It’s been a long time… I apologize to you, and to myself. Always feel like a significant part of me dies when I step away from creative / personal writing for an extended period. You’d think at this point in my life I would have learned that I don’t operate well without it! Unbalanced. A little less in tune with the world and my place in it. It may not be reflected or communicated well, but there’s something grounding and satisfying when I put words together on a blank page. Secrets unlock.
So, what have I been up to? Well, I went back to Phoenix and worked for Major League Baseball for another season. I just can’t seem to step away! It was a fantastic experience- I worked in the Commissioner’s Office in Western Ops, Bud’s desk was actually right across the hall from mine (not that he was ever there). Helped with the Arizona Fall League, Angels AZL at Diablo Stadium, and few other various projects.
Baseball is a consuming gig. The hours I committed in order to feel like I was doing a good job were crazy. Routinely 70, 90, and even had a 110+ hour weeks. At this point in my life, that is a complaint. Baseball is a huge passion of mine and the game will always have a significant part in my life- I was again so fortunate to meet great people, icons, be apart of something so much bigger than myself, and turn that passion and experience into a paycheck. However, there was very little balance. I rarely had a thought or a meal that was away from the ballpark.
Normally the workload wouldn’t bother me, hell I would have welcomed it, but I had The Final Book in the back of my mind the whole time. Things were moving along so well with my writing prior to signing up for another season- tons of freelance opportunities and charging ahead through the novel. I felt I was being pulled away from “this” and that my stories and ideas were fading. That job, lifestyle, requires such a different part of the brain. Not that there were enough hours in the day, but I felt I was losing my creativity and ability to express myself.
I assume most people would scoff and laugh at that- for one to “say such things” about even having an opportunity to work in baseball, and the second that creativity is all in my head- my choice whether to be creative or not. I hear that, but I don’t know how to do both. My creativity is a fragile thing- it needs the foundation of a proper living situation, work stimulation, functional / drama free relationships, and the physical release from exercise to even get it turning. Once it sparks, I then need to dive in and foster it- put considerable effort into nurturing and strengthening that part of my mind. Exercises, practice, variety of content, deep-thinking and a bit of hope and optimism. That’s how mine works- I’m not sure about others but that’s how I’ve achieved creative success in the past.
I don’t feel that my head is in a creative place right now. I’ve been away from baseball for 3 weeks and this is the first time I’ve been able to come back to HyL without feeling completely lost and disappointed in myself. When the season ended I thought I’d be able to just dive back in, pick up where I left off- it hasn’t been that easy. Writing this has been a struggle.
So, what does the future hold? Am I recommitting myself to writing? What’s happened with the novel?
I have the opportunity to return to MLB next season if I choose. That’s a tough decision… I love the game. There’s something special about being at the ballpark… The fear is if you reject the opportunity, you may never get another one. Do I want another one? Do I feel I have unfinished business with baseball? I know with certain changes and improvements, the opportunity would become more intriguing and almost foolish to pass up. However, I can’t see a time or place when MLB and creative writing merge and I could accomplish both at the same time.
That’s the crux of my current uncreative rut. Until that decision is made, there’s a cloud hanging over my solar-powered muse.
Seems I've been traveling the Western Triad lately- Denver, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. Only home in CO for about two weeks after Spring Training, just long enough to write a couple of freelance articles, update websites, and see what I missed on the PS4 before heading to SLC for a week.
The SLC trip was social and last minute- basically just to catch up with old friends and to go a little crazy before heading back to PHX tomorrow for another month of baseball. While walking around downtown SLC late Thursday morning, I came across a teenage kid dressed in all black with a long unbuttoned trench coat. He was walking with a purpose and the wind caught his coat revealing a vest full of handguns and ammo. My eyebrows instantly raised and I quickly looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing.
It seemed everyone noticed the young man, but no one was alarmed. In fact, a few people smiled at him. Unsure if I should tackle the kid or run away, I played it cool and continued walking because that's what everyone else was doing.
