Single Life and “the Void”

Some people said I was moving too fast when I started dating someone in September after separating from my wife shortly before that. That’s okay though. The people who said things like that are the ones who are usually looking for a way to feel good about themselves and/or superior to others. More often than not, they can’t find anything INSIDE themselves to accomplish this, so they look outside. And what better way to achieve their goal than to accuse someone of making a bad romantic judgment call? As of right now, those same people are having a field day because, while I was unclear whether or not I actually WAS exclusive with someone, I know I am definitely single again now.

I’m not getting into the reasons why it ended here. There is a bigger post break-up issue that I want to address: something I call “the void.” For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s an easy concept to understand: the emptiness you feel when you’re no longer coupled with another person. The void is crippling, debilitating. You will find yourself sitting around not knowing what to do with yourself, thinking about the one you’re no longer with, which we all know is beyond pointless because there usually is NO closure.

For years I’ve hypothesized that friends could fill this void, but it always seemed like the nights I’m at my worst are the same nights everyone else is busy! This meant only one thing: I had to get more friends. But how? I seem to have lost the ability to make new ones.

Then on Sunday night, one of my old friends invited me to a party that was being thrown by his church’s singles group. I thought, “Oh no, a setting where EVERYONE is single?” I was worried that I would feel pressured (by no one but myself, of course) to get someone’s number, talk to them, date them, put all my eggs in one basket, and wind up back in the same boat. Still, the other option was to sit home and stew about things, so I went.

And you know what? It didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it would. I realized it the second I went into the house. The place was packed, and immediately I thought to myself, “Damn, there’s a lot of people to meet here!”

Just like that, I was cured. I looked inside myself, and there was no void. All these years, I’d been right: more people to meet was the answer. I didn’t mope around the party dwelling on my ex-partner; I introduced myself to new people, discussed jobs and hobbies and so on, and had a great time.

New people is the key…LOTS of new people. I mean, even though I am sitting here at my computer and none of those people are here, I am still NOT feeling that void inside.

Next question: how do I find hordes of new people on my own, instead of relying on invitations from old friends???

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A Song for William

Last night I wrote a song for my son William…finally. He is six years old. By contrast I had one written for my twins and my older son Aiden before they could even walk.

Why is that? Several reasons.

First, by the time he was born, I had given up on writing songs. I already had over 200 written that would never see the light of day because I could never get a band to stick. The kind of music I write is meant to be done by a whole band. Since I didn’t have one, and I already had quite a back catalog, I saw no point in writing more.

Second, I was at a point in my life where I was not “allowed” to spend too much time playing guitar. Your guess at how much time was “too much” is as good as mine. Sometimes I could be on it for a half hour; other days all I had to do was LOOK at it, and I’d get attacked. At any rate, I was never able to come up with anything good for him because I couldn’t jam long enough to stumble upon the right chords and feel.

Last night it took maybe 30-45 minutes to compose it, and the song wound up being less than four minutes long. The length of time was disconcerting to me, but then I had to realize: I have been out of practice for so long that it’s a GIVEN the songs won’t spill out of me like they did when I started writing tunes in 1998.

At any rate, I finished the song. It needs some lyrical tweaking (for some lines there were too many words to fit the rhythm of the tune), but otherwise it is a fitting ode to my little guy, and it accurately represents who he is and how he makes me feel.

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Wing Chun Kung Fu: The Purpose of Each Form

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what each form in wing chun is all about. What purpose does each one serve? The great thing is, I could always ask Sifu Russ Cichon and get an answer. However, I like to try coming up with answers on my own (which I then bring to him in the end anyway!). From my current point of view, this is what I think of each form.

*Proper adduction in your horse stance
*Proper elbow energy

*Maintaining adduction when you pivot and step
*Using the hands in harmony

*Taking everything from Sil Lum Tao and Chum Kiu and perfecting the timing on something that takes up physical space

*Use of power, especially explosive power

*More elbow power
*Deep stances

*Using weapons as extensions of the hansd

These are the forms as I see them. I’m not saying that this is the only way to interpret them. Feel free to disagree. Over time I’m sure my view of them will change as my understanding of them deepens.

