All Journeys Begin with a Single Step

I completed the first draft of my book last night. It is available through this site if you follow a link to my Google Docs account and request access. My one request is that if access is granted, it is granted to a new partner. Please help me to make the story the best it can be. This draft is not due until Friday and I hope to revise a bit even before then. Revisions will continue to take place up until (and maybe past) publication in a couple of months. Please help make this the best it can be!

P.S. I felt bad for dropping the themed pictures lately, so I’ve added another one of my own. Again, a painting, this work was started around two years ago, and finished only a couple of months ago. It is no longer just a spiral galaxy backdrop though: I’ve added a few lines of text to the foreground and given it to my mother as a gift. The text reads

Love knows not Distance

Love Does not Settle

Love Flies with the Stars

But I wish I had the forethought to alter the second line:

Love knows not Distance

Love grows not Complacent

Love Flies with the Stars

Hopefully the great expanses of the subject are mirrored in the results of my literary efforts. I do promise a different medium from the next work!


Writer’s Block? PLEASE HELP!

Defined as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing,” Writer’s block can certainly be a problem. The big question is, “is it happening to me now?”

I know exactly what to write if I follow one path, but I have two very reasonable paths that I may be able to follow. Stop reading now if you don’t want to find out more about my book (I’ll try not to reveal too much).

The leprechaun is alone at the moment, but he’s a bit of a blabber-mouth. He needs someone to talk to. Should he be in touch with his inner (and outer) self and find things to talk to? Or does a picture he found hold a connection to him and have the ability to talk?

Whichever way I go, the leprechaun does need a way to get insight into other peoples’ lives. He’s a storyteller. His most recent fortune is to “Listen to everyone. Ideas come from everywhere.” For those of you that are not yet aware, the book started as a timed write two years ago with a fortune cookie as a prompt. My goal is to write the rest of it (and maybe others) using fortunes as prompts/ introductions.

Anyway, any support is always appreciated, and the draft is available for a select few that may take a part of the revision process if they want more background, so please weigh in! Thanks,

Looking Back: The Birth of Snots

Sounds like the day’s trend is nostalgia and personal history. Might as well jump on the bandwagon that seems to have kidnapped me already. I get flashbacks in clusters from time to time and they’ve been mugging me again lately. I won’t go into detail on the flashbacks, but I will share a memory that has served me much more consistently and a bit more kindly.

I’m sure a great many of you have picked up on the theme of snot coming from me. There is an explanation for it. It goes back almost two years exactly now. I’ll start from the beginning.

It was an ordinary night. I was home from school and cross country. Homework was the topic of the call.

Jill and I had begun working as a very efficient team when it came to Mr. Bolton’s chemistry class. We did most of the labs together and that night was no exception. We figured out the lab’ her leading me to some answers, me leading her to others, then spent a bit of extra time just talking about whatever it was Sophomore us talked about. The next morning I woke up with the WORST cold EVER.

Fast forward a single week, after the next chemistry test, back in chemistry class. Bolton’s classes are known for a great many things, but one is the list of top performers. We had a Top Ten list that year. Both Jill and myself frequented it or the attached “honorable mentions.” I was proud of my mostly steady place around 6th. I lost it that day to a new kid: Snots. I remember it well. The room was still in testing configuration because the Qual/Org kids had a test that day. From the left wall in the dim room, in the seat behind Jill, I saw my grade come up on the board: 96.63 (maybe it was a 96.64), but my name was nowhere to be seen. Few honors students had nicknames and I far from expected one of my own, so of course I called Bolton out on it. He assured me there was no mistake. I pinned it all on Jill. Told Bolton and the class that my sickness came right after calling her. The glare from in front of me shut the whole class up.

Sure enough, my excuse caught hold. By the next showing of the top ten, both Snots and Allergen had made the list in 6th and 8th place. None of us have figured out yet how Bolton survived that day. Eventually it calmed down (at least the names), but not before a few others were tested. The list may have included Pathogen, Communicable Disease, and Infectious Disease.

