Passion

Passion. You have to have passion for what you do. When you create something from thin air, which is what I do as a writer, you have to be able to have passion for what you create. If you cannot muster up the passion to create, why do it?

A wonderful opportunity arose a little over a year ago thanks to this blog of mine. A much larger website came across my work and asked me if I wanted to contribute. I agreed and had one hell of a time working for them.

But again, passion. Nearing the end of my time there, I just didn’t have the passion. Sure, doors were opening for me that weren’t there before but was that opportunity worth it if my heart wasn’t in the work?

The answer is no. I couldn’t go on. Despite everything that site offered me, I just couldn’t find the passion I needed to continue. So, I’m back here.

“But you’ve said this before Tim,” you might be saying. And you’d be right. But this time is different. Plans are in place. Nothing I can get into too much detail about now but stuff that is exciting as hell. And most important of all, the passion is back baby!

For the website I contributed to, I leave with a wealth of knowledge that I simply did not have for which I have to thank them. They need people that are going to be able to devote the time needed to make that site great. That person is not me simply because I lost the passion to write for them. If the passion is not there, I am not helping them make their site successful.

I also feel it’s important, especially in creative endeavors, to be in control of your own destiny as much as you can. I have recently finished work on the first draft of my second novel. There are other plans for creative endeavors that are just thrilling to think about but again, I’ll leave that for future posts.

For now, it’s time to dust this old blog off and get it purring again. When I started it and reviewed a comic book a day, it got my creative juices working in a way I never thought it would. If I am going to call myself a writer, it will be on my own terms from now on. The passion is back. May God have mercy on us all.

 

Jitters

(Here’s a story I wrote close to twenty years ago now that seems oddly relevant today. Enjoy.)

Jitters by Tim Jousma

 It was as if the crowded room suddenly became still. Joe Dekker sat at the table in the coffee shop and stared across the restaurant at the woman who just walked inside; the woman he’d been pining for. Laura Knight had been the subject of his desires going on almost three months now. Bordering on obsession, he could think of nothing but Laura and how things would be if he could actually take her out on a date. His friend Robert came back to the table with their coffee’s and stared where Joe was looking. He shook his head.

 “I should have figured she walked in the room with that blank stare on your face.”

 Joe blushed. “What?”

 “Dude, you have the hots for that chick. It’s no big secret. Why don’t you just get it over with and ask her out?”

 Joe shrugged. “You say that like it’s something easy to do.”

 “Yeah it is actually. You just go up and ask her out. What’s the worse that’ll happen?”

 “She could laugh. She could slap me. She could get her boyfriend who is an amateur body builder to kick my ass.”

 Robert stared at Joe. “Seriously man? Worst thing that’ll happen is she says, drumroll please, no.”

 “You don’t know that.”

 “Why would she do what you suggest? From what you’ve told me she’s been nothing but nice to you. If she is not interested in going out with you, she’ll be nice about the rejection.”

 “But you don’t know that.”

 “Oh shut your bitch mouth, reassert your testicles, and go ask her out.”

 “Fuck you.”

 Robert rose from his chair, walked over to Joe, and forced him to stand. He shoved Joe in Laura’s direction. Joe turned, gave Robert the finger, yet continued on.

 His mind raced. All those questions that filled his mind at times like this flooded his brain like a lake after a dam burst. He had to be calm asking her out. First thing he needed to do was calm his shaking hands. Joe took a deep breath and put his hands in his pocket. He had to figure out what he would say to her when he was within talking distance. ‘Hi’ would work but that wouldn’t get him very far. What else could he say to her before asking her out?

 The sound of the door chime got his attention. A man walked in, gazed around the coffee shop, spotted the person he was looking for, and walked over to them. To Joe’s horror, the person this insanely good looking man was interested in seeing…was Laura. Joe turned tail and headed back to his table and sat back in his seat, defeated. Robert laughed.

 “Down for the count, huh?” he asked.

 Joe finished his coffee, rose, and walked out without replying.

