Pipedreams, Integrity and Reality – All In Conclusion

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So I’ve listed my writing goals and podcast goals with Betting on Me Parts 1 and 2 and All In Parts 1 and 2.

So what’s left to talk about? The pipedreams and the big stuff. I really hate the word real. Real is a frustrating word. It doesn’t really mean anything. To quote one of my favorite movies “if real is nothing more than what we can see, smell, touch and test, than real is nothing more than stimulation.” I hate that definition. I mean real has to be more than that right? Otherwise, nothing is real, because senses can be manipulated.

And I never liked the word real when it was told to me in the classroom. I was always told I should set realistic goals and have realistic expectations. I had no idea what the hell that was supposed to mean either. Realistic, and real from what I’ve seen in this life, most people look at those words and see some kind of mediocrity. We need to have realistic jobs, or realistic expectations.

Fuck that.

You need to have some out there stuff. Stuff you shouldn’t necessarily expect to happen, but stuff you’d like to happen and put your name into the hat.

So what are my goals now that I’ve hit the beginning of this wild journey.

  1. Get a big 5 book deal –  This one is the big one. It’s not impossible. I have a lot of friends that do have deals. I’d like to be one of them at this point. I have a novel I’ve been writing that I’ve had to put off as a result of the last month. I’m working on it again. I’m going for it. Let’s see if I can make this happen.
  2. Redacted – this one has already come true. Stay tuned Thursday.
  3. Hit 10000 listeners per week – this one may become more ahem… “realistic” as time goes on. Right now it’s out there.

I have more but that’s the point. There’s a lot of things that are possible. They just need to be asked for. I’m’ asking for them. Heck, one of them has already come true. Another one may happen in a couple of years.

But, there is this “real” part. Some of this is out of my control. All I can control, is my integrity. I’m going to show up and do my thing. What will happen will happen. But I will put myself in the position to succeed.

And that’s my wish for everyone that has read this this year. Thank you very much for your support. I’m going all in and I hope you do too. You’re worth it. Don’t let anyone else’s real, get in the way. Find what makes you find your inner happiness and go for it. You only got one life. Stay true to you and follow where it may lead.

Take chances, don’t fear failure or mistakes, learn and grow and just keep going. You can do it. I know you can.

So there is one last thing I want to announce here. I’m starting a write club. But it’s not going to be like any other write club out there. Write club for those of you that don’t know is a club where writers come together and create. It’s a cool idea, you can talk to awesome people and learn from each other. It’s great in theory. I am however a bit of a wanderer by nature. One spot isn’t exactly what I want to do.

One of the other things that is going with me this year is that a lot of my friends have cleared out. My sister is leaving alberta, and a few other friends are disappearing. I want to meet new people. I want to keep opening doors.

So I will not have a set location. Every Saturday at 6:30 pm, I will be somewhere creating. Most of the time it will be in Calgary somewhere. Thursday I will announce where I’ll be. If people want to come, come. If not, that’s fine. I’m going to be expanding my horizons either way. I can’t control the outcome, but I can put the invitation out there. So this is the Wandering Writing Group. Feel free to join the caravan.

Looking forward to doing this:

The best is yet to come. Stay inspired and Happy New Year.

All In Part 2 – Cloud Diving

So now that we’re in sight of the change over, I got no problems admitting I’m scared. Yes, I’ve gone part time in the past. Yes, I’m looking forward to a lot of things this time around when I make the switch this Wednesday. But I know that this time is different than the other times.

The other times I wasn’t as serious as I was now. Don’t get me wrong, I was well meaning and I had seriously good ideas and plans for execution and it wasn’t as if things didn’t go well when I did it last time. This time though, there is a lot more at stake in my head than last time.

Last time, I didn’t have an Aurora Award. Last time, I didn’t have other cool opportunities head up, and last time I had a lot less pressure. Now maybe the pressure I’m thinking about is all in my head. That said, I’ve proven an awful lot to myself in the last year. A lot of good things came about this year ever since I fixed my teeth.

This time feels more serious. It feels like a gut check. At some point in your life, you have to look at what you want, and what you feel is possible, and most important, what you feel you are worth. At the end of the day, you have to live with the last one yourself.

Two important words.

So, I had dinner with my sister Friday night. Her present to me was a man bag. This bag came with a shirt, mints, a unicorn pen and more. The most important thing about that whole gift? These words she gave to me.

