12/30/2016

I’ve just finished writing roughly 1500 words, 1300 of which I am happy about. The other 200 can go fuck themselves cause that was straight absent-minded trash.

I’ve developed a theory lately that I’m watching play out before my eyes each and everyday. There is magic in this world, and it exist in this present life.

When you have a singular focus in your life, and you remain centered around a specific goal, things sort of magnetize toward that goal. I truly believe that and am determined to make that my personal premise. I hope that one day my life’s story will prove that premise.

It’s easy to dwell on all the things that we don’t have, and all the opportunities we’ve failed to take. It’s equally easy to convince ourselves that we are incapable of making a true difference, unable to become more than we are. How nice things would be if we were limited to the current capabilities of our mind, and that beer we drink after a long day at work will always be the high-point of our lives.

But the truth is different, and somewhere deep down, we know that. When we really try to improve our lives, we take steps. Each step comes one at a time, but they’re still steps.

A wealthy man used to stop by my table whenever he’d see me working at Starbucks to say hello. I came to know him as a friend, but during that journey I came to learn his unbelievable background.

He was in the navy and married young, and once he was finished serving he grew to be very close to his wife (allegedly, many members of our armed forces marry at a young age more because they receive financial benefits than because they fall so deeply in love). So he said that he had come to actually love his wife, which I recall him saying with a smirk. But two weeks after his wife was discovered to be pregnant with their first, sorta-planned child, he lost his wife. He told me she lost her in a car accident, but someone who knows him once told me she hung herself. The guy who told me that was a piece of shit, however, so I took that with a grain of salt.

Anyways, after he lost his wife, he really, seriously, struggled. They’d just purchase their first place together, and were depending more on her income then his. Family helped initially, but he began spending their donated funds on alcohol. He said within six months he became a full-blown alcoholic.

His family lost their patience, and soon he lost his home. He moved back in with his parents but developed into a “really nasty, awful person.” His folks gave him the boot, and he wound up living on the streets. He said he was homeless for the next five years, with a brief stint in jail & a brief stint in an apartment sandwiched in between.

After living like this for five years, he said that he finally reached a point where he realized he would never, ever, know happiness or love again. It always struck him as odd that this was his turning point.

He said that back then 24 hour fitness gyms charged a $20 per month membership. He realized that if he cut down on alcohol intake to 1 bottle and 1 six pack per day, he could afford that. So he did, and he saved, and soon he had his membership. Now, the reason he wanted this membership was so that he could have a place to shower and shave everyday, because he knew full-well he wouldn’t be getting hired as dirty as he was.

The problem was, he would need to pool together another $30 for a towel, deoderant, soap, a razor, etc.

…I’m sorry. This story is taking me way longer to write than I thought it would. I’ll try to complete it tomorrow, and I apologize for the abrupt ending.

Hello Dreamers

Im going to start by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Mine wasnt great but im not here to complain. Im here to ramble, so here it goes.

As some of you may know, 2016 has been spent purduing a career in firefighting over writing. I had my first girlfriend in a while, and am currently employed as a full time EMT and part time reserve firefighter. Im 1 semester away from getting my associates.

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But I want to write, God Dammit. I dont know why, because its not something I tell anyone about. Im 80 pages into a new manuscript right now, and literally nobody knows it. I feel that it is really good, and for once Ive chosen a story I am qualified to write about.

I want to get back on track with dreaming in 2017. I dont want any relationships for a while. They are impossible for me.

I want to do something incredible in this lifetime. That is more important to me than finding happiness and fullfillment in the present moment.

Im going to begin hosting competitions on this blog for writers, musicians, and artists to compete with works amongst each other and gain valuable exposure in the process. Im going to complete my novel and im going to get it published.

 

 

Sorry for the delay…

Alright, obviously, I have hardly been posting here for a while now. That’s mostly because I’ve been concentrating my efforts on firefighter training and employment, but partially because I’ve had a girlfriend. Well we broke up today, so I’m going to have more time to write (please, spare me your tears:).

I’ve thought an awful lot about writing, and also pondered ways to make this website more fun. I used to play full-tilt poker a lot, before it was deemed illegal. Full-tilt was an online gaming website where you could bet money on poker games after making a minimum deposit of fifty dollars.

