on cormac

I found myself thinking about Cormac McCarthy the other night. It’s strange to think of him out there in the world, having survived 2020. What does he think of what happened? What ink dropped to the page while the world was locked into a continuous monotony?

If you don’t know, Cormac McCarthy is considered one of the more important “literary” writers of our time. He’s a recluse, has done few interviews, and consistency rejects the type of publicity that most writer’s would die for. He’s a modern J.D. Salinger. But I would argue that he is a better writer and a more important voice.

But his status doesn’t matter. I’m not here to make a case for his significance to arts and letters. That’s not my job. 

Regardless of his standing or importance in literature, Cormac McCarthy is hugely important to me. Or, at least, he was. Maybe he still is.

I think every wannabe writer, at some point, finds an author that feels like they are on the same wavelength. In a sea of books and genres, that writer become a voice of clarity in the noise. A pure moment for any reader, when it feels like the writer has written this material so that you would read it. It’s a strange connection. The author will never really know it happened. The reader will obsess over it.

That’s how I felt with McCarthy. Now, I’m not comparing myself to McCarthy. I don’t write like him, nor do I really want to. But when I, as an early 20’s kid, found McCarthy it was like I found fresh air for the first time. 

I can’t explain that connection to you. It’s the same feeling that comes when the right song comes on at the exact right time. Serendipity. 

There were a few years in my life where I tried to write like McCarthy. I mimicked his voice and tried to feel what he felt when he wrote. I wanted, as we all do with idols, to be like him. More than anything else, I wanted to feel what it would be to write something that felt important. Perhaps that was the magic ingredient to McCarthy’s writing. It always felt important.

I’m reminded of the story of Hunter S. Thompson. It’s been said, by Thompson or otherwise, that we would sit at a typewriter and write out Hemingway’s novels word for word. He wanted to know what it was to write something great. He needed to know what the rhythm felt like, how it would feel when your fingers hit the keys and the juice was flowing unhindered.

For better or worse, I found that type of rhythm, that practice with McCarthy. And, for that practice, I owe McCarthy a lot of credit for any strange success that I have achieved in writing. 

But I often forget about my old idol. 

I’ve changed a lot since when I was reading McCarthy. I grew up, went to work, went back to school, and then made a conscious decision to pursue writing as a dedicated practice. 

Sometimes, though, I remember how important McCarthy was/is to me. I thought of him yesterday and wondered where he was. I wondered if his pen had hit paper. Will he ever write another book? Is there anything left in his tank? I don’t know. 

For me, it doesn’t matter. I would love more McCarthy. But I think I will be left wanting. 

It occurs to me now, though, that the writer’s we love, the ones that we believe see us in some way never really leave us. McCarthy will always be important to me. He’s a north star, a lodestar for me and my journey. And I miss him and his writing quite a bit. 

Perhaps he appeared in my thoughts as a reminder of the things that I miss. 


the crash

I almost lost my computer and all the writing that I have stored on it.

I’m working off a seven year old Macbook Pro. For the most part, I think this computer has been pretty amazing. The planned obsolescence  hasn’t hit me up until the crash and, for the most part, the pro has met everyone of my needs regarding daily use. Considering I bought the thing because a professor told me that writers need to have a Macbook (true story), it has help up well over a near decade of punishment and constant use.

But obsolescence is on the horizon. It hit me hard last weekend when I thought that I’d lost my machine.

If there are any Mac user out there, you may know about Big Sur. It’s the most recent OS update and I think it might be one of the last OS update that my machine may be able to handle.

Anyway, after avoiding prompts for a OS update for over a month, I decided it would be good to download the software and it sent my computer into a death-spin. I needed to erase it and start over. I lost everything on the device and ended up with a wiped Mac.

The only saving grace from the whole experience is that I decided to backup all of my writing on iCloud about a month ago. We’re talking a novella, 20+ short stories, tons of website articles, and more. If I had not decided to backup, it would be gone.

So, consider this post a call to action. Back. Up. Your. Shit. Even my reliable daily-driving computer went down. Yours could too. Don’t wait. Back up your shit now. Return to this post after.

The Mac is back. I’m writing on it now, but I’m starting to realize that our time together is limited. It’s sad. I’m not a big tech guy. I’m sure there are people out there that think a Macbook is a waste. You can get better processing power for less money. But this computer worked for a long time. I pound on these keys every day. I’ve dropped it, spilled on it, and lost it. Regardless, it kept going.

I think it’s weird to be sentimental about a piece of tech. It’s a tool. But it’s probably one of my most important tools. Writing in the modern world isn’t a pen and paper game anymore. Sure, you can fill notebooks. But if you want to publish (and I do) you need to be able to present you work in digital format. A word processor is a necessity. Outside of that, writing is a pretty cheap hoppy.  I don’t need pricey software or fancy hardware. I need a keyboard, a monitor, and a word processor. Simple. Easy.

