Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sitting on the fourth floor

I'm currently waiting for Ruth to finish her English literature exam. The silence in these halls is almost deafening if it weren't for the sound of the peddling high heels knocking somewhere.

It's weird to think it's already December 15 and it's even more strange to think I will be a father in 5 months.

I must say, I am looking forward to holding our dear baby. Feeling the infant kick the other day made me sing like those kids do in the sound of music.

I'm grateful for many people in my life, even if they don't feel like I show it. I try, I just have a lot on my mind these days; a bit scatterbrained.

Anyways, this is all I care to write this evening.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter 1 rough draft for future book

Author's Disclaimer: This is a project I started last year. Here's a snippet from the book.

The Art of Lawn Mowing (And Various Other Vocations)


Chapter 1 – Coming of Age and Leaving Home

I will turn 22 in 10 days. It’s odd to even consider that in eight years from that date, I will be 30 years old. As I filter through memories from being a child, I remember wondering what it would be like to be a 30-year-old man and everything encompassing that title. Driving my own car was one thing for sure and having a beautiful wife was on the list. A big perk included no restrictions. No parents telling you what to do and having to earn your living by filling vats of elbow grease with honest hard work. It wasn’t really the “dream” per se, but it was an idea that roamed through my head when I was 17.

I left home for the first time when I was 17. It was a painful goodbye, leaving all my friends and life, as I knew it. Leaving it all for a small rural bible college in Peterborough, Ontario.

Looking back at that period in my life, I often wonder why it was there I decided to start my path towards becoming an independent man. Free from the rules and regulations my good parents imposed along with my gracious church, I dove whole-heartedly into my new surroundings. I went on long walks from the college into the city of Peterborough to explore and to find myself, although I don’t know what that really means. I attempted to change my persona to fit in with my fellow roommates and colleagues, which was too often unsuccessful.

I read books about subjects I had never encountered before and re-evaluated my relationship with God. I also met my future wife that year, but that is another story. A good one I might add.

Several ideas and career opportunities danced around in my mind the many nights I spent alone in my dorm room. Maybe I would be a pastor, but after a few classes in a preaching class dubbed Hermeneutics, I decided I should leaving the teaching to people who are able to articulate truth well. I also thought about pursuing a degree in philosophy – and while I will say I learned much about life in those two weeks – philosophy was more of something to be lived rather than taught, at least that’s my philosophy.

Long story short, I graduated when I was 18 and came back home “matured” and all that good stuff. I was such an idiot. I’ll probably say that in four years from now. I had the world in my arms. I also had the girl who makes that world worth it. I also had a book of clich├ęs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speaking out



How ironic it is. I am suddenly at a loss for words; what I really want to say has slipped my mind. Today, during my usual work routine, I was filtering through the hundred or so thoughts I had and attempting to make sense of what I was feeling. It’s difficult to encapsulate an emotion with the written word. Shakespeare mastered it. George Orwell articulately summed it up. Can I?

It’s conceivable, yes, that writing takes little to no effort. A few bizarre ideas with a dash of truth mixed in can make even the dullest writer come to life. I want to write a book someday, I really do. But, I lack motivation. On my free time, the last thing I want to do is write a novel. When I’m working at my current job, which I absolutely find disenchanting and degrading, all I can think about is how I can make money as a writer. I wasn’t born to slug plastic bottles of sugar water onto grocery shelves for 32 hours a week. But that is what I’m doing at this stage in my life. I hate thinking I’ve done this for over a year. It’s really hard for me to wake up in the morning, put the red shirt on, lace up some very uncomfortable steel toe shoes and head out the door. I am nobody in the world of retail; a nobody living in an increasingly disheartening workplace.

I wonder why I place so much emphasis on my job and how it relates to my happiness or contentment. I find it embarrassing to tell people that’s what I do. Sure, I write, but for an online website where I get paid very little. And it’s my own fault. I consistently seek a way to do something in the easiest way possible. This habit applies to all mannerisms of my life, when I’m not pursuing my passion of photography and writing. When I’m writing, I am writing at the speed and strength of a locomotive train barreling down the tracks at a raging 100 miles an hour. When I write, I am Sean David McMullen the journalist. I write the best way I know how and still, I find I don’t measure up to other writers. Comparison is a dangerous thing to fall into. Once you start lining your work alongside others, you start to notice the cracks in your work. Doing it a couple times isn’t bad, but when it becomes your obsession, your own writing style will begin to fade to grey; a hollow body of work inspired by nothing.

