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I’m going to try something this year for my birthday. It’s not new. It’s just a drive to finally see a ‘long-form’ creation of mine into completion. I’ve never truly done something for my birthday outside of a few pic collages and a blog post or two. Never have I had a birthday party. Never have I hung out with friends and celebrated my birthday. Never have I really ventured outside of my hometown for my birthday, and if I actually did, it wasn’t memorable. And if it was memorable, it wasn’t worthy of the “Happy” portion of the phrase “Happy Birthday.” So, for some odd reason, I want my birthday to be special this year. It’s not a “monumental” numeral like ’30,”35,’ or ’40,’ but it’s the burning desire to eradicate the similarities between my birthdays and those of one Buffy Summers (If you are a die-hard Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan then you will get that reference). The only problem is settling on a creative event that will not only become a welcome imprint for years to come, but a positive, goal-achieving, and reflective one as well.

So a quick glance at my Facebook page yesterday gave me the first idea of how I wanted to execute this year’s birthday celebration. Seven years and seven months ago, there was a fad flowing among my college friends’ pages where people wrote lists consisting of 16-25 truths of themselves and posting them for their peers to see. My list was the full 25, because at that point in time I was 25 years old and still in a collegiate melancholic haze about life; confident, but not to the point of knowing where the economic crisis would take me in the next few months. But that’s another story…

The point in why the list caught my eye was because it showcased a different side of me that I, sadly, had managed to lose track of. A lot can happen in seven years and while some of the truths from that persona checklist are still solid rods in the foundation of my very being, an equal or greater amount has morphed into new ideals teetering on the brink of madness sometimes. 

Here’s the list in it’s entirety:


“A Mark O. Estes Production: “25: Random Edition”

I waited on doing this because I was getting tagged for both 16 random and 25 random things and I didn’t want to do 25 and be called out for being extra so here goes the top 25 things that you might already know. If you didn’t then you just haven’t been around me much, which isn’t a bad thing…

Ok… ACTION!!!!

Scene 1. I believe that no human being is perfect, but laugh when people actually believe the opposite. And they wonder why folks “hate” on them…

Scene 2. I have scoliosis, which for those who don’t know, it is the curvature of the spine.

Scene 3. People need to learn the difference between friends and associates and I believe that it should at least be a required 101 class for all universities.

Scene 4. I’ve been writing stories since the age of 8. One of the first was The Goonies 2 and I also write stories/scripts for me to act out with my action figures by directing and providing voices as well.

Scene 5. I am going through a period now of reading as much thought-provoking black books/essays that I can find. I have read two Toni Morrison books (‘Love’, and her newest ‘A Mercy’), and am now reading Michael Eric Dyson’s ‘April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr,’s Death and How It Changed America’. Next on my list are Toni Morrison’s ‘Sula’ and Ernest J. Gaines’ ‘A Lesson Before Dying’.

Scene 6. A lot of the stuff that I know or have learned in life has come mostly from TV and movies, which has strangely put me at odds with a lot of people, namely my family. The Real World Seasons 1-10 (It got hella skeezy afterwards), early BET and MTV in general and a few others are to blame for my ‘upbringing’.

Scene 7. Speaking of my upbringing, I kind of raised myself in a sense, because my parents and I have contrasting ideals and I am always the oddball on both sides of my family. It was hard growing up to be myself, because my family frowned on just about everything I did, except my schoolwork.

Scene 8. Technically, I attended my parents wedding due to the fact that my mom was three months pregnant with me at the time.

Scene 9. I am constantly ragged on about my taste in music, TV, and movies, because most of it is “white-washed” and “lack color”.


Scene 10. Out of the over 200+ movies and TV Shows that I own, I haven’t seen more than a handful of them.

Scene 11. I have been told that I can be quite depressing company to be around, which is puzzling because I have also been told that I am a people magnet.

Scene 12. I have a tendency to alphabetize books if they are out of order in a bookstore and replace books in order of their call number in libraries if they were misplaced. Blame it on my past experience as a librarian. My books here at home are in order of their release date as well as my DVDs.

