Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Liebster Award

I just found out my blog was nominated for a Liebster Award. I was nominated by fellow blogger and friend Lisa Edouard over at browneyedsista. Lisa is an excellent blogger and her content is relevant and entertaining. I would highly recommend that you go by and check out her blog!

I wasn't entirely familiar with the Liebster Awards, so I had to research. The first rule is that you must link back to the person who nominated you. The second rule is to answer all of the questions that were asked by the person who nominated you. The third rule is to find 5-11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers and come up with a list of 11 questions to ask them. The last rule is to make sure that your nominees know they are nominated and are aware of the rules also.

So without further ado these are the questions posed to me by Lisa! Thanks for the nomination Lisa!

1) If you could feature any one person on your blog who would it be?
I would feature Neil Gaiman the author I would feature him because he has such an imagination and I would really like to get to know him and his writing style better. I think he would be endlessly entertaining.
2) What’s your most prized possession?
I couldn't say. I don't hold a lot of value to material things. If I pick something it would probably be my book collection.
3) Cats or dogs?
This one is easy. Cats. My pet siamese cat named Skittles is the coolest cat and a close friend. He also doesn't need to constantly lick me or beg or be walked. 
4) What do you find challenging about blogging?
The most challenging aspect of blogging is finding the time to promote your blog endlessly. It is hard to connect with people organically and create an audience that loves your work.
5) If you could have any super power, what would you choose?
I would choose immortality. I know it would be sad after a while to lose people over and over but there is so much to do in life. I feel like one lifetime isn't enough to live.
6) What is your favorite child hood memory?
My favorite childhood memory would probably be building forts and clubhouses with my brother.
7) What’s keeps you blogging/ what motivates you to blog?
That is a tough question. I have the need to write. I express myself best through writing so that is the biggest motivator.
8) What’s your favorite dance move?
I don't know. I can dance to certain types of music but I don't know if I dance well at all to any genre of music. So maybe my favorite dance move would be the fist-pump or the drunk person dance move that keeps me up at night embarrassed and terrified.
9) Cake, cupcakes or ice-cream? Neither. I don't eat anything with sugar. I know it sounds weird but its true. I don't do sugar.
10) What has been your favorite place to travel to?
Los Angeles. I love the feeling of everything moving so fast, no one knowing who you are, all of the art, music and culture, perfect weather, and the ability to get lost if you wanted to.
11) What’s the story behind your blog title?
I couldn't figure out a name for my blog but my first blog post was titled playful paradox. I decided that the blog post title was a better name for the blog than a post title. It is a boring story. However, there is a blog with the same title except it is on wordpress and the blogger is a really cool guy. Great minds think alike.
Nominees! Once your post is up, tweet me @gabebar so I can check out your answers 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Growing up

This picture may not seem like much to most people, however, it reminds me of growing up in the dusty old town of Las Cruces, New Mexico. I was raised here and with my Hispanic family background images like these are something that I hold dear to my heart. I may not have the religious connection the photo that most other Hispanic people have, but when I visit this shrine that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Catholicism memories from very early ages come rushing back.

My family had the habit of getting together every weekend informally on Saturdays and formally on Sundays, so it turns out that I would see the majority of my very large family every weekend for at LEAST two days a week. What this did for my childhood was connect me to a large group of people that I was related to. We developed friendships, and forged bonds that would last a lifetime. These people are the people I would rely on as I got older and the people who are my closest link to my past. I have an undying love for these people and they are far too many to name. I am almost certain I would leave out quite a bit of those that are important to me and that would be unfair.

This image above represents the past and the present and is a direct depiction of my family life as it has progressed. The shrine which is hand-built was put together by my talented and artistic Grandfather Samuel Barrio. This man is responsible for a large number of my cousins being talented and artistic. My Grandfather on my Barrio side of my family was a man of few words, a man of many talents, an artist and a profound speaker. This was a man who was powerful and demanded respect, when he talked people became quiet and listened, when he offered help people gratefully accepted, when something needed to be done he quickly offered his labor. I am told of his generosity and his diligent work attitude. I am told that at the age of 14 he lied to an employer about being able to drive and taught himself how to drive so he could keep a delivery truck driver position. I am told that he also literally offered the shirt off of his back to a homeless and destitute young man with a lack of clothing. I am told that he worked as a house painter for many years to support his wife, and his 7 children. This was the man who not only worked diligently as a house painter but also worked on the side as an artist. My grandfather was a talented man who sought to bring beauty into this world that can so cruelly call you away. My grandfather inspired my cousin Angel to be an artist, my cousin Jonathan to be an artist, my brother Michael to be a writer, and of course he inspired me to create worlds with words. His medium of art was painting with acrylic and using gourds as sculpture. He was truly amazing and he was unfortunately taken from my family earlier than he should have been, his life was claimed by Leukemia. I have a lot of respect for this man and I seek to always represent the ideals that he held.

