On Minimizing and Making a Move

To those of you still following—Many Thanks!  Bless you!

Announcement One: 

Life is changing for me again, i.e., yes, another big move. Hopefully, by this fall my family and I will be living in the Goshen-Elkhart-South Bend area of northern Indiana, just off the Michigan border, in the center of the state, about three hours north of Indianapolis and two hours east of Chicago.

The move is purely a personal one, as I have greatly enjoyed my work this past year with the United States Department of the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  It does appear, though, that over the long haul our family will be settling into the northern Indiana area, so in spite of the Lake Michigan snow, Hoosiers we will once again be.

Yet fear not (as if you were):  the good fight remains to be fought, and thus I have accepted a position again with the United States Veterans Health Administration, this time as a staff psychiatrist at the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in South Bend, just down the street from the ever-Irish University of Notre Dame.

This upcoming move has led me to realize, though (finally). that I might best be served by focusing on just one project at a time and go from there.

So, Announcement Two:

I’m going to write my book “on the blog,” i.e., Beam Me Home, Scotty:  How Star Trek Can Help Us Make Sense of the Brain, PTSD, & Combat Trauma.

I’ve been doing a whole lot of thinking and (even) private writing on such a book over the past many months, while I’ve tried to use the blog and podcast for other purposes, i.e., getting out information about resources around the English-speaking world for struggling combat vets. The latter has been noble goal of which I’m proud, yes, but I’m afraid I have to face facts: I lack the requisite proper combo of youthful energy and sufficient time to fight a good fight on two fronts.

So here we go.

I’ve been struggling with the book for the past eighteen months, for reasons that I’ll outline in future posts, because the struggles do go to the issue of “what it is to write a book,” at least for me.  During the struggles, the great Amazon “I’m tracking your clicks” Big Brother offered up an interesting suggestion one evening as I was sipping a venti soy latte at my then-local Starbucks:  Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid.

Coyne is an experienced book editor who has written, in my opinion, the best book, bar none, on how to write, in his words, a “story that works.” He’s opinionated, but warm-heartedly so, and speaking myself as a very inexperienced writer, yet an experienced shrink and reader, he’s, IMHO, as right-on as you can get. He’ll play a prominent role as I write my book before your eyes over the coming months.

So then…

Last fall, Shawn teamed up with another writer, Tim Grahl, to start a podcast based on the book, entitled The Story Grid Podcast.  I had known of Grahl from a previous book that he had written, Your First 1000 Copies, a compact, well-written, and well-advised primer on book marketing.   It turns out that Tim is also an ever-hopeful novelist, and he convinced Shawn to join him as he very publicly exposes his soul to write his first novel.

What has ensued is a great venue for would-be writers, with an atmosphere reminiscent of Click & Clack on NPR’s Car Talk, except here one “brother” is constantly reviewing the “engine” of the other.  Again, good-heartedly, I might add.

But as Tim has found out, a good heart can be a pointed one as well.

Well, for good or for ill, I don’t have a good-hearted taskmaster over me, but thankfully I do have a good-hearted band of faithful few who occasionally check in on the blog, so I’m sure that here and there I will have good suggestions to consider and to use.

I had thought of trying to write the book for commercial distribution, but I’m simply too much of a small fry  to get the attention of CBS for permission to use the ideas in a commercial venture. What’s more: I’ve used the ideas quite a bit with many of the combat vets I’ve been serving, and I’d like to have a place to send them for more detailed investigation—should they be so inclined to do so, of course! So the blog’s going to be the place.

And, thus, we’re off.  I’ll be using Coyne’s approach, and thus will start out with my thinking about the overview of the book, and then will present my current ideas about its set-up—and then we’ll work on the first draft.  (And I do mean we, truly.  Any thoughts from anyone in cyberspace will be more than welcomed.  Not necessarily implemented, mind you, but always welcomed!)


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