Smoke Break — 5.21.18

Garfield Hylton
May 21, 2018 · 4 min read

‘Smoke Break’ is a new section where structure is replaced with free-writing ideas as they come. The name is in honor of a magazine and community responsible for bettering my writing skills, The Smoking Section, aka TSS, aka @WeAreStillCrew. It’s also in service to replace one of my worst habits. I talked to my therapist (more on this later) about the triggers of my smoking habit and discovered a few things.

Smoking is how I deal with stress but stress isn’t the catalyst. I smoke for the alone time because those blocks of solitude, since I’m generally not talking to or near anyone when I’m smoking, are how I keep my sanity. My goal is to quit the habit by year’s end and writing is, ideally, the substitute. We’ll check in a few months to see how that works.

It’s been awhile since the last update, but it’s not due to laziness. Spring has been a whirlwind and I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to catch my footing. Summer’s nearly here and there’s a pretty deep list of things I’d like to accomplish before fall. The goal is to have an active and productive summer but not in a manner which overwhelms. A published list of those aspirations may be coming soon.

With that said, here’s a brief synopsis of the last month:

My third semester of grad school is complete. It feels like the journey began only a moment ago and now I’m six months away from finishing. This pursuit feels different from my last two educational efforts because it was approached with a cold-calculation as opposed to fiery passion.

My emotions were high after undergrad, being the first person in my family to complete a four-year degree, and for law school, the culmination of all the work put into a lifelong dream, finally achieved. That’s not the case with J-school. The approach here is more business-minded than childlike glee.

I’ve also been writing. My latest piece went up at Still Crew, “My Brother Got His Jordans Stolen, Which Is Why We Don’t Get Along.” It’s a re-count of a story shared on Twitter regarding the relationship between myself and my mother’s “second set” of children. It’s a tale of how building relationships between generational gaps, even in one’s own family, can be a lot more difficult than some are willing to admit.

Some backstory about how the post ended up in Still Crew. A publication saw my tweets and offered me a fee for the long-form version of the story. But, when I sent the it to them, they wanted something a little different than what I offered. Not unusual in the game of publishing. I, however, liked the version I submitted and given the response, passing on the fee feels like the right decision.

Don’t be fooled. I absolutely wanted the money. But, I liked what I wrote and I felt changing it to what they wanted would’ve taken the soul out of the story. We had differing ideas on what the post should look like and since it’s mine, passing and publishing what was true to my own artistic tastes won out. Also, I didn’t need the money anyway.

Outside of that, I spent the entirety of April writing about movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). A couple of homies and I teamed up to turn April into Infinity War Month in anticipation of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War.

Every week day, there was a post going through the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic (and a portion of the comic book) Universe. I also wrote about my seven (even though it says six) favorite things about the new Avengers. Bias is talking, but even there’s something for anyone with even a remote interest in anything comic-book related.

Oh. I bought a car, too. It was something that was supposed to wait until the end of the year and serve as a “good job surviving 2018” present, but circumstances necessitated the purchase happen sooner.

Taking the last drive in my BMW, a car I owned for 11 years, and the first major purchase made after graduating undergrad, was emotional. It was time for it to go but it feels like a little piece of me died.

That car has been with me since I was 21. A whole lot of life happened between 21 and 32. I’m tempted to write a eulogy on the times we’ve been through, but there’s so many stories to choose from that picking will be extremely difficult. Still, I’ll give it a shot (in a future post) anyway.

’Til next time.

Life Be Lifin’

A blog about all the ways life, “lifes.”