On Writing, Blogging, and Fatherhood

Thor Born.jpgNovember 23rd of 2015 is the day my life shifted into a new (and frightening) gear.  My son Thor Alexander Truax was born.  I knew this new addition would change my life, but I wasn’t entirely sure just what this meant.

Before Thor came I was a police officer, before that a Homeland Security scholar, and before that eight years of military service.  My entire adult life, up to this moment, was spent making myself better, smarter, stronger.  My identity and self-worth orbited around my work.  I remember driving my police cruiser to work on my last day and turning in my gun, badge, and gear.  At the time, turning my back on this job and explaining I was going to be a stay-at-home dad, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (despite how much I hated that job).  I felt useless.

Even in the hospital when I saw Thor for the first time I didn’t have that “ah-ha” moment.  It’s horrible to write, but it’s the truth.  I wanted that moment so badly, but all I could think of was all the things that needed to happen.  Double check the car seat, make sure documents are in order, check out of the hospital, help Heather walk to the vehicle.

me and thorIt was a few weeks before the moment came.  Thor was crying, I was trying everything I could to calm him down, and nothing was working.  I put him down on the bed in his tiny swaddle and just stepped back.  I was absolutely defeated.  He just continued bawling.  Then for a few seconds he stopped.  He blinked his little mole eyes and squinted toward me.  Then it happened.  The moment.

He needed me.  He needed me more than any job, or title, or position could ever need me.  He needed me to be there, to protect him, to guide him.  If my life was a book, this moment was my paradigm shift.  I picked him back up, and of course, he continued crying.  It was okay, because the more I think about it, if he would have stopped in that moment, I probably would have started.

The weeks following this epiphany really made me examine my life.  Was I living a life based on the prestige of my current job, or based on the joy  I derived from it?  It was the former.  This needed to change.

This brings me to writing and blogging.   For me, they are one in the same.  I blog about writing, because I enjoy learning and sharing what I find out.  It solidifies the information in my brain housing unit when I write about it in my own words.  Writing has always been a passion, but it was a passion repressed.

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Just a single piece of my history.

As a child I wrote essays that won academic awards, and in the military one of my duties was as a journalist.  Despite my skill and ability, it wasn’t something I was particularly proud of.  If someone asked me what I did in the military I would give them the cool version (the version I felt gave me the most prestige).  I was a Combat Cameraman.  I deployed to Iraq with Army Special forces.  I did important work.  Respect me.

It was the lie I used to bolster my precious ego.  To maintain the illusion I was creating of the professional bad ass.  It was the murder and betrayal of the little boy who grew up as an only child in the deep country.  A boy who read Calvin and Hobbes underneath the blankets with a flashlight when he was supposed to be sleeping.  The boy who imagined himself throwing the One Ring into the mouth of Mount Doom.  The boy who would would trace comic books and rewrite the dialogue bubbles.

If I could have been honest a long time ago, then I would have written multiple books by now.  I love the craft, the work, the feeling of looking at something and saying, “I made this.”  There is a tangible product afterwards.  A feeling of completion.

It took the birth of my son to realize how important this sentiment is.  The ability to do what you love and revel in the fruits of your labor is admirable.  The strength to honestly assess what it is you are passionate about and pursue it is even more noble.  In this way, Thor saved me.  Even as a helpless little bundle who needs me to do everything for him – he saved me.  With tiny baby fingers he hacked away the illusion and left me bare.

carpe diem

So today my writing advice isn’t about writing at all, it’s about life.  Don’t wait until you are almost 30 to pursue what matters.  Don’t let a job define who you are.  Do what you love.  Do what makes you happy.  Shed the titles.  Enjoy the process.

That’s it for today.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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34 responses

  1. Had to log in to reply to this post… and I’m super busy with last steps for Seven Hours…

    I already love Thor. He sounds like an awesome kid who made his dad see that he has a lot to offer to the world.

    Don’t count yourself short also. Going to Iraq to be a combat cameraman probably had its bad and the good, but it was an important job and you survived!

