Monday, April 30, 2012


I don't often think of myself as a problem solver, but perhaps that's exactly what I am.  I look at things; focus on them, study them until I come up with a solution, a way to make them better.  Usually these things are mundane and involve storage and household tasks; however, they leave me feeling rejuvenated once they are complete.  In some ways it's about appreciating the minutiae of life, the small moments that add up to create one day.   When I narrow down the items on my to-do list, I start to feel as though I have been freed or something.   When there is less on my plate, I feel infinitely more creative.  When I see products that are loaded down with caffeine (I love soda as much as the next person, but I digress), I start to realize that, as a society, we don’t need more energy—rather, we need less stress.  I need to prioritize and decide what is important to me, what is necessary to make me the best person I can possibly be. 

There is definitely a reason behind the phrase, “take time to stop and smell the roses.”  Flowers are a fleeting thing, like so much of life—they come into our lives, then leave, and we are left to hope they will return again someday.  Flowers, if tended, usually come back year after year.  Friendships and relationships must also be tended if they are to grow and thrive.  I have never been great at maintaining friendships—I am an introvert and life and its circumstances always seem to get in the way.  But I’m trying. 

Currently listening to:  Rumour Has It by Adele

Friday, April 27, 2012


Throughout my life I have been a pretty horrible procrastinator.  In school I would complete assignments, but not before putting them off to the last possible minute.  I didn’t even mind sitting up half the night before I always felt like I was doing great work under pressure.  I also tend to get my second wind around midnight, which makes no sense.  That’s when most people are asleep and resting for the next day.  Procrastination continued throughout graduate school but lessened; when you are only enrolled in three classes a semester you have less of an excuse for it.  Now I find it creeps into my writing as I do things to delay finishing chapters and even sentences.   I think the expression, “familiarity breeds contempt”, applies here.   The longer we spend with our own work, the more our interest in it dims.  We have spent hours, days, even weeks and months perfecting until we are sick of it.  We need to take the time to step outside of ourselves, our work, in order to appreciate it.  When you’ve immersed yourself to the point that you inhabit your own work, no matter how large or small, stepping back can be very difficult.  Life is a series of transitions and obstacles that we traverse and overcome.   Procrastination can be a good thing, but waiting is never easy.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have completed my first novel, Windswept.  While I consider myself a perfectionist and will need to give it yet another read through, it is done.  It's amazing to think that this journey began barely two months ago when I was cold, bored, and tired of not having anything to do.  The scariest part of all of this is that, eventually, I will have to put this product out to have it potentially dissected by perfect strangers.  Then again, that's also my goal--to have others enjoy my work.  I have already gone through and formatted it properly so hopefully when I submit the draft all goes well.  I can't give enough thanks to all of those who provided encouragement to my writing--I am forever in debted to you.  I also have to
thank in advance anyone who is willing to take the chance to follow my work, either in book form or on this blog.  I appreciate your time as well as your eyes.  Everyone's words and advice was so beneficial that I am now deeply into writing my second novel.  Not sure how long it will take as the story, thus far, has a little more depth than I expected.  It will be interesting as I try to push my own boundaries and look outside myself throughout the writing process.  I also hope that both books will be worth the wait!

Currently listening to:  "All By Myself" by Celine Dion

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Two

I'm about 100% sure this is crazy, but I've already started writing a second book before the first book has been completely edited.  When ideas fly into my head, they have to either go somewhere or be lost forever.  The entire experience of writing has placed me, to begin with, outside my comfort zone.  Therefore, it is much easier to take the risk of writing a second book so quickly.  So, to make a long story short, I'm now working on two books rather than just one.  Stay tuned at your own risk, readers.

