Archive for career

Writer’s Notes and Five Passages

{Writer’s Note}

This piece is disjointed, and intentionally so. It is a collection of several small pieces that I have written in my personal journals over the past couple of months. Individually each piece is not my finest work; together they are not my finest work. So why include them as a public posting, because what they lack in prize-worthy writing, they are abundant with message, with exposure, a summary of sorts as to where my head has been at, in what has come to be a very long creative drought. So please, read on through the lens of me trying to understand me, a little self-help and self-realization. This is a peak behind the curtain.

Passage 1:

I have never been completely honest in my writing, and this will be no different. Total honesty is a scary thing. To pull back the veil and expose the most intimate of truths is something, I would safely bet that, the majority of us have either never done, or if we are so fortunate, may have done on such rare occasion that these moments, while probably profound and full of meaning, are so few and far between, that they seem foreign, as not a part of us as they are intimate. The writer, or more generally, the artist seeks to do this through their chosen medium as often as possible, with many claiming that they are open and honest, brutally honest, and free in all the ways others are not- “I tell it how it is”, “I say what is on my mind”, all common catchphrases they will employ. So often, the ones most prone to boast about something are in fact the ones least likely to possess that trait, or have that truth. If we say it enough, others will believe it. If we say it enough, even we can start to believe our own lie.

Perhaps we proclaim what we are, when it is the farthest thing from the truth- our simple yet manipulated attempt at changing our truth?

Truth in art, art in truth, will either set you free?

So what is this all about? Why so much focus on truth, perception, and reality, because, each is prominent in my identity. The attempt to learn and understand each has mystified me for as long as I can remember- pulling back the veil, the elusive search for “the meaning”.

My writing can be largely summarized as focused on two things, perception and truth. Really two opposite notions always intertwined.

As I come off a long creative drought, I feel energized, empowered with a new power- an expanded arsenal and a needed mindset to push through.

Will all subsequent work be complete truth, free of shadows and alterations? No.

As alluded to prior, I don’t believe most of us possess the capability at-will, even if we have convinced ourselves we do. But there is no reason we cannot challenge ourselves to get there, to pursue what may seem unattainable. For in this pursuit is where life happens.

For myself, I want my writing, my art, to creep closer and closer to this truth, each piece, a truer reflection of me, and I encourage that we all can do that in life, regardless of your artistic leanings.

For each individual to live a little truer, a little more in line with who they are each day, that is progress my friends, that is evolution, that is enlightenment.

Passage 2:

I am in search of my own authenticity. Family aside, no other singular item is more important to me right now. My last piece discussed truth and perception, both playing directly into my search for the authentic-self. The ego-me tells myself that I have been the authentic-self for short bursts of time in prior, younger years. Truth is, that may or may not be true. It is entirely more likely that I have not been witness to my authentic-self yet, and I have only proceeded to play the part of the fool in my own memory induced illusion.

At some point, Stella lost her groove and, I believe, Austin Powers mojo went astray…well I know Stella got her groove back and Austin Powers was just fine (baby), so why not me, but on a much more real, personal, and impactful way than a couple of late 90s mediocre Hollywood story lies. This is the search for me, the authentic-self, something that I have convinced myself I need here and now, in no particular terms.

But what does that even mean, authentic-self? If I knew exactly what it meant, I would probably also have found it for myself. So I can tell you what it is not (what the problem is) and give you a (likely) inaccurate fumbled portrayal of what I think the authentic-self is, on a high-level all-people bird’s eye view.

{Writer’s Note}

I have removed content here. The subsequent paragraph did not delve deeper into the authentic-self, but instead, went on a crazy tangential rift about caves, creatures, and darkness, for no foreseeable reason other than it is what came to mind.

Maybe that’s just it, maybe the groundhog peeping of the authentic-self comes out of nowhere, is bizarre, does not make sense, and deviates you from that nice tidy little path you had laid out for yourself…truth…art.

Passage 3:

Change.

Change in all forms.

Today we sing, tomorrow we dance.

The night’s sky flickers with memories of a bygone era.

Here we stand, united in our moment.

I find myself meandering much more the last few days than I have in a while. Gentle winds take me here and there.

The meandering wanderer is not looked down upon, it is welcomed, wanted, needed. For too long I have been caught up in a race, a frantic need to measure up, measure up and “get things done”- complete the list.

I have added and added, said yes, made it my task, layer upon layer of complexity, of complication, until it was no longer bearable, and I was no longer me. I feel that sense of self-knowing coming back now. What once seemed like a barren desert, now feels like a cold rush of water infused into my veins, filling me with potential and direction.

No stranger to redirection, self-reflection (loathing?), and contemplation, I have found this current crossroads most perplexing and having the most gravitas.

Moments, they happen when we least expect them.

For better or for worse, my career, or better yet focus in life has become more clear and structured in the last few days. Structure, be sure you are the architect of the construction.

