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August 1, 2011

This month I am leaving my comfortable job working for the good people of Vermont in a positon in State Government…

… and I am moving to a very different entity: A year round mountain resort – skiing, golf, alpine slide, performing arts center, etc… The potential is incredible and I am so excited for the change, but there is a whole lotta fear about leaving the comfort of a relatively secure job, one that I can do with fairly little stress and one that is so close to home.

But I am doing it. We’re doing it as a family. And with every major change comes certain fear – the fear of uncertainty. But like my brilliant wife said,  maybe shaking things up like this every once-in-a-while isn’t such a bad thing. I know it is the right decision.

So I’ll be working on the highest mountain in all of Vermont, but damn, I’m still going to miss days like this and the view from my current office (photo taken today):

**When I came to my current position in State Gov’t, that old stapler pictured above was sitting on my desk awaiting me. It is awesome!

Dear Kurt,

April 5, 2011

You died 17 years ago today. I remember when I found out about it. I was in my dorm room in the middle of Pennsylvania, my freshman year of college and I was so pissed off at you, at your weakness and selfishness, for taking your life and music and future away from your family and from the world, that I played your nemesis Pearl Jam really loud and sat on my bed with a beer, cursing the spirit of Teen Spirit.

Of course I’m still mad that you took your life, I was a huge Nirvana fan, but now I know a little more about depression and suicide and understand that it’s less of a decision you made and more of a real and significant disease beyond your control.

So Kurt – not that it matters, but I’m sorry man. I’m sorry that on your worst day, I was like the millions of others who thought you took the easy way out of your fame, your pain. And maybe you did, but I’m sorry for thinking so shallowly about things I didn’t know about and will never fully understand. You were a rock star making kick-ass music and I was just a New England kid dreaming of being a rock star and a writer. And I never said thank you.

And in your life, you did at least one thing right  – you made the music and wrote the songs you were meant to create.  I can’t imagine a world without Nirvana. You didn’t stand around waiting for things to happen to you, for opportunities to fall into your lap. You made your choices and lived your life and with your art, you changed and inspired the teenaged kids of the world who needed inspiration the most right then. Not many of us can say the same thing. Cheers to you for that.

Guilty…pleasure or pain

February 9, 2011

So I’m in the middle of reading this book, a novel which has won some of the highest honors in fiction and has received incredible critical acclaim and I could not wait to finally read it and yes, I loved the first chapter…but honestly, I’ve sort of lost all interest in it at this point. The unique writing style, the characters, the pace and setting…well, they’ve all just sort of the lost the magic they first held for me and maybe it was my fault for reading all the critical acclaim in the first few pages, but it’s gone and now I’m feeling super guilty for wanting to put it down and begin my latest Paul Auster book, a novel by my favorite author sitting unopened on my  bedside table and one I know will inspire my own writing (as always).

Should I let the self-inflicted guilt control me and struggle to finish my current book, or should I just move on and not look behind? 

It all seems pretty clear to me after writing it out. And I am PSYCHED to begin the Auster book tonight!

(Funny, that sentence in bold up there is what I ask myself all the time with regards to my current novel, which I am now more than 5 years into, and the constant question I ask myself:  do I put it away for good in order to beginning something new…or do I keep working on it? But it’s not the same as the book I’m reading, right? There’s no clear, easy answer and the responsibility – or guilt – I feel for my own novel is unparalleled.)


February 7, 2011

It seemed I finally got an opportunity. My submission was one of just 50 that would be judged by good readers and a literary agent in an online contest over at this blog for writers. Those are decent chances. I’ll take them anyday.

And then I saw that the submission requirements had changed since I first planned my submission. The rules changed mid-game. It was not for my genre anymore. But my piece was still accepted…what do I do?

Well, no matter how much I trusted my story to get some attention, no matter how badly I wanted my story to be reviewed by an agent, what I didn’t want was to break the rules and be THAT GUY. So I gave permission to have mine replaced by someone’s who’s was in the right genre. I gave permission to be deleted. I gave permission for the agent to never look at my writing.

My head is in my hands and I am super bummed. This might seem totally minor, but when you’ve seen as many agent rejections as I have, and you believe in yourself and your writing as much as I do, and you’ve put YEARS into just one story, this is pretty huge.

Ok, I’ve vented I’m letting it go.

Back to editing.


January 28, 2011

I had to delete the post that was here because I just don’t trust destiny and coincidence enough to let me keep it there.

Commitment Issues?

November 18, 2010

I’ve done it again. The completed (but still not done/ready) novel which I closed and put away a good six months ago has been re-opened. I once again have succumbed to the guilt of leaving it behind after nearly six years of our on again, off again relationship, but this time I think I’m ready to see it through to publication (or at least until a hundred agents turn me down again and I put it away for another six months). Yes, this time feels right. My mind is up to the task: The words sound better this time, the sentences carry a new weight, the paragraphs have a certain ryhythm which is slow and meandering, which I love. 

And its not about vampires or anything else that’s huge right now. It’s simple.

It’s about music and it’s about real people. And it’s about finding hope in a song and finding love in a mellow drum groove. And it’s about the magic of everyday life. Its funny, because it is exactly the book I want to read, exactly the one I want to write. And that’s perfect since I’ve already written it and now back to  re-reading and re-writing  it again too.

Amazing what you can do with a little commitment issue. Especially when the issue is that you refuse to let go.

The New Opening Lines

November 16, 2010

The drive out of town onto the hilly dirt roads inspired open windows. I let an arm dangle out into the fresh summer sunshine and weaved and waved it up and down in the air like a child. Holding the wheel with my knee, I turned the radio up and the music seemed so close I could taste the strum of the acoustic guitar somewhere near my breath, near my smile. It tasted rich.

At the pond with its ramshackle seasonal camps scattered around the edge of the water some kids played wild, pushing each other off a dock, and out in the middle, a fisherman in a green canoe, floated gently with his head down, listening or maybe sleeping. Past the pond, an abandoned dairy farm stood barely, its rotted red barn leaning toward an old oak stand as if trying to catch a final whispered joke from the trees. I took a right after the old barn and turned a corner I wish I’d never turned. Everything changed behind the barn.

I could immediately see the Villanova Law window sticker on her car off the road, cranked hard and headfirst against a tree and a handful of people mingling about, covering their mouths, walking in circles, weeping. Mindy had been so proud of having gone back to school for her law degree. We were meeting at the church to plan our wedding with the minister that day.

I screamed out of the car and ran to meet my wreckage.