The path forward

With each passing day, each rejection letter or rejection form letter, I find myself narrowly continuing to write.

Yesterday, while I sat in the barber’s chair. I listened to my barber talking to a young kid.

At first, the kid said he wanted to be an apprentice.

As the conversation developed, the kid’s view changed.

My barber is a smart dude.

He knows what he’s talking about. I enjoy the conversation in the shop as much as the haircut.

When I was this kid’s age (21) I had no idea what I wanted to do.

It took me until I was in my thirties before I knew I wanted to write full-time. Now I write full time, don’t get paid for it and enjoy my life more than I ever have.

Sure, sometimes we struggle, but the moments when I write something that resonates with my wife, those make this worth it.

I bartend to make ends meet. My wife had a good job that allows me to write full-time.

When we left Las Vegas three years ago, we knew it was time to get out.

I knew I couldn’t do another year in Vegas.

I dealt with severe depression, a job I hated and an environment that wasn’t good for my kids.

Three years on, I’m getting better.

I’ve written four novels in the last three years. I have one being queried another I’m editing and I work on short stories daily.

The way you look at life matters.

Three years ago, we arrived at my mother-in-law’s, our belongings in storage, it took me two months to find a bartending gig.

We hadn’t anticipated that it would be hard for me to find a bartending gig after seventeen years on the Las Vegas strip.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the places I work.

For the longest time, I was afraid of getting my work out there. But I have a wife and two kids who need me to keep going.

I need to show my kids that you can do what you want in this life if you work for it.

They need to know that hard work pays off.

The last three years have been difficult, there’s no doubt about that, but without difficulties, life wouldn’t feel as good when we reach our goals.

I’ll continue writing because I like it and it’s one of a few things I’m good at. Bartending and being a dad are some of those things.

Life matters, no matter how hard it gets, life matters.

How a little push helped me this week.

This past week my family and I took a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.

It’s something I’d planned since last year and it was our kid’s choice.

Each summer our kids spend two weeks with my parents.

This past summer was no different.

When our kids came home I gave them three options for a trip this summer. Chicago, Washington D.C. or Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

They chose Harry Potter.

We arrived at Universal and for some reason, I was in a bad mood. All of the first day I was an asshole to my wife, son, and daughter, but mostly to my son.

That night my wife called me out on it and I┬áhadn’t thought I had been any different. I believed it was the kids who were acting up.

After sleeping that night and contemplating the previous day during my morning meditation, I realized I’d been an ass.

After everyone was ready, I apologized to my family, giving my son special attention that day to make up for my attitude the previous day.

After four years of transcendental meditation, dealing with recurring depression and thoughts of giving up on writing, I sometimes lose my way.

I tell you this because no matter how much better we think we’re getting, we slip sometimes.

There are days when life feels harder than it should be. Those days should make the other days better.

Sometimes they do.

There is always the nagging of depression. Fighting it every day feels like a chore, but its better than the alternative.

Doubt has crept into my mind recently.

It rears its head when I get a rejection notice or an agent doesn’t reply at all.

My head screws with me. Tells me that I need to quit and get a real job. It says I should do more to support my family.

My wife tells me to keep writing and without her, I don’t know what I’d do.

Last week she corrected me on my attitude. This week she told me to keep going.

Today I feel better, but I know doubt and depression could creep in at any moment.

I try to keep my head above the pit and continue to write.

Short stories and improving have been my goal this summer.

I’m getting better and I’m querying a novel with multiple agents at the moment.

Today, I’ll be bartending at an event and think about what I should be writing tomorrow.

Every day is a blessing and I’m not done yet.

The Effort it takes…

There are those who say that we don’t put enough effort into the things we want. They haven’t lived our lives.

People don’t understand where we’ve been.

There isn’t a VR for that, yet.

What we can do is push towards our goals,

We can contribute to the world around us by writing, creating, living, enjoying, and thriving.

Pushing towards our goals, regardless of whether there is a choice in our lives don’t matter.

What matters is how we make people feel.

It matters when you say good morning to someone. It matters when you call your parents after not talking to them. Sure, you can text them, but calling them, they love that.

Make your way towards what you want.

Let life set a path for you and follow it until you attain your goals.

 

The Way it Happens.

Life is the way the world happens to us.

There are little markers along the way. Sometimes those markers aren’t what we want them to be.

