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"I was hoping I could tell you this with two feet on the ground. But I don't think I can talk, because I'm not very stable right now."-The Spill Canvas

Doubts

Conversations with people I've known for years, yet feel more like strangers. Their words laced with dubiety and backhanded well wishes. They tell me I'm fucking up and throwing my life away. This I can deal with; it's when they get to talking about her that I start to get upset.

On the outside I'm calm, but anger and mild hopelessness begin to build just below the surface. They have no idea of course, which just goes to show I'm better at keeping this shit in than they ever gave me credit for. As they talk I give them the smile they demand, but it's one with a wholehearted "fuck you" hidden underneath.

I'm still trying to adjust to life without my two favorite vices. The first gets a little bit easier with each passing day, but the second continues to be a struggle. I have a hard time making any sense of my thoughts or feelings without it. It's all just white noise and I can barely type anything coherent.

I've spent a lot of time alone in my apartment lately due to lack of funds or people I actually want to be around. Instead I drive around downtown Dallas and find solace in the cityscape. The music pumping through my speakers serves as better therapy than I ever received on a couch in front of a paid professional.

When I was almost home tonight the song, "The Good Witch Of The North" by Everclear, came on my MP3 player. Immediately my head was filled with thoughts and images of her and all the negativity I've bathed in for the last several hours melted away.

So, yeah, you can doubt me if you want, but take a long look at yourself before you do. What happened which made you so jaded and quick to write off the wants of others? Why is it that you're not happy unless you're bringing other people down with you? Then, when you reach your conclusions, go ahead and fuck yourself because I'm sick of listening.

Davlin's Playlist: For Hilary

1. Me Vs. Maradona Vs.Elvis-Brand New
2. A Beautiful Life-Everclear
3. Again I Go Unnoticed-Dashboard Confessional
4. Save Yourself-Stabbing Westward
5. The Conversation-Motion City Soundtrack
6. Bound To Happen-The Spill Canvas
7. There Is No Mathematics To Love And Loss-Anberlin
8. How's It Going To Be-Third Eye Blind
9. Tiny Vessels-Deathcab For Cutie
10. All The Rest-Twiztid
11. Counting The Days-Good Charlotte
12. Glycerine-Bush
13. Days Go By-Adema
14. Empty Apartment-Yellowcard
15. I'm Not The One-3OH!3
16. Truth Of My Youth-New Found Glory
17. The Cave-Mumford and Sons
18. Savior-Rise Against
19. Do It For Me Now-Angels And Airwaves
20. Been Down-Blue October
21. Get Happy-Bowling For Soup
People have been screaming right outside my apartment for an hour now. I was about to go out and yell at them because it's so late, but then I remembered I don't have a job to wake up for and decided to let it go.

An appeal to my readers

I'm sitting in my apartment and I find myself wondering just what the hell I'm going to do. I have to find a job several states away and I have to do it fast enough to meet the massive amount of bills hitting me by the first of April. (I really hate that month)

But, here's the thing, while I can be a very hard worker, I'm not exactly qualified to do anything. You can't get a great job without first obtaining a piece of paper saying you're entitled to more money because you furthered your "education". I've tried going this route and we already know how that's working out right now.

"But Davlin", you say, "didn't you already have a relatively high paying job which required a degree, but they gave it to you anyway? Then you pissed away the golden opportunity you're now claiming you never get."

Yes, reader. You are correct and I must say I'm almost appalled with how comfortable you're getting with me to so readily point out my faults.

It's true, I did walk away from what most would deem a dream job. I did so because it wasn't my dream and I couldn't keep pretending it was. My heart simply wasn't in it anymore because it's already moved to Tennessee.

Now I'm sitting here and its absence is painful. (of my heart, not the job) Numbers flash in my mind, always followed by red blinking lights and alarms. I shake my head and the digits all fall to the floor with a crash that's almost audible.

When I think about the prospect of new jobs there's only one talent I want to be employed for and that's writing. It's the only thing which has ever mattered to me and is my motivation to get out of bed every morning. I've talked about it for almost a decade now and all I've ever heard from people is that it's not a real job. I'll never be able to survive off of it. To which I've always asked, "Why not?"

They have their points, of course. These last few weeks alone have shown me just how impulsive and idealistic I can be. But I've found strangers who get something out of the words I arrange and place for them on the internet. In fact, once they find my stuff they keep coming back. This leads me to believe that if I only had a way to reach a bigger audience there would be nothing to stop me from making this my career.

Unfortunately, this is something I can't do alone. I've spent months whoring myself out and, while it has helped a bit, only gets me so far. I've noticed over the last several years that if I can't do it on my own, it's not going to happen. I'll be honest, living this way has exhausted me. It was only when a select few started standing up to have my back that I saw what I was capable of.

And that's exactly what I begging you to do, in my own roundabout way. See, I'm going to start re-writing my book to incorporate some of the newer pieces and it's going to be perfect. By the time it's finished it would really improve my chances with an agent to have impressive numbers for this blog. This is where you come in.

Even if you and I have never spoken, I've shared a lot with you. This forms a very unique sort of bond and I really hope you understand what I'm talking about. If you do, then I have a favor I'd like to request.

I've asked this before and I'm going to keep doing so until it sticks. If you have ever been moved by anything I've written here, I just want you to tell people about the experience. Explain to them how the piece made you feel or think and then direct them to it. Then, if they find anything they relate to, have them pass it on. That's it. I've written enough here that there's literally something for everyone. Now, I just need your help getting it to them.

Every year we make instant celebrities out of people online with far less talent than me. Why can't it be my turn?

My recent stint in Dallas: A recap

In a few weeks I'm leaving Dallas for the second time. It's not the way I expected, but it is the one I've always wanted. Sitting on my couch, the last 4+ years flash before my eyes.

