I keep getting 7 books that impact me, and 10 albums I love from facebook friends. So now that I’m in Vancouver, I thought I’d open with my lists of Josh this year. I’ll talk about them in Part 2, but I thought I’d touch on my goals for this year in my writing and podcasts here in Part 1.
Just Joshing (The Interview List)
So this is who I’m chasing. And yes, there are some big names on here. But I figure, why not?
Bonus two: Heidi Heilig, Kripparian, Diane Birch
The podcast is expanding already this year. I interviewed my first streamer and have some amazing guests already interviewed heading into Just Joshing 350 but these are the people I want to interview this year. Brandon Sanderson is the man, and I want to have a magic match with him. Lights is someone I’m a big fan of. I really dug Skin and Earth and listen to her music often when I write. Gail Simone would just be fun, but the one I’m secretly hoping on this list I finally get to?
Samantha Beiko. I’m a big fan of Sam. I became one two years ago at the Auroras. Scion of the Fox is on my reading pile right now, and I just dig her comic Krampus is my Boyfriend. She is a one of a kind talent who shines no matter what platform she appears. I want to sing something terribly on stage with Sylvain Neuvel. I met him in Ottawa and he is cool beans man. Youtube wing and a prayer on Youtube. It’s amazing. I may fly to montreal just to do it.
People I want to interview again
By Your Leave
I want to interview Fonda again because she’s done comics now and I’m more jealous. She’s also an amazing writer period, and I can’t help saying nice things about her. Sofia Evangelina gives me no excuses not to succeed. I feel like I could have done better by Kate Heartfield and I really like her books, and By Your Leave was definitely a fun experience.
Chris Marrs? Because I know there’s more to her and I want to hear that story.
I want to definitely write more this year. Last year I wrote a lot but wasn’t as productive as the year before. I’m close to finishing draft one of Phoenix Grand Prix and have started Cloud Diver 2. I have big goals for both this year. But first..
Release the Cloud Diver.
It’s really, really close. We’re finalizing the internal stuff right now, and I got some ISBNs to buy and copyrights to finish. That’s it. This bad boy is ready to fly.
There’s a little spoiler about Just Joshing 300 I have to say. I have two amazing conversations with Calvin Jim and Jessica Renwick live at When Words Collide. I like talking to Calvin, and I’m looking forward to a full conversation with Jessica down the road. But what makes me really excited about this, is the last ten minutes.
I’m going to say it. I believe in you.
No really, I do.
Not just because of what you do, but because of how you changed me. This podcast has been a journey, and honestly, each and every one of you has made me better. Let’s go back to the beginning shall we?
Most things that happen well within my life are things I do not plan. Rather, they kind of come from the aether after I have the vaguest of ideas what I’m doing. I finally got a smartphone. I have been doing interviews by memorizing them and writing them down before handing them to the people interviewed to make sure I misquoted them. It was fun, but it was a lot of work.
Now I’d have the opportunity to record and transcribe. A lot easier to do. My first interview at When Words Collide where I’m debuting this? Robert J. Sawyer.
We have a pretty good back and forth. But what I remember the most is after. Rob met up with someone who asked him what he was doing, and he mentioned that he was being interviewed for a podcast. In my head, something clicked.
I could do a podcast. And so the journey began.
How many people say their first interview recorded was Robert J. Sawyer?
This has been the biggest perk of the whole journey. That all said, there are some key people I want to bring up in this. Very early on in the show I’ve met some amazing people who made a huge impact on my life. Also, some of these people have become great friends.
I have to start with Vanessa Cardui. Vanessa is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. She has a very beautiful voice, but is also an incredibly sharp, sincere, tough and very giving person. I remember meeting her for the first time for the podcast. We ended up going downtoan to this little cafe on 8th and 6th in Calgary, all the while she walked and talked with me through Kensington as we sought a place. I’ve had the pleasure to be in her life off and on throughout the years, but this first conversation was a big leap of faith, and I thank Vanessa for doing so.
Suzy Vadori I met at my second when words collide. She was having a good time and getting into all kinds of mischief as we all do on the second night of the conference. Suzy is someone I treasure. I admire her drive so much. She’s a great writer, and has a great future in front of her. But for all that, she’s one of the very few people I have no doubts at all.
We have to mention a legendary individual as well. GW Renshaw is one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met. Sharp as a blade, but also just one of the kindest, gentlest men I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with. We ended up chattting one When Words Collide all night. Just a fun conversation.
But I can’t help but mention my chat with Adam Dreece. Adam is an amazing human being. This conversation is still memorable to me just because this was the genesis to a great friendship. Adam is one of the few that I can go to, and he’s done a lot of amazing things. I can’t wait until he makes the plunge with his next series. As is, I feel for me, this conversation was life changing.