These images are of art and items that are old and fading. They have stood the test of time and have survived for decades. They always bring me back to when I was a child. There were many times when I was growing up when I saw these images, every time I see these pictures, these pieces of art I am transported to a simpler time, a time in which my family was my center, when I had peace and the future was uncertain. Now days life is complicated and I grasp onto artifacts that bring me comfort. I look to the past and bask in it, I experience the present and try to be present in it, and I look to the future and I have hope for it. This is my family, my life, my history, I love where I come from and I love who I am.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Who is listening?!

What do words mean when they are floating in an endless sea of information? Can one person really create change with their words? There are many questions I have from day to day about writing and how to be successful with writing. I write as much as I can these days and it feels like it is paying off, but at the same time I wonder who is listening.

The act of listening, does it apply to blogging? The people that follow a blog are as much listeners as they are readers. They are listening to the issues that the writer is facing. They are an extension of the support group that props up a writer. Every follow, every page view, every link that is followed means an enormous amount to the author but to the casual internet user these things mean nothing. It is so much easier to not click on a link, ignore a tweet, or Facebook post, or even just skim over a blog posting because there are many other things on the internet that are taking precedence. 

I wonder often who reads the words that I write and how much does it mean to the audience. Do I have to write something that is near and dear to the reader's heart or can I write something personal and important to me and still get an audience response. I can't tell you how exciting it is to get comments on a blog posting, or even how exciting it is to see how many people visited my blogs. I have a lot of respect for established authors, writers, journalists, and anyone else who puts their creative self out there for everyone to judge. The entertainment industry is a fickle one and it is very easy for someone to get lost in the blogosphere. 

I would have to say that someone out there is listening because I recently started writing for a new publication and the organization found me through my online social media presence. So it turns out that yes someone is reading my work and it is likely that someone out there reads and enjoys your work also. I believe that many bloggers feel there is a finish line in the writing world. That one day you will have reached the pinnacle of success and that is where you can enjoy your fame and fortune. Unfortunately this is untrue, it turns out that writing happens to be a full-time job and it requires talent as well as skill with marketing ones self.There isn't some magical place where a writer can stop working, there is actually just many levels at which a writer receives more notoriety and reward and with each new level the writer must work harder and become more proficient.

I am fortunate to have found my place in the world. I am a writer, a poet, a journalist. I put words together as an extension of my thoughts and being, these words are often judged for their value, and sometimes these words are just floating out in the endless realm of the internet waiting for life to be breathed into them by someone who reads them. I seek to connect with each and every person that reads my words and my hope is that they have value for both parties involved.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Changing Direction

It has come to my attention that with blogging there must be a clear and decisive direction. I have been writing literary prose pieces, short stories, and poetry on my blog since its inception. I am now realizing that most people don't want to read this type of material, but rather enjoy experiential pieces that talk about daily life. I will now be transitioning into a blog that speaks about my daily life. I want to capture my life in blog form so that people can understand me better, and so that I have an outlet and community to read about my life as it happens and changes in real time. I want to thank all of my readers and visitors from the past few years and I hope that I can continue to entertain and have your readership as my blog evolves.

Seeing as I have decided to start writing about life instead of writing fictional stories and prose pieces. I thought I would start with a small introduction to myself and go from there.

My name is Gabriel Barrio. I am a writer, a student, a poet, a performance artist and a person just working his way through life. There isn't much I can really say that will help you connect with me other than I am human, I cry, bleed, have emotions, make mistakes (lots of them), and work towards my dreams everyday.

I come from the Land of Enchantment, at least that is what the nickname for my state is. I was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM, USA. I love the state that I am from and I am proud of my heritage, which is a mixed up bunch of madness that I am still learning more about as I get older. I am of mixed races, or of mixed ethnic background. This is what my hometown looks like!

