February 2019 Newsletter

NEW BEGINNINGS

Have you ever left society, before? I don’t mean run away to a cabin in the woods for a few days or some beach vacation, but actually leave? Leave, quit your job, and sell everything you own, get in your car and drive until everything looks forgotten to the sands of time.

Because, that’s what I did and, well, it’s different.

It wasn’t an easy decision. I had a lot going for me. I had a decent paying job and wasn’t always stretched for cash. I had a lot of friends I cared about, and was even slowly breaking back into the dating scene. By all accounts, I was the most independent and stable that I’d ever been in my life.

And yet, I was miserable. It’s not an original story—there are a lot of Millennials out there like me. My job might pay me a living wage, but its stressful, frustrating, and absolutely not the field I majored in—English, of course. Having a lot of friends is fantastic, but it’s impossible to see each other because of conflicting schedules, and we’re all quietly hoping for the apocalypse. Like I said, it’s not an original story. I wanted more time to write and be myself, I wanted more money to do the things I wanted, I needed more flexibility with how I lived my life. And, the rest of my family was already living that #vanlife.

In 2017 my parents sold their business, the family house of fifteen years, and have since been living in a Bluebird Bus that they converted themselves. Both my brothers also have their own rides, a Dolphin RV and a VW Vanagon.

At first, I didn’t think that type of life was for me. I liked stability, I loved books and wanted a library, I wanted a salt-water aquarium, I wanted a vegetable garden—and none of those were compatible with a life on the road.

And yet, here I am, joining the nomadic adventure a year and a half late. I’ll admit part of seeing how they lived on the road made the idea enticing. But they still had their problems to deal with—new and old ones. I’d have to give up a lot of the conveniences society provided. No fast Internet is a deal-breaker for most folks.

But before I knew it, I had decided to join them. I needed a drastic change. I was doing everything right and I wasn’t satisfied. I think I just got so disillusioned with capitalism, that I had enough.

In October, I quit my job, sold everything that wouldn’t fit into my VW Golf and by November, had met up with my parents in Southern California. That’s where I’ve been since, not far from a town called Bombay Beach. It’s a place where it looks like the apocalypse already happened, welcome to your post-apocalyptic dystopia!

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Maybe I’m just relieved that everything around me looks as lost and broken as the world these days. And yet, even here, there’s hope.

Everywhere else is turning to ice, but spring is in full bloom here. Everything is turning green, and there’s a lush carpet blooming over usually barren landscape. The stray cat that adopted us just had kittens. I feel like I’m slowly healing, learning how to love my life again. I want to contribute to something more important than money.

Of course, I still need money. As much as I would like to avoid society entirely, I still need to buy food and gas, and I have a phone like everybody else. I grumble about Facebook and use it anyway. But what reserves I had managed to save up during my time with a fulltime job are beginning to dry up, and I still need to convert my own house on wheels. Actually, I need to buy it first. It’s not all lazy days and relaxation. But for the first time, I’m not worrying about the future—I’m taking it one-step at a time.

I’ve got no more excuses. So here I am, writing it all out. Keeps me accountable that way. I’m a writer—I’m tired of trying to be anything else. This year everything’s going to change, and I’m ready to see where it takes me.

Wu Wei is the newest family philosophy. But I like to think of it in the immortal words of Hoban Washburne, “I’m a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.”

WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Let’s not pretend that I have the greatest track record when it comes to updating and deadlines—I say, fully aware it’s been two months since I last updated my fanfiction. I remember there was a time when I could pump out completed chapters within a week. No, seriously. Somewhere along the line my productivity took a massive dive, and so my first goal is kicking my word count up.

Untitled Vampire Novel

Enough time has passed since Twilight came out, right? I have more than a few thoughts on that entire phenomenon but I digress. This will be my take on the mythology of vampires—but I won’t say anything more yet here. World building is just about complete and I am set to begin the first draft this week. So, with any luck the first chapter will be published before the end of the month.

Refurbished Academia

I got a bunch of essays from high school and university that are just sitting on my hard drive. I wrote close-reading analysis of characters and passages, essays on Shakespeare and assorted fairy tales, and you know what, I’m going to polish them and post them to read at your leisure. Since these are already written, the goal is publish two of these a month.

Wanderlust Updates

As I mentioned in that loquacious introduction, I’m giving that #vanlife a go. Now, I’m not going to bore you all with a walkthrough my conversion progress—there’s more than a few websites dedicated to that. But I have seen quite a few places that are aching to be described and want to illustrate this life I’ve chosen to everybody who might be considering it.

Only A Boy

It’s about time that third book started updating, wouldn’t you say? I’m going to be brief here because there’s a fanfiction update coming separately from this, but to my lovely readers, thank you for your patience. I needed some time to lay the groundwork for my original fiction before I could work on fanfiction again without feeling stressed. Now that’s been taken care of, I can get back into the swing of things.

Patreon

Big surprise, this is a new priority for me. I would much prefer to keep even my original content free and live solely off donations from my fan, but that’s up you—so tell all your friends! Even if it’s just a dollar, it really helps me out. I also have rewards if you’re able to give more and I do take commissions!

Upcoming rewards this month is a Q&A session, access to my raw content before it’s published, and a behind the scenes snippet of what I’m currently working on.

LARP Adventures

If you haven’t come across the term LARP before, it stands for Live Action Role-Play, and generally summons forth an image of a bunch of adults dressed in approximate period clothing swinging foam padded swords at each other. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. And, as interest has already been expressed by a few of my friends to read what my character gets up to, regular updates are inbound. Look out for these on my fanfiction website, as while the character I play and my decisions are solely my property—there are other storytellers, people, and core material involved.

TO WRAP UP

Change is incoming and I’ve got a lot to do. This here is my chance to focus on writing and if I don’t take advantage of it now, I might as well hang up the hope of ever making money through my writing. They always joke that the hardest part about writing is the writing part, but it really is as simple as that. I’ve talked and talked about being a novelist, and yet all I’ve got to show for it is fanfiction and as much as I wish otherwise—fanfiction just isn’t something you can make a living off of. I’m still going to write it, never fear, but it’s going to have to take a back seat until I can support myself.

This here is my current favorite bit of writing advice, from Cheryl Strayed:

“You have to surrender to your mediocrity, and just write. Because it’s hard, really hard, to write even a crappy book. But it’s better to write a book that kind of sucks rather than no book at all, as you wait around to magically become Faulkner. No one is going to write your book for you and you can’t write anybody’s book but your own.”