Breaking down the second I walked into my aunt's house after the two day move from SC.
Having to find my own job, because my old district manager couldn't be bothered to put in a transfer request.
Going to a haunted house with my dad and being astonished by the disconnect.
Getting my first apartment and sleeping on a bed of my own for the first time in years.
The naked, drunk girl in my bathtub who ruined my job.
The cold, unfeeling girl from South Carolina who broke my heart while visiting. Also, my brakes going out on the way back from dropping her off at the airport.
A lead on a new job from a regular at work, which I was ultimately offered.
I start taking writing seriously and practice with several different styles.
Old friendships being mended.
Awkward glances and Myspace coversations.
Two different paths with the wrong one taken first.
The beginning of a tumultuous relationship built upon secrets and half truths.
My power being cut off for the first time and reading to her by candlelight.
A call from a girl in a Walmart states away I'd never met before which changed my life forever.
The time in the shower which also did the same.
The conversation that same night which brought the world down around me.
The later to be room mate from hell fucking me over by quitting our job, thus leaving me with out a ride.
Living with them at the worst possible time.
Signing my soul away on a car note which also sent me crawling back to blockbuster.
Taking her to a party with my family, she didn't say a word to anyone.
A Christmas eve she and I spent together and her gift putting mine to shame.
Walking out on a shift at Blockbuster, effectively burning my bridge in the process.
Her buying tickets to a horror convention where I got to meet Robert Englund. This equated to two days of miserable and two minutes of fucking amazing.
She goes to a party and meets someone else who makes me obsolete.
Laying next to each other on her bed in silence for an hour before she broke up with me.
Finding out through her Myspace blog she was happy with someone else. This is when everything fell apart.
I started getting sent home because of the crying fits.
She came by and we tried to have sex. I was, however, unable to perform and it only added to my problems.
Me going off on her through gmail before coming back with my tail between my legs the next day.
Going with her to the Everclear concert, having sex the same night and being ignored the next day during the company picnic.
I started seeing a therapist, who said she couldn't help me.
Dad read a blog of mine and threw what I said back into my face.
I went home that same night and sat down with a razor blade and argued with a voice in my head.
A week later I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bi-polar and paranoid schizophrenic, with anxiety and depression issues to round it all out.
The prescription he gave me was 60 bucks for a weeks supply, made me feel funny and he never returned my calls.
Spent five days in the mental hospital.
It took a doctor's note for them to finally move my desk at work.
Hooked back up with Allison again after my release, falling into the same old patterns.
We'd had sex once a month since we'd broken up and it was her who ended it that fall.
Someone told HR they thought I was going to snap and they called in a crisis team to talk to me.
She kissed me once and I wouldn't allow my eyes to open until after she'd left.
Spent an exciting and informative day at the free clinic.
I started putting all my time alone to good use by working on my first book.
The next several months were a cathartic process.
A promotion swept me away from my old department.
Began a regimen of pharmaceuticals in hopes they would help fix what was wrong with me.
Starting this blog.
I moved in with my aunt and away from the memories which haunted my first apartment.
Sporadic conversations with Ana, still states away.
Started working on "Harbinger" as a comic.
I completed the first draft of the book.
Moved in with an old friend, who soon became the room mate from hell.
Created OK Cupid account.
Met cute girl who was into me until she found out what I had.
Pitched my book to a real agent and failed horribly.
Deleted OK Cupid account.
Artist on "Harbinger" abandoned his post.
After a traumatic night, I quit taking my prescriptions and started smoking cannabis instead.
At the encouragement of a dear friend, I started performing at open mics. These quickly became the only thing which got me through the week.
I ruined things with the dear friend and will probably never be able to repair the damage.
I started looking deep inside myself and resolved to fix the problems which I'd been running from so long ago by myself.
Living with the room mate began taking its toll.
Started going to Tucker's Blues for their open mics.
Created another OK Cupid account.
Almost jumped into a relationship which would have been wrong for me.
Mark passed away and I lost the brother I'd never had.
Jumped into a relationship that, while worthwhile, was wrong for both of us.
Things with the room mate were reaching a boiling point.
Girlfriend and I broke up.
Room mate ditched me.
I received another promotion which not only gave me financial stability, it also opened several doors.
I began recording my works as audio.
Learning how to live with the curse.
I needed a place to put the audio so I built an entire website.
During this time Ana and I started talking more frequently.
I finished the site and begun the never ending task of marketing.
Started a music project with a coworker which never led anywhere.
Began growing disenchanted with my new position at work.
Finally attained a new car, which is also one more thing to tie me down.
Conversations with Ana grew in intensity and all the feelings for her couldn't be contained any longer.
I told her I was falling for her.
After some time, she told me she also had feelings for me.
I no longer wanted to be in Texas.
Her and I talked every night, sometimes until the sun came up.
Work sent me to California, where I attended the multimedia course which changed my life.
While in my hotel bed, we told each other we loved each other for the first time.
I take a picture of the bed and post it.
After landing in Dallas I realized nothing about my life here made any sense.
While iced in I applied for film school and quit my job right before it fell through.
After only a few minutes of panic I decided to move to Chattanooga to be with her.
I said goodbye to Allison in the best possible way.
During my entire last day at work I was reminded why it was time to go.

Now, I'm sitting here and the clock is winding down. I know what I want, but there's a lot standing in the way right now. The truth is, this has the potential to ruin everything for me, but she's worth the risk. I can't think of a single other thing on this planet that is to me.

Whet

I've found the person I want to devote every day of the rest of my life to loving, but as with anything that truly matters, it's been a little complicated. First off, she lives several states away. Second, we've never met face to face.

When I tell people this they question just how well we can actually know each other. This is when I point out to them how I've seen them face to face for years and they don't know me at all. But she does. We've confided things in one another which we'd never dare to tell another person. The most honest conversations I've ever had were with her via text messages at three in the morning.

I've also seen countless pictures and I've never been attracted to anyone on such a primal level before. I've been able to deduce every expression on her face by studying it through still images. It's hard to write about without coming off as creepy or obsessed. Anyway, to compensate for the lack of physical contact we send each other lots of them, but I want to talk about one in particular.

I remember when she sent it to me. She told me she loved my imagination and wanted to see what the picture would bring out of me. The thing is, though, all of the thoughts the image inspired are the types I can't share with you and still keep the family friendly nature of this blog I strive so hard to maintain.

The picture itself shows absolutely nothing, but everything I want to see is right there, just out of view. It's the hunger for what's not exposed which keeps me from looking away. The anticipation starts to build as I think of all the senses we have yet to indulge.

I cannot wait to learn her every contour using nothing but my fingertips. To feel the warmth of her breath on my neck and her body as it presses up against mine. Hundreds of sensations as her hair falls onto my face, before she brushes it away and...

She's finally able to look me in the eyes. It's this moment, the right before, I long for the most. That silent instant where we say everything we've been unable to with our primitive words in a single glance before she cuts the light. After that, time melts away as we finally try all the dirty things we've been aching to do to each other.

In the meantime, though, we can use our imaginations to come up with more.

The root of all evil

Ok, I'll admit that maybe I acted a bit hasty, what with quitting my job and all, and maybe the reality of my situation is starting to sink in, but it still feels like the right thing to do.

The only problem is, every day the number of dollars I have to spend multiplies, while there's no longer a job there to replace what I've had to kiss goodbye. Sometimes I feel like the only person who isn't motivated by financial gains and I grow tired of it holding me back. Shit, the only reason I've ever worked at all is because everyone else is operating on a flawed system. Not only that, but they're too stupid and wrapped up in it to realize just how meaningless it all is. In truth...

I fucking hate money.

There are so many things we would love to do, but can't because it costs too much and we'd rather put food on the table. Meanwhile, the lucky few who have entirely too much piss it all away while we live vicariously through bad reality TV.

The two things I want in this life and how much they're going to cost me.

Film school
Cost: Well over 80 grand
Analysis: Everything was working according to the plan, until I found out I need a co-signer for my loan and couldn't find any takers. There's no way I can pay off 80 grand in monthly payments while going to school. I'm going to have to try again later.

The woman I love
Cost: At least 3 grand up front
Analysis: This is where I want to be right now. School can always come later. As of tomorrow, I'll have just about half the money, but since I jumped the gun on quitting my job early, I'm pretty much fucked right now.

That's all my thoughts on the topic right now, as I've got to figure out a way to make this all work. I'll leave you with this quote from Shaggy 2 Dope in his role as Sugar Bear in the cinematic classic, "Big Money Hustlas".

"Why's it always got to be about some bitch ass money?"

Day 3 without cigarettes

I'm irritable and I can't stop twitching, but you know what?

My future with her?

Totally worth it.

Notion #61

You proudly say, "I love you", while on the phone with me in front of your friends.

End of First Act

Last Tuesday I didn't leave work until 4:30 and when I got to the elevator I was reminded of why I always tried to leave earlier, because Allison was waiting on the next one with Terry, another woman from my old department. Terry, struck up a conversation with me.

"So...have you heard from the school, yet?"

"No, my appointment with financial aid is on Thursday. That's when I'll know if I can attend in March."

"Wait, you don't know if you're going yet? Isn't your last day on Friday?"

"Haha, yeah."

"What are you going to do if it falls through?"

"I'm moving to Chattanooga."

"What's in Chattanooga?"

This is when the elevator arrived and the doors opened. The three of us walked inside and stood in place. As the doors were shutting I answered her question. "My best friend, who also happens to be the love of my life."

Allison immediately stared at the ground. I didn't say it so eagerly to upset her; the thought of being with Ana just makes me so excited I can barely contain myself sometimes.

"What about school?"

"I had decided there were two things I want in life: to be with her and going to film school. This way I get to work on us first and then go to school in September."

We arrive on the first floor and the doors open again to release us.

"Well, good luck." Terry told me before we exited.

"Thanks." Then I turned to face Allison, "Can we talk?"

"Yeah...sure." She was caught off guard, but her response also contained an echo of happiness. I can't even remember the last time the thought of conversing with me gave her voice that inflection.

She walked beside me as we made our way through the lobby, staring at me the entire time. I kept my gaze straight ahead and didn't say a word until I held the door for her and we were both outside.

"Ok. So, Friday is going to be my last day."

"Oh..." She trailed off, again taken aback. Then she looked down, blinked once and said, "Wow."

"Yeah. I just wanted to tell you that even though things between you and I ended badly, I'm happy for every second we ever spent together. They shaped me into the person I've become and for that I'm thankful. I also want you to know that I have no regrets and I hope you don't either."

The entire time I was speaking she had this sadness to her eyes and she'd bring both of her arms up slightly as if considering a hug, hesitate and then place them back down by her sides.

"I don't have any regrets. I just wish we could've stayed friends."

