My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Self-Reflection Sucks (Part 1)

Today's entry is a combination of a personal update and the ongoing fiddling with the knobs to make Writing About Writing a useful and entertaining place to land.

So there is a timeline involved in this entry that could be considered critical backstory:

  • February 2012. The climactic battle with my (then) nemesis Mirrorshield ends during a lightning storm on the rooftop of the Oakland Tribune building. After twenty unrelenting years of his devastating ability to hold up his shield and cause me to see myself in stark cold truth, I finally don't mind what I see. At least just enough to keep my wits about me and deliver a coup de grace with a lightning rod through his torso. Seconds later, lightning strikes his impaled body, and he dramatically flails, dropping the mirror shield to the ground below. Then he falls from the roof, smacking his head on the "I" on the way down where he lands on the roof of a car.
No "Next time, Chris!" for that guy. No siree bob.
  • September 2013. The Brain enters third trimester. My housework contribution to The Hall of Rectitude increases.
  • October 2013. Wrecking Ball, a local superhero roughly built like a tank, except with arms, officially signs on with The Hall of Rectitude to help our PR image which has been taking some hits in the Temescal area after one of Uberdude's creations razed a charming little Ethiopian place with dual auto cannons. It turned out not to be the secret lair of The Ethiopian.
  • November 2013. Wrecking Ball gets into a fight with The Harbinger. He is critically injured and ends up in a coma. Most of the Hall of Rectitude is busy trying to put away local crime syndicates before the baby comes, but I visit Wrecking Ball every night and read him Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello. I even do the voices.
  • December 2013. The Contrarian is born. His psychic ability of contradicting everything saves me from the soul-ripping powers of The Warlock.
  • January 2014. I take over local patrols in addition to cleaning duty since Uberdude and The Brain want to stay home and coo over the baby.
  • February 2014. I am badly injured on patrol by Dawnweaver. Her deprivation ray saps me of alertness, memory, cognitive ability, and performance. I end up convalescing. Uberdude makes an impassioned soliloquy and returns to patrols, unleashing a plague of tiny robot chihuahuas on Dawnweaver, an act which causes her to declare him her nemesis and focus her attention on him instead of me. He tries to hide it, but he is often suffering from deprivation. Wrecking Ball wakes from his coma, but is not yet ready to return to crime fighting.
  • March 2014. I begin to notice I am missing time. A few minutes here. An hour there. I'm not sure where it's gone. Wrecking Ball gains strength and is nearly ready to return to active duty.
  • April 2014. Uberdude cannot handle the influx of villains who have heard that The Temescal is "open season." The Brain and Wrecking Ball return to full time crime fighting. 
  • May 2014. My severe difficulty with time management comes to a head, and I attempt to analyze why I seem to have so little. I discover that I am not just suffering from a perception issue, but that there are actually bits of time that are missing from my life.
Can't look at this chart right now. Crying baby (which trumps "Looking At Charts").
  • June 2014. Plaguebringer, who usually causes plagues of bacteria or viruses, tries something new: a plague of middle school students. The Hall of Rectitude deems the onslaught of obnoxious, self-centered kids a "low priority" and I am dispatched to handle it. Alone.
  • Late June 2014. I discover why I am missing time. A traveller from the future (where they are "out of time") named ChronoTron is stealing time from people who are too busy to notice. He does not realize I am a sidekick and we end up in a fight on the roof of the Ordway building. I am saved by Dim and Sum who end up being...well "criminals" is such a strong word given that they barely steal at all from people who don't totally deserve it, but I guess technically outside the law is correct. They look so good in boots though. So so good. ChronoTron declares himself my new nemesis.
  • July 2014. After considerable effort, I am able to round up the last of the plague of middle schoolers and return them to their parents none the worse for wear. Uberdude is given the key to the city for having the presence of mind to deploy me. I am given a $32 gift certificate to Sephora. 
  • August 2014. The Contrarian learns how to make messes. Nothing will ever be the same. Blog goes insane and tries to get 50,000 page views. Between the two, I barely survive.
But the room was clean ten seconds ago.
I only turned around to grab my Kindle. I don't even....
What the actual, literal fuck?
  • September 2014. ChronoTron returns, attacking the Hall of Rectitude. Wrecking Ball happens to be enjoying a day off catching up on Orange is the New Black and eating Chinese take out. He hears the commotion from the foyer, jumps down from the mezzanine, and one-punches ChronoTron into next week. Literally.
  • Friday October 3, 2014. Jenny pops my "what's your process" cherry

