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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pity Gets Us Nowhere. Make Another Arrangement.

Me?  No, you don't want to be like me.

Life is always capable of throwing us in a direction we never intended to go.  We can either take pity for ourselves, push pity on other people, or actually step forward to correct our paths.

Last spring I started writing this blog, and that summer I started writing a book.  I was approached with an opportunity to put my collective thoughts into more than random smatterings of intertwined blogs and create something with actual structure.  Through my adviser (hi, Rachael) I signed on to a conditional publishing deal, meaning I had a deadline and a set of expectations to hold up on my end of the creative process.  The original set deadline was December of 2013, which was later pushed to February of 2014.  My book was due to go out for editing by a group of my peers this week and my "final" for professional editing was to go out two weeks from today.  The process of life threw me out of balance today.  My backers in this process?  They backed out.  I sent my adviser an email today and she responded with news of the publishing project supported by those investors being cancelled, leaving a small group of people, including myself in a state of unpublished limbo.  

Business ventures sometimes do not work out for reasons that can only be controlled by a select few.  I have spent enough time in the world of business and monetary relationships to understand where this principal actually comes from, so while initial shock was followed by momentary frustration, my own logic did come forward.
Logic?

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows that I have been writing for another blog here and there as of recently.  DrewCoustic is still and always will be my independent blog where everything that lives or develops in my head comes out as strands of text, broken into awkwardly centered paragraphs.  A few thousand people have found this blog and read it regularly because that is what they want.  The things I write here are my own thoughts and apparently some people find them interesting for reasons I could spend far too much time wondering about - but the people who read this blog do not want to read about cars.

I am a car guy and essentially always have been.  Most "car guys" I know pay someone to bolt shiny new parts onto their vehicles, but not me.  The other side of me that this blog does not see involves the part that wants to get greasy, troubleshoot and problem solve, or create something new to enhance a machine, but most of all to learn and share that knowledge.  Four years ago, I got together with three of my friends and we decided to build a race car in my garage one summer - a fully built endurance racer to run over a span of three days on a road course.  We did just that.  Around this time was when I started reading the world's biggest car enthusiast blog, Jalopnik, because they covered our racing series during the season.  The writers who posted on that site were more relevant to me than any print magazine out there and their articles were read by more people in one day than Motor Trend could hope for in an entire week.  I met one of the writers at the race track when our car was going through tech inspection that day, and it was really cool to see an actual person who lived on the other side of the computer screen.

Going back to right now and how I cannot write about my car adventures and opinions on this blog or lose my subscribers, I made a choice two Sundays ago to message one of the moderators on the Jalopnik feeder blog called "OppositeLock".  He and I talked back and forth for a bit and he decided to give me authorship rights for the submission of articles, which really is not that big of a deal at all, but it meant a little something to me.  I came back to my computer a few hours later and started typing an article about one of my car-related experiences.  Thirty minutes later, I had posted that article online, only to have OppositeLock's site manager/editor pull it offline.  He contacted me and said he pulled it because he wanted to be sure it was seen by the people at the Jalopnik headquarters on Monday morning.  At 10:30AM, my article showed back up on the feeder blog, and by 2:30PM had been read nearly one-thousand times.  However, at 3:30PM, one of the writers at Jalopnik saw that article, read it, and posted it on their front page.  My first car article stayed as the top story on the Jalopnik front page for nearly two days and has gained over 77,000 reads as of the posting of this blog, one week later.  
Does this mean I will ever be a career automotive journalist?  Probably not, but I also do not care because it is so much fun.  I saw an opportunity and went for it.

I have been working on my book day and night for about eight months now and have allowed it to take up the vast majority of my free time in that process.  I am sure quite a few people  would be in a state of sickened outrage had something similar to losing a publishing deal happened to them.  
Not me.
I see it as a part of the adventure.
My best friend told me today that even if I have to move on to another opportunity and shop my book around other places, it will always be worth the effort and will pay off eventually.
I believe her and I write because I want to anyway - no other reason.

The thing is, I spent too many years letting things have an effect on me when I should have let them go and I missed opportunities because of my reaction.   Between one of my closest friends committing suicide, developing an alcohol dependency, being diagnosed with depression, losing my career, witnessing people die, and losing my publishing deal, it sounds like I should be pretty messed up or at least angry by now.  But I refuse to take pity on myself and I try really hard not to complain because I know that nothing, not one single thing I have gone through in these twenty-seven years is new to the world.  Someone else has been in my exact place in every one of those moments and the painful fight is what makes you aware of your existence. 
Somebody else in the world is worse off than you.
Life. Is. Not. Easy.

Within any of this, I am now happy and have a more clear mind than I have ever had.  My clarity comes from knowing that I will probably live the rest of my life in this exact place.  The "fun" factor of being intoxicated and unable to comprehend certain things for a period of time is not appealing to me at all anymore.  I do not need to take any drug or substance to find that either.
In other words, I will never allow myself to live even the smallest moment of my life in a chemical or psychological fog.  Not anymore.  It is not worth my time.

So, back to my book.  
Maybe I should take some time to read it now because I have not actually done that yet, but it seems like the right thing to do.  I mean, I did write the book myself, but I have not read it from beginning to end yet.  Yeah, I will do just that and figure the rest out later.  Soon, but not right now. 

I have a new sense of drive and have spent the past few years also creating a new sense of myself and am fairly certain I am right where I need to be - finally.

Just remember to pay attention to your blessings instead of being a product of your own pity.
Honesty is confidence.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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