I’m glad you asked. I mean, I know you’ve been wondering…right?
I think my last post was around six months ago. It’s odd, because I didn’t really make a specific decision to take a break–it just happened. I’ve been writing though, just not here, or online publicly. And I’ll tell you about it in just a minute. And that’s what this email is: a brief update on where I’m at mentally, and physically, as in–according to the US Post Office, because Anna and I recently moved:)
So that’s item one: This June Anna and I bought our first home. It’s technically my fourth home, but it’s the first home we bought together since getting married eight years ago. We looked at over a hundred (thank God my mom was our realtor or we probably would have been traded off because we were kicking way too many house tires). It was such a fun but, still, somewhat stressful experience. Stressful because you don’t always get the house you put an offer on. Fun because the house we finally landed on is perfect in almost every way imaginable. Except for the fact that I can’t run around naked in the backyard due to having neighbors nearby. Guess that dream will have to come later…
But truly, this year, buying our first family home has been a dream come true. I’ll never forget driving down 28th st, about to turn right on Ivanrest when I got the call from my mom that our offer had been accepted. I bit my lip, said thank you, hung up, looked at Jack in the rear view mirror, and then cried like a baby. It felt like that scene in The Pursuit of Happiness where Will Smith finally gets the job, and then walks outside into a crowd of people and the voice over says, “This right here, this is happiness.” Jack leans forward and hugs me and cries a little too. It was happiness.
Item two would be to share with you what I’m working on….
Again, I don’t remember making a decision to pull back from writing. But something combining Anna going to Massage Therapy School (graduating with flying colors this June by the way, she’s the best), getting our home, upgrading our piano shop space and doing some renovations, all just tired me out a bit. Anna and I both felt like all we wanted to do was work as little as possible, and sit on our back deck and watch our kids and puppies play in the back yard. Oh, that’s right, we got two puppies; Hitch & Marvel. The boys named Marvel and Anna and I named Hitch after (nope, not the Will Smith movie) one of my heroes Christopher Hitchens (his nickname was Hitch). They are Cocker Spaniel / Golden Retreiver mixes, the damn cutest and sweetest things ever. I’ll probably write quite a bit later about the personal growth I’ve gone through as I spent a few months going through a lot of dog training. Working with the two pups has centered me and showed me so much about the energy I carry and omit; how angry, impatient and dominant I can be. They’re like a mirror, constantly showing me–wether I like to admit it or not–what state I’m in at any moment. But I’ll tell you about it some other time:)
Anyway, so I took a step back from writing, and the more days and weeks that passed, I realized it was very needed. I needed to shed some stuff I was carrying from the year prior; some anger, some guilt, some shame, some self doubt (lot’s of that), some judgments, some motivations–the list goes on. And I didn’t and still don’t know exactly what that all entails, but all in all I felt like I needed to spend some time just asking myself: Why am I writing anything at all? What’s behind it? What am I trying to say? Who am I trying to say it to? What am I hoping to get out of it?
It’s weird how the year before, I had a major event–I wrote my first book. It was something to celebrate and be proud of. I did a thing. A thing I’d never done and always wanted to do. It was huge, for me. It still is. But it didn’t sell how I’d hoped. Give, I only shared it on my facebook page. Everyone that did read it, and especially those who listened to the Audiobook all loved it. And not just family and friends, strangers too. So I think the feedback was honest. But still, when you spend hundreds of hours typing and thinking and feeling and designing a cover, and editing, and re-editing, over and over, pouring your time and emotions and heart into something, you end up in that crazy weird vulnerable place where now you feel at the mercy of the public, and feedback is life or death. And that’s something I wanted to rinse myself of–the need to hang on to feedback and performance as much as I admit I do. A good comment literally makes me want to write another book, a bad one makes me want to die. I know, it sucks…I’m fixing it:)
So, a few months ago I hired a life coach. Well, first, let me back up, I was talking to another piano company about buying their company, and even flew out to Los Angeles to do a training about it. I did what I always do and bought a book at the airport bookstore to take with me on the flight. It was, of course, called “The One Thing.” I sit down on the plane and chapter one basically says, “Are you fucking doing your one thing?” And I’m taxiing on the runway out of Grand Rapids saying back to the damn book, “No! I’m fucking not!” By the time I get to Los Angeles I had worked through the guilt and silliness of how I’m the kind of person that needs to buy a ticket and fly across the country to a place to realize I don’t want to be at that place. I back out of the three day training thing, rent a car, golf with my cousin, read, listen to a bunch of podcasts, and wonder to myself when I’m going to do my ONE THING. And, to be honest, my ONE THING has always confused me. Do I want to start a podcast? Have a cool youtube channel? Be a public speaker? A life coach? A Counselor? An author? Write music for movies? Make a documentary? WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?