I’m probably not making much sense right now, but who does? How can anyone say they know something inside out? Why do we all pretend to have every little corner of life figured out? We’re robbing the mystery of curiosity. Maybe we’re frightened of the unknown. Possibly. Perhaps some of us need to know something to feed our peripatetic mind. I’m guilty of that. I’ve become obsessed with filling my spare time by reading articles on the Internet, mainly Wikipedia. It’s mostly television shows and anything I might have missed. Also, I have read every article about every Marvel super hero. I accomplished this minor feat last summer in Ontario. I should have been swimming or running instead, but I needed to know what happened to Spiderman in his 56th issue.

I identify with every human who desires knowledge. We’re all searching for a higher truth, something bigger than our messed up lives. Our life is a series of fractures that we’re all desperately fighting to keep together.

Sometimes we just need to let go. I did that twice this summer and the feeling was exhilarating.

The first time, I was body surfing with some close friends and new ones at a beach outside Halifax. The waves were massive; at least 10 feet. Naturally, we all wanted to catch the biggest wave so we could be carried into shore. The best ocean crests were out further; maybe a hundred feet from where the water hit the sand. While I was furiously paddling out, gasping for air when my face wasn’t submerged in the frigid water, there was a moment. Not a life changing moment, but I do remember it distinctly. I was alone, floating up and down in the swelling tide. Suddenly, my feet were touching the sandy bottom. The water was rushing out by my side. Then I saw it. The largest wave I have ever seen. The silence of this beautiful moment rained down. I spread out my arms, lifted them towards the clouds and closed my eyes. I was embracing nature for the first real time in my entire life. It was thrilling, and a bit stupid. The force of the wave struck me, threw me underwater, spinning and twirling my body like a pair of jeans in a washer. I remember my head hitting the sand before coming up and excreting what must have been a bucket of sea water.

And I couldn’t have been happier.

God met me in the silence, and told me then that He loved me more than I could ever know.

Seek the silence.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hey all!

I've been busy at The Orange Camera, an independent news soure I've created.

http://seanmcmullen.wordpress.com/

Check my stuff out!

Cheers!

Sean

Monday, July 27, 2009

Intermission

Hey everyone.

I'm still mulling around with my the second part of my Pugwash story. It should come soon and I should probably do it sooner rather than later. The mind can only remember so much.

Ruth and I have had many people in and out of our lives this past week. Ranging from distant family to old and new friends, it's been busy. We've also moved out of our apartment into a nicer one.

I am looking forward to our vacation in Ontario. I want to hike, kayak and swim a lot. Morning jogs around Lake Cecebe would be great and so would a hearty breakfast afterward.

We're going to see the new Harry Potter tonight with our good friend Luke Bruce, who just arrived in Canada last week from Ecuador, where he is serving as superman.

Alright.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pugwash Pt. 1


So, last week, I had the good fortune of staying at a quaint cottage on the northern shore of Nova Scotia. The tattered white paint, the ageing shingles and the well-worn blue deck really gave it a familiar feel, even though I've never been to it before. The furniture inside was an assortment of old floral-print couches, brown chairs and rustic wooden tables. The walls were lined with beer cans; over 100 at least. Each label represented a special brew. I'd indulged in some of them before, but there were certain cans I'd never even heard of. Despite the size of the cottage, it had several rooms, easily capable of housing 10 or more people. The Northumberland Strait is easily visible from the back deck and a walk down to the sandy beach is no more than two minutes. Also, that depends if you have footwear or not because the road down is broken gravel.

