Hi everyone. I’m still alive. Just been busy. Here’s what with.
(Quick note: This went from a work update to kind of a rambly long post, my thoughts getting away from me, as they usually do but not usually in print, at least that anyone ever reads, thank goodness, except that one time maybe, but this time I just sort of went with it. Maybe it’s terrible and not worth your time, but maybe it’s not terrible and a little worth your time. I don’t know. But I’m trying to do better at this putting-myself-out-there-on-social-media thing, because Content Marketing, because I Need People To Read And Buy My Stuff.
Although if I’m being really honest, I got kind of scared at sharing some of these thoughts, but then I decided maybe that was selfish, because really I’m just sharing things I’ve learned lately, and maybe they’re things someone else would be happy to learn, too. So here you go.)
Working on promoting Behind the Drive, which is a fulltime job in and of itself. Learning a lot along the way, but it seems to be going pretty well. If you’ve had a chance to pick it up and you’ve read it, feel free to go on to Amazon and leave us a review. Thaaankya.
Also, if you want me and/or Kenney Moore (subject of BtD) to come speak at your college/club/organization/event/party/backyard barbecue then let me know and we’ll make it happen.
Finishing up one Really Big Story and gearing up for another.
This is whacky because the one big story I’ve been working on for about two months, and the other really big story I just got commissioned to write about two weeks ago and it’s due April 20 and it’ll probably run about a week after the first really big story runs. (First really big story is scheduled to drop April 22 as of now.)
They are also two wildly different stories about two people about as opposite of each other as possible. One guy, for the first really big story, is pretty unknown as of now, although he’s been getting more and more media attention every day, and he’s poised to really blow up soon. Feel lucky I got to know him when I did. Very nice, humble, honest guy.
Here’s a hint: he used to make millions a year and was a legit drug kingpin. I didn’t even know “drug kingpin” was a real term used by actual police. I thought it was just for movies and TV. But it’s real, you guys, and I know this because I totally hung out with one for a few days. Well, a former one, who’s doing cool things now that are legal and awesome. So excited about his story. (Take guesses at who it is in the comments. Correct guesses get 10 points.)
The other guy is about as famous as guys get, and not humble, and seemingly not very honest, and kind of makes bajillions of dollars because people either think he’s The Best Ever or because they’re sick of hearing him call himself The Best Ever and want to see him knocked out. I personally have no real feelings on the fellow one way or another, and I’m really trying super hard to figure out exactly who the guy is. I admire him in some ways, even. But those were lots of hints right there so I’ll hush up now. (Ditto on guessing in the comments.)
I’m also in the home stretch of a book proposal for a massively ambitious book project that I’ve been working on with my agent for the past six months or so. Can’t wait to tell you all more about that. (Not even dropping hints because it’s an idea I’m so excited about that I’ve reached that point where I become paranoid about everyone finding out and writing books about it and ruining it for me.)
In addition, I’ve been taking meetings with some people who want me to write books with them, people who seem pretty excellent and who you would probably recognize if I told you who they were, but I won’t because that’d be silly and also would probably jinx everything, if this hasn’t already. Would very much love to write their books with them. So hi you guys, if you’re reading this. (Ditto on the no-hints thing here.)
Oh and also I’m teaching two writing classes at two different community colleges, one of which is an hour away from me, because teaching rocks.
And on top of all this I’m trying to be a good husband and father and brother and son and friend. I’m doing okay at the first two of those and semi-okay at the last three, I think. You know how when you were a kid, a whole day, 24 hours, felt like forever? Well somewhere along the way of being a grown-up 24 hours started to feel like 24 minutes.
There’s just so not enough time.
It’s a weird time of life. I’m 27. I’m at an age where lots of people aren’t even dating someone seriously, much less married with a kid. It’s an age that TV shows kind of glamorize for being your “free years,” whatever that means — partying, adventuring, traveling, just being irresponsible without parents to tell you you’re being irresponsible, basically.
I don’t mean that to sound harsh. I say all the time I never thought I’d be married before I was 30, but then I realized I was in love with a girl I’d been buddies with since we were 10, and then lo and behold she felt the same way, and it was glorious, oh so glorious, and so then we were married at 22. I was way too young, I think, to understand what being a good husband really meant back then, so I screwed up a bit, but it’s worked out and now our lives are beautiful.
I tend to forget that sometimes because I get really wrapped up in my work. That’s where I’m going with this. I feel like this is an age for either being free, or for growing, and maybe the two can mean the same thing but I’m not sure they do, or at least, I’m not sure freedom means what people think it means.