Which catches you up to this weekend, specifically yesterday. I was taking a walk down on Piedmont Ave., half-heartedly looking for some place to have lunch, when I heard my name. A strange woman with golden hair and a bright smile waved and gestured me over. 

"Chris," she said. "It's me. Jenny. From Friday's mailbox."

"Oh, hi!" I said, starting to walk over. "I didn't realize you lived around here." Jenny turned out to be into breathtaking short skirts and breathtaking knee-high soft leather riding boots (the kind with the tops that fold back down about six inches). I didn't stare, but it was hard not to notice.

"Well, I work out here actually," she said. "On the weekends. Doing charity work. For homeless orphans. Who are missing limbs."

I cleared my throat. "That's....very....niche work. How many of those are there in Oak–"

"I was wondering if you could look at something," she said. "I totally took your advice, which was amazing by the way, and I came up with a process of my own. Just for me. Will you look at it?"

"Sure, I guess," I said. "But really it's about you."

"I know," she said. "But I'm such a fan," she said. "I was really hoping you could just take a glance. Please?"

Had her skirt somehow gotten shorter? Don't stare, Chris! You're a feminist. Male gaze. All that stuff. Be cool.

"Sure," I said. "I'll take a look."

She handed me a small folder.  "I was just so inspired by your process. The way you are barely able to keep up and aren't really writing much fiction these days. The way you can only just keep up. It moved me."

"That seems like a strange thing to find inspira..." I said as I opened up the folder. My words died in my throat.

I was staring at my reflection. A fist sized, roughly-crescent-shaped piece of mirror sat in a hollowed out alcove within the little folder.

I looked at myself. My overweight face looked back with bags missing sleep under my eyes. It hit me how little fiction I was doing. How I had entire projects in my head that were just slipping away since I could never seem to catch up or stay ahead on the blog. How my life was just a cascade of barely keeping my head afloat. I saw all my ambition and my drive poured into petty time sinks like Facebook. I saw what a waste I was becoming. 

A familiar feeling of paralysis gripped me. I couldn't move. I was too busy loathing what I saw in my reflection. What had my life come to? Why was I wasting it? Who was I kidding? I wasn't worth the oxygen I was consuming.

"Like that?" she said, sliding up to my left side and whispering in my ear. "I thought you might get a kick out of it. That's the biggest shard of the Mirrorshield I could salvage from the street below the Tribune building. Took me months to track it down."

I felt her hands running through the thin down on the nape of my neck. "Worth it though. The enemy who pwned you up and down California for twenty years, and who you only defeated in a spectacular, and uncharacteristic, moment of self esteem–his power is now mine. Look closely Chris...at what you really are. No self delusion. No rationalizations. No pretense. Just you and the truth."

I swallowed. Was I even a real writer? Did blogging even count? One more poseur in a long line. I couldn't move. I could barely think. I could only contemplate how my life failed in so many ways to live up to what I wanted it to be.

"Have you no psychic baby to save you this time?" she asked, a Welsh flavored English accent creeping into her words. "Or shall we finish what we commenced before Sonic Gal so rudely interrupted us?"

The affected accent. The speech patterns....I knew them.

"Warlock?" I gasped.

"In the flesh," she said.


  1. Yes. You are a writer. That is all.

  2. Agreed. A writer. You won before, you can win again.