Society Trap

When you stop and actually think about it we live in a really fucked up world. There’s war, poverty, segregation, racial vilification, and about a million other atrocities and reasons as to why we as a species are faltering. But perhaps one of the greatest reasons that we are so screwed, and quite possibly one of the reasons we are often so bitter, is the concept of what is socially acceptable and our subsequent adherence to the machine that is society. We wake up every day and put on clothes that make us feel uncomfortable or oppressed, so that we can commute in cars that we are in debt for, to a job that we hate. And we do this just so we can pay for said car, clothes, and whatever else we have chosen to purchase in our consumerist based culture.

We have fucked ourselves into this belief that we need to conform to the idea of being part of a whole; of being part of a machine that tells us how to act, what to wear, to watch, listen to, or even do for a job. And now we trudge through the mediocrities of an existence that is beneath our true potential and try to convince ourselves that this is what we want. It’s sad. It’s sad by definition. And it’s even sadder when the realisation that you are selling yourself short at every goddamn opportunity settles into your mind. You fucked up. I did too. In fact we all did. And as each day passes and another person sells themselves out for a quick buck, the society trap claims another victim.

I want to write and I want to inspire. That’s my dream. To create literature that makes people believe in something greater than themselves; even if it’s just for a fleeting moment. And I want to entertain. I want readers to feel when they consume something that I have produced. Be that fear, love, admiration, loathing, or whatever else. If you as a reader are touched by my words, then I’m achieving something grand. Writing is my passion. My life. And I have goals, I have ambitions, and I have dreams of where my writing can take me. But just like so many others, I sold out to the society trap a long time ago. Now I spend every waking moment searching my way out of this mess.

If you are going to be an adult you need a car, nice clothes, and a roof over your head. Also, you must be unafraid to splash money at a moment’s notice in order to impress. I told myself these things for years, just like I’m sure many others did. I racked up credit card debts and loans, and forced myself into a financial cuckold because that’s what the society trap told me. Burn. Burn it all. Take every ounce of your wage and consume. Its sickly sweet voice would whisper in my ears. So I did. I financially fucked myself up till the point where my dreams had to be put on hiatus so that I could chase money. And when I earned that money I burned through it too; and so the cycle went on and on and fucking on.

I’m a writer. That’s my craft, my passion, and the thing I will bust my arse to succeed at. Yet because of my willingness to abide to what society sees fit I find myself spending my days handling complaints from fucking dickheads who fail to possess the capacity to see beyond their own selfish needs. I am paid a wage to liaise with individuals who can’t see their potential to be so much more, if only they just had the sense to open their eyes and see then world for what it really is. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to free your mind. Open your eyes to your reality and understand where you truly are, and just how far you could reach if you actually took a risk.

Risk…

…That’s what this all comes down to. That’s why so many of us are stuck in this mind-fuck of a conundrum. Because we fear risk. We fear change. And we fear failure. It’s better to blindly consume to support our own failing social structure than it is to stand up and say ‘I can be more than this.’ And by more I’m not talking about being earning more money, or being a celebrity, or owning an expensive car or home. Fuck all of that stuff. Fuck the money. Fuck the status. Fuck the car and home. That’s all consumerist horseshit. What I’m talking about is being more tolerant, more spiritually or emotionally enlightened, more in tune with yourself and your passions. I’m talking about making a conscious decision to harness the intestinal fortitude that lies dormant within you to say ‘today I am going to chase my dreams. Today I am going to be the fucking hero of my own movie.’

It’s possible. It really is. Take a look at the people that you respect: the artists, the singers and songwriters, athletes, writers, and everyone else who have made themselves a success. What do they all have in common? At some point they have made a conscious decision to piss into the wind and fight back against the society trap and create their own future. They have followed their dreams, defied the naysayers, the so called conventional wisdom, and using nothing more than talent, grit, and unwavering determination they have become something great. That’s not to say that it was easy. Because it never is. It’s our failures that define us as individuals. Our ability to scrape ourselves up off of the floor when we’ve been beat down time and time again is what creates the character required to be a success. Those people you respect: they have had their arse kicked by life time and time again. But they’ve never given up. They’ve never bowed down and accepted anything less than what they want and what they deserve.

There is greatness within all of us. We just have to open our minds and realise that we don’t have to blindly accept the society trap. We don’t have to spend our entire lives screwing ourselves into a way of thinking that leaves us crippled with debt and emotionally and intellectually unfulfilled. Yes, we are force feeding our own bloated stomachs with the constructs of a system that leaves us wanting, but you can grab hold of the catheter and start to pull it from your throat. It’s going to hurt like a bitch. You’re going to feel it every inch of the way, as you drag it further and further from your body. But you can do it. You can become one of those people who rises above the slush pile of your own missed opportunities and achieves everything you have ever wanted.

All you have to do is make a conscious decision to chase your dreams. Be more than you can be. And live the life that you want to lead. Jesus, if have to spend the rest of my life trapped in this bullshit, then I’ll probably blow my fucking brains out. I have more to offer. And so do you. Be the hero of your own movie. Refuse to accept the society trap.

