After the storm

The storm finally relented, leaving the sky full of ragged clouds as the sun climbed lazily, turning the morning from grey to blue. The beaches were strewn with driftwood, drawing all the children of the village down to search for shells and little sea treasures. Imo and Kai were brothers. They lived nearest to the shore and so they were first on the beach that morning.

“Kai, did you sleep at all?” asked Imo, the younger brother.

“A little. Everything was wet and the storm was so loud,” Kai replied as he hopped lightly down the path through the dunes. The grass on either side lay crazily every which way, like bedhead.

They got to the beach and started walking, but found nothing besides driftwood. They could gather that for firewood, but there was plenty. They hoped to find something more valuable, a rare shell or something from a wrecked ship.

Kai walked along in silence, head down and eyes scanning as his feet scuffed through the dry sand further away from the waves. The storm was gone but the water was still rough. He looked over, and Imo was down by the water.

“Imo, don’t walk so close to the water, mother said you mustn’t!” he called out, but Imo didn’t respond. “Imo! Immm!” he called again, but the waves were too loud. He sighed and gave one last searching glance around the nearby sand, then went striding down to the edge of the water to scold his brother. As he got closer, Imo suddenly ran along the hard sand right by the water and then snatched something shiny up.

“Imo, what is that?” Kai asked as he got close, raising his voice over the crashing noise of the water, but also out of annoyance.

Imo turned around, a silvery dagger in his hands.

“I’m a soldier now, Kai, look!” he said, slashing the air with the blade. The sun was up now, golden, throwing long shadows across everything, and the blade danced in the warm light. It could not have been in the water for long.

“Imo, I want to look at it, stop waving it around,” Kai grumbled. He held out his hand. Imo slashed at imaginary enemies a few more times for good measure before reluctantly handing the long thin knife to this brother.

“It’s so shiny, I hope mother lets me keep it,” Imo said as Kai took it. Kai tossed it from hand to hand, and then, looking more closely, saw that there were inscriptions on the handle and the blade.

The dagger was mostly silver, and well polished, but there were iridescent lines of some foreign script running all throughout. Its handle fit perfectly in Kai’s grip.

“Kai, give it back. Kai, come on, I found it, it’s mine,” Imo said, then tried to snatch it back.

“Wait a minute, I want to look at it, I think there’s writing on it” Kai said, holding the blade up and away from his younger brother’s reach.

Imo pretended to give up, then sprang at the knife, reaching with both hands and knocking into Kai in the process, both boys falling into the wet sand.

“Kai! he screamed, then rolled onto his back. His hand was red with blood.

Kai dropped the knife and got to his knees, panting. “Imo?” Imo said nothing.

”Imo I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, why did you jump like that? Imo?”

The sand by Imo was turning a dirty pink from the blood now, and Kai prodded his brother. Was he dead? The cut was too small for that. Maybe he had fainted.

Kai tore off some of his shirt to wrap his brother’s hand, and another piece to wrap around the blade of the knife. He placed the knife in its crude sheath gently on his brothers stomach, then picked him up and staggered back towards their house as quickly as he could.

* * *

Much further down the beach, where the sand gives way to twisting rocks and the waves are thrown white into the air, what looked like a dark pile of seaweed suddenly shuddered and coughed. A man shook the heap of plants off of himself, slowly, then crawled further up to where the sand was dry. His hand went to his side, searching in vain, then he collapsed, his tired breath barely stirring the sand.

Freedom and Creative Quotas

It’s the first day of July in 2019. It’s a Monday. Last month I was off of social media and told myself “I’ll go back on instagram in July” but then I stayed up so late Saturday the 29th that I looked at the clock, saw it said 12:30 on the 30th and thought to myself “oh cool, I stayed up until July, I can get back on instagram now.”

