a whole new reality

HarsH ReaLiTy February Newsletter

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Dear Employees,

Upper management has come up with a list of concerns over the past couple weeks. We realize that sharing an environment is hard on everyone, but we are particularly sensitive to the minorities in our company. This would of course be Opinionated Man in every situation as he holds every “card” in the “feel sorry for me” pack.

We will bullet point these so that all current employees can better digest these totalitarian rules. Future bloggers that join HR’s ranks may want to ensure none of these conflict with their own morals.

  • Whoever keeps turning the Men’s Restroom sign upside down stop it! It takes real energy to turn that back around. We have a strong suspicion as to the culprit (culprits) and giggling has been recorded in the halls. We Are Watching.
  • Coffee is a benefit people. Management has noticed certain women smuggling packs of coffee out like cocaine. Also we would again like to emphasis that alcohol is not allowed on the work premises unless it is medically prescribed, as in OM’s case. Rules are rules.
  • We have noticed some segregation going on during lunch time. In an effort to force cultural diversity we have decided to implement a “meet another race day!” We have also decided to allow open discussion on these days; no PC restrictions are to be enforced. Let’s go meet some cultures people!
  • Management has been concerned by the overly friendly nature that has started to infest our halls. Hugging, exchanges of kindness, and any form of charity are now prohibited. We hope this will drive employees to better manage their time. Friendship is overrated. Progress reports are always your friend!
  • Employees the Lower Basement (AKA The Dungeon) is now off limits. This area is being used as our new think tank. The screams from within are willing participants. Please smoke outside.
  • We encourage all employees to sign up for this year’s softball team! Those losers at Beautiful Reality, BR next door, won’t know what hit them! Can we please have all participants learn the team chant this time… the correct one? This means you Linda.
  • In an effort to show our appreciation for all of your hard work this year’s Christmas party has been moved to a better location. Instead of having it on the boring 4th floor, we will be moving it to the 5th floor!!! Anything can happen!!!
  • Whoever keeps parking their BMW in two spaces… just to show off your rims STOP IT! How do you even own a BMW and work here…. We may need to speak to payroll.

-Opinionated Man

Imagination Unchained

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I think one of the largest hurdles for a writer of any sort, regardless of the genre they write in, would be the lack of an imagination. To those of us that played with Mages, Kender, and Hobbits in our backyards this might sound insanely impossible. What would our worlds be like without our imaginary worlds combined that we lived in, journeyed through, and battled within our entire childhood? We were told constantly through school to focus and stay in the present. The problem is that it then becomes a chore and a foreign process to attempt to imagine as adults. Scientifically it has been proven that children have a higher aptitude for learning than adults by a certain age. We lose the glamour for learning, the need to imagine new things, and in turn our writing suffers.

I haven’t been many places in my life. I can name them and to some they may seem like a lot. Others would scoff and say that only having traveled around North America, a few igloos in Canada, and parts of Korea would be a small portion of the world. Not even worth called traveling perhaps? I said once that blogs are great windows into other worlds that we may never see. It is better than television because the pictures, stories, and the actual personalities you present are unique in and of themselves. It is because you are where you are right this moment that people will want to read your words. That shouldn’t take too much imagination to comprehend, but surprisingly people still struggle with the “why would anyone want to read my words” syndrome.

I have never traveled to the Great Pyramids. Still, I can close my eyes and feel the damp air. My shoulders start to weigh down from the rich history and the thought of so much stone above me. My eyes flicker and suddenly I am standing on the Great Wall of China. I have read a lot about this wall and it truly is remarkable. Although after walking the length of it I wonder how anyone could have thought you would see this thing from space. Still, it I feel like I am standing on so many lives… since I recall that they buried the bones of the workers into the wall itself.