“You were meant to stand out.”

She’s right. I march to the beat of my own drum. Always have. But now, i am ready. Since last year i have worked hard to improve my self care. I am getting better but am still not satisfied with it.

I have my boxes and my own concept and idea of who I am. In order to find success that I want to, I need to keep evolving it. That means modifying my whole approach.

I need to go beyond my comfort zone. Something I chastise people with, but this time around it’s me. And that terrifies me. I know the next few months are going to be adjustments. I’m going to continue chasing sponsors, I’m going to set up a patreon, and I got books (including my second one to announce at the bottom.) But I have hit my own comfort zone and one of my goals is to bust it out.

There’s a third word I have to mention here. Integrity. I’m not just talking about your word, but rather, your actions. Your integrity ultimately is what you do and what expectations you create with your actions or inactions. The podcast taught me consistency, professionalism, and creating expectations.

I have to do that with my writing. And that’s going to be the adjustment. My look, my actions, all have to match up. That more than anything else is what I have to do. Keep being good at what I do in every thing.

One thing my day job taught me was that all jobs are the same. The same basic skills of any job – showing up, doing the task at hand, solving problems – translate. Now it’s time to take what I’ve learned with podcasting and apply to writing.

I got three books like I said in Part one coming up. I’ve done poetry before, so while Alice Zero excites me, in one sense it’s a familiar place. I need to go beyond the familiar and do something new.

I’ve been working on my first novel for a long time. Throughout time, I feel this has gotten better and better. Along the way I got to work with another amazing talent I’ve always wanted to work with. Lance Buan might be the most talented individual I’ve ever come across. He is a first class designer, and what he puts together for fun is better than most professionals can do for pay. He is a one of a kind talent.

See? I’m super excited to do this.

The Cloud Diver ultimately is about stepping out of your comfort zone, discovering just what was out there in the world. Johnny is a prototypical coward, who happens to be perfectly fine with his routine. The whole idea of adventure just didn’t appeal to him.

Until he follows a girl with a gunblade into the cloud, gets a file where everyone, from zombie mobsters to unicorns who fart rainbows, want it. His only out is that same girl with a gunblade, who probably doesn’t like him very much. This is book one of a series of books. I wanted to do an old fashioned science fiction pulp series and this is my attempt at it. I’m hoping when it hits Amazon and places in the spring, you will enjoy it.

This is my new world and my new uncomfortable zone. I’m scared, but I’m also excited. I’m ready to do this.

I think I’m worth it. I think I can do this. I think my efforts will borne fruit. My efforts have already borne some, but I can do more. I believe in myself, and I believe in the people I’m working with. There is a lot more I want to talk about for the rest of this year, but this so far is my plans.

Again, at the end of the day it’s about integrity. I have to be able to deliver what I promise, not just in my words, but in my actions. I intend to deliver Alice Zero and the Cloud Diver this year. I intend to keep pushing my podcast. I intend to keep testing my board game, and just being open to the opportunities presented to me.

I can’t promise success. No one can. But I’m hoping to keep putting myself into positions to succeed. At the end of the day, it’s about recognizing the opportunities presented to yourself.

I’m excited. I’m terrified.

I’m ready.

Yup. Unicorn pin.

All In Part 1 – Announcing Alice Zero

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So I have been very very busy at the day job, and now that it’s nearly through the blitzkrieg, I want to talk about what my podcast has taught me this year before going into 2019. Just Joshing exceeded all my goals this year. My viewership went way up, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some incredible individuals, and I’ve achieved credibility I never thought I had.

All I did was post an episode, and then two episodes, each week. I sought out people to talk to, I got to talk to them. And that momentum just kept building and building and building.

But it got me thinking. If that is what my podcast could achieve, what about my writing? Don’t get me wrong, if I am more known as a podcaster than a writer, I am more than okay with this. I’m proud of my podcast.

I haven’t done the writing like I’ve done the podcast. I’ve put in a lot of work in that department as well, but not with the consistency as I have with the podcast. That is about to change.

One of the big reasons I’m going part time is that I want to have more time to concentrate on the all the opportunities coming my way this coming 2019. I have three books just about ready to go. Now that the holidaze is just about over, I can get back to that novel I’m working on.

So for this particular blog I’m going to focus on the first book coming out next year.

