What’s Your Life’s Enchantment Under The Sea Dance?

philosophy, relationships, time travel, Back to the Future, humor, Modern PhilosopherHappy Friday, Modern Philosophers!

My Deep Thoughts lately have been focused on the events that led up to my horrible vacation and what I could have done to change things.  As a disciple of Doc Brown and a huge fan of Back to the Future, my obvious urge has been to borrow the DeLorean and head back in time to the exact moment when it all fell apart.

That would be the Fourth of July weekend where I would avoid the stupid fight that somehow became the straw that broke this relationship’s back.

By altering history, I would have ensured that that she got on the plane three weeks ago, and I’d be happily planning a winter wedding.

But Doc hasn’t stopped by The House on the Hill lately, so I haven’t been able to borrow his wheels.  Alas, I’m stuck with life as it unfolded, and the space/time continuum will remain as is for the time being.

Even though I can’t time travel at the moment and make life the way I’d prefer it to be, I can open the Think Tank and invite you to join me for a Back to the Future themed evening.  Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend a Friday night?

This week’s topic:  What’s your life’s Enchantment Under the Sea Dance?  What moment, if you went back and altered it, would cause your life to unravel and make everything slowly fade from the photograph that you keep tucked away in your wallet?

philosophy, time travel, fate, relationships, Back to the Future, Modern PhilosopherThis is a fun one, Modern Philosophers, so feel free to be creative.  Remember, I’m talking about a moment that would change your life as you know it, not the moment that would keep you from ever being born.

I’ve given this one lots of Deep Thought over the years.  I’m a big believer that there is a moment in every life when an unfocused existence suddenly finds the path that guides it towards its destiny, and all that was meant to happen now unfolds as the Fates intended.

What do you think about that idea, Modern Philosophers?

For me, this magic moment, my personal Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, occurred during Thanksgiving break of my sophomore year at NYU.  I stayed at the dorm to attended my high school’s reunion (we got together every year over Thanksgiving break) and there were several other students who had remained at school instead of going home for the holiday.

One of those who didn’t go home for Turkey Day was the freshman who was seeing one of my best friends from high school.  My buddy had been at the reunion, too, but on this particular night, he was not down in the TV room watching Halloween.

In fact, the only two people who were awake in the middle of the night watching one of my all time favorite flicks were my pal’s girlfriend and me.

When the movie ended, and its chilling theme blasted out of the TV, we kissed for the first time.  From that point on, she was no longer my best friend’s girlfriend.  Fate had put me on a path that this pretty blonde haired freshman and I would walk together for the next sixteen years.

relationships, time travel, fate, philosophy, Back to the Future, humor, Modern PhilosopherYes, she eventually grew up to become my ex-wife, but if we had never kissed that night, I would not be writing to you from The House on the Hill with a broken heart.

I was a lost soul, wandering the world all alone until that moment.  I’d never had a serious girlfriend, I wasn’t really fitting in well at NYU, and I was still so awkward and shy.  Entering into this relationship drew me out of my shell, introduced me to a family that would bring some much needed stability to my life, and forced me to grow up very quickly.

We went to Maine on our honeymoon, which planted the seed for the move that eventually brought me to The House on the Hill.  We moved to California, where my screenwriting career finally took off.  My divorce forced me to become independent again and made me realize I was stronger and more self-sufficient than I’d realized.

The only reason I’m handling this current heartbreak fairly well is because I survived the end of the relationship that began that night with a kiss in the dark as Michael Myers watched us from behind his creepy mask.

If I borrowed the DeLorean to time travel back to that night and avoid that first kiss, I can guarantee you that my life would be nothing like it is right now.

So what’s your life’s Enchantment Under the Sea Dance?

You don’t need to time travel to follow me on Pinterest!


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Where Do I Find The Energy?

running, fitness, health, mental health, writing, balance, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherThis might be a quick post, Modern Philosophers, because I don’t know how much energy I’ve got left.

I decided to commit to my running program and writing my new screenplay while also working overtime all week.

I wasn’t sure where I’d find the time or the energy, but I knew I definitely needed to push myself down a more positive life path.

That being said, running after work today was a must if I wanted to keep to my plan of a 4 day run week.