In my mind, I’m free to pursue the work I love. Yeah, I’ve had to do some “finding myself” along the way, and I’ve had to learn and grow, but you know, I think working your tail off toward something worthwhile teaches you and helps you grow just as much if not more than any manner of irresponsible spending and partying and adventuring and whatevering.
I’m not being judgmental or whatever, just sort of thinking out loud.
This reminds me of a term I learned from Tommy Wallach‘s excellent novel We All Looked Up. I haven’t finished it — I’m about 200 pages in — but I think it’s safe for me to recommend, at least at this point. So if you go read it and all the pages after page 200 suck, well, my bad.
It’s a very teenagery novel, but it’s the sort of novel I love and want to write myself: It’s got some good thinking going on, and the story’s entertaining and hard to stop thinking about — these kids all sort of shed a persona they thought they were supposed to have as they reevaluate their lives after learning there’s a 66.6 percent chance the asteroid “Ardor” is going to wipe out humanity.
The first part of the book is about this kid named Peter, a basketball player who’s been working most of his life at being a basketball player, an athlete, and he’s going to Stanford on a basketball scholarship, life all set up nicely, and he plans to play as long as he can, and he’s worked really hard and he plans to work even harder at the game … and then his history teacher asks him if he would consider making it as a basketball player a pyrrhic victory.
A pyrrhic victory, we learn, is an ancient war term — I forget who coined it, but it basically means that you just won a battle but it cost you so much that it really was still like losing. Pyrrhic.
Not that being a basketball player is a pyrrhic or unworthy pursuit. I’m not one to define that for other people. Point is, that’s not what Peter really cared about, hence the pyrrhicness.
That’s how I feel like baseball was for me, and that’s how I also became about pickup basketball, and really sports on the whole, for a while. I grew up really entrenched in athletic culture. The kid across the street from ages 2-10 was the son, a year older than me, of a Division I basketball coach. He was intense and he was great at basketball and all sports really, and he was also a bully, he and this other older kid in the neighborhood. They made me feel like shit. Making matters worse, my kid brother, two years younger than me, was really good at sports, and it became pretty obvious that he wanted way more to do with them than me, because I kinda didn’t care about sports, but everyone else around me did, so I wanted to get good at them.
That consumed my life from age 9 to about two years ago. Even when baseball was done, even after I’d flamed out in college, badly and humiliatingly, I still sort of ached from it. Took a long time and some substantial therapy and dollars spent to work it all out.
But now, looking back, I’m so glad it didn’t work out. Because like my beautiful and wise wife always says, I needed to fail in order to quit, because I would’ve never quit otherwise, and baseball is not what I really wanted to do with my life. I know that now.
Making it in baseball would have been a pyrrhic victory.
That’s what I want to avoid now. That’s why I work so hard. I make sure the bulk of my energy goes toward my marriage and now my kid, and my work. I work on friendships whenever I can, but it’s hard — it’s hard for me to do what constitutes most friendships, which is just sort of hang out and do nothing. That’s not a bad thing. I get a round of golf in with my dad or my father-in-law or some buddies sometimes, and that’s a great time. Went snowboarding with a bunch of guys late last year and had a freaking blast.
But this is a time in life, at least for me and my wife, for building something worthwhile. For investing in something not pyrrhic. (I’m not sure if that’s the right way to use the word in a sentence but whatever I like it. Also I’m aware that there are lots of typos and improperly punctuated sentences in this blog post and I’m also aware that it’s somewhat rambly but hey, I’m blogging, and it’s conversational, and I just need to go with it or I’ll overthink my way into not posting this at all, which is most of my problem with blogging and social media in the first place.)
(That almost led me to start rambling anew about why I overthink and how I’m getting past that but this has gone on long enough, good sir, and now I’m talking to myself in the third person, which can’t be healthy.)
I’m not saying anyone who is my age or younger or older or immortal for that matter should spend all their time working or whatever. I don’t know what I’m saying. I think maybe the world would be better if we did all work towards something we can honestly tell ourselves is not pyrrhic, but I also think that I’m very much just a human dude and you shouldn’t care what I think.
This really was supposed to just be a quick update about my work. Oops.
So. Here’s to not-pyrrhic-ness.
And if you read all this, God bless you, good sir or madam, God bless you.
(TLDR — I’m doing lots of cool stuff for work but it’s taking up so much time but that’s okay in my mind because I’m trying to do stuff that’s not pyrrhic, which is probably a misuse of the word but whatever, and also I’m maybe just a little bit crazy but I kinda like it.)