My parents rented the bungalow for two weeks. Ruth and I were able to come up twice, the first time being bittersweet since we stayed for a night. My brother Matt and his girlfriend Amy went also, along with my Uncle Tom and Nanny (grandmother). My other brother Ryan and sister Lindsay drove the two hours with us. Ryan was restlessly keyed up to get there swiftly because it was where he was to meet his exquisite and charming lady, Beth (she’s from Fredericton!). The family arrived around noontime and we wasted no time in running down to the beach, even though it was beginning to rain heavily. We threw a Frisbee around, picked up jellyfish (got stung by jellyfish), and swam. The ocean water was lukewarm. We explored the very long beach, west of the cottage. Beside the broken clam shells, hermit crabs and dried-up jellyfish, there was an overabundance of starfish. It was really fascinating to see so many in a small contained area. Maybe it was there breeding ground or something. Shortly after, while the tide was still high, we went to a local bridge and jumped off it. It was scary to jump, but very fun nonetheless. Anyway, that was how the Saturday afternoon was spent.

Approaching the evening, mostly everyone stayed inside the cottage, playing card games, making strange horror movies and munching on snacks. It was truly a blessing to have all of the family together under one roof (girlfriends included!). As many of you know, the McMullen family can get a tad silly. Well, maybe "a tad" is an understatement. As a tribute to the late Michael Jackson, Matt danced wildly to many of his signature songs. In time, I joined in, flailing my arms and kicking the ol’ caboose into high gear. Dad thought it would be funny to put two balloons into the back of Matt’s shorts. It was. It was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. The whole family, Tom included, was in stitches! We have the video to prove it. It was an event to remember.

Later that night, the younger folk went down to the beach to, well, hang out I guess. Matt and I took conducted some night photography with success and the rest of the group talked, sharing stories and jokes. The mosquitoes, however, turned out to be a bona fide nuisance, so we went back to the low-lit, quiet cottage (all the older folk had turned in).

The next morning, after breakfast, Beth left to go back to camp. It was sad, but we’ll see her again soon. To take Ryan’s mind off his absent girl, we kayaked, swam, and went on another beach walk. Matt and Amy rode some bicycles, Lindsay tanned with Ruth and Dad read, I believe. It is difficult to recall some of what happened. I’m sure those who were there will enlighten me.

Leaving Sunday evening was hard, especially when you didn’t get a real chance to breathe or relax. But, maybe that’s what vacations are for: to have fun always. Still, it was comforting to know I’d be coming back in a few days and for a longer stay. In my next blog, I’ll tell you part two of my adventure in Pugwash. Here’s a teaser.

“After Ryan fell out of his kayak, I was panicking silently as I was racking my brain to figure out how to get him back in. Miles from shore or help, panicking was simply not an option. Time was running out.”

See you next time!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

new website

www.seanmcmullen.wordpress.com

check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

convict

I am convicted.

Let me tell you why. This week, as I was driving my route for my job, Switchfoots’ latest album Oh! Gravity was spinning and a lyric from lead singer Jon Foreman struck me hard. In American Dream, the second track, he sings “I want to live and die for bigger things / I’m tired of just fighting for just me.”

That is a very ambitious statement. The absolute abandonment of serving yourself I liken to ripping a band-aid off long leg hair. It hurts and usually you pull it slowly off, hair by hair. Sigh, analogy is fun.

How then, does one move past the selfishness? Practicing humility? Thinking before you spend money on something for yourself? Praying for others first instead of complaining? It is easier to ask than to answer, I must confess.

Perhaps it is answering the call to help those in real material need or spiritual need. Both are issues we all struggle with and they can be difficult to identify initially. I suggest finding a specific area where your talents and skills can be used most effectively.

Or, imagine if you sold all your possessions, the things that make you, well, you. You know what I’m thinking about. Your music, your books, your whatever. The things you concentrate on instead of focusing on others. I’m not saying those things are bad to own. Far from it. But when they begin to take your full attention, it becomes a problem. Just give up on yourself for a minute, hour or day. See what happens.

Of course, this is all directed towards myself. If you are affected by these thoughts, good. I am by no means an authority figure on humility and I don’t want to be. I just want to live and die for bigger things than myself. It is a joy-producing idea. And it’s a good way to start living the rest of your life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

hello!?

The sheer rudeness of some people is astounding. 

