Thursday, December 25, 2014


I’m keeping this post fairly short, but I feel the need to thank some people, even though it’s hard to really express the level of gratitude I have. Here we go.
A couple weeks ago, I baked twenty kuchens for a Christmas Fair at CVA. I sold out and ended up with about fifteen orders for the holidays. However, I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom and several of my friends. You know who you are and you all are seriously fantastic. You might not think you did all that much, but it meant more than you realize. Few people have friends like you guys and so it is truly remarkable you’re all in my life. Damn, I hate being sappy and borderline cliche, but it’s important to me to let you all know how much I appreciate what you’ve done. Mom, Tell, Katie, Trevor, and anyone else I'm forgetting: You are awesome.

Earlier this year, I wrote a short story called “Her Hair” and had been gradually revising it here and there. Eventually, it was accepted to be read on the KZUM radio station on a new show called The Platte River Sampler. I’d talked to Mandy about reading the female part, but the day before recording, I realized that my voice probably shouldn’t be narrating and reading the male part. So, on the Sunday we recorded, Thomas came over to my house, not realizing I meant for him to be reading a part for my story in less than an hour. All in all, the three of us went into KZUM and recorded for awhile and it went very well. It is airing in less than an hour today (Christmas) at 6 pm.

If you tune in, KZUM’s call sign is 89.3 FM. It can also be listened to live on their website, If you miss the live show, it will still be available on the podcast whenever you want to listen.


Monday, December 1, 2014

(This Post Is) Long and Sloppy

Friends and random peoples alike,

November 2014 is dead and what a month it has been. I've recently found myself busy. It's felt like there are so many irons in the fire that the fire itself has gone out of sight under a pile of metal. Fortunately, that isn't the case. That would mean I'm dead and have taken the embers with me.

I'd like to think of the fire as pure passion that I scorch creative projects with, but not all the irons have been strictly creative things that I'm passionate about. Let me lay out a list:

New job
Internship at a record label
Short stories
YouTube channel

I've been working at Juice Stop for about a month now and everyone asks me, "How do you like it?" The simple answer I usually give is, "It's a job." The slightly more in-depth answer is that it's a little boring. So, it isn't entirely unlike all the other jobs I've had, but especially in the winter people don't seem to want cold, blended drinks. There's a lot of sitting around time when there aren't customers and when cleaning and stocking is complete. I suppose I don't mind the sitting around time if I have a book or a notebook and a pen or my laptop. Still, the more down time, the easier it is for my mind to get carried away and become restless and sad and want nothing more than to leave. It's also minimum wage and doesn't give me a lot of hours. I won't complain too much about that, though. I don't have a college degree or any experience that would merit me having a better paying job at this point. On the plus side, the management is great. One of the biggest factors that help me acclimate to a new job is relaxed management. I never expect employers to sit around and encourage tomfoolery, but when they can make me feel open and comfortable and free to (mostly) myself, my state of mind is much better. And yet, the bad stuff lurks inside me and, some days, can still bring me to tears when I think of setting foot in a workplace. But, so far, Juice Stop is one of the better places I've worked.

Around the time I started at Juice Stop, I started talking to a guy who is in the process of getting a record label going here in Lincoln. It's called Sower Records and their artists' genres are folk/bluegrass/Americana and such. They posted on their FaceBook page that they were looking for some interns, so I hopped on that and emailed him immediately. After a few emails, we chatted on the phone and I confirmed that I was interested in doing whatever I can to help the label. It's been around for a little while, but it still seems like it's at the grassroots for the most part. I've met with Mike and the artists at his house once and it was great. I didn't talk a whole lot. I'm always reserved in new settings with new people, but it was exciting to know I'll be able to be involved in something I'm passionate about with kindred spirits. I've been wanting to be a part of a music scene here in Lincoln for awhile. Even if it's as an intern instead of an artist for now, it still exhilarates me.

