December 16, 2020 6:58 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Where I stand, the world is quiet. Wind whispers through the ocotillos and the mesquite trees, its song through the thorns cooing the memories of love that hurts to remember and hurts to forget. There’s a ghost beside me, the absence of a soul to share these sights with.
October 23, 2020 9:02 pmPublished by John Montesi1 Comment
We yearn to show our true colors, to display our brightest greens and most vivid yellows, to gracefully grow through the seasons of life for the audience we treasure. Perhaps even to see ourselves become what we are destined to be, to feel pride at who we are.
September 18, 2020 9:24 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
And indeed, my flesh is increasingly made of the smoke that our society has created. It is not just routine incense of aspen and pine. It is acrid smoke, spreading across an entire continent, filled with bits of electrical wiring and industrial paint, finer and lighter than ever because the vegetation is so dry.
August 31, 2020 4:18 amPublished by John Montesi1 Comment
When I talk to friends, it is via a telephone screen, which physiologically contributes to headaches and psychologically contributes to isolation.
July 23, 2020 11:15 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Being an expert in solitude has its costs. You play the long game, accustomed to the sense that there is nothing rushing you to act. And then a forceful suitor swoops in, a lease runs out, bills come up due. Day turns to night, and so it does until another year has passed. The world waits for no one.
April 22, 2020 5:35 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Nostalgia is the truest form of grief. It washes over us with deceptive warm waves of comfort and familiarity, reaching out with open arms to welcome us to the throes of something that never was.
March 9, 2020 6:15 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
The near death experience may be the moment before the fall is halted by the ground, it may be the first tumble when everything is pain and ringing noises and a flash of white light. Or it may be what happens months, or even years, later. It has nothing to do with injuries or lightning strikes or natural gas leaks. The more comfortable we get and the further from our dreams we stray, the nearer to death we truly become.
February 24, 2020 7:06 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Oftentimes, the reality of life is difficult to believe. Not only is truth stranger than fiction, but there is a noteworthy disconnect between our expectations, our perceptions, and the unflinching march of time.
February 4, 2020 6:12 pmPublished by John Montesi2 Comments
The word ‘depressed’ is ridiculously complicated. Not that any word in any language means just one thing, but few words mean more things than depression. Everything from measurable chemical imbalances to tropical storm systems to underperforming stock markets can lead to depression.
January 31, 2020 8:29 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
For all the advancements our society has made, the world still rewards those who can separate their conscience from their actions. Close the deal, shoot the wounded, put profit before people. There is not a visible cosmic arbiter of justice and this means only that one’s ingrained sense of right and wrong is a hindrance in the earthly realm.
January 27, 2020 7:39 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Ultimately, we are confined to the languages we share with others. The spoken and written languages of the world. The things we trade in. The artistic media that leave everything open to interpretation yet create fleeting bits of solace and solidarity.
January 6, 2020 9:05 pmPublished by John Montesi3 Comments
Somewhere between January and December, between sunrise and sunset, life turns into a series of processes that can rob the days of their original potential. From the alarm clock to clocking in, the hours tick away marked by a ceaseless process that forces us into line.
April 29, 2019 2:00 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I often notice myself feeling leery of promise because it contains a tremendous amount of kinetic energy. It is why I like to be like a rolling stone, neither gathering moss nor bothered much by the rough and tumble of rolling downhill.
March 10, 2019 8:39 pmPublished by John Montesi1 Comment
Through the eroding power of time and numbing experiences, these days the inputs have to be somewhat stronger to come through. Connections corrode with time and rust is simply a protective shell for the fresh parts beneath it.
February 1, 2019 8:52 pmPublished by John Montesi2 Comments
Everyone is so afraid of sharing a spork and sleeping on the ground that they forget to be afraid of what happens when they think themselves above such things.
December 14, 2018 8:46 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Spending money you don’t really have on other people feels like a desperate post-capitalistic mating ritual. Spending money you don’t really have on yourself is a perfect reminder of the relative value of currency.
November 2, 2018 5:34 pmPublished by John Montesi2 Comments
Emptiness has a nearly universal negative connotation. It is forced to duke it out with its syntactical opposition ‘half full,’... View Article
February 11, 2018 12:34 pmPublished by John Montesi2 Comments
As time passes, I am stricken by many things: the urgency a brush with death places upon us. Our ability to normalize and gloss over such a traumatic experience in order to ‘move on.’ The way survival is so fickle and random that it can all feel very pointless or extraordinarily meaningful. The difference a day makes.
November 27, 2017 1:35 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I find beauty and hope in the individual and collective human ability to defy the odds. I am also radically overwhelmed by it. Isn't our existence a miracle that should be revered? Aren't we preposterously fleeting? Should we take things less seriously? Is it possible to take things seriously enough?