"I don't, that would've been a terrible idea. Sometimes, we just have to learn to appreciate the times we had, instead of focusing on those we didn't."

She nodded, then looked at me quizzically. "Wait...where are you going?"

"Well, right now is still kinda up in the air, but ultimately I'm going to film school in California."

"So you're going for your dream." She said through a melancholy smile.

"Yeah."

"Good for you."

"Thank you. Goodbye, Allison. I'm glad to have known you when I did."

Her lip quivered and she threw her arms around my shoulders. "Goodbye." She whispered in my ear.

"Take care of yourself." I whispered back into hers.

Then I broke the embrace and pulled out my phone to check the text from Ana which had been burning a hole in my pocket since right before I got onto the elevator. I didn't look back once as I marked the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next.
Tie this noose around my neck, so I may hang on every word.

Notion #19

I just listened to 5 Coldplay songs for you. That's love.

Today's my last day at work...

and so far it's been pretty surreal.

My Time In The Mental Hospital Part 4: Group

Author's note: As previously stated at the end of Ch. 3, my memories are a bit fuzzy from the medications I was on. Here's what I remember about our group sessions.

After Eric and I moved to the second wing, we became more involved in these get togethers. They fell into one of two categories.

1. Therapy: In here we sat in a circle, our hearts open and bleeding on the floor in front of a woman with judgmental eyes and a clipboard. There was this other patient who would make every person's story about her, so no one else got a word in edgewise. These were all but pointless.

2. Counseling: They were led by the woman from the last chapter and she brought much needed empathy to the (mostly) cold and sterile staff. These were the only hours in the hospital which did me any good.

During my first session with the new group, our counselor gave us a sheet of paper with a very basic ladder. She told us to write the first thing that brought us here on the bottom rung, the second on the middle and the third on the top. After we did this, she asked us to stand up and read what we wrote. I sat back and listened as my fellow patients bared their souls and flaws to each other, while finding acceptance. None of us were really crazy, just broken. If you're broken you can always be fixed. I stood up confidently and read my three darkest secrets out loud in front of strangers. I consider this to be my first open mic.

"My name is Davlin Stewart. I'm here because: 1. My ex girlfriend gave me genital herpes. 2. I still see her everyday at work. 3. I don't know how to cope with that or anything else that's happened to me anymore."

Then I sat down and everyone stared at me. Then they nodded, subtly telling me it was going to be ok. When walking to my room afterward I was stopped by John, a big intimidating looking guy who ended up being a teddy bear.

"Davlin. I just wanted to tell you that I respect what you did in there. I don't think I would have been able to say that in front of everyone."

"It happened." I told him. "I'm tired of holding it inside."

He nodded. "I'm sorry you had to go through that."

"Thank you and I'm sorry for what you've had to go through, too. I guess I just realized that all of us have problems we don't know how to deal with. Mine are no more serious than anyone else's, just different."

"I think you're right. How old are you?"

"22."

"Huh."

During the second she took us outside, which you really come to appreciate being trapped inside there for a few days. I remember the green of the trees being brighter than anything I'd ever seen. The air tasted clean and its warmth thawed me from the frigid recycled stuff which filled the hospital. I was pretty drugged up that day and that's all I remember.

The third and final one was my favorite time spent there. It was on my fourth day, also the day before my release. Our counselor handed us a blank piece of paper along with crayon filled tins and told us to draw pictures of our families. She then said,

"Is it ok with everyone if I play some music?" My head perked up. "I was told I couldn't play anything with too much energy, but it's better than nothing."

She popped a blank CD into a boombox, hit play and we set off to work as the music washed over us. The first couple of tracks were classical pieces and moved me in a way the genre never had before. I fell into an artistic rhythm and began drawing my family. First was my dad, aunt Betty, little brothers and my mom. They all looked sad and it wasn't a conscious effort to make them that way. When I was halfway through drawing mom, a familiar, haunting melody poured from the speakers. I dropped my crayon and jaw as I listened to "Black Orchid" by Blue October, tears streaming down my face. I looked at our counselor and mouthed the words, "thank you", and she nodded in return.

A little later during the session she asked about the people I chose to draw. I told her about them and that's something I will keep to myself. She then points something out I had missed completely.

"Why aren't you in the picture?"

"Huh?"

"You didn't draw yourself with them. That says a lot about what you think about yourself."

"Like what?"

"It's not my place to tell you that; have to figure it out for yourself."

I sat for a moment and seriously felt the weight of her words. "I don't feel connected to anyone."

"That's a start." Now, louder and to the group, "Ok, that's all of our time for today. Thank you everyone and keep your heads up." Nothing she said sounded anything other than sincere.

I approached her on my way out. "You have no idea how much you playing that song meant to me. You're the only person here who's listened to me and this is the first time I've felt anything other than fucked up since I've gotten here. Thank you."

Then I walked away, smiling for the next few hours until the song faded in a pharmaceutical haze.
Fuck you, MP3 player.

This is what my mom said when asked how she felt about me smoking cannabis.

"I don't like it, because it's illegal, but it does keep him off the meds."

This is the letter of recommendation I wrote for myself (Special thanks to Ana for all the help)

To whom it may concern,

My name is Benjamin Davlin Stewart and the life I've led will serve as the inspiration for some of the most original, passionate and honest films of my generation; if given the knowledge and experience awarded by the Brooks Institute. The 25 years I've been blessed enough to live have been filled with a darkness few would be able to shake and, in the spirit of staying honest, I almost didn't. It's something which I will fight until the day I die; my weapons of choice being writing, films and music. For over eight years I have used the power of the written word to exorcise my demons and used what I created to connect with strangers and sometimes help them heal their wounds.

I first discovered the magic you can only feel while watching a really good film while in the company of my father. My parents divorced when I was so young that I don't have a single memory of them together, but as a child I idolized my father. The two weekends a month I spent with him were the only thing I had to get me through the rest. We'd stay up late and watch movies, ones often too advanced for me. The escapism it offered was the only respite from my life away from the screen. On a personal note: the first movie I remember watching was "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and it remains my favorite to this day.

In fact, all my formative years were spent watching the lives of strangers behind a camera. This is also the way I view the world around me.

Dad gave me a video camera when I was seventeen and I immediately started planning my first independent horror movie. I didn't have a script so much as a vague story idea and my crew consisted of increasingly disinterested teenagers. Then, someone broke out a skateboard and the whole thing went to hell. Without the knowledge or resources to tackle such a monumental project I sat the camera down and never picked it up with serious intentions again.

I did, however, look into going to a film school here in Dallas a few years ago, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. The "film" section of the tour lasted 20 minutes and was laughable for the price they were asking for. I left when they didn't offer financial aid and didn't consider it for almost four years later.

In the meantime I went through the worst year of my life and during a stay in the mental hospital decided it was time to re-evaluate my priorities. When I was released I decided to find my voice and use it to help others find their own. It started out as a blog, but soon grew into a website with which I began experimenting with audio and video. I taught myself the basics of editing and created a few decent experimental films.

Almost three months after the launch of my site my job sent me to San Jose, California in order to attend a multimedia certification program taught by Jonathan Halls, bringing several years experience with BBC for us to draw from.

Towards the middle of the second day he tasked us with filming an instructional video. The topic of my film was "How to use an elevator".
I was the only one who scouted the area beforehand and already mapped out where to get the best shots. I teamed up with another classmate and we set out to get our footage.

Let me paint the scene.

We're in the lobby of the Marriott around lunchtime and the place is packed with busy executives and convention goers. I'm laying in the floor, shouting "Action" at my friend to walk down the hallway and “again" when someone walked into the back ground. Since filming elevators is tricky, we were constantly calling them, hopping in for a quick shot and then out to call another. Management finally came to ask us what hell we were doing. (we forgot to ask permission)

The whole experienced was rushed, chaotic and while it didn't turn out quite how I'd hoped, I loved every single second of it.

Jonathan played my video for the class and everyone loved it. He told me after that I had a raw talent for film and it was one I needed to pursue. The movie I made was less than a minute long, but it gave me more personal fulfillment that any other accomplishment in my entire professional career.

While in California I found the two things in this world I want, one of which was going to film school. When I landed in Dallas the next day there was an ice storm and I was stuck in my apartment for the next several days. Trying to make the best of my situation, I began looking into and requesting information from various institutions. An hour after I put one into Brooks Institute I received a call from a Mr. Bobby Speer.