As I mentioned, November 2014 has been laid to rest, as has NaNoWriMo 2014 (National Novel Writing Month). But that doesn't mean that the novel I began in early October is being buried with November. It is alive and well. No, I didn't meet the 50k word goal for NaNoWriMo, despite the (probably illegal) 8k jumpstart from October. I attribute my shortcoming to starting the new job and the other things I've been involved in. However, I'm not letting myself off the hook. I fully intended to finish my novel by the end of November, even if it was a shitty-as-shit first draft. I'm still going strong and as of today I'm at 20k+ words. It will still be a godawful first draft when I'm finished with it. But, I take solace in a quote from The Man Hemingway himself: "The first draft of anything is shit." It's something that a lot of writers have to accept, especially if they're new to the craft. I don't consider myself some literary veteran, but I do understand that revision and refining can take an okay story to something so much more. I think I've said this in a past post, but if not, the book I'm working on is about my life during the past few years since high school. It isn't an autobiography. It's more of a restructured, fictionalized retelling of my early college days up until now. My hope and goal is for it to accomplish a few things. I want it to shed light on a big problem facing kids my age: WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO? It's broad, but that's what I encounter a lot in conversations with friends and acquaintances. Specifically, what do we do with our passions? What career should we pursue? I plan to show how we're influenced in those decisions by controlling family members, internalized fears, and passion. Or lack thereof. There are probably other issues and themes that will go into the book, but I also hope that it will be not only cathartic to me, but act as a way to display the inner workings of Josh Marshall. Elie Wiesel described his harrowing book, Night, as being his deposition. Perhaps this book will be like a museum on paper that people can explore and see different exhibits about what makes me tick. And hopefully people will see parts of themselves in it. Anyway, enough about that.

I've written two short stories and recently been in touch with a guy here in Lincoln who is starting a radio show that will feature local writers. On the show, the writers can read their poetry, scripts, lyrics, and stories. I don't know when it will be that I'll be recording for it, but we'll see what happens.

My best friend Thomas and I started a YouTube channel called Pumpkin Plays over a month ago. We make "Let's Play" videos where we use a program and a microphone to record the computer screen and our voices as we play video games. Popular YouTubers and even lesser known ones make a nice living doing such things. We're having a lot of fun and have been releasing three videos a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you decide to check it out, be warned that the content is quite raunchy and explicit. Wow, for once I'm warning people of potentially offensive content. Fuck, that's crazy.

This coming Sunday I'll be selling kuchens at the College View Academy Christmas fundraiser fair thing from 12 - 6 pm. If you don't know, kuchens are basically fruit custard in a pie shell. They're the size of a regular pie. I make them in 9 inch pie plates. I'll be selling pieces, whole kuchens, as well as taking orders and handing out business cards and all that jazz.

I've got to get to work in about an hour, so I'm gonna rush a little bit. I've been going to therapy regularly for the past few months and it's been going much better than when I used to go while in college. I don't know what exactly changed during that time in between, but I've found myself being much more open and verbal. Verbalizing certain things is difficult for me. My voice trembles and my hands shake and sometimes my body thinks I need to cry. But, my god, the progress that can be made is like night and day when you actually talk instead of sitting quietly, reserved, anxious, and depressed.  My therapist told me last week that he indeed I am bipolar. He has come to think this in part to all the projects and things I've become involved and am telling you about. Even though I feel overwhelmed, I still feel a need to pursue them and accomplish them. Also, based on my heredity on both sides of the family as well as the therapy sessions we've had, he has come to that conclusion. I still have my doubts at times, but since, according to him, I'm not bipolar 1, the symptoms don't manifest themselves as severely. I still reach crisis phases when the sadness and anxiety is overwhelming, but he says I only experience hypomania rather than full-blown mania. I've noticed this normally happens when I get very, very excited about a creative project and my mind is racing and I start talking a lot and it becomes difficult to stay focused on one task for very long. And then other times, I really hone in on tasks and accomplish them. Like this blog post. I've left my seat once to take a piss. And it was a long piss because I've been sitting here holding it in for so long. I've been writing steadily since about 10:30 today (mostly on my novel but also on this post) and it's currently 2:07. That's gotta be a new record for me. Blah, so to finish out this section, my therapy has been going well. I'm working on finding the proper medication to keep my at a more even keel. But one thing remains true: The only consistent thing I can seem to count on from my mind is inconsistency.

Damn, this is a long post. Props to anyone who reads it all. Also, why are you reading all of this? Holy shit. I mean, thanks, Mom and Nana. I know you'll get here. But to anyone else: Why? Comment. Tell me what's going on with your life. Ask me questions. Give me suggestions for things to write about.

