Four years ago, I wrote a story about a road trip my friend Bill and I made to Wisconsin for our friend’s wedding (posted on the left-hand column of this site). I never intended it to be a major project, just a way to capture some of the adventures we encountered along the way. 9 months and nearly 300 pages later, I had finished what had become, “Out of the Vein,” a blog/book partly inspired by the Third Eye Blind album of the same name (we were listening to a lot of them during that trip).
By reading it, you’d think that I had as much fun writing it as I did on the actual road trip itself. Though I did (and still do) enjoy writing and telling stories, that wasn’t exactly the case. Not by a long shot. Anybody who’s ever dabbled in any form of writing knows that it can be extremely difficult, stressful, and terrifying, especially when it comes time to share it with others.
In fact, it was quite a struggle at times, devoting countless hours and long weekends to writing, all the while beating myself up whenever I got writers block or felt like I wasn’t writing fast enough. “What was the point of it all,” I’d ask myself. “How many people have written about going on a road trip, and why was mine any more special than theirs’?” After all, I wouldn’t say there was exactly anything profound about my words. Essentially, it was just a collection of silly stories about two friends getting into antics across the United States.
But there was something inside that kept pushing me, to go forth and finish out what I started, even if people, including myself, didn’t quite understand. It’s like there’s some spiritual essence within all of us driving our passions, to do that one thing we’re great at; that one thing we were meant to do. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s something that comes from the big man upstairs, aka, the great bambino, the Holy Ghost, the one and only G-O-D.
And so, I did just that. I wrote, and I didn’t stop.
That New Year’s Eve following the trip, I received some somber news. One of my good friends from Minnesota tragically passed away. I remember that night vividly–me, standing outside my parent’s deck, cold and devastated with an old fashioned in hand, thinking about one of the last times we had hung out with her. It was during our road trip, a moment that was taken for granted, yet one that was lived to the fullest, and one that I had fully captured in writing.
In that moment of despair, if only for a brief moment, I realized how powerful friendship can be. For the first time, I realized how those small and insignificant moments you spend with your friends can become the most memorable ones of your life, and how important it is to captures those memories. I realized that maybe there’s a bigger reason to it all, something that I may not ever fully understand, but could appreciate. That maybe, my call to writing was a part of that.
One year later, Bill, now living in Texas, convinced me to meet him in Idaho for an impromptu trip to “surprise” all our Boise friends. In a way, you could say that we’d find out what happens when the “Z” is in “Boise!”
Turns out, there wasn’t much of a surprise (thanks to Bill ruining the “plan”) and it ended up being your typical weekend in South-central Idaho. Nothing special, just a few episodes of foolhardy fun, including winning a highly competitive cornhole tournament, watching a full-grown man punch out an old lady, listening to another grown man cry over fried pickles (believe me, it was awful), stopping Gretch from beating a kid up at the bar, chasing after a girl (I’m afraid to admit), riding a mechanical bull, floating the Boise River while running into diabolical characters along the way, putting up with Josh Ulrich’s crap, and even a strange obsession with running shoes…
And it’s hard to believe, but we even managed to schedule a face to face meeting with the legendary… Megan Mills…
Every time we turned around, some crazy event was about to unfold, a new conflict had to be resolved, and another beer had to be drunk. But coupled with the eclectic group of personalities, it turned out to be a weekend I’d never forget. So, I decided to write about it.
…And I ended up writing a lot.
I’m not exactly sure how I became so invested with writing. I’m sure it’s a combination of things, but a lot of it probably stems from the fact that I have so much going on in the old noggin, and writing is one of the ways to get it out and express myself. So much so, that it took me a few years to juggle it with other life events that include moving to DC, getting married, starting a new job, and keeping up with the blog every once and a while.
But low and behold, after three years, my second blog-book “How to Clean your Conscience,” is officially complete. I guess you could say it’s a sequel to “Out of the Vein,” and it’s a true story too! Well, mostly true… roughly 80–we’ll say 85%… I’ll say this. The meat and potatoes are all there, and of course I had to fill in some of the details… I mean, I don’t remember every detail from every conversation, and there’s this thing called artistic liberty…
Ok, 87.5%. Final answer.
Bottom line, you can argue over the facts all day long, but what I can say with absolute sincerity is that I’m definitely I’m excited to share it with the world.
It’s funny looking back; one of my last summers as a bachelor, just having turned thirty, and still working on that whole “growing up” routine. There are definitely times I cringe thinking about the things we did (the mechanical bull and girl chasing scenario among them). At the same time, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was a special weekend, a time where we weren’t thinking about trying to force a memory, but simply living in the moment and enjoying the company around us, even if we acted miserable.
So, over the next several weeks, I’ll be releasing it on the blog one chapter at a time. My hope is that you read it, have a few laughs, and remember to go out with those that are closest to you and make a memory or two this summer.
Stay tuned for more, and happy reading!