November 1, 2017 1:56 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
in this moment, I stood still and shivering and let reality wash over me and blow into my core. It is hysterical how little marketing influences you or how much some other human’s selfish decisions can affect your faith or resolve when you are standing with your toes in the Arctic Ocean.
October 24, 2017 11:50 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
If there is one quality that I’ve been told I possess which I’m finally starting to truly believe, it’s that I still get as excited as a child about lizards and automobiles and carnivorous plants and, as it turns out, muskoxen. I think this is my number one greatest survival skill, because it gives me the upper hand over any number of existential crises, chemical imbalances, and structural damages that may otherwise rob me of much desire to proceed.
October 11, 2017 2:58 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I stood there in a long sleeve T-shirt and blue jeans, exposed in all the most vulnerable ways to the elements, and felt a certain type of ridiculous freedom that men often chase their entire lives. One would never explicitly state that they aspire to something as trite as peeing atop Atiguin Pass, but that may be part of the problem.
September 26, 2017 12:20 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I snapped a few photos and then resumed staring at the otherworldly glow, pining after a sip or two of whiskey which was never offered and cursing the clouds that seemed to roll in right as the Lights intensified.
September 9, 2017 2:06 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
"On the road again, kissing toes and meeting the characters who make Dawson such a vibrant enclave, I was forced to acknowledge the joy which supersedes the easy checklist items I was racing towards. Items which will always be there, which serve a purpose but do not provide one."
August 31, 2017 7:11 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I stood and let conditioned fear course through my veins and simply observed it from a few feet above my body. For all of these misguided warnings, there I was, completely, utterly alone and more alive than ever. Not even the smallest bone in my body felt lonely in that moment.
August 26, 2017 4:33 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
We pulled into the shallows, and the dizzying pace of the water just beyond the barrier island gave me something to focus on.
“I think that big eclipse is starting right around now,” I offered.
“What eclipse?” he asked me.
August 24, 2017 9:51 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
These snippets are always taken out of context, and they often make others feel inferior and the sharer feel isolated, as if their reality isn’t living up to outsiders’ expectations of it. Happiness is not guaranteed by the sight of snow-capped mountains, though they are never unwelcome. A smile in a moment does not tell the full story. One does not and cannot cross a border or climb a mountain every second of their lives.
August 15, 2017 4:30 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
These intersections of theoretical and physical delight me to no end, and I wanted to ask an international legal expert all kinds of questions about what might happen in any number of potential scenarios in this exact spot.
August 11, 2017 6:08 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
It is healthy to have our schema shattered repeatedly. It creates a certain open-mindedness and healthy humility. It separates us from the crippling weight of individual situations and frees us from the sense that basic outcomes may dictate our entire lives in a hubristically finite set of options. Every mile covered by the Land Cruiser is earned in a way that would seem blessedly easy to Lewis or Clark or Muir, no matter how brutish they may feel at the time. Every time I believe myself close to an understanding or even a point on a map, I secretly relish being crushed or at least corrected.
July 29, 2017 3:43 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
This was a literal crossroads that felt aggressively metaphorical. I wanted to curse the very road junction itself for pointing in all directions and inviting us to follow them wherever they may lead...
July 15, 2017 2:36 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
She knew who I was because I had called in to secure a spot and presumably nobody else had done so that day. I was given the keys and a brief rundown of the area, Hank was given a few dog treats and knocked over a stand of s’mores skewers. It was all so matter of fact and immediate that Los Angeles felt even further than 846 miles away.
July 5, 2017 3:44 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
“The middle of nowhere” is a loaded idiom. It’s a vague-yet-precise phrase that invokes a certain situation or location, and which could be positive or negative depending on who says it. It offers up visions of amber waves and orange plateaus, of abandoned filling stations and faded glimpses of the past’s future. It is a place devoid of the decades of social construction required to populate a city with its traps and trappings.
April 18, 2017 1:56 pmPublished by John Montesi5 Comments
I shirk at the word escapism, though my counselor has encouraged me increasingly not to attach pejorative connotations to things... View Article
April 13, 2017 4:48 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Sometimes you see something furry and want to touch it, whether it’s a puppy or someone’s velvet jacket. Sometimes you let a bartender plan the majority of your day with no idea of what you’re agreeing to.
April 12, 2017 12:35 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
How would you like to feel 10% less like spontaneously weeping and 90% less passionate about everything from the sound of music to laughing at jokes to your dog’s wellbeing?
April 4, 2017 12:19 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
This moment turned out to be a subtle turning point in the narrative. Since picking up the Land Cruiser and having a hilarious Saint Paddy’s Day that was blessedly free of self-awareness sabotaging my enjoyment, I now presented the trip as not just a salve for the pained brain clanging around in my head but also as a concerted effort to rediscover the simple joys that make me who I am and thusly make me worth spending any time around.