Needless to say, one day doesn’t make much of a difference for avoiding social media. The point of staying off was to use my time to do other thins; I did a daily vlog for a few weeks and it was very time-consuming. I wanted to make sure I was producing decent videos (you can be the judge) and also spending enough time with friends and doing stuff. My goal with vlogging was to become more comfortable making and editing videos, and my goal with avoiding social media was just to spend less time on it. I think both things, vlogging and avoiding social media, went pretty well.

Now that it’s a new month, and a month that, for Americans, represents freedom, I want to start a new goal. A writing goal, naturally, since in my head being able to be a writer would be the most freeing since I could write from anywhere in the world. I have spent a long time wishing I was A Writer, but instead of working towards that I often get side-tracked by other types of creativity. Photography is probably the biggest culprit. It is so efficient at delivering a sense of satisfaction; you aim and shoot and suddenly you are A Creative Person who has Made a Photograph.

I have long been curious about whether or not I have a creative quota of sorts, one that can be filled by different types of creative output. I want to write, but maybe part of the reason I don’t write much is that I do so many other things. Posting photos and getting likes is much easier and more rewarding than sitting by yourself and writing, and then publishing and not really getting any feedback at all. The more I think about a creative quota, the more I believe it works like that. I’ll keep exploring that idea; I want a better name for it than “creative quota,” so if you have any suggestions please tell me.

I’m on the fence about whether or not to ban myself from taking pictures or creating anything else at all this month to focus on writing. I don’t think that I would like that very much; if I end up not writing enough, maybe I will use that as a backup for painful, necessary motivation… no, better still, I will use writing as a key to unlock other creative outlets. No photos or videos or instagram or vsco until I write 500 words that day. There it is! The Josh Gastin July Writing Challenge.

Writing is often seen as a tool to focus your mind and I certainly agree with that. I wanted some kind of writing challenge to work on but I couldn’t think of anything too interesting until I sat down this morning and started writing.

Writing is hard, but I think that true personal freedom comes from discipline. I feel most free when I am least controlled by external inputs. So here’s to writing, freedom, and discipline, and the somewhat-cliché-by-now-but-still-effective concept of the monthly goal.

Well, that was the introduction and the Why. Tomorrow, a story about the sea.

See you on the other side!

Uncle Bob's Self Storage

I used to laugh at people who paid to store their stuff in a storage garage place like Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, but now I have become one of those people.

I have a lot of pictures. Most of them are large - Canon RAW files shot on DSLRs with 20+ megapixels. I have a 2T external hard drive, but I foolishly didn’t format it for Mac use, so now I have to launch Paragon every time I plug it in, and it doesn’t work quite as well as a formatted drive.

What I wanted to do was move all the files on the drive onto my computer, format the drive and then move them all back, but I don’t have space on my computer for that. Instead what I’m going to do is use a free 30 day trial of dropbox to store my files in the cloud, delete them off of the drive and then reformat the drive.

I can then move the files back onto the correctly formatted drive and uninstall Paragon.

I also want to rebuild my Lightroom catalogue and move all the photos still on my computer to the drive. I am most of the way done with that, which is encouraging.

The end goal will be to have a lot of free space on my computer that I can use for working on videos (maybe).

That’s it for now, wish me luck!

Why I Don't Write

Here are some theories about why I don’t write.

  1. I talk too much - I satisfy any urge I might have to communicate almost instantly, so I never feel a strong need to write

  2. I have too many creative hobbies - beyond the desire to communicate, I have no push to do any creative writing by the time I’m done with all the videos and photos and guitar and other stuff that I do

  3. I’m scared of the unknown - I don’t feel prepared to face what could happen if I became a writer

  4. I’m scared of failure - I wrap up my self worth in the work I do, and if I tried writing and failed it would be a heavy blow to my ego

This probably isn’t a comprehensive list but it’s a good place to start. Now that I have them listed, I can easily undermine each excuse:

  1. Talking with people often sparks creative ideas

  2. Having a wide skillset provides numerous topics to write about and gives me a great perspective to look for analogous models

  3. I crave change

  4. I don’t feel satisfied telling people I’m an analyst, so worst case scenario is that I go back to telling people that