Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Bit of a Sports Rant

I had to miss Ben's game today, as I was at the Michael Perry Celebrity Saturday writing workshop at AllWriters. It's probably a good thing I did miss it because I'm told he only played the opening kickoff, and then no more.

So what gives? This is a sixth grade team. Not High School, sixth grade. My problem with it was the fact that many of the boys played the whole game on both sides of the ball. The whole game.

Now I know what is going through these coaches heads. It's a close game (turns out they lost 6-0) and they want to win. I get that. But you know what? I know of at least two other players who did not play a down and a couple more that got a play or two. The "star" player almost passed out because it was hot and he was running a lot. Did I mention it's sixth grade? Oh yeah, sorry.

My son's not a star. I get that. I wasn't either. I had no problem being a second stringer, but in SIXTH grade I got in every game, for significant time. My coaches thought that was important. Back then it was important. Kids were kids, not little stars.

I know playing in 6th grade spurred me to wanting to play 7th, 8th and 9th. I loved the game; lived for the game. Practice was part of it, because I knew I would play some in most games. There's something to be said for instilling a love of the game, team and comraderie at the expense of sitting your star players for a series.

I can't continue on this topic. It makes me so mad, that I want to spit. So onward.

The Michael Perry workshop was outstanding! He is a memoirist after my own heart. He rambled for much of the time with humorous anecdotes dotted with crystalline insights and periodic flashes of wisdom. He is not only an incredible author (and poet) but a great speaker. He said when he found out that he'd landed his first book and they expected him to do readings, he went to several book readings in the Twin Cities to see what he could learn from them. He said some of the great authors he saw, could "be a bit dry" as speakers. He swore he would try and be better, and he does not disappoint.

I'd seen him before at a book signing, so knew he could captivate an audience. When he does it among his peers, (not that I'm claiming to even be close to being a peer) it's even cooler.

He did give me some good advice about self publishing and took much of the doubt out of that for me. I'd heard that some people say that self publishing may blacklist you as an author later on. MP's had four books self published, and said it can be a great way to get started.

It was also quite an eye opener as to the whole writing, publishing and marketing process. He works incredibly hard at his craft. Much harder than I've ever worked on ANY of my writing. It was educational for me as to how I need to step it up a bit.

My beef with all of this though is that I have this thing called life that I have to live too. (I'm not saying he DOESN'T by any means.) I'm just saying that having a job, wife, two kids, dog and two cats keeps me busy. Real busy. Not busy enough so that I can't write, but busy enough so that I can't just immerse myself in my writing, at the expense of my family. I guess I could, but I don't want to be "that guy". I refuse to be a bad father/husband just to do what I want to do. These years with kids at home are numbered. The magic numbers are 3 and 6, and I intend to be available for them. Granted I can still write, but not to the loss of time/experiences with my kids.

The cool thing is that I'm just getting started. I've stumbled upon something that I can do well into my senior years, and when I say senior, I mean post 50. (Sorry to offend anyone.) It's like the best hobby/pasttime that I've ever found, and I'm just getting going with it.

The trick is to keep it fresh for myself and still get an occasional piece published to keep me wanting more. That's the goal at least.

One quick story to finish up. I asked Michael Perry if he had any brought any books to sell/sign. He said he did up in the car in the parking ramp. Turns out I was in the same ramp and walked him out. When we got to his car, he opened the door of his silver VW station wagon which was loaded with books and band equipment, and when he swung the door open, a bag of something fell out.

He said. "Ah, life on the road."

To which I laughed and said, "It's not all it's cracked up to be, is it?"

It showed me the reality of trying to make a living schleppin' books across the country. Part of me would love the opportunity to do it for a summer. Only one summer. That would probably do it for me. God Bless him, man.

I'd better cash this in. Not before I point out that you, the reader, MAY have been the 1000th reader of this blog. If you want to find out, go back to the top of this page and look at the number on my Counter right below my facebook picture.

When I posted this, it was at 984. If you hit 1000, Congratulations! You've won a free copy of my book when it's done. Just remind me, LOL. (It may be a year or two...)

Blogging off...

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