Monday, January 13, 2014

Being Hemingway and Another Ten Pounds

A new year, a new semester with one down and three more to go and eighty-five thousand books to read between now and then. My New Year's resolution was to sell more books, and two weeks into 2014 when I realized my resolution was something I had no control over.
Write more. That should have been my goal. Blog more. Loose another ten pounds. Spend more time with my kids. Compliment my wife more, because she deserves at a minimum that kind of treatment.

5am is a beautiful time of day. In the mountains, the sky is black dark like midnight. The house is silent and cold. I turn up the heat, drink orange juice, and make coffee which is a gorgeous scent that cries out for bacon and eggs, a warm cinnamon roll with the icing dripping off onto your fingers. My schedule for the week is booked tight and will remain like that until mid-May with all the craziness of work and school and dropping the kids off at dance, a friend pressuring me into listening to his piano composition that I really really do want to listen to, but I'm not sure when I'll have time to schedule him; when will I have time for his music, when I barely know what my song is?

Odd at forty, pushing into forty-one damn quick that I haven't figured out my own song yet. Twenty years ago, if you had asked me who I was, I was cocky sure of my self-worth and identity. I knew where I came from. What I wanted to do. My New Year resolutions were more grandeur—like travel the world, hitchhike across America, write the Great American Novel, be more like Hemingway who was tough and manly and outdoorsy and the epitome of the self-reliant writer.
Hemingway's façade of toughness though, that's all it was—a façade. In Paris, he ran after other authors with starry eyes—Pound, Fitzgerald, Stein. Like he was a little boy running after someone big and famous like Peyton Manning.

I watch people walk across campus, especially professors. They are confident like Hemingway. They know what they are doing, who they are. They have it "all-together." And the students that worship them, the grad students that are intimidated by their credentials, their knowledge that we are all struggling to gain, and we look at them and say, "I want to be like that."

But everyone is like Hemingway. Everyone has a facade pointed outward, and the inner struggles of the soul are secret and dark like a 5am morning mountain sky. Perhaps the sun will break, and perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of soul-spark, be fortunate enough to hear their song, but they know and understand as little as you do.

And they are all chasing Peyton Manning. They're all making resolutions that they have no control over.

So I've changed my game. I'm not worried about book sales. My goal for this year is to give away more books for free. And to write a little bit every day about the small things, not anything as grandiose as the Great American Novel. To have more 5am mornings.
And maybe, along the way, I'll lose another ten pounds.

“I thought this book was beautiful. Having just finished it, I feel like I have just woken up from a really disturbing dream” – Rose Actor-engel, Amazon
Christine and Jack sat on the back deck of their cottage and watched the stars fall into the lake. They whispered to each other, "Beautiful." But Jack did not know his life was to forever change. A plague came. Christine died. Aliens landed and they put things in his food and soap. The sidewalks lit up blue to let him know when he was allowed to go to the store. Filled with drugs, sex, and cigarettes, the first of six inter-related short stories that make up the entirety of the Wasteland series all styled after Winesburg, Ohio and As I Lay Dying. Based loosely off T.S. Elliot's poem of the same name, The Wasteland is told from the perspectives of the people living inside Jack's head.
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Steve Bargdill writes “literary stuff” with the occasional foray into speculative fiction. Originally from Ohio, he has lived in Dayton, Columbus, Troy, St. Marys, and New Knoxville as well as West Branch, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; Muncie, Indiana; and currently lives in Laramie, Wyoming. Bargdill is the author of The Wasteland Series available on Amazon. He’s written for several newspapers and is currently a first year English graduate student at the University of Wyoming. You can read his short stories for free on Wattpad. You can also like him on Facebook where he posts a daily poem, Monday evening writing prompts, hump day videos and more nonsense!