    Also, what pushed me back into serious writing was a similar event… not a birth of a child, but of having surgery… which if I didn’t have… I would probably not be alive today. The surgery made me see that wasting time on television, work, and school did not make me feel complete so I started needlework, got back into dancing, and of course writing.

    Sadly, big events are our wake-up calls that fulfill our characters and our love of writing. We need those big events and Thor was yours. I bet in the future he will be telling everyone – if it weren’t for me, Daddy would be depressed as bears awake in the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It took me six years, working for a company to realize the only thing I wish to do is write. I enjoyed reading your post because there are similarities between us (I quit my job too) and I like the personal touch you have in this post. Thru my experience of working for the company and quitting I realized it’s never too late for your dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “So today my writing advice isn’t about writing at all, it’s about life. Don’t wait until you are almost 30 to pursue what matters. Don’t let a job define who you are. Do what you love. Do what makes you happy. Shed the titles. Enjoy the process.”

    Excellent! And thanks a lot for the encouragement. It took time for me to delve on something that I’m passionate about, writing! I do feel you re new challenges when a baby comes into the picture. When my grand daughter was born, it effected an impact on, a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Where was this advice lo those years ago? Meh, at 34 I finally understand what I didn’t then AND it took the live experiences along the way to make what I write now worth reading. So yeah, don’t discount the journey that made you either…. We are all the sum of our past, of the events that served as the building blocks of who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Life happens. We are the sum of our experiences, what we did, what we saw, what we read, what we dreamed, what we imagined. Without all that, what would we write about? With my life in flux I can’t help think of past decisions … would I be here, doing what I’m doing if I had made choice B rather than choice A 15 years ago? Because I don’t have a TARDIS I’ll never know! So I just strap on my (figurative) boots and go once more into the (writing) trenches and take solace in the knowledge that I’m where I need to be right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “A boy who read Calvin and Hobbes underneath the blankets with a flashlight when he was supposed to be sleeping. The boy who imagined himself throwing the One Ring into the mouth of Mount Doom. The boy who would would trace comic books and rewrite the dialogue bubbles.”

    That part hit me hard. We had such dreams and imaginations when we were kids. They were honest and spoke to who we were at our core, before extrinsic motivation and new obligations and other life-related things set in. It’s great that your son helped you reconnect with who you truly are. I think something magical happens when our inner values are aligned with our day-to-day actions. I recently gave up business opportunities so that I could devote myself to writing/drawing full-time. I already feel happier. Keep going, and we’ll get there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, there’s magic in those connections. Your decision to pursue your passions must have been difficult, I’m glad you are finding joy in it. Seeing your artwork and reading some of your posts, I can see the talent you have. Let’s keep putting in the effort and see what happens!

      I hunted you down on Twitter so I can keep my peepers open for new SORROWBACON entries. Those are going to be decorating my office walls (they can join Calvin and Hobbes).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is simply an amazing story you’ve shared with us. It’s touching. In so many ways, I’m envious of you, my friend. I’m inspired by you. I already know what an amazing father you are, and I can promise people will see what an amazing writer you are once Wastelader comes out. It’s not how long it takes a person to find his calling; it’s what he does when he hears it. You, my friend, have answered., and I’m so very glad to have seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of this means a lot coming from you Matt. You’re a big reason I have answered the call and am doing what I’m doing.

      After seeing you get published, reading my name in the acknowledgements, alpha reading, beta reading, and copy editing with you, I realized, “Hey, maybe I have a story to tell too. I can do this.”

      You blazed the trail and lit it up for me. For that, I will always be thankful.

      We’ve come a long way since we dreamed those big dreams on the mountain in California, but one thing is certain, Brown Pipers stick together.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are some things you just can’t escape in life, the need to write seems to be one of them.
    Must be in our blood.

    Meno

    PS. Having someone need you, and being able to follow through and take care of them, that really is the best feeling in the world…

    Like

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