So I got up early, arrived at work at 6:30, and promised myself I would not stay past 5:00.  Yes, Modern Philosophers, I actually felt like I was doing something wrong when I clocked out at my regular time tonight.

My work schedule has been so crazy that working a 10 hour day felt like a reprieve.

Of course, once I was back at The House on the Hill, I still had to find the energy to get out and run.  Surprisingly, my body put up little resistance.

It’s a gorgeous Summer night, and there’s a nice breeze, so tricking myself into sweating for three miles didn’t take much arm twisting.

The run out was rough, but not nearly as bad as Tuesday night’s ridiculous misadventure.  That one was such a nightmare that I’m sure Freddy Krueger was just a few paces behind me the entire time.

The run home tonight was a revelation.  I went a little further down the road than on my previous run, and I seemed to find my second wind somewhere on the way back to The House on the Hill.

running, fitness, health, humor, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherSure, I wasn’t breaking any records (other than for most sweat produced), but when you factor in the 10 hour work day I’d already put in, I did a damn good job dragging my exhausted body down my route.

Even made it home in 1:15 faster than Tuesday night, which made me awfully proud.

Look at how soaked with sweat my shirt is, and then look at that handsome smile.  I’m either completely delirious or actually feeling good about the course my life is currently taking.

Before I go enjoy my dinner, I wanted to add that I found time last night to write two scenes in my screenplay before crashing.  I was about to go to bed and realized I was a screenwriter.  So I grabbed the laptop, parked my butt on the couch, and got all creative before allowing the Sandman to enter.

I’m not sure where I’m finding the energy, Modern Philosophers, but so far, I’m sticking to my new schedule and loving it!

Okay, I’m going to pass out now…

Just let me sleep.  Make sure to follow me on Pinterest before you go!

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The Voices In My Head Are Bickering

humor, sanity, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherThe voices in my head can be quite the blessing when the time comes to be creative, Modern Philosophers.

How do you think all these stories end up on the blog for you to enjoy?  The voices shout them at me until I type them into my laptop and send them out into the internet.

It’s a pretty decent arrangement.  Sure, it makes it difficult to sleep most nights, and it’s hard to focus at work, but overall, I enjoy the company.

Except for times like now when all the voices are bickering and no one voice is standing out as the dominant one.  It leaves me confused, dizzy, and desperate for aspirin.

The debates currently going on in my head are crazier and far more out of control than the Republican Presidential Debates.  Here are some topics being argued…

I love her with all my heart and miss her desperately vs. She broke my heart and abandoned me so I need to forget about her.  This is the loudest of all the debates and the voices in my head are really divided on this one.  While they all agree they miss the Sweet Irish Girl, they cannot figure out how to move forward.  Should we chase after her?  Beg forgiveness?  Make a grand romantic gesture?  Try to forget her?  Start to get angry?  You can imagine how rough all these opinions have been on my brain!

Health vs. Wealth.  Should I keep pushing myself to work insane amounts of overtime and basically have no time in my life for anything but work?  Or do I need to calm the hell down and make time to keep up my running program?  Money can’t buy me love, but running isn’t going to pay for heating oil this winter, either.

writing, philosopher, inner turmoil, debate, philosophy, Modern PhilosopherCreating vs. Surviving.  I got a lot of writing done over my vacation, and continue to work on the new screenplay.  Progress has been stymied because I’m at work all day, but new pages are being written.  Having all that time to just write reminded me how badly I want to write full time.  The fact that I wrote so much over my vacation only fueled the artistic fires and the belief that I could make this dream a reality.  Then the voice of reason rants and raves about how I need a steady paycheck to keep a roof over my head and food on the table.

Isolationism vs. Socializing.  Some of the voices believe I’m better off keeping to myself and staying safe at The House on the Hill.  I can’t get hurt again if I don’t put myself out there where people can let me down and hurt my heart.  Other voices think I’m too lonely and that if I surrounded myself with people, I would be happier and not have to worry about being all alone.  Love isn’t just going to knock on the door, is it?

Thinking all the time vs. Turning off my brain.  It seems impossible that the voices would want me to turn them off, but some of them truly believe that this would be the best thing for my health and sanity.  It’s been so long since I stopped overthinking everything and just let instinct take over.  Maybe it’s time to quiet my mind and see what happens.  Perhaps I should be making conversation with other people, or just enjoying the silence.

humor, philosophy, Deep Thoughts, Modern PhilosopherOf course, the silence won’t be coming anytime soon.  The voices in my head are nowhere near resolving their conflicts, and they’re only growing louder.

