THE NIGHTLY CHILL
By Steve Arviso
As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.
The Nightly Chill is an irregular, yet wholly absurd intimate experience with an idiot. Mon-Fri. Ish. Written and published by writer, publisher, and, on occasion, part-time lover, Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Ish.
- OBTRUSIVE ADVERTISEMENT
- THE BIT AT THE BEGINNING
- A LETTERS’ PAGE
- A CHEAP PLUG
- SOME TRIVIAL BIT OF SILLINESS
- YET ANOTHER OBTRUSIVE ADVERTISEMENT
- A SATISFACTORY, WELL-WRITTEN BIT THAT SOMEHOW STILL FAILS TO LIVE UP TO SOME ARBITRARY STANDARD CREATED AND IMPOSED BY NOBODY
- LAST-MINUTE ATTEMPT AT ENGAGEMENT
- BLATANT, YET ALSO REDUNDANT SELF-PROMOTION
- THE END BITS NOBODY CARES MUCH FOR
VIRAL LOAD PODCAST
The “Viral Load Podcast” is, I’ve been assured, a podcast in the same way that audio uploaded to some temporary or long-term repository for the sake of publication and distribution across various outlets, inlets, and piglets accessible vis-à-vis the internet might, in some fashion, be considered a “podcast.” In it, comedian Andrew Pupa and co-host Brett Bayles, who may or may not be a comedian–but who am I to place such labels on anyone?–explore the weirder, more unsettling corners of diseases that plague us.
THE BIT AT THE BEGINNING
Writer Matt Haig (@matthaig1) tweeted, “Can women write male characters? Yes. Can men write female characters? Yes. Can adults write children? Can humans write animals? Can earthlings write aliens? Can writers risk getting it wrong? Yes. Yes. Yes. You can’t be truly creative if your imagination has a strict guest list.”
The most fascinating bit of discourse I find in all the commentary isn’t the obligatory, knee-jerk reaction from closed-minded, slack-jawed nitwits. Instead, it’s those numerous, pontificating blowhards–damn near all of them some shade of “writer,” of course– who take several tweets worth of aimless rambling to avoid the word “empathy.”
Solid writing, like solid acting, is often a matter of empathy. The work needs to create a sense of empathy for the characters and their plights, otherwise there’s no drama. But both writer and actor need to be empathetic enough to dig deep enough into the character’s inner life to elicit that sort of reaction from the audience, to build that necessary emotional connection with the audience. It’s easy to take some basic shared trait and “dial it up to 11.” But can you do so while remaining believable? Can you place yourself in someone else’s shoes well enough, long enough to understand them even though you have little in common? Can you believably understand and process emotions and thoughts other than your own?
You’ll also notice a wholly unironic yet distinct inability or refusal to empathize among these critics who insist creatives “stay in their own lane.” It’s almost as if all they really care about is themselves.
BETWEEN THE CRACKS
(A LETTERS’ PAGE)
JASON IS UP LATE
(A CHEAP PLUG)
Be sure to listen to “Jason is Up Late,” a new podcast from Los Angeles comedian Jason King., who is not well-known for turning in early for the evening, but, to the contrary, is rather notorious for staying up well-past any decently dressed hour.
(SOME TRIVIAL BIT OF SILLINESS)
To have a good, functional system that works for the people, you need good people in the system. To have good people in the system, you need a well-informed, well-educated populace capable of sympathy, empathy, and critical thinking. To have that, you need that populace to be healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. To have that, you need a system capable of ensuring the populace’s needs are met–food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare, and so on. When the system utterly fails to care for its people, or ensure that good people are in a good system, it isn’t that the system is broken so much as the system was never intended to work the way you were taught.
You want change? Eat a rich person. Because history has proven, time and again, that that is the only way the oppressively poor working class ever sees the system shift in their favor. Playing their rigged game in the context of a rigged system only perpetuates the cycle. You have to break the system first before you can change it.
