of effort from me. I’ve already started writing a novel, another series on fantasy and now I’m developing this idea. But they’re very different projects in their scope and intention:
The novel is a psychological thriller that explores the nature of deviance and the idea of evil, from a systemic, cultural and philosophical point of view. It’s meant to be violent but also sophisticated and thought-provoking. It may take me a very long time to write it and have it ready, it will also be my first experience in formally publishing a book and so, it’s a rather complex project that I want to take my time to carefully complete.
The second project is a fantasy series that retells a lot of historical events from the perspective of a rather peculiar character. It’s a mockery to human stupidity and herd mentality while also an apology of the dissident, beautiful freaks of different ages. In doing this, it eventually starts becoming a cultural commentary of our time. This one I will release in episodes, and rather than aiming for a book or book series, I plan to make this story a social media experiment.
The third project, the one I’ve been focused on tonight, is an exercise in episodic story-telling and short story, but with a very challenging twist for me: it’s meant to be a “dramedy”, so a drama that deals with very painful and serious topics but it’s presented with a degree of dark humor. There are two special things about this latest project:
I will be able to talk about a very personal and relevant topic which is mental health; if you’ve read my previous articles, then you know I take this very seriously and I’m very supportive of people going through such hardship.
This is my most immediate project: I’m used to write blogs posts in a very free style, as well as some of my poetry; but I’ve never published stories before and I feel a terrible urge to do so as soon as possible. So it’s coming, very soon.
I’d like to write a lot more tonight, because there’s so much inside of me, sometimes I feel like my thoughts are a violent ocean contained in a rather frail vessel. And I’m OK with that, I am what I am, and I’ll work with it. I need to sleep so hopefully I’m in better health tomorrow.
Headaches, dreams about to come true, and the value of discipline.
Fuck man, I have to say, my life won’t be normal but sure as fuck is entertaining and full of things xD
See, I’ve been working hard, for many, many years in finding myself (I know this is vague and cliche) but yeah, too many years. You may feel this is a stage of life but it’s not, let me explain: you easily get to spend all of your hours on Earth and never come to understand what you are, how you are, what you want and what you’re willing to do for what you want. It would sound like it should be a basic premise of any given person but we’re presented with a lot of surrogate sources of distraction, entertainment, conflicts, stress, etc, that for too many, that moment of self-reflection never actually comes.
This is one of the things that I hate the most about modern life, and part of my personal quest is to find a way to show people how important their life is, how full of potential, and how they’re able to break the cycle of a cookie-cutter, pathetic existence.
The “value of discipline” mentioned above is closely related to this previous reflection; ever since I was fired from my second job, I took it upon myself not to get another job, even if I feel like I really really need or want that extra money I was used to earning. Instead, I would take a set of activities that I have identified as leading me to build my personal life strategy (yes this is something and it’s been written in a notebook for two years), and take them with the seriousness of that second job, or even more because one is about money but the second is about meaning. And it’s hard man, it’s fucking hard, I’m dying every day in a good sense and being reborn; studying the disciplines that my plan requires, and experimenting with uncharted intellectual and artistic territories every single day after work and after exercising (which is part of the change) is taking a bit toll on me. I’m tired, and I’m in a lot of internal conflict and uncertainty, I’ve left the shore and set out to discover the unknown.
Probably that’s where the headache is coming from; no, most certainly that’s the reason why (note to self: buy some fucking aspirin).
I haven’t mentioned the “dreams about to come true” part, I know, I know. But as rational as I try to be, there’s still a more primitive man inside of me who’s superstitious and I’m afraid if I say it, I’ll jinx it.
But I promise I’ll tell you when it happens, and I will link it to this entry 🙂
Listening to “Durdu Dunya” by She Past Away, a freaking awesome band.
Now I gotta say a few things and I must write them in the next 10 minutes, so here they go:
I told you I was gonna be back. The last time I wrote in my journal I was falling into depression and I told you about this issue of mine. I also told you I was gonna be back, and here I fucking am!
The wolf: The wolf is no coincidence. I also wrote a while back that I was writing a horror thriller about a serial killer, and the wolf is related to this. Yet it goes deeper than just character building, I have found a very hungry wolf inside the writer himself, one that I won’t let starve for longer. But don’t worry the serial killer stays inside the book and hopefully in your darkest dreams 😉
The whole thing and some decisions: I captured from my last downfall a lot more of what I intend to do with the rest of my life, and I’m working very hard on it. Building a presence in social media, building the artist in me who’s been buried in code for years is not an easy task, but I’m dead serious about taking this to the final consequences.
I’m thrilled to present to you “The Cultural Deviants Coffee Club”.
I’m a person of the Arts and Humanities, and I happen to believe there are many breadcrumbs to a deeper understanding of the world, which have been left by some of the greatest minds in diverse disciplines like film, and literature, arts, and music.
It’s a delight for me to analyze and interpret the beautiful legacy of great artists, I also happen to believe that if you’re a non-conformist, a person who’s thinking outside of propaganda and cultural mainstream, you’re probably interested in finding like-minded individuals.
My aim is to achieve both things and share them with you, and through this start building a community, an actual “Club” where creativity, connections, projects, and great ideas can spawn in freedom, detached from bullshit impositions around us.
So I say: Let’s do this!
TCDCC will start streaming next week and it will also be recorded and uploaded to my YouTube channel. So here’s the gist:
Live Streaming on Twitch Thursdays at 9 pm CT here
Live Streaming on YouTube Saturdays at 9 pm CT here
Subscribe to my Twitch and YouTube channels and enable notifications so you don’t miss it!