What really drives me crazy, though, is when they start doing accents.  I could use some sleep tonight, so I hope and pray that they can settle down for a few hours.

Of course, without the voices in my head, life would be extremely dull…

Listen to the voices in your head telling you to follow me on Pinterest!

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Am I Superman?

running, health, fitness, exercise, Superman, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m not faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Modern Philosophers.

But I still think I’m Superman!

I’m making this claim because after a ten and a half hour work day, this mild mannered Modern Philosopher put on his running toga and flew out of The House on the Hill for a three mile run!

Okay, so maybe flying is stretching it.  I might also be using the word “run” loosely.

The fact still remains, however, that even though I was exhausted from a long day of working overtime, I still found the superhuman strength to cover a very sweaty three miles in 32:45.

Sure, there was some walking, crawling, crying, begging, and hallucinating involved, but on a night when I had absolutely nothing left in my tank, my inner Superhero took over and found away to get me to exercise.

I had actually planned all day to try to run after work.  I’d gotten in ten runs during my vacation and didn’t want to ditch my new running routine simply because I had to be chained to my desk all day again.

The problem was, I couldn’t pass up on the overtime.  That extra money is going to come in very handy someday, and my inner Lex Luthor wanted as much of it as possible.

The Flash, Superman, running, exercise, fitness, health, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhen I run during the week, I get up early to do it before work.  Because of the overtime, though, I’m already getting up early, so there’s no time to unleash my inner Flash before I head into the office.

So my only option is to go after work, when I’m worn out after a super long day.

To be honest, I’d made up my mind not to run tonight even before I left work.  On the drive home, I was sleepy and just looking forward to vegging in front of the TV once I made it back to The House on the Hill.

However, as I was about to pull into my driveway, a very attractive young lady ran past the house in the middle of her own fitness routine.

I took that as a sign.

Not only that some higher power wanted me to run, but also that if I ever wanted a woman like that to give me the time of day, I needed to get my butt back into shape.

That was all it took.  Just that little nudge.  Because down deep, I really wanted to go for a run.  I simply needed some inspiration.

Yes, I struggled.  I really was drained after getting up early and working ten and a half hours.  I’ve been too mopey lately, too caught up in my own pity party, and too lost in thoughts that aren’t particularly good for my self confidence.

health, running, fitness, self confidence, Superman, humor, Modern PhilosopherSo I ran.  I unleashed my inner Superman, ignored the Kryptonite of self doubt, and got all heroic in a sweaty kind of way.

Of course, the day I unleash my inner Flash, I’ll be extremely thrilled.  I’m just happy, for the time being, with being able to push myself at a much more mild mannered Modern Philosopher type of pace.

I wanted to give up several times on tonight’s run, but there was no way the Man of Sweat was going to quit.

My name is Austin, and I am Superman!

Be a Superhero by following me on Pinterest…

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Monday Morning Coffee Club: 8/22/16

Monday, coffee, work, humor, end of vacation, dreams, overtime, Modern PhilosopherI know this post is late, Modern Philosophers, but it was my first day back to work in two weeks, and I didn’t trust myself to string together even a couple of sentences given my mental state this morning.

Also, I wanted to take advantage of that sweet, tempting overtime that was still on the table, so I rushed to work as early as possible.

Luckily, my coworkers were kind enough not to press me on my vacation.  When they asked how my vacation was, they accepted my generic answer of “Super!” and welcomed me back to the trenches.

Only only person asked me if my girlfriend had come as planned, and I got out of that one by saying “The tears need to stay away while I’m at work” and scurrying back to my desk.

I had some very wild dreams last night, which seems to be my Sunday ritual.  The one I remember most vividly was an old favorite, which probably popped into my mental movie theater because I was headed back to work.

It was the first day of my Senior year at NYU.  I returned as Dorm President, so everyone knew who I was and warmly welcomed me back.  I went over to my mailbox, collected my mail, and then picked up the packages that awaited me at the front desk.

Life was good, I had an amazing year ahead of me, and the only thing that could ruin it was the stupid alarm clock.

