New stuff on the Writings page!

As some of you have noticed, the Writings page has been updated. Last weekend I posted a link to How to be Depressed and a little summery / backstory. I added a second piece of fiction to the page last night, so I figured I’d whip up a quick joint about that so you folks don’t miss it.

Both these are short, and they represent me as writer then and now. How to be Depressed started as an assignment in college years ago. I read it to the class, at the launch party for the literary mag that published it and at some other event that escapes me. I used to dig on live readings of my joints, which explains my interest in an audio aspect for this blog.

Fifth and Franklin, on the other hand, in a brand new story. I wrote it over the summer. It’s an experimental story, short, and it’s dark and real and fun. I hope you cats enjoy it. My beta readers liked it a lot and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I have a ton more fiction to post but it all needs some form of work. Just bear with me during this busy season.We have mandatory overtime at my square job and it’s the holidays and then there are birthdays and parties and all this shit to do now. But, we are halfway through it. Everything is harder, even my cats bitch me out because I have less time for them. But none of this is new to you. Truth is, this time of year is hectic for every one of us. And as we all should, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Short post for today, but if you want more Dan Newman, head over to the Writings Page to get your fix.

Second guessing – a gift of fatherhood

I made this!

Shitty gift, huh? Not really. Just listen.

When a baby is born, they are strictly reactionary creatures. They have to take a dump so they shit their pants. They are hungry so they do the only thing they know how – they cry. Babies can’t form memories for 3 years or so, but they do learn the basics of being a human in this circus we call civilization. And early on I came to the clarity that every single thing I do matters. It leave seeds, as I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, and seeds grow. They can grow bad or they can grow good.

I have a laundry list of things I feel are proper in raising children, and all of those came from shit I read, heard, ascertained or came up with, and I would sit and ponder on every little detail. If my kid sees me pound down pizza while I throw the beans away is that going to make him want to be like me … and end up fat as hell like me … or will he rebel and grow up healthy? Those shits can fuck up your head for like ever if you let them. So, in light of that, you find your limits and figure what would send the best message so your kid has a stable base to grow off of.

I made a habit early on to think through my actions during the day and what messages or teachings I may have inadvertently passed on to my boy. This usually happens at night or when he is out of my care for the day. If it’s a bad day, maybe throughout. No lie, kid’s test you until you wanna flee to the mountains to live off the land and never see another god damn human being ever the fuck again. But then they will make you so proud that you actually cry.

Parenting’s a mixed bag with ups and downs, and kids cost all your money no matter what. But the good far outweighs the bad in my case. My boy is growing into the coolest little man. That has a lot to do with his father, but I’d never discredit the job his mother does. That is definitely not what this post is about. I’m a man raised (albeit poorly) by a man, so who better to grow one? From the positive prego test I was all in for the challenge.

This is something I will talk about here from time to time because it is such a big part of my life. Truth is most’ll do it at some point, and common ground is always nice. But don’t worry yet-to-be parents, this place isn’t going to turn into Parenting Magazine or anything. I promise.

 

 

12th day of website

Welcome to the first ever State of the website address! don’t worry, it’s not as boring as it sounds. Fuck. See? Isn’t it already more fun?

Happy Monday folks! Some of the more successful people say Monday is their favorite day of the week. It’s not mine, so screw those guys. I’m a big believer in the current day being the only day, and the more you think about it, that is the reality of life in this universe. I know that right now, as I write the rough draft, edit the second draft, do a final edit of this post, I am alive. We all could drop at any time, so why waste time on a “bad day”, if there is such a thing.

An ancient saying, which overflows with real world wisdom, goes: “Your focus determines your reality.” Take a beat to ponder that one. Whatever you focus on colors your day, so if you think on bu’shit your day is going to suck. But if you wake up everyday with a focus, a mission, the game, art, writing, whatever, you are focusing on shit you wanna be doing and that makes everybody happy. Even if you’re at work doing mundane tasks, you know you gonna leave at some point and get at it what you wanna, and it’s inspiring.

That quote is from Qui-Gon Jinn. He said it a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away to a young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 1. Shitty movie but Jedi gold for the dorks -coughs- like me.