Catastrophe – The Flood

Beginning. Middle. End.

Calm. Storm. Flood.

We have now arrived at the end. We’ve been through a transition. We’ve watched the unnerving tranquillity of the calm descend into the torment of the storm, and now the levy is set to break and the flood us upon us. We have reached the point of catastrophe – the end.

Every great piece of writing has a brilliant ending. It’s simply a must in this world of literature that we live in. If you are to create something wonderful then you need to bring your story to a point of dramatic closure that leaves the reader both exhilaratingly satisfied and yearning for more. And that is no easy feat. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly difficult in this day and age to craft an ending to a story that feels authentic, original, and brilliant. We live in a society where studios, agents and publishers are more readily willing to accept something that feels tried and true, knowing it will sell than to take a gamble on a piece of writing with the potential to be a masterpiece, solely because it is unique and therefore ultimately dangerous.

But let’s not digress. My issues with the state of modern writing and publishing are well noted throughout this blog. Today we are focusing on the flood.

Everyone always sees the flood as a negative. When someone talks of a flood we imagine violent and raging torrents of water in biblical proportions. We think of an arc and a guy tasked with weathering hell on earth in order to rebuild life anew out of the devastation that is left behind. And while yes, the flood is often catastrophic it is also an opportunity to wash clean the slate of our own fears or failings and start anew.

Sadly though, the flood that I am set to wade through has no positive connotations. I’m a man laden with extreme narcissism at my best and vehement self-loathing at my worst. I hate so much about my life and fight with myself every fucking day just to keep my head above water. The floodwaters are up to my throat and the ice cold tendrils of failure are lapping at my lips. I often quote Alan Moore’s immerse yourself in the least desirable element and swim philosophy, but I’m not swimming. I’m sinking like a god-damn stone.

So let’s get this shit over with. Let’s flay open my chest and expose the twisted workings of my soul. Let’s stop fighting the floodwaters and allow the destruction to take place. Let’s be honest. Let’s be humble. And let’s fuck up every preconception you’ve ever had of me. Let’s witness the flood.

There’s a cacophony of voices tearing through my head. Jesus, I just want them to stop. I don’t want to be angry. I don’t want to hate. But all this positive shit runs incongruously to the poison in my veins. Why does the god damn wolf in me want to hunt? Why do I need to feed on the flesh of those around me? Why can’t I be placated by the success of others? Why do I feel the need to despise them for their achievements? Surely I can’t forever blame my own shortcomings on the universe at large.

I piss away my time punching in and out of a fucking nine-till-five day job that leaves me feeling like a failure. I’m not a man for what I do. I’m a mouse running on a treadmill for someone else’s amusement; and I go home every fucking day unfulfilled and aware that I’ve contributed nothing to society. People ask me what I do for a career. I don’t have a fucking career. I have a dream of being published and the nightmare of my reality. I’m creatively stifled because I can’t devote myself entirely to anything other than this shit.

I hate that I’m alone, but know deep down that this where my future lies. I’m too much of a mess to ever be loved, or to even let someone get close enough to love me. My future is clear; I was born with nothing and I’ll die alone. But I’ll learn to accept that in time. I’ll learn that sometimes the best thing a damaged soul can do is live a life without another. Why drag someone else into my perpetual downward spirals? It would seem cruel to ever expose anyone to the toxicity of my heart and soul. So I keep quiet and hold people at arm’s length. I wear my masks of the man they believe me to be, and I dance for the amusement of strangers. The worst part? I laugh at their ignorance. No one knows a fucking thing about who I am.

My writing is stuck in limbo. I’m waiting on the validation of strangers. I’m sitting on my hands while someone judges me and decides whether I am worthy of their time. Part of me is thrilled at the opportunity, but the bastard in my wants to grab them by the fucking throat and force them to make a decision. Put a gun to their head and force them to decide. Put it in print or don’t. Just quit with this jumping through hoops bullshit. I’m better than that. Fuck them. Fuck any other author. I’ll destroy the whole lot of them. I’ve crippled people before. I’m not afraid to do it again.

I want to run. Jesus Christ I want to run. Leave behind all of my fuck ups and my flaws and start over again. No debts. No failed relationships. No moronic life decisions. I’d be someone else; somebody humble and righteous. I’d leave all these fucking thoughts behind. My flood would be different. There’d be no waters fuelled by hate rag dolling my battered body. There’d be positivity washing over by skin, carrying me to places unknown. My friends would be there. My real friends. They’d actually know me. I’d be able to let them in. I wouldn’t be so fucked up and scorned by the ghosts of relationships passed.

Run… Jesus fucking Christ I want to run. But the fear of actually being happy or successful has my feet glued to the floor and my fingers reaching for a bottle.