Currently listening to: "Letters from the Sky" by Civil Twilight

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Betrayal can come in many forms.  We can be betrayed by loved ones, family or friends, and even people whom we barely know.  Over the past year I have considered a betrayal that may have been unintentional from the very beginning, or may have been purposeful and malicious.  I suppose I will never know the truth.  I interviewed for what I consider, in some ways, to be a dream job.  Maybe not World Famous Movie Star or LEGO designer, but I job I wanted all the same.  In my mind, the interview went well.  Still, to this day, I think that the interview went well.  I have to wonder if I received many mixed signals that day.  While I have yet to experience a perfect interview--I'm much more articulate in print than in person--I thought this one went quite well.  I had so much hope, felt so much promise afterward--and then nothing happened.  I never received a call back to let me know that someone else had been hired, or that I was awful, or that I just wasn't right for the job.  After a while, a call that simply said, "F*** you" would have been fine. Some kind, any kind of acknowledgement of my actually being a candidate for the job.  I even sent a follow-up thank you card but today, I am still waiting to hear something.  No, I am not really still waiting--a month after the interview I was in the establishment and saw with my own two eyes that they'd hired someone else for the job. In so many ways, I felt used, unnecesssary, part of someone's quota.  Every other job I've applied for, there's either been a phone call or a system generated email.  I appreciate those rejections far more than hearing nothing at all.

I am sure in my own life that I have been guilty of betrayals and maligning others.  If I've ever done that to any of you, I apologize.  We grow and change and hopefully we get better as we get older.  We all are charged with making difficult decisions. These either build character or prove that we have none.  In two of my college jobs, I interviewed and was involved with the job search process.  I always tried to be kind to people.  Sometimes I have to wonder if I'm full of bad karma for some slight I've forgotten about, something in my past that I shouldn't have done.  It's important to remember that I am not the wealthiest of people and I have often had to turn down things because I just didn't have the time or money to pursue them.  Maybe the worst hurt of all, then, is when we betray ourselves.  Stick to what you're good at, what makes you happy.  Take risks but don't toss your whole life away for five minutes of happiness.  And whatever you do, think before you betray someone.  The bridge you burn today, as they say, may be your only avenue of travel tomorrow.

Monday, April 9, 2012


One difficult aspect of writing this blog is transparency.  I find myself wondering if there are things I should or should not share.  Ultimately, though, it's all up to me.  I have to decide what to share.  Ultimately, much of it will be about my writing, at least for now.  Lately I have been considering the process of editing.  So far, I have mainly had to restructure sentences and change words.  I am so, well, satisfied with what I wrote, as it came from my head, that I have very little need or desire to scrap anything.  As I continue to edit, I am sure I will find more things to tweak.  Meanwhile, I'm sure everyone is glad to usher in allergy season with me.  My car is already covered in a film of pollen, but at least the azaleas are in bloom.  I am also in awe of the green, green grass that returns every spring without fail.  There's nothing fake about it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


In the course of my life I have dreamed up many, many careers for myself.  They have all been so vivid that my mind has conjured up entire lives surrounding these potential futures.  Among these are/were:

-Teacher:  The first career most children are exposed to is that of teacher.  Like many others have surely done, I would create my own worksheets and reuse my workbooks to pretend to be a schoolteacher.  I carried this dream for a good, long, and while many would like to see me choose it as my vocation, I am so uncomfortable in front of groups—even groups of young people.  I’d have to endure some type of immersion therapy.

-Doctor:  This one was pretty brief.  I had a toy doctor’s kit and created patient records for a whole lot of stuffed animals.  It was fun while it lasted, but I would never want to be anything other than a pediatrician.  Cutting on people and being expected to put them back together is a responsibility best left to those with steady hands.

-Architect:  This is the one I still dream the most about, secretly, and don’t tell anyone about it.  Those who have known me for years know that I spent many, many hours drawing, erasing, and creating my own home plans.  I read so, so many books about famous architecture, I memorized all the most important American styles, and I still have so much love for Frank Lloyd Wright that I did a project about him in graduate school.   My love for HGTV is rooted partly in my quest for knowledge.  When you consider that I am the son of a carpenter and have been watching “This Old House” for my entire life, none of this is surprising.  That doesn’t even begin to take into account my Lego obsession.  I actually invented an entire life for myself, an architect/Mr. Mom who had the flexibility to raise his son in a mansion of my own creation while my wife took business trips.  Like I said, I have a vivid imagination.  When an architect visited for career day, I soaked up every word.  While other kids were playing video games, I was drawing homes in my Art Club sketchpad.  In high school, I simultaneously held onto and let go of the dream.  My drafting class went somewhat miserably; it was here that I first found I had no ability to render things in three-dimensions.  Blueprints also lost some of their appeal, but I also managed to create a house that was equal to or better than most of my peers.  I continued drawing and creating house plans, barely stopping until I got deep into college admission essays and honors coursework.  So why didn’t I pursue architecture as a major?  Reality set in—architects must attend school for literally years to even get that title, and after all of that schooling they still aren’t paid that much as an average salary.  When I got to college, I realized I had made the right decision; there was so much to be learned outside of architecture, so many other things that I enjoyed studying.  Still, in the back of my mind, I imagine what it would be like to design houses and have people live in them.  Maybe someday, I’ll design my own house and bring things full circle.