Truth is, I’ve sort of, always done what it is I want to do; I write, I make music, I help people in the coaching/inspirational kind of way that I can. I or life just hasn’t opened the door that helps me find out if those things I do could turn into something that creates income. Because that’s the only way to define personal success right? If you can make money from the thing you love. And this is a great dilemma because it means most people, then, aren’t really good at anything other than their job. But most of us don’t identify our soul, our hearts, our passion, our ONE THING with our job, do we?
So I had to make a couple decisions. That’s when I hired a Writing Coach.
I called her because I realized that wether anyone really liked my writing–I liked writing. And she helped me see how self sabotaging I can be, because most people who’ve ever read my writing really like it. I have a habit of shining my flashlight on the one or two ugly ducks in the pond all the while hundreds of nice and positive ones are swimming all around . It’s hard to not identify with criticism. Don’t know why. Wish I didn’t care. But I do. And I’m managing it:)
I came back to writing because it’s something–like music–that really developed for me when I was in my early twenties. It’s a hobby or practice or activity (like mountain biking or painting) that has simply been so enjoyable for me. Sometimes I get more caught up in writing for or to others, but when I come back to how healthy and centering and meditative and calming and inspirational it has been for me, I realize it’s something I’m going to do for the rest of my life, wether I’m ever popular for it or famous for it. There’s been an innocence reclaimed. An ability to start over and look at it again with new eyes, new motives, doing it for me, for life, and then, sharing it as a bonus. But you don’t see all that because I’ve been writing a book.
Yup. Celebration time! I’m officially 52,000 words into a novel I’m calling “The Wishing Well.” It’s the longest writing work I’ve yet accomplished, and the story is about 70% of the way done. As perspective, the Devil’s Name story was about 18,000 words; a short novela. This one will be about 80,000 when done, I believe; a true novel. It will probably be done around the new year, then I’ll start working on cover art stuff and the audiobook etc., so another 3-4 months yet until it’s complete and ready for ya’ll to enjoy.
It’s a story about a boy who heard about a magical well on top of a mountain. A well that if you looked into would show you the face of God. As the story goes, those who found the well, and looked in, were either happy or sad. The boy wants to know for himself what he would find, so he leaves home in search of this well. It’s seriously an EPIC story. Part history, part philosophy, part mystery, part romance, part thieves and sex and witches and angels and religion and magic and…you’ll just have to find out:) Every day sitting down and writing this story has shown me how sad I’ll be when it’s done, because it really is super fun and nail biting and invigorating and heart breaking and just fun to write. Maybe I’ll be the only one who loves it. But, I hope you will too. And, for goodness sakes, tell every single person in your life about it and buy a copy for them. Please. Please. Just kidding. If you’re on this list, I will probably gladly sign a copy and give it to you as a gift.
That’s most of what I wanted to say. Moving forward, I don’t know if I’ll do much consistent blogging. My main focus is this book and will be for the next two months. But still, even with blogging, there’s some old motivations I think I was able to shake, and I believe in myself and you and some of these ideas rolling around in my head, and I’ve returned to really just writing what I truly think will help me and others. I don’t want to write something to prove someone or some group wrong. I don’t want to write angry anymore or with a stick up my butt. I didn’t much, but I would mask it (at least I thought I masked it).
So, if you want to follow my work and stay tuned, please feel free to stay on this list. If you don’t really care and my writing hasn’t connected with you in the past, or you somehow started following me because I added you, or it was good at first but now after a few dates you want to break up, I would not blame you or judge your or be upset in the slightest if you wanted to unsubscribe. Honestly, please only stick around if you really really want to.
K. That’s me lately. Hope you’ve all been good. Thanks for reading 🙂