Scene 13. I had a dream about the birth of my son and in that one dream I watched him age to four years. His name was Christian Tobias Estes. Needless to say that was the best dream ever and was hard to wake up from.

Scene 14. I subscribe to the belief that its vacuous to be at every event, club, party, etc and wonder why or how your business is in the streets.

Scene 15. My first/only Spring Break Trip ever was Spring 2007 and it was to Atlanta, which was also my first time ever being there.

Scene 16. MTSU and the University of Memphis were the first and only choices for school. But after both said my grades weren’t good enough (yes not good enough), I so happened to be cleaning my room and a brochure and application to UT fell out of the bottom of a box that I picked up. I filled it out and the rest is history. Or rather God helped me come to my senses…

Scene 17. I initially came to UT for theater, but by Divine Intervention again, I was steered back to my first loves: writing, television, and film.

Scene 18. Growing up I was a social misfit in my own head. I didn’t think that anybody liked me because I thought they considered me too awkward to be around. But by my senior year in high school, I wised up and realized that people didn’t like me because I was a social chameleon and didn’t let cliques dictate my social life. So I told everyone in my last will and testament to go to hell and that good luck making it to our 1st class reunion, which I won’t be attending.

Scene 19. One of the people who helped shaped me into the person I am today, Earline Bynum, died two weeks after I moved to UT. I never got to say goodbye properly because the last time I saw her before I left she was asleep. I knew then that nothing will ever be the same and I still haven’t gotten over it yet.


Scene 20. I wonder a lot about things that people would be frightened to acknowledge, issues that others only think about when their own being is at stake, scenarios and possibilities that most consider irrelevant or petulant. At all times my mind is operating…

Scene 21. I don’t like it when people measure someone by their achievements/status/merits and not by their complete character. While that might seem either conceited or confusing to some, I feel that if you don’t have some sense of a moral compass then you don’t have shit worth gloating about.

Scene 22. I see my entire college life as a television show (ala Degrassi) and that I am living my own spinoff now, while the rest of my friends have their own spinoffs. I can’t wait for the reunion movie to happen now. Yea, it’s that deep…

Scene 23. I am a big nostalgic person and love anything relating to the 80s and 90s because they remind me of how things used to be so simple and how film, TV and culture in general was much more creative, original and, at times, unique.

Scene 24. My senior year in high school I placed #1 in the nation in the Cranium Bowl sponsored by Channel One News and U.S. News and World Report magazine. I won a $100 dollar gift card to The Gap and had a field day at the clearance rack.

Scene 25. I have a problem with people who go out their way to be pompous and siddity and then declare that they are just “confident” or that they just have “swag” when someone calls them out on it. That’s not confidence, it’s straight up arrogance. ‘Confidence’ doesn’t have to be displayed 24/7 and is ugly and retarded as hell no matter how tight you twist it. But I still love ya!

Deleted Scene: I am a true Gemini to the core.

Commentary: Sorry if my list might sound bitter, but you got to admit that it was random at best. I tried to mix them up but I guess I had to vent a little. But this is my Random Edition so… Plus, I wanted to do something a little different with mine as you just saw. This is the first of three different editions so look out for the other three installments.”

To be honest, I cringed rereading some of those, but it’s just a prime example of youth in motion. It’s astounding to look at this mirror of words and see someone so totally different, yet not really. It’s a beautiful thing.

So here’s what I’m thinking of doing: I’m thinking about updating at least 23 of these ‘truths’ daily and give reasons why I chose to do so or not. This is just one of the challenges I’ve set up for myself. The other ‘provocations’ I’ve set up for myself won’t be listed, because they might change as soon as I hit publish on this particular blog post, which is actually already late technically.

I hope whoever reads this joins me in this journey and makes sure I stay on track on it until completion on May 23rd, 2016. It’s also a way for me to make sure I’m writing something everyday for the next 23 days.

In advance, I thank you. And hopefully this birthday will become one for the annals.