My flood is a mess. I’m surrounded by black water and flotsam capable of breaking bones and minds alike. It will continue to gain strength. Levies will break and my mind will be destroyed. I’ll die alone. Unless I can overhaul who I am and cut the devil from my soul then I’ll never allow anyone in. I’ll live a life as a frustrated author, and I will continue to battle against the raging torrents until I can push my way upstream and achieve my dreams of being published. And will continue to fight through my calms, my storms, and my floods and their sempiternal nature for as long as I shall live. I will fight until I can create an ending worthy of literary royalty.

Catastrophe was the name Aristotle gave to his final act. It seems only fitting then that the life of someone desperate to replicate his successes be bound to experience exactly that. There is no heaven without hell. There is no success without failure. And there is no fortune without catastrophe.

Beginning. Middle. End.

Calm. Storm. Flood.

Spark. Blaze. Inferno.

Protasis. Epitasis. Catastrophe.

Call them whatever you want. Every incredible story has three very distinct components. Our job as authors and storytellers is to make them beautiful and unique. To breathe life to our characters and their journeys in such a way that the reader becomes invested in their transitions through these acts.

God and the Devil

A few years ago one of my favourite bands released an album entitled God and the Devil are raging inside me and right from the moment I first laid eyes on the cover jacket I fell in love. The very idea portrayed in the title was so beautifully macabre that I couldn’t help but be moved by the complexities of human emotion those eight short words could convey. While you’re probably thinking I’m about to slip into another diatribe about my own inner thought processes and compulsions, I’m going to have to say that you’re wrong. We’re not here to rehash just how misguided my head often is, but rather we are going to touch on sometime I started a long, long time ago.

For those of you that have been with me for a while you may remember that in the early days of this blog I regurgitated a quote by comic book writer Alan Moore (I do tend to use quotes a bit in my works). The quote was taken from a short thesis Moore constructed about writing, in which he posited that if a writer wants to continuously improve at their craft they must learn to immerse themselves in the least desirable element and swim. At the time of writing I proposed that if I wanted to continue to grow as a writer I had to venture into a realm that left me with a sense of dread: I wanted to write a love story.

Ever since that post I’ve had a few different attempts at creating a love story, but every time I’ve tried to produce something of quality I’ve found myself with a protagonist who is a real piece of shit. Arrogance, narcissism, and ego seemed to be a common trait in my male leads and the stories would usually crumble pretty damn quickly, and rightly so. Who could fall in love with someone so abrasive? Nevertheless the idea of producing my love story has always been at the forefront of my creative endeavours, becoming the God in my own mental raging when compared to the Devil of my thriller writing.

Lately I’ve been sitting on my hands waiting to see what becomes of my high concept thriller novel Midas, and have been floundering between devoting time to its sequel and this blog. It’s a weird feeling to be creating a sequel to a novel that may fail to become anything more than a document on my laptop, so every time I try to produce a decent follow up I find myself giving up after an hour or two of second guessing and endless self-critique having accomplished very little.

Last night I was determined to write something, so I took to crafting another attempt at my love story rather than screwing around on my sequel once again. I opened up a blank document and started with the word vulnerable as a title. I don’t really know what made me chose the title. Nor do I really know why I chose to start my story in the arm chair of a phycologists office, but over the next few hours I punched out thousands of well thought out words that would become the introduction of my story.

Usually when I write I spend a an hour or two labouring over a thousand words or so before I give up and collapse in an exhausted heap or decide to go shoot hoops. Yet last night I just found myself pouring my soul into the first few scenes of something that actually sounded fucking good. By the time I came up for air I’d plowed through almost five thousand words and blown away any previous records I’d held for productivity. Those words were the most harrowingly honest writing I have ever produced as I created a protagonist whose catalysts and compulsions are similar to my own…

…Stop. Chris just stop. You should never create characters based on yourself. It’s toxic. It’s arrogant, it’s-

-Shut the fuck up. While that’s true, and you should never attempt to create characters in the image of how you perceive yourself this was actually cathartic. I took a long hard look at myself, my failings, and idiosyncrasies and I poured them into a script until I felt something inside me release; as if by unburdening my heart of its own negative inclinations of itself, I had untied the knot in my chest and allowed it relief. Somehow playing phycologist with myself and pressing my mind to answer the questions I’ve spent years trying to avoid allowed me to create something that I felt truly proud of.

While this latest version of my love story is still in its infancy, and still a long way from being well thought out or even remotely ready to present to anyone, there is something quite humbling in the lines I have produced. With a title like vulnerable I decided that I had to be exactly that if I was going to attempt to immerse myself once more in that least desirable element. If I’m going to swim then I need to do it untethered.

So just as God and the Devil are raging inside of all of us, so too are they now raging inside my creative mind once again. I have the God of romance trying to bid for my attention and the Devil of ruin and woe pulling me back to my true passion of thriller writing. Only time will tell if I can sustain the opening pace of my new script, but even if I can’t, just being able to unburden my soul in those opening few thousand words last night was an experience I won’t soon forget. Through my own honesty and self-reflection I now know a different side to myself and have a character that for once doesn’t sound like a fucking dick.

Two Weeks

“Fuck what you know. Fuck what you believe. I am the architect of my destiny.”
-James “Buddy” Neilsen.