While speaking to him I became impressed with the facilities and resources your school had to offer. Bobby took the time to talk to me about my life and commented on the amount of passion I exuded. As we took the virtual tour of the campus my head was filled with ideas for stories I wanted to tell and the different kind of angles I could best use to convey them.

I will be the perfect student for your institution because I guarantee no one wants this more. I realize there will be sacrifices to reach my dream and not only am I willing to make them, but I'm also looking forward to all of the hard work it will take to make my dreams a reality.

While my passion for film began while I was very young, I realize now I have the stories, drive and passion to not only graduate, but to also accomplish truly amazing things. All I'm asking for is the chance to show the world what I can do.

Thank you for your time,
Benjamin Stewart
Last night,
I retired to bed,
at a reasonable hour.
I awoke,
a little bit sad cos,
I missed our conversation.

I turned in my resignation today...

and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. For the first time in almost four years the world is wide fucking open. This is also pretty frightening when you realize you're turning your back on the source of your somewhat comfortable lifestyle.

The financial aid hasn't even come through yet and this fact is freaking me out a bit. I feel like I'm in the position to lose everything I've worked so hard to build up. I can't go back to sleeping in my car when I've worn out my welcome on other people's couches, but I refuse to return to the job I'm currently leaving. It's time to move on.

In the meantime, all I can really do is hope for the best. I could make myself sick about all the horrible things that could happen in the next few days alone, but I think instead I'm still going to hold onto those things which will be there regardless.

Speaking of which, I just got a text.

Author's note: At the time of this writing I've been up over 32 hours.
I've noticed last night/this morning that all our stories now have happy endings, because they brought us together.

Davlin's Playlist: Good songs for a bad time

1. Go Away-SR-71
2. Pieces-Sum 41
3. Chloroform Perfume-From Autumn to Ashes
4. Bracelets-The Spill Canvas
5. Limousine (MS Rebridge)-Brand New
6. Brick-Ben Folds Five
7. No It Isn't-+44
8. Walking at Night, Alone-Armor For Sleep
9. Good Soldier-Flobots
10. Rusted From the Rain-Billy Talent
11. Alcohol and Alter Boys-Bayside
12. Self Centered-Bowling for Soup
13. Feel Good, Inc-Gorillaz
14. Every Day Normal Guy 2-Jon Lajoie
15. Hey Ya!-OutKast
16. Horse Outside-Rubberbandits (sorry, Ana)
17. Like a Boss-The Lonely Island
18. Semi Charmed Life-Third Eye Blind
19. Sound Siren-Unwritten Law
20. Sleeping In-The Postal Service
Sometimes I wish my memories were bled out in tears.

Magnified by tears

Your small body tucked deep inside itself.
Little eyes magnified by tears which you blink away.
Your tiny voice robbed of the innocence and life I once cherished.
I know what it's...
You have no idea how much I wish I could save you.
But I cannot.
I'm just as helpless as you.
For that I am so, sorry.
But I hope someday when you look back on this,
you will understand.
And hopefully,
you won't hate me.
God, no. Please...not this.
When I go back through my blog I can pinpoint the exact moment when I told you how I felt and it's amazing to me how far we've come in the short time since then.

Notion #37 (37!)

You only type in all caps when you're really excited.

Ruined us

8 months ago,
I was a sinking stone.
Wanted nothing,
more than to leave my home.
Our plans were made,
and we were Houston bound.
30 days later,
they were ashes on the ground.

Chorus:
So what if I,
am still using,
these drugs to cope?
You're one to talk,
bottle in hand,
devoid of hope.
So pass me the blame,
if you must.
But I'm not the one,
that ruined us.
End Chorus:

Then I began,
to fix my broken life.
That's when you moved,
in with another guy.
Please don't hate me,
because I found my way.
Your time will come,
be patient until that day.

Chorus 1x:

I now believe,
things worked out for the best.
We weren't right,
for each other, we failed the test.
No one's at fault,
sometimes these things just do not work.
But if it helps,
you can keep thinking that I'm a jerk.

Chorus 1x:

Fin.
Hard Candy is one of those rare films I'd call perfect.

Hollow: A retrospective

For the original piece click here.

I moved back home about a month after the events of this story and it was a major scar I didn't have when I originally left. I held it together until the following April when she would have been born. For a solid week I was wracked with grief.

This is also when I started working at my current job and, because I sat 7 feet away from Allison, it gave my mind plenty of distractions. Eventually we started dating and when I tried to talk about the loss of my child she only said, "Yeah, I don't want kids." I ended up having to keep a lot inside.

After a very rocky 10 months, she broke up with me, again, the following April. I told everyone this is why I went crazy, because it's easier than admitting the truth. I've experienced a lot over the course of my life I haven't been able to deal with, because all anyone ever says to me is, "don't be sad." Allison was just the final straw.

The next month I was rotting alone in my apartment while waiting for her next mixed signal. There was one night in particular when I was laying in bed and, as always, unable to sleep. I was staring at the ceiling wondering when the insomnia was going to end when a single word flashed into my head: Hollow.

Immediately I jumped out of bed and sat down with my laptop in the living room. I didn't move from that spot for an hour when the piece was finished. After that, I had the most restful sleep I'd had in months.

Slowly, I started to write more and more personal items and I could feel their weight falling from my shoulders, which led to the creation of my novel. When I was nearing the fruition of 4 months of work, Liz and I reconnected. We'd spend hours on the phone and she would tell me how much she'd hated her life now. She eventually confessed her feelings for me and we began to flirt with the idea of getting back together. I'd asked her if she'd read "Hollow" and she replied, "That the one about the kid? Yeah, it was sad."

I told her we weren't going to work out and haven't talked to her since.

For the most part, I've been able to move on from the terrible feeling of loss I carried with me since that day in September, 2006. Sometimes, though, I'll be reminded and I feel the familiar pang in my chest. I'm still glad it's there, though, because I will never forget the promise I made to my daughter.

I will always remember her.

Also, her 4th birthday would be coming up in two months and I'm a little sad I can't celebrate it.

Soundtrack To My Life: Sound of Pulling Heaven Down

She's standing on the balcony of our apartment with a cup of coffee, admiring the scenery. A full moon hangs low in the sky as the waves of the ocean caress the shore. A light breeze kisses her face and steam rises from the cup as she brings it to her lips. Inspired, I grab a blanket and my MP3 player before stepping outside to join her.

I walk up from behind and wrap her up in the blanket. Then I take one of my earbuds, place it in her ear and the other one in mine. I scroll through my inventory until I find the right song, "Sound Of Pulling Heaven Down" by Blue October and hit play. Immediately, we're taken away by the lyrics.

Somewhere, far away from here
I saw stars, stars that I could reach (yeah)
It was a midnight, a silent twilight
Fell down, beyond the ocean beach (yeah)

She allows herself to fall against me and I don't move an inch.

I assemble all the sand that cover wedding beaches
To build a castle so your mom would have a place to stay
Behind the water slide and down the hill where heaven reaches
Land and time is left to float away (yeah)

As I bring my arms around her we stare out onto the beach; the lyrics coming to life before our eyes.

So rest assured I have the key to every opening
To every wishing well that's deep enough to dream (dream)
I want to show you just how fascinating kissing is
When earth collides with all the space between (yeah)

Hands find each other in the dark and fingers interlock.

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more

Her head leans back, causing our cheeks to connect. The warmth of her skin ignites the fire within me. The embrace tightens.

So never look behind you, spooky people bring you down
The world is ending there's a party by the bay
I'll wear my suit and tie when I am
I am toasting to the way you put that smile upon my face (yeah)

She places the cup on the table at her right and turns around to face me. With my right hand I brush the hair out of eyes and then leave it on her cheek.

Fill up the air balloon and ride with me
Yeah hell is jealous of the rain (rain)
Make love like time and space Is ending
While befriending fate's alluring way of putting us to shame

She moves closer and I bring my lips to meet hers. The world disappears behind closed lids and we get lost in the feel and taste of each other.

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more

Her ear. Neck. Collarbone. Lips. I visit all of my favorite places.

You make the sound of pulling heaven down
You brought the rain's romantic pour
You make the sound
You make the sound
Of pulling heaven down

When the song reaches its climax, we're left breathless. I hit stop, pull the bud from her ear and go back inside, leaving her smiling through chattering teeth.
I truly hate automated phone centers.