So anyway, yeah, 12 days and going strong with this site. I am so grateful to every one of you peeps who stop by and click around on here. This site is new and small, but the traffic is better than I expected. Only two comments though, so some of y’all’re slackin.

In other news, I had some business cards made up. I wanted them loud but simple, utilitarian and minimalistic. The design is below. I got them in a matte finish and I’m interested to hear what you cats think of them.

I am also adding my email address to the site. If you want to get a hold of me, hit me up at dannewman@dannewmanwriter.com. I’ve added it to the About page as well. And this gets me to our last order of business for the day. The damned Resume page.

I can’t figure out how to put my clips up there in an attractive and presentable way. I decided to make a PDF press kit style joint and link to it on that page. This will push it out a little further, but the Resume section is the least important to me at this point. The Writings page, however, there might be some news there.

And that, friends, wraps up today’s post. Might be an extra little something later today, but in any case, I’ll look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

This holiday season

 

What’s the most important part of Christmas and the holiday season? Some would say the food or the presents or the festive decor. Others would say the friends and family, the people make the season. The younger folks might say it’s the gifts. Truth is, everyone has their own answer, which can vary year to year. And then there are some who don’t like it at all.

There is no right answer, and I am not here to guide your holiday season. Also, I’m going to call it Christmas because it is Christmas. If that is not politically correct enough for you, you are quite in the wrong place. I’m not religious at all, so you won’t find me preying for whatever because I simply don’t believe in any religion. This is a discussion for a later day though.

Christmas to me is not to celebrate the birth of our savior from a time when humans still thought the sun orbited the flat planet Earth. It’s not to receive gifts or eat sixty thousand calories of sugar. For me, Christmas has long been a time of judgement. It was a time when everyone got together to talk about their great vacations and great lives and high paying jobs and scoff at me for not being all that. It was a time for lectures about living wrong and not watching football, for not going to church and for not begging god for forgiveness.

This was years ago, but those feelings won’t die. Now that I have a kid it’s easier to tell people to step the fuck off. This is because I raise my boy, I decided to man up and make good on a huge commitment. I’m a father, and furthermore, I don’t want to stop. My son is young so Christmas is a huge deal for all the reasons above (except god, I would never in a million years put that guilt on him). He gets into the festive spirit, eats cookies and he carefully unwraps all his presents. Don’t get that one, aren’t you supposed to just dive in and rip shit up? Whatever makes him happy.

So I focus on him during these holiday celebrations. All his wonder and joy, and I know that I gave him some of the gifts that cause so much joy, but I also gave him a life where he can find joy in the simplest of things. His little smile and his exaggerated excitement in opening gifts and seeing plate after plate of food – this is what Christmas is to me now. Without that little smiling face, I would still go to Christmas gatherings, maybe out of habit or obligation, but I wouldn’t miss the season if not for him.

If it were just me, the gift of this season would be an empty Star Wars Rogue One matinee with a 48 oz soda and box of Buncha Crunch to swim in it. But with my boy, Christmas has a new meaning.

The holiday season is exciting because I get to witness the joys of childhood all over again. I get to relive all the dormant memories of waking up to all those toys and the epic battles I’d put them through in the months that follow. The smell of pine and cookies and then the meal itself. And also, now that I’ve grown as a human being, I am excited to see my family all in one place at the same time. It usually only happens a couple times a year max.

So maybe Christmas isn’t about giving: it’s about giving back. And maybe that’s enough. Look at what you receive in return for what you give. In my case, that is the only place I’m wealthy.

The thing about vlogs and quitters

Casey speaks on stage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 10, 2016 in New York City.

The vlogging scene on YouTube has exploded over the past year, and I admit to following the trend. Vlogs are like ten minute daily videos of people just living their lives. They upload to many social media and streaming platforms. The videos feature the vlogger on camera doing anything from daily activities to skydiving. If you follow someone or binge watch their content, you get to know them, or at least how they want to be seen, and in a sense they become part of your life. And then the fuckers quit.