With language like that in the epigraph, I think that it’s fair to say that this post won’t ever be making an appearance on the freshly pressed page. But then, my language is abrasive at the best of times, so I guess I’ll have to live without the vindication of being a pressed writer for a little while yet. Nevertheless, let’s kick this off and get down to why I’ve chosen to feature the lyrics of a post-hardcore band in my epigraph, and what it has to do with a page dedicated to the trials and tribulations of my writing career.

Well, the simple answer as to why I chose Neilsen’s lyrics is this: I like them. And I like hardcore music, so I thought that I would feature them just as I have before with artists like Adrian Fitiplades and Max Bemis. But the more in depth answer, the one that actually makes this whole post worthwhile is that right now those three little phrases resonate with me more than anyone could ever truly understand. In fact, the lyrics of the entire album the epigraph was chosen from resonate with me to such an extent that I spent the better part of two hours today deciding between the lines I chose to use and the following:

When you look in the mirror
Are you proud of what you see?
When you look in the mirror
Are you the person you thought you’d be?

The truth is that I’m not quite the person that I thought I’d be right now. I thought that a few things in my personal life would have panned out a little differently than how they have. I’ve been a little emotionally fragile lately, and thankfully I’ve had something constructive to focus my time on…But on a writing front, I’m more than I ever thought possible. That’s right; with less than two weeks to go until I head to New York, I’m so fucking confident in myself and what I have created that I can’t wait to pitch my heart out. Right now when I look in the mirror, I’m damned proud of what I see. I’m a writer with passion and a goal. And regardless of whether I secure a contract in the USA, I know that I’m taking positive steps in the right direction for my career.

Just as Neilsen growls in the song Canine, I am the architect of my destiny. Every single time I sit down and put pen to page I am constructing the blueprints of not just a tale of fiction, but of my life and how I want it to be. When I submit those blueprints to an editor for revision they are given the opportunity to improve and come one step closer to being completed. And when I pitch my story to agents in a foreign city I’ll have the opportunity to see those blueprints come to life. All I need is for one person to say yes and the foundation of my story and my vision will come to life.

But if I’m feeling so confident, and so enthused, why did I chose lyrics that are so explicit? Well, because that’s just who I am. When I’m confident I feel indestructible. And in true Chris Nicholas fashion I have constructed a novel and a pitch that defies what is considered the norm within the publishing industry. When I start my pitch I don’t want to be perceived as just another aspiring author; I want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. I want to be seen as a man capable of rising above the slush pile with a story to tell and the fire in his stomach to do it. So fuck what you know about publishing. And fuck what you believe is acceptable within the industry. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Two weeks. That’s how long I have to wait until I can pitch myself against the best in the industry and see how I compare. And for all of my bravado I am fully aware that I could walk away from the whole experience with nothing. But even if I do, just by making it this far I have achieved something incredible.

The Slip

Iphone 4S pics 433

One of my greatest failings in life is my own unrealistic expectations of myself and the subsequent disappointments that result from them. It sounds rather macabre to say, and perhaps even a little cliché, but I am and always will be, my own greatest enemy. For as long as I can remember I have forever been my own greatest advocate and my own greatest critic, which has led me to develop a split personality of sorts. I, Chris Nicholas, am part arrogant egotist, part emotionally despondent pessimist. And although these two duelling personalities are startlingly incongruous to one another, I’ve somehow managed to allow both to prosper within the vessel of flesh and bone that is me.

Although I often try to convince the world otherwise, the truth is that I am an extremely emotionally volatile human being. Wildly unstable with morals and emotions that seem almost foreign in the world I live in, I often wear the façade of a measured man completely in control of his own universe. I parade myself around as a strong person driven by pride and morals, and I stupidly call myself a leader, believing that just because I can inspire others I should therefore do just that. But even though there are times when I feel in control, I will never truly be. I am forever destined to be that man who stands on the brink of insanity staring back at a world he both despises, yet longs to be a part of…. And for anyone who does decide to follow in my footsteps, well, there’s an old saying that says “If you let the blind lead the blind, you fall off the cliff at the same time.”

But wait, this isn’t like me at all… I’m usually stronger than this. All that negative bullshit that you’ve just read doesn’t resonate with everything this very blog stands for. I’m usually the proud egotist who knows that he is destined for greatness, so when the fuck did the despondent pessimist return and start running his God-damn mouth again?… I can’t really be sure. But I guess that’s the thing with depression. Sometimes things seem to be going great, you’re striving towards a higher purpose and feel like your life actually has some fucking direction for a change, then all of a sudden you slip and you realise that maybe the strong and determined version of you doesn’t actually exist. Maybe it’s just a cruel joke that the darker impulses of your mind play in order to make that slip into anger and frustration seem so much greater.