Passage 4:

I told myself today that I would be traveling- I had various destinations in mind, but was willing to deviate. I have fallen into routine and trappings of my own design- even a day of travel and adventure; I can quickly turn into routine and the expected. It is difficult to escape and be free in modern America, especially in the unhealthy hustle and bustle of major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, where I reside on its suburban outskirts. I have long been obsessed with the writings and lifestyle experiences of Jack Kerouac, the, to me, simple adventures in an era of slower living, basic joys, and still plenty of America (and life) left to explore. We all have the explorer within, mine aches with a longing I cannot currently satiate. Satiation of my core needs and identities is a big focus for me, it is rampant in my writing.

In my push to be deeper, I find memories of ultra-shallowness, such as focus on and concern for the outfit I put together for the day, “what says writer… breakthrough…what says adventure?”

As a writer, I have had so many stop and go, or rather go and stop moments over the past 6-12 months that I am left with a disappointment and a fear of the well having run dry. That scares me. Briefly I considered complicated and impractical options, ways to fix this creative rut…quickly jumping off of that speeding bullet train of crap and instead going simple.

My plan…to write everything… to write and write, about everything and anything (or is it the other way around?), and while I am continually writing, I will also be sharing nearly all of it.

This is the only real way I know how to get back in, to slide back into that groove of writer, creator, artist, satisfied being. So, let it be so.

Passage 5:

{Writer’s Note}

This fifth and final passage catches me on a day when I felt shallow as an artist, feeling as if I had denied my art all of me, and instead been selective and manipulative with what I let others see, or even write for myself. It is a very brief piece that alludes to a possible future project exploring the depths of my being.

I am a broken person. This I realize.

Yet I have the grace within, everyone does.

Describing the Beast:

So much of what I do in my writing is self-analyze, self-medicate, and self-help myself. My writing is intimate, it’s intimate when it is obviously intimate, and it is intimate even when it seems distant and removed. I believe all art, or at least all genuine art is intimate, it tells the story of the individual, in one way or another. A little bit, or sometimes nearly the entire artist is embedded within the deep recesses of the piece. And while my writing goes to a certain depth, I freely admit it is limited, it goes medium’ish deep into me. I have never dared to go deep into the recesses of my being. In a recent piece I said that I would be breaking my writer’s block by writing about anything and everything. I feel that in addition to that, I need to take a stab at going deep, deep down into the abyss…down into the abyss and describe the beast- but how to begin?

Where does one start with an exposition such as this? How does one simply let go and dive into the darkness?

I am flawed, completely and utterly beautifully flawed. Both heavenly and brimstone, I, like nearly all in life, am a duality of existence. So how to begin? Perhaps a tit for tat, a positive and then a negative. I have much I am proud of, and enough that I am not. I have shined in many moment so far, and stumbled in even more. I am me.

There are countless tales to tell, but what fits and describes the beast? Today will probably not be the day I decide that…

{Writer’s Note}

So there you have it, five passages mashed together to provide you a glimpse (albeit hodge-podge) of me speaking to me, trying to figure me out, and in the process find a way to get back. Perhaps you can relate. We all, in some way, need to get back, to get back to something or someone.

Rucksack

Upcoming…

  • Reflections on keeping momentum going in writing
  • Opening up about inspiration and attachment

 

I remember it all, the dream, the anticipation, that unknown beautifully terrifying feeling in the bottom of your stomach. It was time. I seemed ready to conquer, to make it happen, to transform. I sat and starred at the still newly worn green rucksack, the perfect item I had selected to hold my writing necessities. A sacred vessel in which within would hold the treasures allowing me to transform. I selected the green rucksack (and called it rucksack versus backpack) because of him, because of Kerouac. A nod to his wandering, dharma bum, traveling within the void, my inspiration and closest known author to what I strive to do. I am sentimental in that way, placing special meaning on a rucksack, an attachment to help inspire me (the attachment to an object alone would upset the dharma bum- sorry Jack). So there I sat, staring at the pack, feeling lost, lost and disappointed. The writing adventure started off a glorious blaze of hope and inspiration, settled into a groove, and over the past few weeks has nearly fallen by the wayside. Why? Did I not care anymore, had I lost the passion? No, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. I have been missing it- pining for a block of time to write, pick up the pen and let it all spill out, my soul escaping through vestibules of life’s cement jungle, each crack filled with an endless stream of wordy waves of liquid night fueled passion words. This is my struggle. I (again) have let the distractions of life get in the way. Then it hit me- I felt despair- I felt loss- loss for the dream I had felt grow closer, that now had receded deep into the void, a faint twinkle tempting and eluding me daily.

Tonight has been good. This has been good. The pen is active, the mind sharp, and the flame still burning- time to dust off that old green rucksack and get on the road Jack.

 

Looking Back…

It takes strong focus and sometimes recommitment to achieve success

Repetition and Routine- Bringers of Negativity- How We Turn it Around

Coming Up:

  • Repetition and Routine as the hidden handicappers of embracing life
  • How routine and repetition impacted me recently
  • Considerations for how they can impact you and what you can do

 

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, or so they say. I am not here to debate the merits of that statement, although it would be interesting. There are things else in the world outside of idle hands that are some of the largest proponents of woe and misery today- repetition and routine.