Work wasn’t that bad.  It did take me three attempts to log onto my computer because I’d forgotten the password.  Work Alzheimer’s, as I labeled it, struck me a few times during the day, but that was to be expected after two weeks away from it all.

I’m still very much in screenwriting mode, and had Deep Thoughts about the new screenplay bouncing around in my head all day.  I intend to get at least one scene written tonight after dinner.  The new script is up to 75 pages now!

Monday, coffee, work, humor, end of vacation, overtime, Modern PhilosopherGoing back to work was probably a good thing.  I had too much time to get lost in my thoughts over the past two weeks, and it helped to be around people again and have something else on my mind.

I intend to keep pushing myself to work as much overtime as possible.  I had been working my tail off the last two months so that I could pay for an engagement ring, a perfect first Christmas together, and a 30th Birthday trip to New York in January.

At the moment, I don’t need to worry about any of those expenses, but it would be nice to have some money.

So I’m just going to pile up the hours, keep myself distracted with work, and build up a little nest egg.  That should keep me out of trouble and perhaps prevent the dark clouds from rolling in again.

Hope you all had a great Monday.  There’s still plenty of coffee left so stop by and fill up your cup…

Don’t forget to add the cream and sugar and then follow me on Pinterest!

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The End Of Vacation Is Hell

short story, The Devil, writing, fiction, Sundays With Satan Short Story Series, humor, Modern Philosopher“Some people think that Hell is having to live the worst moments of your life over and over again on a continuous loop,” I told The Devil, who I saw an expert who could definitively confirm or debunk this theory.

“Which do you think is your personal Hell?  Having to go back to work tomorrow, or this vacation you’ve just endured?” Lucifer asked with a Devilish grin on his handsome face.

I so badly wanted to fling the dip from my potato chip onto his impeccably tailored suit for that comment, but I knew it was always best to fight temptation around this guest.

“Well, only one scenario has you in it, so which do you think it is?” I challenged as I enjoyed my chip and dip and then washed them down with a sip of Snapple.

“Thanks for reminding me,” The Prince of Darkness said as he reached into his suit jacket.  “I have some reader letters that I wanted to address today.”

I looked on flabbergasted as he revealed a thick pile of envelopes held together by a single thick rubber band.

“That’s a lot of mail,” stated Captain Obvious.

“And I don’t have interns to read it all for me,” Satan quipped.  “Do you mind if I read just a few of these?  They pretty much say the same thing and are certainly topical.”

“Go for it!” I replied enthusiastically because I always love replying to reader comments.

short story, The Devil, vacation, letters from readers, humor, relationships, Modern PhilosopherI was just a little distracted, though, by the concept of how you guys had been able to send letters to The Devil.  Does Hell have a post office?

“Dear Satan,” Lucifer read aloud from the first letter.  “Could you please make sure Austin doesn’t ruin this week’s short story by writing about his broken heart again?  It’s not that I don’t feel for him, but he has all week to whine about that.  The Sundays With Satan Short Story Series is my favorite feature on the blog, and he’s been tanking it lately with his sad stories.  Thanks.”

He peeked at me as he returned the letter to its envelope.

“Interesting,” I mumbled.  “I thought the whole fun of a blog was getting to write about anything I wanted without being censored or rejected by The Man.”

I tried to drown my hurt in a giant sip of Snapple.

“You can write about anything you want,” The Prince of Darkness reminded me.  “Today, you chose to answer reader mail.”

He opened a second letter and looked at me to make sure it was okay to continue.

“By all means,” I gave the go ahead with a wave.

“Dear Satan, Austin has always been an awesome friend to you.  Why do you just sit there and watch him suffer?  I’m sure you have the resources to remind a Sweet Irish Girl that she loves a deeply flawed, but charming Modern Philosopher.”

humor, short story, The Devil, relationships, Modern Philosopher“I can take that one,” I informed him.  “Thanks for the suggestion.  It’s not like he hasn’t offered on numerous occasions, but this is the sort of thing I need to handle without Satanic intervention.  Besides, even though he swears he’d do it for free, I’m sure he’d come around looking for the soul of my first born at some point.”

The Devil laughed uproariously at that one, and his reaction made me smile.

Look at that.  Miracles do happen.