**********

 Joe couldn’t pinpoint what moment in his life that made him scared to approach women. Sure, being introverted didn’t help but that didn’t necessarily mean it would prevent him from asking women out. Maybe it had to do with his first love all the way back in the fifth grade.

 Melinda Gomez. An angel that dropped from the sky and shared the same fourth grade class as his sister. She was the first girl he ever spoke with voluntarily. They’d spend their recess sitting by the slide or the merry go round and just talk. Joe never imagined he’d be able to do that with a girl. It wasn’t too long ago that girls were nothing more than humans with longer hair. Melinda was the first girl to actually make him understand that women had more to offer than just existing. Melinda was his first crush.

 But as elementary school love went, it didn’t last. It ended in suddenly. At an assembly one day, Melinda and her younger sister stood up in front of everyone and told the school that today was their last day because their parents were moving to Papa New Guinea to become missionaries. What selfish jerks, Joe thought to himself. He went home that day, which just had to be Valentine’s Day, and cried his eyes out.

 Ever since that traumatic experience, he’d been unable to get close to a woman. For whatever reason, he could never be comfortable enough around a woman in order to close the deal. Not that he couldn’t deal with women in general; he’d been able to work with many women just fine in professional and school situations. He just couldn’t get the chutzpah in order to ask a woman out on a date.

 He met Laura at work. She worked in the computer department which brought her to his area of the store many times during the day. She broke the ice the first day on the job, commenting on his Doctor Who keychain. Joe hadn’t met many women who knew what Doctor Who even was much less having any sort of opinion one way or the other about the show. They spent many hours during lunch discussing the latest episodes. They’d even exchanged phone numbers and hung out with each other outside of work. But when it came to actually discussing with her his feelings, he couldn’t speak one word.

 He had to sort things out. It was time to pay a visit to his best friend. If anyone could give him some advice on how to ask Laura out, it would be Peter.

**********

 “So you’ve finally found someone you want to get the courage to ask out and you’ve come to me? I feel so honored,” Peter Vogler said as he finished rinsing off a plate and putting it into his dishwasher.

 “Wow. What a way to be sympathetic,” Joe replied, handing him a dirty coffee cup. “Dick.”

 Joe and Peter laughed. “So why haven’t you asked her out?”

 “I tried earlier today at the coffee shop. I headed in her direction and the moment this guy walked into the shop and started talking with her, I bailed.”

 “She has a boyfriend then?”

 “I don’t know.”

 Joe finished rinsing the coffee cup and put it in the dishwasher. “Then why the hell didn’t you talk to her and ask her out?”

 “She ended up talking to that guy.”

 “But you don’t know if that’s her boyfriend.”

 “So? Looks like it’s full. I’ll grab the soap.”

 Joe knelt down and grabbed the soap from Peter’s cupboard and filled up the soap dispenser in Peter’s dishwasher. “Why would I try and ask her out if her man is there? He’d kick my ass.”

 “He may laugh at you sure but unless you’re trying to break the damn law, if that is his woman, he won’t touch you.”

 “How can you be sure?”

 “Simple. Not many people want to go to jail for assault. Starting fights with anyone who glares at your woman will land you there.”

 Joe followed Peter to his living room and sat on the floor while Peter started up a video game for them to play. “Ok. So he wouldn’t kick my ass. But it still would have been bad form for me to ask her out.”

 “Fine. Let’s go with your assertion that that particular moment was a bad time to ask her out. When is the next time you see her?”

 “At work. Why?”

 “Ask her then,” Peter said, handing Joe a controller.

 “But if she says no then, I’ve made working with her quite an uncomfortable affair.”

 “Then you need to find the perfect time man. Fact is, if what you’re saying is true she’s a cool lady and as long as you don’t come across all psycho crazy on her, at the very least she’ll be cool about saying no and will still be your friend. Do you think you can handle that?”

 Joe thought about it for a moment. “I get what you’re saying. I just get too nervous and realize that…”

 “It can come across like you are a creepy bastard, I get it. Again, she’s comfortable talking with you. Take advantage of that. Now get ready for me to kick your ass. My team is one win away from getting into the playoffs and I need to stomp on your pathetic ass.”