Right now I’m feeling down and out. I feel as though my mind and body are exhausted and that I’ve slipped and fallen into that dreaded crevice of misery once again. It’s hard to pinpoint just where I went wrong. But somewhere along my journey I’ve placed a foot on fragile ground and tumbled down into a fissure of self-loathing and bitter hatred of my fellow man. My mind is scattered and my heart ablaze, yet no matter how hard I try to pull my shit together and start my ascent towards the stronger man within me, something keeps holding me back. Something keeps telling me that if I truly want to rise again I first need to reach inside of myself and rip the despondent pessimist from within my soul and set him alight. If I truly want to overcome the arsehole within me I must watch him burn until there is nothing left but ashes and scorched bone. Only then can I traverse my way to the top of this crevice and leave all the self-doubt manifesting in my heart behind.

In fourteen weeks I will be on the other side of the world pitching my heart out in an effort to see my writings deemed worthy of publication. But before I go I first need to finalise my editing to ensure that my manuscript is all that it can be. To do that, I need to vanquish the defeatist in me. I need to slay the misery within and return to the strong, overly-confident man that has worked his arse off for this very opportunity. I need to open up the shutters of my mind’s eye and force the bats of despair out of hiding. I need to get my shit together. And I need to do it now. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my time. I’ve let a lot of opportunities get away from me. But this time things will be different. This time the egotist will rise.

New York, New York

iphone5 132

‘The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.’
-Jordan Belfort.

So there’s this opportunity that has presented itself. It’s a chance for me to actually grow a pair of balls and take my roadshow of misguided tales and prose across the world in the hopes of securing a contract with a publisher or agent. Imagine that: no longer would I be that disgruntled writer sitting at his kitchen table penning his inner most thoughts onto scraps of paper or punching them into a word processor. I’d have made it. I’d be a star…

…Well maybe not a star. But at least I’d finally be taking some serious steps towards my dreams.

This opportunity is the kind that comes along once in a lifetime. An opportunity that would see me sitting face to face with the men and women that could make my dreams come true. I would be afforded the chance to pitch my scripts to them in person; I would be able to field their questions, capture their interests and (hopefully) inspire them to believe in my visions as much as I do. It sounds fantastic. And believe me when I say that I’d do anything for an opportunity like this. There’s just one little problem: that opportunity is in New York City in July of this year. As of right now I’m over 9,600 miles away from where I need to be in roughly five months’ time.

At first this sounds like quite the hurdle. How the fuck does one travel almost ten thousand miles in order to chase his dreams? Well, all I can say is thank God for Orville and Wilbur Wright and their rag tag crew who made their own vivid dreams a reality. I don’t want to sound like a jukebox cranking out tired old clichés, but after taking a few words of inspiration from Mr Belfort above I’m telling myself that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So rather than do what I would usually do and throw my hands in the air and curse at the world that such an opportunity should arise on the opposite side of the world, I’m trying to take proactive steps to reach out and grab my dreams by the coat tails. My theory is that if I can manage to make that momentous leap and grab the fringes of my dream’s cloak then then I should be able to claw my way forward from there until I’ve got the fucker pinned to the floor.

Right now my novel is undergoing another round of editing. This time I’ve enlisted the help of an editor located in (surprise, surprise) the USA. It seems to make sense to me that if I’m going to take a gamble and try and spruik my wares in the American market then I should get a little insider knowledge from someone already on the scene. While that happens I’m plugging away at my job; busting my arse to ensure that when the time comes I’ve got enough money that I don’t find myself sleeping rough in the streets of New York as I try and hunt down success.

And while all is that is happening I’m still trying to focus as much time and energy on the one thing that keeps me sane in times like these: my writing. I’m still putting pen to paper whenever I can, admittedly I’m currently doing so with a little more direction than usual; which is a small victory in itself. Whether or not I can make this small sliver of an opportunity work remains to be seen. But even if it does fail I’ll know that it wasn’t through lack of trying. For the first time in my writing career I’m prepared to cast aside that bullshit story that I tell myself is stopping me from achieving my goals and give this my all.

Found Again

Morning Contemplation
It has recently been bought to my attention that I’ve spent the vast majority of my adult life following the mantra of concentrating on myself in a fuck who you want me to be type manner that can rub people up the wrong way. I have focused so much energy on being different and being on the outer that I have effectively alienated myself from the very world that I live in, purely for the sake of being an individual. I’ve always actively sort out the path of most resistance and chosen to trek down its treacherous route armed with no survival skills but rather a potty mouth, a chip on my shoulder and a fuck-you attitude that has seen the somewhat difficult path towards success transform into an inhospitable trail of terror and doom.

I’ve undertaken battles with depression, kicking its arse to the curb more than once. I’ve squared off against my demons, my hopes, my fears and my failings more times than I could care to count. But every single time I have told myself that I was doing what I wanted to do, that I was acting in a manner that I was proud of. With willpower you can do anything I’d tell myself. With the stubbornness and intelligence I possess anything should theoretically be possible… But what happens when willpower just isn’t enough? What happens when suddenly all of the ground that you’ve won through those hellacious battles is ripped out from under you like a cheap rug? What happens when that same pride that spurs you towards greatness starts to become the very thing anchoring you to your own failings?