“Do I need to read anymore?” The Prince of Darkness queried.  “There are actually some that demand I get more time on the blog than just the Sunday short story.”

“I get the gist,” I assured him.  “My readers are tired of reading about my broken heart, and would much prefer I tickle their funny bones.  Message received.  Thank you for delivering it in a creative way.”

“Things will get better,” Satan assured me.  “You’ve been down this road before, even in this particular relationship, and you survived.”

Of course he was right.  Besides, I had bigger things to worry about.  I have to go back to work tomorrow and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that…

If you’re not too busy writing fan mail to The Devil, perhaps you could take a minute to follow me on Pinterest?  Thanks!

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May The Words Never Abandon Me

relationships, love, heartbreak, mental health, abandonment, screenwriting, Modern PhilosopherI was supposed to cry this afternoon, Modern Philosophers, but for a completely different reason.

It had been penciled in on my calendar for months, ever since we booked the flights for this vacation.  Today, a plane left Bangor for Dublin, and I planned to cry because my special someone was booked on that flight.

I’m crying this afternoon, though, because she never got on the flight two weeks ago that was supposed to bring her to me.  So, instead of planning a winter wedding for the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to come up with a plan for why I should bother to get out of bed every morning.

One of the only good things that has come out of this miserable period is the fact that I am now 71 pages into a new screenplay.

It has been a long time since I’ve completed a new script.  I’ve started several screenplays, over the past few years, but I’ve abandoned them all before they were finished.

Yes, Modern Philosophers, I have serious abandonment issues.

Screenwriting can be extremely frustrating.  When people ask me why I don’t write them with the same frequency I once did, I try to explain it like this:

Even if I completed the greatest screenplay ever written, if I can’t get it into the right hands, it will just sit on a shelf and gather dust forever.

I have many screenplays at The House on the Hill that have suffered this fate.  I’m not very good at marketing myself, and it sucks to pour my heart and soul into a script only to have all that effort wasted because no one will read it.

relationships, love, abandonment, screenwriting, Modern PhilosopherI abandoned screenwriting because when I reached out for help, no one answered.

I have serious abandonment issues…

I knew that I needed a distraction because otherwise I’d go insane.  I’ve isolated myself at The House on the Hill for the past two weeks for a variety of reasons.

The most obvious was that I was in no condition to go out and deal with the rest of the world.  I break down in tears without any warning, every thought that enters my head has been about her, and everything I see reminds me of her.

I just didn’t want to break down in public and have that hanging over my head as well.

Since a man can only watch so many Olympics events, and because the Irish flag seemed to pop up no matter which event I was watching, I knew I had to find another way to pass the time.

My working theory was that my body could only produce so many tears, and eventually I’d just go dry and the crying spells would end.  Of course, I didn’t factor in that I’d wake up every night from a dream thinking she was in the bed next to me.

screenwriting, writing, relationships, love, abandonment, Modern PhilosopherIt just made sense to pass the time by focusing on a new screenplay.  Fortunately, my head is always bubbling with ideas for a new script, so it was just a matter of selecting the right one and forcing myself to write it.

The screenplay I’m writing was at the very vague mental outline stage when I started it.  The best things it had going for it was that I had come up with names for all the main characters (picking names can be such a drag!) and it was a dark thriller.

If ever there was a time for me to write something dark, this was it.

Much to my surprise and delight, the pages have been flowing.  I do not outline.  When I start a script, I might have the first ten pages plotted out if I’m lucky, and a foggy image of what could happen in the first act.

With this screenplay, I had the first two scenes and the basic gist of what the twist was in the second act.  I had no idea how to get to the twist or how the story was going to end.

A couple of days in, I ended up completely rewriting those first two scenes, so when you bottom line it, I really had nothing other than the twist that falls around page sixty.

Somehow, though, I’ve managed to get to page 71.

You know how that was possible?  Because words never abandon me.

I have serious abandonment issues, Modern Philosophers, and I don’t know what I’d do if words ever abandoned me.

screenwriting, relationships, love, abandonment, Modern PhilosopherRight now, writing is the only thing that has kept me from curling up in the fetal position in the middle of the living room and crying non-stop for the past two weeks.

My heart might be broken, Modern Philosophers, but luckily, my creative juices are still flowing.

Please don’t abandon me.  Stick around and follow me on Pinterest…

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