Coming from a family that leans heavy towards the obsessive compulsive mindset, routine and repetition are our closest neighbors, we wave hello to them every morning and invite them over for Sunday brunch. Branching out further, expanding the scope to society as a whole (at least the American society I am familiar with), it can be easily seen that routine and repetition have not just pervaded our lives, but have infected it, captured it, tortured it and ground us down. The worst part about all of it is that routine and repetition are so sneaky, so conniving that they have brainwashed us into believing that they are needed, a simple fact of life, just how things are. They do not have to be.

Variety is truly the spice of life (to be cliché).

My journey over the past few months has been eye opening. I have learned more about myself than anticipated (and I expected a lot). My view of the world has changed drastically. It is not just about career change (that is part of it); my world in the past few months has been riddled with unexpected loss, undo stressors, uncomfortable situations that have forced me to confront deep seeded notions of who I am, what I believe in, and how I impact the people around me. The road has taken many twists and turns as of late, and along the way I have brushed against some thorny undergrowth on my way to truth.

One component of that journey has been my realization regarding the toxic nature of engraining oneself in routine and repetition. This dangerous duo can manifest in countless forms: taking relationships for granted, bad dietary and or fitness habits, accepting sub-par working conditions, avoiding dangerous health symptoms, being oblivious to others’ desperate outreach, and perhaps most tragically, a general and overall apathy for life and missing out on the possibility of the true wonder and amazement that can come with each day.

Life is overwhelming for all of us in some way or another, to varying extents. Routine and repetition are what some may call tools, others will call crutches, there to help us avoid having to see each day as a unique life experience, equal parts exciting and terrifying. In general, we are not equipped, nor do we have the energy (unfortunately) to approach each day as a new adventure, open our minds up to the possibilities, see every item, even those most commonplace fresh and rediscover life with each moment. As a society we have set up our lives in a way that will not allow for this type of fresh-eyed childlike approach. I will acknowledge that there are benefits to routine and repetition in certain niches and situations, but as a whole, when taken to the extremes that we have become accustomed to, they deprive us of a baseline satisfaction and appreciation for life and learning.

In my most recent revelation, I discovered that routine and repetition were impacting my daily life in serious and negative ways. I found myself doing what was comfortable, not challenging myself, taking relationships for granted, accepting life situations that were a hindrance and contributors to negative mental states simply because they were convenient and easy. I was slipping and forgetting how to see each day as an adventure, open my eyes and see the wonder and excitement that encapsulates existence. It takes energy, often times a lot to approach each day anew; it is easier to do what is known, what is comfortable, what is right in front of us, even if it hurts us.

For myself, I have found that it takes daily intention, constant recalibration to avoid the duo of repetition and routine. It has only been a few days since my revelatory refocus, but it has been a godsend. As an artist and a creative mind, I am always thinking abstract in so many mediums; sad to say that the basic premise of living each day had started to be excluded from that list. No more. I am dedicated to allowing routine and repetition to have their proper places in small doses for select situations, while recommitting to opening my eyes and challenging the status quo of what makes up a day.

Consider for yourself, what do I do each day that falls into a routine and repetition cycle?

What things are appropriate to have routine and repetition for? Which life segments are hurt or not allowed to flourish by routine and repetition?

Once you have established your starter list, it is time to commit and take action. The action will be different for each of us. It may be that we need to avoid certain situations, approach people differently, take a risk on something that scares us (the unknown), or we may need to have tough conversations and cut out items that we once believed were vital in our life. Whatever the case, the overarching message is of a fresh approach and a moment by moment appreciation for life. It does not matter if it applies to your career, your family, or you as an individual, the message remains the same.

Looking back, I want to (need to be able to) say that I saw the wonders of life; I embraced the day, the choices, the options, and the great unknown.

Looking Back:

  • Routine and repetition pervade our lives, often times in negative ways
  • By taking some time to reflect and open ourselves up to new approaches, we can combat these negative impacts

 

Scott Norek

Blogger and Freelance Writer at scottnorek.com http://bit.ly/1KOSW02

Let Go of Perfection and Embrace Reality

I can be very hard on myself and I know I am not alone. So often we are force fed the notion of perfection, the ridiculously unobtainable ideal that will always elude us and leave us in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, an unneeded striving for something bigger, better, faster, more attractive, more expensive. There is nothing wrong with goals, ambitions, dreams and desires- we need that- a motivation to keep moving forward, to better ourselves. Speaking in generalities (of course), we all do this to some extent, some more than others.

Think about it. What do you beat yourself up about? Run one more mile next time, score ten points higher on the next test, wow your coworkers in the next company meeting? Or maybe you just consider it challenging yourself. Perhaps you tell yourself you will pick the perfect partner next relationship, lose five more pounds, write a better story.

