Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back To School: Redux

Between emotional extremes, life continues, unfinished, uncertain, frightening but marvelous.

Yesterday I met with my academic advisor, a woman I have not seen in a decade, and together we poured over my college transcripts to decide my best course of action for the upcoming semester. Yes, indeed. I’m returning to school.

The run from the parking lot (in which I parked illegally, as I did almost my entire career in college) was longer than I remembered. I was late as usual, a steady reminder that even older, I still misjudge the travel time from my hometown to the university. I never seem to factor in the parking and walking portion of the trip, a rather important portion of the equation. Perhaps this time I will learn more and reform.

Or not. I muddled through the first time.

From english major, to maintenance man, to possible teacher. A longer path than I anticipated with a destination I hadn’t expected, but there you go, Folks. Life in all the vagaries, in all the guises and missteps and exaltations, is nothing in the end except life. My life in this case.

I start next week back to the grind, taking education courses while planning for my ultimate goal of getting into a masters program next summer. Then an intense year in which being broke will be an aspiration as the hunger will prod me to achieve that wonderful prize at the end; a chance to teach secondary school.

Let that sink in. Jealous?

Me, I’m equal parts fear and excitement. But that’s life, isn’t it? We just have to find a way to live it the best we can.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Football Season Starts And I'm Undefeated

I'm imagining I'm in the blimp... how about you?
Man, it's fantasy football time and that has definitely sucked up my time today. I could be doing so much more with my life than trying to decide if it's worth dropping the veteran Carson Palmer from Cincy for the rookie QB Russel Wilson in Seattle. No way Wilson continues to stay as hot as he was in the last preseason game, but geez, Palmer burned me last year, never producing when I really needed him. I have Peyton Manning and can only hope that he is super motivated after sitting last year.

Then there's running back considerations. Lots of backups to pick up but few front line guys. Is Cedric Benson going for a thousand yards this year? Who knows.

Why stress over fantasy football you may ask (and if you are, I understand and release you from further reading)? The answer is pride and the chance to get a trophy and admiration of all those who know me and quite possibly somewhere in the mix world peace may be achieved. I'll start with the trophy and let the rest sort out as best it can.

Last year I was fifth and though fifth out of twelve seems bad (mediocre if you are so kind), if you only knew the rubbage I had to struggle with all year, the crummy luck, the possible collusion between unnamed owners in my league who wanted me to lose even more than they wanted to win. Terrible is the life of a marked man.

I feel like a star QB with a target painted in florescent paint on my back and on my front.

But this is my year, Folks, my time for glory. I'll be able to shake my fist to the sky where the football gods dwell and claim my victory in manly defiance, my wounds packed with dirt but my courage unquestioned.

All that is left to be said is, "bring it on!"

(Was that too much? I tried for subtle but maybe I over stepped a wee bit. What do you think?)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Manuscript Length A Thing Of The Past

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who asked me what I did with my writing. I was confused at first with the question before realizing that he didn’t read my blog, didn’t know much about that aspect of my life. After a silent and brief sulk, I told him about my blog.

He then revealed he was writing, scribbling as he said on note paper, and not knowing what to do with the poems and stories and true-life confessions, destroying them for lack of an appropriate alternative.

I suggested a blog or publication.

He returned with the comment that presenting his work to the masses was akin to walking around naked; not appealing and certainly not an option.

I thought, What’s the problem?

Of course, I had the same hang-ups, the same fear of being judged before coming to the conclusion that my fears were an excuse not to try and that in the end, any embarrassment was tolerable when weighed against the alternative of failing due to simple inaction. If people think my writing is crap, then so be it, but at least I’ve given it a chance to be judged, to be weighed and measured.

Being enlightened and refined, I of course said none of this to my friend. Instead I told him to just do it, using the stand by psychology I learned from Nike in my formative years. I’ll share in my writing, but mushy face to face stuff? No thank you.

Rub some dirt in it and stop crying, Man!

Damn the torpedos!

You know what I mean, Folks? Manly shit between manly men. I ain’t talking about fears and such with a friend, no way. Besides, I’m pretty sure that the phrase, just do it, implies all that anyway.

Getting past the mushy minefield, we moved into the merits of publishing, as blogging was met with an instant disdain. The question arose as to length of manuscripts. What is the correct length in order to publish? I’ve been thinking of this question for awhile now and this is the simple answer I gave:

Whatever length you want. If you self-publish.

The conversation veered at this point but my mind still worked on that question of length. It was the first time I had vocalized my thoughts on manuscript length, even if briefly. Manuscript length is no longer valid in the digital age tied as it was to production cost more so than any other factor and shouldn’t be a top consideration for writers any longer.

If my friend wants to publish a two page short story or poem or laundry list and charge $1,000 dollars to the public, then why the hell not?

I want to explore this more, but for now, what do you Folks think? Does anyone care about manuscript length or should they? Shouldn’t the writing take precedence rather than the business?

Or did I plant a seed in my newly writing friend’s mind that basically screwed him before he even begins?