Yesterday, a new visitor to the blog High Hopes stopped by and, to my surprise, thought it would be a good idea to read all of the articles on the site.
Apparently blogging is alive and well in 2020, and some people like High Hopes actually enjoy getting to know the author a little better, because he left a comment with four questions for me to answer.
Since I’ve never actually gotten questions like this in a blog comment before, I thought it would be fun to answer them for everyone who was interested. Plus I thought you should know: Leave me some comments! If they’re interesting I might write a whole blog post about the topic. 🙂
Those are four good questions that I haven’t actually written about on this website yet, so let’s take a crack at it and give High Hopes something else to read. Thanks for the comment and good topics to cover!
Where did your love of story telling come from?
When I was 5 or 6 years old I wrote my first “book” called “Mud Men”. It was this wild story that took place in a medieval kingdom with a young Prince who wanted to serve the local villagers with kindness, much to the chagrin of his father the King. One night he got word from one of his guards that there was a fire in the village, and he immediately leapt out of bed and onto his horse to rush to help his people.
As he was riding across the moat, a crack of thunder spooked his horse and he was thrown off into the muddy pit below. That moat, full of the souls of those who had died in ancient attacks against the kingdom, was more than just a trough of mud. It was alive, and the young prince was quickly pulled under. An hour later, a disgusting creature slimed its way up the side of the moat and towards the burning village, lured by the cries of its prey rushing to put out the flames. The first Mud Man was born, and he was hungry.
Each villager that was met with his embrace was quickly turned into a Mud Man as well, and in turn they would go on to convert others to follow their religion of eternal sludge. The King sent out soldiers to fight the Mud Men, but their weapons were no match for the grime that awaited them. In very short order the kingdom was close to being overrun by flames on one side, and mud on the other.
Then, by some luck, a cowardly, frantic villager tossed a small burning log at one of the Mud Men, which promptly dried up and died. The villagers suddenly stopped putting out the fire and instead used it as a weapon against the new enemy that they were otherwise defenseless against, and by the time morning arrived all but one single Mud Man had been turned to dirt. The final enemy slurped away into the forest, never to be seen again.
My teacher actually let me read that story to the rest of my class, and the applause made me excited to write even more. I ended up writing 5 sequels to Mud Men, each jumping forward in time to a new generation of people fighting for their lives with fire in some way. One group of teens in the 1960s even used burning socks as a ranged attack against the Mud Men. Remember: I was only 5 or 6 at the time. Burning socks was the coolest thing I could think of.
My teacher always let me read my new stories to the rest of the class, as long as they weren’t too scary, and I always got a round of applause afterwards. From there I was constantly caught up in my imagination thinking of new worlds to create, and could often be found devouring sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction books meant for high-school and college readers.
One of the most impactful books of my teenage years was Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (affiliate link). The way that she explored the bubonic plague of the 14th century through the lens of time travel and near-future sci-fi tech completely changed how I would approach storytelling in the future. It opened my eyes up to how a world could be incredibly imaginative, unique, and still make sense in the real world with historical context.
From there I just kept writing and imagining and writing some more. After I went to college I didn’t write nearly as much with the intention of finishing a full book or story, but I still had a notebook somewhere that I could jot down ideas for a new world to explore.
Why did you choose the mediums you have? Video, audio, and written that’s quite diverse.
I’ve always been one to challenge myself in creative new ways. When I went to college I got into local theatre performance and studied Vocal Performance Education as my Major. This led to me exploring audio and visual storytelling methods.
I ended up dropping out of college for different reasons, but I shifted to focusing on a career in web development and marketing for businesses. My first real job was at an ad agency, and my second job was an online marketing startup with two colleagues I met at that first ad agency. I completely enveloped myself in learning how to be better at my job, and I could almost always be found listening to podcasts from the experts in the industry.
A few years later I got a job at Mobile Nations writing for the #1 Palm Pre community and news website in the world (eventually became https://webosnation.com/). My boss, Dieter Bohn, was a huge inspiration to me. He not only was a great writer of the news and editorial pieces, but has also knew how to create engaging videos, host an entertaining podcast, and lead a community with hundreds of thousands of members.
When he left to become a founding member of The Verge, doors opened for me to take on some small responsibilities he had previously been doing himself. I learned a bit about being a tech journalist, a bit about video editing, and a little more about how to talk about boring subjects in an entertaining way.
Today I try to incorporate everything I’ve learned to create what I can. I build my own websites, edit my own videos (and videos for the company I now work for), mix my audio, write articles, and produce a podcast. I didn’t really choose to learn all of these skills, but I feel it’s a strong benefit that I have the ability to put them together to develop myself online today, and I want to keep practicing them so I don’t lose my touch.
What do you wish the average cupa joe knew about coffee?
Ah coffee. Delicious coffee. My friend.
If there was one thing I wish that more people knew about coffee, it would be that there are many, many flavors of coffee (without syrups or sugar!). The type of coffee that a lot of people like to hate on for being bitter, sour, watery, or otherwise totally gross is bad coffee, roasted for way too long, and brewed with machines that don’t pull out the right notes.
My favorite coffee is an Ethiopian Ardi Natural Sidamo, lightly roasted, and brewed with a pour over method. It’s smooth, fruity, not bitter AT ALL, and way too easy to chug down quickly. Any time I have the chance to make a Natural Ethiopian for someone who otherwise hates coffee, I love when they taste peanut butter and strawberries and ask if I added any flavored syrup to it.
Nope. It’s just good coffee.
Also, the Papua New Guinea I have right now is pretty baller. Not really fruity, but incredibly smooth and chocolatey, if you want to try some beans I enjoy.
How do you manage your time? Between all of the things you do online, your IRL job, and friends/family?
I don’t. 😬
My sleep schedule is terrible. I often forget to reply back to friends or family who message me. I’m bad at sticking to a schedule with my personal content.
When it comes to meeting deadlines I’m usually pretty decent, as long as the deadlines affect other people. But when it’s just me that has to feel the results of having a bad schedule, I tend to have poor time management.
Luckily I have an awesome partner in Leah who reminds me to eat well, sleep well, and call the people I love. I wouldn’t manage nearly as well without her by my side.
Any other questions?
Maybe I’ll answer them in a future blog post! I can’t say I’ll do these types of posts too often, but this was fun so I wouldn’t count it out if you’ve got something interesting for me to write about. 😉
Thanks for the great comment, High Hopes!