This is what happened to me with Casey Neistat. I started to watch him last spring because his videos are super high quality and his content is exciting. Plus, he seems like a good guy. He made me want to move to New York if only for the dollar pizza on the morning walk to work. He stays positive, which is something I struggle with, so it was great to wake up to a new video of him with Candice and Francine or at his crazy workshop or hanging out with gorgeous supermodels going to shows I can’t even pronounce. The days I’d wake up to no vid from Casey, I’d be bummed while waiting.

Casey started to skip days in the last month of the vlog and I knew what was coming. Many creative types have already spoke on this, and they say they understand Casey’s reasoning. He said it got easy doing the vlog, called it routine, and he got bored so he dumped the project. He turned around and made a bunch of money on the Beme deal with CNN, but I don’t think that was a huge factor in ending the vlog. Filming it didn’t appear to hold him back from life’s obligations, his wife didn’t seem to mind it, and he got famous off it. He said he wants a new challenge and that he’ll be back with something new.

I believe he will, but I still miss his daily uploads. My little window into a life less ordinary. I mean, he does all this shit I never do. He’s on yachts sailing the Mediterranean sea, taking helicopters all over New York City, jumping off cliffs, speaking at colleges, jogging, all things I wish I could do but I just don’t. I liked to watch someone out there living the dreams I’ve always had. (things that make you go hmm)

When Casey ended his vlog, I had his back just like I always have. And I learned some things along the way. He’s currently at almost six million subscribers. They kept coming back because every day they got a brief glimpse of someone else’s life. Every day.

So Casey, I ain’t madatcha. I get it. I just miss the vlog.

Mortality and kittens

I saw a dead body the other day. It was a traffic accident during a deceptively dangerous snowstorm. This person hit a bridge support and burned to death in the vehicle. What made this hit closer to home was the fact that I passed that exact spot only a half an hour before. It quite literally could have been me, and at the time I had my kid in the car so it would have been him too. My thoughts go out to the families of this as of yet unnamed person (I looked it up but no info has been released).

And this really made me think about life and death and the end to the only journey we as humans get. The person who died had plans. That person had things left undone, had things that have been put off far too long, and had things they were current on. And if it were me and my kid who died that day, the same could have been said of us. I have shit to do, hell, I’m doing it right now. And my kid? He’s got a great brain and a bright future. Loss of life is always tragic but it’s something I don’t really think too much on until it hits home or at least close to it. This was on a purely geographical level, but a level none the less.

I had 50 miles to go before I got home when I saw this and I turned off the radio and drove to the sound of my thoughts. It’s now days later and I haven’t turned on my car stereo yet. I just think when I drive now. Winter is about to set in here, so any short trip to the store could end with my death or disfigurement. Or I could cause that to happen to another person. Ten miles closer to home I realized I’d had all these thoughts before, and very recently.

I’m a cat person, and as cat people know, 2 is the magic number of cats you should have in a home. I have an adult cat who is excellent, but a bit lonely with me having to go to work and do whatever else life begs of me, so I got a kitten about a month ago. I got both cats from the Humane Society, years apart mind you, so I knew she’d be healthy and up to date. But somehow bringing home such a tiny life opens the floodgates and all these macabre thoughts fill my head. Thoughts of life, death, pain, and the rest of the ugly truth about life as sentient bio organism.

I would play with this kitten, this little child, and I would be happy but in the back of my mind I pondered the simple fact that one day, both my cats would die and I would be alone at home. These thoughts are not new to me. I’ve been a cat person since 8 years old and I treat them like family. And things that are treated like family leave a big hole when they go.

It was different when I brought my kid home from the maternity ward. All the terminal thoughts were there, the fear of pain, suffering and mistreatment were all there, but there was more to it. He’s supposed to outlive me. I’m supposed to outlive my cats. And this is neglecting the fact that my son is a human being who will someday tell me to go fuck myself and tell me he at least once that he hates me and in that moment he will mean it more than anything.

And the whole while he will not understand all that goes into raising a child. All the time, all the thought and then the actions to carry out the thoughts. I spend tons of time planning what seeds to plant in my young boy’s head because seeds grow into plants and some are poisonous. Doing right by my boy is me putting all this thought into how to prepare him to be a man. And the only way to do this is to man the fuck up and be the best example of this I can be.

