Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm getting my feet under me on this whole blogging thing and--let me tell you--it's been nothing but fun!  It's not an understatement to say that reading all your blogs (if you're reading this, I'm probably reading you too!) has been a great source of inspiration.

I thought I might take a second to introduce myself.  I'm a graduate of the University of Texas English Program, with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Playwriting (Playwriting was fun and will provide some good fodder for future posts). 

By day, I'm a helicopter pilot, although it's been a few years since I've actually flown anything other than a desk.  By night, I'm a corny husband to my awesome wife, heretofore known as Furnacegirl, and father to my precocious and smarter-than-me two year old, who I will call Muffin.  I'm all about protecting the guilty. 

(As a funny aside, when we were first pregnant but didn't yet know Muffin's gender, we decided we'd call her Biscuit.  You see we wanted to keep her real name secret from the family until after she was born.  So we decided if she turned out to be a boy, we'd call him Sausage Biscuit. :P Since she's a girl, it's Muffin.  Aren't we clever?).

Currently assigned in Baghdad, Iraq as part of the military staff at the U.S. Embassy, I've been away from home for nearly a year.  Although the staff work has been interesting and sometimes exciting (in both good and bad ways--the recent explosions here being exhibit A), I am ready to go home.  I have about two more years before I retire and a second career in fiction would be just the ticket, if I can make it happen.

Mainstream fiction is my first love, and my tastes tend toward classic authors like Harper Lee and J. D. Salinger, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Ayn Rand to name a few.  There's a simplicity there that I enjoy.  I do like magical realism--Borges does a number on me--and I've dabbled in sci-fi, but I keep returning to the middle of the road stuff.

I am not one of those folks who insists that I will write what I want and hope to hell people like it.  In my opinion, no writer should be inaccrochable in their work (for the record, I choose the second meaning for inaccrochable, namely writing that can only be understood by the author, vice writing that has no market because of controversial content), and so one of the big challenges I face is updating my feel for what is fresh and marketable to today's reader. 

You see, I have every intention of getting published.  It is not a question of if, but when.  No doubt, this sentiment is familiar to you.

{steps down from the soapbox, deposits said soapbox in the closet, and throws out a wan smile}

A dozen or so short stories are in my writing queue so far, and I'm working on a novel treatment (more to follow on that).  I'm not short of ideas, which is good news, but I am still perfecting my process and knocking the rust off. 

It's been over five years since I wrote seriously.  I spent most of this last summer alternating between quitting writing altogether and trying but failing to write.  As a result, I am ecstatic to now be producing and my current goal is around 1,000 words a day, give or take.  In the next weeks, I'll tell you more about my projects and also share some plans I have for this blog.

I do have one question: who are you people following me?  :D  I am so very curious, and I want to know all about you.  So I throw out this proposition: if you're reading this and the mood strikes, introduce yourself in a comment below.  Tell us a little about your background, where you're from, what you like to write, and so on.

I look forward to hearing from you.  And once again, thanks for reading.

9 bolts from the blue:

Liza said...

Well, here goes. Hi Jon Paul, or is it Jon? My name is Liza. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. But somehow, adulthood, parenthood, full-time work and an unhealthy lack of self-confidence resulted in my letting the writing go for a loooong time.

About seven years ago, a writer in NYC happened to see an email I wrote to her dad and encouraged me to pick up the pen again. Thankfully, I did, although only in a small way, as that shameful lack of confidence plagued me. Then, I surprised myself by winning a writing contest at and achieving publication in a niche magazine a few times. The proverbial floodgates opened last February 4 though (anniversary coming...grrr!). After working at the same company for 23 years, the economic downturn hit me behind the knees and threw me to the mats.

The day after my position was eliminated, I woke up stunned and teary, with no idea what I wanted to do next in life (other than knowing I did not want to do what I'd been doing for so long). I wandered over to the computer, and without planning it, started writing my blog. I've been at it ever since.

I try to write five days a week in my blog, and unrelated to that, I was published twice this year, but I haven't been submitting much lately. My focus now is getting my freelance business/copywriting company up and running.

As for blogging, well, a little over a week ago, who knew I'd be commenting on a blog written by a helicopter pilot based in Bagdad? To say it widens the horizons is a major understatement. In truth, it's a blast. I will look forward to reading more of your posts, and I hope you get home soon.

Liza said...

Oh, and I gave you a shout on my blog today.

glnroz said...

Yep, I am here because of Liza. She thinks I stalk her. :), anyway, you ain't no gov'ment undercover spie or nothing are you.. Hook 'em horn or Gig'em, depending on which daughter is around. My hat is off to you (seriously) for the job you are doing. I aint gonna go down the list of who I am, but you are invited to read my blogs. I pretty much describe myself through my posts. I too enjoy comments. I am not a writer but I enjoy the page of it all. Let me hear, hea'unh now?

Diana Paz said...

Thanks for the intro. You should link this post on your sidebar :)

As for me, I've been a writer since forever, the same ol' same ol', and I taught one year of third grade before the kids started rolling in. I substitute teach from time to time, but for the most part stay home, watch the kids, write, and try my hand at cooking (the cooking is... not good). Luckily my devoted husband is putty in my hands and doesn't mind the constant writing. Although he does have some things to say about the cooking :)

Jon Paul said...

Liza--Wow, thanks for the love and the detailed bio! Yeah, this blogosphere thing is wild, right? I can't tell you how great it is to meet folks like you who love writing and to be able to correspond regularly. It's a far cry from the old days of slaving away all alone over a hot desk. Again, thank you.

Glnroz, what's wrong with a little stalking, now and again, right? I'll skip on over to your place and have a look around.

Diana, thanks for the suggestion on the sidebar. Great idea. I'l do it. If given the choice between being a bad cook or and bad writer, I'd be a bad cook. Unfortunately, at this moment I'm bad in both areas--so lots of work to do! :D

Rachel Fenton said...

Hullo -
Gosh, I'm far too interested in you, and why you want to engage in this insanity that is being a writer, to talk about me.

I was drawn to your blog because of your profile flight blurb...I think writing should be about transportation...the curious thing for me is that flight is also your reality - that's fascinating.

If you must know a wee bit about me then I'll summarise it thus: can't stop writing.

Jon Paul said...

Thanks for the kind words, Rachel. You're right: it is pretty insane. But I guess that's my speed. :D

Thanks for reading and commenting.

injaynesworld said...

I stumbled over here from Scott's to read about the St. Patty's Day Drunk Fest. Sounds like fun. I was a TV writer for a couple of decades, writing mostly in the TV-movie genre. Last film was in 2004. Reality-TV kicked the crap out of the TV movie biz. I started my blog last August and it's kick-started my love for writing again. I'm not sure where it's going to take me, I'm just along for the ride. I like your blog, signed up to follow and look forward to reading more.

foldingfields said...

I link-hopped from other blogs and liked your blog title. I often judge books by their cover, it can't be helped.
I have been writing habitually on a YA novel for the past two years. I thought I was in the revision stage until more of the story started coming out. Now I'm writing additional chapters from the other MC's pov to weave into the existing storyline. It's working and I'm loving it!
Although I have always written poetry, short stories, character sketches, etc. this is the first time I have ever attempted a novel and gotten further than 50 pages.
Before I hit my writing session, I'm going to go have a read of your stuff. :)

Waddaya wanna say?

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