The sunsets are amazing here and so are the mountains. The city is just recently achieved the status of being a small metropolitan area. That means that the city has about 100,000 people in it and the county which it is in has around 214,000 people. This makes for a small town feel, where just about everyone knows everyone. There are things to do but very few, and you generally hear a lot of younger people say that they hate it here. The people here range from college age to retirement age, so finding a nightlife is not always an easy thing to do. Luckily there is a major metropolitan city just about 50 miles to the South, El Paso, Texas. Most Las Crucen folk travel to El Paso for the nightlife and the music.

This city is small and the businesses generally cater to the older retirement community, so the city tends to get pretty tame and quiet at around 9 p.m. There are many hardworking people in Las Cruces, especially since the city and state is filled with the working class. There is rampant poverty in the state and the city mimics this as well. If you can get over the slow pace of the city and the poverty, you will find a gem of a place to live and experience life. 

The people in Las Cruces are friendly and very down to earth. There is a million Mexican food restaurants here which is confusing since the population is predominantly Mexican-American. What this tells me is that everyone here hates their own cooking or that they are not talented enough to make what is known to be very simple cuisine. Las Cruces is a paradox, its slow paced but everyone here lives fast, the beauty is striking and original but not in the way you would expect beauty to present itself in other cities or states. I would say the age old cliche about how you either hate it here or you love it but I think there are quite a few people that have a mentality that resides in between the two.

I would say Las Cruces is an acquired taste. You have to appreciate cultural diversity because of the University which attracts students from a variety of different countries. You also have to appreciate the fact that the desert has its own appeal, perfectly warm summer nights, clear skies almost everyday of the year, and temperatures that allow for outdoor activity throughout most of the year. 

This is the city that I am from. I was born here and learned much about life from all of my family who lives here. I have traveled and visited many places but have found that this city has an appeal like no other so far. I don't say it is the best place on earth but it sure is my favorite place at the moment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Broken Angel

She fell furiously, tumbling through the heavens and then clouds, landing with a whimper that escaped her fragile body and thin lips. Her eyes darted around wildly looking for signs of comfort, something familiar. She was in a field of goldenrod yellow grass surrounding her on all sides. She looked up with fear and remorse, she looked down and let tears stream down her eyes. As far as her eyes could see, she was alone, fallen from the light and fallen from everything she had ever known to be true. Somehow she felt like this was somewhere she could learn to love, but she still felt that painful disconnect from comfort, standing broken before God and every creature to see.

She collected herself and started walking North, she could see a small house off in the distance and was eager to find somewhere safe. After quite some time walking through the thick fields of grass she arrived at the small house. It looked as if there wasn't anyone inside, no sign of movement, no sound, just her standing near the home peering in the windows, looking for someone. She decided to help herself inside the home and just hope that those who lived there would forgive her for entering. She found a window that was fairly loose and she tried to pull the window up so she could slide underneath. She wasn't able to slide the window much but she attempted to climb in through the partially opened window anyway. Her body was aching and trying to fit through a small space made her even more uncomfortable. The window creaked as she attempted to fit through it, finally the window gave way to her pressure and it broke. Glass pierced her side and she let out a small cry, blood slowly came from the open wound. Aching and bleeding with glass stuck in her side she moved through the home looking for a place to clean herself up. She found a small washroom and first used a towel to clean her side and remove the glass from her bloody body. After she removed the glass and cleaned up as much blood as she could she cleaned up the rest of her bruised body and attempted to stop the bleeding from her side. She wrapped her torso with some sheets she found in a closet and felt like she should bathe to wash the whole experience of the day off of her.

She turned the shower on, and stood under the water letting it cover her, she was tired and afraid, and she had no idea what else could possibly happen to her. She could still see blood soaking through the sheets that she wrapped her body in and she felt weak. She thought she would rest a while in the tub and let the water collect for a bath. She closed up the drain and lay on the tub floor dreaming of the day before.

A rusty yellow truck bounced down an old dirt road. It sputtered and screamed and made lots of noise that sounded like a machine falling apart. The man inside the truck could tell something was going on at his house even though he could barely see it down the road. He drove faster, hoping it wasn't drunk country kids breaking into his place again. He arrived at the foot the door turned the truck off and saw the window broken with blood just on the other side. He moved quickly inside taking no time to go through the door but rather stepping through the broken window and making his way towards whoever was inside. He pulled a pistol up from his hip holster and steadied it out in front of him, taking no chances. He found a trail of blood and recognized that whoever was inside his home was injured, he lowered his pistol slightly.

