My Words at 30.

My Words at 30.

 

God I still love this song. Such a classic.

I first listened to this song when I was somewhere around the age of 18. Twelve years later it’s still great.

I thought I’d be scared or freaked out by thirty.

But I’m pretty happy about it. I’ve got a lot of reasons to love where I’m at in my life. Looking back at all the things that I’ve done (get it?) brings me more joy than anything else.

There are many various ways to measure how my life has gone, but…

I have so much love in my life. And I have given so much love and happiness to others over the course of my thirty years. Of all the things that I’ve done, that’s really all that matters.

As a thirty year old man, I feel in many ways like a better, stronger, wiser version of my younger self. I’ve grown up in the ways that are valuable, and I’ve stayed young in the ways that matter.

I can’t ask for much more than that.


I think one of the strongest truths that I know now at my age is this:

Words mean everything. 

The words you tell yourself in your head will define you. Positive or negative you will make them real.

The words you say to others about yourself–sooner or later you will accept them as truth even if you didn’t in the beginning.

The things you say to other people and the things they say to you is the fabric all of humanity is built on. Say good things, meaningful things, useful things, funny things–be careful with the hammer that is your anger and frustration. Saying harsh or critical things is necessary in life. But do not make it something that gives you power or satisfaction.

Many people live in fear of saying positive, kind or flattering things to others. They only do so sparingly as if it somehow is a risk that makes us lesser, weaker or vulnerable. It does not. Do not believe the lie that kindness is weakness. Kindness is true strength.

Thank you to everyone that has made my 30th birthday something special. I love you guys. And to those that have never met me or do not know me, I love you too. I hope all’s well.

-Evan

 

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A Moment of Reflection.

A Moment of Reflection.
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Dan, my brother, and Myself (right) circa 2008ish

Part of the many things one must undertake when being an indie author is writing about yourself.

It’s always a weird task. By nature, you need to be self-promoting. But I think many writers feel a natural humility, a self-effacing tendency that says there are so many more better than me. But, people don’t want to hear about other people when they’re looking at your book. They want to know about you.

So, this is what I came up with for my Amazon “about the author” page:

Like so many of you, I am a man obsessed with stories.

From the earliest parts of my youth that I can remember, I yearned for imaginary worlds. I created stories and lived them out in my own footsteps, found myself engrossed in fantasy novels, mystery novels, roleplaying games, television shows, perhaps most of all, history.

The world, to me, was a great story, filled with endless billions of stories, alive and dead, real and imagined. I did not seek to know them all; but only to be enthralled with as many as I could possibly come by.

So when I was 18, and I first attempted creative writing, it suddenly made sense to me that everything else I had been pursuing fell woefully short of something deeper in me. Now, all I want is what many writers want; to share their own stories, to evoke feeling and inspiration and motivation in others.

After all, so many who have come before have done the same for me. I look only to continue the tradition. In my own way.

I’ve been a professional poker player for eight years. I’ve backpacked europe, I’ve biked alone across the northeastern US by myself when I was eighteen. I grew up living on a boat half the year every year. I’ve hung out in grimy side streets and in sprawling mansions and empty parking lots. I’ve read a lot of books, played a lot of video games, I’ve grown up and I’ve stayed young and no matter what I learn and whatever I believe life is in this moment, I’m still searching. I think I always will be.

-Evan Pickering

It’s a Long, Long Road

It’s a Long, Long Road

Man, that kills me every time.

Writing, like in life, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself–Not take everything so seriously. As writers, we usually take our writing pretty damn seriously. It means all that and a bag of chips and salsa to us.

But at the end of the day, we do it because we love it. Because it’s fun to create. Because we were the kids that loved to play pretend in the backyard. Because we love storytelling, we love stories, we love new worlds and experiences, and we want to share our own with the world.

Me, I know I’m obsessed with storytelling. Reading books, watching movies, playing video games, writing stories. Maybe too much so 🙂

It’s a long, long road. With writing and with life. You’ve got to be able to enjoy the process. If find myself recently  (both in writing and life)getting so caught up in the goal that I’m not enjoying the process.

HOOD COVER FINAL 1
New Cover!

I’ve been fixated on finally publishing my novel. I keep saying “after this edit, it will be done!” But I’m still learning, I’m still improving. I know the work I’m doing in the editing process is making it a more complete, better story. I have to honor that. I told myself I’d have this thing published by the end of the year.

It was my new years resolution, if I remember correctly.

I hope to be able to do that. But if I can’t, to hell with the resolution. I’d rather tell my story right then hit an arbitrary deadline. After all, I’m working for myself.

It’s fun in a sick way, working on editing a book. There will be a day when I look back on this experience with this book fondly.

So take a deep breath, wherever you are in your life or in your writing, accept there’s a long road to be traveled yet. Enjoy it.

-Evan Pickering

 

Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

Why Every Problem You Have Is Bull***t

I’m coming clean. I’m guilty of something.

It’s something every single one of us does, but I’ve been embroiled in it lately.

Misery.

Something ‘bad’ will happen, and a certain kind of rhetoric entrenches in my mind:

  • I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
  • Everything feels like it’s going backwards.
  • I feel like I’m half the man I was five, ten years ago.
  • I’m making decisions with zero certainty that they’re the right ones.
  • I feel distant from everything and everyone I love as we all get older.

All of this, every single shred of it, is bullshit.

I could sit here and say “I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I’m healthy, living in a (relatively) free country, I’ve had an awesome life, I have people I love who love me back. I could be starving in [insert third world country].”

And yeah, that’s true. But in reality, all suffering is relative. If we lived a life of luxury and riches and ease, the simplest problem would feel life-crushing.


But I digress. The real reason all those aforementioned thoughts I have are bullshit is simple:

They are pure undiluted fear, disguised as the truth.

Some people might only have days to live, or are facing incredible adversity. Even those heavy, truly significant problems, are only events–we decide what they mean. The fear that they can create will only paralyze you. It will keep you from enjoying the moments of your life as they happen. It is bullshit.

We all have problems. We all have doubts, we all live in a world of uncertainty. While I’m carrying this weight around, I’m sleepwalking through precious, beautiful days of my life.

So maybe I have no idea what my future is. Maybe I’m nothing like the me I was when I was younger. Maybe some things in my life are going completely awry. Maybe I’ll never know if the decisions I’m making are the right ones. Maybe what I thought I wanted out of life has changed drastically. So it goes. So it has ever gone, for me and for everyone else.

Just let go. To hell with all the paralyzing fear that makes you want to never get out of bed. Change is inevitable. And not just the change you expect. Change you always secretly feared or never wanted will happen. But change is the nature of being alive.

Every problem can be described as this: You have a plan, an expectation. That expectation is not met or goes sideways. Anger, fear, doubt ensues.

I won’t sit here and tell you to live a life without expectations. But I will say this:

Life will probably go nothing like you thought it would. That’s alright. It is full of incomparably beautiful moments. Enjoy them, and the wildly different experiences that will follow. You cannot stop change. Fear is bullshit. Let it go.

-Evan Pickering