Groundhog Day

For a long time, I’ve felt stuck in my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practice. I don’t have a sports background, and I’ve been out of shape for most of my life. Starting a tough combat sport at 30 is not for people looking for a fun way to spend $150 on pajamas you can’t sleep in. I’ve been training nearly 6 years, and I haven’t earned a stripe on my belt since September of 2014, and I like to say I spent 5 years on the bottom of side control. It was like Groundhog Day (the film), but with bruises and chipped teeth.

Last night, however, I think I broke through a long plateau. I’m trying to develop a more attack and pressure game, as opposed to just surviving and escaping. I was able to mount and take back control of 2 brown belts and a purple belt, and even work a little at setting up submissions. I wasn’t able to finish most of them-the buzzer rang right as I was finally transitioning to a finish with several training partners- but this is still a huge improvement for me, and I’ll take it. It’s only a step, but it’s progress.

I had a facebook conversation about bjj and depression. Bjj definitely helps, but depression makes everything more difficult, and bjj is no different. My mind often wanders during technique instruction, and when it’s time to drill, I’m in a fog. There are times in class where I’ve asked myself “why do I keep doing this to myself?”

I heard a quote on a podcast from a respected brown belt-“I’m not even sure if I like jiu jitsu, but it’s this or suicide.”

Find your “thing”, and a tribe with which to do it. Fiercely protect these things and the time you invest into them. Make sure it has a place in your goal setting.

In addition to bjj, writing is my thing. After I finish my short story collection and 2 nonfiction titles, I’m writing a graphic novel script. I’ve wanted to do it for YEARS, but have been intimidated to try. I have this momentum after getting my first book out, and I want to keep moving. Don’t let me forget. I have a loose idea what it will be about, but I’m trying the foolscap method, which uses minimal notes and pre-writing. I have a sneaking suspicion this will work better than the use-scrivener-like-a-serial-kiler-would method, which leads to overthinking and paralysis by analysis for me.

Life is too finite to stack up regrets. I’m going to keep moving, a step at a time.

 

My Book!

Dravet Syndrome Blues

Hello y’all!

For a long time, most of the people who read this blog were people I knew in real life. They are people I worked, went to school of church or jiu jitsu with. That being said, they’ve already seen this on facebook. If you’re one of those readers, I apologize for the double exposure.

But

I released my first book this week. It’s a poetry chapbook for Kindle called Dravet Syndrome Blues. Please consider buying it. I haven’t talked about my poetry experience a lot, but I’ve written it forever. In the mid-2000’s, I got really in to spoken word, and had to learn to write poetry meant to be read aloud-so lots of percussive consonants, alliteration, rhyme, and few turns of phrase that need to be read to comprehended.

Since then I experimented with form, and moved away from poems meant to be performed. When I lived in Utah, I started reading at PoetFlow . I enjoyed the community, and the folks at PF are one of the things I miss most about Utah, and I haven’t yet connected with a group in Albuquerque..

I’m not a salesman, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do want my poems to be read. Thanks.

 

 

Breakthrough

I had a writing epiphany. I’ve been working on 3 novels slower than a Mississippi tortoise, all the while learning how to write a novel. I realized they aren’t novels at all-they’re short stores. The stories, though about very different characters in different geographic settings and different kinds of stories, are interconnected by a common character. I had written him out of one story, as I thought the subplot he was in was too complicated (and, to be honest, too hard for me to write) but I’ll just have to do it differently. He fits neatly in all 3 worlds.

Also, I recently switched to Mac, and the workflow is just efficient and intuitive for me, even using applications I was familiar with on Windows-namely Evernote, Scrivener, and Word.

I’m not bragging, but this is exciting for me. As I’ve said before, I’m not a natural- I’m a grinder. It takes me a significant investment of time for me to build proficiency at anything. When I started writing, it was largely unfinished stories, typically handwritten. Enthusiasm and talent kept me going, and motivated me to go back to school for creative writing. Now I’m waking up early to write and doing school online at night, while married, raising 3 kids, and in the military (for a few more weeks). It’s tough at times, because I often feel like doing nothing as frequently as I can, which is rare. In fact, I’m going on a business trip next week, and I’m pretty stoked at the possibility of maybe taking a nap, and sleeping at least 5 hours consecutively at night.

Writing is difficult, but it’s not tarring roofs in Tuscon in July. Life is crazy, and always will be. If I wait until things are convenient, I’ll never start anything, let alone get anything done. So I’m going to keep working. I’m glad it’s been just a touch easier, and I’m grateful for Eureka! moments and productive sessions where I can write without editing or being interrupted every 45 seconds. This is the life I want to live.