Inside the washroom he could hear the water running, he edged closer. He opened the door to find a beautiful creature on the floor of the tub. He admired her naked body, white skin glistening with water, she her soft features, her legs curled up towards her upper body, her face against the slant of the tub, eyes closed and her naked breasts exposed. He stood staring, observing, her wings curled up behind her, blood mixing with the water turning it a pinkish color. He knew this was wrong to watch her, but her beauty wouldn't let him turn away even if seeing an angel in this manner was something he shouldn't be doing. He stood and stared breaking every rule about the sexualization of angels, he knew, yet he just stared at her naked body, admiring it, feeling lucky that he was able to see this fallen, broken angel.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creating Controversy

I have reached a personal point of internal conflict about writing. I have come to the conclusion that the difficulty associated with writing something with substance versus writing something that is less meaningful is a constant struggle for developing writers. I have many friends who write about music, art, culture, film and other areas of entertainment but encounter lackluster attention when it comes to their blogs, their websites, their poetry, or even short fiction. I refuse to become a typical industry standard writer who slaves away for a publication but also has to sacrifice personal style and development. I wish only to write with passion and display my literary talent. Is that too much to ask? Or should I relent and become an abscess on the blogosphere's body. Should I start writing short posts about tabloid news items or maybe just spew out controversy for the sake of a high readership count?

Maybe I should possibly fall into the typical journalistic structure and write about violence, death and sex. If it bleeds it leads right?

Shall I follow the dark annals of human existence into the abyss and recreate art that everyone wants to consume obsessively until I am no longer an artist but a conduit in which recycled material is put forth for the masses to digest over and over again like filth eaten from a trough. Or shall I keep to my path, even though the path gets dark and dusty and more than lonesome at times, shall I keep my dignity in this world of reduced thinking capacity and write with words that inspire art, music and get the reader to feel life with renewed vigor.

I will keep to the path of dignity and write for those who love to read art as it develops on the page. I leave you my friends with some poetic words about this struggle.

In the midst of the night,
All light is absent,
At its darkest,
The night is coldest,
I feel my skin bubble with goosebumps,
And the chill reach my bones,
Icy breath fills my lungs,
And sight is completely removed,
A faithfulness is required without sight,
To live and survive through the perilous night,
I await that glorious moment of the sun's first rays,
Every moment in the night is a step towards the first moment of day.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Falling Away Into You

"Hold me closer." She said, words slipping out of her mouth, serpentine yet innocent. Words uttered out of fear.

His arms squeezed her closer, as close as he could possibly get himself to her without them merging into each other. His hands tightly gripping her, their bodies wrapped up in each other. He wanted to say something comforting, something that would assure her everything would be fine. This wasn't a moment for lies, and he knew, silence would be better even though there was no comfort in it. He just left his mouth shut, lips tight, with his face in her neck and hers in his.

It was a Tuesday and he knew the time had come to leave. He spent so much time traveling and this shouldn't be any different than any of his other excursions, but something got under his skin this time. He didn't plan on feeling something, feeling like this. His wife was waiting for him at home, and he knew he loved her but this was different. Was it something new perhaps, or something unfamiliar that made it difficult to turn away from this young nymphet? He couldn't be sure why he hated leaving this time. He knew he wasn't anxious to get home because that would be the banal existence of a domestic life, cutting the lawn, watching television, reading books in bed with the wife, he always missed her but never anything like what he was feeling now.

Monday-June 16th-The Day Before

He arrived at 6 a.m. the earliest flight he could catch left Chicago at 2:35 a.m. and even though he was a seasoned traveler he never enjoyed early flights. His wife thought it strange he would be taking a flight so early but brushed it off because she knew his work took so much of his day. He was eager to get to Portland though, and hid it with a restrained glee.

The plane landed on the tarmac and he exited breathing in Portland and the rain, and her. He walked out of the airport and anxiously waiting was his little nymphet, Naima. She hadn't noticed him yet, she was holding a gently used copy of Lolita by Nabokov, and he smiled. He walked cautiously with a nonchalance that would allow him to blend into the sea of travelers. He stopped just a few feet away from her and asked, "Do you happen to have the time ma'am?"

