Quick post: the site for Quarter Life Crisis is up at GetOverCollege.com
Got the book cover, promo video, a synopsis and a sample of the first 50 pages for you all to check out.
Let me know what you think by commenting here or over on the site. Hope you enjoy, and pick up Quarter Life Crisis: A Novel on August 5th.
First off, if you share a single thing on social media today…it probably won’t be this because there are a lot more important things out there.
BUT, if you share MORE than one thing today, please make the video above be one of them. For the sake of humanity and my career (because I like to think those are one and the same) SHARE…
I like to think of each movie that comes out on Fridays as its own living thing, a unique entity, a figurative human being trying to function within the society that is Hollywood and modern film in general. And in that view, there are all types of movies/people out there.
You’ve got the guy who’s really good for nothing and yet thinks he’s amazing at everything. Pretty much every M. Night…
When I was in grad school working on the thesis/novel that would eventually turn into Quarter Life Crisis (out August 5th), there were a lot of books I read that I knew right off the bat would be beneficial for me and the writing endeavor that was QLC.
Books are each their own little muses, and whatever I’m reading while I’m writing is guaranteed to influence that text. So I had a list, and on…
I grew up around all types of fictionalized gangsters.
From 90′s hip-hop to Hollywood versions of true stories like Goodfellas and Casino, I spent a lot of time viewing the faces and listening to the voices that represented the underbelly of society, and I gotta admit: I loved that shit. Goodfellas is still one of my favorite movies to this day, and there’s nothing in today’s version of hip-hop…
I’ve been a prolific reader ever since I was a nerdy little kid with huge glasses and buck teeth sitting in a corner during playtime with the newest Goosebumps novel shoved in my face (add contacts, braces, and twenty years and you get…a thirty-year old nerd with straight teeth and itchy eyes. Voila!)
Ever since I decided to make a career out of writing, I’ve programmed myself to read even more…
I recently watched About Time (with Rachel McAdams and one of the guys from Harry Potter 29, or whichever number the last one was) in theaters.
Got in my car, drove to the mall on a Sunday night, bought my ticket, bought my small popcorn (light butter) and small Diet Coke, walked into the theater, sat about four rows back so the screen filled my vision, then spent the next 123 minutes thoroughly enjoying a decent blend of drama/dry-British-comedy/idealized-romantic-comedy while subsequently spilling popcorn all over the place every time I laughed (my apologies to the dude who had to clean that shit up).
Later that week, I told a coworker who asked about the last movie I’d seen, and when I was done they looked at me like I was drooling on myself.
"You go to the movies alone?” she asked.
You’d have thought I just told her I had terminal cancer. On my penis.
It’s not the first time I’ve received that reaction. Almost every time I tell somebody about my various movie dates with myself, I get that squinty, head-to-the-side, taking-a-step-back look, like I’m a pariah, a leper, unfit for society, a guy who shits on himself in public (except for my long term friends who know me and are more surprised when I tell them I actually went to the movies with somebody).
I’m not exaggerating this point either: it happens every single time I tell somebody new.
It’s even caused problems in past romantic relationships. I can’t count how many times I’ve gone to watch a movie and received that call from whoever the current girlfriend is, a call that always starts out pleasant until she asks me what I’ve been doing for the past couple of hours and I tell her:
"Went to the movies. I saw [insert pretty much any major film from the past ten years, honestly; good, bad, whatever, I go to the movies a lot]. You should/shouldn’t watch it."
At which point I get one of two responses:
- "Who the fuck were you at the movies with and how long have you been fucking her?" (or something along those lines); or
- "What’s wrong with you? Did I do something?"
The first response is way too hostile for my taste, and usually takes multiple reassurances from me that I am, in fact, by my goddamn self (and not having sexual relations with anybody else) before the soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend finally calms down, at which point I turn it around and get overly pissed at her for getting mad at me in the first place (I feel like this blog is slowly illuminating all the reasons why I’m single right now).
The second response is less hostile but more insecure, and always just makes me laugh.
Because, I mean, really…What’s wrong with me?
Did you do something to make me want to watch a movie?
When did solitary-movie-viewing become indicative of mental distress?
When did movie viewing in general become this assumed group activity?
Why do I always get that same look from the girl at the concession stand when I walk up and place my Regal Crown Card and debit card on the counter and ask for my popcorn and soda?