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Updates on BRUTAL

Well, I went to a meeting for local filmmakers. The group is called Upstate Independents. I met a couple people who might be able to help with locations. On top of that, I met an actress who wanted to audition, and it turned out she is the mother of ANOTHER actress who auditioned for my short movie SOUL IN NEED back in 2010. I remember this young woman moved to Florida in 2011 or so. She is closer now…still not quite around the corner from me, but I’ll take what I can get.

I had two people audition tonight. On top of that I bought some supplies to use for fight scenes: prop machete, ax, butcher knives and crowbar. Unfortunately I didn’t get to film any fight scenes today, but oh well. It can’t all be done at once!

Next Saturday the young lady (the blast from my past) will be coming down to audition. On top of that, one of the people who auditioned today will be returning to read with her. I will also be throwing my hat in the ring because, while I did not specifically write the main character for myself, it would be awfully convenient if I could play him since he knows wing chun, and so do I!

Last but not least I was discussing the movie with the employee at the Costumer. It turns out he does special effects on the side, so he was interested in reading the script!

The only problem that remains is the main location: the mansion. But still, other things seem to be coming together nicely. I don’t care how long it takes; this movie WILL get made!

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An Artistic Day!

Well, yesterday rocked…on several fronts.

I went to a meeting for an independent filmmaker network group called Upstate Independents. While I didn’t get to do as much networking as I wanted (personally I felt they let the Q&A session with the guest speaker carry on too long), I DID get the names of some people who could help me out with location scouting for BRUTAL. Also, I wound up meeting the mother of a young lady who auditioned for my short movie SOUL IN NEED back in 2010.

This leads nicely into my next point: one of the actors (Jeremy Kovach) from SOUL IN NEED told me he got that movie listed on IMDB, and he is working on getting my other short (A COLD DAY IN HELL) listed there as well.

Last but not least, I was contacted by an old friend from high school named Josh. He has been living in Alaska but is moving home within the next few weeks. He asked if I still play music and said we should jam sometime. I asked what he plays, and he said, “Guitar, bass, drums, and trumpet.”

I said, “Great! If you play drums, all we need is a bassist.”

He said, “Yeah well, I may be selling my drum kit to fund my return to New York.”

Doh! However, he did clarify that is in process…not done yet.

I went on to say that we should make sure he likes my music before we get our hopes up. He said, “Well, I like Billy Corgan so I am sure I will like your stuff.” I sent him a link, and sure enough he DID like it. Then he went on to say how my music would benefit from a good recording. After that he sent me samples of things he did in Garage Band, which sounded great.

Let me see…what else? Oh yes, he asked if I can play lead guitar and I said yes. He told me he had only dabbled in lead. I said, “That’s all right. You can be the James Iha to my Billy Corgan.” It was cool to be talking to someone who could get the Pumpkins reference.

Josh said it would be a challenge to record the music and getting it sounding just right, but that he liked challenges. I said, “Oh well in that case you might want to actually help me record my concept album!” He said, “Why not?”

So let’s add it all up: a good friend…plays all sorts of instruments, especially ones that are hard to find…willing to follow my lead (as long as I do the same, which I will)…even started talking about getting a setlist together and playing shows…talked about setting up an open mic night OF HIS OWN…and is a damn good producer/recording engineer/whatever you want to call him? I think we have a winner here.

All in all, yesterday was a damn good day for art.

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Wing Chun Rebirth

Last month I finally started going back to wing chun. Aside from taking my son to flag football practice on Thursdays, I went every night that I could. Sifu has started teaching the style in a whole new way too: he is working on getting people to refine everything, getting the basics of the system down. That means he teaches Sil Lum Tao and Chum Kiu. If he ever decides to show you Biu Jee, consider yourself a truly gifted student.