Psychologist:  Most people know that my BA is in psychology.  Many people know that my goal for many years was to become a licensed psychologist and provide counseling.  So what was the hang up?  In a word—or two—graduate school was the ultimate stumbling block.  I admittedly didn’t apply to many schools, but when my first choice devastated me, I was crushed.  I had put so much effort into my admissions essay and gathering letters of recommendation.  I performed above their expectations on the GRE.  A lot of people may not know or care, but college was very difficult for me.  I did not fit into any type of party scene or social group outside of my Peer Mentor job with Student Support Services.  So much of my time was spent in classes that bored me, and I begged for each day and week to reach its end so I could either get home or to the end of the semester.  I would take notes, study, and then exams would just not go well.  My best grades were in History and French—completely and totally unrelated to my major.  I did have some wonderful friends who helped in the process, but ultimately I was the one taking the tests and performing below my expectations.  I would spend hours alone in my dorm room, trying to do homework and finding that none of it interested me.  If we discussed a topic of interest in a psychology course, it was never for a long enough period of time for me to excel or gain any attention.  I don’t think most of the professors even remembered me after the semester came to an end.  I must have seemed like a pathetic case when I visited their office hours.  While psychology and related subjects ultimately became miserable, and I was so lonesome so much of the time, I stuck with it.  My senior year was so difficult but it was also one of my best years.  I got pretty darned good grades in most classes and much of my free time was spent with two wonderful friends, one of whom is now an attorney and the other one is now my own personal motivational speaker.  I also got so much wonderful advice from my work supervisor and my final psychology professor was a warm and welcome surprise, a person who gave me great advice and made me feel like I fit into the study of psychology.  I was so grateful for the A that I earned in that class.  Even though 2006 was ultimately the best and worst year ever, I found a lot of courage.  I continued to research and apply to programs even though it never worked out.  I still feel, in some ways, as though my chance to be a psychologist was blunted by those who couldn’t see my potential.  It put me on a two-and-a-half year path in which I struggled to find my identity.  Ultimately, it led me to my goal:  graduate school, major bedamned.

-Librarian:  I’m still trying to work on this one.  A close friend suggested I apply for UK’s library science program and I worked, worked, and worked on my application until it was just right.  I asked for letters of recommendation from some individuals who hadn’t forgotten my good work.  Less than two months after submitting my stuff, I got the most wonderful email—the program would admit me on a deferred status since I’d applied so late.  I gladly accepted their offer, and didn’t think twice about it.  It certainly wasn’t psychology, and it definitely wasn’t architecture, but it brought me back to one of my first loves—the library and the wealth of knowledge that came from reading.  My mother made me a reader from an early age and I never lost the want-to when it came to books.  In many ways graduate school was vastly easier than undergrad—the studying was specialized and it was about things I wanted to study!  It was also very difficult at times; I had a professor who clearly had a screw loose and tried to fail me on nearly every assignment.  I gritted it out and tried to “cowboy up” as my dad is fond of saying.  It was so hard to get into grad school and no way in hell was I getting tossed out.  I did make some wonderful friends but ultimately my goals to garner a huge friendship went unmet; I just don’t fit in with most people.  I took a calculated risk in the second summer, taking a course that could have been my undoing; a bad grade would have removed me from the program.  Instead, though, I got an A in the course and my faith was restored.  I spent most of grad school working at the library in the university medical center; my co-workers were so wonderful and always made me feel like I was a valuable part of their office.  I will be forever grateful to them.  I finished graduate school quietly, an ice storm providing the only major drama of that final week.  I began to look for jobs, and I still am at the present time.  I’m not sure what people see in interviews, but they clearly aren’t seeing the real me who had worked very hard to earn two degrees; the first-generation college student who bucked cultural trends and statistics and made my own path through education; the creative person who can come with a promotional flyer in all of three seconds.  People look at my resume and my face and quickly reject me; sometimes they don’t even bother to call or write and tell me that I’m worthless to them.  For now it looks like I may never become a librarian; my dreams to utilize my education have unfortunately been dashed left and right.  Through it all, I have tried to stay ME—I have only the education and job experience I have.  I am an introvert but I generally try very hard to be outgoing, friendly, and accommodating.  If I don’t fit into people’s stereotypes or preconceived notions, then so be it.  I’m not going to be something I’m not just to please someone who isn’t worth my time.  I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep applying, and I’ll keep trying.