I'll be up front with you: I don't really spend time revising my blog posts. Thus, the rambling and long sentences and I'm sure you'll find some typos and whatnot. But, if someone requests that I write on a topic or give my advice on a question, I always take those more seriously. I'll edit, revise, and structure it.

Alright, I'm done.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Drinking Beer on a Couch

This post is in response to Emma, who gave me a suggestion for a topic to write on. So, anyone reading this, feel free to leave a comment with any and all topics you'd like to have discussed. I'm always looking for some direction to take with my posts. Maybe then I'd write on here more often.

The question posed was about what my "ideal" job/lifestyle/career would be. I'm going to expand that to also talk a little about choosing a career path for yourself and maybe some other things.

I've blogged a lot about the things I'm naturally talented at, mainly writing and music. There are numerous poems and songs and a few short stories on my blog and they are something I take a fair amount of pride in. As far back as I can remember, I've had a need to create. My mind has been imagining and creating ever since I had toys in my hand. I set up elaborate battles with my Great Adventure toys, Imaginext, Legos, and Beanie Babies. Each character and animal and weapon intrigued me to no end.

That thirst for creating took a new form when I found out that reading and writing existed. My mom tells me that when I came back from my first day of Kindergarden or first grade, I was upset because they weren't teaching me how to read yet. Something in me wanted to read and when I was finally able to read, I immediately began writing. There are old totes in storage areas where some of my first writings are. I specifically recall a short, fairly plot-less story about people finding a dead elephant in an alley. It was written on that old grey/tan paper with gigantic spaces between lines and scrawled in large, sloppy letters. Granted, I was in first grade, but something inside me had this inherent need to create. To form something out of nothing but the raw thoughts in my head was empowering and fulfilling.

Skip ahead to 8th grade. I'd been listening to my own variety of music for a couple years, choosing to mostly do away with the southern gospel quartet tunes I was raised on. Sum 41 and Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin were all the rage. Hearing and experiencing that music was a shock to my senses in the best way possible. It was similar to how my brain reacted to being able to read stories. It wasn't long after listening to rock music that I felt a deep longing to learn guitar. I fantasized about having a rock band with my friends and we all talked about how much fun it would be. At some point, I asked my dad to teach me on his old Harmony guitar and he, not having an extensive musical knowledge, taught me what he knew. He showed me how to read chord diagrams, some basic strumming, and most everything else I learned was on the internet.

The common denominator with my writing and music is that once I experienced something, a huge part of me absolutely had to create it. I suppose it's like planting a seed. Once a story sunk into my brain or a riff worked its way through my ears, it began growing into a need for self expression. That's the best way I can explain it off the top of my head, anyway. It's hard to put into words, but there's really only one word needed. It's what's at the core of this topic: passion.

It might sound like old hat, but passion is important. The word might bring romantic images to mind, but even a simple Google search tells us it's more than that. "Strong and barely controllable emotion." Passion is that thing embedded in each of us that has no rhyme or reason. It just is. Many people go their entire lives without ever finding it. It's locked up inside somewhere, just waiting for a catalyst to set it off.

I suppose it could be compared to an addiction. Some people are alcoholics or shopoholics and those addictions might hit them early in life or later on. Passion is similar. I was blindsided by my passions at a fairly young age. First grade for my writing and eighth grade for music, though I didn't realize they would become such intricate parts of my being back then.

The hard part, for those who don't know their passion, is finding out what it is. Many of my friends are in that boat. Most of us are at that college, early-to-mid-twenty age where we're trying to figure things out. At this stage of life, we're trying to maintain stability by paying bills, getting sleep, fixing our vehicles, etc. while also moving forward in our education and self discovery. It's hard to balance all these things we have to do while pursuing the things we want to do. But is passion just the things we want to do? Maybe, but not necessarily. I remember talking to a Holmes Lake park worker and he said that he wanted to make a living by sitting around drinking beer. Beer is great, but I don't know if it constitutes a passion in that context. Perhaps brewing his own beer or touring the world tasting all the different varieties would be more of a passion. Note that I'm not going to tell people that their passion is stupid or that it's not really a passion. I don't understand or relate to some people's passions, but that doesn't make it any less close to their heart. Just know that it is important to distinguish the difference between a pastime and a passion. Pastimes do just that: they pass the time. Passion, ideally, adds meaning and fulfillment to life.

