Hitting It Hard

Yeah yeah, I know what you’re gonna say.

You said you were gonna do this last time!”

And you’d be right, except this time I’m taking concrete steps to begin designing my path out of sheltered employment and into that as a writer/social media person/advocate/doer of good. I’m going to make one of the strongest declarative statements I ever have, and say that it’s now my time! If you know me, you know how hard it is to not write words like “hope,” “think,” “try,” and other such modifiers. But right now, I just don’t have a choice.

So what does that mean in practical terms? Well for one, it should mean I will no longer be blowing the dust off of these computer keys, as I literally am now. Goodness, I’m surprised this system is still working.

And, as I’ve said before, it probably means that not every work will be worthy of publication in the New Yorker or magazines of its ilk. Well ok let’s be honest, most won’t be on that level. But I will never even approximate such ability without rigorous practice and the willingness to come up a bit short sometimes.

This week has been speckled with inspiration that I have gleaned largely from previous connections I made during my time at UNC’s grad school. These meetings have both occurred after the long work hours had concluded, which made them hard to go through with, but I feel I need to get that momentum going and keep with it, even if I suffer temporary sleep deprivation as a result.

Yesterday, I spoke with Dr. Daniel Wallace in a large academic building on the UNC campus. This chat had been facilitated by another professor who works mostly in the hospital, but who has decided that she wants to help me succeed in any way she can. I can sense how serious she is about that, and that drive is rubbing off on me.

Anyway, Wallace, a well-known writer, told me that the most important thing I can do for myself is to sit down and do what I am now; cordon off at least 15 minutes to whack out some words. I can’t promise that I will write every every day, because well, life is crazy. But I am gonna get a heck of a lot closer. I guess I have to just try to draw topics from my day and its inherent chaos.

He and the med professor suggested that one of the things I might most likely be able to do is to work with a hospital to educate others about my particular experience with disability and rare disease. So I took their ideas to today’s meeting with the good folks at the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF). I’ve talked about this organization before, as they were instrumental in helping me both to move out of my place in Carrboro and into my current apartment here in Durham. I have a lot of respect for the people who work primarily for homeless individuals in this org, but really for the good of the community at large, as they are mostly no doubt busy college students. Maybe if I’d shown that level of ingenuity while in undergrad, my lot now would have been better. I know though that I can’t change the past, can only work to improve likely future outcomes.

The young Duke student with whom I worked today helped me to find the links I needed to both Duke and UNC Hospitals, and I am thus tasked to dig through that info and locate the individuals who might be best able to provide me with ways to move forward from here. We shall see.

Today’s Tidbit

An idea I just came up with is I can end most entries with some new discovery/occurrence of each day that I do in fact write about. Probably not too surprisingly, given that I’m as much a sheep as everyone else, I’ve been playing around with the new Apple Music. I was enjoying tracks in the “New” section, and on the “Radio” stations, especially Beats One. But I finally worked out that the real fun is in searching for artists. I’m currently listening to Alicia Keys’ whole album “Elements of Freedom”. If you’ve known me for a long time, you know she used to be my wife! But alas, she’s chosen some other guy and laid down her own family. It’s all good though!

Looks like they don’t have her very first album, the one I really wanna hear, but they have most of the other stuff. This already beats Pandora, and if I could go ahead and pay I would. Yes, I know that musicians do still need to get some dough for what they do. Maybe they could take their cue from insurance, and charge a higher “premium” to those who listen to more albums. Ha.

I’m not sure what tomorrow will serve up for me to gorge on, but I guess that’ll be the fun of this process. Till then.

2 Responses to Hitting It Hard

  1. The power of a mentor is in the motivation and support they provide. Glad to hear you’re continuing to push forward even though it’s tough.

    Continue to let your humor and your unique perspective shine through in your writing, John. I have written plenty of posts that I think will be “good enough” or even “great” that bomb and then others that I don’t think are too special end up being popular. No matter what, creating and writing is rewarding.

    • Oh, I definitely know about being surprised by the reception of posts. I don’t think anyone has entirely figured out what does and doesn’t make people respond. I do hope folks enjoy, but sometimes get a rush just from finishing something I liked. Thanks for the encouraging words.

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