I got a request from Colleen Anderson about two years ago to do an epic poem about Lewis Carroll. I didn’t know Carroll outside of Alice In Wonderland and for the life of me, I was flabbergasted. What was I going to say about Alice that hasn’t been said before?

Then I met a girl with a gorgon tattoo. A gorgon knight appeared in my head, slaying shadows in a forgotten forest, saving Alice from the darkness. It clicked something in my brain, and suddenly I knew exactly what Alice said to me.

Writing it was a dream. It was wonderland as I never imagined before. Alice as Pandora seemed to fit like a glove…and it did. Alice opens the box the Queen of Hearts gives her and now has a certain Cheshire passenger inside of her. I was happy with the initial draft, and it just didn’t make the final cuts for that anthology. Colleen encouraged me to do something with this. So I want to acknowledge Colleen for putting me on this path. Thank you very much.

And this project has grown and evolved and I have so much more up the road planned for this. In many ways, this in the long form may be the boldest thing I ever do. Time will tell. I did some rewriting, and I want to take a moment to thank Vanessa Cardui for her input in the draft and where it’s going from here. Vanessa’s insights were invaluable and I wouldn’t have thought of some of things I did without her. Thank you very much.

Alice Zero is a prologue, but a complete story in itself. Alice has opened the box, and is now trapped inside an asylum, with playing cards as her wardens. Here is where Alice rediscovers herself, and move on from the calamity she has created.

It will be available end of January/Early February. I’ll have more details in a couple weeks, but before I go, I thought I’d do a cover reveal.

Much like everything else in my career, the best things are accidental. I’ve been aware of Mackenzie Carr as a person for a while. I met her at Myth Games playing her significant other Magic the Gathering. She was impressed I’ve written books and we’ve kept in touch on and off ever since.

What I didn’t know was that she as an amazing artist. I saw her drawings on her instagram and I told her she was awesome. Our conversation led to me asking her if she wanted to do this as a project and She said sure.

This is Alice Zero. I hope you are as excited as I am. That will do it for Part one. Next blog before new year’s, I will preview book two coming out next year as well as the amazing Lance Buan.

Intention, Impact, Interpretation

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Today is the one day anniversary of my GoFundMe.  I did a GoFundMe in regards to restoring my teeth. Before I begin I want to say thank you to everyone that shared it, donated to it, and made it so my smile is a hell of a lot better than it was a year ago.  What a difference a year makes.

It got me reminiscing about the start of the campaign, thinking about actions.  Specifically, mine, and how sometimes an action can have a different meaning to a lot of people, and in the last year I’ve had a lot of time to ponder how Intention, Impact and Interpretation play key reasons in why people lose friendships, trust, and by and large how things can fall apart.

The beginning of my campaign drove this point home last year.  My intention was to tell my story, and it led to quite a few unexpected results.  Not the least of which a former mentor of mine interrupting the proceedings.  It made me think about this in regards to how all of us see things differently, and why.  I concluded that it has to do with three things.

Intentions

I’m not going to dwell on the GoFundMe, but talk about another incident that happened awhile ago.  A friend of mine was travelling abroad, and was in a spot where they needed money, and I could help them.  The problem with this is that people tend to have a hard time when you give them money for nothing.  For some reason it doesn’t sit well.  I had need of an editor, and offered them the job to do so.

That really, was all my intentions.  I believe that all of us by and large, have good intentions with everything we do. Call me naive, call me foolish, but for me, it takes a lot of work to be malicious and deliberate.  Most of us when we do things, only intend the best.  

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s very true.  Good intentions are dangerous not because they aren’t well meaning, but rather because they are inarguable.  I mean, I wanted to do a good thing for no other reason than they were my friend and needed help.  What’s wrong with that?

What happened was another story altogether.

Impact

Much like intentions, impact brooks no argument either.  Impact is the result of the actions and once it’s played out, it’s played out.  No matter how good the intentions are, sometimes the result is crap. The project I asked them to edit was a lot bigger than the budget than I paid for. I should have said something, offered more money, done something to compensate for that.  I didn’t.

I underestimated the workload and how that person felt about being treated.  Long story short, I fucked up, and they felt like crap.

I think more than anything they felt disrespected and unappreciated for what I did.  And I can’t argue that this was the impact of what I did.  I made mistakes and I should have done quite a few things differently.

I didn’t.  That’s on me.

I didn’t mean for things to go FUBAR, but it happened.  It just didn’t work out, and neither of us were happy with the other as a result.  They haven’t spoken with me since.

