What 2015 Means to Me

There will be time for reflection, but that is neither here nor there. Instead, I like to look ahead to tomorrow, to the future and lay out a few goals here on the last day of the calendar year so that perhaps 365 days from now I might be able to look back at these very words and nod in the satisfaction of having accomplished them.

The first is that I will graduate college, the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelors degree. College has been the most awesome, stressful, crazy, wonderful experience of my life but I am woefully ready to wipe my hands of the whole thing. My freshman year was a roller coaster of the most wild design and because of that I’ve joined the five year club as far as my achieving my degree goes. Graduating college will be an immense achievement in my family, as I’ll only be the third person since my family immigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1950’s to get a degree from a higher learning institution.

The second great undertaking I intend to accomplish is to publish a novel. I’ve been in love with the written words and the characters I’ve conjured up but I’ve never pursued the penultimate first novel that is the bane of most aspiring writers existence. A thousand blessings upon House Wendig, for Chuck Wendig’s book the “Kick Ass Writer” has kick started me into beginning the process. More on him in a bit. I’d rather have a bad novel, a novel not even worth publishing, than no novel at all. I’m disappointed that I was unable to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month; November), because I was literally unaware of it’s existence until Christmas! My novel has been started. It will be finished.

The third thing I’d like to do is say thanks, as we enter the new year. I’m going to mention some people you’ve never heard of or met and I’ll mention others who have websites you can go check out that I’ll put their respective links up so you can go check them out. You have to go check them out, actually.

Thanks, Chuck Wendig. I’ve only read one of your books, but I’ve got another sitting in my “Read This Before You Die” list and I’ll undoubtedly add more to it. You’re not afraid to say the things that need to be said and it’s with a grimace I say that’s a rare trait that still exists as we tip toe toward 2015. You’ll probably never read this Chuck, but I hope you keep doin’ you. Oh yeah, go check him out at http://www.terribleminds.com!

Thanks,  Adam Christopher. I’ve read two or three of your books now but I’m saying thanks because you (and this applies to ol’ Chuck up there as well), aren’t afraid to respond to people out there in the world. Some authors are so popular I’m sure they receive a bajillion messages a day, but they literally don’t respond to anyone! You, Mr. Christopher, I don’t think you’ve never NOT responded! Appreciating your fans goes a long, long way. You can check him out at http://www.adamchristopher.co.uk.

Now make 2015 the year of ruthlessness. Take a hold of your dreams. Starve all your fears and seize everything you’ve ever wanted. Bonne journee.

52 Weeks, 52 Books. Let’s do it.

I’d like to predicate this post with this little tidbit of information: I don’t believe that you need to wait until the first of the year to make any type of personal change in your life. However, I take opportunity every new calendar year to make a minute change, to truly help signify the coming of the new year. This year it’s all about reading.

I read a statistic somewhere that said if you read a single book a week from your eighteenth birthday until your eightieth birthday, you will still not have read one tenth of one percent of everything that has been written.  That means the odds are against me in getting to read everything I want before I finally call it quits. So this year, I shall elect to read one book per week for every single week. And I’m even going to get a head start by starting and finishing a book in the final week of this year.

So to enhance my reading pallet, as well as this blog experience, I’ll be keeping a list of the books I start, my initial thoughts on them as well as a final miniature review after I finish them!

Today, Christmas Day, I received the book “Rising Sun” by Robert Conroy and it’s the first alternate fiction I’ve ever read. For those of you not in the know, alternate fiction is a genre where actual historical events are taken and changed with (most often times) historically plausible ideas (what if Julius Caesar hadn’t been assassinated, what if Napoleon won at Waterloo) and follows fictional characters who often lurk in the shadow of bigger and historically accurate characters.

Conroy’s book “Rising Sun” asks the question: “What if the United States lost at the Battle of Midway?” The Imperial Japanese Navy gains the initiative and the United States is on the defensive. I love the premise, because the Pacific Theater is a personal favorite of mine as a student of all things historical. The main character Tim Dane is a lowly ranking lieutenant in the command staff of Admiral Spruance, so we get a taste of the action without ever feeling too far from it.

I’m off to a good start, and I won’t spoil the book but I shall give a miniature review on the seventh day when I finally finish the book. Ca va!

The Only Thing I May Still Love More Than Writing

There’s something about going into the gym, giving everything you’ve got plus a whole lot more and leaving knowing you’re better than when you came in.

For many the gym is an exercise of daily stress relief and personal growth. For others, it’s thirty minutes between work, it’s a late night lift after studying, or an early morning cardio session before getting to the office. For me, it is a habitual part of my being. Without the gym, I’m not so certain I would even be who I am, where I am. The gym has been an outlet for me to grow in an area when others lacked. When life bullied me, the weights always let me waltz in and bully them.

I wrote an article on Thought Catalog that I shall link at the bottom of this blurb if you’ve the interest to take a peek called “Why The Gym is The Most Important Relationship You’ll Ever Have” and I’d like to quote one line that fully summarizes my appreciation for the gym. I love the gym because I know the gym will never wake up, tell me it doesn’t love me anymore and walk out of my life.

Everyday, as I improve my craft, I feel my unabashed adoration for writing increasing and one day it might overtake the gym. But not today. The gym, to me, is still the first and foremost place I can go to temporarily forget the problems of the world and grow physically and mentally.  The prospect of exchanging real world problems for a couple hundred pounds is an easy one.

I think writing a novel and improving yourself in the gym are not too dissimilar. It’s a long term investment. You won’t see the finish line right away and there are going to be bumps in the road. A lot of them. There are days you’re going to want to quit and there are days you will quit, at least for a little while. Maybe in the gym I am writing a novel. Every day I go and sculpt a new page, forge a new chapter. I like the sound of that.

If you are interested, the article I penned is here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/theo-taylor/2014/11/why-the-gym-is-the-most-important-relationship-youll-ever-have/

This is My Dream

That first post. I hate the first post.

You’ve got to get started somewhere, right? I’ve largely decided to invest in a WordPress based on the premise that it can potentially act as a kindling to the fire that is my dream, my life. At this particular junction, I’m not certain that anyone is even aware this WordPress exists. Should that make it easier for me to write — knowing that few, if any at all, will ever read it? Or will it make it more difficult knowing that I’ve no audience in which to entertain. I’ll get back to you on that.

I attribute my more intellectual facets in my life to genetics; my mother is 4’11” and my father only half a foot taller. Being diminutive through my former years made sports much more difficult to accept and instead I ingrained myself rather readily into literature. Regardless of your stature, falling face first into Middle Earth or imagining yourself under the sorting hat is as easy as turning the page.

I never knew my father. Haven’t even seen a picture of him (and I don’t want to, either). Because of this, I’ve been forced to learn from writers I’ve never met, from characters that aren’t real. This too, is another reason I have learned to always carry a good book with me. There are so many things that the faded pages of a long gone author can teach you, even in passing. I hope I’ve been a good student.

So, instead of the reader, I wish to be the writer. I write as often as I cry I think, which is not as often as I should. I know, I should write. I should write often. I should write and I should edit and when someone asks why I write and edit so much I would wish to tell them: “Because they are the only things of mine that will be here when I’m gone.”