The Art of The Hustle

Today’s culture is saturated with articles, clever memes, and podcasts that idolize terms like “grind” and “hustle.”

Personally, I believe that assuming the responsibility to work hard for your dreams is one of the key elements of success, but at the same time, it’s equally important that we understand how to work, why we are doing the work, and what price we’re paying for the time and energy we invest in the work we do.

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To All The Books I’ll Never Read

In my younger, more vulnerable years, I used to keep a list of all the books I read. I took pride in this, took pride in counting how many books I read in any given year.

I was one of the few who liked to read. It was a secret pleasure of mine, but as soon as I hit the thousand books milestone, it’s lost its charm to me forever.

Maybe I’ve read twice as many books so far, maybe I’m not that good at counting anymore.

In any case, there are billions of words I’ll never get to read. Millions of books, stories, poems, plays, and essays that I’ll never even know about.

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[short story] basorexia

All he was aware of was her. He was aware of her face, of the dress she wore, the distance between them. In this gap, in all the words that he had yet to say to her, was the promise of a great life. His heart was beating slowly but hard. He had never felt so sure of himself, so bewildered by the ease of what he was about to do.

A friend once asked him, “How does she make you feel?”

“She reminds me of winter,” he said.

“You hate winter. You hate the cold,” this friend replied.

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[short story] hiraeth

There’s this mostly unknown writer who is found in a cafe with a former lover of his. From the way he talks, he seems to be made of words and sadness and little else. A suffering face, clothes a bit out of style. Legs crossed. He listens to her talk about what was what while she was no longer his.

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Instead of Killing Myself, I Wrote a Story

The very surreal feeling of wanting to end your life, especially in the loud chaos of a bustling city — a city with people and lights and billboards and cars chasing one another all day and night, headed for nowhere in particular.

The burning sensation that crawls up and down your skin as you contemplate not having to hold the world on your shoulders anymore.

The chaos, the commotion, all these perfect strangers. Motion, commotion. Emotion.

I wanted to kill myself, but instead, I sat down to write:

I keep a small revolver tucked under my pillow. Every morning, I wake up and grab the little device and turn it on all sides. I inspect it as if its power of destruction could be easily comprehended.

Sometimes I press the barrel to my right temple. My index finger curled around the trigger, I close my eyes and count to ten. Of course, the gun’s never loaded.

Nevertheless, it makes you think.

You see, this is the only power we have. True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.

Sunlight slipping through the heavy curtains, casting red dots on the walls, I can feel my blood boiling inside my body. My heart beats like a fist inside my chest; the metallic coolness of the gun infects my skin.

Loaded or not, it doesn’t matter.

I’m ready to pull the trigger. I want to see God and ask Him a million questions. I press the gun to my chest and take a deep breath. “This is not my life.”

We all die and there’s nothing terrifying or great about it.

“This isn’t a life worth living.”

The gun pressed hard against my chest, right where the heart should be, I pull the trigger. That’s when I can open my eyes. That’s when I can smile. When I can feel alive just because I could’ve and yet I didn’t.

Every morning I wake up and die.

“True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.”

My character’s name was Paul. A painter. An artist. The burden of his own creative genius, the pain of ideas and dreams and hopes turning to rust and stardust.

That’s why I called this story, Dream City. We often forget that nightmares are dreams too.

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