Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm On It - Kinda

NOTE: If you've been with me for a while, you'll notice that Magnolia Rambling has a new look and feel.  I asked the genius who creates my book covers to design something new for the blog.  Because I only recently realized I'm more limited in that area by Blogger than I realized, I made a couple of changes on my own.  Look out for Magnolia Rambling-related merchandise in the near future.  If I can't put his designs on the site, maybe I can put them in your hand or on your head or your back.  Ramble On....

And now to the post:

I thought I was supposed to be writing more, what with my new found commitment to my blog and the world of writing.  Ha!  [Insert over dramatic eye roll here]

Nope, turns out I'm still living about three weeks behind my intentions and I have no idea how to catch up. That's a lie.  I know how to catch up, I just need to figure out how to prioritize.  Maybe I'll do that tomorrow.  (smile)  It's quite possible, now that I think of it, that I might just have too many mental irons in the fire.  God I hope that happens to you guys, too.  I have no idea how many followers I'm up to now but I'm sure bound to cross over into the low- to mid-range double digits at any point.  Some of you, please, know what I'm talking about.  Right?

Work floods my brain on a regular basis because it's never-ending.  Clients and partners, both internal and external, all want something.  My loving wife would like me to help around the house more without her having to ask.  My child wants me to play chess with him.  My best friend wants to ride motorcycles and hang out with me more often now that he and his family have moved out of the neighborhood.  My literary agent....wait...I don't have one of those. Uh.....how do I put this so it sounds believable and doesn't make me look crazy?  My public?  Too stuffy and presumptuous.  My people?  Dumb.  My fans?  That just sounds wrong.  How about the people who've read my novels?  Simple and easy.  The people who have read my novels and have been so kind to tell me that they loved them (one or both) are asking for book number three.  My editor at Charlatan Magazine , bless him for having to deal with me, waits patiently for me to deliver my latest column.  My dog is chomping at the bit to go for a walk when I stride through the door in the evening.  My gut is waiting on me to master yoga and semi-debilitating ab exercises.

Everybody wants something.

The great thing about my problems (imaginary and completely insignificant in light of the problems we see blasted on TV everyday), is that they can be solved with something as simple as a little pro-activeness. Work is work, and I just have to deal with it.  It keeps the lights on and gas in my motorcycle and the insurance paid on everything from the house to the used car lot that is my driveway.  I am a whiz at the laundry, but I could do more to help my wife than I do now (especially without being prompted).  I abhor chess, but it makes my child happy, so I can ask him to sit down and 'teach' me - it will make him happy, and it will make me happy to see him smile.  I don't have a night job anymore, so there's nothing holding me back from scooping up my best friend and riding to a local bike night.  I promise to any of my public/people/fans/people who have read my novels that I will at least start number three in 2013.  (wink, wink)  I will work to try and submit my column before my editor's deadlines, and I will gladly walk my 90-something pound Black Lab because it makes him happy...and he poops in the woods and not in my back yard.  I am no longer talking to my abs, and that's all I have to say about that.

Listen, you hear people say all the time that you should slow down and smell the roses.  Sure, give that a try. You'll find yourself three weeks behind just like I have.  I think the real key is to stop, maybe look at the roses and acknowledge they exist, maybe smelling one or two, and then getting the hell back in the game or on the road, or whatever analogy you want to use.

At some point in the next year, we are going to be moving.  I can't imagine the stress that is going to cause in my life, in my wife's life, and even in my child's life.  The painting, the schlepping things to storage, the garage sale(s), the drama of showing the house and keeping it obsessively-compulsively clean every day, shipping my dog off to his original home to avoid scaring prospective buyers, and on and on.  Now is the time for me to work on my pro-activeness, to live in it, and to make it part of my every day routine.  What are you putting off, or thinking about doing tomorrow?  Why can't it be done today?  Why can't it be completed today?  If you want examples of what not to do, come to my house and look at my unfinished projects. You'll still be a procrastinator, but you'll probably feel better about yourself.  LOL!

I'm sure my wife will be loving this post, but also watching my every step.  I've put it in PRINT! (gasp!)  I've got to carry my weight on this one.  Maybe I'll come up with a project a week and write you all to give you the updates, let you know how it's coming along, and when I've finished said task, ready to move on to the next item on my list.  Come to think of it, that's a splendid idea.