She looked up, eyes brightening and gasped,  "You are here early, Beckett I wasn't expecting you for at least another 20 minutes."

"The flight left on time, I was surprised too. I am just glad to be here with you. You wanna get out of here...like ASAP?!" He urged impatiently and wanting to get her home and be with her.

"Of course" She replied. She grabbed him by his hand and led him towards her car. They got onto the highway and made the best time anyone could possibly make during the early morning rush hour, arriving at her place with the rain dancing lightly around them as they walked up to her door. She pulled her keys from her bag and opened the door and soon as the door opened she felt him wrap his arms around her and waited for his lips to follow. They embraced in the doorway his hands on her waist and lips locked, her leg wrapped around his, and the world passed by right outside the door.

The door finally closed and their embraced deepened, with clothes being torn off, a sensual embrace that lasted for hours and moved from table, to love seat, to floor, never quite making it to her bedroom. They had been lovers for months now, every time Beckett visited it was like this, passionate and close. They stayed up for hours wrapped up in each other, physically, mentally, emotionally. They spent time talking about their lives and dreams together. The dreams that people make when they plan to live together forever, and Naima loved these dreams, these plans. They spent this Monday just like all of the other days, falling in love deeper, and making plans to see each other again. Naima always hated when he left and it made her terrified that she would never see him again. But she always waited.

She lay awake watching him breathe and how his chest rose and fell as he slept. She loved to watch him and be near him, staying awake so she could be aware of him. She adored these moments and felt alive when she knew he was hers. She was waiting for all of his promises to come true, so he could live with her, and how she wouldn't have to say goodbye to him ever again. She sighed and felt impatient but she knew he was a man of his word.

It was getting late and she felt sleepy but she wanted to stay up for just a few moments longer lingering around his naked body. She got up to get a drink and noticed his wallet had come out of his pants and it was open, she hadn't quite even noticed the large fold filled with crisp new hundred dollar bills and the shimmer of each of his credit cards, but what she did notice was the only thing she could see and she couldn't tear her eyes away from it. A single photo caught her eye and rightly so, some other woman was holding him close and two children who looked surprisingly like him were also in the photo. She couldn't help but let tears come streaming out of her eyes, clouding her vision, taking her eyes away from the photo. She knew now why he hadn't already left Chicago, it had nothing to do with work keeping him there, and everything to do with betrayal. She cried in silence and thought to herself as she lay back down next to him.

Tuesday-June 17th-The Day of Departure

She knew this time was different. Hours from now Beckett would get on a plane and leave back to Chicago, back to that woman. She felt it in her body, in her spirit, the same part of her that allowed herself to love him still, that part of her felt him separating. She knew that him saying that he wouldn't be back for quite some time meant he was moving on and calling their love affair off. She just knew that this time he was planning on saying goodbye for good. That feeling of eternity was fading fast and she knew there was only one thing for her to do.

"I really wish I could come back sooner Naima, but I have so much to take care of before I can move back here. You understand, don't you?" Beckett stated with a forced emotional expression in his demeanor and on his face. He knew this was it, and for some reason he felt a tinge of fear, a tinge of sadness. This wasn't like his other love affairs. He was tied to this young nymphet, she was something more to him but he couldn't uproot his life and live with her, she knew him but she couldn't replace his wife and kids. He just had to let this one go and feel the pains of heartbreak just the way he was feeling it now.

"I understand, I just don't want to have to wait, I don't want to be apart from you again." She said quietly, sadly.

She grabbed him by the hand and pulled him into her bedroom. She pushed him onto the bed, crawling over his body, kissing his lips and pulling him into her. She moved him around on the bed, changing positions, until he lay on top of her, hard body against her soft skin. She breathed in his scent again, one last time. As he was soaring in the moment, their usual moment of ecstasy she let her hand travel, slithering behind her pillow. She pulled her hand back blade in hand with just enough time to stab him in his heart as he noticed what she had in her grip. Shock and fear were in his eyes, blood filled them as he choked out half words, blood spilled onto her and she kept the blade in him as he said he loved her, and as his life faded away and his eyes turned a sea of red she pulled the knife out of him and plunged it into her heart as well. She felt the sharp blade cutting her heart tissue just like that photo ripped her heart the night before. And as the world was coming to an end she professed her love for Beckett also, and she felt peace in knowing there would never be another goodbye between them again. They faded away together. Black beauty.