(YET ANOTHER OBTRUSIVE ADVERTISEMENT)
(A SATISFACTORY, WELL-WRITTEN BIT THAT SOMEHOW FAILS TO LIVE UP TO SOME ARBITRARY STANDARD CREATED AND IMPOSED BY NOBODY)
I originally replied to this tweet in a thread, but here’s a slightly polished and expanded revision:
About a decade ago, I was working as a front desk clerk at a hotel chain–not some small roadside motel, but an actual hotel in a resort area known for its animated rodent problem. One night, I had my life threatened by a pair of junkies I’d been forced to kick out due to repeated offenses. (If memory serves me right, it was largely due to a combination of repeated fire alarms being set off in the room and the inescapable odor of drug use wafting down the entire fourth-floor hallway.) The threats continued all shift and for several days. They hung around the parking lot. There were phone calls. And I believe they even came back into the hotel, even after the police had driven through and scared them off once already.
I have lifelong anxiety and depression issues, and I’m finally learning I very likely struggle with lifelong complex PTSD. And these repeated threats on my life sent me spiraling into a full-blown meltdown, with me suffering serious anxiety/panic (?) attacks while on the clock.
My hotel manager ultimately refused to do anything at all, aside from laughing at the entire scenario (and me) and waving it off as something that “happens all the time.” (It did not, and I was the only employee there that had to deal with these issues directly.) Instead of hiring security like she was supposed to, the hotel manager gave me, I shit you not, an electronic “rape whistle.” She instructed me to pull the pin and wait for one of the guests to come out to the lobby, see me, and call 911 before I was both deaf and dead.
The doctor I was required to see in order to even take temporary medical leave refused to do anything but call me fat and offer to prescribe me antidepressants of all things, insisting it’d allow me to coast through the continued, unresolved issues at the hotel.
Fun note: I was in the best shape of my life at this point. I was a pro wrestler. I worked hard to lose a lot of weight, had great cardio and endurance, and was agile as shit. I was about 150-160 pounds at the time, and I was getting leaner and fitter by the day. I had been a fat kid damn near my entire life because of all the shit I went through growing up. (Hurray for comfort eating!) And a good friend of mine helped me change so much for the better–my diet, my exercise routine. My body and mind were finally healing from a life of abuse and trauma. I was even looking damn good in a pair of tights. I had muscles with tone and everything. A year or so earlier, I was some 50+ pounds heavier. I was damn near “skinny” and “fit” by all measures for the first time in nearly 20 years.
And then this doctor insisted I’m fat and need to lose weight. Insisted my weight was my real problem. Insisted on antidepressants to numb–not treat, but numb–my serious anxiety and PTSD issues stemming from HAVING MY LIFE REPEATEDLY THREATENED BY JUNKIES!
I was a young man in his twenties, busting his ass off to better himself professionally, emotionally, and physically. And when my life was threatened, repeatedly, legitimately, and all that was taken away from me, when I was forced to cower and cry and call whoever I could to stop me from losing my goddamn mind as I hid and cried ceaselessly in full-blown hysterics in the employee restroom, my bosses insisted it was nothing to be concerned about. My doctor insisted it was my own damn fault. I was dismissed, blamed, and fat-shamed for being the victim. No sympathy, empathy, or humanity to be found in any person I had to deal with during that whole ordeal.
And the best part of it all?
The management (and my coworkers) had the gall to be upset that I quit as a result of all this horseshit. They actually thought I was going to just suck it up, get over it, and come back to work like none of this had ever happened.
Fuck all of ’em.
LAST-MINUTE ATTEMPT AT ENGAGEMENT
Please, contact us however you can if you, or someone you know, engages in the following acts of debauchery:
- Animal Husbandry
- Audio plays
- Pulp and/or other genre fiction
- Shopping lists
- Absurd acts of defiance against a pleasantly cold, yet wholly uncaring universe
- Short films
The weirder, the better.
We are The Lost. And together, we’ll make sure the world sees and hears us.
FIGHT THE DAWN
(BLATANT, YET ALSO REDUNDANT SELF-PROMOTION)
FIGHT THE DAWN! with “Grand Ghoulish” (Fight the Dawn Vol 2.) an absurd twisted romance between a photographer, a housewife, and her husband–a surgeon who enjoys getting a little blood on his hands!
THE END BITS NOBODY CARES MUCH FOR
(READ: OBLIGATORY PLEA FOR MONEY)
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THE NIGHTLY CHILL