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.



  1. Watching. Waiting. Hoping the disillusionment dissipates. Staring at the walls with pictures of the once newly rich happy couple so much in love. One day they'll turn to sand and fall to the floor....if the current trend continues anyway.

    That's what's going on, Mr. Marshall.

  2. Props to you for laying it all out here. I know others can relate. Yep, you can count on me to keep reading what you write.