Five Years Ago Today

When I was 27, I knew I needed to change some things up. Something inside was roiling around and I found that “Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.” (to quote Elihu in Job 32:19) In other words, I knew I had something to say and that it was slowly beginning to seep out. I’d grown up thinking that I was an artist and indeed going to become a professional one (that aspect of my creativity being the thing that got the most validation from my parents). But the things that were stirring deep in my insides were better rendered with words. I remember fawning over certain comic book artists and their styles and while I would practice, practice, practice, I never got over this nagging notion that [insert name of favorite comic book artist of the moment] could draw this and better than I could. I was pushing myself too hard. Let me back up a bit.

Having worked in and among books for some time, I knew what was out there literature-wise. And while my appetite for the graphic medium never dimmed (I still read comic books, in other words), I slowly developed an appetite for reading—and for certain books in particular. To say nothing of cover design, something about them and their message began to call to me from the stacks. So I devoured book after book and while I was indeed doing a specific thing (trying to resurrect the notion that Christianity is more than mythology for the modern age), something else began to emerge: my true self. This isn’t to say that I still don’t love to draw. However, were you today to ask me what I want to be when I grow up, it’d be, uh, professional philologist (that is, someone who studies rare texts), or linguist. Both of which fall under the banner of “writer”.

It was around this time that I became turned on to the writings of Seth Godin and—realizing that he had been blogging every day since 1991 (and continues to do so)—felt a reinvigoration in my creativity. Yet, citing the discipline that he had so evidently developed and exercised and perfected, something changed with reference to that gnawing feeling that I could never quite silence that said I was somehow unable to draw like the “old masters” (those comic book artists I idolized and still respect). I knew it was about long-term commitment and hard work and work ethic. In my teens, I may not have been all that inspired to perfect my visual art to the standards I had irrationally set for myself. However, after I began writing (and writing every day), I just knew that I was able to articulate any- and everything that came across the screen of my mind with all those words I had filled my brain with through all those books I had read. By July 17th, 2011, I was ready to start writing for the world. That’s the thing about blogging: anyone with an internet connection has access to the thoughts you think and the words with which you express said thoughts. You should totes try it out.

My early posts were short and to the point. Like primary colors. As I continued to write, however, my posts began to take on a life of their own and I took a page from Oswald Chambers and a new node began to emerge. The dream of writing a devotional rose to the surface and now, five years and 800+ posts later, I have collated the best 366 of my entries into a manuscript that is, say, 98% done and just about ready for submission. It’s called Everything Is Symbolic and I hope to have it out late this year. Not only does the manuscript need to be combed through for grammatical and Englishy-type consistency (I’ve done it myself but a fresh set of eyes is essential), it’s also on deck to run the gamut of a full theological fact-checking (though I’m not worried about that).

I’m on vacation this week. While I’m taking classes this term (because I actually do have to grow up and become a teacher), the one thing I intend to do with the time off is submit my completed manuscript (complete with index and table of contents), cover design, fluoron (logo), et al.

In closing, the whole point herein is to do something creative that excites you. Be it writing or art or any of the other attendant creative disciplines (dance, poetry, music, sculpture), I encourage you to dig in and to exercise the hardware with which you were born. Whether or not you agree with my politics (not much of that in my blog) or my religion (plenty of that) or even my interpretation of the Bible, it behooves you to work it out. Find the people who inspire you and if they’re still with us (I’ll let Chambers know later, if he doesn’t already), tell them what you think of them and their work (I’ve emailed Seth Godin thrice; he responded thrice). And get to work on your own thing!

I wish you the best!


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