Interpretation

To top things off, things get murky here.  One person’s interpretation of this could be that I was trying to take advantage of my friend.  From my point of view, I was just trying to help them in a tough spot.  In hindsight, I should have just given them the money.  I’d rather have them suffer their pride instead of losing a friend.

Was I a scumbag?  Or did I just make a mistake?  You decide.  That’s the thing about interpretation.  It’s always open to debate, and we could go back and forth forever.  On top of that, the truth doesn’t give a damn what I or anyone else thinks on the matter.  It just is.

The truth? I fucked up. No ifs, ands or buts. I wish I had done it differently. I wish I could apologize.  I can’t, and it sucks.

This is the absolute shittiest part about being a boss.  At the end of the day, we’re human beings trying to do what he have to.  The responsibility of things going to hell is always squarely on the guy in charge. And sometimes the bucket of crap you got to swallow is quite large.

It’s done though. All I can do is learn from it.

I learned an awful lot about dealing with people in the future, and being fairer and clearer, and basically never ever making anyone feel like that ever again. I don’t want to ever do that to someone. I don’t want to lose friends, I don’t want to make anyone feel disrespected for the work they put in.  I know what that feels like, and it’s awful.

I’m not going to say that they were perfect, but to point out all of their mistakes when I clearly made my own is a cop out.  This job was my idea. At the end of the day, I’m responsible.

 I can be better from here and make sure I do everything in my power to make people I work with and for feel like I’ve done my best.  That’s it. 

People make all kinds of errors with each other, big and small. It happens all the time. The most innocent of ideas can be devastating.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  Show some empathy and understanding to the situation and maybe prevent some of the dangers from occurring.  Prevention in this case is better than cure.

I’ve worked with other people since, and it’s been better. I do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  I’ve learned that much.

Hopefully the next time I make a mistake, I consider the impact of my intentions. People are at their best, very fragile. I need to remember that, both sides of the equation.  Hopefully if you’re reading this, make sure that the people who trust you enough to work with you are content.  Treat people as best you can, and be honest with your mistakes.

Next time, I’ll talk about the writing stuff coming up next year and betting on me.  I hope this is helpful to you who are reading it and are employing others.

Betting On… Part 2: Just Joshing Podcast – Now and Tomorrow

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I guess I can’t deny that Just Joshing has done well. It was started much like everything else I do in my career, by accident.  Robert J. Sawyer was going to be interviewed for this blog like everyone that came before it, until he mouthed the word podcast.  I hadn’t thought of a podcast.  The idea of a podcast seemed kind of out there.  Could I do it? Why wouldn’t I do it? Should I do it?

There was no reason for me for me not to do it, and while I didn’t know what I was doing, it wouldn’t be the first time, nor likely will it be the last. 

I wanted a diner kind of feel with the podcast.  Kudos to Lance Buan for killing it.

I just released Episode 211 with Maggie Bolcsfoldy, a photographer that takes pictures of local and famous metal bands.  https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jpantalleresco/episodes/2018-11-22T01_38_11-08_00

I’ve done two hundred episodes of Just Joshing. I’m interviewing awesome people, and always getting the chance to listen to people’s stories of how they made and went for it is still a high. I don’t think that will ever change.  I get laughs, tears and hopes laid bare.  When I interviewed Elizabeth Whitton, I realized just how trusted I am with my show and with the people I interviewed, and I think that more than anything is the biggest thing.  I’m humbled by people’s faith in me. I’m flattered and do my best to live up to it. Here’s Elizabeth’s episode to listen to if you wish:

 https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jpantalleresco/episodes/2018-10-10T03_10_19-07_00

Two hundred episodes later and an Aurora on my desk, where do we go from here? For starters, we keep to the mission statement. My podcast is about promoting writers primarily, but also other artists to the world at large. There are amazing stories out there that people should listen to and be inspired by.

This year I want more listeners and I want to see if I can at least get some income from this.  So I’m pursuing that a number of different ways.  On the small scale I’m acquiring sponsors.  I may have an announcement or two on the way, but it’s already begin.  I also intend on doing some kind of advertisements on the show, but not many.  Honest, I would prefer sponsors.  So starting in January there will be some cool giveaways and other stuff heading to the podcast.