March 27, 2017 1:32 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Signs stood in the trees warning hunters not to hunt in this area. We were quite near a State Game Land, of which Pennsylvania has many, and I suppose if you spent enough time in the woods and chased a deer far enough, you could wind up here. Of course, if you missed, your rifle shot might go through one of the remaining houses in Centralia. Or its sharp crack may just be the straw that breaks the asphalt’s back and sends you or the deer into a deep, hot hole.
March 22, 2017 11:11 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Arriving in a new city by night is always a confusing experience, made all the more surreal by the biting cold and sound-deadening snow that blanketed the town on Saint Patrick’s Friday. Aside from brief breaks for fuel and key exchanges, I’d last stood on solid ground in Manhattan, which made this quietude a special blessing and also a shock to an addled system.
March 6, 2017 5:52 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Nothing will snap me out of my hypnogogic trance faster than someone telling me that I have more interests or dreams than they do. I will fiercely accost a perfect stranger because I believe so firmly in the human imagination and the childlike whimsy that resides somewhere inside every one of us.
February 9, 2017 10:06 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I don’t want to tell myself a story about the woods while sitting under fluorescent lights in a cubicle somewhere far away from them. We needn’t delude ourselves that our masterpieces are just a few months away, if only we keep biding time.
February 6, 2017 1:25 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I’ve got a long list of regrets and a longer list of plans, and neither of those lists will get any shorter until I start acting the same way I daydream when I’m having a good day.
January 24, 2017 5:29 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Somewhere between the dutiful and the nihilistic is the sense that none of us make it out alive, but many of us are never even fully alive.
January 13, 2017 12:56 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
That is a myth that afflicts not just writers but all people: that our lives, because they are normal to us, are uninteresting and dull while the stories and images of others are enviable and epic in some unattainable way.
January 9, 2017 4:28 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Even though I’ve made so many dramatic moves towards living out my dream, I still often doubt my own agency and potential for happiness.
January 7, 2017 12:47 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Words lingered in the air like the sparks that danced above the crackling fire. Not a word was spoken about the cars that had brought us all together.
October 17, 2016 11:14 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
The vulnerability offered up and time taken to compliment a laugh or share some commonality in written words is a beautiful thing, and every bit of it makes me want to pour myself into my writing and the people I meet a trillion times more.
October 4, 2016 10:27 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
Many of us remember being told as children to never trust strangers, or at least to never accept candy from them or get into their cars. I’ve long since broken all of those rules.
September 26, 2016 1:35 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
“And that’s the problem. I think God is up there and answering prayers, but we take that for granted. We want something, we get it, we’re done until we need something else. And as soon as we get what we wanted, we aren’t even happy about it anymore. To me, that’s the biggest sin. The sin of forgetting.”
September 19, 2016 11:31 amPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
“How did ya’ll find us?” Todd and Angie seemed to ask simultaneously. Our story made them smile and they brought everyone out from the kitchen to re-tell it
August 27, 2016 5:45 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
It’s no secret that I believe strongly in seeking discomfort in the form of wolf tongues and hot deserts and mountain monsoons, because the particulars are always unpredictable.
August 9, 2016 2:43 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
I used to wonder how I could ever earnestly dance or love or have a conversation again after I felt that part of me atrophy under the weight of irony and sarcasm and a million unanswered questions.
December 8, 2015 12:05 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
We spend a lot of life burying simple, earnest joy beneath complicated oxymorons like the idea of the “guilty pleasure.” This phrase is most often connoted with songs that we somehow “shouldn’t” like but secretly do, anyways.
November 6, 2015 3:57 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
There is so little practical difficulty in the day-to-day of most of us that we have to create solutions to nonexistent problems for our own entertainment, to provide that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction where none can be found... In comfort, so few demands are made of us that we can sit and pontificate until we unravel.
I don’t have to wallow in sorrow and self-loathing to be at my artistic best—maybe I’d write a more poignant novel in the Modernist style if I allowed myself to keep feeling as I did two years ago—but I can be informed by that knowledge of high art as I create something filled with high hope.
October 2, 2015 12:39 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
As we wonder how to age well, how to make it to our seventh generation and sit on the stage with our hats pulled low not as a display of hubris but for dramatic effect, it’s easy to wonder if we can learn from the mistakes our predecessors have made, or if we can only learn from them that mistakes will be made.
September 11, 2015 1:10 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
In an era where Moore’s Law is hopelessly outdated, nothing has surpassed the way that date and its imagery imprinted itself on all of our psyches.
August 7, 2015 1:57 pmPublished by John MontesiLeave your thoughts
And I have achieved something through a long and quite painful process that I didn’t realize I’d been longing for all along. Joan Didion put words to it when she said of Amado: “It seemed to me that day that I had never talked to anyone so direct and unembarrassed about the things he loved.”