I think it would be interesting to offer a competition similar to this here on my wordpress site. I’d open 9 spots for a writing contest, and award prizes to the top 3 short story writers. I would request an entry of 500-2000 words.

Not only would the winner receive a monetary prize, but I’d also publish the winning story here in 4 parts. On top of that, I would feature a portrait of the author, put their name and a link to their blog ahead of their story, and build a database of pasts winners for new website visitors to browse through. This same format for a contest could also be used for art, music, and anything artistic. I would aim to host contests once per week, and announce the winner the following week.

Any thoughts on my idea? Are any of you interested to the extent you would submit something for an entry fee of around $5? Let me know, I want to hear your thoughts!

  • Thomas M. Watt

Able to Write Again

Today marks the first time in a while I’ve got an open morning to start writing again. It feels weird and makes me anxious, but I’m going to dive in and begin. In the meantime, here’s the video from my academy. My brother and I put it together based on GoPro footage recorded by the other cadets. Enjoy!

  • Thomas M. Watt

Life Update – 8/14/2016

Waddup, waddup.

So I’m 12 weeks into my fire academy with only 2 weeks left to go. I know that I left my last short story on a major cliff hanger, but it has been so long since I last posted on here I felt it was more necessary to update you on all I’ve been up to.

The fire academy has taught me an enormous variety of new skills. I learned how to operate a chainsaw for the first time in my life, and a few days ago I had the opportunity to carve a five-cut hole in a roof over a working fire (a technique referred to as vertical ventilation). I’ve become comfortable using an SCBA (self-containing breathing apparatus), which is what firefighters don in order to breathe inside a burning structure.

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This vertical ventilation picture is from my academy, and the guy with the saw could even be me (even I can’t tell). The fire is in the room directly below us, which is why we are so smokey.

In order to prepare us for the worst, part of our training required us to crawl through confined spaces wearing our turn-outs (firefighter outfits) as well as our SCBAs. One area was known as the confidence course.

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This space was basically a trailer that is pitch black once they shut the door on you. The interior is a maze from hell – one that includes ladders and unexpected drop-offs. In order to pass through it successfully, we had to squeeze through narrow openings, navigate through total and complete darkness, and climb up and down ladders and slides. This is NOT a drill for the claustrophobic.

One confined space drill that was much worse than the confidence trailer was the X-box (no, not like the video game console… not at all).

X-box crawl

It’s called the ‘X-box’ because that’s what a box with criss-crossed wires looks like.

The X-box is rectangular box of wood with wires running through it everywhere. We were required to crawl through this confined space wearing our turnouts and SCBAs with a hood covering our eyes in seven minutes or less. At one point when I was passing through, the wires prevented me from moving forward or backward. I began breathing frantically and felt like a trapped rat. While this was going on, one of our instructors was yelling at me to give him a proper LUNAR (Location, Unit, Name, Air, Resources). A lunar is the distress call a firefighter gives when they are trapped in an environment with an immediate threat to life and health. Here’s an example:

Firefighter: Mayday mayday mayday!

Incident Commander: Clear all traffic for emergency broadcast.

Firefighter: This is firefighter Watt with interior attack. I’m entangled in wires on division 1, alpha side of the building. I’m down to my last quarter of air, and I need a Ric team with wire cutters to extricate me.

In the next few weeks I’ll be able to post the academy video for you all to see some of the footage for yourselves. I’m really happy I’ve had the opportunity to acquire all of this knowledge, as it is not only preparing me for a career in the fire service, but I also have a wealth of personal experience that I can use in future action/adventure stories. I won’t be as busy as I have been, so I should be able to post on here more frequently.

Oh yeah, one more thing – I have a new girlfriend : ). Say hello to Riley!

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  • Thomas M. Watt

The Old Man and the Tree – Part 2

fallen tree

*If you missed part 1, start here!

“You’ve got to be goddamn kidding me,” He said.

Harker was in disbelief that the neighbor’s kid had brought along four others, all around his age. They were all worthless when it came to removing a tree the size of the one on Harker’s lawn.

“What do you kids want? I don’t have any Nintendos.”

The children looked at one another with confusion.

“We want to help you,” said Jhonny, who had returned with his friends. Jhonny wore black rubber boots that ran all the way past his knees. They were adult sized.

“Help me?” Said Harker, with a haughty laugh. “No thanks. I’d rather get rid of this tree on my own.”

