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Fade In:

There I am, engulfed in 'The Night Before Christmas' our dad always read to us every Christmas Eve before bedtime. It was my favorite part of the day, to be honest. As you can tell by the look on my face I took that shit seriously. For real. I loved stories as much as I loved playing sports. I got lost in them. Still do, in fact. In this picture I wouldn't be surprised if I'm thinking of my own take on the classic story as my dad read on. The old man read with such enthusiasm and really acted out the characters. These were times I fell in love with the structure of a story. How he brought them to life engaged my siblings and myself and really brought the best of our imaginations out. See, the thing I love about stories, any of them, I love how it affects an individual and how it makes them feel things. As a five or six-year-old kid, I never knew such a thing was possible.

From this I'd create my own works of art through words on whatever paper was lying around. I'd take these stories and read them to my siblings and my parents. I'd create plays, home videos, cheap productions that I imagined to be bigger than they probably were. I felt like I was some sort of wizard, where I could make my family feel how I'd want through my writing. It absolutely fascinated me. Of course, as life goes, this led me to continuing to write and create stories through mediums such as film, print and online journalism, books, etc. but the beginning to what I have always considered magic is something I cherish looking back to this day.

I don't know any better way to introduce my blog than to talk about my love of storytelling. My path to this world is complicated. Sometimes tragic. But I guess before I get into the heavy shit, it's always calming to look back and see where I got my start. My family and where I come from played a big part in how I write. The older I got and the more experiences I had, helped mold me. Blah, blah, blah. Boring, right? Like I'm some sort of unique writer who hasn't had the same path my other peers have had.

What makes me different?

Looks like you'll have to keep reading these posts to find out.

...Let's look to that picture again. That particular Christmas was my family's first Christmas in our new home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That was a cold-ass Christmas, I remember. My parents couldn't afford many gifts for us, so my aunts and uncles chipped in what they could, and most of the shit was used. My parents made sure we had a good holiday, though, and spent what they didn't have to make sure our gifts were plenty. The mass was at least a few feet from the tree. We never knew the struggle they went through. They kept their feelings close to their chest. See, the house they bought was half house, half trailer. A real piece of shit. There was a lot of work to be done and the plumbing was less than ideal. As you can guess, the winters in the U.P. were no joke. That Christmas our pipes froze. We boiled snow for water and I can't tell you how many times my parents' vehicles broke down, or how many jobs my mom was holding down at that time to help provide. Somehow, someway, they made it work.

There were times I'd catch my mom crying to my dad, even though they hadn't a clue I was eavesdropping. It was a struggle for her to live there and keep my dad's dream alive. Moving to the U.P. to that house was his idea. His dream was always to own land and live in a very rural setting. His dreams of hunting, fishing, living off the land seduced him. Our house sat on an old farm. On the property were two barns, a shed, a pig pen, an outhouse, and some other structure that we used as our own playhouse. But but it looked like at one time it was a crudely built guest house of some sort. I don't know. We had pigs and a few horses for the first year we lived there. They weren't ours. They were the previous owners. My dad made a deal with them to take care of their animals for a time if they reduced the sale of the property; which they did. I'll get into all of that later. But, you see, that particular Christmas any struggle my parents were going through they set aside to give us a special holiday. It was important for them that we had good memories, and by God they worked hard to make that happen. As we sat there in front of a gaudily-decorated Christmas tree listening to our dad tell us the same story we heard every year, while Bing Crosby warmed up the atmosphere, we were lost in a world of pure satisfaction. Togetherness. It was magic and any financial struggles my parents had were put aside for two days... Little did we know our mother was pregnant with my youngest brother at the time.

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