So after I dropped off my kid with his mother, I saw this tragedy and thought about life, death and things left undone all the way home in silence. And then when I got home, I hugged both my cats and called my kid. Then I went to fucking work. Talk about full circle.

Get into the sound

I’m working on an AV section to compliment this project. My aim is to read some of my  posts and fiction and release it in audio and video formats. I will of course be completely naked during every video, in the spirit of a Betazoid wedding.

What? Really? Ok, fine, I will not be naked.

Truth is I’m not ready to release a game plan yet, but it’s on the horizon. I want to access as many people as I can, I want a certain level of audience involvement too. Philip DeFranco of YouTube fame always says he wants his videos to be a conversation. That is kind of what I want to create with this page and other media.

The whole reason this is happening at this point in my life is I need to step outside my comfort zone and really challenge myself. My life has been mundane for a fucking decade because I got comfortable and then I got bored and quit freelancing, then had some personal shit happen that I let ruin me. It was a minute ago now so I’m pretty over it, but I just stagnated through the healing process.

The way out is the way through. This project is all about that.

The road back is full of turns. This is because a straight path is fucking boring. It would be a challenge to like the sound of my own voice. It would also be a challenge because I don’t know how to do a podcast or start a real YouTube channel.

Not gonna lie, I’m not exactly a spring chicken (as evidenced by that bullshit saying) but that does not mean my content or the medium any less valid. Quite the opposite. I love experimenting with content delivery and alternative storytelling methods. So if I start to get bored or if I stagnate, I’m gonna shake things up a bit.

I just wanted to throw these ideas out there for you, the early adopters. I’ll keep you posted.

See you on the page!

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Afterglow

Black Friday, 2016 – $3.34 billion in sales

Cyber Monday, 2016 – $3.45 billion is sales

How much of that was you? I’m sixty bucks strong in that Cyber Monday figure. What? I had a legitimate need. Black Friday all I bought was a Whopper meal and a tank of gas. Anyway, my point is not what I purchased. It’s the sad fact that these retail holidays are the start of hunting season. Not hunting animals for food or sport, I mean the first push of the holiday shopping season. And just how sad this all really is.

We dutifully load our angry selves into our gas guzzling cars to go fight with other angry people for junk we don’t need. I mean really, did you need that 5th TV for the second room in the basement? How many gifts did you buy with the thought, “If (s)he does like it, they can just return it”? And how many brief negative interactions did you have to endure to buy all this garbage?

And sure, you saved a ton, but you had to spend a ton all at once to do it. In the end, the result is more shit in landfills and more cash in the 1%er’s pockets. Also, less savings, less space and the added chance of humiliation if you bought someone the same shitty gift as someone else at one of your four Christmas celebrations. And what if both of you bought it knowing it sucked but a gift like a prepaid debit card is just so impersonal. No, this bullshit sweater that looks like cock is much better than something that can pay rent or buy food or diapers.

The art of the thoughtful gift is dead as disco. Now it’s a numbers game. But not how many gifts or how much they were liked, the talk in the kitchen at every Christmas is about how long ago the gift was bought and how much was saved because of the oasis-in-the-desert sale that was happened upon while shopping for some other shit. This is mainly the women, as we all know men lack the foresight to shop ahead. Any gift from a man is fresh from the store. We won’t go into the differences in gender because both are victims here. See, the advertising agencies know this and target men and women differently. Children too.

And that begs the question about who is the hunter and who is the prey? Humans have the instinct to hunt. Most of us, myself included, have no idea how to hunt animals. All the food I eat comes dead and cleaned and I like to not think about that. But the need is there. No matter what we have we always look for a better one. The need, the act of searching for it, and then the perceived ability to make good on all that effort is what drives us. Fortunately, the end of our hunt doesn’t have to include a murderous bloodletting and consuming raw flesh with our teeth.

Cuz that shit be crazy.

No, we hunt for the perfect better thing. A new watch that does the same shit as the one you’re wearing with the added feature of being a trophy to attract other hunters. Advertisers are trappers who sell our pelts to the big corporations who make the shiny new shit. So our hunt is not so much of hunt after all, is it? No man, we are being hunted and it’s time we wake up.