This works wonders for me because I used to get so frustrated at home, trying to figure out what needed to be worked on. Now it is simple: I work on Sil Lum Tao at home, with a specific focus on something know as “elbow energy.” (More on that later.) Then in class, I work on single hand chi so with my classmates.

My goal now is to develop the best elbow energy in the school. I don’t think about anything other than nailing that elbow. In the past I used to rush through Sil Lum Tao so I could get to the “cooler” forms, but now it is the only one I do.

If I could get that elbow energy solid, then I could move on to Chum Kiu and the main problem I face there: maintaining a good adducted stance, even when I pivot.

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POLL: What’s the Next Story?

Better late than never. This is something I talked about doing before, but never got around to. I have so many story ideas that I don’t know which one I should work on next. So for anyone who stumbles across this site, I am giving you the option to help me decide. If I write a story that makes me rich…well, you will be mentioned on the dedication page.

Here are the story ideas I have floating around. Make your selection by simply posting the title in a comment. You don’t have to say WHY you picked it, but it’d be cool if you did.

A man develops the ability to heal people. Word spreads, and soon this takes over his life. People come to his job to be healed; the disturbance gets him fired. An attractive woman hints at wanting him, but someone comes along for healing. By the time he is done, the woman has left. These are just a couple examples of how his “blessing” is truly a curse.

This movie is meant to be a tribute to Troy and small town life.

A young man becomes disillusioned with the increasing superficiality of the world. Here is my idea for the opening line: “I realized physical beauty means nothing when it struck me that, at some point during the day, even the most graceful woman has to sit on a toilet.”

A special black ops unit is sent in on a mission that results in the death of all but one. It turns out there is more to the mission than originally thought.

There is a charismatic young man running for state council who does not shy away from homophobic rants. However, there is one thing he keeps a secret: he is falling in love with another man. One night while leaving his crush’s house, he is spotted by a politician who is known as an anti-Semite. Rather than ratting him out, the anti-Semite takes the young man to a party where he learns a shocking truth: opposites DO attract.

Man and woman meet. They both sense potential, but things get messed up. He moves away, gets married, has kids. A job brings him back to his old stomping grounds, and he sees her by chance. He wishes he had stuck it out with her. Next day when he wakes up, he is in bed with her. His old life is gone, replaced by the lost future he could have had with her. People from his “real life” start to pop in. He realizes how much he loves the life he DID choose, but he can’t figure out how to get back to it. Then it dawns on him: what he has to do is tell the dream woman about the time when he made the choice to leave her. When he does, this reconciles everything and his true life returns.

This is based on an AD&D campaign I came up with. Three characters of different races and classes are drawn (seemingly random at first) into the hunt for a cult that worships a mysterious deity known as the Tarrasque. It turns out this “god” is actually just a very, VERY nasty monster, but the shocking news doesn’t end there: rumor has it there is a magical artifact that gives the user absolute control of the creature. The protagonists also discover this isn’t the first time someone has had to face this challenge down. They learn that the artifact was created almost 1000 years ago. If that 1000 year anniversary comes to pass and no one has used it, then the item will lose its power. They also learn about the legend of the Three Champions, a trio of heroes who fought the monster with enchanted equipment and managed to vanquish it…but not for good. Naturally, it turns out they are DESCENDANTS of the heroes.

A young man has a kid with a woman he is no longer with. She is always critical of his fatherhood, even though it is clear he does the best he can. One night, after a particularly stressful fight with his ex, the young man’s friends convince him to have a night for himself out on the town. He parties it up: drinking, doing drugs, etc. Then he gets a call that the ex was in an accident, and their son was with her. Needless to say, the night goes badly. It isn’t until he gets a lecture from one of his closest friends that the young man realizes what he should really focus on.

A bunch of losers are descendants of magicians who harbored a secret that can save the world.

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