However, there are people content to work a job for their entire lives that they don't absolutely love, but it pays the bills. Then in their free time, they delve into their passions which are also pastimes or hobbies, and they are fine with it being that way. This leads into me answering Emma's question for myself.

I've always wanted my passions to pay the bills while also giving me fulfillment. I don't thrive well at jobs and never have. My natural ability of talking to people and communicating has been useful in past jobs, but it is not a passion of mine. I don't get excited about talking to people, but I can do it. Whereas my dad can talk to people and is passionate about sales, I can sort of do it, but I hate it. As a youngster, I wanted to be an actor, a director, screenwriter, a novelist, and a music artist. I guess those desires haven't left me. I've always been told that those things are unreal desires, but they still nag at my mind. Can't help it. However, recently I've decided to pursue opening my own small business (more on that some other time). But basically, there's your answer, I guess, Emma. My ideal career paths are somewhat unreal, though I still plan on pursuing them. Thankfully, everybody else is not me and there is hope for you.

As I've said, it's often difficult balancing the things we have to do with the ones we want to do. Add to that this quest of discovering our passion and then deciding what to do with it. Is your passion something you want to make a living out of? Or is it just something to do on the side?

My best friend Thomas is a great example. He can work a monotonous job he hates because it pays the bills, but he's still searching for his passion. He loves playing video games, but he doesn't think it's quite his passion. I'm the opposite. I know my passions, but can't seem to work a job for very long before finding myself in mental and financial turmoil. He's an extremely talented guy, both in the things he's naturally good at as well as the knowledge he's picked up at jobs, school, and his free time. He knows what he likes doing, but doesn't know how those things translate into a fulfilling career. He's tossed around the idea of accounting as well as being a college professor and maybe other things I can't remember. The thought of being an account makes me ill, but I know he would do well at it. I also know he would be a damn good college professor and probably enjoy it.

That's the thing about passions and talents and such. Everyone is so different in what they like and what they're good at. One thing I know about passion: You can't hide it. You can't deny it. You see it in people's eyes. You hear it in their words. You feel it. Even my slower-spoken friends reveal immediately that something excites them. That's passion. That's what you're looking for. But maybe you don't know what that thing is. Don't worry just yet.

Start by asking yourself this: What is it that I enjoy doing? If it's sitting around drinking beer, great, but think harder. Come up with the top few things that you love doing. Are they things you couldn't imagine life without? Again, if it's sitting around drinking beer, I understand, but push that aside for a second. Really, if for some reason you could never, ever do that thing again, what would happen?

Is there anything you do that other people have said you are talented at? Even if it's been something small, think about the compliments you've received. Lots of people say "I'm not good at anything." Maybe you're not good at anything... yet. You just haven't found it. Is there something you've been wanting to try that you haven't got around to doing? Do it. Stop saying you don't have time and find the time. Even if it's a little bit of time somewhere in the chaos of the day.

Now think about this: You have about 80 years on earth to live. In 2013, The World Health Organization said the average life expectancy for people in the United States is 79.8 years*. If you're in the 20-ish range, think about how much time you have left. Yikes, this could get depressing quickly, but it's not meant to be. What do you want to look back on your life and see? Is it sitting on the couch every day drinking beer? Is it working hard at a well paying job that you despise? Why waste anymore time? Whether you know what that thing is or you're still searching, don't give up. It's out there.


P.S. I'd love to hear responses as well as any topics you'd like me to write about. Just post them in the comments section. Don't agree with something I said in this post? I wanna hear about that too. Thanks for reading.

*Thank you, Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Lately things have been more of a whirling shitstorm than anything else. Shitstorm is one of my favorite  words, no doubt due to the image it conjures up. I picture it being a tornado/hurricane rampaging through a city, hurling feces every which way, leaving people utterly confused. Imagine that, if you dare. So when I describe how things have been as a shitstorm, I don't use it lightly. Now to identify what's what in this crappy analogy:

I suppose you could think of the storm as being life in general, mixing things up and keeping me on my feet. The shit could be the events transpiring that affect me and others in my life. The city could be me I guess and the people are my friends and family and such. I don't know. Shitstorm is just such a good word, I don't know why I need to specify what's what. Really though, I suppose in a way, I am the storm, I am the city, I am the citizens, and I am the shit.