**********

 His mind was his own worst enemy. Joe lay in bed that night going over again and again what would potentially happen if he dared asked Laura out. The ‘What If’s’ were visiting him. The ‘What If’s’ were scenarios that ran through his head whenever he thought of asking a girl out that usually went over the very worst case scenarios that could potentially happen.

 He imagined Laura was taking a break outside work talking to a friend. He imagined himself taking a deep breath, wiping the sweat off his hands, and approaching her.

 “Laura, hi,” he would say.

 Laura would acknowledge him without speaking, dismissing her friend. Joe stood for a moment before going on.

 “How you doing today?”

 “Fine,” she would say, her face not giving Joe an idea of what she was thinking.

 Joe would take a deep breath before going on. “Uh, yeah. I was wondering if, um, you wanted to go to a movie or something?”

 Laura would smile. What started off as a sweet smile turned into a vicious sneer.

 “Why in the hell would I want to associate myself with someone as disgusting as you?” she would say, at which point she would take out a can of mace and spray him in the eyes.

 Joe shook his head, clearing the image from his head. Why the hell would she do something like that? he asked himself. Peter was right. She wouldn’t do something like that to him. Why did he keep telling himself that something negative would happen? Before he could knock some sanity into his head, another ‘What If’ scenario popped arrived.

 Joe had his cell phone in his hand during this little delusion. He called Laura, each ring making his nervousness intensify. She finally answered.

 “Hello?”

 “Laura, it’s Joe. How goes it?”

 “Fine. Why are you calling?”

 Joe paused, taking a breath. “I was wondering, uh, if you’d like to go out to dinner sometime?”

 There was silence. Just as Joe was about to ask if Laura was still there, she replied.

 “Joe, I’ll say this once. Never call me again.”

 What kind of nonsense is that now? Joe asked himself, taking a deep breath after that scenario stopped. How much worse can these get?

 As if on cue…

 Joe saw himself approaching Laura outside work again. Just as he came within arm’s distance of her, she caught sight of him, pulled out a gun, and shot him in the face. With that, Joe rose from bed and headed into the kitchen to get something to drink. Whatever his mind was trying to do to convince him he shouldn’t ask Laura out, he had to prove the fucker wrong just so these stupid ‘What If’s’ would stop.

**********

 This was it. Today was going to be the day. If he couldn’t ask Laura out on a simple date today, he’d never be able to do it. Not with her or any other woman. If he failed, his life would be destined to involve tons of lotion and internet porn.

 The season finale to Doctor Who would be on tonight. They’d always called each other after each episode to talk about the latest developments and where the storyline for the season would lead the Doctor to next. Joe figured that if he got her riffing on a topic that interested her, if he tossed in the question of asking her out at some point, she wouldn’t be inclined to be negative in her refusal to date him.

 He kept glancing at his watch as the episode went on. While he was engrossed with the story, the fact that something so earth shatteringly important as asking Laura out was getting closer weighed on his mind like a Volkswagen Beetle filled to capacity with overweight clowns. He knew he’d have to have something to talk to her about though so he tried his best to remember the main points of the show. Anything he missed he’d pick up later when watched the episode again. 

 Once the show ended, he took a deep breath and called her. She answered on the second ring. They discussed the episode. Before he knew it, Joe looked at his watch and noticed that twenty minutes had passed. Time had a habit of flying by any time he talked with her.

 As they exhausted all topics relating to the show, Joe knew now was the time to ask her out. He took a deep breath. Before he had a chance to go through his prepared comments, Laura interrupted him.

 “I saw you at the coffee shop the other day. I was about to go say hi to you but you left real fast. What happened?”

 Joe squirmed in his chair. “Oh, yeah. I thought I saw you there. I was just in a hurry you know. Had things to do. I, uh, also saw you were with someone so I didn’t want to bother you.” Great, he thought. A totally smooth way to bring up the fuck face she was with and find out his identity.

