Hellloooooooo from Page, Arizona! OK I’m sure most of you know what’s going on in my life. But since this is my first post, I might as well give some background: Long story short, my name is Cody. I’m a 30-something year old who recently left a job in the digital group of a successful advertising agency in Dallas. While I loved the people and opportunity, my creative side was aching to get out. So, I’ve temporarily relocated to this beautiful town to focus on some personal projects. I’m staying with my sister (Windy) and her husband (Chris) in the coolest room in the house Windy and Chris are awesome people who have really gone out of their way to support me. I owe them a million thanks.
Long story longer, I actually left my job in technology (Hi Integerites! I miss you all!) to take a year-long sabbatical. EEEEEK!!! It’s really scary but something that I’ve wanted… no, NEEDED, to do for a long time. I’ve had doubts about my career and it’s time to explore some other areas. You might think I’d ease my way out, maybe ask for a leave of absence or try to work part time. Yeah, that may have been the smart thing to do. But I’m not very good with safety nets in place. So I ripped the band-aid off completely.
I’m now unemployed and living off my savings for a year. What happens when that runs out? Well, I usually try to be ultra-prepared for things like this, but I have to answer ‘I guess it depends on where I’m at?’
Either way, I decided that perhaps other people (you know who you are) may want to read about my journey. Well, not so much a journey as a group of unemployed days slapped together into a random casserole. That’s what brought me here, to ‘fill in the blank’ blog (OK I admit I wrote this post before choosing a blog).
So what am I going to write about on this blog? Well, I really do have a format I’m looking at but I’ll get into that later. First I wanted to answer any frequently asked questions (FAQs for you webby people) that you may have. Heck, I already answered some above so I figured I might as well just get them out of the way. So without further ado:
What are these so-called ‘personal projects’ you’re working on?
Well, I’ve had a tiny little creative person trapped in my technologist’s body for a long time. By now, Stewart (that’s his name, btw), is a dried up husk of a midget. He’s on the verge of death so I’m granting him a bucket list. His list was simple and consists of only three things: Writing, Singing, and Sightseeing. The projects we’re taking on will revolve around these three professions.
Do you know how to write, sing, or sightsee?
I have to admit I’m pretty weak at sightseeing; I usually end up watching my feet so I don’t trip.
I’d say I’m a pretty good singer; I’ve blossomed a lot the last several years.
As far as writing goes, who knows…I’ve written a fair amount in the last ten years and am getting involved in some related groups. But I’d consider myself a semi-novice who’s really trying to learn the craft so we will see what happens!
Can you tell us more about the writing?
Surely. But first I want to point out how fun it is to ask and answer my own questions in writing. WHEE! Anyway, I’ve written a stage play, novella, and lots of short stories over the years. But there’s so much that’s been left unsaid. I have ideas for two novels, a graphic novel, and some other (smaller) things. My previous job kept me VERY, VERY busy. It wasn’t a bad thing but I felt these ideas were rotting in my brain and needed a chance to sunbathe a little. That’s the main reason why I’m taking a year off work. I won’t have time to write everything. But I am hoping to learn a TON and finish off a good chunk of one novel.
Can you tell us more about the singing?
Yep! I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Up through college I would say that I could carry a tune but would stop right there. I was always afraid to sing out and what resulted was a scared, hesitant voice. Welllll, I started singing in my car ‘for reals’ in college. I started with Black and Red from Les Miserables and tried to match their voices. I found that if I sang out with support, I actually sounded pretty decent. And so I moved from my car to the magnificent stage called voice lessons. I’ve also done a couple musicals, but that’s about it. Why? Because there’s that part of me that’s still nervous singing in front of other people. I have this horrible memory of eavesdropping on a girl in high school who was saying nasty things about my voice. It created this awful “dutch door action” where I was too scared to sing out yet I sounded bad when I didn’t. It sucks that a few random events like that can affect a person. But they can! And I want to try to change that here in Page. How, might you ask? Well, my sister’s church is TINY and in desperate need of a cantor (that’s the singer in a Catholic Mass). I’ve volunteered to take the job and get experience singing solo in front of groups. WHEE!!!
Can you tell us more about the sightseeing?
I guess, but there’s really not much to tell. Page is absolutely beautiful. It’s a town situated on Lake Powell, about an hour from the Grand Canyon. The area looks like an extension of the canyon, with big red plateaus, cliffs, and all that other fun stuff. There are hiking trails about every ten feet, so I’m going to try to experience as much as possible.
OK you’ve said a lot. Can you tell us what’s gonna happen on this blog?
Certainly. I’m going to provide frequent updates on my progress as a writer, singer, and sightseer (is that a word?). I also might share some random tidbits that happen along the way.
Can we go ahead and get started?
So my book is essentially divided into two sections. The first section consists of five chapters of about 20 pages each. I expected to be done with them at the end of February. But, today, I made it about halfway into chapter 5. Is that good news? Well, it means I’m moving ahead of schedule. But for all I know, the writing is crap. I just have to keep plugging away! Here’s the thing. I used to write a small section then edit the crap out of it. Then I’d move on to the next section. I’m reading a couple of books (I was going to list the titles but the books aren’t here in front of me… you’ll get them later, I promise!) that say to write the first draft as quickly as possible; the editing will happen later. That way your creative brain can tell the story without interruption. I’m giving it a shot and know that some of what’s on paper is already awful. Hopefully, the editor (me) won’t require a total rewrite.
Also, I joined a new website called The Write Practice (thewritepractice.com). They have a lot of interesting articles and tips on writing. One of the things I like most is the daily practice. They basically present you with a topic each day then ask you to submit a related story. You just post it down into the comments then people talk about it. There aren’t a lot of members, but I like the assignments. Besides, it gives me a type of writing warm up, if you will. Feel free to check it out. I’m not going to give my screen name. Yet. MWAHAHAHAHA, cough! Cough!
Saturday is my first time to sing at church. EEEEEEEEEKKKKK! I admit I’m very nervous. I just don’t want to be nervous to the point where my brain shuts down. Anything before that is fine. In fact, I usually perform better under a little pressure. But push me past a certain point and I become a blubbering idiot. I feel fairly prepared (the songs aren’t that hard) and the church is really desperate so anyone who can carry a tune would be considered a success. But I put a lot of pressure on myself. We shall see what happens!
We went on a hike to “The Hanging Gardens” last Sunday. It may sound amazing; like a trek to amazing plant-life that dangles from cliffs. Well you’d be sadly mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery is beautiful. But the hanging gardens themselves are a bit of a disappointment. They are actually residue from water running down the sides of cliffs. And it’s not pretty: it looks like moldy bread. I actually didn’t even know I was there until my brother-in-law pointed it out. Still, the journey itself was really fun and I admit I’d go back. Probably next week. YEAH!
Random Learnings or Stories
Ummmm I will probably have a lot of these as we go along. But seeing as this first post is so long, I’m going to cut it off here.
If you have any questions, let me know!