Fiction Saves Lives

My first love came in the form of a small paperback book titled The Old man and the Sea. I had found it in a pile of garbage in front of an old abandoned house my brother and I used to walk by on our way to the corner store on the west side of Akron, OH.

In the beginning it was just something to have. (I was a kid. I don’t know why i did half the shithead things I did.) I actually kept the book for about two years before I read a single word. Throughout that time it seemed to pop up everywhere I went in the house. I’ll be sweeping and it would just be there, without any logical reason why. I’d always pick it up, kick it, or pretty much anything that got it out of my way. That book followed me through the house like a puppy with abandonment issues.

It was just a matter of time before the book and I ended up alone together. That time came when I was about fourteen. (This is actually how stupid I was.)  I let a girl convince me that it was a good idea to go into a room that I shared with three other brothers for privacy. I know. Fucking retarded. Needless to say I got caught with “my hand in the cookie jar” so to speak. I think I heard something about grounded in between the thorough and well deserved beating I received when my father found out.

Anyway, the result was that I was remanded to my room for an unspecified amount of time. My video games and drawing tools were taken. So it was just me and the four walls until my brothers come back to get ready for bed. As I laid in the bed feeling like my life is over, the bright blue cover of the book peaked out from under the bed, waiting. I consumed that book and moved on to other titles; never taking a break from the endless adventures that fiction provided me.

The world benefits from fiction like an addict benefits from their substance. A good story allows you to escape the reality that we are all subjected to. The words enters the body through the mind’s psyche, as we imagine the journey and sometimes try to become one of the characters. It allows others that don’t have the capabilities to conjure up fantastic stories to dream of a world, where they can be whomever they see fit.

The writer gives a child’s mind substance and makes a place for the impossible. The lucky ones carry it into adulthood and continues the cycle of creating an oasis of adventure.

I found that oasis and never left because sometimes having that escape is the only reprieve you get from a reality that is often filled with depression and heartache. I speak of this from experience. A great story, an escape or adventure can give you the reason you need to get you to the next stop in this long road we call life. Fiction saves lives.

I wrote this as a beginning to of a tale to explain, rather confess my endless bout with depression and how I am continuing to not only deal but to beat it. However, I would love to hear from others. What has fiction done for you? Please respond in the comments. Thank you for reading. I am an author in progress and I’m out.

 

 

 

Zombie Fallout: A book review

I started reading a series a few years ago named Zombie Fallout. I have to be honest. I passed it up a few times because of the title choice. I still feel the need to hurry and explain the book when I tell others the title in order to keep them engage in conversation. However, in Goodreads fashion, they continued to push this book on me. It came up in my recommended choices every time I updated my Goodreads list, which is probably because I am a fanatic for damn near anything supernatural. Also, I am one of those people who, secretly want the zombie apocalypse to actually happen. I don’t know why. It’s just something about that karma of humans perfecting how to kill each other coming back to bite us on the ass that intrigues me, and there is the fact the it may be the only thing that can truly put humanity on a even playing field with each other.

Let me start with this disclaimer. If you are looking for a truly sophisticated horror, this may not be the book for you. If you are the type that wants to read something you can find deeper meaning in and use as a discussion piece in a literature discussion, you may want to continue scrolling your Amazon page.

With that being said, I found this book immensely enjoyable. The comedy is what drew me in, as Micheal Talbot unbeknownst to him, discovers his first zombie and make light of the situation by stating “there’s a asshole licking my peephole.” The plot is very easy to follow, moving along smoothly, giving the reader just enough information on the characters to keep their curiosity peaked as they read through the chapters. Another thing that I’ve enjoyed is that no one was off limits as it seemed that anyone could die at any moment and the story would continue. Mark Tufo gave the type of life to the characters that breathed a sense of nostalgia into the story line. Like me, For many readers it is hard to deny how relatable the characters were. The story line and banter amongst the character became the highlight of the story, which only gave the dialogue more an organic feel.

Now, as I find myself having less time to actually read, I have switched to audiobooks. This is a good call for reading the series. Not because its a bad read, but because it introduced me to a man named Sean Runnette. His narration and imitations of the characters, gave me cause to buy the audios from the beginning. Well played Mr. Tufo.

Now for the cons… (Sorry Mr. Tufo. I am still a fan, but fair is fair.)

I am not a stickler for grammar or appropriate word usage (obviously).  I think that’s why editors exist anyway. But I am for content. I think the books contain a lot of filler in the later installments. It was as if the author was dragging along the story with the introduction of more characters and chapters that was not necessary to keep the story interesting. It gives me the feeling that Mark Tufo is squeezing this series for all it’s worth at this point. I think it’s time to wrap up the zombie fallout series and move on to one of your next titles.

Overall, Mark Tufo is a author worth looking into. He has quickly became a name well known in my household. His stories invoke an emotional response for readers who will take the time to get to know the Talbots. Whatever your opinion, I think Tufo is very underrated and is worth reading.