Today, I uttered a kind "hello" to someone I am not particularly fond of because it was the thing people say to each other when they are in close quarters. Instead of having the word spoken back, I was looked in the eye by this person and then passed by. 

I stood in disbelief and then I wondered how some people can act that way.

Just wanted to share that.

Please share your story if you've encountered a similar situation. That way, we can feel vindicated or something.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

moses

Before I begin, I admit that I don't know what I want to say exactly. So what I'm hoping for is a moment somewhere in the midst of my future verbal spillage that will pinpoint my intended thought. Ok, here it goes.

I am Moses. At least, I empathize greatly with the pre Red Sea parting Moses. The man who stammered his words, the man who murdered a man, the man who felt like his life lacked complete direction. I can relate to two of the aforementioned descriptors.

When confronted with a situation where I feel I am not in control or am strongly intimidated, my mouth dries up and I lose every thought in my head. I'm sure there are other people who have been through this but when it happens to me, it is a nightmare. I like to be in control of what's around me. I like knowing what my imminent future is. The moment I lose control or lose sight of it, is when my small world begins to implode. I don't know how to react properly yet to tough situations. In the past, I have lashed out in anger and made rash decisions. Reacting that way bothers me because it makes me look irresponsible or mentally unfit, which I'm not. I just wish I knew how to deal with people I honestly cannot stand to be around and I wish the nasty thoughts in my head about those people would disappear.

I struggle with humility. I feel that my job determines my self-worth which is also drastically wrong. A job is a job... right? I feel I was created for something much more so when I have to resort to a thankless job dealing with people I couldn't care less about, I often come home with my soul feeling distraught. I want to do something that actually matters. Some vocation where God can use me. People say this is a season Sean but I say no. I am done with this desert dry patch of my life and I want to walk in the water of the life God intended. Help me get there. Get me out of this. Be the burning bush. Help me to gain control over myself with Your power.

I am someone who needs a fixed date or a deadline because if I don't, I drift and wander until something bothers me enough to make an impulsive decision. I don't want that characteristic. I was to be a man of action, leadership and integrity. I want to work hard but only in the right setting. God is calling me to evangelize. I can feel it my bones. It is like a fire running through my veins. It scares the crap out of me because I don't know where to begin but I know I must. I want to make a difference for the kingdom. At the end of days, I want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." This life is short. It is temporary. We don't know what tomorrow brings. I don't know what tomorrow brings but I better be ready.

ok. i'm posting now. good night. thank you for reading.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

new demo song

www.myspace.com/ruthandsean - New demo song up! Check it out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

comfortable

I wrote a letter today. I sent it via email to The Chronicle Herald. I felt like yesterday's post was worth cropping down to 200 words in the hope of getting it published in the editorial/opinion section. It would be a relief to be published again because it has been tough not seeing my name in print anymore.

My brother and I are having a good time. We're playing Final Fantasy 12 (yep, we're nerds at heart) and then we will play a game of old school NBA Live 96 on my SNES. It should be a razz.

I'm trying to learn Final Cut Pro. It seems like it will be a challenge. I need to upload some video from our video camera and crop it but I have no sweet clue where to begin.

I look forward to blogging every night now. It releases my inner wild writer!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fox News. Really?

Tonight, I am remembering four brave Canadian soldiers who were killed this past weekend in the dangerous area of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Their names are Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli, Cpl. Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Hayes.

I did not personally know these men of honor but I am eternally grateful for their service to our country. War is a wretched thing. She is bloody, brutal and battered. These men paid the ultimate cost - their lives - to bring peace and stability to a volatile and harsh region.

So it really upsets me when some jackass news commentator from Fox News makes some off-hand jokes about Canada's mission in Afghanistan along with his ignorant panelists. Here are some of their quotes.

Greg Gutfeld said, "The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants," Gutfeld said with a sneer, adding: "Isn't this the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country? They have no army."

Doug Benson, said he was unaware Canadian troops were on the ground in Afghanistan.

"I didn't even know they were in the war. I thought that's where you go if you don't want to fight – you go chill in Canada," he said.

The story was found on The Toronto Star's website Monday in the most read section.