Well, you find yourself where I am right now: back at square one. For all my talk of personal development and growing over the past eighteen months I somehow seem to find myself in a startlingly similar position to where I was back then. I’m still pressed into a corner by all of my failings (which still stand between me and my dreams), and I’m still preparing myself to come out swinging. I honestly thought that I found myself for a while there. For a precious six months or so the world was a glorious place filled with so much potential, but now in the grip of another fucking frustrating bout of writers block I’m starting to think that the world can go fuck itself all over again.

I was lost and I was found through my writing. But recently I’ve shifted my focuses away from what is truly important in my life and I’ve lost sight of all that I could be once more. I’ve become disillusioned and disheartened by rejection and the mundane nuances of everyday life and now I need to be found again.

Right now I have five manuscripts sitting on my desktop in various states of completion that haven’t been touched in almost two months. Five. With the average novel sitting around the sixty thousand word mark I have a rather ambitious end goal of over three hundred thousand words that are currently stuck in my fucking head unable to make that transition from imagination to the page. With those kinds of numbers I should be spending every waking minute pouring my heart out onto my computer screen, but instead I’m walking around in a state of frustrated trance at my own inabilities to find myself within my own thoughts.

So what do I do? How do you find solace in yourself when you’re struggling to reign in the lives of five separate protagonists and their counterparts in addition to your own? What happens when your life as a writer suddenly becomes your life as a mentally exhausted man parading himself as a writer? How do you become found again?
For once, I don’t know…

…That’s right. For the first time in the history of this site I actually don’t know the answers to the very questions that I pose. The self-proclaimed all-knowing mind of Chris Nicholas is actually sitting here pondering over my current predicament without the faintest fucking clue as to how to overcome it. I don’t know how to find myself right now. But I do know this: I am and always will be an individual. I will never fall into line with what others expect of me, and I will never make excuses for myself. I am a writer, a man, a lover and an arsehole all rolled into one. I will always live my life with that chip on my shoulder that says I don’t give fuck about what others think of me. And I truly believe that while I am currently lost within a maze of three hundred thousand words, one day soon my talent and my drive will be found again.

Suffering

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

Today’s post begins a little differently than most. Today we open with a rather simple, yet incredibly profound quote from Buddha. But before you misconstrue this latest post as a misguided religious rant oozing with theology and profundity, let me remind you that I’m far from an angel and probably not the right person to be lecturing anyone on their belief systems (that’s a topic we might hold off on for another time). Instead today’s post opens with a quote by one of the holiest men to ever walk the earth because of one reason: I wanted to back up what I plan on saying today with the credibility of others, and the guy summed up what I’m about to say perfectly – and there are few people more credible than Siddharta Gautama.

We have all heard the adage Healthy body: Healthy mind. It’s a rather simple concept that to this writer seems to draw a startling resemblance to Laozi’s infamous Ying-Yang theory. That is to say that just as there is a little evil in every good, there is also a little cerebral function in every physical action and a little physicality in every thought process and synapse that bursts into our consciousness. But how many of us actively practice this incredibly simple ideal? How many of us actively move our bodies on a daily basis as a means of not only achieving aesthetic goals but also to improve cognitive function? Having faced off against depression on a bloody battlefield laced with trenches and shell casings once or twice before, I understand the importance that leading a physical existence has on my mental state, and continuously make a conscious effort to move my body in any way possible.

I grew up near the ocean and spent much of my youth swimming and surfing as a means of exercise. The water was an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life and an extraordinary physical outlet that quelled the darker impulses that lay dormant within my heart and mind. I was moving my body almost every single day and in that time could write with ease. However when I relocated interstate in a quest to chase my writing dreams I suddenly found myself landlocked and robbed of my physical mechanisms for coping with stress. It was around this time that I started to fall into a world of depression and anxiety and after a seemingly never ending hailstorm of shit I almost gave away writing forever. (For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of reading about some of my lower moments skip over to My first foray into the world of weblogs) So I changed tact, and instead of diving into the water to clear my mind I began frequenting gymnasiums and at one stage even took to running through a few local bush walking tracks until I found myself doubled over, out of breath and on the verge of spewing having pushed my body so far.

Thankfully as I began to return to a life of consistent exercise my flair for writing and my unique and rather obscure sense of imagination and creativity returned. Ever since then I have always been a firm believer in the fact that if I want that healthy mind I so vividly desire I really do need to have a healthy body, and by continuously exercising I have managed to continue to create. But as is so often the case in life, I took my creativity and my health for granted and until just recently I was beginning to think that I was indestructible. Then a few weeks ago I managed to damage the facet joints that connects my cervical spine to my skull and suddenly my whole world of physical activity and subsequent cognitive stimulation came grounding to a halt. I went from writing every day and being quite active to someone who suffered a migraine if I tried to bend down to pull on my pants in the space of a day and my imagination seemed to cease up just as quickly as my body did.

