I started writing at some point in the mid 90s, after high school. My friend Foster Dickson, now a creative writing professor and several-times published author, introduced me to Charles Bukowski around that time. I never much cared for Buk’s poems, but the stories I liked. I wrote my own stories in his style. My stories were, of course, terrible.
But I never stopped writing.
How To Succeed at Higher Learning
After high school, I went off to college where I did almost nothing but eat and drink beer. As the years went by, the pounds came on. That was depressing. I left college to follow my dream of becoming a rock star.
Instead of becoming a rock star, I got a job as a systems administrator at a dial-up Internet provider, a job which freed me to pursue my actual other dream of eating every cheeseburger I could get near my face. I gained even more weight and started smoking too.
Did you know that certain worrywarts consider 320lbs to be too heavy? Weird, right? Anyway, I started riding my bike to work and I lost about 60lbs. I felt pretty badass.
A Load Off
Losing that first batch of pounds gave me confidence. I got kind of addicted to the feeling of making big changes. I don’t want to greeting card it here, but I was definitely on a path to die young. Once the weight came off I started to feel like I could do anything.
So I decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional musician. I packed up my things at work and told my boss he could kiss my damn ass. Well, I muttered it when I was outside. Okay, fine, he fired me. Still, I started playing music for a living.
When my mom passed away, I wrote about that too (free PDF download). It was a tremendous help to me to put my thoughts down on paper. It felt so great. It was the beginning of thinking of myself as a writer. Later on, I wrote a collection of stories, including a couple about being a professional musician.
And the Band Played Late
After a few years of playing for a living, it got old. It seemed to me that most of the people who end up playing music for a living do it because they have a pathological fear of any other job. Not because they really love music. They don’t practice. It’s very hard to schedule a rehearsal that anyone will attend. Everyone just wants to show up for the gig, play, drink, get paid. Well.
When my mom passed it also gave me a tremendous sense of mortality. I realized if I was ever going to enjoy my life, I had to start right that minute. So I started planning challenges for myself to see what I could do.
In the meantime, I also decided that it is senseless to pursue a career that I don’t want. I took a long look at what I want to be, and I realized I should never have done anything but write. Music was fun. Graphic design was interesting. But I have been writing all this time.
Why was I writing all the time without getting serious about it, showing it to experts, honing my craft? Good question. So, I did those things, and I continue to do them.
I also did other stuff.
Things I Have Did
So far, in the nine years (as of March 2015) that Mom’s been gone I have:
- Lost a total of over 100lbs (fluctuates with the seasons)
- Completed every distance of running race up to and including 3 full marathons (one as part of Ironman)
- Raised money for Team in Training by running one marathon and riding one 100-mile bike ride
- Completed all distances of triathlon up to and including Ironman
- Summited Kilimanjaro
- Summited Aconcagua
- Raced track bikes, finished 14th for the year in 2010
- Raced road bikes, was the 2010 Time Trial champion for >200lbs men in Georgia.
- Raced mountain bikes, and cyclocross. I was dismal at both, but had fun
- Sung the National Anthem, a cappella, in public multiple times. Possibly the scariest thing I’ve done.
- Raced a full season of SCCA autocross in my ’99 Mazda Miata. I took second place in the STR category.
- Raced multiple 24 Hours of LeMons races.
- Performed standup comedy many times.
- Written multiple novels
- Signed a publishing contract
So that’s what’s up with me. If you like, I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you have a name. If your email comes in and looks anonymous, I’ll ignore it.