CONGRATULATIONS on joining the masses of former English majors, home chefs, and stay at home parents who think their opinions are either relevant, insightful, or funny! You are (or will be soon enough) a blogger, the lowest common type of writer out there. There’s a dog on the Disney Channel who is a billionaire off of this already, and somehow you are stressing about finding kitschy pictures to annotate your paragraphs with.
We welcome and love you – the blogosphere can be a safe place. Often though it’s a hellscape of paranoia and anxiety and posting and editing at odd hours, hoping your small raindrop makes a wave in the universe of oceans of words out there.
We want to help you name your newest blog that will either go nuclear-ly viral or fold within six months. The name, however, can be something you’ll spend forever thinking about until you realize that literally a million people have already done this and done it better than you could have thought to do. Or not.
I’m also going to let my boy be a boy, and my other girl (who, at this time is still a baby girl) be a girl. If they want. I don’t know what else to do. “Let” isn’t the most accurate word – I have no control over these things in the long run, and letting my five year old daughter be herself (whoever that is) and be a girly girl at that is just part of her figuring out everything about being alive. And I should mention that it’s my wife and I raising these beautiful children, herself not an admitted girly girl, not ever. But as a man, a former boy, and a general over-thinker, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what I do to keep my daughter from wanting to play princess and wear pink and purple all the time, it’s not going to work. It’s not something we put on her or lead her toward — it’s just something she picked up on during her five years around other girls and boys and the variations of masculine and feminine in between.
I JUST WANT TO BE AN EXCELLENT WRITER. That’s it. Keep me pure. I want a future where I’ve written so much that I can showcase my texts on a handmade shelf in my office. And then I’ll be somewhere pining over my latest piece or novel or story, wondering if I can keep up with myself and my readers. I just want it all to be excellent.
Personally…I have an amazing wife and three children who color and create my universe in the best possible way, and I am the luckiest man ever. I will never tire of thinking or saying that. I’ve taught high school English and coached soccer for more than a decade now, and I get to write curriculum and tutor kids too. I love all of it, I really do. I’m currently editing a book of essays and working on my first novel and my first graphic novel. I also have a ton of short stories I’m trying to sell to magazines. Oh and I do all of this in Massachusetts.
I write because I’m a writer. I have ideas every day and have to put them down. I see stories and characters and conflict where there are none, and then create a world to encapsulate these motifs, even if the worlds are short and combustible. Some stars need to explode.
I write because I have to. If you’re a writer and you try to walk away from writing, and you do so successfully, then you’re not a writer in the existential sense. If you write every day, and dream about more time to write, and scan and re-read books looking for those magical pockets of literary moments that made the writing alive, and practice them yourself, and think about your life in terms of when you can become published, then you are a writer. But you have to write.
YEARS FROM NOW some kid will be forced to read my novel or one of my stories or essays in high school, and think the title is boring, and not really read it, and hopefully the enthusiasm of the teacher will carry the day. I’m okay with that, because I’ve been there as a reader and teacher. But if one of my writings made it into the classroom? What an honor. That means that someone was so moved by something that I wrote that they would want to share it with a class. I do that as a teacher and it’s one of my dreams for the future.
I’m finally at the beginning of where I want to be as a writer…I want to thank la ostra magazine, The Gloucester Clam, BLUNTmoms, the Original Bunker Punks, DAD Bloggers (Oren Miller’s group), and The Good Men Project for allowing me to work and do what I love, so far. I’ve just started.
Original Bunker Punks: What is your most prized possession?
Me: I have so many…I’m a few steps away from being a hoarder, says my wife. But with a wife and three kids there isn’t one object that holds all the prized possessive power without alienating someone. I have this ratty sweatshirt that is in most of our family pictures, including a few Christmas pictures, and I wear it every night, next to my wife or holding my children, or sitting around the house. So maybe that. I don’t even know where I got it.
OBP: How do you unwind after a long day?
Me: Time with the kids, a drink or two, and something on DVR with the missus. Or writing if I stay up past everyone.
OBP: What is one song that has followed you throughout your whole life?
Me: “Rocket and a Bomb” by Michael Knott. I’ve listened to it and his Aunt Bettys album on a monthly basis since 1996. I have the mix tape “regulars” that span the spectrum, and it’s on every one.
OBP: If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers in your field, what would it be?
Me: Just focus on the writing. Forget the likes and shares and all that – but it’s easy to get caught up in it. And take your time making it really good. If the writing is no good, then we can see right through it. Decide what you want the blog to be, and stick with it or change it, only based on the purity of your goals. My goal is to write at least a hundred good essays, and then make a career out of writing that I’m proud of away from the blog world (that may not happen the way things are). I have lists of writing goals to keep to and change, and it took me about seven tries to make a blog I liked and kept with. Nerdy Dad Shirt is still an experiment!
Original Bunker Punks: Now that you’re famous, we need a quote from you.
Me: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” I stole that from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Thank you! Leave a comment if you’re still reading…