It's me, The Mad Macedonian with 2 Cats as Creative Muses.
Over the last 2 years I've been turning to Your word and the works of those mere mortals who have been writing about issues of faith and creative inspiration, to help me find the strength to make it through each day and take new steps on my own personal and creative journey.
I know You have a busy schedule, and I'm most likely #1, 981,313,666 on your list of people to check in on, so I thought I'd try a letter and hope for the best, knowing that You work on a time frame that is beyond my ability to fully grasp, but has my best interests at heart. I've taken up journaling and this letter is an attempt to gather certain thoughts, written over time, together as one narrative.
At the end of August 2010 I found myself unemployed, after accepting a buyout and trying to think of the future. Thanks to the buyout I had a huge savings and even larger 401K and was soon getting Unemployment. Over the next 2 months contact with the local One Stop Career Center led nowhere except to a much improved new look to a 6 year old resume. So I decided to go to Adult School and take a range of computer classes to improve my Marketable Skills (Word, Powerpoint, Adobe PSE, even a little Excel). This lasted through April 2011 and I got various Certificates of Completion for each.
Meanwhile, that same fall, a notion first took hold in my brain...How about moving to Texas and starting fresh? I went online, did the research on jobs and affordable rent and chose about 20 cities, requesting all the free relocation guides they had to offer. By January, deep into my computer classes and my blogging, I let thoughts of the Lonestar State slip to the back of my list of priorities.
Then, in late May... I went down into a ditch to check on a black Cat...I know, I know, Lord, brilliant idea! Well, I was only, um, caring for the least among my neighbors. The ungrateful little furball fled the scene, though several months later I briefly encountered him again and he swore he had only went for help and it wasn't his fault I'd been rescued by the time he got back. I forgave him. :-D
Anyway, for the rest of the Summer I had more important things to worry about than a job, or relocating to Texas. Stuck initially with a ton of medical bills, to add to my small credit debt, by the end of the Summer and early Fall, I was totally debt free. At the same time, while I lost Unemployment, I gained much more, financially via being put on Disability and my rent was able to be reduced from $1004 a mo. to $640 (This for a 528 sq. ft. studio, mind you.) and I was able to build back up my dwindling checking/savings. I was as surprised as I was grateful, at all these events and I know You must have had a hand in it somehow.
By Mid-Fall I was out of a cast and into Physical Therapy and my thoughts began to return to Texas.
Lord, from Winter 2010, through the Summer, I'd been buying and reading, a number of self-help, faith, inspiration and confidence building books, including most of the books by Julia Cameron, even retiring my old King James for 2 bibles, with very different takes on learning from and about Your word and as things went from disaster to recovery, that Summer, my thoughts returned to the future and I dug out those old relocation guides and looked online for new info on the job and rental fronts in Texas.
Up to know, Lord, only a select few friends have known of my interest in Texas. I've been afraid to mention it on my blogs because there are some in my life who will not understand, just as they have had a hard time understanding me and my writing and blogging. Many of my thoughts have stayed in my Morning Pages and other Journal, only now, with the sharing of this letter to You, appearing on my blog for all the world to read (Mostly spambots but, You willing, others will read it as well, I hope.)
I would like to move to Texas , giving myself the chance to start fresh and build a new life and new career. I want the chance to have new experiences in a fresh, unfamiliar, environment that I can grow to love and gain creative inspiration from, as much if not more so, than where I've lived all my life. I want the chance to meet new people and make new friends, maybe meet at last a few I already have for the first time face to face. I want to live in an environment where I will have the freedom to learn and blossom as a writer and blogger, no longer worried about what some may think of me and the way I choose to live.
There is no payoff, Lord, that I can see, in remaining in Ca.. The cost of living here is too high for me, as a single Middle-aged man and unemployment is way too high as well. I'm lucky to have an apartment I can afford to rent. Living in Ca. has given me a sense of comfort, safety and security that comes with the familiar and routine. I know all that is a false feeling, but it's hard to break old habits. That I've done so, repeatedly, in my life, beginning 15 years ago, is a good sign that I can do so again.
Lord, I feel that I'm at another crossroads, another such moment in my life when I have to take some bold new steps in several areas of my personal and creative lives and go with the flow, seeing where these new directions will lead me. Two days before the start of this year I went for a walk in a beautiful and peaceful place, to clear my head, think and write. I soon found myself sitting at a picnic table in a quiet corner of Clark Regional Park...An occasional car rolled by, I could hear children playing on a nearby playground and Ducks gossiping, or possibly talking politics, in the nearby lake. Aside from Birds in the trees there was nothing to disturb me as I rested, reading a book and writng in my notebook.
The year just ended didn't turn out the way I'd expected it to, Lord but, for what it's worth, I know I have You to be thankful to for the reasonably positive nature of the outcome. :-D
It was a year of new skills learned, new friends made online, but even as the ankle injury slowed me down a while, I began to hesitantly consider the future. Where I'm headed next, I'm not entirely sure and one reason for this missive is to hopefully get some reassurrance and guidance, from You and Your Team, as I move slowly forward into the rest of my life. Afterall You are the one who has access to my Full Playbook, I just do my best to perform my part with the knowledge and guidance You provide, Your will be done.
The things I thought about, that day at the park, led me to take a photo and use it as the new header of my personal blog...a statement boldly proclaiming to the world...I AM A WRITER!!!
Did You have something to do with that little bit of inspiration popping into my head, that day?