But I also have big plans this year.  One of the things I’m hoping that happens this year is that I do my first ever 24 hour podcast for charity.  I’m aiming for September 2019.  My plan is to rent Loft 112 in Calgary and invite people to the studio and do cool stuff. I’m hoping to get music, art stuff and other activities going on for a cause.  Which cause? I’ll probably not seriously start looking at it until April, but it seems like a fun challenge.

Why not?

Also, I’ll be doing a special San Diego convention show with Joe Compton.  Joe Compton is the host of GoIndieNow and we had a lot of fun chatting at When Words Collide this year. We want to work on something together and have a real cool idea.  More on this later.  In the meantime, have a listen to Joe Compton. 

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jpantalleresco/episodes/2018-10-29T00_48_30-07_00

All in all, there are a lot of plans to expand the podcast, and a lot of things are about to drop soon.  I hit momentum, and want to keep riding this into the future, wherever it may leave me.

Next blog, I promise, we’ll get to the writing stuff. For now, stay inspired, and know the best is yet to come. 

Betting On…

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So I can honestly say this has been a great year. I fixed my teeth first and foremost, and in the process exorcised quite a few demons out of myself. 

a sexy beast right there

Look at that smile.  Isn’t that awesome? 

Then I just kept writing and podcasting. On the writing front, all seems quiet. You haven’t seen a new book from me this year.  It does look like you will three next year at least, but this year was more about developing new things and continuing what was happening from the year prior.  I did finally do a book launch at Owl’s Nest books that was also a live podcast. I ended up setting myself to do more shows next year.

Sweet and Sultry Summer was a lot of fun for me.  I ended up becoming more acclimated with the Romantic writing communities.  It was a lot of fun and once again I want to thank M. Jane Colette for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special that she created.  It was a blast to do and I hope I get a shot to do it again this year.

Shortly after this event I got an email that said that I was a finalist for The Grand Prix Aurora awards.  I won.

still can’t believe it.

That’s a hell of a year right there. But all in all I’ve been feeling like there’s been a swell of momentum heading down this direction. I’ve had doors open up, and to my humbling surprise, it seems like this podcast of mine is influencing and inspiring people. 

Now, it’s no secret that I’ve been wanting out of my day job forever. It’s the dream right? One of the things about my day job though is the flexibility it has. My goals are pretty much well known, and I’m given the opportunity to push forward on my dreams. I’d be a fool not to be grateful for that. 

I’m not getting younger. I have my dreams and my goals in front of me still, and it feels like there are things in reach.  Doors have opened, cool things keep happening to me, and at some point you have to ride the momentum.

You have to bet on you.  I have to bet on me. I think I’m onto something here. I’ve said in my social media that you have to go to it. It’s time to go for it. Let’s see what happens when I take things even more seriously.

Success is work. Bottom line.  I have to take my podcast more seriously, and I have to take my writing more seriously.

If anything I’ve learned this year is that if I focused on my writing as much as my podcast, who knows what I can accomplish?  So now is the time and opportunity to create that chance.

I don’t know if reading this, you are stuck on going for it, you need to. At some point, you can’t stay safe.  You have to leap.  And it’s okay to fail.  I know I still have long days ahead on the day job.  Even going part time, there will be moments I’ll have to work more.  I may have a week here or a month there, but it’s going to be less.

My dreams will take precedence more. At the end of the day, you have to decide what you want.  You have to make the decision of who you want to be. We all do what we want to do. So what do you want?

I know what I want.

Next time, we’ll talk the future in detail.

https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/podcast/5290939

Momentum

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Momentum is a fun thing.  Since the Aurora Win, I’ve seemed to have drawn a lot more attention.  The following has been kind of how my schedule has gone the last couple of weeks.  I’ve not said everything in here mind you, but enough to give you a sense of how surreal things can get.

Monday Oct. 22nd

New podcast posted.

Wake up and Interview Spider Robinson.  Awesome interview and time.  Spider is a sweet man enjoying his life, and I can’t wait to share this interview when it’s out.

Got approached from a friend in high school I hadn’t heard from in a long time.  Cool to catch up.

Tuesday Oct. 23rd

Woke up to busiest podcast activity ever.  Got feedback from a friend for my next book (more on that next blog). Came awake to request to be interviewed.  Got memed.  Still have nightmares about the one with my face on a banana.

Wednesday Oct. 24th

Asked to do a quote for a book signing and talk to an author dealing with some of their own personal struggles.  Never been approached like that before.

Thursday Oct. 25th

Released new column and new podcast.  Asked a few people to be column three and got a taker.  Woot. Beyond that, got requested to do an interview for next week.  Scheduled another interview and did some revising on next book.

Column: https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/just-joshing-the-empty/

https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8931008?style=normal&autoplay=false

Friday Oct. 26th

Had a day off.  Woot.  Podcast broke 400 plays/downloads in a week.  Crazy how things grow.

Saturday Oct. 27th

Interviewed probably one of the most respected publishers as a person.  He was beyond class and we sat down and chatted a bit about his life story.  Awesome dude.

Attended friend’s concert performance and wanted my opinion.  Was a lot of fun to see him in action again and we talked some stuff over.  Scored a potential podcast interview in the future.

Sunday Oct. 28th

Did another interview with a good friend of mine.  His episode will air sooner than later. Another interview request.  Also, finally got back to write club and catch up.  Wanted to thank some of them personally for my success.

There was a lot more that happened, but I thought that this would be a neat look at what’s been going on with me the last few weeks.  This isn’t a brag so much as a change.  Momentum really starts rolling for you.  It never stops.  I’ve been trying to work a little earlier for the day job.  I honestly couldn’t do it.  Things were taking my attention more and more with the podcast and the writing stuff that I was happy.

It’s one thing to work and work and work at things.  It’s another to see things moving and fires burning. I’m really stoked that this is the way things are going.

I’m going back to When Words Collide here.  Saturday night I had a chance to talk to Jonas Saul.  For all Jonas has done, he told me that he still felt like he hadn’t accomplished anything.  There is something to that thinking.  You have to always approach things as if you’re starting from the very beginning.  Even though this has been an amazing year for me, I feel like there is still a lot to do.

I’m always a work in progress.

Still, it’s neat to see momentum and things moving.  I hope if you’re reading this, you’ve experienced something like this too.

Two Voices

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One of my biggest frustrations with people is that they are unwilling to act. I’m being brutal and critical here, and a little bit hypocritical.  Nonetheless, it is very frustrating for me to witness people not act on what they should be doing.

I know, I know, it sounds judgmental as all hell.  What is should right? Who am I to tell you what you should do?  I mean shouldn’t we all make that decision for ourselves? And yeah, we should.  But that’s the irony.

I truly believe all of us know why we’re here.  We have things inside we want to do or should do.  For example, with me, it was my teeth.  I should have fixed them a long time ago.  I talk about that journey here if you want to read it.  But this illustrates my hypocrisy and my own struggles with people’s inactions, including my own.  There are things we all need to work on, and sometimes it just takes time to get there.

But sometimes it’s so obvious. My teeth are my example for me, but it goes deeper than that.

I was talking to someone this weekend and I figured out something. As a person, I don’t like having my time wasted. And a lot of times people freeze.  They are not sure what they are going to do, they know that there is a risk of failure and stop dead.

I remember high school.  I had this crush on this girl named Shannon.  I denied it.  I pretended it didn’t exist.  One song played on the radio and I knew I was an idiot.  I had this opportunity and I didn’t take it.  I’ve made a million mistakes since then, but this one still bothers me after all these years.  I had a chance and I blew it.  And it hurts. A lot.

Because I listened to a voice that convinced me not to go for it.  I listened to the concept of not trying to get her number, ask her out or go on a date.  I never really gave myself the chance.  We all have those stories I think. We all miss opportunities in front of us just because we are afraid to take those chances.

I vowed after her that I would never ever feel like that again.  I never wanted to have that kind of regret in my life. So ever since, if there is a conflict between the voice of “I can do this” versus “I can’t do this” I always try to listen to the first one.  It’s not perfect, but I don’t have too many moments in my past where there’s pain like that.

I still have things from my childhood I still want to do.  I still want to learn to drive a motorcycle and pilot a plane.  But by and large, I’ve been able to go for it with all the things I’ve felt like I SHOULD do.

How do I know it’s what I should do? I’m terrified.  Yeah, I’m scared to death.  Not in that terrifying way that freezes me up.  But doubts, thoughts, nagging feelings, all are there.  I feel them.  We all do I think.

I just try to act on them.  Because I can’t help but wonder what will happen if I don’t.  Nothing I’ve done – success, failures, or rejections – feel as painful as not doing it. I rather try and fail than not try at all.

As I get older, I realize how rare that last paragraph is.  It’s very easy to listen to the other voice.  The one that says you shouldn’t do it, can’t do it.  Lots of excuses form in the head.  You are too sick, you don’t have time, you have kids (not completely an excuse, but careful using them as a shield), you’re not smart enough, you don’t know what you’re doing, I can list a thousand more excuses. People are very creative when it comes to listening to this particular voice not to do something.

One time while I was at this coffee shop, I met this dude that had this great plan to work and do the job.  I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me that he wanted to surf in Mexico.

So why not just cut out the bullshit and just surf in mexico?  I suggested it to this man and he blanched.  He was afraid.  Afraid to pursue that passion.  He was afraid to look foolish, afraid to try it and fail, afraid.  Just afraid.

What does one do with that kind of fear if they don’t face it?

My two hundredth podcast came out. I always loved interviews and doing them.  You can go back far enough in this blog to read this.  Last weekend I got an Aurora Award for them through my podcast Just Joshing.  I did it by just following my passion, doing what I said I was going to do, and following through, embracing a piece of my destiny.

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I never would have gotten this if I had been afraid to do it.

Who knows where I’ll go from here when I keep doing it.

From me to you, I hope you face your fears and go for it. Let go and give it a shot. You may be surprised where it will lead you. It’s what you should do.

https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/episode/8918611?style=normal&autoplay=false

A Magical Weekend

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It’s been a crazy weekend.  Almost a perfect one.  My vacation had been great because of catching up with friends and family throughout a very crazy travel schedule. I found myself heading back to Vancouver for V Con.  I was looking forward to checking out the Auroras, hoping that I’d win, but also cool if I didn’t.  Sam Beiko and Clare Marshall have an amazing podcast, Kraken not Stirred has a decent album.  With that bit of cautious optimism, I was off.

Friday

First off, I got upgraded to V Con via Westjet to their first class.  This happened on the way back too.  I could get used to water and space.  I left the snowy tundras of Calgary and arrived into rainy Richmond (Vancouver).  And it wasn’t the only upgrade. Once I arrived and had breakfast, I found myself getting called by my hotel and I got an upgrade there too.  Nice.  Seemed things were going good.

V Con is a small but fun show as I walked in.  It was great to see Graham Darling, Pat Flewelling, Sandra Wickham and others as I settled into the show.  It was nice to see Hayden and Liz Trenholm there as well.  I got them and Pat to be interviewed and proceeded to enjoy the show.

Once I got the lay of the land, I realized that I might as well enjoy myself.  I was on vacation, so I might as well enjoy a show.

Plus, friday night is the Aurora pinning ceremony.  This would have been fun enough. It wasn’t that I got pinned, but rather the people around me that did. IMG_20181005_193131_147[1]

Liz Trenholm in particular to me, awesome. If anyone besides me got made this weekend, it was her.  She had worked very hard for this nomination and she like me enjoyed every minute of the journey.

Then Spider Robinson walked by.

Yeah.  THAT Spider Robinson.  He got his new pin, and I got kind of star struck, and so did half the room. Did not expect to see him, and it was cool to actually meet him.  I shook his hand.  (Yes, I’m a fanboy.  Have you listened to my podcast?)

I had two interactions with Spider beyond this.  The first was just passing him by as he was on his way to his beatles tribute concert (which was awesome) I tried to talk to him, and then realized very quickly that this performance was on his mind and politely excused himself.

I walked into the concert later and heard him and company kill some beatles classics like “Hard Days Night” and “Eight Days a week.” If anything I got how skilled the beatles was. Spider plays a great guitar but some of the chords on quite a few beatles songs are intricate.  Kudos to all of them for this.

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Saturday

So I’m going to bring up Charles Stross before my second interaction.  I had asked Charles at the beginning of the show if he wanted to be interviewed and said sure.  It didn’t happen.  The reason this kind of resonated was that I ran into Spider the next day on his way out.  He was looking for directions which I helped him with, and then I went for it. I asked him if he’d like to do the podcast.

So right this minute I am looking at his email and his number to do the interview.  The email is sent as of this writing.  To say I’m stoked is an understatement.  Wow.  I got a chance to interview Spider Robinson.

I got some other great interviews as well.  Hayden Trenholm and I finally got a chance to do a proper conversation. Our first interview was unfortunately cut short, so this time we got a chance.  I enjoyed it as I did Liz and Pat.

