Update 3/28/18

I’ve been flaky the past couple of weeks, not around as often as I’d led on. Which feels dishonest. So I want to address my whereabouts and clear the air, get a fresh start.

Life Story

I’m at the end of my 20s. It’s a cusp, because my 20s have largely been dissolute and aimless and I’m assuming 30 is when I “grow up”. I married a few years ago, worked in lawn care to support us, then we moved so I could go finish my degree in journalism. Which I did, finally, after 3 schools and 10 years, finally finish my degree. That degree landed me in a corporate communications gig (shoot me now, and shoot me once every morning) because journalists command the same wages as fast-food assistant managers. My corporate stint is coming to a close, however, it’s a contract position with an inevitable contractual conclusion. The bouldering question is what do I do next?

I can’t stand working for people, most of the time. When I was in lawn care I was working for a small company with a genuine friend as the owner, and I didn’t mind busting my ass 50 hours a week. That was almost enjoyable. Looking back, that was far more preferable. Corporate life is achromatic and demands a daily prostration before the people who command everything that you do. They’ve extended my contract because still I haul ass, but it’s gnawing my skull away. Brain matter has been left to puddle on my cubicle desk several times. It’s the hierarchy, rigid and unassailable; people shouldn’t waste their lives in subordination, nor should they find it meaningful to collect subordinates beneath them.

The last 5 years I’ve spent writing regularly, almost daily; writing frequently for long hours a few years before that. It’s the only thing I feel comfortable doing, the only aspect of the world I feel comfortable commanding; the only method of exerting my will that I find meaningful and honest and satisfying. When I don’t write, I turn into a bastard. There is no affection, no hope, no self confidence if I am not writing. If I can’t get myself out, onto paper or screen, nothing comes in and the pact I have with the world becomes a rigid, impermeable wall.

So I’ve been on a cusp, or a cliff is probably the best metaphor, for the last few weeks on a cliff with a strong wind at my back. I need to write, and I can’t waste any more months in subordination to some leaky asshole I depend on for paychecks. I need to take control of my own life, if you’ll allow me this moment of self-help verbiage, to reach for my dreams and shoot for the stars and the rest of the clichés about building a fulfilling life.

So I’m jumping the cliff into freelancing. Working 45 hours a week in my cubicle, plus the commuting, perennially lacking sleep, up late building-out LinkedIn and UpWork profiles, applying for contract work and freelancing gigs writing copy and trying to devise just how I’ll make this all work. I’m depending on it, my family’s depending on it, it’s finally time to dump myself into what I should’ve done – easy to say now, in hindsight – years ago. I’m going to figure out how to make a living writing.

The hope here is that, if I can control my own working hours, I can create more time to write prose-poetry and, eventually, hopefully soon, to write fiction and the novel that’s been on the back shelf of my brain for about a year.

To help make this all work, we’re leaving NJ, land of crushing living expenses. We’re going to rent a cheap little 3-bedroom somewhere in rural PA, and I’m going to spend my time building a writing career.

Thanks for reading,

Mick

Updates

Two weeks ago I posted a modest declaration, something to the effect of, “I promise to post every day.” Then within the following ten days posted four times. So I feel I owe a bit of an apology to the growing crowd that frequents here, because I do appreciate everyone more than you’d think.

In short, I ran into a rut. Nothing horrendous, nothing broken, but I fell off keel for a few days and writing — what there was of it — wasn’t worth anyone’s time. And then this past Tuesday my internet was disconnected for neglecting to pay the cable bill. That had to wait till Friday, payday. Long story.

The good news is that I was able to catch up on submissions to a few publications, Sudden Denouement included, which is putting together an anthology that promises to make your nose bleed (don’t read it too hard).

A paramount goal for me has been to stay focused and keep the ship level, so to speak, and it seems everything is back on track — aside from promising employment, dwindling debt, etc.

In other news, I’ve decided to add a new page to this blog, a dictionary, which will feature the sort of words you either only hear once or, hear a few times but never enough to stick. The sort of vocab words which, I think, can help make writing pop, add a little flavor, hit the right sort of note. I keep them in a journal and jot them down when reading, so I might as well share them here. If you’re not already following me on Twitter, I’m @ MickHugh_ (mick hugh underscore); you’ll be able to find the same vocab words there, where we can see who comes up with the best examples of the words in sentences (what else can we do on lunch break?).

Also, lastly, if anyone has any tips on building a solid Patreon page, fill me in. I’m exploring a few different ways of monetizing Neon Fog, without ads, so if there are some avenues or tricks you know of, let’s chat.

Thanks for reading.

 

Over the Mountains

If you’re going to do something extraordinary with your life, you need to start at it young. What you’re attempting is life outside the crowd which is where all the opportunities are, the money and the resources. Not just mansions and nice suits but even rental apartments and being able to buy enough food for your (eventual) family, you need to be in the crowd, or at least nibbling what they drop; even if you aren’t in an office and looking forward to casual Fridays, you’re making ends meet by serving those types of people, the crowd. So if you want out of the crowd you need to start at it early, because you need to learn how to eat + sleep + shower (if that’s your things) + fuck + survive in the shadows on the other side of the mountain range. If you want absolutely anything the crowd has — a cabin in the woods, a motorcycle, clothing, children, a stable life, a calm death — at any point in your life, you need to start early because the crowd has a monopoly on all of those decent things and so if you dream of finding them on the other side of the mountains, you need to start early. You’re attempting to do what few people have lately done. You’re starting from scratch, with no guidebook, few resources and few friends; no friends who can help.

But what you’re doing is worth it. Because at no time in history have basic human goals, a piece of property, food, clothing, an honest death, been so monopolized and guarded by the crowd, the mountain passes so completely avoided by highways and main streets and side roads, that to find them and understand what they offer is a feat worth its own weight.

And what I have to say here is something about college, the social pipeline from school to school, desk to desk, a new desk when you graduate from your college desk. It’s a pipeline. And I’ve run out steam to keep this rant going.