The show’s quality improved with some key suggestions here and there as well. John Fleming was the one that recommended I cut back the intros to something less than two minutes. For the most part, I keep to his advice. Listen to any episode post episode 100 and you will hear it.
Also, I ditched the music as well. I think this show is best bare bones. I’ve dabbled with the idea here and there to make a jingle. But for now, I like the raw tone.
It’s amazing what a lack of budget at the beginning forced. Necessity does indeed make the mother of invention. I don’t have the money to rent a studio space, and while it’s now possible for me to reserve quieter rooms (thank you Calgary Public Library) the show’s atmosphere is different with each and every episode. The most common background is Skype as a lot of my guests are abroad, but there are a few memorable ones I’m putting below. Episode 40 involved me and Brendon doing an interview while I was being driven to Winnipeg airport. It’s probably my favorite of the early interviews and I encourage a listen.
The other is a recent chat I had with Konn Lavery. It’s amazing how lettling in little bits of chaos makes the conversation feel that much realer. In this case, you can hear us literally go from a diner to a cafe and all the steps in between, including the dead air. It feels realer this way, and maybe just maybe even when I can regularly do a studio that I won’t. This made this show genuine, and I don’t want to lose that.
I feel I can say that without the podcast, I’m not sure I would have fixed the teeth as fast as I did. I probably still did it a bit too late to be honest, but where I wanted to go with the show required me to make changes. I’m still a work in progress, but it definitely was something that I’ve improved and it’s amazing to think about where I was as a person, then.
What Success Feels Like
So yeah, throughout this journey I’ve been rewarded time and time again. It’s as though I’m meant to do this. This podcast one the 2018 Aurora for best fan related work, and is a finalist this year once again. Even if I don’t win, this has far and away grown beyond my wildest dreams.
It was appropriate that I found out about my victory at episode 198 when I was about to air this. Liz hadn’t known she was going to win, and it was an interesting chat, as Liz and I reversed roles for the purpose of this interview. I was the one that was asked questions and I was the one that answered. I couldn’t think of a better episode to air my results than this one. Both of us deserved it. Liz is great.
What I’ve learned
This has been my journey. Ultimately the guest may be why people come to listen, but the only reason the show has lasted as long as it has is me. I have now 300 episodes in the rear view and about 30 more to use going forward. But it’s all my journey. It’s about where I have been and where I’m going.
I started as a guy willing to do anything to get interviews. In order to do that I had to learn to open myself to the world. Everyone is different, and unique, and that meant that in order to get the people I want to, I have to get people to come aboard. I needed to open up, even if I disagreed. I welcomed everybody and everything. I have interviewed not just writers, but comedieans, comic book creative teams, musicians, politicians, rock bands, and more.
Thank you all. But I want you to know that I believe in you. Not becauseo f just who you are, but who you made me. Someone more open, someone willing to learn, and work with others to succeed.
I’ve learned not just to be motivated but inspired. I’m always looking forward to listening to the next story, because it changes mine. I’ve learned so much, and I couldn’t thank you enough for being there for me.
You’re awesome. I’m looking forward to where your story goes from here. I want you to know, I am rooting for you. I am your fan. I see how amazing you are. Thanks for making me a better person. Here’s to 300 more.
If you listen to my podcast with any regularity, you will find that my interviews are often conversations more so than question and answer type deals. There are reasons for that. I thought today because I don’t do craft too much on my blog, that I’d give an insight with how I approach interviews and what exactly I’m seeking when I do a podcast.
I started doing interviews at a site called comicbloc back in 2003. I had seen some of my favorite writers in comics such as Dirk Manning and others break into the industry and thought it would be a good path to start with. I figured that big name artists and creators would not be interested in chatting with me, so I made an emphasis on focusing my time with independent creators and publishers. Years later, I realize that my path hasn’t diverged as much as I thought it would, but I digress.
When you start doing interviews, questions and answers are a great start the ice breaking process. Questions to me are like small talk. It’s a way to find commonality with the interviewee. Generally I don’t know people very well the first time I meet them and have to figure out the ways to chip at the exteriors people have.
On a written platform, these kinds of interviews have a ton of merit. For one thing interviews are snapshots of the person you are engaging with. People want a sense of who the person or their project is on the other side of the process.
From a purposes of media, the big advantage is time. There are what, maybe two thousand words max you can do on a page like this? How many minutes does someone have reading an article from a mobile phone while they are on the train to work? Questions and answers really condense a topic into a very manageable kind of bite. Even on a podcast, if an interview is only about fifteen minutes, this works quite well. Questions and answers are great small talk, and in that kind of time, small talk works.
If this is the kind of interview you do, there are challenges with those limitations.
If you are going to do an interview like this, you need to figure out the story you want to tell. Interviews are storytelling as well, and you need to pick your angle. For one thing, how many questions do authors get about their appearance or genre or about a famous story they did. One of the biggest compliments I have received from my guests on my podcasts is that this isn’t a standard interview. I don’t ask the same questions anyone else does. I have a specific focus when I engage with the people I’m talking to. So my questions have to deal with that focus.
This lesson didn’t come quickly to me. I remember especially with my first few interviews that my questions were very generic. And that’s fine for a beginning. At some point though, you do need to ask yourself what you want to know about the person you are dealing with. Having that kind of planned out makes the questions that come to you easier.
Coming at someone with that kind of agenda may seem disingenuous, but the truth is very often you go in blind. It’s easier to engage with a subject if they have an idea of what they are talking about. Gradually I became more comfortable with the questions I was asking. This process took a few years.
I did it this way for years, even when I started doing interviews on my blog. Until I met Simon Rose.
Simon is an amazing children’s writer and publishes some outstanding books for that genre. I remember coming into the interview with about a page or so of questions. I threw those out of the window immediately after we started chatting. Simon was such an engaging individual on his own, that I realized that the questions I would ask him would get in the way. So I didn’t. I just did a back and forth conversation with him, which turned out quite well.
After interviewing Simon, I threw away the concept of questions. Don’t get me wrong, I still use them from time to time. Like I said, questions are like small talk. They are great to break the tension and get to know someone enough to engage in a conversation. But once you are through the ice, you need to have substance in the conversation. I am a big fan of Rolling Stone interviews with people. There is a real sense of a conversation being told in the magazine and I dig that. It feels realer, is more engaging, and it’s a better soundbyte.
I said above that questions and answers for about 15 minutes is engaging. If you’re good at them, you can do a half hour. After that though, I start to disengage. Maybe it’s because my attention span isn’t what it used to be, but I think it has more to do with the fact that questions and answers don’t sound real after a while. No one tlaks that way in real life. We engage in more of a back and forth and we improvise as we interact. That’s the real experience in enjoying someone’s company, and that’s the experience I try to accomplish on my podcast.
Most of the time it works. I have scared a number of guests when I say not to worry about questions beforehand. I don’t worry about what we are talking about. I have a couple of icebreakers but by and large, I really don’t have a gameplan, with a few exceptions.
The big advantage to my approach is that it feels organic. It’s more like how people talk, and it comes across much more genuine. Questions with this approach are used to continute the momentum of the conversation, but not drive it. This kind of interview really lets people see who the person is.
This approach does have a couple of flaws. The first one you can overcome, the second…not so much. The first one is that if you don’t have a goal with the conversation the chat will go everywhere. My goal with my podcast is to showcase who the person is. That is far more important to me than anything else going on. Because that is the goal, the interviews work. I’m not interested in making someone look bad, and it gives the person the freedom to talk about whatever they want to. If the goal is specific, the road to getting there doesn’t matter.
What does matter however, is if the person is comfortable enough to engage you on this level. Some people aren’t. And no matter how you try to find openings, they will only go so far. You have to accept that.
If I know I’m dealing with a guest like this, I develop a set course we start with. I find that some people are very guarded (rightfully so in some cases), but are open to back and forth on certain topics. Those interviews do require a little more care, and is maybe the middle of the road with the style I enjoy than question and answers.
Finally, I’ve learned to improvise. Every person you are talking to is different. Some people can laugh, some are intense. What everyone has in common is that everyone has a story. Your job as the person doing the interview is to find it. You ask questions, you engage, you talk. Their response tells you everything you need to to get a story.
It’s why I love my podcast. Every week there’s another story being told.
So I’m going to talk about my Patreon on Thursday, but today I’m talking about gratitude. I have learned in my life the importance of thank you. A long time ago I realized that I couldn’t do everything in this life on my own. I remember when I was working in Arizona and getting up early to look for a car to hitchhike into the next town. I remember one time walking by Trappers, one of my favorite restaurants at the time. One of the owners said hi to me, and asked how I was doing. I said good, and then was invited inside to eat. I told her that I couldn’t afford it – I couldn’t. I just had started this job, and I had been unemployed for about six weeks. She insisted.
I didn’t realize just how much people had helped me there until that moment. I still for a long time looked at my time there through a dark lens. Even now, there are still undeniably some dark spots there. But I can look back and see all the people who were there. I learned then that I couldn’t do this on my own.
No one can.
People step into your life and help you, and you need to be aware of this. I can think of my GoFundMe page. A friend of mine suggested I do this for my teeth, and I did. The results were unexpected, on many fronts. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to focus on the good. I had a lot of people share my posts, and help. I am grateful for all that experience.
And it’s experience I want to dwell on here. Gratitude isn’t just saying thank you, it is a way of experience. When you go through hard times in your life, reacting to pain is a normal course of action. It’s easy to be angry when things go awry. Again, totally the standard course of operation.
But flip that. Take a bad moment in your life. Take where that leads you. Didn’t get that job you wanted? Maybe it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Maybe something better will come along.
Thank you doesn’t just show your appreciation. Thank you can protect you, can change you and heal you. This Thursday I”m going to be doing the safety meeting of my day job. I’m saying thank you in front of the audience. Some of those people don’t like me. Some have never spoken to me. But if it wasn’t for all of them, the ones that helped, the ones that don’t, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in. That alone deserves a thank you.
I may be overly thankful, but I rather that than not be thankful at all. Being thankful has helped me deal with things that have happened for me.
Thank you is powerful. Thank you gives you the ability to rewire your brain in a way that you can look at a hurt and learn from it and heal. Use it to change your perspective.
Finally, I just want to take a moment and thank God. My life has been a magical experience so far, and I know it’s only starting. Thank you God for making this journey possible.
First thing’s first, my latest column at First Comics News is live. In it, I talk about a comic series I really enjoyed last year called Portalbound. You can read about it here. Once you’re done, come back. I’ll be waiting.
Since I’ve been doing my part time schedule, I’ve been doing nothing but work towards my goals. This week in particular felt like culmination of a few different things.
My Patreon page is ready to go. I handed in my novel to an editor. I’ve written a short story, I started writing a limited comic book series. My collaborator right now is busting my butt (in a great way) to make the ideas the best they can be. I got another graphic novel nearly done, and my first book is just about ready to be released.
Those are things I’m publishing myself. As far as being published by others, so far, I have one thing that will be published in a magazine. I have a novel I can’t wait to get back to next month that I feel might be worth going for a big five deal, but I also got a short story I want to submit somewhere. All in all, things are moving.
As for the podcast itself, the YouTube library has improved. There are currently one hundred thirteen episodes you can listen to right now. More are to come.
I’ve done more interviews with more diverse people than writers. The show is evolving into more of an arts show than just a literary one. Not that the literary episodes are going away. I feel this is a natural evolution of the show. Art, inspirational stuff, health and well being are all things I’m into, and you’ll see more stuff over the course of the coming weeks and months. Writing is still going to be a thing, but it’s not going to be the only thing the podcast is going forward on.
Speaking of the podcast – and this whole journey in general – when I made this decision back in October last year, one of the challenges I had to face was how was i going to increase my podcast audience. The numbers are definitely up compared to where I was a year ago at that point in time, but I wanted more. Fortunately, as I was thinking about this I had the opportunity to interview the Octavia Book Bindery company (Thanks to Chris Carolan for the recommendation) the conversation I had with Robert Angus after our podcast made me consider a lot of things, sponsorship being one of the key things.
Sponsorship is the topic here. Once that conversation happened, I began the pursuit of sponsors. I found a local sponsor that I thought would fit what i’m doing right now.
Words and Pictures is a comic shop located in Calgary Alberta. Their address is #6 – 2610 Center Street N.E. and their facebook page is located right here. They specialize in two areas in the medium. The first of these is back issues. Words and Pictures has an incredible selection of silver age comic back issues ranging from classic issues of Showcase, the Flash, Green Lantern, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World runs to more modern books like Fatale, Thief of Thieves, Walking Dead and more.
The second thing Words and Pictures specializes in is Graphic Novels. Words in Pictures has one of the most diverse and incredible graphic novel selections in the city, and one of the better ones I’ve seen in comic shops I’ve been to. Starting in March, by listening to the podcast, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire amazing graphic novels. Stay tuned.
Now I know this sounds like a commercial (guilty as charged) but at the same token, this is a start, and other sponsors will be joining Words and Pictures soon enough. I’m really excited about this partnership and others, and where the podcast might grow.
I have a sponsor. Cool right?
I got a lot more I want to talk about and a lot more I want to accomplish. But I’m really proud of the start so far this year. I’m nervous, I’m scared, and I feel jubilation. The best is yet to come.
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.
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.
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.
Redacted – this one has already come true. Stay tuned Thursday.
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.
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’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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.