“Just another writer paying off my dues
Just finding inspiration well that's my excuse
Just for the record I'm gonna put it down (down, down, down)
Just for the record I'm gonna change my life around
Just another empty gesture with an empty glass
Just another comic actor behind a tragic mask
But I've got no discipline got no self control
Just a little less painful here when my back's against the wall."
Serving a sentence. It always seems to have negative connotations, like you’re enduring or surviving something, like prison. But what if - and I’ve been working on this one for awhile now - what if we choose the sentence we serve?
Several years ago I did an exercise where I summed up in a single sentence why I existed. This was before the Exodus and the events preceding it, it was while I was still in a dark place, looking for a lighthouse. I wrote the sentence as optimistically as I could: in the true spirit of affirmations I wrote it as if it were already true. Except I didn’t believe it was possible. So nothing happened.
The exercise is relatively simple, and enormously difficult. You need to figure out what the best version of yourself does, how, for who, and why. You get there by figuring out what you love to do, what you would do all day even if you weren’t being paid. You get there by understanding how that fits in the world, what value it has. You get there by setting expectations of a life you want to live.
Regardless of where you are in life, this is an exercise worth doing - I’ll tell you why. Because that impossible sentence, that pipe-dream crazy-idea vision of a future I never thought I’d actually see? It’s my life. More and more, every day.
Life Sentences are personal things - mine is no different - but I’ll share:
“I educate, inspire, and empower others with the honesty, strength, and passion of my written and spoken words, earning abundant compensation to support my simple, minimalist life of writing, travel, and creative collaboration.”
In the spirit of Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Commencement speech (how have you not watched it yet?) I attempted to use this sentence as my mountain, of sorts, my list of things I want to do. It hasn’t been quick, but it’s happening.
I try to make sure my words - wherever I post them - are educational or inspirational or empowering … at the very least, honest and passionate and strong. I strive for minimalism even though the travel part isn’t in full swing, so I’ll be ready when it is. (Added bonus - minimalists have lower overhead, so abundance is relative.)
As for creative collaboration?
I’ve been up to my eyeballs in pre-submission edits for Asunder, but I turned them in on May 1st - so I've been able to devote my full attention to my next project, which I am really excited about. I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes work a little bit along, and I hope to get everything all launched and off the ground by the end of the month. (One of those behind-the-scenes things is a complete Pinterest overhaul, which I finished up this morning - there are some clues sprinkled in amongst the new boards, if you want to look for them.)
Oh yes - There are housekeeping things to address.
1) Awaken: Melody's Song Book One (eBook version) is about to go on sale for .99 so if you haven’t read it, a few days from now’s a good time.
1.5) Sharing is caring! Read it? Liked it? Tell your reading friends, leave a review, design and create a knitted shawl (no wait that’s been done,) dedicate music to me and rave about the book (wait, no, that’s been done too,) make fan art … you know what, just go where the spirit leads you :) (but tag me in it, I wanna see!!)
2) My friend Thomas’ book is launching Tuesday (Stalemate: A Clockwerk Thriller Book 1.) I’ve read it, and it’s very big fun - like reading a really diverse action movie. You can read some sample chapters AND if you sign up for his newsletter he’ll give you a FREE novella set in the same world. Because he's awesome like that.
3) I wrote another short story, this time it’s an allegorical children’s tale about a kitten - I mean an idea. It went out in my last newsletter, but don't worry, if you’re not signed up yet, you can do it HERE.
I do link to all the unique “newsletter only” stuff in each edition, so you’re not too late for that one OR “Test Results,” one of the most unique speculative thriller short stories you’ll read this year.