Tuesday Morning Ramblings

Part of my healing process to become a better man, father, and partner has been to re-evaluate my life and look at all the twists and turns and missteps I’ve traveled.  I’ve worked in pizza on virtually every level, including mostly delivery; sweated and shivered in warehouses; drove a short-haul truck route; built a greenhouse; ran the front desk of hotels; cleaned tables as a bus boy; fallen on my face in retail; sold advertising, cars, and timeshare; tutored kids; lectured on composition, business communications, and speech; written books, short stories, articles, and Ramblings; and toiled at a variety of menial labor positions.  From each of these experiences, I’ve learned something about myself and others and life in general.

While not every choice I’ve made has been right, I wouldn’t trade one moment of my past for anything better.  Each step, each failure, each new attempt has brought me to today, to the man I’ve grown into.  I happen to like this man.  Sure, I’m stubborn and proud, battered and bruised, but I’m also more steadfast and dedicated to accomplishing my goals.  I’ve learned our greatest strengths as a species are our capacity for compassion and ability to forgive.  I’ve learned that through giving of ourselves without expectation of return we find peace and contentment.  Even the smallest act of simple kindness can impact a person’s life profoundly.

I’m still a work and progress and have much patience and maturity to learn.  I’m trying hard to let go of the anger and pain I feel towards those who have wronged me, and I’m hoping for forgiveness from those I’ve wronged.  I’m grateful for each and every person who takes the time to read one of my books or silly Ramblings, and I’m humbled whenever someone finds entertainment or inspiration from what I’ve written.  I’m blessed to have my health on the mend and grateful for each new day, each new opportunity to do something positive with my life.  I’m grateful for all the friends and loved ones in my life; you are the greatest blessing a person could ask for.

I’ve learned to define success on my terms, without the  encumbrance of preconceived expectations, and while I’m not financially where I want to be, in many ways, I’m more successful than I ever imagined possible.  I’ve learned who I am and what I’m worth as a man, a father, a friend, and a lover, and that knowledge alone is worth all of the hardships.  I’ve learned that nothing worth having comes easy, and while that may seem trite and mundane and cliche, it’s one of the truest truths in this world.  All I can do, as a work in progress, is keep working hard, keep learning, keep growing, keep maturing, and keep striving.  That is my path to my definition of success, and I will walk that path with my eyes open, my shoulders held high, and my head slightly bowed.  In that manner, I will traverse my road, and in that manner, I will enjoy the journey.

Monday Afternoon Ramblings

Doing a shot with Mickey on Friday night. She and Dutch are good people.

FantaSciCon was a blast.  I had one of the best all around convention weekends of my career, from meeting new friends to selling a few books to simply relaxing.  A very special thanks to Dutch and Mickey for having me down, and an even bigger thanks to everyone who was there.  What the crowd lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in quality, and it’s always reinvigorating to be surrounding by intelligent, creative, passionate people who know so much more about so many things than I do.  Con weekends always humble me in the best possible way by reminding me that this world is full of amazing people.

I will admit that on Friday, I was a little worried about the weekend because the crowd was pretty small, but as the weekend progressed and I got to have long, detailed discussions with the majority of the people there, I recognized that the intimacy of the show was more important than the volume.  More than once, I’ve left much larger shows feeling as if I had barely been noticed by the crowd, but as I went around Sunday afternoon saying my good byes, I realized that virtually everyone there had at least learned my name.  Dutch and Mickey both expressed that I had been a good guest and was welcome back to either of their two shows any time I wanted.  To me, that’s more important than making a small splash at a huge show.

Other than Dutch and Mickey, I don’t want to mention anyone by name for fear of leaving someone out, but if you and I spent more than two minutes engaged in conversation this weekend, please know that I enjoyed getting to know you.  Your stories and perspectives inspired me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know you, whether for the first time or in more depth than before.  I’m also grateful that all of you so graciously accepted me into the “family.”  This weekend will always have a special place in my heart as one of the brightest spots of my career, and you people made this experience more meaningful to me than even attending Dragon*Con as a guest author.  There, I was just another face in the crowd. Here, I was one of you, and that means so much more.

One of the coolest things that happened to me personally was finding someone who had bought a copy of Brotherhood six years ago in Chattanooga.  He recognized the name of the book and remembered reading it.  More importantly, he liked it enough to buy books two and three.  Most importantly, he and I got to sit and talk for several hours over the course of the weekend, and he shared with me much of his passion and genius for mechanical engineering.  That’s an example of what I meant before about being humbled.  We writers are often guilty of believing ourselves smarter than everyone else, but getting to listen to someone who is truly gifted with a tangible skill talk in detail about his work reminded me that in the grand scheme of things, I’m just a dude who tells stories.  And this weekend, I needed to be reminded that I’m just a guy with pain and difficulties and struggles, the same as everyone else in this world.

Friday Morning Ramblings

About to hit the road for FantaSciCon in Dalton, GA.  Looking forward to seeing some old friends, like Rob Brown and Ed Crandell, and hopefully meeting some new ones.  If you’re near Dalton this weekend, come out to the show and stop by to say hello.  I’ll be hosting two panels on Saturday.  At 2:00 PM, we’ll discuss the various races of fantasy literature, and at 9:00 PM, I’ll expose the glamour and glitz of a writer’s life, from limos to champagne jams to the endless parade of adoring readers.  It’s like rock’n’roll without the hearing loss…

I’ll try to write at least one update over the weekend, and as usual, I’ll be posting regular updates on Facebook and Twitter.  Hope everyone has a fun, relaxing weekend full of laughter.  As for me, time to go get a little more swagger back.  Look out Dalton, D.A. Adams is about to rattle a few windows!

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