This is going to be a short post because I want to get right to the point. This time of year, a lot of people start thinking about what their new year’s resolutions are going to be for 2019.
Don’t be one of those people. Resolutions, like hearts, are made to be broken. You want to do something? Get off your ass TODAY and do it.
I’ve known a lot of people who swear they’re going to start writing that book that’s been circling around their brain right after the ball drops. Guess what? They don’t.
Ideas are like passion fruit. Eat them now before they wither and die.
If you said you will write a book in 2019 and wait until 1/1/19 to start instead of today, you’re already behind. You could have written 30,000 words already! And face it, by the time New Year’s Day rolls around, you’re going to bitch and moan that you’re hungover or tired or just worn down from the holidays.
Write now. Eat right and exercise now. Start your own custom bagel shop now. Pet every dog you meet now. I don’t care what you do. Just don’t be one of those suckers who thinks they need to wait for a date on a calendar to start your passion, your dream, your big plan!
Don’t just take my word. Listen to this guy. He has a beard and tattoos and curses a lot – and he says it like it is.
“You gotta dance with the one that brought you.” – Lyric and title to a Shania Twain song and a much older adage.
Everyone reading this has someone in their life that set them on their current path. Right now, it’s time for me to hit the dance floor.
When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be, I usually gave one of two replies. I was either going to be a radio DJ (thanks to WKRP in Cincinnati) or a Playboy photographer. Mom was so proud. As I got older, my future plans grew fuzzier until my only goal was to make it to the next day, hopefully employed.
Did I want to ever be a writer? I think there was a three month period around the time I was 16 when it sounded like a pretty cool idea. After hammering out a couple of quasi-sci-fi stories, I opted to go cruising and hitting on girls instead.
So who brought me to the writing dance? I have one person to thank for that. His name is Norm Hendricks. I’ve mentioned him in some interviews in the past. It’s about time I gave him his full due.
You see, Norm and I meet when we got a job in customer service at the phone company. That job sucked so bad, I still have mental and spiritual scars as pink and fresh as the day they were made 20 years ago. It was a terrible place, run by dolts that would make Dilbert cringe. Norm was one of a handful of people who made going to work worthwhile. Plus, he was a fellow Mets fan, elevating him to the top of the good guy list. Better still, he made me laugh my ass off, daily. Case in point, in a department meeting with our new director, for shits and giggles, he introduced himself as Nemo Cranston. I nearly had an aneurysm holding in my laughter when the director replied, “It’s nice to meet you, Nemo.”
One day, I spied Norm working on a book and was intrigued. I thought writers all lived in cabins somewhere and lived full, rich lives that didn’t involve descending into the 7th circle of hell each day, hawking Friends & Family. Yet there Norm was, a guy with one of the funniest and most unique minds I’ve ever come across, working at his novel.
He took writing seriously, and I was blown away by his skill. With his encouragement, I started to dabble, terribly, but it became a wonderful escape from the banality of real life. Plus, it strengthened the bond between us. It was a win-win before that asinine phrase came into being.
Since that time, Norm has published three books: Forever Indian Summer, Monstrous and The Forgotten Sleeper, which I’m reading now and slack jawed with amazement at the concepts he’s woven within its pages. He hits on heavy topics with a poetry all his own, expressing ideas that I could only guess at in fever dreams. I read his work with a real sense of pride. And where others may only get to know him through his work, I’m one of the lucky ones to have watched him secretly throw Certs into people’s drinks at parties or performed with him on stage with a band of merry, musical misfits.
What inspires me more than anything is the fact that Norm writes because he loves to write. He doesn’t give a crap about what he could potentially get in return for his hard work. He is a true writer. He’s given more to me than he’ll ever know.
So yeah, my dance card will always have Norm’s name on it.
Who’s on yours? It’s never too late to dance.
I’ve been feeling celebratory, now that my book Forest of Shadows is just weeks away from being released (and it’s available now for pre-order). So, what better way to revel in my happiness than subject myself to a tattoo? Actually, the pain isn’t bad at all. Reflexology is far more painful. I swear. It’s horrendous.
It took me a while to come up with something ‘writerly’ themed, and my wife pointed out words I had recently used myself to put under the image; Never Give Up. So true. I’m a firm believer in the Cool Hand Luke theory of life. If you want to do something, just do the damn thing and never, ever quit.
Huge thanks to Darren at Rising Dragon Tattoos in NYC. He has a great shop and is a damn good artist. He now has a customer for life and I urge anyone in the area looking to get ink to go there.
The Captain America shield has been sitting on my arm for years and didn’t even get me a free ticket to the movie.
I have a question for anyone reading this. How many times do you get ‘stabbed’ by a tattoo needle per hour of work? Just curious. Hit the comment bubble to send in your guess, informed or otherwise.
Also, what kind of ink do you have?