For nearly a decade, this machine has been that for me. It’s dealt with my anger, frustration, creative surges and downturns, it sent out the story that marked my first acceptance, and I’ve come to feel reassured when my fingers push the keys and the words form on the digital page.

But I’m coming to the realization that I’ll have to move on soon. Not easy. But necessary.

So, I would say two things. First, backup your shit. I mean it. You can’t get it back if you lose it and recovering from that tragedy is going to be harder than taking the time to drop a copy of your work into iCloud or Google drive.

Second, don’t take your tools for granted. When they work and they last, the things we use to facilitate our creativity are, sometimes, as important as the creativity itself.


state of the quaratine

I’m still in it. And I imagine that you are too.

At first, I didn’t think that COVID impacted me much. I stayed inside (I’m socially awkward and a homebody) and that wasn’t much of a big deal. I was actually really productive for most of the year. I felt like I had more time to get things done. Without weekend plans, you have a hell of a lot more time.

But, recently, I think COVID has been kicking my ass. That productivity is on the down slope. I’ve been dragging. It’s one of the reasons why the blog kind of slipped out of my hands for over a month. I didn’t have the fire to get things done. I still don’t always have the will, but I continue to drag through.

I’m empty. The year that I really dedicated to writing was a year full of experiences. We were exploring a new city, I was traveling for work, we were meeting new people, and learning how to live states away from anyone that we knew. It was a wellspring of new experience.

And then it was halted.

I think I rode the wave as long as I could before the tank dropped down to empty. Now, I’m bored. I want to go to restaurants, concerts, shows, and see people. I want to find a neighborhood bar that I can call my own. I want normalcy back.

I know. We all do. It’s not an unpopular sentiment.

However, I think I’m realizing that, despite of social anxiety and tendency toward introversion, I need to get out in the world every once in a while. Those moments and memories are the source of creativity. Adventure and new experience allow the mind to break free from the confines of the day-to-day.

Not easy when work is a Zoom screen and the weekends are spent mostly in the same apartment. Not easy at all.

So, the state of the quarantine? It sucks. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. So, I’ll stick it out.

For now, we’re planning on doing some camping when the weather breaks. I think that will good. And maybe some hiking too. Soon enough we’ll be out of the house again. Just a matter of time.


i’m back

That’s right. I’m back.

I told you early January and I lied. I didn’t mean to. But I did. I needed time. It’s not easy to keep up with the amount of writing that I was demanding from myself. And, as you would expect, I found myself getting upset about writing.

This blog took a hit. The websites that I write for took a hit. Even my own creative writing pushed me over the edge. We’re talking full breakdown. I started to question whether or not writing was something that I should be doing.

Let’s face it. I don’t give myself a lot of spare time. Side projects line up and I end up stealing time away from relaxation or my partner or my friends to try and finish them. I started to question why I dedicate so much time to a hobby that didn’t feel like it was giving me much in return.

What the point?

I guess I don’t have an answer for you. But I can tell you that I pulled myself out of a slump by sitting down with a pen and a notebook and writing. No stories, no narrative, no purpose. I wrote out thoughts and ideas and the random shit that pops into my head. And I started to feel better.

I think that is where I decided that I am okay writing. It’s not just a hobby. It’s something that keeps me steady. I’m a worse person when I don’t make time to write. But I need to remember that “getting somewhere” with writing is not the goal. The goal is the act in itself. Whatever happens otherwise is dressing.

So, I’m back. And I think that means a lot of new things. First, I need to be easier on myself regarding where I think my writing is “going.” It may well go no where and I need to work on being okay with that. Second, I need to slow down the production. I’m not doing myself any favors pushing at full gear at all times. Third, I need to work on being more present with regard to my creativity. Creating something is beautiful and I need to appreciate that more.

The blog will continue on. I think I will try my normal one post per week. But it might start to slow down a little bit. We’ll see. Nothing is for sure. There may be less photos. There’s nothing inspiring about the gray winter in Massachusetts. But who knows. Maybe they’ll stick around too.

I missed you, reader. Even if you’rer not out there and I’m writing to no one, sending the missive into the universe has always felt good.


holiday break

It’s been a wild year and I need some time to recover.

Consider this the announcement that I’m going to take a short break for the holidays. I’ll be back in early January. I’ve got some cool ideas about this blog. I think I may want to add a couple things to it. Perhaps, the biggest is some stories that I’m not really interested in publishing elsewhere. I think this might be a good place for them.

But no promises.

For now, I want to catch up on the big stuff and get ready for the inevitable consumption of booze and sugar that is the holidays.

I’ll miss you, of course. But I’ll be back in 2021 with some new things and the continued mission of publication.