The 6 Month Mark

My intention was never to have this blog be a sad archive of death and emotion. It just so happens that my 2019 has been surrounded by it.I recently recorded this YouTube video in recognition of that, because I'm not one to run from my emotions. It was recently the 6 month mark of my brother's passing. This is such a weird year, and a year of firsts. The first birthday he wasn't here for, the first holidays, the first Father's Day. Above all, I've learned this ... I am still grieving.

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God Has Given You A Gift

In the summer of 2017, I sent an email to someone I didn't know in the hopes at taking a shot at something I've wanted to do my entire life. I just found out that the recipient of that email, John Corcoran - editor of Century Martial Arts MASUCCESS Magazine, recently passed away. I wanted to share the story of my interaction with this lovely man, and hopefully inspire you to treat others as he treated me. Mr. Corcoran's tribute in the most recent issue of MASUCCESS Magazine is both inspirational and heartfelt. Rewind to 2017 ... I was running my humble little North Country New Hampshire Dojo 4-5 days a week, balancing my day-job with the constant care and maintenance a school of 70+…

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Writing a Book Foreword

I was fortunate enough recently to be asked to write a Foreword in my friend Eric's book, "A Green Winter in Mosul, Iraq." http://www.lulu.com/shop/eric-mcnail/a-green-winter-in-mosul-iraq/paperback/product-24137030.html The process of writing something like a Foreword was quite alien to me. It's a very personal piece of writing. And while I feel like I do fine coming up with, I don't know, zombie jokes and ridiculous scenarios in short stories. Giving something as serious as someone's memories from the Iraq Invasion the attention it deserves from a perspective of personally knowing that individual ... ... well that's difficult for a very internal INFJ like yours truly. Still, I'm very proud of the man for writing his memories down, and I feel that what he shares is a very important…

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Goals, and Reaching Them

If you would've told me last year that I'd get to writing a story, and that it would make sense, and flow, and I'd hit 30,000 words, I would've thought it crazy. Well, boom. Would I like to make more progress? Yes. Is that a 3 or 4 week take in words for people who write, write, write? Sure is. And it took me months. Don't. Give. A. Shit. Their journey is not my journey. That's something worth keeping in mind. Every journey is different, all that matters is you getting to whatever finish line you've set up for yourself, and that's exactly where I'm headed. Today, I celebrate, then I keep writing. Next goal, 40K.

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Sometimes You Can’t Word Good

I don't believe in "Writer's Block" because I don't think there's some mythical force preventing you from throwing words up onto a screen. I DO believe that sometimes, your brain is not able to function in a creative way - maybe that's what you'd call writer's block, I just call it, "Having a shit-ass day." There's nothing blocky about it. So what I end up doing when I'm having shit-ass writing days is to find a way to occupy my typical writing time with other things. Editing (a soul-sucking chore, to be sure), or writing anything OTHER than my current work in progress, or polishing up some outlining, maybe a little research, etc. All of these things help the project move along in secondary ways…

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A Spud-Like Short Story

Because sometimes, you just have to write a noir scene about a detective and potatoes... ********** I pressed the red circular button on my small audio recording device, set it down on the detective’s desk, and looked up at him. The street lights outside were mostly blocked by the drawn shades in his dank charcoal-grey office, and a slow trail of cigarette smoke was curling it’s way from his bandaged left hand, past his square jaw, until it finally stretched out and blanketed across the paint-peeled tin ceiling above us. Private Detective Poe Tatum looked as if though he’d been run over by a delivery truck with an Idaho license plate. Twice. He brought his bandaged hand to his mouth and took a long drag…

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Writing Exercise – Something’s Missing

So I'm in a small local writer's group (when I mean small, I mean small - most weeks it's 2 or 3 of us, the max is 4), and we decided to issue a kind of "homework" assignment week to week to stretch our writing brain. It's nothing terribly burdensome, so it doesn't affect the WIP (Work In Progress, for those of you who are bad at acronyms OMGWTFLOLBBQ). This week's assignment - write a scene in which there is a character focused on something that is missing. For me, I decided to focus it on loss (eh, I'm an oft-downtrodden INFJ, it's a thing). Here, without any further explanation, I give you my 500-ish-word scene featuring poor Sam ... ********** The screen door creaked…

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The Current Struggle

Two posts in one day? Not really, because while I'm writing this the same day as my previous post, I'm going to set it to post later, but man it would TOTALLY count if I published it right now! Anyway. I'm having an internal struggle, and I need to write some things down to hash it out. My struggle has to do with the awful INFJ thing of "get yourself out there." I consider myself a healthy INFJ - I'm creative, and yes I have my bouts of anxiety and such, but I do understand what it takes to get me on the right path again (basically, everyone go away I need solitude). Part of being an INFJ is having near constant conflict in your…

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Holidays are Over, Back At It

So one of the things I'm learning through my own writing journey here is that there is no perfect way for me to write. I always found myself incredibly jealous of people who have a dedicated writing space, a quiet house, a time set aside to pen their Great American Novel every day. Maybe 2000 words each day, flowing perfectly from their hands, with not a pressure in the world but to create. But, this is real life. There's holidays, kids, work drama, arguments, shit breaking everywhere (hello, house, I'm looking at you), snow falling, personal insanity (injuries!), and more. Yeah. Injuries. Right before Christmas I slipped, fell, and destroyed the knuckle in my middle finger on my right hand. I'm 3 weeks away from…

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Published Writer

Sometimes, awesome things happen.  Like this: Last year, I submitted an article idea to a martial arts industry magazine (I own a dojo, so it's a thing), to see if I could get an article in there about a subject I am quite passionate about - mental toughness and personal accountability. I wrote an email asking if they accept such submissions from plain non-writing folk like me, and then ... Nothing. A few weeks after sending that email I received a response from the Editor of this magazine, and he basically said, sure, send a full pitch idea of the story (a few paragraphs), he'll bring the idea up to his roundtable of staff writers, and if it's greenlighted, he'll have a staff writer contact…

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