Writing Soundtrack Pt. 1


It should go without saying that music is a beautiful thing, if not one of the most beautiful gifts we have on this earth. Music is a stress reliever. A time machine. A confidant. Music takes us to exotic places we might never see in our lifetime, or rather see in our wildest dreams. It also serves as a snapshot of our most prominent achievements in life, a graduation, a promotion, a birth. Music also helps motivate The Creatives into weaving ordinary words into majestic stories and movies; causing masters of colors to bleed out their personalities on the canvas for the world to see; or encourage other musicians to either follow the path a particular song or group laid out for them, or make their own.

So like most writers/authors, it’s a must for me to have a soundtrack waiting for me as I write. Usually any music that’s landed on my iPod has magical properties that leave me compelled to write something, or formulate a scene in my mind at any given moment. These songs are constant mainstays on my little Apple device, but there comes a time when  the right music for a particular project is a must. This is where the title of this blog post comes in.

I’m working on my first novel tentatively titled, “Blues from Down Here…,” which is, of course, from the rock gods known as TV on the Radio’s album Return To Cookie Mountain. I’m not ready to relay the complete details of the novel just yet, but I will say that it’s LGBT related and deals with the nightmare of coming out, or rather not having any control of coming out of the closet. It’s a dark piece laced with some bright moments that will leave the reader charmed, inspired, and hopefully feeling some type of way about the concept of ‘love.’

At the center of the book is Mike Emerson and Shane Douglas, the romantic duo who are the subject of my first ‘Writing Soundtrack” post dealing with the novel, and other works of my fiction as well. The songs selected describe not only their love story, but each individual as well. Some of the songs don’t take place within the time frame of the story (it’s set between 2006-2009), but said songs help motivate me to either add or subtract certain elements to the story. So without further ado, here is the Mike & Shane Mix Vol. 1 Playlist:


1. Blues From Down Here – TV on the Radio (Duh…)

2. Rhapsody – Siouxsie andthe Banshees

3. Hunting High and Low – a-ha

4. Sensitivity – Ralph Tresvant

5. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths

6. Hotel Womb – The Church (the guitar intro alone should be a track itself)

7. Stripped – Depeche Mode

8. There’s A World Outside – The Psychedelic Furs

9. Face to Face – Siouxsie andthe Banshees

10. If I Ever Fall in Love – Shai

11. Are You That Somebody – Aaliyah

12. Love Will Never Do Without You – Janet Jackson

13. Ridiculous Thoughts – The Cranberries

14. Maniac – Kid Cudi

15. Paranoid – Kanye West

16. #1 Crush (Original Version) – Garbage

17. Tell Me – The Chain Gang of 1974

18. Family Tree – TV on the Radio

19. Disarm – The Smashing Pumpkins

20. Spellbound – Siouxsie and the Banshees

21. Asleep – The Smiths


Noise is good. Especially of the cosmic variety.

We are surrounded by Noise. Not the common noise of planes, trains, automobiles, electronics, barks, meows, and so forth. But the Noise of the Heart, the Mind, the Body, the Spirit. The Noise of the Family, the Workplace, the Livelyhood, and the Being.

We get distracted by the Noises that occupy our varying roles in life. Yearning for a singular thread of theme that will show itself clearly through the tangles of our personal various ‘musical notes’ and experiences. We tend to lose the rhythm of our own personal being, or we lose ourselves in the chaotic cacophony of those around us; whether close or distant, it doesn’t matter. Or, unfortunately, we’ve become so used to being one with someone else’s Noise, their beat and rhythm, that we never know the fruits of composing our own jingle, our own theme song within the gamut of our life’s potential soundtrack.

But once you hone in on that unique composition; a healthy balance of the many Noises within your own life… Oh, boy… The music becomes exhilarating, prophetic, and oh so YOU. You will discover that the different notes you prayed to the Master Composer for have been embedded within the sound-waves surrounding you. Your Song will finally be conducted, ready for the masses to consume and celebrate. Your Noise will become an emphatic Symphony, remarkably unmistakable and genuinely unique in nature.