In the proper setting these can all be great motivating goals and aspirations. But in the (all too common) incorrect setting, they become negatives, undo stressors, reminders that we have fallen just short, and still have longer ways to go.

So how can the same item be both a negative and a positive? Perspective. Our perspective is key. I struggle with this daily, but being able to be happy with ourselves, appreciate and celebrate our wins (no matter how small), see the big picture, and simply be in the present moment, are the groundwork for happiness and satisfaction in life.

By way of example, my wife (somewhat) recently completed a graduate degree program. One of the first things a close relative asked her moments after graduation was “congratulations, what is next? When will you get that doctoral degree?” Think about it…

My wife had literally just completed the symbolic celebration of the culmination of years of study and work walking in her graduation ceremony, and what she is immediately met with is a thin veil of congratulations, saturated with a polluted mindset bent on the continual “one-up”, keeping up with the Joneses, stuck in a cycle of perpetual reinforcement of the notion that we need something bigger, better, shinier. Ridiculous, yet it pervades all around us. Luckily she is well aware of this, we have talked at length. But, had she not been, she would become victim to the “do better” cycle.

What I have come to realize for myself is it is not just a factor in our career world, nor only in our personal life ,this mentality seeps into nearly every nuance of existence- but it does not have to. You are good enough. You have accomplished a lot. You need to celebrate who you are and what you have done.

Perfection is a myth, a fairytale the ill-intentioned sells us to further their agenda, and what the well-intentioned convince themselves in a faulty mindset. Fault and imperfections are reality and should be embraced. We learn through experience, through our mistakes and life lessons.

In summary:

  • Perfection is a myth– This applies to all aspects of life both personal and professional
  • Reality is beautifully and perfectly flawed– We learn the most from our trials and tribulations, building character through embracing and even loving flaws
  • Accepting imperfections in others is a talent– and key component of interconnectedness and understanding in life
  • The difference between positive goals and a flawed approach is perspective

The next time your coworker, direct report, partner, child, whomever, falls short and exposes themselves for anything but a perfect ideal, take a moment, experience the situation, and take a critical eye to what can be learned from the situation. Focus on showing a level of compassion, understanding and connectedness. You may be surprised at what happens next.

What would a benefit be to you and your world from accepting imperfection?

These are the thoughts of one person, a person who is perfectly flawed, like us all.

Who Do You Want to Be? (You Already Are That) Now How to Show the World

It is when we have embraced our true-self in all aspects of life that we are at our optimal.

Self-reflection and a razor sharp critique of myself have been reoccurring elements over the past few months for me. Ever since being released from a corporate job I held for just a tad over a decade, I have done a lot of soul searching. To be transparent, self-reflection and the search for the ever elusive true happiness have always been cornerstones of my persona. Since my childhood days I have written. The writing has always been introspective and contemplative on not just myself, but on society and life as a whole. So when it came time for me to confront a major career change, fresh on the heels of the birth of my firstborn and several other key milestones in life, I truly was at a crossroads. But unlike many who approach a crossroads, I did not enter the lonely intersection with apprehension, fear, anxiety, or wondering who I was (or who I was to become). For me, the crossroads were bright, warm, inviting, and what was once a soft almost silent ambient sound that beckoned me towards my truth, was now an in your face message screaming at me- no more hiding softly just below the ever-present buzz of daily life, never being noticed- this sound was piercing, loud, intentional , and real. My life was calling and it was up to me to answer. And I have.

I am a writer. A little bit left of center writer, but a writer nonetheless. The fact that I had spent a decade in a corporate world said nothing about this. That was the path I had chosen coming just out of college (get that career job Scott…get that house…make sure it has a white picket fence…). I learned a lot, met great people, was able to provide comfortably for myself and my family, and it is that path through corporate America that led me exactly to where I am today- happy and excited to be heading down a new twist in the path- happily running past my crossroads, blazing towards what is next.

Cliché to say, but I would not change a thing about that portion of my path; for to change any component of the path may have altered my experiences in a way that would take away from what I have come to hold most dear- and that was/is my truth. So many have commented to me recently “oh, so you are a writer now”, or “you are getting into writing now”. That, along with my own intensive self-reflection got me thinking, who do I want to be?

I very quickly realized that I did not need to be asking myself that question; it is easy to go there given my circumstances, but it was a faulty query at its base-level. Losing a job does not negate or change who you are. Yes, you may go a new route (like me), acquire new skills, rethink many aspects of your life, but you are still you…always have been…always will be. I do not mean to insinuate that we can only be one thing, or that we are limited in what we can do in life. There are no limits, and many truths about ourselves will only be revealed throughout our time in this life as we navigate and are exposed to different factors. But it is there. What I call our true-selves, is at the very basis of our makeup. Understanding who I am and what that means for myself at this point in time is freeing. To understand one’s truth is next to the sublime.

