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Archive for August, 2011

One more time for old time’s sake

After careful self-examination over the last month, I have come to a few conclusions:

1. I miss writing. Not necessarily for a living, but the act of putting thoughts to keyboard and publishing… yeah, I miss that.

2. I am awesome at starting blogs, but terrible at growing them (my wife has the same issue with ferns).

3. I do not have testicular cancer.

Two of these things are pertinent for you, my soon-to-be-faithful-reader-if-I-don’t-leave-you-hanging. I have the writing itch and have decided to start this here WordPress blog to keep it in a decent state of scratched-ness (or at least doused in a layer of calamine lotion). “But Matt,” you might say, “what about the Blogger blog? Or the Tumblr blog?”

To that I say: “The Blogger site was, like, another lifetime ago, and I really didn’t like Tumblr (I may be hip, but I’m not a hipster). Besides, third time’s a charm, amirite? This is a new blog, a new me (more on that in a sec) and a new mission.

What is that mission? To write … something … every day for the next year. Oh yeah.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t inspired, at least in part, by my Brother From Another WordPress Mother (and, not incidentally, good friend), Jeff Houghton. He’s blogging his quest for fortune and glory in Hollywood at TheMysteryYear.wordpress.com. If you like stranger-in-a-strange-land-style chronicles (with more Starbucks and less androgyny), you’ll eat it up.

Not that I’m doing anything so singularly dramatic as Mystery Jeff. Not by a long shot. But I do feel that this is my most recent best chance to become the writer I want to be. You see, I recently changed jobs. For the previous six years (nine, if you want to get really technical) I was something of a creative type for 417 Magazine. First I edited GO Magazine, and when that succumbed to the great economic meltdown of 2009, I served as digital director, which consisted of herding the various non-print cats (tigers, really) for the company and—you guessed it—blogging. You can guess why I didn’t rush home to fire up yet another CMS and further share my thoughts. You have to have SOMETHING left over for Twitter (which, by the way, you can find me there, too).

To make a long story short (too late), I switched jobs on July 1. It was the right move at the right time. I am now the communications specialist for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which is essentially a philanthropic bank for non-profits and for donors to do their charitable giving. I do write press releases, but I also work the website and have taken on various other projects. CFO is a fantastic place to work; I’m busy but the pace and workload feel measured. The people are great. It’s in the heart of Springfield. It’s six blocks from my house.

Logically, it seemed like a good time to take a look at a few of the other aspects of my life that I felt needed some work and see about whipping those into shape, too. Admittedly, they were relatively few. I have the best wife in the world, Nichole, and in April we had our Harriet, who is absolutely my sun and stars; I’m sure you can expect thrice-weekly fatherhood posts… or maybe just a big list of fatherhood questions.

That left two pillars: Fitness and writing. So, on July 1, the same day I started my new job, I started a hare-brained endeavor to run at least one mile every day for a year. Sound like a drag? Well, it comes with a reward of drinking at least one beer every day for a year. Thirty-one days later, so far so good. I’m running between 1.5 and 3 miles daily (though it’s mostly on a treadmill since the Midwest decided to turn in to Morocco for the duration of the summer), lifting weights two or three times a week, and drinking at least one delicious, delicious beer. It has kept the pounds from slipping off as quickly as I’d like, but I have my leg muscles back. Most importantly, I haven’t felt this good since I finished the marathon in fall ’07. (Check that: I haven’t felt this good since right before I started the marathon in fall ’07). The jury is still out on whether my knees and/or beer budget can hold up to the strain, but I’m optimistic. Most importantly I’m getting in some good habits so I can be there for my family down the road. That’s one of the odd things about becoming a parent; the timeline for EVERYTHING you do expands exponentially the minute that little diaper-pooper shows up. I’m not working/saving/living for the next two years, I’m working/saving/living for the next 20, and not really even for myself. But still kinda.

This post is already far too long, so I’ll wrap it up. The running thing got me thinking: If I can run and guzzle a brew every day for a year, why not write? But then I thought again: Because writing is WAY harder than loping along on a treadmill or cracking open a beer. But it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. Not for vanity—though very few people write without looking for some sort of validation in it—but because it’s an itch that needs to be scratched.

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Categories: General, Navel Gazing