As I mentioned, I don't believe there is a future for me in Ca.. I feel I must somehow find a way to move on, move elsewhere and start fresh. I have hopes and dreams and ideas, for my writing and Cat blogging, only needing to find and learn ways to act on them. With entries on my blogs, since last Summer, from poems to stories, reviews, opinions and journalism, to a Creative Writer's Prayer and new steps at Platform Building I've begun to learn about, I've taken what I think are positive steps leading into Fall 2012 and beyond.
I trust that You, Lord, have plans for me going forward and I believe that all that has been happening this year, my thoughts and planning to move to Texas, are the right things for me at this time, now that I've healed from my injury and can find work again. I've also come to realzie that I may not wish to find a job too much like my last one, as the stress of that job, sitting at a cubicle, answering phones for 7 hrs. a day, led to my having a seizure on the job, several months before I left the job for good.
I believe that You will make things known to me, as the need arises and I will be able to act on them with courage, determination, creativity and faith in myself and my abilities.
In a perfect world I would love to someday be a published writer whether as a freelancer, poems and stories in magazines, with books of poetry, humor, stories and my other writing. Is that possible in 5 to 10 years? With faith in myself and my abilities and if it is Your will, I believe so.
Moving to Texas and getting a good paying job and an affordable residence so as to have a secure base to work from, would allow me to, in my free time, refresh my skills learned last year, learn new skills, learn about freelancing and other opportunities to share, or publish, my work for a wider audience and find time to attend and read at Open Mics. My dream is to be a Writer, beyond what I already am and earn an income doing it in some way, whether it's journalism, poetry, stories, or even a novel. My role models are other writer friends and Cat bloggers, the novel, non-fiction and humor Cat book writers whose work I've come to discover and whom I've even met in a few cases, over the last 4 years.
I'd love for my abilities to continue to gain me respect and good reviews, educating and entertaining people. I'm willing to be led, by You Lord and my inner intuition and trust, to start my life fresh personally, careerwise and creatively, even using mass communications outlets found online, to do so. I'm willing to be of service to others through my creativity. I'm willing to challenge myself in new ways, personally and creatively.
As you know, Lord, there have been several creative U-turns in my life over the past decade. Story ideas begun and set aside as events in my life distracted and discouraged me from tackling them again for years, not to mention a lack of feedback and encouragement eroding my confidence in the viability of those ideas.
3. I, Maximus
4. I'd even considered doing Podcasts, and learning to make better youtube videos than the few I've done so far, not to mention new, better, Powerpoint presentations.
I forgive myself, Lord, for my failures of nerve, timing and initiative and I hope You forgive me as well. Can any of these creative "Babies" of mine be resurrected and reborn? I think they somehow can, Lord, but I might not be able to accomplish these dreams without help, divine, or otherwise.
My Artist's Totem is the caricature of me I had made at Knott's Berry Farm, in December and framed. It sits near my desk as a reminder of who I am and aspire to be: A creative writer, journalist, author and encourager of others in their own writing efforts. I believe I can make a better creative, work and personal future for myself. I will learn about and take advantage of, new ways to get attention for my writing, getting it in other venues that just my blogs.
I will continue to get out of the house more, in socially active ways. I will continue to grow spiritually. I believe in You, Lord, a Higher Being who gives me the power, strength and confidence to grow as a person and a writer. I believe a faith, not just in You, but in myself, can go a long way toward supporting my personal and creative growth and expansion. I just have to be open to the signs and messages you set in my path, that will guide me along the road that I'm meant to travel in my personal and creative life.
I will not be afraid of what the future holds. I will continue to have faith in myself as a person and a writer. I'm open to developing a deeper, stronger, creativity sustaining, faith. As I follow my creative heart I believe I am taking a journey to a more fulfilling personal and creative life.
Postscript: Dear reader, as I wrote the above, Saturday, a bout of creativity struct me, at the end and I wrote what came to me before I lost the inspiration, an idea inspired by my months of reading Julia Camerons many books.....
The Prompt: What could your future look like? Don't hold back, either, as you answer this question. Let your imagination have free reign....
Imagine, if you will, it is the year 2020.....
I am living in Texas, amidst the Romney Era rejuvenation of America, with a good job and a very nice 2 br. apartment and while my day job might not be in writing, I am earning money as a freelancer and have written 3 successful books and am working on a 4th. It is March 5th, Elvira Mistress of Felinity has recently turned 10 the previous month and today Nikita turns 22 and I turn 60 years of age.
We are celebrating the publication of the latest book by The Opinionated Pussycats, the previous 2 books, one of poetry, one a novel, became bestsellers in their niches and this one, of short stories, looks to do the same. Nikita is napping, which is almost all his weary soul and body can manage, most days, as he comfortably makes his way through the last days of a long and proud life, towards his just reward awaiting him at Rainbow Bridge. Elvira sits near him, on watchful guard, love in her eyes. We have alread discussed, with him, plans for his funeral, burial and finding a promising young successor for Elvira to mentor has he once did her.
I'm sitting at my huge desk in the "Writing Room" of our apartment, the empty bowls of the Cats special celebratory dinner and treats waiting for me to take them to the kitchen and the feather toy that is Elvira's favorite waiting to be stored away. Birthday wishes have been streaming in to us via the blogs, Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+, Twitter, e-mail, snail mail, text and video messages, all week, including ones from the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Pets, as well as the Pets of the King in Great Britain.
It's a clear afternoon and a warm sun shines into the room. On my desk is the draft of an article I'm writng for Cat Fancy and pages representing the first stirrings of a new novel.
It's a good day and I'm happy.
Thank You, Jo Ann, for your essay on Happiness, on Saturday.
Thank you, as well, to my Facebook friends who encouraged me to share the subject of this piece, specifically my thoughts about starting fresh elsewhere.
I feel much better for having done so.