Who we are, our true, vulnerable, naked self is rarely (unfortunately) exactly (or even close) to the person we are perceived as in everyday life by the masses, as well as by some of the people closest to us. The simple living, neo-hippie, free-flowing writer/artist masked by what others blindly (by no fault of their own) see as a standard run of the mill suburbanite father, husband and corporate worker bee.

Let the wild truth within run free, unfettered by expectations and safe choices- embrace your truth and the mask will fall away until the world sees you as you have always known you are and have been.

Freedom and peace with our lives is a paramount pursuit. That pursuit is within and not dependent upon others.

Coming out of the introspective, deep, philosophical leanings of realizing out truths have always been with us, there is a different level of being, a (albeit more superficial) benefit to helping others to see our truth.

So how can we help others, even the casual observer, see our truth deep down to our core? How do we materialize into the world the miraculous bits and pieces that make up our truest fibers?

Here is what has worked for me (perhaps it has or will work for you)…

  1. Pursue Your Dreams
    1. You have to make it happen. I have always been a writer, wrote when I could, and knew that I would love to pursue it professionally one day; but it was not until I took legitimate steps to make this a reality and see just how far down the rabbit hole I could go (still a long ways to go) that the gap between my inner-identity and the outer-self began to be bridged and meld together in a noticeable way. You need to take actionable steps out in the world to help people see your truth.
  2. Embrace Your Truth- hide nothing
    1. As with much advice, it is always easier said than done, but being as open and transparent as possible (be an open book) with whom you are, what you want, and what you will be doing is freeing and eye opening. It only took one or two soul opening conversations with my family about being a writer and how I feel when I embrace that piece of me for those around me to get it. After that, I found people’s support and curiosity inspirational.
  3. Stay Strong- do not fade away, justify, or feel the need to rationalize
    1. Many will not understand, especially when we are challenging the norm. You will be met with resistance, some so intense it may make you doubt yourself- do not let it. This is your truth and your truth alone- own it. Strength and confidence in who we are will attract others and can turn nonbelievers into devote followers.
  4. Be Obsessive
    1. This is all about who you are as deep as possible, it is about losing the mask, shedding the expectations laid by others for a magnificent blindingly bright light of your truth- be obsessive. Dive in with everything you have, trusting yourself implicitly. If there is anything worth doing full-bore, it is this.

These are snippets, short capsules meant to detail what I (as one individual) have done for myself. The focus has been on career change, but is applicable across the spectrum of life, whether it be a similar career shift, a new religious or political leaning, sharing an alternative lifestyle with the world, or declaring your allegiance for a formerly embarrassing television show. The point is, whatever your situation, own it.

I encourage you to leave your own thoughts. Share your truth. Best wishes on your own unique adventure.

Scott Norek

Blogger and Freelance Writer at scottnorek.com http://bit.ly/1KOSW02

Writers Today vs. Writers of Old (Part 1)

Upcoming…

  • Writer of today compared to that of yesteryear
  • Traits of the historical writer
  • Quips on modern society
  • A promise for more to come

 

Being a writer- prior to twenty years ago (give or take), it meant basically the same thing throughout the ages, creative spirit holed away somewhere, isolated, banging out page after page on a typewriter. I imagine Jack Kerouac sitting at an old wooden desk, not old in that classy antique sort of way, but old in that just plain old, beat-up, and forgotten by time sort of way, the luster gone, wood splitting and rough, the legs uneven and wobbly, the surface barely suitable for a family to eat at, years of abuse- but perfect for the true writer, for the artist who cares not for the luxuries or even sometimes the bare necessities in life, but rather is so laser focused on their craft that they will sit in a skid row motel, at an abused desk, eyes blurry from countless hours of straight typing, just being what they are. I pick Kerouac as he is an inspiration for me, a lighthouse that has guided me in my writing; but while the scenario may change from skid row motel, it is the same for the writers of history and legend- simplicity in their craft.

Artist, paper, pencil/pen/quill (you get it), typewriter, and whatever ambience/setting they need, mixed in with a little inspiration (the indulgences), and you have the skeleton of a writer’s life. Sprinkle in some poverty, heartache, struggles, pains, misery, with a sense of adventure, excitement, inspiration, and you have the perfect storm for so many of the writers that have etched their names in history’s library.

What is it all? Simple- it was simple. Life was simple, if not a challenge for the writer. The term starving artist is there for a reason. What made the memorable ones memorable and countless more that time has forgotten is singular focus- Writing. They wrote because that is who they were, and they shut out much of the rest of the world (unless it suited them to engage with the world for their writing).

So what is the writer’s life like today? There is no way to marginalize all the unique personalities and life paths that the pantheon of today’s writers have, yet I will (forgive). Today’s writer still has all the characteristics I described earlier, the simple mad crazy driven desire to do their art, a willingness at times to forgo anything else, and the need for the right setting, but with all of that (which was enough and often too much for writers of yesteryear) they have modern (last twenty years) society. The internet, social networking, self-publishing, celebrity obsession, technology entwined into EVERY component of life, and looking out- a world that would seem like science fiction and make a good many of the writers of yesterday shed a tear for humanity.