 “My brother? He just got into town. He’s visiting the family for spring break. I would have loved for you to stop over to talk cause while I love him to death, he’s about as exciting to talk to as a rock.”

 Joe couldn’t believe it. The fuck face was her brother. She was with her brother. She had no boyfriend. His very own gospel choir broke out into song in his head celebrating the good news.

 “Well, speaking of being out, I was wondering if you wanted to head to a movie or something at some point. You know…on a date.”

 Oh God, Joe thought. What a douchey thing to say. Did the ghost of John Hughes force him to say something like that? He could almost picture her laughing now.

 “It’s about time you asked me out. I was wondering if you ever would.”

 She said yes. Joe couldn’t believe it. A woman finally agreed to go out on a date with him. He did it. He conquered his fears. And he also would be collecting twenty bucks from Robert for getting a date before the age of twenty three. Now that he had the date though, he had something else he would have to worry about.

 What would he say and do on the date?

The End

And there came a day, unlike any other…

Avengers

I’ve had a blog of some sort for close to a decade now. The great thing about the internet is that the average joe has a vessel to discuss anything that comes to their mind. Absolutely anything.

Now sometimes that can produce hilarious results, whether intentional or not. What it can also do is present results that make people angry. Take politics, one passion of mine. This subject has the ability to make someone angry over any issue under the political realm. What may be no big deal to me is passion point number one for someone else. For a while I had tried to write about my thoughts on politics, sometimes with decent results, sometimes not so much. The more I would write however the more I became disillusioned about how politics is treated in general. Not that political topics should not be discussed but too often, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t done this, people base their opinions on emotion and if you challenge them, too often than not you’d find yourself being barraged with links to websites that are the furthest from reputable that support their opinion.

We have a wonderful tool with the internet that allows us access to more actual knowledge than at any other time in history. More and more though people are getting the facts from sites that are not so focused on giving actual facts but manufactured facts that supported one side or anything. Facts have become this nebulous piece of goo that can be shaped into whatever the people manufacturing them want. To get to the bottom of what is fact or fiction takes a lot of work but even then people won’t listen. You have this atmosphere, whether on the left or the right, where facts are not believed because we have been conditioned to believe that some sources of facts support one side and some sources support the other. Us verses them. You have sites like The Huffington Post which go out of their way to demonize conservative news organizations and accuse them of indoctrinating their audience into believing nonsense…all the while doing the same with their audience.

I frankly have had enough. That’s not to say I have suddenly become neutral or anything because if you check out my Twitter page (@timjousma) you will see that is not the case. What I am done with is beating my head against the wall writing about topics that one, people may just dismiss out of hand simply because it disagrees with the “facts” they believe and two, writing topics for people who already believe what I believe and just simply go “Meh”.

So why I am I writing this? Well I do love to write. To be good at writing you have to do it everyday which, thanks to trying to focus on a topic that was depressing me I was simply not doing. So I have decided to change my focus to something that I think more people may enjoy.

Comic Books!

I have been a fan of comics since I was a kid watching the Super-Friends and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends on Saturday Morning Television. Then of course Batman came in 1989 and despite loathing Tim Burton movies, I fell in love even more. Technology caught up with comics and since the late 1990’s we’ve had more amazing comic book movies than I ever thought we would see on screen.

My main focus is going to be Marvel Comics. Not that I dislike other companies and characters or anything but simply because I am a subscriber to the amazing service that Marvel offers called Marvel Unlimited where for a monthly or yearly subscription price you get access to over 13,000 comics, including everything Star Wars related.

I will read a comic a day. If I read a graphic novel I will make that a focus of a monthly piece. I will judge the comic not only on the story but the art of the piece. Ultimately I hope to either recommend or keep you away from stories that will keep you entertained.

There is more to life than politics. Politics will not go anywhere. People with far more patience than myself will pontificate about it. In the mean time I will be enjoying my time with heroes like Spider-man, Iron Man, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, and others.

Excelsior!