Your Song will finally be ready to be Sung.


You retreat within the dark castle of your mind;

 intimidating, saturnine turrets hold flags at half mast to signify your request for solitude.

The surrounding,  impenetrable barrier, erected and protected by your anger and rage, is all that stands between you and the harsh factuality that is life.

But it is also what keeps me from reaching you. From consoling you. From loving…


The only company within your darksome citadel is the warring trifecta within your mind; the only topic on hand is emotional destruction,

yet their language is foreign enough for you to not comprehend the repercussions of such a callous move.

Outside, I bang my bloodied hands on the icy,  stony barricade, each strike hurting from the unforgiving freeze burn; begging, demanding, for you to

Let. Me. In.

Eventually I stop after your silence deafen my ears. Your ‘company’ grins broadly like the Cheshire cat; thinking they’ve defeated the only foe against their plans for dominating your life with angry misshapen images of your world’s view.

But they, your ‘company,’ underestimates the one factor that always matters. The “divine move” that always conquers its opponent in the end: Love.

My Love.

I return to your hellish castle brandishing arsenal that would make Cupid blush with pride.

However, while these particular weapons can’t tear down the pseudo-misanthropic fence you’ve built with one powerful blow…

…they can at least leave dents. Fissures. Cracks.

And with my love for you, all of you, being eternal…

…I will never run out of ammunition.

Just let me into your darkness.

Just let me in…

A Haunting? 

A Haunting?

You rule these cavernous, contorted halls like an emperor of the nether, traveling aimlessly for a cause; waiting patiently for the manifestation of an ill-advised sliver to appear.

 Are you of the unconscious mind? Or are you from a past undone?

Once the otherworldly breach occurs you slither through, a beautiful nightmare; your impossible presence uncanny, yet carelessly summoned.
Are you a propitious, conscious being’ Or are you a voided husk; a one way, mischievous vacuüm to the ether?

You are now here in the cerebral corporeality, your spectral talons gripped firmly into this jaded reality. Your invasive tentacles, happily and intricately, coiled throughout the ingenuously naiveté of your prey; promising an indefinite companionship, whether graciously welcomed or vehemently despised.

When your current assignment runs its transcendental course, you silently slip back to your phantasmagorical realm, aimlessly cruising its cataclysmic highway until another foolhardy or blissfully ignorant exit to this plane of existence introduces itself.


(Author’s Note: Wrote this during a low point in my life recently. Originally posted this as a status on Facebook and a few people liked it. So here it is again.)
Beautiful Chaos
To create we must destroy everything we’ve ever known. Sometimes it takes an act of Mother Nature, a basic storm if you will, to achieve such a drastic makeover. Personal storms are just as equally violent and literally destructive as their ‘namesakes,’ no matter if they’re external or not. But expect to feel trepidation – a fear that you mightn’t make it through the night or what…ever length of time your personal storm may last – sets in and consumes you, becoming your constant companion on the hellish ride, while anxiety acts as the other passenger, both chiming in from the backseat or the a darkened corner of the recesses of your mind ever so often. Doubting your chances of survival. Underestimating your potential to see the carnage through.
But when the storm, personal or literal, finally hits… This is where the real test begins. Because once the chaos finally commences its temporary reign of cataclysmic renewal, a point of no return is not an option. You must face it through. It WILL effect you. It HAS to effect you for the next step in the restoration process to truly begin.
Previously comfortable foundations (relationships), irreplaceable personal effects (identity), the shattered remnants of assimilated ideals (faith), must be in ruins or in some form of disarray. Battered, bruised, and busted. Ripe for reconstruction.
And when the dark clouds finally subside and nature restores dawn’s light, and you take all of those destroyed elements in your life and choose to (because you WILL have to make a choice) rebuild, refresh, and renew your life’s canvas, you’ve survived the storm.
And when that stupendous, revelatory sense of serenity finally hits your soul, then you’ll also know that everything, no matter how devastating you may have perceived it, will most definitely be all right.
Photo retrieved from World Book Advance through the Tennessee Electronic Library.

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