Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Toast for the Coming Year

Don't Let the 2016 Blues Keep You Down

Greetings, party people! I am coming to you live from Akron, Ohio, on the last day of 2016, which has pretty much been the best year on record here at the Gott household. *coughs*

I am coming to you today because it has come to my attention that I need to stop making declarations about whether I am or am not going to do something or another, because invariable, I almost always end up doing the opposite... Like right now, for instance, writing this, when I said two posts ago that I was done for the year--so let it be known, from this day forward, I am no longer going to make declarations, and am instead going to plan to do things silently to myself and then follow through with them.

Actually, I might be better served to make plans to do the opposite of what I intend to do, because in not following through with my plans, I will actually be working towards doing what I really intend to do, because apparently, and I think there is some documented evidence to show this, that is just how my mind works.

I know, right? I don't know that if I can change that at this point, though, so I am just stuck with working around it. By 34, I think your personality is pretty much set, and I think my oppositional nature is pretty firmly in place. As long I get to where I want to go, the journey is just a part of the fun. If it was easy, everyone would be doing what they want for a living...


Even though this year has been a difficult one for me personally for a variety of reasons totally unrelated to celebrity deaths or the election, I feel like I have also experienced a lot of growth, both as a person and as a writer, and I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store, and I mean that, truly.

At this point in my life, I have faced a great many obstacles, and, certainly with a great deal of help from my wife, my family, and my friends, I have somehow gotten this far, and while my life may not be perfect, and it certainly hasn't gone as planned, I wouldn't change anything. Why dwell on something when it is impossible to go backwards? I just try to learn and pick myself back up and dust myself off and keep pushing forward.

While the world might seem to have a dark cloud over it right now, everything is always changing, and sometimes great things happen when you least expect them. Often times, these great things come out of adversity, and when you do have a negative experience, it might be difficult to understand when it is happening, it doesn't ultimately help to dwell on it too long and let your life be controlled by that experience forever.

Sometimes, and more often than anyone would probably care to admit, we have to learn things the hard way, because sometimes that's the only way that those lessons will stick for any length of time. And while these mistakes might seem avoidable to some, just because it seems that way, it doesn't make it true, and often times, it is from those experiences that you learn something you didn't even know you needed to know, and you come out stronger, and better, for having survived.

It's all in how you choose to use that knowledge that makes a difference, which is why I have faith that, even if things don't go as planned in the coming year, great things will happen, regardless. It's all in how you define greatness that matters, and whether I succeed or fail at my plans, I will achieve greatness in the knowledge that I gain from the experiences.

If I keep going, and I keep learning these lessons, and keep seeking out more knowledge on how to get where I want to go, eventually, if I am determined enough and work hard enough, I just might find myself where I want to be.

With three books coming out, and a novel I know I can finish if I set my mind to it (after all, I have done it before), and much, much more that I plan on accomplishing (or not plan, but work towards by planning the opposite), I know that 2017 will be a good year, and I sincerely hope the same goes for all of you.

*raises champagne flute*


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Existential Rant, Just in Time for the Holidays

What is the point?

That is a question I find myself asking a lot lately, including but not necessarily limited to the big "what is the point?" topic, that is, life. I don't mean it in a "I hate myself and want to die" sort of way, though, it's more of a moral-existential-philosophical question: What is the point of my/our existence on this planet in this galaxy/universe/multiverse?

Of course, I am by far not the first person to ask this question, and it is not the first time in my life that I have asked it, either, but it seems more relevant than ever with the state of things in the world. I don't know if things are better or worse than they always have been, or if we are just more aware of what is going on, but it seems like everything is spinning out of control and at some point, probably sooner than later, we are all going to be flung off into the abyss.

Okay, so that did take a dark turn there for a moment, but I really don't mean it in an existential dread sort of way, it's more of an intellectual curiosity. Over the millennia, an almost endless number of schools of thought have developed on the subject, and I think we too often rely on something or someone else to define the narratives of our lives out of fear of the unknown. It's why so many people subscribe to particular sets of beliefs, even though when they are understood from a rational distance, they often times seem absurd and illogical.

Does that necessarily make them wrong? That, I can't answer definitively, but I would say that some of them have to be wrong, right? I mean, come on, Scientology... That is clearly made-up.

Honestly, I do think to a certain degree it is relative, at least in the way we understand what there is out there, but I also think that we don't give ourselves enough credit in some ways, but we also give ourselves way too much credit in others. For example, on one hand, we use technology primarily as a means to entertain ourselves or kill each other, and that too often we see ourselves as the very center of existence, for lack of any other explanation, and because some religions explicitly tell us that is the case.

I mean, most people know that we are not literally at the center of the universe, but at the same time believe us to be chosen as such by some deity, effectively making us what we know ourselves not to be, which is why we are so short-sighted with what we do with what we define as "progress."

With our capabilities, we could be striving much harder to explore what there is out there, and trying to more realistically define our place in the universe, but most people don't give a shit. Conditioned by the idea that a few popular religions tell us that we are the chosen ones, and if we follow a certain set of rules, we will live forever, the people who subscribe to this, when inundated with commercial promises that we deserve to have our desires fulfilled, become caught up with having the most and being the richest.

This is why Christmas has become such a big overblown materialistic clusterfuck instead of the religious holiday celebrating the birth of the only person in Christianity whose ideas ever actually made any sense what-so-ever, regardless of whether you believe that he was crucified and came back to life three days later, or not.

We are all almost definitely going to be flung off into the abyss sooner than later, because we continue to allow ourselves to be spun around and around and around again, because it's easier not to question the things that truly need to be questioned, and to let ourselves be trapped in certain systems that redefine freedom as being able to choose between a few carefully selected choices, just so the people who get to choose what we have to choose from can be even more better off than they were last year, and we can feel satisfied for five minutes or so, until we are inundated with ads for whatever After-Christmas holiday extravaganza, blasting across our telescreens.