First and Last: A collection

She recently told me how she reads the back cover along with the first and last sentences of every book she picks up to decide whether or not she's going to make the purchase. She then read those parts from "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower", our favorite book, as an example of how it should be done. Inspired, and never getting tired of my own shit, I present a collection of some of my pieces using this approach.

Click on titles for links.

1. Everything has a price
First: On my lunch break I got a call from my cousin asking me to pick her up from work.
Last: Good one, Jesus.

2. Never backpack through Cuba with Toucan Sam
First: I dreamed about Allison again last night.
Last: I don't know how to end this, as I'm just rambling, so I guess I'll just

3. The story of basic cable and Vampyros Lesbos
First: Writers note: Okay ladies, i'm about to let you inside the minds of males when left alone, or in groups.
Last: There you have it: an hour in the male mind.

4. Closure?
First: Fuck the past.
Last: I just can't dedicate any more time and energy into trying to make that happen.

5. For the best
First: "What exactly is it that you want out of life?"
Last: I’m finally able to admit, ten seconds too late.

6. Closure
First: It was two years ago that I started this job, the day I first saw you as well as your birthday.
Last: It's time to move forward.

7. Boundaries
First: I'm still not sure where you got all these notions.
Last: After all...you always hurt the one you love.

8. The search for inspiration
First: I've hit up every open mic for the past month now.
Last: I want that spark back.

9. First Impressions
First: When it comes to dating (or the start of any new relationship), first impressions can either be the perfect foundation to building something amazing, or can burn down that bridge and piss over the ashes.
Last: Just something to keep in mind while out in the trenches.

10. Me?
First: I've been keeping a low profile.
Last: And I'm almost ready to tell you everything.

11. I want my childhood back
First: I have a confession...I, Davlin Stewart, am a shameless nerd.
Last: Please, Platinum Dunes...don't take this one from me, too.

12. Dreams
First: I dreamt about her again last night.
Last: The thing is, though, since it's impossible to forget her, I've decided I want to remember her how I always liked her best; the way she is when she comes to me in my dreams.

13. Life isn't fair
First: It's a phrase I've heard and spoken my entire life.
Last: Life is fair, you just have to grow up and learn to take the bad with the good.

14. And now a collection of my status messages from Facebook. With commentary!
First: I've been kind of lax in my posts lately, but that's because so much has been going on.
Last: Well, that's been the last few months brought to you by Facebook.

15. Loss Pt. 2: The eulogy I wish I'd given
First: It's funny the difference a year can make.
Last: And I miss you.

Stupid things which get me overly excited #44

I love words.

You know how most guys will spend their weekends or prime time TV hours watching sports? I spend at least an hour a day on thesaurus.com. I like to use a more precocious vocabulary (or "Huh Words" for some of you, no judgment) in every manner of communication. Yes, it quite often derails conversation.

Anyway, talking this way through text is often a pain in the ass, because I rely pretty heavily on the crutch of spell check. So, when I type a more complex word in and I'm not sure if I spelled it correctly, I'll look it up online. Sometimes I'm right, which gets me overly excited.

Notion # 21

You weren't going to be able to sleep comfortably until you owned the set of Marvel glasses. And you're right, they are pretty bitchin'.
There's a story to be found in every moment; you just have to know where to look.

Red Herring

Crudely drawn storyboards are laid out in front of me on the dining room table. They're arranged to tell the most bittersweet story I've ever penned. Created in sporadic bursts between classes and my internship; the manifesto of a lovesick heart.

It opens with our hero at a crossroads finding the dream he's been chasing longer than he can remember on his right and his dream girl on the left. Opportunities presented themselves at the exact same time which forced him to choose between the two. Cliche, I know, but I've only been in school for six months.

After minutes of thoughtful consideration, our hero reached his decision. He'd been living his life to please other people for too long and he'd be foolish to squander a once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus, they were meant to be together, right? What could go wrong?

For starters, the distance between them was doubled. He became busy with his classes, while she waited on text messages which were never returned. The only way they've ever been able to connect suddenly severed, their eyes began to wander. Mistakes were made, foul words said and trust irreversibly damaged. They ended it through text on a screen without ever meeting face to face.

After several months, our hero realizes what a horrible mistake he had made. Without her, his dream lost its allure and his well of ideas dried up. He no longer had his muse or his strength and he lost everything else shortly thereafter.

While I'm making notes in my netbook, I hear a knock at the front door. I grumble in mild frustration at being disturbed as I rise from the table and go to greet the soon to be victim of my frustrations.

Once the door is opened, however, they fade because I'm staring into her eyes which make it impossible to feel anything other than bliss. Her lips crack that smart ass grin of hers and she manages to hold it flawlessly. My eyes dart up and focus on the U-Haul parked in front of my apartment. Our apartment. Then our eyes meet again and the grin explodes into the biggest smile I've ever seen on her beautiful face and she leaps into my arms.

"Jehovah's witnesses sure are getting aggressive these days." I say, suddenly aware of how close her lips are to mine.

"Shut up." She retorts as she leans forward and I officially become hers with a single kiss. "Where's the bedroom?"

I make a slight nod behind me and follow her to where we'll be spending the next several hours. What? The storyboards? That was just fiction, of course we end up together.
I've been accepted into The Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. Now, I just hope all of the pieces fit into place.
Last night her and I had the type of conversation you don't walk away from just because you're tired.

Davlin's Playlist: Thinking of you

1. The New Year-Deathcab For Cutie
2. It Had To Be You-Motion City Soundtrack
3. Inevitable-Anberlin
4. Always-Blink-182
5. Sound Of Pulling Heaven Down-Blue October
6. Sigh No More-Mumford and Sons
7. Hands Down-Dashboard Confessional
8. Learning How To Smile-Everclear
9. Night Drive-Jimmy Eat World
10. Flaws-The Spill Canvas
11. Through Glass-Stone Sour
12. Tear You Apart-She Wants Revenge
13. The Good Left Undone-Rise Against
14. Hey Pretty-Poe Ft. Mark Danielewski
15. Taken Back By You-New Found Glory
16. Leave Out All The Rest-Linkin Park
17. Foxglove-Murder By Death
18. Here Without You-3 Doors Down
19. Down Together-The Refreshments
20. Only You-Cartel

Bonus Track!
Santa Monica-Everclear

My time in the mental hospital Part 3: An unexpected friend.

I awoke on the first morning groggy with an odd taste in my mouth. Even though there was no one to impress, I still went through my daily routine to make sure I looked good. Once dressed I walked down the hallway to the front desk.

"So, what've we got goin on today?" I asked the woman there who was more preoccupied with the paperwork in front of her instead of the stellar conversation I brought to the table.

"You're about to go to breakfast. Then meds. Then group."

"I was wondering if I could also book a massage in my room for 3 o'clock."

She stared at me, completely unamused.

"Right. Ok. I'm gonna go smoke now." I said to her as I turned to walk towards The Box. The whole way there I stared at the ground to avoid eye contact with everyone else.

Luckily this time I was in there alone and allowed my guard to drop slightly. I became fully immersed in the stories on the walls. My personal favorite was, "God's last name isn't damnit!" Unfortunately, due to my intense concentration I didn't notice Joseph was right behind me until he spoke.

"Good morning."

"Jesus!" I screamed as I spun around to put my back against the wall as well as put more distance between him and myself.

"Don't take my name in vain. Can I have a cigarette, please?" His face never changed as he spoke.

"Sure, here." I could foresee this being a problem, with me only having brought three packs.

I disposed of my smoke before it was finished, went inside and a few minutes later they took us to the kitchen for breakfast. I had cereal, soggy bacon and powdered eggs shaped to give the impression of being real and scrambled. I sat down at the table, joined by a huge mentally disabled man with tourette's syndrome to my left, the naked crazy lady to my right and joker and another religious fanatic directly in front of me.

The food was abhorrent. The eggs disintegrated when I poked them with my fork and the bacon (one of my favorite foods) left much to be desired. From that moment on, I ate a lot of cereal.

The conversation at my table was deafening as well as incoherent. Everyone was shouting to themselves and not taking in anything said by another person. Joseph was sent back to our wing due to a violent outburst and we followed not long after.