Or the guy taking my ticket on the way in, giving me that head to toe corner-of-the-eye surveillance, what’s the deal with that?
Better yet, why do people always have to be around other people? (this last question’s got way deeper philosophical connotations than I care to tackle in this post, so I’m going to leave it alone).
The fact of the matter is that I am a writer, as I’ve thoroughly established by annoyingly proclaiming it to everybody I come in contact with.
This is my career choice.
Sure, I’m also a teacher, and a bartender, and a…uh…video game enthusiast, and a son and brother and friend and occasional lover, but my career and true passion is in writing. It’s my constant pursuit, the thing I’m always trying to become better at and prosper from. And in that improvement-seeking, I’m constantly following the rules/advice my former college writing professors ingrained in my head from my junior year through a sort of literary boot camp, advice headlined by the order to consume as much literature as possible while I’m on this earth.
That said, the question at hand: “Why do you like going to the movies alone, Patrick?”
Because I fucking like watching movies alone.
Because, for me, movies are visual literature. And last time I checked, I don’t need somebody sitting next to me staring at my book while I’m reading it (that would actually annoy the shit out of me and possibly invite some sort of physical retaliation. Back up, son. Personal space).
This isn’t to say that I don’t like going to the movies with other people though. I’m just saying they’re two completely different types of experiences, watching with and watching without, and I prefer the latter.
But even though I have my own justification for it, the idea that it is an issue for some people still irks me
Because—and this is in spite of my constant bitching and moaning; it is the ultimate truth, I swear—I actually love people and would like to see them happy. And most people have absolutely no idea what they’re missing out on.
For a film lover, viewing a movie by yourself is the equivalent of getting an hour long deep tissue massage. Because in both there’s nothing but total immersion in the event. No distractions, nobody putting their own slant on things, no outside forces skewing your experience in favor of another experience, no.
There is just you, and that movie; you, and that massage.
You, and yourself.
Which is the part—now that I think about it—that probably scares the shit out of people. People just don’t like hanging out with themselves nowadays. Which is a problem. Because yourself is probably the only person on this planet that you really and truly know, deep down. You should be embracing that mofo, or he/she’s gonna get lonely. And that’s when the real shit hits the fan.
And it doesn’t come down to courage, or confidence, or an ability to block other people out. It’s not about having tunnel vision or being in your head too much. What it comes down to is a true desire for happiness. For contentment.
A true desire to experience life.
There are many different ways to live in a moment.
One of mine is represented by that popcorn, that soda, and that middle-seat in the fourth row.
Whether yours is a hot dog or Skittles, front row far left or back row off-center, romantic-drama or action-comedy, you should try it some time.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I have another blog at PatrickAndersonJr.com
I’m paying for it, so I’m gonna go ahead and post there instead.
Make sure you guys check it out.
So, I attended my best friend’s bachelor party this weekend (the above picture was of the beginning of the night, and with his best interests in mind I’ll leave the description at that). The next day I stood next to him at his sister’s birthday party while various of his sister’s couple friends approached and congratulated him on his impending nuptials, and I was proud of him.
Rehearsal/rehearsal dinner’s Wednesday, pick up the tux Thursday, wedding ceremony/reception/typical-wedding-style-debauchery to commence Friday night.
And within all the commotion, I find myself in this odd, slightly embarrassing predicament (which I will describe in detail because embarrassing myself seems to be something I’m good at).
On the one hand, I’m happy as shit for the man. Ecstatic even. I’ve known him for over a decade now, and his fiancee’s an amazing woman (who I’ve actually known longer than I’ve known him, since the 4th grade). I’ve also been cool with him long enough to know he’s done his dirt (again, leaving the description at that) and should therefore have no regrets about turning in his player card, hanging up the pimp coat, tossing the keys to the sports car and diving into the minivan, handcuffing his balls to…ok, I’m done. Plus they’ve been together for nine years now. It’s about that time.
On the other hand, it’s starting to seem like all my friends are dropping like adolescent testicles, and now I’m about to lose my #1 wingman to this thing called life.
How does one proceed?
Better yet…why exactly is it even an issue?
It’s not like I won’t see them anymore (I’m pretty much a permanent fixture at their house, our mutual love of sports bringing me to their couch at least three times a week) and, as I mentioned, they’ve been together forever, so this is pretty much just a formality.