So merry fucking Christmas, I hope you all get exactly what you deserve. I know I will, and that actually does help me sleep at night.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Upcoming Releases

For those of you who have not quite gotten sick of me in 2016, well, 2017 is just around the corner, and you might just get your chance yet.

I have plans to release no fewer than three books over the course of the year. Of course, that is the minimum number that I will publish, and the maximum will be four. I would not count on that fourth one, though, as it will only happen if I can get my act together in the next couple of months and finish my second novel.

I have big plans to take a week-long stay-cation and just bust out the rest of the rough draft. It should go pretty quickly because what I have is pretty solid--but I have said that before. Hell, I intended to be done with it by now. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Anyways, without further adieu, here is a preview of what I have in store for you in 2017:

Release Date: JANUARY 20, 2017

First up, just in time for Inauguration Day, is my first and maybe only poetry collection, which is interestingly enough the longest of my three chapbooks, and by quite a bit, too. It has 24 poems divided into three sections over 70 pages, and I am particularly proud of the fact that I also did some art for the interior of the book, which is a first for me.


Release Date: APRIL 1, 2017

A few short months later, my well-hyped second flash fiction collection (and third chapbook, overall) will be hitting digital bookshelves everywhere. I am pretty excited about this, as it features many of my stories that have previous been published in literary magazines, and, like my poetry collection, it is entirely suitable for the state of the world as we know it. Of course, I am assuming that we haven't all died in a nuclear war in the first few months of Trump's Presidency. *fingers crossed*


Release Date: August 8, 2017

If we survive until the latter portion of the year, which I am not holding my breath about, you will see the release of my own Chinese Democracy that I started working on a while back and then sat aside, and then worked on again some more before I scrapped entirely. Well, now it's back--technically. Really, this is a different collection than Tales from the Fringes (which I have, sadly, taken out of print), or what would have been a third edition of it. Ocho only has six of the stories from that first collection, all of which have been extensively reworked and re-edited, in addition to the two stories that were written around the same time but were published in different ways. All eight of these stories were originally written between 2010-2011 during my last year and half at Kent and were intended to be read as a collection. The other stories that were in Tales from the Fringes just didn't make the cut and probably should never have been published in the first place. Anyways, these are the best possible versions of these eight stories, and I am sure you will all agree with me on that. I just felt like I had to get it right, once and for all, and I am very confident that this is it for this set of stories.


Not only do I have these three books to release, but I also look to really follow through with my plan to schedule and pre-write my blog posts so I can publish once a week on Saturdays. I am also working on a social media plan so I can be more consistent and hopefully grow my audience. Not to mention, I have a few events in mind to do over the course of the year, as well.

This will most likely be my last post of the year, but I might have something left so I can't say that with 100% certainty--I guess we'll just have to see. I do have a couple of long weekends coming up, so anything is possible.

Whatever holiday you celebrate (if any), I hope you have a good one, and I also hope you have a happy New Year!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

On the Mend

Greetings people, and on a Thursday afternoon, no less! I suppose you are probably wondering why I am coming to you at this moment, and I will tell you that it is because I have been home with some plague or another. 'Tis the season, after all.

Being sick isn't the best (thank you, Captain Obvious), but thank God for PTO and sick days. I am on the mend, now, though, and I should be ripe and ready to go back to work tomorrow. At least the way that I am feeling at the moment, anyways. I think sleeping in until noon helped, but also probably just generally eating healthier and leading a healthier lifestyle (lately) has helped me fight this off relatively quickly. This time yesterday, I felt like absolute garbage, and while I'm not 100%, I feel quite a bit better.

Of course, it could also have been one of those 24 hour bugs. Mine was more like 36 or 48 hours, though, because it technically started Tuesday night, when I was literally exploding liquid out of places where it normally does not come out.

Anyways, since I am home and feeling better, now, I have made some changes to the design of the site again. I hope you like it. The last design was cool, but this is more relevant to where I am currently, as far as projects go. I think it looks good, at any rate, and that's really what's important (by my way of thinking, anyways).

It's not a ton different from the way that it has been for the past few weeks, but particularly the new background picture gives it a new look and feel. I have made a few other changes, also, including making my bio and the contact page first person, as I feel like it makes the site a bit more personable. I am also thinking about changing the book descriptions to first person, where relevant. Right now, they are as they currently appear, and when published will appear, on websites like Amazon.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram (@elliots_human) will probably also recognize the background from the screenshot that I posted the other day of me working on my poetry chapbook, Live Organ Transplants. The art is the same as the cover art of that forthcoming book, which is coming together surprisingly quickly.

The cover is completely finished, and the interior is mostly there, as well. There are a few more small changes that I plan to make to the design and a few of the poems, but for the most part I am happy.

Currently, I am dusting off the cobwebs of the part of me that used to want to be an artist for Disney (back when I was like 8). I am working hard on some illustrations for the text, which will be another first for me. You can see a preview of what you have in store as far as that goes with the brain drawing at the top of this post.

I might redraw it in pencil and then and then ink it, as I originally planned to do. I am also currently working on a heart and will be drawing some eyes when I am done. The three organs correspond with the three parts the poems are divided into in the collection, and I might draw a few other organs if these three go well enough.

If you go to the books page on this site, you will see that I have updated it to include this newest project--well, new-ish project anyway. In reality, it has been in the works for a while, but it is coming together now because I feel like it is extremely relevant, as I might have mentioned in my last post.

Now that I am repeating myself, it is probably a sign that I should let you go. I will try to get another one in this weekend, since unfortunately, this is to make up for not writing a post last weekend.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay healthy!