We’ve all seen the articles about how the size of the American family home is getting larger and the general happiness level of the American family is in decline. That is because all this is built on a bed of bullshit. The consumer market is a trap we all fell into. This more more more mentality is toxic at it’s best, evil at it’s worst.

We need to take a step back as a species and really look at ourselves. This consumerist hunt is a trap. It’s a generated fantasy that is ruining our planet and economies worldwide. It’s the Matrix, but way less cool. It’s time to tumble down the rabbit hole, Neo.

This post is to highlight the problem. Stay tuned, in a couple days we’ll start talking about the fix.

Now that I’ve said my piece, let me ask you this: Did you really need anything you bought on this past Black Friday / Cyber Monday?

 

 

(sales figures from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/29/online-sales-hit-another-record-on-cyber-monday-as-shoppers-continue-gobbling-up-deals.html)

Upcoming additions

It’s a lazy Sunday, so I figured I’d give you a simple update post. Nothing heavy, just an idea of what to expect in the near future.

First and foremost, new blog posts will start their normal schedule of  Monday through Friday. The only reason I’m posting this weekend is to get more content up for you early adopters. Topics will vary, but in the beginning, I am planning a fair bit about personal improvement through unconventional means. It’s sort of my deal at he moment.  Stay tuned.

After that, the Writings and Resume pages need to be populated. Each entry will have a small summary of the content and a download link. I’m still ironing out the details on that.

I have a few short stories almost ready for the Writings page. They just need another read and final tweaks. This collection will grow over time as I finalize my body of work and continue to write new joints as well. Protip for the audience – some of the stories I’m uploading will be linked to others and future works. More on that when it’s closer.

The Resume page will have some of my published clips from years ago when I was a freelance writer. These are articles on businesses and bands and other topics that I wrote for print publications as a freelancer. I’ll toss in a few pieces of fiction I’ve had published for good measure.

Then onto other miscellaneous tasks. I need to get this tip jar thing sorted out. I was not prepared for how big a hassle that was going to be. I have some cosmetic tweaks I’m looking into. This site is meant to grow organically, in a holistic sense of the word. A man should walk boldly into the unknown, like he’s got a pair.

So with that thought, enjoy your Sunday! Talk to you tomorrow.

About waiting …

Waiting for something, anything really, is simply a form of procrastination. Waiting to start a project until you have the perfect work space, or putting off cleaning until you have the one perfect thing, or painting the garage because it would be an inconvenience … whatever it is you’re waiting on is bullshit. It’s better to jump in and figure it out along the way.

I can speak on this because it’s plagued me. I always gotta have the right whatever for the next great thing, but then a rage sets in because, for whatever reason, I just never get the damned thing so I project my anger at some object that only has value in my own head.

The answer is simple, and it was always right there. The answer is get off your ass and just fucking do it.

This waiting game has allowed me to let great opportunities pass me by and my brain sours at the hindsight. They’re lost to history now, all of them, because I chose to wait instead. I should’ve had this site up at least a month ago but I was fucking waiting. I kept thinking I was going to need everything before I launched. I kept waiting and doing other shit that was or was not related to this site just to feel like I was doing something.

And I got sick of it and something online inspired me and I posted on my socials that the blog is launching in 2 weeks. The next day I woke up not dreading the day but refreshed and ready. I had a deadline. A socially punishable deadline where if I didn’t have at least a presentable site on that date, well then fuck me.

I put together a shortlist of the essentials needed at launch and I did them. The parts that were way more than I expected got pushed down the road. These are things that will benefit from an established readership. So from an altered perspective the entire situation changed. Instead of thinking people will see me as a hack if this joint isn’t spotless before visitor #1, the opposite was true. It will be better for the readers and the site if I post my fiction a little here, a little there, instead of having this fat lump of stories and shit to try and sort through. Same thing with the resume page. I’m not looking for freelance gigs right now, life things kill that idea until early spring, so it’s a project to pick at until then.

It helps to identify what things really mean to you and adjust your priorities. This is how I plan to do it from now on. Don’t ponder on  what’s opportune, just do it.