We often say that we suffer for our art, and after seeking the help of a physiotherapist I learned that that was exactly what I was doing. All my long hours slaving away over a computer with poor posture had literally left me incapable of repeating the action without the onset of a migraine, and nigh on the point of being incapacitated altogether. So began three weeks of headaches, continuous stretching, trips to the masseuse and physio, and a few fucking pathetic attempts at writing before the injury finally managed to subside. Thankfully I can now resume where I left off prior to my brief stint of injury; although nowadays I’m really focusing on my posture and am trying to avoid slouching over my computer screen.

So why am I telling you this? Why should you actually give a shit? Well… You probably shouldn’t. But nevertheless there is a lesson to be learned from my little tale of agony and inactivity. The mind is a powerful tool whose capabilities are virtually endless, yet the body itself is an integral component of the machine that is man. If I want to write, and write well, then I have to continuously stimulate the mind, and a large part of that stimulation comes from physical activity. I’m now exercising again and feel as though my creative flair has come flooding back; so much so that I’m considering attempting NaNoWriMo as a way to really test myself as a writer once again. I’ve only got a few more days to make a decision as to whether I will attempt the momentous feat and if I do I’ll probably spend the vast majority of next month at my laptop tearing at my hair as I try valiantly to produce fifty thousand words over thirty days. But hopefully with a little physical activity to keep me sane and keep my mind firing I can survive to ordeal and maybe even have a little fun at the same time.

Mona Lisa & Centerfolds

We’ve been on a pretty good run for a while now. You and I have been plodding along through the previous few blog entries with a sense of optimism and a spring in our step. We’ve talked about catalysts that have reignited my inspiration to write, and how the past twelve months have served to alter the usually depressive and angry perceptions of yours truly. But as you know all good things must come to an end. And despite my optimism there is still a scorned writer seething within me. So now it’s time to open up and let my inner-arsehole shine. Today for a change of pace we’re not here to talk about writing; we’re here to talk about the slow decline of the human race into a world where men who deserve nothing more than to be punched in the mouth are allowed to prosper.

But before things spiral out of control we better back up a little; I’m not punching anyone just yet. However I am going to let off a little steam about an issue that has been bugging me for a while now. You see, in many respects I’m your typical young man. I’m twenty four years of age and have girlfriend that I adore; and come hell or high water I will stand by and support her. But unfortunately as of late I’ve been exposed to a seemingly endless string of fucking dead-shit men who find it acceptable to belittle and degrade women. It’s absolutely mind boggling as to the level of sexist shit I’ve been exposed to lately. And the fact that I as a man am offended by the level of sexism I’m witnessing serves only to highlight the degrading manner in which some men perceive women. Seriously, what the fuck happened? Was there some kind of memo that was sent out to all men that stated that it was suddenly alright to treat women as second class citizens that I missed?

I grew up in a good home. My old man was a police officer and my mum worked in a catholic school, which meant that respect was something that was instilled into my siblings and I from an early age. You respected your peers, your parents, your teachers, and authority figures. But most of all, as a boy and as a man, you respected women. The greatest lesson that my father ever taught me was that a woman is a man’s equal. He taught me that to degrade women in any way, be that physically, emotionally or otherwise was a most heinous act and it’s something that I’ve carried with me through my teens and into my twenties.

Which is why I find it alarming how many young men nowadays are consistently treating women (their partners or otherwise) like pieces of shit. Men the world over objectify women in the vilest ways and base their judgement on attributes that are only skin deep… I can already hear the rebuttals coming from some of you reading; that man is carnal by nature. And as such our basic instincts are animalistic and urge us to procreate and objectify. But unfortunately in this male’s opinion that piss-weak excuse went out the window centuries ago when man first decided to differentiate itself from the animal kingdom on an intellectual level by developing little things like cuneiform and the spoken word.

So where the fuck does some little piss ant get off thinking he has the right to talk down to a girl or demean her to his peers? We live in a world where women play an integral role in all facets of society, and to attempt to undermine their value based solely on their genetic makeup is about as open minded as saying that all Australian’s are beer swilling hillbillies, or that all African-American’s excel at basketball. What I’m talking about here is straight up sexism; I’m an honest guy, so if I think someone is a dick based on their personality or moral traits I have no problem with telling them regardless of their gender. No, what I’m saying is that I can’t stand the close minded bullshit from my fellow men that inspires comments about women belonging in domestic roles, or having a lower perceived worth or opinion based on the fact that they don’t have a set of nuts between their legs. But above all of this I have a particular distaste for men that objectify women in explicitly sexual manners.

That’s not to say that I’m a prude. I love a crude joke as much as the next person. And in many respects I’m your archetypical young man, I love and admire the female form, and am lucky enough to have found a woman who in my opinion is beyond desirable. Ask me what I think about my partner and I’ll tell you that she’s beautiful, that she’s sexy; but I will not enter into any discussion that demeans her on a sexual level. It’s a simple concept really… She’s my Mona Lisa; a piece of artwork that I stand back and admire. I’ll tell you that the Mona Lisa is beautiful; it’s a marvelous piece of art. But it’s not some cheap centrefold from a porn magazine. Meaning that I’m going to tell you how much I admire it, not how much I want to fuck it.