I'll think about it and get back to you.  Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, June 14, 2013

You're Nothing Without Passion

Several things occurred to me as I was about to hit the 'Publish' button and release my new & improved website to the world - literally.  I thought about the usual dread I feel in releasing material to friends and family and strangers and enemies (completely grateful that even my enemies take a second to read my ramblings every now and then).  I thought about the crushing guilt of not having posted ANYTHING in more than two years.  Jesus, where does the time go?  And I thought about those slick and ever-loyal sons of bitches who will be the first people to click through all five pages of my website (pace yourselves!) and land upon Magnolia Rambling only to see the same old tired posting from March 2011- the last it appeared I gave a shit about my blog and gave my audience something to read.

Well, the jokes on you!  As it were....

I've got to say that I miss this.  I miss sitting on my bed, laptop perched delicately on a pillow, the fan motor blowing unbelievably hot air across my legs.  I miss making things up on the fly, not really knowing what is going to come next.  I miss the thought of wondering what people will think of what I've taken the time and excruciating sacrifice to tap out - keys to the mental anguish I suffer as I sip casually on a Stella Artois and marvel at how much of an a-hole I sound like.  It makes me laugh.

Like the first page of the website reads, "I Write It, You Love It (and tell a friend)".  I live to write and I am the first one to kick myself in the rear for not coming back to the blog and my confirmed 11 followers for such a stupid long time.  I used to have a part-time job at night and I used that time to improve my mental faculties, writing about this and that to pass the time.  When I left that job after six and a half years, I fully expected that my every waking moment would be fully consumed with writing.  I was going to start my third novel, 'The Situation Room'.  I was going to blog at least once a week until my head and my fingers hurt.  I was going to contribute tirelessly (and on time) to my now second career, Managing Editor of Behavioral Sciences for Charlatan Magazine.  I was going to be a super husband, a super father, a super dog owner, and everyone would love me.  And then I found the sofa.  Ah, the sweet, sweet, comfort of my sofa.  For six months, the sofa has won.  But no more.

As I created my website, courtesy of the folks at Go Daddy who must have known that I am seriously technologically-challenged, and as I decided that www.markvertreese.com should be a one-stop shop for all things written by me, I thought about this blog, and my separation anxiety from my sofa.  By publishing my website, and including a link to Magnolia Rambling, I was decidedly committing myself to kicking my sofa to the curb.  From the outstanding - and VERY MUCH appreciated - reviews I've received regarding my novels, I decided it was high time I got back on the horse.  First step, of course, was creating the website.  The second step, though not writing this blog entry, was putting on my big boy underwear, firing up the laptop and telling my 'lazy' to take a hike.  I absolutely love to write.  And I don't care if I'm only writing for my 11 followers, the people who continuously and very boisterously support my novels, or the international audience which subscribes to Charlatan Magazine, I'll write when and what I can - and as much as I can.  I seek to entertain as much as I hope to educate, and I think I've done a pretty good job so far.  Not sure when it happened, or why it chose me, but writing grabbed me and never let go.

I love it so much, in fact, I've been toying with a new tattoo.  I can't wait to get it.  If any of you out there are inked, you'll understand it when I say that once you get one, you want more!  I was talking to my Uncle Garfield following my big brother's funeral (love you, Mike).  He asked me if I'd ever thought about writing for money, for a living.  I told him that I never wanted to write beyond my passion.  I don't do this for a check - obviously.  And I don't do it for notoriety (I will forget I ever wrote that when I'm accepting my Oscar for Best Original Screenplay).  I write because it feels good.  I write because I like to make people laugh and smile and think.  And I write because it's one of the only things that I'm actually very, very good at.   My tattoo will read: "Never Write Beyond Your Passion" - location as yet fully undecided.

Whatever you do, whether it's finding your voice as a writer, being the best parent you can be, working your ass off at your job, or being there for a sick sibling or loved one, I encourage you all to do that which makes you happy (and please make it legal).  Life is too short not to follow your passion.  I'm following mine, and it feels great!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Coming Soon!

It's about time.  Dontcha think?