A Personal Update

Tiffany and me, mustachioed

Sometimes life throws you a crazy series of curve balls. You end up in places you wouldn’t expect, doing things you never thought you’d do (or do again), and all the things you thought would happen in the future begin to happen in the now.

You’ve probably noticed the drop-off in posts here at Happenchance. I’m not abandoning this blog, just refocusing my efforts. In a moment you’ll see why.

Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been doing lately, starting with what may be the most important thing that’s ever happened to me.

  • Making a baby. Tiffany is pregnant (and usually barefoot). She’s due in late December. We’ve known for a bit but have kept mum until now. Gender remains unknown. To say I’m excited and terrified would be like saying Starry Night is a pretty picture, or Infinite Jest an interesting summer read. This should be fodder for an entire post, but right now I can say nothing with certainty except that my mind = blown.
  • Growing a garden. I’m a lousy gardener, but I’ve managed to defend a 20×30 vegetable patch from the roar of nature (I had to sacrifice a couple rows of jalapenos to the weeds). I’m not going for total self-sufficiency, but preparing food that I grew in my own dirt is damned satisfying. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about compost.
  • Recording an EP. This is taking longer than I thought. It always does. At the June 1 deadline, we were 50%. Now we’re 70%, and I’m the holdup. I thought I’d go all 80/20 on this, but I suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome when it comes to writing keyboard parts.
  • Avoiding the internet. I don’t always gaze at a screen, but when I do I prefer to be writing fiction rather than reading blogs or twittering. Who wants to stare at a screen when there’s a forest begging to be hiked in, a garden that needs tending, and blackberries begging to be picked, all within 100 yards of one’s house?
  • Actively seeking for a public sector job with health insurance. Babies ain’t cheap. Neither is health insurance in West Virginia. At this point, I will gladly trade my time and expertise for insurance and a paycheck. If all goes well, I expect to end up working in either education or tourism.
  • Focusing on fiction. Last month I finished the draft of the second book in my End of the Iron Age series. The first one (completed, for now) remains unpublished. I procrastinate the pitching of my book by writing (and never publishing) short stories. I’m also typing the entirety of The Great Gatsby (20% finished).
  • Delivering pizzas for a side hustle. I expected this to crush my soul, but so far my soul remains thoroughly intact. Easy work, decent money, and a high double-dipping factor: I’ve listened to several audiobooks over the past month. It also helps that my mgr and coworkers are all good people.

Looking at this list, three things stand out.

  1. My priorities have shifted radically (duh). This time last year, freshly returned from Thailand, I was getting ready for my next trip abroad and working on entirely wholesome internet schemes. Now, I’m buckling down and saving for the future, working for the man, and trying to grow something where I’ve been temporarily planted.
  2. I’m a lazy freelancer. This may be due to my summer-time aversion to screen-gazing, but I’ve only done a few jobs since I returned from my winter gig in Korea, and I’ve exhausted my limited capacity for self-awareness that would enable me to figure out why.
  3. I’m experiencing massive Resistance. I do the work, that’s no problem. The problem is I don’t ship. WTF?!?! I write a blog that helps people do creative work and defeat Resistance and here I am, drowning in unshipped work. Maybe my tagline should simply read ‘Create Something’ because ‘Create Something Amazing‘ raises the bar way too high.

 

My next post will be about the lessons in creativity I’ve learned from my garden. If I’m getting too country for you, go ahead and unsubscribe.

If you like, you may call me a charlatan for not shipping in the comments. Or, even better, leave some happy words for my wife. She could use them, and I promise she’ll read them.

 


 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • You charlatan. Seriously, though, congratulations, man! Your first kid, right? I’ve got a 9 year old boy myself (he lives with his mom). Sounds like you’re in the middle of a pretty radical life-shift. Definitely nothing wrong with slinging pizzas for a bit. I’ve done it myself in the past. Great way to make a little cash while cruising around listening to music/books.

    I didn’t realize you were living back stateside until I read this post. I’ve been toying around with plans to get over the East coast this summer. Maybe a meetup will have to be in order…

  • Mspolk2

    Even though I saw you Sunday, I find this entry so informative about what is going on in your life.  Also, isn’t it interesting when the future becomes the here and now?  Life…life wouldn’t be the same if that didn’t happen and frequently! So you are looking for a job in the fields of education or tourism?  Well, I personally thinking both would be good choices for you—you are certainly well qualified.  Keep writing in between the berry picking and gardening.

  • jalinebacker

    Congratulations to you both!  I’m sure your wife will give birth to a beautiful (but hopefully mustache-less) baby.  Well done!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks JA. So far so good. Ultrasounds have failed to detect any facial hair. 

  • Anonymous

    Hey Margaret, the future is funny like that, the way it can suddenly become the now. Makes me want to take a hard look at all the things I’ve said I’ll do ‘in the future’ or ‘when I’m older/have more time/money/etc’ 

  • Anonymous

    That’s right, first kid here. When you come east, get in touch. A meetup sounds like fun. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the kind wishes John 🙂 

  • Margaret

    I just tripped around and found your blog. Weird how out of millions of blogs I find yours. Do you ever wonder about how or why people end up finding you? Fate? Random? Now that you’re a gardener and a daddy I think it would be good for you to ponder these questions. 😛 Congrats on the baby. I think I’m supposed to say that before I close. I look forward to reading all your posts. 

  • Seth, I can relate to so much in this post. (My wife isn’t pregnant, though. No plans any time soon, either. But AwesomeMegaCongratu-mah-lations! Super stoked for you.)

    In the last few days I’ve started shipping music I’ve been sitting on for around, oh, several years. It’s amazing what a little ‘financial incentive’ can do to a person.

    Also, I’ve started writing some fiction. I think I’m going to focus on short stories. Easier to maintain tension and release in a shorter time span.

    Also also, the first bell peppers in my window box are starting to come to fruition. (We don’t have a garden, just a lovely view of the sea.)

    In typing out The Great Gatsby, have you noticed any changes in your writing? I’ve heard many people talk about honing their writing by doing things like that, but I’ve never tried it.

  • Anonymous

    Joe, thanks for your comment. Sounds like you’ve been a busy man.

    I’ve thought about shipping some old recordings, but listening back to them now I’m pretty sure some things are called student work and best left unreleased.

    The only real change I’ve noticed in my writing is some unconscious variation in syntax; I expect the real results of this experiment will come after I tackle my next big work.

  • Anonymous

    At this point, I wish a mighty wind would just blow my stupid corn away. It’s all stunted, yellow, and I doubt I’ll get much out of it. Right now it’s just using up all the nitrogen and pissing me off. 
    I do have a few productive areas of the garden: my two raised beds and the areas I mulched with cardboard and straw( pumpkins, cantaloupe, tomatoes). For the row crops, I was way too ambitious and let the roar of nature overrun a good part of my garden. Next year it’s raised beds and cardboard/straw mulch all the way. 

  • Eric

    Seth, enlist someone (your wife, a friend, etc.) to get that stuff shipped for you.  Let someone else deal with YOUR procrastination so it GETS DONE, and maybe you can help them with something they are resisting too!