How pure and how true it must have been to have been the writers of a long gone era, just to write and experience life. Thoreau never had to worry about how many Twitter followers he had, whether he should self-publish or not; he never overthought about a photo he was taking and what filter to use before it went up on Instagram. Critique today comes from the anonymous, the obscure, the virtual masses so quick to destroy your passions with hateful words spewed out over a laptop’s keyboard.

There is a lot of greatness, exposure, possibilities and new mediums that come with this modern age (more for another post), I acknowledge that- but for today, for right now, I am on the idea of the writer’s life as it exist in its simplest form- one individual- writing. Modern benefits aside, one cannot deny that the scope of the writer, the need to stay connected, and the overexposure at times, has taken away from much of the simplicity that has always been at the core of being a writer.

Leather bound journal and pencil have been replaced by laptop, tablet, smart phone, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc…and for many, that is pure bliss, exactly what they want, what they need. But there are throwbacks out there. The writers who prefer to stay low-tech, carry paper and pen as they stomp throughout the world in search of their next inspiration- Thoreau at Walden pond, Kerouac at Big Sur. It is for those that I write.

As I said, there is much more to be said for the modern era of writing, and I will, just not right now. For now, I am going to pack up the computer, turn off the music, not obsess over Twitter or Facebook- for now I am going to disconnect and go out into the world. I encourage you to do the same.

 

Looking Back…

  • I generalize and romanticize the writer, but it was different, simpler before
  • The modern day writer must be plugged into social networking, the media, the age of technology
  • While this is a godsend for many modern writers today, there are throwback writers (old-school)

Author’s note…

  • This topic could be written about for hours and days, endless in its length of discussion. This is a snippet, a quick thought burst from one modern day writer.

I will do a companion (part 2) piece that highlights the benefits of the modern era. Stay tuned…

Ten Week Reflection on My Path

Upcoming…

  • Self-reflection on the first steps in my new life path
  • How it has impacted me and the people around me
  • A tidbit or two on what we can all do to find truth

 

It has been exactly ten weeks today since I stepped out of the office of my corporate compliance position I had held for the last ten years for the last time. As of that day, I no longer was required (are we ever really required- we make choices even if we do not think they are choices) to come into the office, complete my corporate duties, and contribute to a for-profit publicly traded company, that today seems a distant memory and eons away from who I am right now, in this moment. Sure, the departure from corporate life was not on my own accord, my hand forced via riff, but it was welcomed, it was needed.

It has always been in me, writer, artist, and I have always known that a corporate life, while rich with many material benefits and comforts, was not me, not deep down to my truth. It is possible (and probable) that there is a corporate career out there that would align directly with my true-self, my core beliefs and passions. I will not deny that. What I will say is that I am and have always been a writer, artist, and a seeker of adventure and truth. The world is a wonderful mysterious place and it calls to me, beckoning me to explore it, experience it, and to understand (try to) its infinite mysteries and truths.

This is where I need to be, this is what my path needs to be, a primary focus on life, experiences, and a continued searching of truth and beauty. I was not doing that from my desk in a corporate office, focusing on regulatory compliance.

I feel more alive today and more satisfied in each day than I have in a very long time. Many would look at my situation and see an unfortunate individual laid off from a (seemingly and was for ten years) stable, very well paying corporate position, which provided an excess of financial and material comfort, evidence of career progression, success and promise for the future. These people would see all that and conclude that it was a tragedy, a worrisome situation, one difficult to recover from, and wonder, “what will he do next?” “How will he match that success in the job market today?” and I get it…I do. I understand that mindset.

It is a mindset I have had to battle and explain away to so many of my closest friends and family members. As a husband and father to a one year old son, the traditional standard of success, comfort and safety are hard societal tags to shake.

But there is a different type of success, a different standard for life, a more fulfilling and true ideal to strive for. That is what I am going for now. The path to live it my everyday as my true-self, to pursue my passions, my dreams, the components that I most closely identify with at the core of my being. My wife Laura and I have always fancied ourselves a little bit different, slightly left of the mainstream, neo-hippie types caught up in a corporate suburbanite world. In between morning commutes to the office and painstaking repetitive maintenance of our suburban sprawl, I dreamt of escape, of running away, leaving it all behind, going simple, primitive, free and living away, secluded, perhaps a remote rustic cabin tucked deeply into a woody pine, the fresh mountain air in the morning, the simple and true reality sounds of birds, insects, a babbling brook…and us, just the family and peace.

So now and for the last ten weeks, I found myself able to escape, able to explore this path. With the support of my wife and a desire to take this leap, I have experienced a lot.

It is no easy task to go from amateur (still am), casual writer in my free time, writing pieces only for myself, or at least only seen by myself, the hidden work of an artist at heart and mind for the entirety of my life (as far as I can recall), to choosing to leap into the public eye and make my works, my emotions, my truths, and my very being available for public consumption. Our emotions, identifiers, and stories are very personal to all of us…imagine taking your journal, spilling your desires, fears, insecurities, struggles and accomplishments out into the world. This is what I am doing, this is what I have chosen to do…and I love every second of it.