“But you can’t,” said Jhonny. “It’s too big for one person.”

Harker’s eye caught hold of Gerri-anne as she walked by with her three dogs. She walked her three dogs every morning and always donned a white tennis jacket.

“Hello Harker, how are you?” she said with a wave.

“Good Gerri-anne, how are you?” said Harker.

She smirked and continued on her way.

He had met Gerri-anne a few years earlier, shortly after her husband had passed away. He was a son-of-a bitch and left her with nothing, spoiled their kids everything. Her kids never visited or called, he had heard. Still, Gerri-anne always kept in shape and managed to smile. Her lawn was a mess though, but that wasn’t really her fault.

Harker shook his head, then returned to Jhonny. “Well you’re too small to do any good,” said Harker. “This job requires men.”

“We’re men,” said Jhonny.

“Oh yeah?” said Harker. “Saw that trunk for me.”

Harker dropped the saw on the lawn and laughed.

“Let’s go Jhonny,” said the little boy with the blue cap, named Fred. “This guy’s a dick.”

The children turned around and started walking away as Harker laughed. Jhonny began walking with them, then stopped abrubtly. He returned and grabbed the saw, than began sawing.

“What the hell are you doing!” yelled Harker. He jumped and grabbed the saw away from Jhonny. “Don’t you see the edge on this thing? It’s too sharp and dangerous for you.”

“But you said-”

“Don’t put words in my mouth, son! Why don’t you go on with your friends and play paddleball or something?”

“Jhonny, c’mon!” said Fred. “He doesn’t want our help, he said it himself.”

“I’m staying,” responded Jhonny.

Jeremy, the biggest of the kids, wrapped his hands around his mouth and hollered: “Stop trying to replace your dad, Jhonny! He’s dead, and this guy’s more of a grandpa, anyway!”

The other children erupted with laughter as Jhonny gazed down at his rubber boots. He itched his eye and started walking away.

“Good luck,” he muttered to Harker, without bothering to face him.

Harker scratched the back of his head.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

The Old Man and the Tree – Part 1

fallen tree

Harker glared out his window at the fallen tree. It hadn’t moved for the past twenty years, then last night it had just decided to keel over. Now he had to clean it up.

Harker tugged a boot on with one hand on the kitchen chair.

“Stupid goddamn tree,” he muttered. “Why you were planted is beyond me.”

It took him thirty minutes to get his boots on. Harker threw on his fleece, than stared out the window again. He checked the cell phone that cost him an arm and a leg, than sighed and tossed it at his recliner.

Harker took with him a shovel and a wheelbarrel. He smeared the humid moisture from his forehead and groaned. He nudged the dead tree with his shovel.

“How the hell am I supposed to get rid of you… stupid goddamn tree.”

Harker turned around and headed for his backyard.

“Mister!” called someone.

Harker turned around. It was a little boy with a sharp smile and a stick of chalk.

“What?” Harker said.

“Want some help moving your tree?”

“From who?” Harker stuck his hand above his eyes like it were a visor, then squinted as he searched the street from one side to the other.

“Well… Me.”

Harker shook his head and turned around. He carried on toward his backyard muttering to himself. The child had no business trying to look courteous here. This tree was a serious problem, and the last thing Harker needed was some dumb kid making the job even more difficult.

That was how Dotty used to be. She’d always try to help Harker with his do-it-yourself projects, but would only ruin them. If he was toying with his engine, she’d beg him for a peek. The second he let her have a look, she’d break something. He’d turn, find a wrench in her hand, then ask her what the hell she was doing. And for some dumb reason her response would always trick him into laughing and forget all about the trouble she always caused.

But that was Dotty, and Dotty was dead. Now Harker was blessed enough to take on his do-it-yourself projects with nobody to hold him up. That was the biggest difference he’d noticed with his age. Ever since the kids moved out of state and Dotty passed away, Harker finally had time to do the things he wanted to do, uninterrupted.

Harker realized he’d been standing in his backyard with his hands on his hips for an easy five minutes.

“What the hell am I looking for?” He said to himself.

Harker spotted a saw. “You,” he said as he pointed at it. Harker strode over, picked it up in practically no time at all, then started on his return trip to the front yard.

When he reached it, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“You’ve got to be goddamn kidding me,” he said.

…To be continued

  • Thomas M. Watt