I noticed during breakfast and when I drank some water later that the awful, metallic taste from earlier in the morning had only intensified. As I pondered this mystery I noticed the patients forming a line and, since I had nothing better to do, hopped in along with them. When I reached the end I found myself to a window similar to one you'd find at at drive through.

"Name?" The woman I'd previously chatted up at the desk asked me through the glass.

"What's this line for?" I asked.

She sighed deeply. "This is where you get your meds. You need to come here twice a day and take them."

"Ok. What are they?"

"Let me check. What's your name?"

"Wait a minute. You're in charge of medications and you don't know our names? You're surrounded by mental patients. Joseph over there said he was Jesus this morning."

"Look, if you keep talking to me like that you're going to be in here a lot longer than you'd like. What's your name?"

"I'm Dav-lin Stew-art." I told her while drawing out each syllable, just to piss her off.

She then handed me a Dixie cup with three pills and another one filled with water. I gagged while consuming the contents of each.

Once that unpleasantness was over I went with my fellow crazies to my first group session. The counselor was a beautiful woman a few years older than myself and she left me transfixed. Since this kind of group wasn't the type who could articulate their feelings with fully constructed sentences, she opted instead for a very simplistic board game. She led conversation casually as we all struggled to get through it together.

"How do you feel being in here?" She asked me when it was my turn.

"I'm 22 years old," I replied while shaking the dice in my hand, "and I'm so emotionally screwed up I had to check myself into a mental hospital." I rolled the dice. "If I'm being honest. I'm not really sure what to feel right now."

"What's the hardest thing about it?

"I miss my music so bad it hurts."

Her eyes flashed with understanding. "If you could hear any band right now, who would it be?"

"Right now? Blue October, hands down."

Thirty minutes later group ended and we went back to our wing. This time, when we returned there was a scared kid sitting alone at one of the tables. His eyes darted in our direction and studied us all. He was terrified. I went over to him and sat down.

"Hey, man. My name's Davlin. Rough morning?"

"Hi. Eric. I'm freaking out."

"What happened?"

"My mom, man. She pushes me too hard in school. Like, it's crazy. I just want to be able to live my own life, but she won't let me. This morning I took 8 Tylenol in front of her. I just wanted to scare her; to show her how she makes me feel."

"Then what happened?"

"She called the paramedics, who gave me a charcoal pill and sent me here. My mouth still tastes like shit"

"That fucking sucks, man. How old are you?"

"19."

To make him feel better, I told him this story:

“There was this one day a couple of years ago I was feeling really depressed. I was watching TV feeling sad and bored when I picked up my belt. It was one of those that had leather threaded together, to allow you to put the notch anywhere you wanted. So, I wrapped it around my neck and buckled it as tight as it would go. I then just sat there for a couple of minutes. It was more uncomfortable than anything, so I got bored with it and gave up. After a couple of hours I went over to my girlfriend’s place and she asked what was wrong with my neck. The belt had burst all the blood vessels around my throat and you could see the perfect outline of the leather threads. I still don’t remember how I explained that one.”

“Hahaha...You did that? That was dumb.”

“Oh, really? I’m gonna get shit from you, Mr. 8 Tylenol?”

After that, we became inseparable in there. Unfortunately, this is also when the pills I ingested earlier started taking effect, causing the memories of the rest of my stay to splinter.

I'm done with cigarettes

After several excruciating years of waiting, we had finally gotten together and it was everything I'd ever dreamed it could be. Right off the bat, the electricity between us was filled with both complete understanding and raw sexual chemistry which became static on our tongues and fingertips.

For two marvelous months life was perfect and we wanted for nothing.

Those times however, were not meant to last. I was driving home one evening when I was rocked by a coughing fit so severe I had to pull over. I gripped the wheel with both of my hands as my chest continued to spasm and sent razor blades up my esophagus until blood sprayed my dashboard.

My old addiction finally came up to bite me in the ass and I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I'm a college student with no savings or insurance. The doctors haven't given me long.

I haven't been able to sleep much since then. I feel like I've got precious little time to waste on dreams, so I spend it watching as you do. At first I was so fucking angry with myself for happily killing myself this whole time and cutting our life together so short. I wasted an entire week in this state before I realized just how much time with you that was.

Now, I'm going to savor every single second until I run out. For some reason I know it's going to be ok, because at least I'll be facing it with you by my side. But, where does that leave you after I'm gone? You're the one who's really suffering here and I won't be able to comfort you for much longer.

I lay back down and blanket you in my arms. You nuzzle into my neck and smile. It makes me think about all the precious moments people take for granted, because they assume tomorrow is a promise.

Then I kiss your forehead and allow myself to dream.

The Lost Songs 6: Souls Suffice

Written: 2006
Inspiration: A buddy of mine in SC told me I write too many songs about broken hearts and needed to try something different. When I asked him what I should write instead, he suggested a piece which would show "how I see the world". This is what I came up with. When I showed it to him and asked him what he thought, his face was pale and he said I should go back to writing about relationships.

Souls Suffice

The city is on fire tonight.
I watch the flames burn down everything in sight.
As the world takes its last breath,
I wonder how we could have gone so wrong.
It’s a tough pill to swallow when your,
Will to survive stays so strong.
The planes are flying overhead,
And there’s nothing left here to bomb.
I saw my brother die here today,
He wasn’t even three years old.
I held him in my arms,
And felt his limp body grow cold.
There are people burning alive,
and I can’t escape the smell.
After the last 24 hours,
I no longer fear hell.
Guns are all around me but,
I refuse to pick one up.
A soldier’s spirit I do not have,
So I’ll just rely on luck.
With it I make it to the outskirts,
And collapse face first into the dirt.
Isn’t this what you wanted?
Isn’t this what you asked for?
Did you know you’d pay your price?
With not just blood but so much more?
So now that you’ve made this sacrifice.
I gotta know,
Will our souls suffice?
This is not,
The end of the story.
It’s not even,
A return to former glory.
It is what it is,
Sometimes that’s just the way the world works.
So god do you still love us,
Despite our violent quirks?

The Lost Songs 5: Feel No More

Written: Sept 03
Inspiration: A friend of mine committed suicide and I was the last person to speak to him. This happened when I was 18, two months after I took the two medicine cabinets worth of pills.

Feel No More

You said you didn't,
want to live this life.
It wasn't fair,
and you'd rather die.
The bottle opens,
capsules on the floor.
You're gonna leave,
and feel no more.

Chorus:
I reached out my hand,
but you wouldn't take it.
The right decision was there,
but you just wouldn't make it.
What do you do when your,
prayers fall upon deaf ears?
And you're eaten alive,
by your worst fears?
If only I was there in time.
I'm so sorry that I failed you.
End Chorus:

The pills start to hurt,
as they go down dry.
With tear streaked eyes you,
look to God and ask him why,
there has to be so much pain.
And all my good intentions,
they are in vain.

Chorus 1x:

Flash forward,
to your grave.
Etched in stone,
is your fate and name.
All the people around you,
Gawk and stare.
If only you knew,
how many actually cared.
Things might have been different...
and not like this.

Chorus 1x:

Fin.

The Lost Songs 4: A Time Of Innocence

Written: December 2002
Inspiration: Not liking the person I was growing into.
Author's Note: I've mentioned this song in several prior posts and just realized I've never posted it. This not only became the template for every song after, but I feel it is one of my best.

A Time Of Innocence

Tonight is the night I’ve,
fallen from grace.
I’m looking' in the mirror and I,
don’t even recognize the face,
staring back at me.
Every single word I’ve spoken,
has been in blasphemy.
I’ve made so many mistakes and,
now just look at the cost.
Tonight is the night that,
all my innocence is lost.

Chorus:
So take me,
BACK,
to when I was younger.
BACK,
when you were wiser.
BACK,
to when nothing made any sense.
Just take me back,
to a time of innocence.
End Chorus:

We’d never let our parents get us down.
Who cares what they thought?
They were never around.
And in school I wondered why,
they always had to make you cry.
Or why they’d beat me to the ground,
left lying' in the mud where I was found.
We had each other from the start.
And our bond stayed strong,
as the world around us fell apart.

Chorus 1x:

And I don’t care about the future.
I don’t even care,
bout how we’ll get there.
Even though our lives have moved so fast,
we’ll always have the past.
And no matter what happens,
they can never take that.