I miss no part of my former corporate career. I miss several people, but nothing else. That is not to imply I am not grateful for the opportunity, the company, the experience, or the path it took me on for the last ten years. That part of my life brought me many great memories and provided in a particular way for me and my family. It also led me to where I am today, sitting here, literally recounting my past years in a creative writing form that has always been primary to my true-self. I am not ungrateful, but I also do not miss any part of it and do not desire to return down that path. That path is done; it is no longer part of my current or future story (as far as my limited perspective can see).

What I have today is brilliant, special, engaging, and beautiful. I have a purpose and a path that makes me feel alive and deeply satisfied in a life fulfilling way. I am a writer.

In ten weeks on this new path, I have learned many things:

  1. It is difficult and can seem impossible at times, but being true to yourself as deeply and honestly as possible is liberating. There is nothing like it.
  2. You must first discover what being true to yourself really means. We may think we know, have convinced ourselves we know what we desire, what we need, but it may be a wall, a facade, a compromise we have made in life to deal with and accept our circumstances. Take time, find solitude for however long you need, listen to yourself and discover the silent voice within that whispers to your soul. Hear what it has to say.
  3. Following a path that veers any degree from what you have done in the past, what is expected of you, and or is unconventional for whatever slice of society you are a part of will be misunderstood and met with a great degree of confusion. Be true, honest, open and frank with those that you feel need to, or you care to explain yourself to. Even if your decision is not for them and they do not understand, if you are being true to your core, they will understand and feel that. People will respond to your vibrations you set out, as long as they are pure and true.
  4. We can all do it; we all need to do it. We can find ourselves and make it work in our life. It will not happen overnight, it takes time. Finding truth starts with desire and unbreakable determination. Never lose sight, even when times may be their darkest.

It has already been, but also has only been ten weeks since I have pushed down this new path. I still have so much to learn, so much to experience.

I welcome comments (comment link at bottom of each blog post- may show as “no comments”). Let me know a way you have followed your path that others can learn from.

There will be more recaps to come, for now, adventure on my fellow life travelers. Find your peace.

The New Blog Site and Me

Upcoming…

  • I explore my mind-state on the night of my blog go-live
  • Glimpse into why I write

 

On the eve of the go-live for my blog site, I sit with mixed feelings- excitement, apprehension, joy, wonder, unease, apprehension (wrote that twice- mean something?), but mostly, I am on edge in the greatest way possible. I have always been a writer and artist, since I can remember as a child. I remember creating my own versions of the story of the Alamo and of the cinematic Aliens series; both done in word and picture. I believe I still even have the Alamo story. Writing for me has always been a release, an escape, a way to try to not only understand the world, but especially myself- what makes me tick, why I feel the way I do, why I am the way I am. Who I am…

Writing and all other forms of art have always been amateur for me, something I just did for pleasure, in my spare time. Thing is, there was always spare time, ample amounts, when I was younger; but as the years went on and I sank further and further into the typical American suburban life, that time for art, that time for writing seemed to all but disappear outside of neatly pocketed manic bursts. It is in those moments that I would feverishly write as much as I could, until my arm cramped and hand felt numb. The pulsating agony and joy of a blur of spontaneous writing.  In a way, it is what I have always done, but it took discovering my now Holy Grail author Jack Kerouac, to discover and find acceptance in this method. Jack called it spontaneous prose, and he was the unwilling master and ambassador. A style of writing that says that first thought is best thought- no need to rewrite- no need to ponder- no editing, going back, scratch that, use this instead- total trust in one’s instincts and inner voice. Autonomous writing in a way.  To use a contemporary example, it is akin to the hip-hop artist of today who do not write their lyrics down, they just rap from their mind and one-take it in the studio. But my muse is Kerouac, (again) unwilling leader and ambassador of the Beat generation, a group hell bent on freedom of expression, adventure, and a willingness to go for it in writing, life and in every sense. This is what I try to also do. This will come through as very diverse, sometimes chaotic, occasionally brilliant, and followed by a few misses, in my work. I am not about polished, I am not about the boundaries, the rules, the expectations, and trying to ensure my work fits a mainstream idea.

My work is simply me, through and through. This means it will not be for everyone. For some will not get it and dismiss is; while others will see truth, similarity to themselves and understand why I do this. I am very open, frank and introspective in my works.  Acting as my harshest critic and as my biggest advocate, I wind and snake my way through life via written word- each moment captured for record, understanding, retrospection, and discovery. The ever illusive search for the eternal truth, the ultimate reality hidden just beneath our noses, just existing in godly glory just beyond our eyes.