I made it about another block when I noticed someone else dressed a bit strange. Still chalking it up to the eccentrics of downtown life, I kept walking. Finally I came across the full squad of the Power Rangers and it clicked- Salt Lake Comic Con! As I passed the Salt Palace, the place was swarming with super heroes, characters, villains, and witty pop culture jokes. I instantly got on my phone and purchased a ticket for the following day.
I was a bit unprepared, not only did I just realize the convention was happening but Salt Lake Comic Con FanX was my first true entertainment and sci-fi convention. I wasn't sure who was going to be there, what panels were taking place, or any of the events- I just knew I couldn't pass it up.
I purchased my ticket early this year for the Denver Comic Con and have been looking forward to it for a very long time, with plans of possibly covering it or at least doing a thorough review. SLCC just fell into my lap. Big props to event organizers for creating an awesome mobile app. Being on the run, I didn't have a printer and the app kept track of my ticket with a scannable QR code- so handy! The app also came with a full schedule and a handy little button that allowed me to make my own person schedule for the events / panels I wanted to see- all with a sweet map that showed me where to go. I was quite impressed with the whole thing- it worked really well for me, especially being so ill-prepared.
I took the first hour to cruise the showroom floor full of vendors. There was literally so much to see that I know I missed at least 60% of it. Stoked for the panels, I hit up "Humor in Writing" which was a few authors giving tips on how to interject humor into your writing but mostly just telling funny stories. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The second panel I saw was Screen Writing 101, which gave you real world advice on constructing a screenplay. I liked it a lot because the panelist talked a lot about their failures and how brutal the industry can be. The moderator (can't remember who- see really unprepared) was kind of a dick but I really liked this kat named Adam Simon. Michael Stackpole also had a lot of good points to contribute.
After that, I tried to browse the artist section of the convention but there was just so much to see! I missed a ton. From there I went to Panel Named Jayne, kind of a tribute / fanboy panel of Adam Baldwin. I was actually really disappointed with this panel- the moderator read line for line what was on the PowerPoint slides (which annoys me- add something to the presentation, we can all read).
Besides a bit more walking around and taking in all of the awesome cosplayers (who were outstanding!), that's about all I had time for. What I loved so much about the event was energy and the people- I loved how happy everyone was. I loved the smiles. I loved the high fives. Everyone was so carefree, proud, and excited. Even though all of the masks were on, people seemed to truly be themselves. I've been to a lot of conventions throughout the years- CMJ, SXSW, AAA Radio, MLB Winter Meetings- but this was hands down the most entertaining, fun, and had the best overall attitude.
Salt Lake Comic Con shattered all sorts of records with over 100,000 fans attending. It's now the 3rd largest Con in the US, and the number one Con per capita. It's the largest convention of ANY kind in Utah and it currently has the most active FaceBook page site in the state. Keep in mind, this all happened while Wonder Con was going on the same weekend.
I can't wait for the Denver Comic Con and I'm seriously considering upgrading my ticket for all 3 days. I didn't realize there'd truly be that much to see. I also enjoyed the panels quite a bit- those are worth it in themselves. If you have the chance to go to a Con- any Con- do it! Completely unique experience.
Needless to say, I feel so incredibly motivated and creative. The whole event, mostly due to the cosplay, was so inspiring! Can't wait to continue with my work- it would be a dream to be invited to such an event and one day contribute- give back and help create that excitement for someone else. I think tomorrow's plane ride will be filled with writing!
Also caught a Salt Lake Real game while I was there- very nice stadium. The team is undefeated- keep up the streak! Brewvies is still alive and kicking- watched Her and thought it was very well made / written. The head cook and a few waitresses at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Morelia, still remembered me after all these years! Great food as always- had it twice! Best of all was seeing all of my friends- high school and on. Good trip.
Hey, hey! I know things were just starting to pick up steam- regular freelance writing spots and consistent podcast episodes- but that's how it goes, right? You find a groove and quickly get knocked off track. Some very last minute changes happened and I'm now back down in Phoenix, AZ for MLB Spring Training. I'm running the stadium audio for the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. A pretty tough gig to pass up- playing tunes and watching baseball all day!
