My Grade 13 English teacher, Mr. Hillen, was the first one to call me a writer to my face. I brushed him off. Then I spent the next 30 years of my life doing stuff I’m not sure I should’ve been doing. Every chance he gets, a friend needles me about that: “It’s amazing how good we can become doing things we don’t like doing.”
I’m on a humble hike to hack the last 30 years of life.
Hey, no complaints. Born in Montreal, grew up in Toronto, now living in St. Paul, MN. I’ve made a living as a writer, a marketing copywriter, that is. I’ve written for other companies, people, places, products, and services — telling their stories instead of my own. Decent run. I used to boast, “I’ve marketed everything from under-arm, pit spray to Turkish tourism.” Now I’m not sure it’s such a great accomplishment. I’ve also been a change leader for organizations of all shapes and sizes. I still like that work. But it’s getting harder to help others change when I feel like I’m not. “My Real Resume” is an eight-minute read. You’ll get the gist of my rangy career in a few seconds. Check it out.
Winning five NaNoWriMo’s is something.
Gotta say, cranking out 1,700 words a day for 30 days straight is the most fun I have all year. I’ve done National Novel Writing Month 10ish times and “won,” or hit the goal of writing 50,000 words five times. I like to think of each manuscript as a clump of clay — Greethuania, Mole Mapper, Severance Plan, Almost Dad, Unibrow —each with messed up, baked in potential to be something remarkable one day. Second-best part of my year? Cooking a wild-ass cake themed to my novel to celebrate each zany November, bashing out a book, staying married, and keeping my full-time job. First drafts rock.
I’m the best-known writer on Planet Fungeye.
No biggie. It’s what happens when you befriend a bunch of smelly, gross toenail fairies and spend a couple of years traveling to Planet Fungeye to learn their story. Got it. I’m probably the only-known writer up there. I’ll take it. Swigging gallons of Toenail Tonic with Toe Jam, Korn, Gout, and Rucus, then writing a graphic novel about their eternal battles with the bitchy Tooth Fairy was an honor. Sharing the story at packed student assemblies in elementary schools throughout Minnesota was even better. Read what I learned on the adventure. Disclaimer: I can’t be held responsible for noxious fumes emitted by that article. Nose plugs are highly recommended.
I’m also a dad with three daughters, a cool wife, Muncie the puggle, and a first-gen Canadian with a Lithuanian mom, Greek dad, and no unibrowed, hairy-armed siblings I know of.
Only in “About Me” pieces can you butcher best practices for Medium headlines. But I’m in a murderous mood. That is, kill off the old me to discover a new me. Funny. I don’t deliberately set out to do that in my poems, articles, or manuscripts, but that theme is always right there, taunting me as I re-read my work. It’s Jung’s key question, right: “Apart from the roles you’ve played and what others have told you, who are you?”
Try as we may to ignore it— through the most diabolical, fortressed, addictive, self-sabotaging ways we can muster— the question is indestructible. Through my writing these days, I’m choosing to embrace it, explore it, and pray it leads me to a better place.
Let’s hang out! I’d love to read your stories and share more of mine.
Let’s connect on Medium + join my community to read, learn, and laugh about our human journey, to bravely peel back these innocent social tags to see what personal truths lurk beneath them, to use those discoveries to make the whole trip even cooler: