For a little over five years now I’ve dedicated myself to furthering one idea that I’ve always believed was under appreciated in our society. That idea is that: even the most ordinary lives have extraordinary moments. Within every human life lies a story of interest the only issue is how to tell that story to the world. Some are good oral storytellers like my grandfather and my Uncle Mike; others utilize stories in the form of examples and anecdotes while those of us who fail at the aforementioned three write. Each method of storytelling has its merits, but I know that my method of choice will always be the written word.
When I started this site back in 2010 I focused largely on politics and history. Since then I’ve found my voice as an essayist and memoir writer. Occasionally I’ll journey into the op-ed world, but generally only to refute arguments that are as poorly executed as they were ill-conceived. Since starting this blog I’ve had articles published in major publications and was even named one of Quora’s Writers of the Year. None of this could have been accomplished without you, the reader. I don’t normally follow the stats of my blog or any of the SEO stuff that comes along with it. It doesn’t matter to me how many people are reading my writing. I view it as a privilege that anyone reads my writing.
Today, I’m happy to announce that I have reached the two-thousand follower mark with this blog. That’s a big deal to me. We live in an age where writing is everywhere and a lot of it is even good writing, so the fact that two-thousand people want to read what I write means a great deal to me. Many of my readers have commented on my new selection of essays: Stories from the Inside about my time in jail and interacting with the community corrections department. I have spent the last ten years of my life stressing out about that four or five year stretch in my life. This year I decided that I was no longer going to let the label of convicted felon define who I am as a person. By failing to talk about it and trying everything I could do to avoid it I simply gave the label and worse the experience more power over me. It has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life to share this incredibly humbling experience with you.
I’d like to take this opportunity for all the kind wishes and positive comments sent my way by readers of my blog. If only potential employers could be so forgiving, but that is another matter. I’d also like to thank all the people who stuck by me during all of this. When you reach that low point in your life the easiest thing for those around you to do is to distance themselves or avoid you altogether. Now, I’m not going to lie there was some of that. Friends who I thought would stick by me did anything but. However, there were a unique group of people who believed that my worst moment in life could also be the largest catalyst for change and for that I will be forever grateful. Last year I launched a business to turn my writing ideas into a reality. It’s been hard work. Much harder than I ever anticipated. But, thanks to the hard work of my business partner Heidi Heffron-Clark and our Director of Production Desiree Morris we are getting ready to launch our Kickstarter for our very first film: This is Flyball.
This is a very exciting time for me both personally and professionally. I’m preparing to graduate college in December with a double major in English and History and I’ve already begun applying to grad school. My goal is to eventually teach writing at a college level. I’ve had the good fortune of working with some of the most amazing writers as an undergraduate namely Alison Townsend who has been such an inspiration to me both as a student and an author. I’ve had the opportunity to work on exciting research projects in history most importantly for Karl Brown, who always pushed me to do a little better than I thought was possible. I was allowed incredible leeway to develop independent projects including one that brought about the founding of our company Living History Productions.
Writing is my passion in life and it means the world to me that so many people support what I do. Without the encouragement of a large community of followers bloggers have zero possibility of influencing the world or even talking about the little things in life that we all know can make such a big difference. I hope that as I continue to grow this site you will continue to support me and maybe even check out some of my other projects. As I move forward in my life I hope that you do the same as well. One of the most important things to me personally has been my commitment to personal development. Without the belief that I could indeed become a better person and add value to the world I would not be here today. It is because of this commitment that I have been able to grow both as a writer and as a person.
One of the hardest things for me to do is express gratitude and give thanks to those who most deserve it. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my mother and father, without whose help I could have done nothing in this life, and my late grandfather for instilling in me the belief that even our most ordinary moments deserve our closest attention. I also want to thank you, the reader, without who there would be no audience for my work. Your support and interaction has raised the bar of the writing for this site and has opened my eyes to myriad viewpoints that I would otherwise have been closed to. Here’s to five more years of openness, honesty, and storytelling.