Saturday, September 30, 2017

Change, and change, and change again

Well, it's been too long.

That's about all there is to say about it: it's been far too long since I've updated here. To recap the past year or so: I lost my job at the end of July 2016, which gave me a five-month "break" from my daily routine, namely "find a new routine, where that routine is job-hunting." I have to admit, it was pretty bleak, and I was feeling very down on myself. We're all creatures of comfortable habits, and I certainly had grown comfortable to the point of complacency. But a new position in the new year set things aright for me -- a new environment, a new team, new skills -- everything I'd lacked, and for so long that I didn't even realize they were missing.

Unfortunately, that employer made some restructuring decisions within my new team, and not wanting to be caught off-guard twice in under a year, I built on the experience of the five-month misery and chose my own path this time. I left the new job, and started a new-new job. For someone that agonizes for  months over how to use gift certificates, finding, applying, and accepting a new position like this is positively breakneck. Don't tell anyone, but after literally decades of resistance, I might be learning to accept change and even uncertainty into my day, even when it means tamping down my natural introversion and general unease around humans. Amazing times indeed!

A post shared by Michael P. Clemens (@mpclemens) on

One constant in all this flux, though, is the advancing of the year and the inevitability of November and NaNoWriMo. But this year, I'm even looking to shake up that routine a little bit. This year, I'm looking to break out of my self-imposed writing bubble. I'm banging the Nano drum at work, for example, saying "join me" instead of "please ignore the odd typing sounds." And I'm looking to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously this year, the fundraising write-a-thon held around the middle of the month by the NaNo organization. Logisitics and my own stick-in-the-mud-ness have always been my excuse, but I've outgrown the excuses. Actions are serving me better.

The other half of the attendance equation, of course, is the /raising funds/ portion, and I've even worked on my natural Midwestern resistance to asking for help to… ask for help. Or specifically, to ask for donations to NaNoWriMo, in the form of sponsoring me + rhino to attend. Here's my page for the event:

I have a lot of respect for the team behind NaNoWriMo, shaping what started as a kind of collective distributed flashmob and transforming it into a respected non-profit devoted to fostering writing and creativity, and teaching that Big Crazy Dreams aren't that unattainable after all. I truly do credit my years of participation for giving me the courage to change how I look at huge projects and to give me a mental mindset for chipping away at big problems. And I have made it a point to donate every year after that first wild ride. Is it coincidence that my donation years perfectly align with my Typewriter Brigade years? Of course not! Typing makes us kinder, more thoughtful, and (hopefully) more giving people. And that's a kind of change I have no trouble adapting to.


Bill M said...

Been there with the no job. I have a new one now and it got me out of Florida (finally)!
I do a LOT more programming now, all new to me, than when I did machine controls. The challenges are great though. Glad you found a job, and even a new one. Best of success on NaNo.

Edwin Feliu said...

I was laid off twice from newspapers in one year after nearly 20 years unscathed. It took me another two years to find a job. But it was for the best: my parents died in that time, and I was able to spend time with them. Once I returned from Puerto Rico, I got a job. My lesson was to trust in the Lord: I had forgotten that, or at the very least lost faith. On to Nano: I've given it much thought and would like to join. I already started a novel. But I don't want group input as much as someone to join me in the journey. What do you guys suggest?

Richard P said...

Just donated to this worthy cause.

Edwin, I think you'd find solidarity in The Typewriter Brigade. You don't have to share any information about what you're writing unless you want to. It's one of the groups on