RATINGS

Zombie Fallout series 1-10: 4.25 out of 5

Now, as I am done with this review. I am going to have to ask any of my readers to answer a question: Is there any authors that you feel aren’t getting enough attention or for lack of a better term, given their due? Please answer in the comments. I will love to start a conversation on this, possibly get more titles to read. I AM AN AUTHOR IN PROGRESS AND I’M OUT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was almost a gnat: Complaining about Complaining

I once read somewhere that when sperm leaves the site there are 20 million other cells racing to fertilize the egg. Being a business major, I find those odds overwhelming. I lived with this fact for many years. That fact plus the chances that I could’ve ended up elsewhere other than in an incubator makes me grateful to be alive each and everyday. I give that fact to people just at random because it makes me feel like I won something. I can’t believe I thought I couldn’t swim!

Then earlier today I caught an article that said our chances of being born a human being is 400 trillion to 1. So as you can imagine I really feel like a fucking winner. That also scares me because I could’ve been a fucking gnat. I could’ve been flying around being hated, things trying to kill me everywhere, and trying to land on random food, for no other reason than to fuck up someone’s picnic. I hope there isn’t a such thing as reincarnation because I don’t believe I’m going to win the evolution lottery twice.

With that being said. I am empathetic to other people’s plights. We all have issues. But people have to stop complaining all the time. People will sit around and yap about what is wrong with their world and the world in general. It’s not even that these people want help or pointed in the right direction. They just want an audience, which are generally people looking for their turn to bitch to receive some affirmation. They want to know that others are just as miserable.

I’m not writing about the people who protest or anyone else fighting for results. I’m talking about the general, everyday complaining with no action.

I say this because I know from experience that if you stop complaining and except the fact that no one gives a fuck as much as you want them to, then you will have no other option than to fix shit. You will be a happier individual. A lot of times nothing is wrong. It’s just you’ve been doing it so long, complaining is almost second nature.

We’ve been spoiled by the times we live in so much that we feel entitled to many of things we take for granted. A man gets angry because his boss passed him up for a promotion. There was a time when couldn’t get that job in the first place. A kid gets bullied in a diverse school because of his shoes. There was a time where a kid of color wasn’t allowed shoes or school. There was a time, where a lot of kids were sick and died because there were no antibiotics. We are living in one of the best generations to be alive. Not to downplay bullying, but generally speaking, no one takes stock of what they have. Family, opportunity, love, and many other things I’m not listing are the things that keeps me going, even when time get hard. I have highs and lows too but these ideals keeps me grounded.

The bottom line is that it’s so much pessimism and negativity that it tends to be the voice that speaks to the masses, and its infectious. Positivity needs to be more infectious and it needs to spread an aura of optimism to clear out the sickness that is negativity.

 

An author in progress

I rolled over in my bed today and grabbed my phone to check my email. I was excited to get a DM from someone regarding my Instagram page. He complimented me on my writing and asked “what is it you do?”

I began to type a whole long winded explanation, but I then paused because the truth was, I didn’t have a real answer. All I knew was that I wanted to write. Not only write but write well. I wanted to write something cool that would envoke emotion, thought, and a curiousity of what else I could do.

But the problem with that is I’m still learning. I’m still learning the publishing process. I’m still contacting authors for tips for my writing. So do I call myself a student? No. I didn’t jump into this medium to simply be taught. I want to thrive.

So I sat on this question all day long. Until I asked my self what identity as a writer do I have? How can I have the nerve to call myself a author without a published body of work? Who do I think  I am? Should I just stop before someone more experienced tells me to?

That was the real question that needed answered. So I said to myself. “Tony. Fuck off. I write because I have a fucking voice dickhead.” And people will love what I write because I’m honest, and honesty always wins, whatever story I decide to tell. People will read, laugh and agree because my story is relatable.” Everyone is either in my shoes or has been here before. I’m not just peacocking, I mean it. There may be others with a honed writing ability but none with my work ethic, williness to welcome criticism and to learn from it.”

I am here to bring​ others along with me in my journey to that point. So I am not only a author. I went to that email and wrote ‘I am a author in progress.’

Shitty drafts: Writer’s Overload

When cavemen wrote on walls, do you think that they ever said to themselves “fuck that’s not right” and tried to scratch it out or just switched walls, or was it another medium before the wall. Did they use dirt, mud or animal parts? Did they just have a frat-boy last minute essay night and looked at it, seen it made no sense, said “fuck it” and rolled with it?

If it was anything other than the latter, they are geniuses. I say that because I am banging my head against the wall, only to fight the urge of throw my laptop out the damn window, which would be meaningless. besides, I just fixed my screen; totally unrelated incident. The messed up part is that it’s not because I’m having “writer’s block” its because I am indecisive in my writing and that very nature is causing me to look for perfection in a imperfect process. Drafts are meant to give the writer a chance to remove the mental clutter and self correct. Well that’s what my old English Comp instructor told my back, as I furiously repeated the process of balling up paper and throwing them at the trash can.

So, recalling on that bit of information from Mr. Quirk, I am stepping away from the laptop that I’m sure is resentful or depressed from the litany of curses and swears aimed at it. I hope it understands that the anger was misplaced. I am instead going to comeback and write everything that comes to my mind. Let’s see how a confusing draft with six endings workout. Well in a world with Micheal Bay and M Night Shyamalan all is possible. Whatever I write I am going to stick with until my next draft. There’s the challenge. I’ll let you know how it works out.