I think there are many of us that live in a state of not always being here. My wife laughs and says I zone out a lot. Actually, not to correct her or anything because women are always right, I am not technically zoning out as much as I am zooming in… like a camera. And I can see images around me all the time in my head. Sometimes it causes chaos, but still other times it is simply amusing. I have always needed something to do and I guess my internal entertainment system set me up for life. Maybe this is a mental disease and some doctor has a really long term for it in some book.

You can keep your term and kiss my ass.

-Opinionated Man

Observing Death

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I once watched a sparrow die. She fluttered in the wind and fought against the inevitable. It was inspiring to watch the struggle of life. Why is it that it flares so bright right before it is snuffed out before your eyes? Why must we wait for motivation to come from some sort of sacrifice or lose? Still, I accept the moment for the moment. I observed death with a stare and did not blink before his approach.


The Lost Journals: Chapter One – Pg. 5

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St. Matthew Island, Bering Sea

11/25/1975 – Journal Entry One

We have been out for a few weeks now. The weather has been fair so far and I feel right with the roll of the sea beneath my feet. I sleep better when I am on a boat. I try to forget my troubles when I come to work… it is hard. There are few things to do but work, play cards, drink, tell bullshit stories, and work some more. There is little time for sleep, but we are having a very profitable trip so far. The traps are full and the crabs we are bringing in should pull me a nice bonus for this year. That should finally make Cindy happy… ungrateful bitch.

She gave me this journal years ago, I don’t remember why, probably a Father’s Day gift or whatnot. I never thought I would use it, but I have actually taken to writing in it during my down time. Ships are small places, even if you are alone… especially when you are alone. I will admit I never thought I would find it as it pleasant as it has been to write out my thoughts of the day and release some of the pressure that hours of hauling in traps hasn’t helped relieve. I may continue to do so during this next few weeks.

Cindy has filed for divorce. She claims I am never there for her anymore and the children are unhappy. I am not sure what she expects. I pull in nearly $80,000 a year and we live in a nice neighborhood with good schools that our children have always attended. I work on a boat, I can’t teleport myself home each night. Sometimes there is no pleasing women. Actually, scratch that there is no pleasing a woman period. I am not sure why I thought an American woman would be different, Canadian women are the same. That isn’t why I left Canada, but it definitely contributed to the inspiration to find new cities to explore. I never thought I would end up on a crabbing boat in the middle of the Bering straight.

There were many steps that led to me coming here. Maybe I will take the time to relate some of those, but I wouldn’t want this journal to come off as some kind of whining session. That would be unfair because honestly I like my life. It is other people that seem to be unhappy in my life.

Peter North


Page 5 OM 01/04/2014

The Lost Journals: Chapter One – Pg. 7

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Santa Monica, CA

Linda Borra Conaughey

2/7/1995 – Journal Entry One

My only comfort is the companionship of my sorrow. It has been five years since he passed and also five years since I have painted. My hands ache for the feel of a brush, even as my soul rejects the comfort that may come from it. A single canvas, still pure white, sits in the sunroom waiting for my attention. I have left it there since the night I received the phone call of his passing. The moment he died the will to paint died as well.

I see images that beg to be captured all around me. We artists see still images, even as the pace of society moves around us. Sometimes it feels as if we are an island in a sea of chaos. We strive to find that one thing worth seeing each day and on those days we do not find our hart of pursuit we die just a little more that evening. Passionate of heart, we cannot keep that same passion from affecting our lives. And thus when tragedy comes we embrace that tragic sense with a foolish bravery that we do not recognize till after the damage is done. Here I sit damaged.

My counselor tells me that to get over the pain I should try to write in this journal that she gave me. I wanted to throw the notebook in her face and scream “I am an artist… not a writer!” But who am I really mad at? As I pen these words I feel my heart tremble just slightly… as if awakened by the tease of a thought. What is it that moves me now?

My pastels sit unused next to the dull acrylics. They sit lifeless having lost any desire they had due to neglect. As I neglect my art, I also neglect my soul. But what color would my painting become when mixed with my tears…


“How I Write” By OM

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I hope Jami doesn’t mind, but I will reference her comment for this post. She requested it and I am always willing to write about things I am not good at. I will post here comment first.