People like this anger me. It has nothing to do with them being American like some commentators have said. It is their own lack of news judgment and inability to recognize a sensitive situation. Working in the news business, whether it is Fox News or small-town paper news, journalists, editors, news commentators all have a responsibility to research their facts before presenting in a serious fashion or in a parodist manner.

While the comments were delivered on a small segment of a comedic section of Fox News, they were in poor taste. The timing was unfortunate as well.

Let's hope they learn their lesson.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

update

Good evening.

Here I am, another Sunday evening resting on my brown couch, basking in the glow from the laptop. Ruth is next to me with one of our cats perched on her legs watching her play the PS2. Playing softly in the background is Sufjan Stevens album Seven Swans. The music calms my soul; it causes me to reflect quietly. Moments of solitude and tranquility are hard to come by and it can sometimes be difficult to actually recognize them and enjoy them.

So, that was my lame attempt at describing my surroundings and previous thought. Moving on.

I still work for Coca-Cola, however, I work four days a week to allow for time to work on other projects I have on the go. Those projects include:

1. A book I am writing about certain parts of life and my take on them. It's similar to Donald Miller but with a heavy approach on the negative aspects of situations. Think a modern day Ecclesiastes with a lemon twist.

2. Writing content for a new website in Halifax dubbed www.halifamous.com. The concept of the site is to focus solely on shakers and movers in the HRM. They include but are not limited to musicians, authors, politicians. Basically people choosing to make a difference in this coastal community. Check it out.

3. Starting my own folk-electronica outfit consisting of myself, electronica and an acoustic guitar. It's called The Emerald City Project and I plan to have something released as soon as I acquire some recording hardware.

4. As of this weekend, I took my photo skills and applied them to real estate photography. It was a learning experience and something I actually enjoyed shooting. Taking pictures of bathrooms, bedrooms and basements is certainly a change from human beings or landscapes.

So yes, those are some of the things I have filling up my spare time with.

Ruth and I are going to Belleville, Ont. in May to celebrate our good friends Joseph Prinzen and Rachael Gregory wedding day. We are choosing the wheels instead of the air because it will be cheaper plus we have a lot of fun on road trips.

We also are planning to head to Boston around that time but we're not sure when.

Ok, that's enough for now.

Chapter fini.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

trying to pull myself away

I feel like I'm caught in a pattern that I can't escape. I don't even know what I'm doing half the time. My mind lacks stimulation. My body is now my means of providing money. When I was a journalist, I felt like I had purpose. Interviewing people - interesting people - was part of my daily routine and I was completely in love with what I did. I don't have that anymore which brings me sorrow. *Note* - these thoughts only have to do with my work life, not my personal life.

Personally, my life could never be better. I am happily married, going on three years. I am in a band that plays fantastic music. I have recorded an EP with my wife and we have a great little home. I'm learning to enjoy life more. When this harsh winter ends, I'm going snorkeling. I can't wait to find treasure again. I have made new friends and reconnected with my family after a two year absence.

I am hopelessly addicted to Mad Men, a show about advertising bigwigs in the early 60s. Probably the best drama TV I've seen in years.

Luke Bruce, my international brother, if you still check this blog from Ecuador, Ruth and I miss you and think about you everyday. We still want to send a letter but we don't know how to get hold of you. We love you and hope you are having a wonderful time.

Briggins, we have your smelly blanket still. Please come and retrieve it!

Peace

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1935

Last summer in Pugwash, N.S., my cousin Iain McDougall and I were diving in a small river off the Northumberland Strait looking for anything that caught our fancy. We found a couple of old beer bottles (the short stubby ones) dating back to the 1960s, some golf balls (new and old) and shards of pottery. I was interested in the broken shards. Most of the pieces were unrecognizable due to the strong ocean currents battering them around. Also, the river we were swimming in or rather drifting, was a river where the tide went up and down twice a day. We would dive when the tide was low to increase our chances of finding something. This is a shard of what I found.



Since this was my first piece of pottery with a ceramic mark still on it, I was ecstatic. Half the mark was missing, so I conducted a little research and discovered the mark was printed in 1935 and was probably off an old plate or mug. It was like solving a mystery!



I hope you enjoyed this.