August 17

August 17, 2017

There hasn’t been a time in this country’s history like this one. I can say that only because I’ve had the honor of learning actual American history from real teachers and storytellers and historians who were generous enough to share their knowledge and let me be in the room at the same time. This time in history is certainly an anxious one, one of great malaise and uncertainty.

But I don’t need to tell you this, you already know. You’re a person in the world and you don’t have your head in the sand. Our President is a man of no quality. His Cabinet is one of laughability in their lock-step behind his own ego. Congress is reliably unreliable. Our cities need the consistent hard work that only local leaders with true conviction can give. Everything is local

Where do we go from here? I like to think that we’re going to a place where justice is frequent, and we help each other. But I’m not optimistic. A few things have to happen before then, including the removal of our current placeholder of the Oval Office. Let’s just call that person POO for now. Hardly clever, I realize, but acronymically appropriate.

The truth must set us all free. In trying to find the truth, it’s very hard today in 2017 to not be distracted by utter nonsense and untruths about what actually happened. The level of bullshit that stemmed from the tragedy in Charlottesville. Our current leaders and how their spineless nature and morally bankrupt dispositions lead us to want to pull our remaining hair out. The constant presence of Nazis. And how they somehow have a seat at the table that decides the future of this country. It’s consistently shocking, numbing, and making us all want to crawl into bed and not get up tomorrow morning.

I’m 36 today. A working creative person with a dayjob that doesn’t exactly invite good storytelling habits, I want to do better. Organization has always been the cornerstone at getting anything done for me, and it’s something I’ve been working on for many weeks after going through an unthinkable life episode. I hope I’m back. I hope to contribute things and be productive. False starts are always going to be a part of this. I’m optimistic to a level where I think this is not one of those.

These are times of nerves. Each of us tell our own story. Expression is crucial. Production is, too.


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January 9

Keep Busy And Tell The Truth

Hello. In the last few months of 2016, I did a copious amount of reading of both fiction and non-fiction. I didn’t need the escape, but I did want to learn and absorb ideas and topics that I wasn’t well-versed. Get outside of my own head, which is something I had been in for awhile before that. Self-improvement by way of gaining knowledge. Seeing what else is out there, not a bad thing in most cases.

But while I was pouring through my own library and a couple of local ones here in Washington County, Oregon, one reliable truth kept hitting at me hard. Stay busy and keep telling the truth. Because we’re not all lucky enough to have the freedom and time to express ourselves like we want to. I’m very lucky, and I think I know how to understand it and go forward with it.

What is a bubble? It’s a mindset where you limit exactly what you take in, whether you realize it or not. You read and absorb the things and sources that will confirm your own biases. Let’s be real here, everyone is biased in hundreds of ways. While that may be the truth, these biases aren’t terrible things. They are puzzle pieces that partially make up who you are and what you do every day.

And what do you do every day? What do any of us do? I hate to speak for anyone else in this subject, so I won’t do it here. And if you think you will see it here, you’re best to look elsewhere, hopefully towards reliable leaders who do not let you down and are actually in a position to lead and carry a good narrative forward. I know what I do every day: stay busy and keep telling the truth.

I’m in the middle of a few projects right now. A dream I had the other night had me sitting at a sales table at some author convention in the latter part of 2018, flanked by stacks of my own books and story collections, out there feeling human among the readers. This dream was a good one and proved very lucid, making my insides relax in a way that they don’t usually. So in this dream I was finished with the projects that I’m working through at the moment. At this dream table, I wasn’t concerned with the newer projects, manuscripts, editors, editing, putting down thousands of words per week, the constant battles with blank pages, the usual writer neurotic stuff. I was just there, in the moment, Occasionally, a reader would come up to my table and I would talk with them. To a writer, this type of interaction makes them feel much more human than when we’re in a room by ourselves fighting with putting words in the right order and other assorted things of the nature. So it was nice, and I’m welcoming more dreams like this at any time, even if they come at the cost of me snoozing away at my dayjob.

Every year is a rebirth, but we all normally keep the same habits and go on with our lives. January 1 does seem like a gift before it happens. Afterward, you get back into your patterns, trying to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. Personally, I’m about to enter into a different dayjob. It should be a good bit of interesting, and will be nice to network with new people. I remain a writer and editor at heart, forever working on the next story, so in this respect nothing changes. I remain married to my wife, and it’s a partnership that both of us work on frequently. The two of us, along with our dog, Arrow, and cat, Nala, are trying to achieve levels of happiness that we know that are possible. It’s both joy and work, and I know that I’d never have it any other way.

In the next two weeks, I’m going to decide exactly what to premiere this calendar year. I had designs on getting the second volume of 188 out this April. I’m currently writing this book, but am not sure of just how to put it out. I want it to be a compliment to the original, but I also want to expand the ideas that they both have. And not just for self-edification, either. I want the stories to do something, to mean something, to move people. It’s a big project.

There are also 30-50 page short stories that I want to put out this year. Really get into great characters that find themselves up many different trees, maybe leave a couple of them there, definitely get most of them down somehow. Overall, storytelling is such a joy. I believe in the power of great storytelling. It saved my life many times. Inspiration to keep going is everywhere, even when you’re snowed in up on a 2nd-floor walk-up apartment in Portland, Oregon, where we’re having one of the coldest winters on record.


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