My dysfunctional mind descends from the sky, out of control and flings shit at everything I touch.
My helpless city and citizens receives the storm's destruction.
My esteem reduces me to feel like shit.

Comparing myself to everything in this analogy speaks volumes about my ego, doesn't it? Dammit. That's the odd thing about ego and esteem. On the one hand I can feel so small and powerless to the untamed forces in my brain. On the other hand, I tend to have an arrogance about my artistic and intellectual abilities. Here lies a broken, envious, cynic who never really did anything. That might be my headstone right now.

Fortunately, after a return to therapy this week, I have high hopes for the not so distant future. I hope to make strides in finding some balance and order for my jumbled life. Maybe find a way to keep a job for longer than a week? That'd be nice. I have so many irons in the fire and none of them are getting hot. These days it feel like my creativity isn't coming to me as easily as it typically does. I guess I'm occupied with thinking about financial stability and returning to school for business at SCC.

I don't think I've mentioned I'm starting a business. I'm going to make and sell kuchen. I'm not thinking about it or planning to maybe do it. I've resolved that it's what I want to do. After my dismal employment track record, I'm thinking that having my own business might be a form of salvation. Though it might have its own stressors, it will be something of my own. No employer, no "daily grind". At least not the kind I've experienced at other jobs. Maybe I'm delusional about it like I have been about so many other things, but I've gotta try something.

Anyway, I'm losing my train of thought. I suppose this post is ironic in the way it's about a shitstorm and everything I've written is sort of disorganized. Oh well. Hang in there, everybody. Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Potential Blog Changes, etc

My blog has not been one of my main priorities for awhile, but I've decided to try creating more of a web presence for myself. In addition to being an outlet for my thoughts and creativity, it's also a potential way to earn a few extra bucks, granted I build a decent sized audience. However, I don't want to limit myself to just this blog. I plan on creating content on a YouTube channel and maybe somehow linking the channel to my blog so people can watch crap or read crap. Crap, in this instance, meaning quality content of course.

This means that this blog will likely undergo some visual reconstruction and a potential name change. What say all you to that? The Pumpkin Patch is cool, but I think something different might be in order.

Anyway, short life update for those that read this far. I haven't been seeing my therapist but plan to go back very very soon. I've had several unpleasant episodes in the mental health department and I need to further explore the world of bipolar disorder and how to manage it with the help of a professional. I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but bipolar disorder runs on both sides of my family to a degree it seems, and that's usually a sign that you should be tested or at least look into the possibility of it.

I've discovered that high dosages of caffeine can send me into a vicious spiral that usually ends in a horrendous mixed mood state where I have a lot of energy, depression, and irritability all at once. It's tough to understand and explain and it baffles me still while I'm in the midst of it. Though there isn't much capacity to really think about much during those times. Blah, whatever, I'm done writing about this. It's just a venting session or something.

Anyway, expect changes in the blog, visually and also quantity of posts. Hopefully it'll get going sometime soon.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Shadow of Sleep

I wrote this on a late, late night a couple weeks ago and forgot about it until now.


The raven dives toward earth,
Never touching land or sea.

Tangible, on the border
Reminiscent of the shadow of sleep

We swoop low to the ground,
Though we chase no Zzz’s.

Our souls may fly,
Wherever they please,

Unencumbered by matter,
The flesh and bone and duties,

Released from mortal prison,
Finally free to chase dreams.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Her Hair

Here's another short story I wrote several weeks ago. I'm still not satisfied with the title, so puhleeeeaaase, send me suggestions as well as any feedback or questions you have in general. Hope you enjoy it.

P.S. I hate that I can't keep my formatting when copying/pasting into a blog post from the document on my computer, so forgive the lack of indents and such. Blah.

P.S.S. I've updated the title to this story now. Still not sure if it's perfect but I like it better than "Separately Together." Anyway, that's that.

