The Writing

Writing and what it means to me is quite a large topic. What do I want it to be?

I'd love to wake up every morning, take the dog for a walk, brew up some coffee and sit down in front of my laptop in a quiet area with plenty of natural light and bang away on the keyboard for a few hours doing nothing but writing new words for the next novel. That's the ideal.

The reality is you write when you can. When is subjective to the individual - there are no hard and fast rules. The only real one I can think of is write when you feel comfortable. Don't force it - feel it. This is counter to what everyone will tell you. The prevailing wisdom seems to be you write for X amount of time every day between the hours of Y and Z and NEVER DEVIATE! For some people that works, for me, it does not. I write when I feel good about what I'm doing, often letting ideas meld in the back of my brain for weeks or months before putting them down. For me, that leads to a better product. If I write just to write because it's time to write and I'm not feeling it it's inevitably going to be crap that demands tons of rework; why put myself through that?

The end result is I sometimes feel like I'm not doing anything on working towards my goal...but it's happening. In my mind. Somewhere. Right?


When I was very young I enjoyed writing in school, but I didn't do it for fun. As I grew up I found many other distractions as kids do - baseball cards, sports, friends. That changed my senior year in high school. Mrs. Wilson, our advanced English teacher, gave the class the assignment to write a stream of consciousness piece where we would write for x amount of time (probably an hour, can't recall). I had never heard of this before.

So I sat there. The entire class. Staring at a blank page. It was embarrassing, actually, because I considered myself a good writer and a good student and here I was, the only one in the class who couldn't make myself begin. At the end of class everyone turned their papers in for review. I slouched up last.

She was surprised to see nothing on my page, so we talked about it. She explained to me the reasons behind such an exercise and how it's a free pass to write anything, to step outside the normal bonds of writing structure and embrace the meanderings of the brain to be creative on the fly, building worlds and characters in an instant.

Mrs. Wilson gave me another chance. Instead of giving me a zero - which would have been justified and I couldn't complain about - she told me to go home and set a timer that night for 30 minutes with no distractions and just write.

English was my last class of the day, so after that post-class chat I had to hurry to my locker and then out to the bus for my 50-minute ride home over rural roads. Bus rides were loud and full of bumps, sharp corners and the sudden stops and starts we all remember from our school days, but I slumped down in my seat and was suddenly inspired. I pulled out my spiral notebook and started to write, my pencil not leaving the page until my stop arrived.

At the end of that time I had a story about a man who is sad because the love of his life is no longer around. He didn't say why or how or what, though there was a lot of things one could infer. It was rough, but it had feeling and even though it was written stream of consciousness it read easy. I turned it in the next day and Mrs. Wilson was very pleased. That story, the one I almost didn't write, was chosen for the schools annual literary magazine, immortalized forever (somewhere) and the writing bug hooked me again. If I can find that story maybe I'll type it up and post it on the blog.

College life, for me, wasn't conducive to writing. I did write a couple things, but they are probably long gone (or maybe I still have them on a disk somewhere, but what would I use to read THAT?). Between my junior and senior year I spent the summer in Italy and kept a journal, where I wrote about the things I saw on my travels. I wrote every day for two months, the only time I've ever done that. Some of the entries are eloquent, some are short and stilted, but it again got me writing. When I returned to the States I enrolled in a Creative Writing class my senior year and loved every second of it. Two stories I wrote for that class (in bear with me) I've posted links to below. After that class I wanted to be a writer...but it was the end of winter term my senior year in college, far too late to derail the major train. So I finished, graduating on time with degrees in Japanese and International Studies. Both degrees I never use.

After college I wrote on a site called Themestream for awhile, which actually paid for page views (10 cents each at first!). Then the dot com bubble burst and that money disappeared. I wrote about sports mostly, about the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers, so then I found a new local site that wanted a sports writer. No pay, but it was fun.

Then one day I noticed one of the NBA sites I read daily was hiring. Not having any clue what the work would entail, I applied. That started me down the path of nine years as a member of NBA media, doing everything from online sourcing to covering games to player interviews to editorial work to chatting with readers to hiring and developing new writers to working on a magazine and seeing my name published in USA Today. The company I worked for grew from a tiny niche to one of the largest independent NBA voices on the net and I'm proud to have been a part of it. But I burnt out. Nine years of what essentially was a second full-time job takes it's toll, as does the normal growth of a person and the way wants and desires change with age. I worked with a great group of writers and editors and enjoyed some truly unqiue experiences. (How many people have gotten a forearm from Ron Artest? Or asked Dwyane Wade for an interview in the HEAT locker room and saw him look around the room at the veterans and ask why I wanted to talk to him?)

Now I have two writing goals: writing my own stories, and doing some writing about Portland on this blog. My own stories are fiction, either novel or short stories, pieces and snippets I may share here on the blog along with stories or issues I face as I create said stories. The rest of the writing will involve some of the tabs at the top of this page, be it outdoors on hikes, checking out the local food and brews, or just about anything else that makes Portland unique and worth discussing. The current format of the blog is not exactly what I want, but until I'm at the point where it makes sense to put some actual money into the layout and structure it's good enough. I hope you can find what's most helpful to you.


I started my first novel late fall of 2011. It was a story that had been swirling in my brain for awhile and time was suddenly available for writing at just the right moment. I took a couple classes on structure and preparation and dove in. People ask me what kind of book it is and I never know what to say. Sometimes I say thriller, sometimes I call it noir; it is dark, it is violent (sometimes graphically so), there is a love story, and none of my characters are truly innocents. The pacing is fast and my hope is that's the way it gets read.

As the page total and word count increased I continued to be surprised - I was really doing it! I finished the first draft in February of 2012, ran through a copy edit round for the second draft, then made some fairly significant changes for the third draft (changing focus on some of the characters, tightening up the storyline) before another copy editing round. It's currently being read by a real person (scary!) before I decide what to do next.

I have a few other ideas bouncing around.

As for the blog, it's in the midst of a bit of a restructuring, mostly so it's easier to find things. Suggestions welcome.

Oh, I suppose I do have one other creative writing project: Misaki's tumblr blog. It's fun to try and get inside the head of a dominant Shiba and I base the wording and thought process off my interpretation of her actions and body language (including huffing, which all Shiba owners are quite familiar with). I'm particular proud of the posts about her murderous tendencies, like this one about her declaring war on squirrels.


The two stories I wrote in Creative Writing 201 at the University of Oregon my senior year. Today I may write them differently, but I didn't want to change anything.

Feel free to leave comments on those pages. Or this one. I'm not picky.


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