Chorus 1x:

Fin.

28 of my favorite posts

Click on titles for links.

1. Words
I do my best thinking in the car and it's a hard process to convert into words. This piece also inspired the name of my site, Bled Out Onto A Page

2. At the water's edge
This was my first attempt with an abstract narrative and it's hard to describe how I feel about it while still sounding humble. Read it.

3. An old friend, Mediatech and Liquid Sex
I wrote this three years ago and it's funny just how much has changed and yet stayed the same.

4. Hollow
Dedicated to my baby girl. I love you, angel.

5. Deja Vu
Even though I started out writing songs, I wouldn't call myself a songwriter. I do like this one.

6. Vicarious self reflection
Here's what someone once said about this piece, "You have a tremendous knack for telling us everything we need to know, but nothing that we want."

7. Maybe insomnia's not so bad, after all
I've got video of me performing this on my site. It will haunt you.

8. Epiphany in the static
I absolutely adore this one and it contains what I think is the best line I've ever written. "I think in white noise."

9. A transient affair
This was a fictional piece where I tried to capture the guilt ridden confusion felt once the afterglow of a one night stand had faded. I don't like that last sentence but I have a feeling I'm going to be doing this for awhile, so fuck it.

10. Mafioso's requiem
This work of fiction is much more brutal. Can you see what's really happening?

11. To the girl who taught me the art of letting go
You have no idea how good this felt to write or cathartic it is to perform.

12. After the tone
Speaking of performing, this is my most requested. Go see it on my site, it's cool I'll wait.

13. Bemoan
Some wounds take longer to heal than others.

14. My Brand New Coat
This was the first genuinely positive piece I'd posted on this blog. It was followed days later by...

15. Loss
I miss you, Mark.

16. Just a taste
I spent an hour on the second to last sentence.

17. Harbinger Ch. 10: We interrupt this broadcast
While I'd rather you didn't start this story here, I feel this chapter is the most powerful.

18. Expulsion
The sequel to "At the water's edge", only in this one I get rid of my soul.

19. An examination of some recent comments I have received
This is my most viewed post; a fact which makes me smile.

20. My favorite memory of her
This was my first attempt at remembering fondly instead of hatefully mourning.

21. This has been a long time coming
My thanks to all of my readers, even if it's like pulling teeth for conversation sometimes. I love you all.

22. My time in a mental hospital Part 1 and Part 2: My first night
A deeply personal story which I will finish when I'm ready.

23. With time
And along came you.

24. The moment I knew I was meant to be a writer
My origin story.

25. Feel. Release. Heal.
Yes, my website does need instructions.

26. Since that moment
Heartbreaking fiction.

27. For Ana
You can't read that one. It's hers.

28. This is what I want: A proclamation
To the future!

Fin.

Growth

Before I get started, have some numbers.

2008
Number of posts: 44
Average per month: 3.66

2009
Number of posts: 63
Average per month: 5.25

2010
Number of posts: 49
Average per month: 4.98

2011
Number of posts for January: 51
Number of posts for February: 22

I'm sure most of you who read this start with the front page and stop when you get sick of it. To get the full effect of the newer pieces, you must first read every other post which proceeds it. I don't think anyone has, though, which creates my biggest challenge as a writer.

I have to somehow manage to tell a seemingly endless story, while at the same time not getting so tangled in its own continuity that it turns off new readers. I think some exercises were more successful than others, but I stand by them all. But to my new readers, I promise you will see the bigger picture if you start from the beginning.

Notion # 55

Sometimes you'll say you do something really well or name a quality about yourself you like, but it's out of confidence instead of arrogance.
Mike just left me the longest voicemail I've ever gotten. I miss that kid.

Routine

At 5:15 my first alarm goes off and I don't hear it. They usually aren't able to stir me until at least a half hour later. When the one on my laptop goes off I hit snooze and don't have a memory of anything until 6:30. At this point I'm going to be pushing to make it to work on time. This should also bother me much more than it does.

I sit up on the couch, blankets and pillows piled all around me. I don't know why, but I can't sleep in my bed anymore, so I've grown quite fond of the living room. While in the shower, luke warm water cascades off of my face and always leaves me feeling unsatisfied. I dry off, step out and begin my routine. Gel in the hair, brushing of the teeth, deodorant and then I get dressed. This never changes unless I'm running so late I don't want to deal with my hair and rock a hat instead.

There's no enthusiasm during my daily ritual. It's just another thing I do nowadays. I've lost the drive in my life here that I used to have. I'm not sure how to get it back, or if I even really want to.

I'm in my car now, driving to work. When Russ Martin is on a commercial break I listen to songs from my MP3 player as loud as I can possibly stand. I never really feel like I've woken up; my mind still fresh with our conversation the night before.

At work I go through the motions. More is asked of me and I want to do less of it every day. It's hard, you know? When after so many years of soul searching you actually discover the things you want, it's painful when they're both half a country away.

I wish I was stong about this like you are. I never hear you say anything about how hard things are in your life. I admire your optimism and I promise I'm trying to be the same way, but, like I said, it's difficult.

I barely say anything in the conversations I have with people around me and they're always the same. I don't feel connected to the people here anymore and I question if I ever did. This perpetual disconnect only intesifies the dream like state in which I'm constantly finding myself.

I've tried to explain all of this, but I don't think anyone really understands. They simply tell me everyone has to do things they don't want to and this is where those conversations usually end. While this is inevitable in some instances, I think this defeatist attitude is what seperates myself from others around me.

I've never been one to settle, really. No one is guaranteed a very long time on this planet and once yours is up, that's all you get. I guess I've finally decided to use mine to pursue the things that make me happy and hold on to them once they are found.

These are just some of the thoughts that bounce back and forth through my head when working fails to hold my interest. Then, I get back in my car and turn the radio up so loud it annoys the motorist around me, but I don't care. This is the only joy I really get from being here these days.

Things are better at home, if only because it's easier to distract myself from the things which have weighed heavy on my mind. Eventually, after over 12 hours of watching the clock my favorite time of the day arrives.

It's during this time you and I are actually able to talk uninterupted. When we have these talks the distance doesn't seem so great and I let myself pretend we're the only people left in the entire world. Even though this part of the routine makes the rest of the day harder because of the fatigue it sometimes brings, I wouldn't trade it for anything. These are the moments I live for nowadays and your strength helps me find a way to soldier on.

After several hours, when we can no longer keep our eyes open, we say our goodnights and retire until the next day. I force myself to stay awake so I can burn the details of our conversation into my memory. Finally, sleep comes to claim me and 4 hours later the entire routine starts again.
I fall a little more with every word you write.

Pictures II

A couple of nights ago she sent me a picture of herself in a bikini while at the beach. As happy as I was to see her in such a skimpy outfit I saw something even better hidden deep within the image. So I cropped it into a panaronic image of her face on the far left followed by nothing but blue. I saved it as the background to my work computer because her beauty keeps me going when times get rough and gives me a future worth looking forward to.

I realized through a conversation with her how she really doesn't have any pictures of me and started to feel guilty. On the way home I brainstormed about the different aspects of my personality I wanted to capture. As soon as I got home I ate and went straight to work. I had just finished taking the first set when my phone rang. It was Bobby from The Brooks Institute. (A film school I've recently applied for)

Him: Hey, Davlin. I just wanted to let you know I got the app, but we're missing an initial and we need to get it in as soon as possible.

Me: Sorry about that, Bobby. I'll get it back to you first thing in the morning.

Him: No worries, man. What are you doing?

This is when I told him about my project and he seemed into it.

Me: I've been experimenting with photography for awhile now and I really like it.

Him: Good, there's going to be a lot of that in your future.

He informed me the "Director of Admissions" (believe that was her title) wanted to call me to give me a second interview and I should be expecting to hear from her in a few days.

We then bullshitted for a bit and I thanked him for checking out my site.

Him: No problem, man. It's good. You've written some serious stuff.

Me: I appreciate that. And thanks again for everything else.

Him: No worries. We're gonna do everything we can to get you in. Have a good night; we'll talk later.

Me: You too, man. Thanks. Bye.

I think the timing's finally about to be right. I can feel the planets and stars shifting into place. We're already on our way and soon we'll be able to see each other in more than just pictures.