Her Hair

By: Josh Marshall

“You haven’t eaten yet,” she said.

“I don’t want to,” he replied.

“You didn’t eat yesterday either. Aren’t you hungry?”

“My stomach says it is, but I’m not.”

“It’s been tasting better recently.”

She could hear the quiet rattling of his tray on the concrete floor as he picked at some raw vegetables with his hands. Forks were not allowed. A crunch echoed for a short moment then was followed by a couch and a scraping as he pushed the tray away.

“You really should eat, dear.”

“I would love some venison.”

She giggled.

“Even if it was dry like when you cooked it in the mountains over the campfire?”

“Maybe. I don’t really think anything sounds good.”

They were silent for a few minutes.

“What are you thinking about?” She asked.

“Everything. Nothing. I don’t know.”

“I just wish I could hold you,” she said.

“Don’t do this,” he groaned.

“Then we could sleep together. We wouldn’t need to even make love. Just sleep.”

“It’s too goddamn cold to sleep.”

“I think we’d manage.”

“No. They would just make it colder.”

“You aren’t in a good mood today, are you darling?”

“Today? It could be nighttime for all we know.”

“Would you like me to sing for you? That always made you happy,” she said and scooted over to the small grate in the wall that separated them.

“I don’t know. It might make it worse in this situation,” he said.

“I’m going to sing,” she informed. He sighed, but waited hungrily, hoping her voice would lift his spirits. She took a breath and he could hear it. That was his favorite part: hearing her lungs and throat and mouth work to produce beauty. Her voice came out timid and sweet. It was delicate like glass, the slightest disturbance would shatter the moment.

“Somewhere... Over the rainbow... Way up high...” She drew in another breath and he closed his eyes.

“There’s a land I heard of once in a lullaby... Somewhere... Over the rainbow...”

His eyes were still closed but he couldn’t lose himself in the fantasy like he used to. The images and feelings had left him and he found himself stuck in the present. No longer did he dread the fate they’d been sentenced to, but rather he’d accepted it and all at once he felt nothing.

“Stop it,” he said sharply. She did.

“I hate you,” he said.

“No you don’t.”

“I know. I just wanted to hear what it would sound like.”

“I would understand if you hated me a little bit, though,” she said. “It’s my fault we’re here.”

He said nothing.

“Really, Darling, you can hate me, but only a little.”

“I don’t hate you.”

“Not even a little?”

“I can’t.”

“But I said you could. I know you don’t need my permission, but I wanted to let you know I would understand.”

“I can’t hate you, even a little,” he said. “I think hate is an all-or-nothing type thing. Sort of like love, but less useful.”

“Has our love been useful?” She asked.

“It was. It got me through the days.”

“And now? Does it still get you through the days?”

There wasn’t much light in their cells, but he caught the smallest glimpse of her blonde hair through the grate. It didn’t shimmer golden as it used to in the summer sun or by candle light. It was dirty and unwashed and just plain yellow. But it was her hair and it always would be. Gradually, he would it see it turn white as his would in the years to come.

“It does. It always will,” he couldn’t see, but he could feel her smile. She started humming some other tune and he lay on his back, listening to her breathe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thirteen Years

Thirteen Years

By: Joshua T. Marshall

     She sat on the concrete in the light as was her custom on sunny days. I’d positioned my chair on the deck, but in the shade. A chilly breeze swept through the uncut grass and weeds and tampered with the flame from my Zippo’s flame. I struck the flint again, trying to light the cigarette. She glanced at me without much concern before closing her eyes and facing the sun.

     “She is not young anymore,” the thought crossed my mind. A meditative drag eased me into a reverie about the first time we met. She always wanted to be close, pressed against another living warmth. I contemplated the countless times we’d spent sleeping in bed. She had nightmares often (about what I was never sure) which caused her to shake and try to speak out about the unconscious torment. I would attempt to coax her awake, always careful not to startle her.

     The years had made her look old, but as she basked in the sunlight, I could see evidence of her youth peak through. There was still a glint of curiosity in her eyes that made me wonder what she was thinking about. All at once she was up and approaching me. It was five o’clock. I extinguished my cigarette and opened the sliding door. She followed me, wagging her tail and panting, still excited for the same supper she’d eaten for thirteen years.