At the end of the year, my Allergen moved away, but left her mark. I’ve yet to shake the cold.

If I’m not in class tomorrow, we all know why. Does anyone know of a good allergy medication?

Today’s Meet

Phew that was a tiring day!

After working late last night, I had a slow start to the day, almost missing the bus to the meet (Sorry coaches), and forgetting my shorts at home. This year we ran on a new course that was more or less an out-and-back as opposed to the old looping course with two and a half laps. I personally preferred the old course, but it might just be that I don’t know the new one as well. The races started with JV and went pretty well with a few exciting finishes. Toward the end of the JV races, however, my legs started acting up as my calves and quads tightened. Stretching and foam rolling ate up my time between the JV and Girls’ Varsity races. I was finally loose enough by the time it came to warm up though. We warmed up with Kevin Ganahl – last year’s graduate and top runner. Kyle Conner, one of my coworkers, ran past in another race as we stretched, and he decided race time was a perfect time for a conversation (at least what could be said as he passed).

When it came time for my race, the plan for the day was to take it easy to start, then pick people off second and third miles. It definitely worked better than in the past. The last two meets I’ve taken off with the first mile approaching 5 minutes or below, but this time I think I stuck closer to the 5:15-20 I was aiming for. I don’t know for sure though because I had a difficult time figuring out how far I was at any given point (a key factor in my favor for the old course). The couple of downhills I met were greatly appreciated and I fully enjoyed them, flying past people left and right. A big thanks needs to go out to the MHSXC team for being more supportive throughout the race, including the back stretches! Thomas and Nick were in front of me from the start, but I didn’t loose them until the last kilometer and a half when we got to straight stretches and they got lost in crowds. The finish on the new course is definitely much more enjoyable than the old one, with two drops on a straight shot rather than a winding runway. It made finishing pushes work out well both for myself and a number of teammates.

The freshmen races went amazingly with our top two, Eva and Dylan, finishing in great places. The trip home, however, was a bit hectic because our buses were fighting traffic from Lou-Fest, as we fought to get to them and had various people lost to the too-late freshman award ceremony. We all did make it back though, and I managed to get a little nap. A good night’s rest is definitely on the agenda now though.

Here’s one final congrats to Marquette’s and all the xc teams that competed today!

Smears of Color

One of my first independent paintings, this sunset merits another shout out to Amanda, the present owner. When I set out to make it, my goal was to give it a very abstract quality. It took me three tries to create the sun at the bottom, and if I were to do it again, I would still be updating it. Now it’s hanging upside down just above the beach sunset I released last.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Anyone else a fan of Forrest Gump?

I woke up today a bit tired. Nothing unusual – I worked late last night. Then I remembered a note calling me to the head principal’s office. Next I recalled my new job of driving my best friend to school while his car is in the shop. Finally, I thought about the mounds of bread that might be waiting for me downstairs.

First, disappointment: the bread was all gone. Donations to various groups had emptied out my previously filled dining room.

Then, a fun time: I picked Noah up and made it to school (actually on time, unlike yesterday). Melanie had previously decided to take the bus, but hopped in when we pulled up.

Next, a pleasant confirmation: As I made my way to the office, a group of reputable students followed me in. We went into the meeting room with the administrators and counselors. Shu, Alex, Michelle, Kevin, Arjun, and myself are now National Merit Semi-Finalists!

Finally, out of nowhere: Fire! With three minutes left in the last period of school, the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate. Two fire trucks came from separate stations in either direction of the school and the group on the side of the building near us marched to higher ground. We were let back in about 15 minutes after we left. The rumor I heard mentioned something about the kitchen, but I don’t have details and there was no real harm from the incident.

Anyone else like interesting days?


Writing isn’t the only Art!

Literature has always been one of my passions, but honestly, the visual arts (especially painting and drawing) have proven more faithful companions in the past. Therefore, as I continue to blog, I will begin a thread for sharing some of my artwork as well.

My first featured piece is one of my favorite paintings. I created it about a year ago for my friend Amanda, to whom I am indebted for inspiration.