“I still watch it sometimes, as she is just freakin hilarious! Good blog, btw…I admire how eloquently you can rant and make us all come back for more. I would love to know more about the mental process you go through to create a post of this nature – do you have a post on that topic? They all just read so so effortlessly.”

“I thought so, as they do read like a stream of consciousness. It would still be interesting to read a post on that process though. Perhaps you learn something you hadn’t thought of, and it might be helpful for those of us who overthink/over-craft, which is my issue. I let my ego bully me. It tells me I have nothing interesting to say, or that I can’t say it with any sort of finesse. It’s about fear, or maybe misplaced need for validation instead of that pure need to just write, as you covered in a recent post on blogging and followers. Anyway, I’ll keep a look out!”

I obviously appreciate the compliment and that is also why I am writing this post. People will generally throw small chat at you or give you a passing compliment, we writers are jealous creatures, but when someone asks me a question via comment or email I always try to respond.

I’m not sure I would say it is effortless. There is still effort in that you must take the time to write and keep up a steady pace. Right now I also write still at my host site, http://aopinionatedman.com/ which is where I gained a lot of confidence through posting eight times a day. I just decided I would go right at it, which is in my personality. I think we portray our personalities into our writing and even if we cannot write at a high level we should be encouraged in the fact that there are many different levels of readers out there. There is a reader for everyone. I also like to control the “tone” of my articles and it allows me to “influence” my audience into the perfection of my reality. That is a connection that only comes through writing with heart I think. Heart and not being afraid to be judged because you know what? Fuck people’s judgment.

Topics are easy for me. When I don’t have a topic I write a poem. Then I browse blogs. I look for current issues mainly from CNN or from many of the main websites, but I don’t generally write on issues like that right now. If you notice I have actually moved on into the fiction, inspiration, and humorous types of posts. I also have laid out my game plan on my front page which shows my categories and that helps me to focus on what I write about. Those categories are a mixture of what I do well and what I am learning.

As for how I write effortlessly… that is easy. Two answers for that and I will give the easy one first. I generally have an opinion on most things and have read at least a book or a page on it. That doesn’t make me an expert, but it triggers my mind when I hear a topic and I have read something on it and it generates an easy topic. I then write my posts on my “not so private” journals…

The other answer isn’t as easy to explain. I wrote a post once on http://aopinionatedman.com/ about The Glass House. It was some “Asian Book,” I might have the name wrong, and I have no clue what ethnicity but I think it was Chinese. Basically you placed objects in a mental room and were able to remember long lists with this technique. I loved the idea, because I am a fantasy lover, and decided I would use it to create my own Glass House. In it is different rooms and my study where I have a mental file cabinet. Now here you can choose to believe me or not, it doesn’t really matter does it? I basically have a file cabinet with a paragraph of ideas and I can hold up to 100 or so of these pages. I don’t generally have to or need to, but I have, can, and I do it now. I don’t have photographic memory, I am not a genius, so you can take it for what it is. But it is a mental trick that I have practiced since I was 16 and I am now 33. Maybe there is something to be said about strengthening through practice perhaps. Smarter minds than mine could probably tell you, but that is generally where I pull my articles from.

I don’t hesitate to publish and I only edit once. I will generally go back and relook sometimes for errors. I might even edit an article two days later, maybe that is bad journalism, but I am a blogger and my audience would rather read current than read perfect. I have had “discussions” with other bloggers about this and what they don’t realize is IF they are after traffic they have to drop a little of the perfection. Many of them write beautifully and make perfect articles, but a singular article is limited to the moment. Unless of course it goes viral. But hey, what do I know. I am just another blogger on WordPress.

I hope you don’t mind my referencing your comment Jami and thanks for the mental prompt. I am going to place this article on both websites. One less page in the cabinet.

-Opinionated Man

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