-Writer:  This brings us full circle, readers.  Creating stories about me in my mind is fun, but creating stories about others can be profitable.  In theory, that is.  Most people complained about it but 95% of the time in college, I loved writing papers.   I may be a lousy public speaker but in my works teachers get such a good idea of what is in my mind, my ability to lay out ideas and reason and research.   Reading their compliments and comments would always give me hope. Even though most of the writing was technical I learned a lot about being concise; a five-page papers means write five pages and no more.  I may never become a professional writer or best-selling author, but the ability to write is one thing I am proud to have learned.  

And just for fun:

-Blonde:  Not a really a career, per se, but I always wanted to know what it was like to have blonde hair.  While I regularly receive compliments on my dark, almost obsidian hair, I still wonder what it would be like to look different.   Blondes have more fun and seem to tan way better than pale old me.

-Athlete: Seriously, just once I would love to have an athletic talent.  Instead I have long gawky arms and poor coordination.  At least I’m tall.

Okay, I went a little to in-depth on my dreams but if you feel inspired or have any of your own to share, please feel free to do so!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Creative Overdrive

Do you ever feel like too much is going on at once in your head?  I find myself, especially when I should be doing other things, overcome with ideas.  I mean, I probably sound kind of spacey here because creativity is a wonderful thing--but sometimes it's a kind of burden.  If I don't write my ideas down, will they disappear?  If I don't make a note of something, am I doomed to forget it until an inopportune moment in the future?  Sometimes you want to turn off your creativity, like a spigot, but then I realize my life would be empty without it.  So for now I have to embrace it, no matter what form it takes.  For so many years, I was confined and constrained by the college way of doing things, where I had to complete assignments written in passive voice.  Plain, technical, and simple, but not much fun.  We all find inspiration in a variety of settings, which leads to so many different and wonderful creations.  When we're free from constaints, we are free from limits.

Currently listening to:  "I Want You to Need Me" by Celine Dion

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Home Stretch

For all intents and purposes, my novel is complete.  I will continue to revise and edit but the story as it stands it finished.  Completing the final two chapters was something of a struggle, as I tried to fit in as much information as was humanly possible to complete my tome.  In some ways I wondered if perhaps I should cut out the last chapter entirely, but then I felt it unfair to potential readers to deprive them of a proper ending.  It really is shocking that I was able to write an entire novel in five to six weeks.  It really seems like much longer!  Some days I was literally counting down the hours until I could fire up the inspiration and park myself at the computer.  Now I am in the process of designing a book cover, which may or may not be a good idea.  I hold no grand illusions about my drawing talents, but I always have hope the art classes I took throughout school taught me one or two things about drawing.  As good as I have always been at putting my feelings into words, I envy those who can sit down and draw well at the drop of a hat.  My ability to draw contours and depth has always been kind of sketchy; I have no clue how to shade.  I rely on color and shape to get my point across, which sounds odd as you'd think that would go hand in hand with contour and depth.  This is probably why I always enjoyed the medium of paint; it is truly freeing to mix colors and create new ones, without the constraint of lines.  As a Gemini I am inherently well-qualified to understand duality and paradoxical situations.  This leads me to wonder, of course, if we are meant to nurture and grow more than one talent, skill, or interest.