But regardless (and I’m totally aware of how self-absorbed this is going to sound, but this is also my blog so I don’t give a shit) this next step in their relationship is going to have an effect on me, if it’s even just mental. Because when I met my friend, he was the last guy I thought would ever settle down. And now it turns out I’m the last one standing. At the altar. Again. Not as the groom.
Last laugh my ass.
Which brings us back, once again, to the age old dilemma of being the only one of your friends still single, feeling the pressure on all sides from various people in your life to settle down.
It all came to the forefront of my mind as I was trying to write the speech I’m giving at their reception (because it’s their wedding and I’m a groomsman and they’re two of my closest friends, and it’s also just the type of thing I do when there’s alcohol involved, [which there will be, lots of it] and I’d like to be at least a little bit prepared so I’m not drunkenly ranting a bunch of incoherent bullshit into a microphone). But I keep scrapping drafts because, while it’s okay to be self-absorbed in a blog post, it’s generally looked down upon to talk about how the newlyweds recent union is affecting your life, especially at their own wedding.
I don’t know if this situation makes me a selfish person—and best believe the final draft of my speech is going to be properly newlywed-focused—but the fact that I’m even having this inner conflict says something in itself.
Because I’m jealous.
Of what they have. Of what they’ve had. The love, the ultimate friendship, the companionship and future together. They’re two of the greatest people I know and they managed to find each other and it’s amazing. Which is why I feel like such a prick, because I’m 100% jellllll-ussssss.
It’s one of those developments you don’t notice until you consciously think about it, but once noticed sticks to your mind like shit to a wall (and I, along with all my friends and family, have already come to terms with the fact that I’m obsessive in my thought processes).
But it’s like, seriously, bruh…how can you be jealous of your friends?
I mean, they’re your friends.
And sure, in this case, the jealousy is tempered by the fact that they are my friends, and I’m therefore not hateful towards their happiness. Also, there’s other influences that keep this jealousy out of the realm of “a problem”. Because the fact is that I’m content with my life the way it’s been up until now.
As I wrote in my last post, I’ve done a lot in my almost-30 years, and I wouldn’t give those experiences back for anything, even though in the process of acquiring those experiences I’ve sacrificed potential relationships, both romantic and platonic. Yes, there have been times I’ve looked back on those situations with a measure of “what-if”, solemnly staring into a cold cup of coffee or whatever other depressing ass visual you want to associate with it. But still, I have no desire to change my life.
I love the soon-to-be-2014 version of Patrick Anderson.
Which puts a filter on this jealousy, of course. Dulls it a little. Turns it into a kind of…pleasant envy—if that’s something you can wrap your head around without yelling “bullshit”—as opposed to a hostile envy, which would result in a desire to sabotage all my friends’ relationships. Which is the last thing I want and something I’d fight anybody else for trying to do (seriously, don’t fuck with my family or friends; the machete-wielding Jamaican in me will come out real quick).
Pleasant envy’s characterized by a warm, fuzzy feeling when you see/think about your friends fully in love and taking that next big step, followed by a quick burst of longing for what they’ve got, immediately followed by guilt and/or self-loathing, depending on the day and time (once again, Mondays, you don’t fare so well). It all lasts maybe five minutes total, but in those five minutes I run the gamut of emotional possibilities for this situation, and then I go find something else to do that changes the subject in my head (Madden usually does the trick). It’s not a constant thing, but it is there, demanding to be dealt with.
So, while I know this is just me now—my current mentality borne from past circumstances—and while I also know that the vast majority of my sentiments are dedicated to being happy for all my friends currently in functional, prosperous relationships, I’m also the type of person who’s constantly trying to improve himself, physically and mentally.
And this shit? This shit is a flaw. Believe that.
Anybody else feeling the same pleasant-envy of their friends’ romantic success that I’m currently experiencing should know that too: we are fundamentally flawed for it.
But recognition’s half the battle in issues of life and love, right? And if you can hone in on these flaws, identify the culprits and consciously make an effort to amend them (as I’m doing by writing this and putting myself out there to undoubtedly be made fun of by the same friends I’m writing about…fml) you’ll be actively making yourself a better person than you were yesterday.
