The past few years have been tough ones, my friends. This is not news to the regular readers, I know. Money has been tight, for various reasons (including that kid with the cigar), and I was in a situation at my job where I was working an enormous amount of hours. This helped with the finances, sure, but it was grinding me down. I slipped into a perpetual state of melancholy, and everything was just shitty and sad.
During that period I shut down The West Virginia Surf Report, which had been my personal brand for 25 years. I had visions of starting over, and snapping myself out of the funk. It didn’t work. It’s like people who try to move away (usually to Florida) from their internal problems. It can’t be done.
I also spent more than a year going back and forth with an agent, trying to get a non-fiction book off the ground. It was crazy, and ended in heartache. It was, as they say, a learning experience. Which is code for soul-crushing.
Nothing was going our way. I was working my ass off, at home and the office, and seeing very little in return. I was depressed, and running on fumes. It also feels like I haven’t been funny in a long, long time.
Eventually I was promoted at my job, and have been working fewer hours, on salary. But there was a learning curve, and it was stressful.
I think I’m finally coming out of it, though… I hope I’m not fooling myself, but I feel good. Maybe for the first time in a couple of years. I still have a ways to go in my new position at work, I had a couple of missteps last week, but it’s going reasonably well, I believe.
I’m walking every day (3.5 miles), stopped drinking soda, and have only had about three beers during the past two weeks. I’ve dropped 12 pounds so far, which is encouraging. It’s only a scratch on the surface of the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a start.
And while I’m doing all this clear-headed walking, I also do a lot of thinking. It’s almost like fat-boy meditation. During the past week, especially, some ideas have started to take hold. I usually keep these kinds of thing under my hat, but what the hell? Here’s what’s on my mind:
A return to TheWVSR. I want to get back to the fun: the bunker cam, Further Evidence, the Smoking Fish. With no concern about traffic, or taking it to the next level… That bullshit ruins it. Just fun and silliness, like the early days. I think I made the decision to shut it down when I wasn’t of sound mind and body.
Surf Report archives as books. I have all the updates, as originally published. Nothing yet removed because of Nancy concerns, or fears of being fired from my old job. I’d like to edit them down into volumes, roughly one year each, and add current comments where necessary. I’d take out the crap, and leave all the good. There are some great rants and stories in there. I could offer them as low-priced ebooks, and print-on-demand paperbacks. A lot of that stuff is timeless, not tied to current events, and I think it could work. What are your thoughts?
A series of short novels, featuring a character I’ve been contemplating and developing. No more chasing the New York publishing payday, just two new self-published novels per year, built for fun.
All three of those ideas excite me. The archives would be a nifty little legacy, if I keeled over during the next few years. I could leave behind something, and prove I’d actually been here. Would-be Surf Reporters of the future might get a few chuckles while riding in their driverless cars.
The fiction series could be something special too. That really has me jacked up. I think you guys will like and relate to the main character. He’s one curmudgeonly sumbitch, always on the move and “solving” peoples’ problems.
And The Surf Report is where it all started. I was insane to give it up. Why didn’t you guys warn me?! Oh, that’s right, you did. Sorry about that.
Here’s the thing, though. I can’t do it alone. I need your help. If I do everything on the cheap — but the right way — all this will cost about $1000. Give or take. I could use some beer money, which wouldn’t be used for beer in this case. If there’s interest, I’ll start with TheWVSR and then move on to the archives. If you can spare a few bucks, I’d be much obliged. If you can’t, that’s cool too. I certainly understand.
Click here to donate. Or you can send any amount via PayPal, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Crowdfunding, as they say. Hell, Adam Carolla crowdfunded the entire cost of his latest movie, and he’s “literally a millionaire.” Me? I have a pot to piss in, but it’s seen better days; some of the glazing is starting to crack.
I had a guy in Greece do a cover mockup for the archives books, but it’s not all that great; it needs to be reworked. You know how those Greeks are… But you’ll get a general idea of what I’m going for. It’s right here –>
Let me know what you think about all this stuff. I realize I’ve been out of it and sometimes distant and unresponsive during the past couple of years. I apologize for my many transgressions. But it feels like the fog is lifting.
And now I’m going to go for my walk, which is something I actually look forward to doing. Who could’ve predicted such a thing? It’s bizarre.
Have a great day my friends.
And thanks for everything.