I saw some great panels with Susan Forest, Hayden and Liz Trenholm, as well as Sandra Wickham, JM Landels and TG Shepherd before the Aurora Awards.

My category was first off.  I gave myself hope.  And you know what?

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The most surreal thing about the night was hearing my name. I didn’t believe it.  I mean, I thought I was good enough to believe I could win, but I didn’t expect to hear my name. I heard it though.  I went up and spoke a very brief speech that showed my gratitude and sat down, still in shock.

I mean I’m looking at it right now and I still don’t believe it.  I mean, it’s mine.  Then I got congratulated. Gerald Brandt was the first person to congratulate me online.  Others followed.  I had conversations with Fonda Lee, Brent Nichols, and others.  I actually paused typing this.

Somehow my life has become filled with people who are doing incredible things.  I do believe magic as described in books on some levels is quite real.  That said, this pales in comparison to the magic of just going in and doing what I’ve done.  All I’ve done is give a platform for people to tell their stories.  I’ve been touched by the lives of people that have given me this opportunity.  And I cannot thank you all enough.  So, yeah, thank you all.

I celebrated.  I had a drink for Fonda and the others who could not be there. It was a very cool night.

Sunday

My con ended after my early interviews.  I headed into downtown Vancouver to talk to Sofia Evangelina and her mom, and we talked.  Sofia has a very bright future ahead of her.  And you should listen to my conversation with her to see why I feel that way.   I got a chance to see what they are up to, and get interviewed.  It was a great way to conclude an amazing weekend.

It’s Wednesday and I still feel charged. I’m back to work.  The one thing about success that a lot of people need to realize is that it never stops.  You have to keep going and do the things that brought you to the dance.  I’m back at it.

What blows me away is that I’m still getting congratulations and notice. I think the one that gets me smiling the most is my high school peers. In some cases, I’ve wandered off the beaten path of many of them. And just to see a few of them just congratulate me is awesome.  To my friends from my high school days, I hope you are doing just as well in your endeavors.

This is a hell of a birthday present. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.  I met legends, got recognized by my peers, traveled the country, and even now, doors are opening.  Thank you each and every one for your thanks, and for your belief in me.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Call to Arms

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I posted this on my facebook.  Thought it would be a great read here.

Enjoy.

JP

At the party I was at last night I was asked. “Don’t you feel alone?” I was asked that because we were talking about self worth and the choices I made. We went down other avenues, but she got me thinking.

I’m a storyteller who loves stories. If you understand that, you can understand everything I do.

I have expectations and attachments. I care. I’m passionate. I’m driven. I seek to try to create something from my dreams and imagination. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun. I’m by myself scribbling madly at a scene involving a nineteen year old prodigy about to fly again for the first time in ten years. Awesome scene.

Sometimes it’s a struggle. I still am figuring out how to make this a living. I have to find readers, listeners, and I have to do all this while promoting myself and putting in the late nights and work while others of my friends are starting families, living in nice places. If we go by material goods, a lot of people might see me a failure.

Lots of friends are starting families and settling down. I’m still beating down this path.

But this is who I am. I’m a storyteller who loves stories, trying to get to the point where I can just do this all the time.

There’s no clear path today. More than ever everything is in flux. The future has to be created and there is no clear way to a happy ending. On top of that, people don’t believe their worth. One friend always loves to tell me that when we talk that they were taught to shoot for the moon and they can make anything happen. What he and a lot of people don’t mention is the clause that was instituted. You can have what you want…IF you’re good enough.

That good enough clause is why a lot of people don’t pursue their passions. What is good enough? Do you need permission from someone to say you can do this? I’ve never let not knowing what I’m doing stop me. You have to go for it. Otherwise you get nothing in this life.

More than ever, today is a world of ideas. Technology combined with imagination has given us all the ability to build a world we wish. At the end of the day, we all do what we want to. All of us have the power to create a life we choose.

But that’s work. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. You will be rejected. Chasing your dreams, going for big stuff, requires a thick skin. It doesn’t require permission. It just requires you going out on a limb.

And it’s lonely sometimes too. Not enough of us do this.

So this Monday morning as you read this, I hope you’re motivated. I want to see caring, moving forward human beings doing the best they can to express that higher calling they have inside them. There will be lows, but there will also be incredible highs.

Be creative, unconventional, exceptional and motivational. Have a great week and kick some ass.