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Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

Last year, my posts on here dropped off dramatically. Between the ending of the Trifecta Writing Challenges in March of 2014 and taking on a larger number of substitute shifts at work, I lost a lot of my motivation and time to write. And it showed. Compare my 51 total posts in 2014 to my 12 total posts in 2015.

So far in 2016, I’ve written more than 2/3 of the number of posts I wrote last year, and I don’t intend to slow down again. Am I any less busy? No. Not by a long shot. But I’m getting better at balancing, and protecting my writing time. I’m seeking out new writing challenges and getting back into some like Chuck’s Terrible Minds Challenges.

It’s going to be a fun year. Thanks for sticking around.

I quit my job.

Well, one of my jobs. As many of you are aware, I’ve spent much of the past two years working for a local bookstore in addition to my job at the local public library. For better or for worse, the bookstore and I have parted ways. The time had come, and so I turned in my two weeks notice for the first time at any job I’ve ever held. My official last day is going to be on January 2nd, but as things currently stand, I may have already completed my last shift, dependent on Friday’s as-yet-undetermined schedule.

I’m not certain what 2015 will bring. A lot happened in 2014, both good and bad. I had to say goodbye to far more people than I would have liked, and there have been great periods of painful silence. Still, a great number of positive things have happened too, and I’m hoping to see much more of those things in the future. My life is going to be changing drastically in 2015, and I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store for me.

Neil Gaiman said it best, and so I’ll leave you with this quote.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” -Neil Gaiman
Happy New Year, everyone!

 

So, September totally got away from me. I had August under control, with bills paid early instead of on time, lots of writing done, and so on and so forth. September? Well, I thought I was ready, but looking back at the last four weeks, it’s pretty clear to me that I was not. So, a little recap to get back up to speed before I start dropping microfiction and poetry on you again.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending my sixth Nan Desu Kan. NDK is held in Denver every September, and was the very first convention I ever attended. My girlfriend and I have gone together every year, and as always, we had a fantastic weekend. There was cosplay (of course), meeting randomly with famous voice actors (hooray for encountering Sonny Strait several times over the course of his first ever trip to NDK), supporting local artists (Sariochan, thank you for coming back every year!), entering the balcony decorating contest for the first time, and great times hanging out with friends.

The rest of September was a great big blur. I finished reading Saladin Ahmed’s The Throne of the Crescent Moon, knocked out a bunch of comics I’d been working on reading (including the first trade edition of Pretty Deadly), and watched a lot of anime. I watched all of Gurren Lagann for the first time, dug through Death Note again, and started on Knights of Sidonia and Deadman Wonderland. I also finally saw the first season of True Detective (lots of mixed feelings on that one).

Now it’s October first. NaNoWriMo is weeks away. I’ve got a Colorado Capitol Couture fashion show to do a little design/modeling for before the end of the month, and lots to continue to read. It’s October. I’m going to read Horns. 

I’ll be back soon.

Today’s my third anniversary with WordPress. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on this blog for the last three years, but here we are. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution of my writing over the course of those three years. I’m feeling more confident in my writing now than ever before, and it’s all thanks to you amazing readers. Those of you who’ve been around since the beginning? Thank you for continuing to believe in me. Those of you who are new? Welcome, and thank you for letting me share a bit of the crazy in my head with you. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dear readers,

I would just like to say thank you. Because of you, I’ve hit 10,000 views on my blog. You guys rock!

Sincerely,

Philip

Dear readers, a few days ago I let you know that there were going to be some big changes ahead. Well, that’s definitely true. I’ve gotten an apartment with a friend of mine, and so I’m going to be out in the real world again, though I’m definitely going through girlfriend withdrawals right now. It’s amazing how quickly you miss someone after spending so much time with them on a daily basis. I get to spend the weekend with her, since my birthday’s coming up, though.

Anyway, I plan to have more writing coming soon, and updates from the new apartment. Sometimes you just have to jump at an opportunity and see what follows. This is one of those times. It should result in a bit of a boost in productivity, so there will be laughing! And mirth! And also ass-grabbing!

