We read in order to learn how to face life’s challenges.
A book without challenges teaches us nothing.
The greater odds our hero faces, the more we learn from their success (or, to be fair, failure.)
I’ll confess that the young boy in my current work in progress is me, and I’m using the book to work through some childhood difficulties I’ve never been able to shake; nothing world-shattering, just the usual pains of being different and trying to grow up.
… more … “Merciless”
Hurry up, get in, let’s go. Two stops to make today.
Ladies first: Elizabeth Kaiser joins me in the post Food, Family, Fear. They’re connected, oh yes indeedy.
Then, my friend and editor and occasional drinking buddy Tom ‘BentGuy’ Bentley interviews me about my books, process, and tastes. And we talk waffles. And whiskey.
tl;dr — I’m taking a break from my online presence
I registered my first domain name in February of 1999. (It was spinhead.com, the one I use for my web design company and my primary email.) I’d already been designing websites for 4 years prior, and working with computers since I first went to work with my Dad sometime in 1976 or so.
For the past 20 years I’ve spent more and more time online.
And less and less time in the real world.
I’m trading the deceptive ease of online relationships for the messy complications of infinitely more satisfying connections in real life.
More time out in nature.
More time playing music.
More time with Best Beloved and our Little One.
More time sharing meals with friends. And taking my cooking from good cook to creative chef.
More time writing and studying the craft of writing, novels and music.
More time out in it and less time in my head.
Some Things to Note
If you know me in real life, you know how to get in touch. Do so, or wait till you see me later in the week.
Otherwise contact Sue (Sue@Spinhead.com or 715.296.0347) and she’ll know what to do.
Here’s what this is not about:
- Nothing is wrong. Honest.
- This is not a reaction, it’s an action. A choice based on deep thinking, meditation, and conversation with those I trust most.
- It’s not about you. You didn’t offend or hurt me. Not now, probably not ever.
- I’ll still be writing. A lot.
- I don’t know when, or if, I’ll resume my previous online shenanigans, meaning posting everywhere, emailing like a dervish, living in social media. But don’t hold your breath.
P.S. from Sue – I fully support Joel in this decision. As his Chief Social Media Officer however, you’ll note that I’ll be managing his social media accounts on his behalf. So if you see his tweets or posts on his Facebook Author page, that’s me behind the scenes. ;)
Trickles of sand crept into the boy’s clothes as he lay peering over the crest of the dune, down at the caravan below. He told himself he could ignore the sand just as he was ignoring the sweat, the heat, his hunger and thirst, his fear.
Less than a mile to the east the caravan would pass through Alssikin, a narrow defile appropriately named for the long thin knife even young boys in his village carried. Only a thousand yards long, Alssikin was the right spot to launch an ambush, were a band of brigands so inclined.
… more … “The Caravan at Alssikin”
An excerpt from my coming-of-age novel which just might see the light of day before I’m too old to remember how to write.
“Jacob, are you even listening to me?” His mom always seemed to think he was ignoring her.
“I didn’t hear you. Sorry.”
“I’m standing right here. I’m glad you love reading, but honestly, you get so lost in those books. Are you going or not?”
… more … “Do I have to enjoy it?”
The wind howled so loud he could just make out his cell phone, ringing his mother’s home phone. Maybe it wasn’t turned up all the way. Didn’t matter; he daren’t give up one hand in the fight against the steering wheel.
It was why he’d moved here, to watch over his aging mother. He didn’t begrudge his brother and sister their lives; he’d have moved here for the beauty of the place, not to mention the economical lifestyle it allowed.
He didn’t begrudge his mother the gentle neediness of a twice-widowed elderly woman. She’d mellowed in her age. Less mourning, more reminiscing.
He’d begrudge the final call, though, when it came. Her apartment door would be unlocked, as it always was. He’d step in, calling her, but she’d not answer. She never did, whether she couldn’t hear him or just wasn’t answering.
That’s what he’d begrudge: the finding, then the calling, the endless mourning of others on his behalf.
It started to snow as he slowed for the series of camera-topped speed-limit signs at the edge of town.
Turning onto Main Street, he heard his phone ring through to her voice mail, finally. The wind blew less fiercely between the buildings so he pulled his left glove off in his right armpit and pressed the hang-up button on his phone, dropping it clunk rattle back into the door handle of the van.
Some days, I just need a cheerleader to tell me I can do anything.
Some days, I need to be told I’m heading the wrong direction.
Some days, I need someone to let me cry over nothing.
Some days, I need to know that my failure wasn’t so bad.
Some days, I need someone to laugh at my jokes.
Some days, I need someone to laugh at me, so I don’t take myself too seriously.
Most days, I need ’em all.
And every day, I get exactly what I need.
December 26th was our 10th anniversary. Here’s to 10 million more.