As I said, I have always written and considered myself at my core and artist; but this has not been able to play itself out in what is commonly referred to as my professional life, my career. That is until now. No, I am not a published author, nor a blogger who has so many followers, so many visits that a generate money. I do not have a job in the writing industry; in fact I do not have a conventional job at this moment. That is the short version of a long story behind this new career path. I have spent the past ten years at the same corporate entity, in various roles, most recently as a corporate compliance Director- about as far away as possible from being an artist/writer. Those ten years culminated in me being one of many rifted in a massive company-wide layoff.

That is the catalyst for this, the chance to find a new direction, to retake hold of my life, to make myself happy, find true joy and purpose in what I do. My chance to write.

In some way, everything I will post on the blog will be about my new path. Some more obvious than others- yet all being true glimpses into my mind, my life, my view of the world- for better or worse.

What do I hope readers get out of my work? Who knows…how can I truly answer that without sounding cliché? I would be lying if I said I did not care if anyone enjoyed it, found meaning, found some level of truth. And in another sense, I am doing this as my own therapy- my own truth being peeled back from my innermost psyche and jettisoned into the world.

I have put a lot of work into getting this blog page up and running, and the initial spattering of posts are not a representation of my favorite work, best work, worst work, or anything down the middle; they are simply some of my most recent work. Like I said, I have been writing all my life and have the vast majority of those works hand written locked safe away. How would one who has been on this earth the better half of thirty years as myself go about handpicking his best or favorite works at this juncture? An exercise in futility. I will go back. I will resurrect some of the works from the vault.

For now, take a look into me through my written word at this juncture in time. As I continue to post more for the world, hopefully the intricacies of my world and my mind will become living entities out there, and I will find truth, meaning and oneness with my true-self and the ultimate reality.

Ready for the journey?

 

Looking Back…

  • I am a writer, always have been
  • I am taking a leap to see how far down the rabbit hole I can go

My True Path

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Upcoming…

  • Life Change
  • True-Self
  • American Dream
  • Your Own Path

Author’s Note…

  • I wrote this piece just a couple of months ago when I had just started considering that I would make a push for writing. It is very self-reflective, somber at points, yet hopeful and aspirational. In that moment, it was being as real as I could with myself on where I was at. I hope in reading this, you take something away for your own life and your own path.

 

I have come to terms recently that I am a disappointment to myself in life, sounds very harsh I know, and your first instinct is probably to say “oh no Scott…don’t talk like that…it’s not true…your great…look at all that you have…look at all that you have accomplished…” But it is true, I am a disappointment to myself. But, if you were thinking what I assume you would have said, you are also right. I do have a great life and so much to be happy and grateful for. I have my health, great family, friends, an amazing wife and son, I had a great paying job (one benefit), and more material possessions, beyond more than anyone truly needs. I have all these things and I have happiness in my life with my wife Laura, my son, and in an overall general sense- I am happy- but in another, primordial, base-level, cerebral, true-self sense, I am miserable, I am lost in my current path, and have great regret, disappointment and depression with myself. I have an immeasurable hole in my being for not having fully realized my true-self, my true-form as a writer, an artist. I could blame a lot of people and a lot of things, but fuck that, take a stand you sniveling sniff, it is on you (me)- I did this- I allowed this to happen- I bypassed a path as an artist, and went the expected route, the preferred way, the safe path, the “successful” mode of living- aren’t you all so proud of me? Outwardly making a nice tidy in-the-box living and life- nice house, good neighborhood, comfy high-paying corporate job- all I needed was the white picket fence. Smile Scott, smile for them, they all need to fakely believe you are happy, you have made it, look at you go.

We trade in our true-selfs for an existence of conformity and quiet despair. Very few finding themselves and even fewer having found themselves and then making it their truth, their daily existence.

The mainstream American society does not promote truth-seekers, the American dream is a facade, a sham, dreamt up by charlatans and spoon fed down our throats- the American dream means fitting a mold, sacrificing freedom, expression, individuality and truth-seeking in order to fall in line, get the job, get the house, get the family, get the happiness?

{insert hardcore public backlash here}

Before I am labeled a commie, or a blasphemous hater of all things good, pure and right in the world, I should say that I believe there is a true American dream, one hidden to the everyday eye, not known, not seen by any beyond a select few- There is an American (really a life) dream…it is at the core of us all and what I believe the American dream was meant to be before it was manipulated, perversely raped, and tossed aside to rot and transform into the ugly creation it is today. The seers of history knew it, a way to find happiness, to find truth, to find a pure path meant for each of us. It includes nothing of the American dream spoken about today- it is uttered throughout the ages by mystics, shamans and prophets. It is on the cuff of adventure seekers and spiritual lighthouses, a clear devotion and unapologetic pursuit of their (our) truth, a life uncompromised by anything and focused on pursuit of life. It is different for each of us, but the modal delivery remains unchanged at its core- pure unmolested unapologetic devotion to the path.

I know this.

I need this.

I am this.

I am.

I.

.

Looking Back…

  • There is a path for each of us
  • That path may be difficult at times
  • Each of our paths share a commonality at their true core