The Swords of The Ancients is two years old today! Two years ago, I started this blog to help facilitate the crafting of my first novel. Since then, I’ve written upwards of 30,000 words toward that goal and developed my main characters considerably. I’m nowhere near where I would like to be in terms of progress on this particular project, but I’ve found that through various connections I’ve made since beginning this blog, I’ve found a great deal of inspiration. I thank you all, my wonderful readers. While I’d probably still continue this just for my own sake, it’s nice to know that you’re here.

It’s time for some intense reading. We started the Winter Reading Program at my library a few days ago, and so the challenge is to make it through eight books over the course of eight weeks. I’ve already knocked out a book on the making of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’m reading a bunch of the collected editions of DC’s New 52, but I’m trying to avoid counting those toward my eight, just for the sake of getting caught up on my backlog of books. I am almost two hundred pages through The Casual Vacancy right now, and I’m really enjoying it. A full review will follow as soon as I finish. I’m going to try to get through some classic fantasy pieces now as well, such as The King of Elfland’s Daughter and The Worm Ouroboros, both of which have been recommended by V. I’ve also added The Well at the World’s End to my to-read list, since it served as an inspiration to Tolkien. There’s a few books I’ve been suggesting to patrons at work at the library recently, and so I’m considering tossing some rereading in as well, with Dune at the top of that list. So many books… Goodreads has been very beneficial in keeping track of them. If you’re a reader and you don’t have a goodreads account, I would highly recommend setting one up. It’s free, and it’s a great way to track what you’re reading, what you have read, and what you want to read, plus being able to rate and review books you’ve read.

I’m going to let you go for now, dear readers. I owe you some new stories, after all. I’ve been issued a challenge by Chuck Wendig. 1000 word flash fiction based on photos of some absolutely incredible and surreal real world locations. Feel free to take part. Entries are due by the 25th.

Excelsior!
(Note to self: Create a catchphrase that’s better than Stan “The Man” Lee’s)

Sorry to have kept you all waiting so long for an update. Things have gotten a wee bit busy around here. First of all, my employment status has gone way up, so I’m not having as much time or energy for writing, and most everything as been focused on short stories rather than the blog. Anyway…

Each year, Larkspur, Colorado steps back in time and plays host to the Colorado Renaissance Festival. I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life, but it was only a few years ago that I first got the opportunity to attend. I immediately fell in love with the idea of spending a weekend wandering around what is essentially a small village. There are food vendors, musicians, merchants selling all manner of goods. Leather belts and boots and hats are available, as well as pants, shirts, dresses, and accessories of style and colour beyond counting. It really is another world once you step through those gates.

This year is the 36th Annual Colorado Renaissance Festival, and for the first time, I am a part of it. I was hired about a month ago to work at the front gate. I check bags to make sure people aren’t smuggling in contraband (alcohol and outside food, mostly), take tickets, and just generally welcome people. I’ve made it through two weekends thus far, each comprised of two ten-hour days. It’s hot, and I’m on my feet for most of the day, but I’m having fun. I’m in costume and interacting with people who are there because they like being there. I couldn’t ask for more for a summer job. My bosses at the library have been incredibly cool about it too, even shifting my work schedule around so that I wouldn’t have to find someone to trade days in order to work the Ren Fair. There’s not a lot of time to write during the day, but the experiences I’m getting are amazing.

Speaking of my library job, that’s about to change drastically. For the last year or so, I’ve been working with the circulation department at the Pikes Peak Library District. Next month, that will no longer be the case. As of mid-July, I will be leaving the circulation department, and all the wonderful ladies and gentlemen I work with. I won’t be going too far, though, only around the corner to the reference desk. I was hired to a position as an information services specialist, something that I have been striving for since I first joined PPLD. It’s going to be a nice pay raise, but more importantly, I’ll be taking the next step towards eventually earning a Masters of Library Science and becoming a librarian. I’m thrilled to be making the move, but I’m glad that I’ll be staying at the same branch, so that I won’t have to be too far separated from the people who gave me my first opportunity with the library.