Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Mountain at a Time

I meant it when I said that blog-a-day schedule wasn't going to happen anymore.

Often I give myself too many goals.  I have high expectations for myself.  I think I am tireless, indestructible and destined to succeed at everything I commit myself to.  I'm almost right.

A few months ago I realized that soon I would have another baby and would be turning 40.  I decided it must be time to achieve all those things I had not yet achieved.

I had to make good money writing online.  Not just enough for cigars or a cart of groceries.  I wanted a mortgage payment.  I figured if The Penalty Flag wasn't going to do it, I could focus on my own blog.

I needed to finish another creative writing project before our baby was born.  I pondered finally finishing a novel.  First, it was completing the David Priest narrative.  Then I thought the Marcel mystery series would be more successful.  Finally I decided to return to the micro-apocalypse featuring the orphan Aguardo.

And of course I wanted to look myself in the mirror on the morning of my fortieth birthday and see a guy physically and financially fit.

And compete two times a month in Spokane Poetry Slam hoping to qualify for the local finals.

The whole time excelling at my full time job while being an attentive father and husband.  And teach one kid to swim and the other to read and both of them to just be awesome.

On top of that, My Gorgeous Illustrator and I felt it was time to get the kids some playground equipment for the backyard.  Realizing everything you can get for under $1000 at your big store of choice is crap built from balsa 2x4s that will break within a couple of years (or a day if an adult swings on it) I made the brilliant decision to build something myself.  Either from scratch or from a kit, but I was selecting the lumber.

I visited our local Rainbow dealership and I found the perfect compromise:

An apartment complex had replaced this weathered unit with a new one.  The local dealer took down the old unit and was wondering what to do with it when I wandered onto the lot.  They sold this to me cheap.  All I had to do was spend a few dozen hours with a belt sander and rebuild it.

And all the other stuff previously mentioned.

After spending a couple hours a day trying to make that look like this:

and a full day at work, writing after midnight was out of the question.

Then I realized I was trying to climb too many mountains at once.

Think about climbing a couple thousand feet up Mount Rainier one morning until you saw Mount McKinley and thought: "I'll climb that one, too."  Then after an afternoon climbing McKinley, you saw Kilimanjaro in the distance.  After traveling all evening, you climbed a bit up Kilimanjaro and figured you should try Fuji, K2 and Everest while you had your ropes and crampons with you.  Returning home after a full day of climbing, you found yourself at sea level having truly accomplished nothing.

That's what I've been doing.

So, one mountain at a time.  First summit: put swings, a slide and monkey bars in the back yard in time for summer.  Then get to writing, one project at a time.  Focus.  While writing Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo I really wasn't doing much else other than working.  I was able to concentrate on the project and make clear, steady progress.

Let's do it again.

After many hours of sanding and a couple days of great help from my dad:

And then:

Getting there.  When I reach the top, I'm stamping the thing with a big flapping 86 the Poet flag and getting back to writing.

Stay tuned for fiction, more Bright Hub, a return to football writing and possibly more journalism.

But only one mountain at a time.