There are those who it be the marker to be success in business. And then there are those who say they want the marker to be a family. But none of it is in our control.

We like to think that we control the world, but that’s not the truth. The truth is we’re floating around on a big blue and green mudball and we have no control.

Sure, we can choose to go to college, date a certain person, but whose to say those things weren’t supposed to happen.

That’s the funny thing about life, fate, choice and who we live our lives.

Sure, we can say we make choices but are they preordained?

This is a puzzle we’ve been trying to work over since the beginning.

Are we in control of our lives or is there something else dealing the cards?

No one wants to think they’re not in control of their lives, but I don’t think we are.

Whatever controls us, a God, Fate or something else, they have a plan for where we’re supposed to go, when we’re supposed to go there.

I have to believe that.

We may work towards the way we want our life to be, but we don’t know it’s supposed to be that way. It’s only in our belief that it occurs.

We have to believe so strongly that our belief becomes our life.

 

Becoming…

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There are days when life strikes, and writing becomes secondary.

When these moments happen, I close my eyes and take care of it.

A few years ago, I wasn’t as bold. When confronted by adversity, I would hide away.

I wouldn’t discuss what was going on with me. I didn’t want the world to know I couldn’t handle life.

As a male, this is what we’re taught.

I was never told not to cry by my parents, but when something went wrong, I would have to “grow up.”

The majority of this came from my father.

He’d use words he thought were motivating when in fact they were emasculating. As a teenager, I had poor self-esteem because of the things he said.

I didn’t understand that a father behaving that way wasn’t normal. Until I had my own son and realized the harm words like, skinny, wimp, and many others were.

A few years ago, I was stuck. I hated who I was. I hated how I treated my wife, kids, and myself.

I woke up one day and realized the horrible person I was to my wife and decided to change.

I knew it would be difficult, but I had to do it.

I couldn’t turn into my father.

I didn’t want my kids to look at me the way I looked at my father.

I grew up in fear of him.

Now, nearly twenty years after we went our separate ways. I’m a better man and a better husband and father for not having him in our lives.

At the beginning of my choice to change, I had to think through every interaction with people.

I had to consciously acknowledge my failings.

Becoming aware of who you are, how you’ve reacted to situations and people, makes you hate yourself.

It also is an eye-opening experience that shatters all the notions of self.

You realize you’re not a wonderful person. You think about all the times you screwed up and blamed others.

The offender stares at you every morning when you look in the mirror. Even today, I see him.

I know that person is still there. It will always be there and I’ll always fight it.

Change is difficult.

Understanding who you are and what needs to change makes all the difference.

The sudden realization that you’re not the good person you show the rest of the world changes you.

Today, I’m a better person than I was a few years ago because I decided to change who I am.

Its been a difficult road, but every day I look in the mirror I feel more confident in who I’ve become.

Finding Patience

In a world that hammers us constantly, we must find the patience to exist for ourselves.

There is a patience in the way to react to a world that may toss us to the wolves.

Patience in life, in work, in our creative endeavors is a daily struggle.

We fight with our mind, our loved ones, and with the art we create.

Our art finds us lost at times.

It finds us torn between who we want to be, what others believe us to be and finding the time to enjoy who we truly are.

The struggle to compare who we are to what others believe is a lost battle.

We must be who believe ourselves to be. It is only in those moments that we can truly exist within our happiness.

Patience leads the way to this happiness.

Whether in how we construct a story or how we design a project, patience is the key to finding our way.

When patience is at the forefront of our mind, we put more effort into understanding ourselves and those who support us.

Instead of blowing through a project, we’re more focused and aware of what is happening.

We take time to put life in an order that no longer feels forced.

The words come better when patience is applied.

Life happens better when patience is applied.

Looking at Failure Differently

The doubt bugs crawl in, infest themselves in your mind, control your thoughts and you suspend everything you’re doing because you failed at something.

Here’s the truth, failure happens.

Failure is required for improvement.

Without the punishment we feel from failure, we’re not able to step up and grind out our goals.

Failure hurts.

It makes us want to quit.

It will want to stop working towards your goals.

The pain from failure should remind you you’re human. Take it as learning and move forward.

Every time we fail its fate telling us we’re not there yet. It’s not telling us to stop.

If you stop, you’ll look in the mirror one morning, stare at the wrinkles, wonder where time went and wish you would have stayed on the path.

Go forward and keep working on your goals.

Keep pushing forward.