Category Archives: Open Notebook

My thoughts on this process, this site and where I’m headed.

Ten Years Old

We just turned ten years old! 

This thing we have. Me writing and sharing my serious, silly, provocative, and (sometimes) inspirational thoughts. You reading them and (sometimes) sharing how they resonated – or didn’t – with you. So happy birthday to us!

I started this blog ten years ago. It was an exercise in pursuing a long-hidden dream of writing and working to free myself from the fear of failure. As we are celebrating our entry into double digits, this seems like a good time to reassess.

I’ve just left Colorado, helping my now-married oldest son and his wife move into a new place. Although his profile pic in my phone is a photo of a much younger child, I am impressed with the man he has become. He and his darling wife both serve our country in the armed forces, continuing a tradition for each of their respective families. The word “proud” seems inadequate for my emotions.

My two youngest sons, always amusing from before the beginning of this blog, have grown into the teenagers that my oldest was at the start of this. I find myself amazed and delighted as I see them becoming their future selves more each day. For all of the many challenges of parenting, this seems a fitting reward. I’m optimistic and excited for thier continued growth.

My wife, the Fox, my Queen – remains ever as enchanting as she was the day I met her. She is more formidable today as she proudly runs a business that itself turned ten just a few months ago. It’s probably for the best that she was still developing herself when we met all of those many years ago. I certainly would have been too intimidated to try charming her as I (apparently) did in that too-hip nightclub in Times Square. That she is still the most important person in my life is my good fortune. 

It’s not possible to check in with all of the amazing family and friends I account as the people I love and who love me in return. Thank you, all of you. I will continue to wish I could share my thoughts on who I adore each and every one of you.

Finally, I turn this reflection inward. The clearest skill honed on this blog and in my life these last ten years has been the process of introspection. I am well aware of my (far too many) faults and gaps. I remain a work in progress as I have often humorously (but sincerely) described myself on these pages. On the whole, I am content with the progress made even as I continue to strive to improve.

My own mid-life crisis has seen two job changes in less than a year with the first leaving a company where I have spent the majority of my professional life – almost 16 years. Once again, I consider myself a lucky man. After supporting my wife’s work as she built her own business I am now reaping the same benefits myself. I am able to pursue work that speaks to my most-deeply held beliefs. She has supported my dream in pursuing my own work – something I expect I will be sharing more with you in the coming months.

I write less today than I did at the start. I undertand why. I have another creative outlet for my mix of humor, insight, and curiosity. I’m proud that the podcast my best friend approached me to start with him is in the closing episodes of its fifth season.I’m working on incorporating the lessons learned as I’ve spoke, wrote, and podcasted these last years into this new endeavour. It is work that strengthens who I am and the values I cherish.

Thank you, my readers, for coming with me along this journey. I know that my words have resonated with some people. I hope to continue to lean in on a mantra now tattooed on my right arm – “do Good”. I’m proud of the road behind us and excited for the road ahead. I hope to see you out there with me on those next steps.

Happy birthday to us!

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So Long, Joe, And Thanks For All The Songs

I am a failed singer.

I have loved music all of my life. Sadly, I cannot carry a tune to save my life. It’s a great disappointment for me. But it’s true.

In elementary school, I took piano lessons. In high school, I started playing guitar. I describe myself as a hacker on the guitar and can play some chords. Enough to rough out a song. Very quickly after picking up the guitar, I decided that I was actually a bass player. I spent my late teens and early 20s as the bass player in any band that would have me. (FYI – the bass player gets the second least amount of ass in a band. You’ve got to really be devoted to your craft to pick up the bass. If you’re curious, the hierarchy is right here.)

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It’s a Hell of a World

It’s a Hell of a world.

Not this one. (Well, this one is sometimes.) I’m talking about another world. A shared storytelling universe.

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Challenging Myself for November

Well, I’m going to bend (if not break) a rules of engagement that I described in Growth Through Change. In the past, I’ve rushed to share fragments of writing before they were ready for prime time. A couple of years ago I set myself a challenge for a month regular writing. You can read the recap (full of self-chastisement) in Thoughts on the Morning After. Bottom line, I committed to do two things in June of 2012:

  • I will post every day in the month of June.
  • Also, by the end of the month I will have Story Blue, aka The Third String, in a readable state.

The results were mixed. I did post every day. But Story Blue was not nearly close to readable. I realized that I was too eager for the immediate thrill of sharing my writing. I released fragments because I liked people reading them. But those fragments did not lead to finished product. So since then, I’ve tried to only share finished material. I’ve tried not to talk about what I’m going to do. Simply do it – then share it.

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Growth Through Change

Change can be uncomfortable. Who wants to wrestle with the ugly, painful, and awkward process of adaptation? And so, with our primitive lizard brains, we avoid it.

It’s a normal reaction. But just because that’s our reaction doesn’t mean we have to live with it. Our ability to work through change – and grow because of it – can bring us to better places. (Did you see Deadpool?)

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