This is what I want: A proclamation

While in San Jose I attended a multi-media course for work. For 16 glorious hours I was able to learn about and experiment with things I truly have a passion for. My instructor had several years experience working at the BBC and he brought a fire to the course which kept everyone engaged.

Towards the middle of the second day he tasked us with filming an instructional video. The topic of my film was "How to use an elevator" and I was the only one who scouted the area first and already mapped out where to get the best shots. I teamed up with a 6 1/2 foot tall Swiss man and we became fast friends.

Let me paint the scene.

We're in the lobby of the Marriott around lunchtime, so the place is packed with busy executives and convention goers. I'm laying in the floor, shouting "Action" at my friend to walk down the hall way and "again" when someone walked into the back ground. Since filming elevators is tricky, we were constantly calling them, hopping in for a quick shot and then out to call another. Management finally came to ask us what hell we were doing. (we forgot to ask permission)

The whole experienced was rushed, chaotic and while it didn't turn out quite how I'd hoped, I loved every single fucking second of it.

My teacher played my video for the class and everyone loved it. He told me after that I had a raw talent for film and I needed to pursue it. That movie I made was less than a minute long, but it gave me more personal fulfillment that any other accomplishment in my entire professional career.

In the last week I've learned that I only want two things. I want to go to film school in California and I want her to come with me.
Whenever I'm out on the road I always dread the trip coming back.

Season

I'm sitting all alone,
in my apartment on a Saturday afternoon.
I feel like a loser,
but I've got no place else to go.
From my window I hear,
footsteps through halfway melted slush.
A firm reminder,
that winter will be over soon.
And then I'll be,
one more season closer to you.

We haven't been properly introduced. My names, Davlin. What's yours?

Over the last month I've really become immersed in tracking the stats of this blog. After doing the math I figure I've close to about 28 people who regularly follow my work. I currently have 14 people who follow it publicly and 2 in secret. (this both intrigues and irritates me)

Lately I find myself wondering about the other 12 I know nothing about. The only information I have are the countries they are from and all that does is further pique my curiosity.

If you do read my blog regularly drop me an email or sound off in the comments. I'm curious to know how you found this site, if anything really spoke to you and what makes you keep coming back.

You've spent a lot of time reading about my life, now I want to hear about yours.

Davlin

Notion # 6

For once it's finally mutual.

Hello to my Canadian friend reading this on their Blackberry!

I just totally blew your mind didn't I?

Since that moment

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, buddy. I'm ok."

"You're just sad?"

"Yeah...I'm just sad."

"It's going to be ok, daddy. I love you." Our four year old son says as he embraces me with tiny arms made of wire. He's been having to comfort me like this a lot lately and it breaks my heart a little more each time.

I feel as if I'm failing him and your memory. I pray and go to church like I'm supposed to. I go to work everyday and support our child. All day long I stay strong, because I have to. Every night I sleep on the couch, because our bed is too big and it reminds me of what's missing. I also found that every time I slept in it, there was a little bit less or your scent still clinging to the unwashed sheets.

I think I died with you on that day in November. I remember it was the worst storm I'd ever seen and the roads outside were treacherous. Jeremy had a fever and we needed to get him something to take it down. We were still such new parents back then and didn't plan ahead for this, which left us staring out into the storm wondering what to do.

"Listen," I told you, "The drug store is right down the street. I'll go and be right back. It won't take 10 minutes."

"Allen, you've never driven on roads like this. I have. Besides, we don't even know if the store is open. I'm going to go and you're not going to fight me on this." Your eyes narrowed to show me your mind had been made up. Then they softened as you told me, "I'll be right back. I love you." Then you kissed me on the cheek and I never saw you again.

My life stopped when I received the news. It feels like ever since then I've never been able to move passed that moment. It's all as raw and painful as it was back then. I keep watching the driveway expecting your car to pull in or waiting for a phone call which will never come.

I look at Jeremy and he's growing up so fast. He asks about you and I'm able to remember a little bit less each time I tell him. Everything about you is fading away from me except the agony of your absence.

Now, he's holding me. Wishing he could make his daddy smile, take all of my pain away so we can be happy together. But he can't. And for that I am so, so sorry.

An Inscrutable Conversation

CC, author of An Inscrutable Voyeur, just messaged me and it was one of the strangest conversations I've ever had.

CC: Can we talk?

Me: Sure. What's up?

CC: You said you've dealt with the supernatural. What happened to you?

Me: Well...bumps, voices, levitating objects, feelings of dread, attacks and molestations by things I can only describe as demons, an encounter with beings not of this world, multiple physical manifestations and a visit to hell. Though I'm not sure if that last one was genuine or the result of me taking two medicine cabinets worth of pills.

CC: Jesus, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Me: Was there a point to you messaging me or did you just want to be a judgmental prick?

CC: Oh, yeah. You know how some weird shit's been happening to me lately? It's gotten worse.

Me: How so?

CC: Well, about two hours ago I found another package. The words, "Watch ME", are written over it in black marker.

Me: Shit. Did you catch something on the surveillance tape?

CC: Yeah. I think I'm going crazy.

Me: What did you see?

CC: One moment there was nothing, then .02 seconds of static. Then it's just there. Nothing could move fast enough to put it there without being seen.

Me: I don't know what to say. Is there something wrong with the camera?

CC: There's nothing wrong with the fucking camera, okay? Something is happening to me and I don't know what to do.

Me: I think you need to watch it.

CC: Fuck that.

Me: Look, whatever is doing this isn't going to stop until it gets what it wants. The more you try to fight it, the more hostile it's going to become. Trust me on this one, watch it now or it's only going to get worse for you.

CC: I'm starting to lose my shit.

Me: That's understandable.

CC: I guess you're right, though. I'll watch it, but I need a day or two first.

Me: Keep me posted?

CC: Sure. Thanks for the advice or whatever it was.

Me: Before you leave, is it ok if I post this?

CC: Do you ever get a thought you don't have to post on the internet?

Me: Not lately, no.

CC: Fine, whatever.
Now when I have bouts with my darkness, I allow it to run its course. It makes for an intense day, but I need to be allowed the experience.

Here's what I think

For the most part, there are two types of people in this world. There
are those who refuse to acknowledge the darkness and others who become
swallowed by it.

The first group will spend their whole lives running away from their
pain, but it always finds them because they never give themselves the
chance to learn from past mistakes.

The second instead focuses only on their loss and sadness. It's
impossible to enjoy the present or look forward to the future when you
spend every waking hour cursing your past.

I don't get along very well with either of these groups. The former
drops me when I need them the most and the latter is too wrapped up in
themselves to be of use to anyone else.

What makes us different is, while we both started out in one of these
groups, we've evolved beyond them. We both see the darkness in each
other and our selves and, while we do acknowledge them, we don't allow
it to consume us. We can see the beauty in the pain, because we
realize it's integral to learning who we are and become better people
as a result.

I think this is also the reason we compliment each other so well.
Whenever either of us starts to slip, the other is able to listen AND
understand.

Unexpected Hanging Paradox

Memories in the form of still images and text race through my head. An accelerated heartbeat and leaking eyes make it harder to focus. I'm rising and falling; my stomach takes permanent residence in my throat. People call and text but I don't want to talk tonight.

My mom didn't like my tone when we spoke and went into full on panic mode. She blew up my phone with texts demanding to know what was wrong. I love my mom, but there's some things she doesn't need to know about.

See, I have to be perfect. That's not just concerning mom, it's a lot of people. I'm not perfect, though. In fact, I'm pretty fucked up at times. Some people are waiting on me to snap again, while others will be crushed if I do. I have to stay strong and not give the first set an opening as well as avoid letting down the latter. It's exhausting.

I don't like people to see me when I get like this.

Music pulses through my headphones. My MP3 player knows me too well and always picks the right songs for the wrong times. The leaks from my eyes become torrents and soak the filter of my cigarette. I know I think too much and there's one thought in particular I can't seem to shake.

Are my emotions a gift or curse?

Sentimental

The Light

But you said,
that you need space,
and you need time,
to get the big picture,
then you'll be fine.
Until that day comes,
I'll be in the background.
Always in the background...
whenever you need me.
The ladies at the airport check in gave me a free in flight movie for busting out "the sprinkler". I got game.
Looking at your pictures is my new favorite way to start the day.
Three little words have never come so easy.