Wednesday, April 5, 2017


I woke up this morning and go to school on time, which is always a good thing. This going to school full time in my 40's is a strange thing. This is my second semester, so I've adjusted a bit, but in my get sometimes I still feel like I should be making money every day and not taking this time to finish the degree. It's difficult to let finances take a back seat for the time it's going to take me to finish school. Something about it feels like I'm letting my family down.

I know that's not entirely rational, and that school is a very good thing for me. I enjoy it, for one. I excel at it, for two. It's something that I should have done a long time ago, but my head was never quite right about it. I spent a lot of time working for whatever job I could get just to keep money coming in, and in retrospect, that was pretty dumb. It would have been much easier to take this hit financially in my 20's, and I would have reaped the rewards of the degree for a lot longer. Still, this is the right thing to do. I believe that, even though my instinct is to run back to full time work every time a bill comes.

School was interesting today. I got through my classes and figured out the classes I'd be taking next year, which was stressful but fun. I ended up deciding to get a double minor in Journalism and Professional Writing, because I have a bunch of elective credits to take and a bunch of English classes to take consecutively, so it's going to take me four full semesters after this one to finish up. I figured I'd might as well get the most out of those electives.

To end the school day, I went to the college's visiting writer series, where a guest writer reads from his work and answers some questions. I'd been looking forward to this all semester. The writer was Colm Toibin, Irish novelist and gay rights activist who authored Brooklyn, Nora Webster, and a few other novels. He also writes plays and poetry and teaches at Columbia University.

He was one of the most well-spoken people I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, and he intertwined exerpts from Brooklyn and Nora Webster with personal anecdotes that told a whole new story. The only writer I've seen speak and read who put on a better show was Neil Gaiman, but Gaiman's reading felt very well rehearsed, whereas Toibin speaks to you like he's reading to the crowd in a pub and has somehow gotten their attention. He's just easygoing and not at all stiff or calculated, and the effect was captivating. By the end of an hour and a half, you couldn't help but feel like you'd known him for years.

The man's work speaks for itself. What I will say is I left feeling inspired and a little hopeless all at the same time. I struggle clumsily over words in speech and writing at times, and despite my belief that practice will indeed help me find my own voice, I have a natural fear that I'll never approach the skill of writers like Toibin.

 I grabbed a bit to eat and walked around Barnes and Noble with my best friend, who was having a rough day. We talked it through and I think she felt better when we left. Life is tough, folks, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. I've been there, and that's where she was today. The good news is, usually you come out the other side stronger and moving in the right direction. I hope I helped her do that tonight.

Barnes and Noble, or any bookstore, really, is my personal zen space. Whatever mood I am in when I get there, I always walk out feeling happy and refreshed, and usually ready to write. Tonight was no exception, but I felt like procrastinating when I got home.

Well, not really. Truth is, my wife wasn't home from he night class yet, and I didn't want to start writing when she was likely to walk in the door at any minute. Instead, I straightened up the house, put away some laundry, took a shower, and played some Rocket League. I love that game, but man, am I terrible at it. I guess that's a testament to how much fun it is though, because I can lose several games in a row and still have a great time.

She finally came home, watched some T.V., and went to bed. It was already midnight, so I logged into Word with the intent of banging out a quick thousand words tonight, getting the blog done, and heading to bed. That's what I've done. The story is progressing well, even though I think there's going to be a lot of cutting when it's finished. I should be able to finish it up by Friday night, and then the cutting will begin.

So, it's just turned 1 in the morning. I got the writing and the blog done, so it's time to read for a few minutes and hit the sack.

Fiction Word Count - 1159
Total Fiction Words April - 4604

Blog word count tonight - 913
Total Blog Count April - 2596

By the way, I weighed in at 244 lbs on Monday. My goal is to get down under 200. I'll get started on that in earnest tomorrow.