Hey… Where ya been?


Posted on May 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

And just like that… 6 weeks has passed since my last post…

To those of you who follow my blog, I apologize, but life has a tendency to speed up as we grow up. Once you hit 40, it only gets faster.

To begin with, yesterday was the first day of my 12 day vacation. In short, I need it desperately. I’m not burnt out, but I’m certainly worn down, and as a result, my writing has suffered. Scratch that, it has disappeared. Having said that, don’t feel bad for me, things are good right now. Really good. I’m starting to edge my way out of the financial hole that I found myself in, and I’ve been cramming as much “living” into my free time as I possibly can. Writing just hasn’t been a part of it.

First of all, inspired by all the music that I’ve been hearing from my friends over the past year, I’ve started working with a vocal coach. Years ago, when it became evident that I didn’t possess the necessary talent to do what I wanted musically, I turned my back on it. Much like the 2nd baseman who after getting cut from his AA team and never watches the game again, I decided that music had no role in my life, and I moved on. In some ways, it may have given my the impetus to be a better writer, but deep down, the itch was still there. So I took a leap of faith and made an appointment with one of the top vocal coaches in the city. Much to my surprise, he didn’t throw me out of his studio 10 minutes into the warm up. He’s been helpful in getting me past some of my fears, and he’s helped me improve greatly. I might still suck, but I suck a lot less.

If anyone has ever had a desire, I recommend it highly. If only to do it once and say that you tried.

http://www.newyorkvocalcoaching.com/

I’ve started getting together with two old friends and we’ve been playing some old classics, and to tell you the truth, it sounds pretty good. I’m not ready to unveil it yet; it’s not ready for human consumption, but at some point this summer, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you will get the chance to hear me sing. It may be a one-time only adventure, so keep your calendar open. I’ll let you know when.

Secondly, I entered my book, Split Rock Road, into a contest for independently published books, sponsored by http://indiereader.com/.

Low and behold, I found out last week that I made it to the finals. Wow, I wasn’t really expecting it, and I’m not sure if I’m even worthy of it, but boy does it feel nice to have strangers pat you on the back. They don’t announce the winners until next week, and I really have no expectations, but making the finals did get me to go and enter the Writer’s Digest contest, which is a little bit more competitive. I’ll keep you posted on that as well.

Thirdly, Valarie started a new job yesterday. I won’t get into the details other than to say, it’s going to be an adjustment. Whether by choice or by accident, I have been lucky in my life to not be forced to work a normal 9 to 5 job in a long time. I’ve always been able to enjoy more free time than most folks and I think it’s been a blessing in my life. Of course I didn’t get to advance in my career as a result, but those are some of the sacrifices that you have to make. I’ve always been amazed to hear guys tell me, “I barely get to see my family”, which always made me think… “what’s the point in having a family, if you don’t get to see them?”
Anyway, she got home at 9:30, we ate dinner, watched the 3rd period of the Ranger game, and were passed out on the couch by 11.

Life is about change, and the people who adjust quickly are the most successful. Of this I am sure.

Fourthly, (is fourthly a word?). This weekend is the annual Memorial Day Camping Trip. Since my first trip when I was 15, I have been going camping with the same four or five guys for over 30 years. When we were younger, we would go on both Memorial Day and Labor Day, but as we got older, the Labor Day weekend sort of bit the dust. I can’t wait to go. I still love sleeping in a tent, despite the fact that my back might not agree. And I love waking up before sunrise and creeping around the woods while everyone else is snuggled in their sleeping bags. We started out in the Pocono’s back in 1981, and over the years we’ve migrated from there to Harriman to Catskill Park, before finally settling in at my property up in Milford NY, near Oneonta. This is where the cover of the book was shot and is the basis for at least two of the stories. I find it to be the best cure for stress. Nothing helps me unwind like being away from all the trappings of civilization for a while, although I’m sure that someone will be clamoring to head into town to watch the Ranger game on Sunday.

Having said that, I did buy a new phone so that I can be sure to post updates on Facebook from the middle of the forest.  I’ll keep you posted.

Lastly, if you like reading blogs, there is one that you have to check out.
Carey Harrison was my writing professor at Brooklyn College. He is the son of Rex Harrison and he’s a great playwright and novelist as well. Last week, he and his friend embarked on a cross-country motorcyle trip and he’s documenting his adventures in his blog. By the way Carey is 70. Ride on Professor.

http://careyharrison.net/the-latest/

Well, I’m off… It was nice to see you all. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week to report on a coyote encounter, or a book award, or Rock and Roll debauchery. Maybe all three…

Until then,

 





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