Which is all I can really hope for. Because that guy Yesterday?
Kind of a douche.
I’ve been around the block a couple of times. Mostly clean blocks (I hope), but a couple of questionable ones too.
Yes, that’s a sexual innuendo. No, I’m not bragging.
I’ve scared the shit out of myself with a few of these encounters, and written about a couple of the crazier instances in an attempt to figure out what the fuck just happened to me and why I feel so dirty all of a sudden (writing as therapy…like that’s never been done before…).
It’s not like it’s something unusual either. My friends don’t think it’s weird. I mean, we all went to the same college these people currently attend:
Not the most inhibited group (side note: I ever have a daughter she’s not even allowed to drive by Tallahassee).
Which has probably got something to do not only with why I’m currently single, but also with the length of time I’ve been single (long time) and, conversely, the length of most of my quasi-relationships over the past decade or so (short time).
As a result, I find myself in the situation I’ve read about for most of my life, the embodiment of the character rehashed and pondered over so much throughout the history of literature that he/she’s become a cliche of a cliche: single professional turning 30 and feeling very much like they’re on a downhill trajectory and haven’t even started their real life yet.
Let’s get out the checklist and cross off the stats:
Single Turning 30(December 10th y’all) Gainfully Employed(for now) Living On Own Increased Suggestions from Friends and Family on who to date and/or Where to Find People to Date
And it’s funny to look at it from this perspective, to find myself in this situation right now, only because it really did sneak up on me, the way everybody said it would when I was 19 and in full-blown fuck-the-world mode.
I’ve done a lot and seen a lot over the past seven years, and done/seen it all in a few different locales.
Moved to Tallahassee for undergrad, Orlando for grad school, moved back to Miami then promptly moved to New York where I lived for a year and edited a real estate magazine before moving back to Miami again (what can I say? Can’t stay away from my hometown).
I’ve taught at two different colleges, gotten a bunch of my writing published, drank a lot of alcohol and consumed a lot of…uh…other questionable substances.
I’ve seen people get hit by cars and written about it, lived above a crackhead who asked me for money every day without fail (even though I never gave him a dime) and wrote about it, seen a homeless man shit in a plastic Wendy’s bag then wipe his ass with a paper Wendy’s bag on a crowded subway in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and wrote about it.
I’ve woken up on a bench in Lincoln Square, woken up on an empty subway in Queens an hour before I had to be at work in Times Square, woken up at countless strangers’ houses with all manner of missing clothing articles (can’t tell how many socks I’ve lost because of that shit) and wrote about it all.
And even while I was hating myself and others for putting me in these situations (mostly myself, I’m not that narrow-minded), I loved the experience. Loved the stories, loved the lessons learned (and not learned…I’m stupid sometimes), loved the interaction with society.
So now, on the verge of 30 and feeling the pressure from friends and family to start my “real” life, I’m getting the uncontrollable urge to yell “fuck that!” at the top of my lungs.
The most interesting thing about all of this though is that the future people are pushing me towards—the secure future—is something I actually want for myself. I imagine me at 40 and, yeah, I see the wife, the kid(s), the house and 401K and job with benefits and promotions and other married friends who come over for game night on Fridays.
All that corny shit. I get it. I totally do.
This isn’t the 21 year old Patrick that saw people living that lifestyle and wanted to puke all over their white-picket fences, kick their golden lab in the head and throw my vodka bottle through their fucking glass-block windows and venetian blinds.
I’m totally on board now, I promise.
I’m just not stressing it.
When it happens, it happens.
So, to all my on-the-verge-of-30 year olds out there who are feeling the pressure of their ovaries/testicles/families/friends/coworkers/hyperactive-imaginations/declining-ability-to-recover-from-nights-out-partying-with-other-single-people, keep doing whatever it is you’re doing (unless it’s illegal…getting too old for that shit, bruh), and be happy doing it.
Don’t feel bad about your current status. In fact, don’t feel bad about anything. At all. Ever.
Life is singular, yours to experience however you want to experience it. And in the long run, experience and memories are the only things we’ll have. And then we’re dead.
So, until you’re standing on that aisle saying “I do” to the person you plan on spending the rest of your life with (or the next couple of years, let’s be real), keep that middle finger raised. On one hand.
The other should be holding your drink of choice, while you experience the fuck out of life.