I have to admit, it's been really great being back at the ballpark. There's something about the energy of live events- always something new, a different challenge, and interacting with all of the people. So far, this has certainly been my most enjoyable Spring Training experience. All around, a perfect gig without a lot of stress or crazy stupid hours. An unthinkable combination in the baseball world- I lucked out!
The other great thing about being back in baseball is the people- I didn't realize how much I missed everyone until I was gone! Lots of great people. Today I was able to go out to Surprise Stadium and see all of my buddies at the Royals. Best clubbies in the game! It was also great seeing all of my Latin boys- missed those kats a ton.
Anyway, I'm not sure what any of this means or if it's a start to a new adventure. I do know that I return to CO on April 1 and plan on picking back up with writing, new media, and the podcasts- just like I never left. There's talks of returning to Diablo Stadium throughout the year for special events and also thoughts of returning to the Arizona Fall League this season. Just have to take it as it comes. Splitting my time between the two worlds might make for an amazing year- finishing The Final Book and working some baseball could be a lot of fun!
I am compelled to get back behind the computer and start writing again. It's only been a couple of weeks off, which may be a good thing to clear my head, but the gears have been turning and I'm itching to push forward!
The last eight weeks have been unpredictable and quite serendipitous! In my last news update, Strikeout or Homerun?, I was pretty lost and scared. I felt like everything was ending and had no idea what was coming next. I knew I wasn’t content with the current situation, but I wasn’t sure how to improve it. I knew that a great deal of my happiness revolved around being creative and I missed it dearly. How do you get it back? How do you survive at the same time?
It seemed as soon as I started putting those thoughts and feelings to paper, writing again, the world unlocked. My phone started ringing without solicitation. People I had met over a decade prior, others from my past life in construction, and recent ones from the ballpark came to me with a variety of projects. Paying projects.
In doing so, that reinvigorated Surf Star and I quickly saw that if put an equal amount of effort that I had been putting in MLB, I could easily counter that loss of income and have much, much more time on my hands for writing.
No certainty, but a spark. Potential. I just needed to feel that it was okay to dream again.
Feeling good about the new direction, excited in fact, I haven’t been able to leave my desk. The 14-16 hour days I’m putting in now come with a smile. I get frustrated when I have to break to eat. It feels good to be working towards something- purpose.
The conversation eventually arose with MLB, when would I be returning for the new season? Admitting that I wasn’t, to say it out loud, was tough. It was with a lot of heartache and fear of losing an opportunity. However, I brought that honesty to my boss and he surprised me with a solution. What if MLB were to hire Surf Star Media?
I liked that idea quite a bit.
While most things will remain the same, what this offers is freedom. The ability to work from anywhere in the world and them understanding that I have multiple clients. Time has to be delegated appropriately to each contract. Time being the monopoly MLB held over me as an employee.
It feels good to smile when I think of baseball now, instead of resenting it. Who knows what the future hold, but at the moment there is relief and optimism.
Things are getting close with the novel! I feel that I'm on the final push- still a lot to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was hoping to have a complete first draft at this time, but considering all of the distractions of the holidays and picking up some unexpected work from MLB, I'm not too far off of schedule. I'm currently 38 chapters in- I have no idea how that equates to real world numbers of pages or total words at the moment, but I don't think you'll be cheated.
It's been an interesting process. While I've stayed true to the heart of the story and it will eventually reach the end I originally intended, the middle took a few unexpected turns that I would have never predicted until in the middle of writing. I have no idea if it will transcend. That's my biggest fear as writer in general- I have these great ideas, I have such a full and colorful story in my mind, but I have no idea if I'm communicating that to the reader.
I've moved forward with a lot of the legal concerning the book. Once edited, there shouldn't be much to hold up publishing.
In other news, the muses are at work and the list of other books / story ideas keeps growing. Some are fun, some are nerdy, and there is one that I think will be really good. So much so that I might take a break from the Final Book series to work on it. We shall see- I need to stop getting ahead of myself!
Oh, on a completely unrelated note- I'm sick of stock photography. Hit me up if you're artist or photographer.
Oh yeah, write anyone who will listen (congressman, senator, FCC, etc) and tell them to fix Net Neutrality. This whole thing is just crazy and blows my mind.