But could this be the problem society now faces? Have we taken our artworks, or women, who deserve to be put on pedestals and stripped back their worth and objectified them to a degree that they are now considered to be as valuable as nudie magazine? Is this mindset of carnal lust and our desire to blur the lines between art and sex what has lead us to the point where men view women as beneath them? The truth is that this theory may be partially to blame for my fellow man’s objectification of the female form. But unfortunately some of the blame does fall back onto the shoulders of women themselves for this conundrum that we see before us. You see, there’s an old saying that says behind every great man stands a great woman; which thanks to Laozi’s wonderful ying-yang theory would suggest that the opposite must also be true. Behind every chauvinistic fucking cunt stands a woman who for one reason or another is prepared to accept the degradation of her character by a human being with the below average emotional intelligence to match the below average size of his dick.

But regardless of how or why this sudden re-emergence of sexism has been allowed to enter my life I will say this: any man who demeans anyone based on their gender is a coward. Any man who feels that they are in some way superior to women due to their physical strength or misconception of their own importance as a half-witted fuck. And any man who wants to dispute any of this is more than welcome to let me know. Just be prepared that if you do so, you will get punched in the mouth.

Year one: Creating a masterpiece from disaster

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twelve months since I first ventured into the world of web-logging; peeling back the thin façade that I had been hiding behind and exposing my depression to the world. In that time so much has changed in my life that it’s almost impossible to track the winding path that I have trekked since then. Amongst other things, I’ve written manuscripts, completed university assessments, relapsed into depression, moved home twice, ventured overseas, destroyed friendships and forged new ones. Yet somehow along the way I’ve managed to hold myself together in an unprecedented fashion and actually learn a little bit about myself.

Last year when I started this blog I was just a boy struggling to fight off my own demons and establish myself as a writer. Now twelve months on so much has changed, yet my basic catalysts and compulsions remain the same. I am still that struggling author trying to establish himself as a man; yet now I have learnt to use my demons as motivation for success rather than the instigators of my own destruction. Although some of my posts have ventured away from my new found positivity and exposed the lingering inner demons that still plague my mind, I believe that this blog has helped me to better understand myself and forge a confident new writer and man. So while sometimes this page can read like the sound of animals fighting as those lingering demons battle it out with the better angels of my nature, I can’t deny the earth shattering effect this blog has had on me.

As I write this latest entry my manuscript for Midas is in the hands of a publishing company undergoing a final read through and some entry level marketability tests. It’s a stage that I have reached before with another manuscript; so while being beyond excited that my work has been deemed worthy of reaching this level of the publishing process, I’m still trying not to look too far into the opportunity just yet. The process could take another couple of months to complete, which in essence means that I am now destined to spend the next few months shitting myself every time I receive an email or a phone call from an unknown number. I am however, extremely honored that this particular company has bestowed this level of stress upon me. With the stress comes the possibility that my work will make it into print. And at the very least it’s a sign that everything I am doing as a writer is not in vain. It’s a sign that if I just keep plugging away at my craft I will eventually produce a manuscript that finds acclaim. That could very well be Midas, it could be my love story, or Renegade, or any one of the hundreds of ideas that I have in my head and scribbled down on various notepads hidden around my home. It’s all just a matter of time.

And that’s the thing; time is really on my side here. At just twenty four years of age I am still considered exceptionally young in the writing and publishing industry. Many authors spend decades honing their craft before they find critical acclaim or see their work in print. And many face constant rejection by those they aim to please; their eventual success is a result of their never say die attitude. So while sometimes it can be hard to pick yourself up off the floor after having the figurative shit kicked out of you and your script by an agent or publisher, that’s exactly what needs to be done in order to taste success.

But to me success isn’t selling a million books and becoming a household name. To me success is simply seeing my work in print and having the opportunity to affect just one person’s life through my words. Unfortunately for my beautiful partner writing is, and always will be my (other) soul mate; which means she will forever be battling to drag me away from my computer or to pull my nose out of a book. In the depths of my depression, when the light at the tunnel sounded like nothing more than a vicious lie designed to inspire hope, my passion for reading and writing became the catalyst for my change. My decision to reach for the stars came from my desire to write and create. This blog, Midas, and every manuscript I have ever produced became the very things that helped alter the course of my life, taking what would have undoubtedly ended in disaster and turning it into a masterpiece of triumph. To be afforded the opportunity to be the inspiration behind someone else’s journey towards their dreams, or even to create something that someone finds intriguing and engaging is how I will always view my success as a writer.

It will be months before I have a final decision on Midas from the publishing house currently testing it. And in that time I’m sure that I will become a racked with anxiety and feel sick every single time my I receive an email or phone call. But even if I don’t succeed, even if this is as far as I get this time, it will still be a success in my eyes. I’m still a better writer and a better man than I was one year ago when I started this very blog; and that’s all that I could have ever asked for.

%d bloggers like this: