1.30.2017

Shake It Off

It should be no secret by now if we're friends on Facebook that I have recently started listening to Taylor Swift on my daily commutes. I'm not sure if she's part mermaid* or what, but something about her voice keeps me from being annoyed by the other drivers on the road. Most of whom drive for shit.

Friday morning was the exception. I have since tested my TSwizzle-Part-Mermaid*-Commute Theory and determined that Friday morning was an anomaly. I'm not sure what happened, to be honest.

Seriously. I don't know what the fuck happened.

I was on my normal commute from Westerville to Hilliard and just about the time we hit the big water tower near Dublin, I found myself behind someone who thought that that 60MPH was the ideal speed (spoiler alert, it wasn't). So I did something I try not to do.

I got in to the left lane to pass them.

I'm sure I've expounded on my theory that almost all traffic jams can ultimately be traced back to unnecessary lane changes, so I'll spare you the dissertation here.  I found myself behind a maroon Honda.  It was going slightly faster than the car I wanted to pass, so I continued on my course.  Then it slowed. As in letting the foot off the gas slowed. I recognized the move. I employ it sometimes.

I looked up and gave the driver an exaggerated "What the Fuck?" motion. I received some unknown gesture in reply. Then I saw the cop parked in his normal spot. I nodded. Cool. Made sense. I gave the driver a "thumbs up" and waited to get in the clear before we could accelerate.

Only he didn't.

We were now below 60MPH in the fast lane. The 8 cars behind me who were up my ass were getting pissed.

I was getting pissed.

I could feel the blood pressure rising. I could feel the adrenaline kick in.

And then the mother fucker brake-checked me.

And time slowed down.

Way down.

In the span of a millisecond I went through all of the scenarios of what would happen if I, instead of slamming my brakes as well, hit my accelerator.   And rammed him.

I would, of course have to clip him on the right rear bumper so it would cause him to spin in to the cement barrier.  It would most likely cause me to spin at least partially in to the lane next to me.  I saw both cars. His going head first in to the cement wall. Mine spinning around and side swiping the barrier, finally resting facing on-coming traffic.

I saw the people immediately around us, swerving, trying to avoid us.  And I saw the dude. Head against the windscreen. Blood everywhere. Did his airbags not deploy?

All of this played out in slow motion.  In the blink of an eye.

I hit my brakes and shouted obscenities in what I'm sure was either Orc or Klingon.

I waited until I could pass him and put distance between he and I.

The irony of it all was that "Shake It Off" was the song playing as this all went down.

It wasn't until later and I had found my zen again that I looked back on the whole thing.

It's no secret that I dislike driving. I did it professionally as a medical courier for nearly two years and in that time came to the conclusion that most people give only about 50% of their attention to the fact that they are in a big metal box and at any moment hold their lives and the lives of others in their hands, and oh my god becky, did you see that tweet?? OH shit! Car!!

But this was more than that.  This was a buildup of emotions that had no outlet. A general fear and sense of loss for where we, as people, are heading.  It was the perfect storm.

I'm thankful that I didn't make the other choice. That self-preservation kicked in.  It was the selfish decision. I'm not going to do something stupid that would jeopardize my calling in this current lifetime.

But there's more to it.

I've been that guy. The guy who is just driving minding his own business, listening to Taylor Swift with not a care in the world and all of a sudden some asshole is on your bumper flashing his beams and making all kinds of crazy hand-signals at you.  I have literally been that guy.

That, I suppose, is the epiphany. The take away to this all.  There comes a time when we must, as a means of surviving as a species recognize the fact that we are all connected. That while we live individual lives, there is a connection between all humans on this planet.

I had that lesson pounded in to my brain bucket at 7:43AM on I-270 by someone in a maroon Honda.
How many times do we get these lessons and ignore them?  Too many I'd wager.

I'm not going to lie. I'm not perfect. I'm sure I've still got a few more asshole-driver instances left in me.  I have said it before, with no sense of humor or irony, that I will know that I have transcended and advanced to the next level of spiritual awareness when I can successfully maneuver the rush-hour commute without getting annoyed.  And I firmly believe that.

I'm not there yet.

But...I'm getting better. I'm cruising. Can't stop-won't stop moving. It's like I got this music in my mind saying 'It's gonna be alright."

Have a wonderful rest of your day my friends.

-TS
(not that TS)

























*mermaid. I'm picturing Disney mermaids who lure with their siren song, but only want your cutlery for their collection. As opposed to Jason and the Argonauts mermaids who sought to smash your boat to the rockes.

1.29.2017

Lighting a Candle

Here I sit, somewhere in suburbia.
A caucasian, straight, male. At one time I would have considered myself Christian. These days I'm not so sure.

But if you were to just look at those objective characteristics, I could easily be seen by some as "the enemy."  A part of "the establishment" that, to some, represents everything about America that is currently shitting the bed.

That I could easily be considered among the privileged is not even up for debate. I could be, and in many ways am.

If I were to get pulled over by the police my first thought would never be whether or not I was going to make it home alive. More likely the thought would be centered around if my insurance premiums would go up or not.

There is a strong chance I could weather the next four years and come through with very little impact to the life I am currently living.  I don't have to march. I don't have to speak out against the bullshit. Because, as shitty as it sounds, I'll probably be just fine.  Not great. But not terrible.

And that's the problem.

There's a lot of people out there that see the problem. The problem with having a narcissist with fascist overtones in the most powerful position in the country, and one of the most powerful positions in the world.  But a lot of them are like me.  They're probably going to be just fine.

That's the bit that makes me sick, to be honest.

That, even for a second, the thought crossed my mind that, "yeah. This is all fucked. But I'm gonna be OK."

That's the kind of thinking that allows terrible people to do unspeakable things.

Please make no mistake. Our government has lost all objectivity.  The things they are doing are not normal things. They are not covertly stripping away our civil liberties under the guise of Patriotic anti-terrorism legislation. They are overtly, blatantly stripping away the Constitutional fabric upon which our system of governance was born.

And they do not give a fuck.

They do not give a fuck about you.  They do not even give a fuck about me. They don't give a fuck about diplomacy.

They don't give a fuck about the Constitution that gave them the power in the first place. The Constitution of the United States that starts with

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

WE the people.  Not YOU the people. Not ME the people. Not US and THEM the people.  WE. Because this is the UNITED States of America. Only now it feels that WE the people are more divided now than we have been in decades.

In order to form a MORE PERFECT Union. Is it perfect now? Nope. But we recognize that it could be better than it is.

I mean, seriously...read it.

Look at what was important.  In the pre-amble, look at what is capitalized.


  • We
  • People
  • United States
  • Order
  • Union
  • Justice
  • Tranquility
  • Welfare
  • Blessings
  • Liberty
  • Posterity
  • Constitution
  • United States 
  • America
Do we have that now? Union...Justice...Tranquility...Welfare...Blessings...Liberty?

I'm not seeing it. And I'm pretty sure it's because as a people, the concept of 'we' has dropped to the wayside. 

People sit behind their keyboards and pretend that what they have to say actually matters because they have a readily available platform from which to spew their vile venom and hate.

Please believe me when I say I understand the irony. I'm pretending the same thing right now. The only difference is, I am doing this from a place of love. It may or may not even matter in the grand scheme.

I have determined that although I could easily fly under the radar and be OK for the next 4 years, I won't.  I don't know what form my actions will take. Maybe they will be these kinds of posts to remind us all that this is not normal. What we are seeing in our country is a sickness.  Maybe I will march. Protest. I don't know yet. 

I do know that I cannot sit idly by. Because whether it affects me or not, I know for a fact it affects my family. It affects my friends. It affects the people closest to me. People I love with all my heart. And I owe it to them to lend my voice.

Every resistance is made up of two groups. Those that have every reason to resist because they are directly impacted. And those who have no reason at all to resist because the change does not affect them. Except for the fact that that know that if they do not speak, they are no better than those in power. 
We the people.

We are ALL the minorities.

We are ALL connected. 

I fear there are dark days ahead of us my friends. Not to sound too melodramatic, but it's just a feeling in my gut. I feel that we will see the resurgence of 'zines and more physical media...the online world will lose it's sheen and people will want to hold the truth in their hands.

It's time to change the way we approach this current dark shadow falling over us, all of us.

There is a problem with constantly cursing the darkness. The problem is that while you stand on the outside looking in and spewing your vile obscenities at darkness, those whole are lost in the darkness only hear your angry cursing. 

I, for my part, will light a candle wherever I am able.  And I will shine that candle in the dark places. My words will be from a heart of love. And the light will shine.

A candle loses nothing of itself by lighting another candle.

Whether it's a kind word to a stranger.  A safety pin.  A local march.  Truth dissemination through the channels I have available. Whatever shape this takes, I can no longer sit by.

It's the least I can do for the We.

-TS

1.16.2017

There Is No Time

In between rehydrating after Saturday's D&D session (and subsequent all night whiskey/philosophy session with one of my favorite writers and mentors, C. Bryan Brown), laundry, and seeing how many ways NPH was going to break the fourth wall in the Lemony Snicket's Netflix series, I had an idea hit me.

It was an idea about time.

Another one of my favorite authors and friends, Monica Corwin, had a newsletter come out a couple weeks ago with a subject line that has been wandering just below the surface since I read it.  It said simply, "Time Doesn't Exist. Clocks Exist." I assumed it was from an episode of Dr. Who that I have not yet seen (I'm still stuck in the Tom Baker years, forgive me). A cursory search on the googles found the quote all over the world...in graffiti, on numerous boards on the black hole that is Pinterest, and in scientific journals.

It seems I'm not alone in my view of time.  I started thinking about the quote. "There is no time like the Present."  I stared at that sentence for no less than thirty minutes before I realized that it was grammatically incorrect.  So I fixed it.  In at least three ways.


Based on the way my brain has thought about time, all three work. To me, though, the large one on the right is the best one.

There is no time.

Time is an imaginary construct. It is an agreed upon unit of measurement. A mass hallucination of the highest order. Meant to keep humans on a 'schedule.'  

But it's complete bullshit.  If it were a constant, then we wouldn't need "time zones."  

There are people much smarter than me who have, on a quantum level of physics, postulated the misuse of Time as the fourth-dimension so I'm not going to embarrass myself by attempting to paraphrase them here.   

I will instead apply this to how I see it being at work in my life.

From my teenage years, I have known, as surely as I know my name that Time was not linear.  Time was not a constant. If it was, there would be no way that it could be 7 pm in Ohio and 4 pm in California. 

I love people talking about time machines-how they can't wait until we have time machines.  I look at them dumbfounded.  We already have them, I say.  They are called air planes, cars, busses, sneakers. Anything you can use to cross from one of the so called Time Zones to another is a machine for traversing time. 

The construct of time or our measurement of time leads us to believe that it's linear. I discard that notion. I have always thought that anything that has ever happened, and will ever happen, is happening right now. In this instant.  

Because in this instant is the only time that actually matters. The present. This moment you are living in. Right now. 

I have seen my name on bestseller lists. I have seen myself at major book signings. I have seen myself on panels at conventions. I have seen my name credited as being an international best selling author.  Obviously none of that has happened in what we call the 'past.'  And no one can see the future.  So...where has that come from?  

The present. 

But Todd, you're not ANY of those things right now. What the hell, man?

Glad you asked. Thing is...I AM  ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Because time is not linear. It's here. All at once. Those things are in this cloud called time, I  have glimpsed them because this form I am in is tied to those events. So at some point in the universal trip, my form will shift in to that space and my present reality will be one of those things.

As sure as I am sitting here typing this, I know those things are going to happen.

I've seen them.

Maybe it was just a dream...wishful thinking. Did you ever think about that?

Oh god I hope so!

What is a dream? Is it our subconscious working out problems of the day, or imagining ways to help us reach our goals?

OR, perhaps it is something else.  Perhaps it is the part of our soul that completely eschews the constructs that we as a species have placed around time. Perhaps it is that piece of our soul that has the truest understanding of time.

As for the wishful thinking....I'm a writer.  My entire life is wishful thinking.  I think of people...places...things...and I put them in these worlds. Worlds that I have created.  You call them fictional. And that may be. But have you ever read a book or seen a movie that had you believing you were in that world? That you knew things about that world? That you experienced that world?

It's a work that someone created.

Who is to say that this life I'm living, that we're all living, isn't some tale in some cosmic tome?  Each time a page is read and turned, some cosmic event in life that I've seen or dreamt because the reality.

A book as a beginning, a middle and an end.

So too, does our life. But as with a book, the only thing that matters is the page you are currently on. Sure...you can skip ahead to see how the book ends (and I think we do that do an extent with our lives in dreams and vision quests).  And you can read the previous pages to examine how your character got to where they are.

But only page that matters at this moment is the page that you are reading.

The present. This page right now. You have to read this page to know how the story works later (Even though you are holding the entire future.

I'd stay and dig deeper on this one, but my lunch break is over and there's just no time.

-A.T.

1.14.2017

Ah My Dream, There You Are

Hello 2017, you beautiful bitch. I know we haven't really talked or set the tone for how the year is going to go, but here's the thing-I own you. You're mine. Shit is going to happen this year. Good shit. And you're going to like it, I promise.

2016, by most popular accounts was a shit show.  But that's the surface sheen. The celebrity veneer, if you will.

For me, 2016 was AH-MAZING!  I got out of my own head and got seriously involved with not one, but TWO writing groups.  I built the foundations for some seriously awesome friendships that I know in my heart of hearts will last me for the rest of this lifetime and maybe a few more after that. So, I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

And, as you've no doubt read on this blog, I've claimed my place in the universe as a writer.

I finished the first draft of a novel. And I put a large dent in what is sure to be a book of poetry that will be released in 2017.

In short, in regards to making my dreams come true-2016 was one of the best years of my life, bar none.

In the journey of a thousand steps to being an international best-selling author, it was the first step.

And the first step is the most important.

Oh...and I will be an international best-selling author. That is not arrogance or hubris. It's a goal. A dream.  Something that's been a dream of mine since Duane Soisson and I sat down to write our first book together in high school on his dad's Tandy in that basement on Fairdale Avenue.

Here's a little bit of what you can expect from Todd Skaggs, the author, in the coming year.

Guest blog posts and interviews with the likes of Violet Patterson, C.Bryan Brown, and (I'm very excited to add) a conversation that with Jack Wallen that will be posted on his web site.

Let me just pause on that one for a second. I met Jack Wallen at Imaginarium and it was amazing. In the time since October, I'm formed a friendship with Jack (as much as one can through Facebook). But it's been a crazy journey. We have a shared love of good music and vinyl. I had one of my poems read on one of his podcasts. And we just wrapped up initial drafts for a piece on his "Get Jack'd" section for his website that will be posted sometime this year.

That in itself is already a shiny spot on the highlight reel of the year. And it's only January!!

But, as Ron Popeil is wont to say, "But wait...there's more."

Here's what else is happening.

  • I have a short story that I've submitted for an anthology that should be out in 2017.
  • I was asked to be one of 16 authors in an Urban Fantasy Boxset of books that will be out in April.
  • The Treachery of Rainbows, the science fiction novel I wrote as part of NaNoWriMo, will be released in 2017, come hell or high water.
  • Better To Have Loved, a book of poems, which may or may not include a romance short story, will be released, good lord willing and the creek don't rise.
There was a post here last year, or maybe on Facebook, where I said that 2017 is the year I was going to be published.  I wasn't joking.  If 2016 was the year I finally realized that I was a writer, wrapping myself in the cocoon of that realization, then 2017 is the year that the beautiful butterfly of my writing career emerges to take flight.

The past couple of weeks, I've been pinching myself. Wondering why or how this all happened. And a day or so ago, I realized that the why was a natural result of the how. The how is FINALLY embracing the fact that I AM a writer. Shifting from that focus of wanting to be a writer to acknowledging that I am a poet and a writer. There will be a post on Violet Patterson/Trace Broyles' blog about "Wanting to Be vs. Being" in February or March, so I don't want to steal my own thunder too much. 

So..my dear friends and readers, that's where my head is at.

The reality is, as a writer, I would write anyway. Whether or not you were here to read it. But, the reward for me, the thing that makes it truly fulfilling is knowing that you are here, reading and absorbing and maybe occasionally connecting with the words I'm writing. That is what makes being a writer worthwhile for me.

Stay tuned...2017 is going to kick much ass!

Peace and light,
-Todd


1.11.2017

A Word and a Goal

Let me start today's lunchtime bloggy blog with a little tune. It's by one of my favorite bands, The Pink Floyd.  This song is off of one of their not-quite-so-mainstream albums, Meddle. The track is called "Fearless." The significance will come to bear in a few minutes. Well, about six minutes, to be exact-if you click to watch the video. And by watch, I mean listen. There's no real video content other than the album cover. Which, really is fine. It's the lyrics and vibe that matter in this anyway.


So. Not quite a masterpiece as far as tunes go. But it holds some significance to me, which I'll get in to...well....now.

A couple of writers that I dig lots (whom I'll tag when I actually post this to FB) kicked off 2017 by doing this thing where they pick a word. I'm not sure if the word is like a goal word or a target word for the year or some kind of empowering thing. I know, it's terrible, I have something of a short attention span, if I'm being honest.

That being said, I'll just go with how I plan on using the word.

I see my 2017 word as something I am not, but something I would like to be (or be more of).

And the word is (drum roll)...

FEARLESS

Not really a surprise, I'm guessing, given the name of the video I started the post with, huh? Yeah, I know.

Here's the thing...I'm not fearless. I overthink the shit out of things. And while that doesn't necessarily equate to being afraid of doing things or taking chances, it does limit the chances I do wind up taking. In my head, I've overthought the balls of most scenarios I find myself in. And somehow that always winds up with me thinking that the worst possible outcome is the one that will invariably happen.

So...with a focus on being fearless this year, I'm hoping to curtail the overthinking vibe (and I'm already noticing a difference in that arena). Instead of overthinking all the damn time, I'm saying "yes" to more things.

For example, a friend of mine is curating a Urban Fantasy box set due out this Spring.  I have never written an urban fantasy story of any length. But I'm going for it. There are deadlines associated with the set. I'm not great with deadlines, but the opportunity is too good to pass up. And by too good, I mean, it's pretty much a dream come true. I'm going to be published. This year. Meaning that my goal of being a published author is about to come true.

It's kind of blowing my mind, and the tendency to freak out a bit approaches every time I think too much about it. So I go back to my word. And my song.

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd....smiling.

And honestly, that's how I feel right now. Things are falling in to place with the writing that seem like they're happening so face, but it's so amazing. I literally feel like the idiot facing the crowd.

I'm not fearless yet, by any means or stretch of the imagination.

But the year's not over yet, either.

You pick the place and I'll choose the time. And I'll climb that hill in my own way.

-AT

1.08.2017

The Darker Side of Empathy

I had an interesting thing happen to me yesterday evening. It was one of those things that I've read about happening to others. One of those things that intellectually I understood, but had never quite felt to the degree I felt it yesterday.

The day was a pretty typical day. I went to bed Friday night filled with plans of waking up early and taking charge of the day. Laundry, apartment rearranging and junk purging, writing, dishes..it was quite the list of domestic godhood.

Saturday's alarm clanged out at the appropriate ungodly hour and my snooze reflex engaged for the next hour or so.

When I finally did roll out of bed (literally), the morning and day didn't seem as clearly defined as it was when I made the list the night before.  The morning was spent nibbling leftovers, Monster and binging on Travellers on Netflix.  Funny thing is, I was OK with this shift in day plans.

I did some more work on the web site, Twistedzen.com.  It's still not great, but it's better than a 404.
I managed to do a couple of loads of dishes and combine my dirty clothes in to a single pile of shame, so  I marked it as progress.

I was catching a movie with a friend in the afternoon.  Side note, if you have not seen Collateral Beauty, I think you need to. Seriously. Not only did the movie go a long way to restore my faith in humanity, but I think it's hands down Will Smith's best role. It had all the feels. The timing was on point and it was just an amazing movie. And yeah, I cried. If you come out of that movie without at least getting a little teary-eyed, then I'm not sure I want to know just what it would take to emotionally move you.  

So...yeah.  The movie. It was a flood of emotions.  This is normally the kind of thing where I would come home to a silent apartment and process everything I just saw and felt.  It was an intense movie emotionally.  And for someone who considers hisself an empath, being in a movie theatre full of people processing those same deep emotions was pretty much like getting dosed. I was working through a thick, gray, emotional blanket of..stuff. And I'm not sure I was very good company at that point. And that probably led to me not really thinking through what it would be like to hit BW3's on a Saturday night where there were many sports events happening, including a Columbus Blue Jackets game.

Throughout my life, I have been in touch with my empathic nature in varying degrees of sensitivity. From the tingling that something about someone just isn't quite right to the full on feeling of rage standing next to someone who is seething, the anger rolling off of them in waves.

Last night topped them all.

At first I thought it was just my stomach being it's normal odd self. The appetizers of fried pickles went down easily enough. The Leinenkugel Cranberry Ginger Shandy wasn't bad. Then the food came out. We'd been there about thirty-minutes at that point and I noticed that my arms were tingling. It was as though there were tiny bubbles of carbonation rolling over the entire surface of both arms, temperature fluctuating between warm and cold.

I had to step outside a couple of times to take work calls. It was single digit temps last night, but somehow it actually felt better to me when I did step outside. Coming back in to the restaurant was like walking back in to a wall of thick sounds that  I couldn't quite navigate. The feeling was disorienting.

I think that's when I figured it out. Going form the silence back in to the restaurant. I tried to focus on the conversation at our table, but it was like I was hearing every single other conversation all around me at one time.   Then the visual stimulation of ten flat screens in my immediate field of vision.

At that point my stomach started letting me know that it wasn't having any of this.  I thought, again, it was just the same old tummy bullshit that my stomach had been giving me earlier in the day.

We finished, and as soon as we stepped outside, I felt the queasiness notch down. It hadn't completely abated, but it had decreased.

After getting dropped off to my apartment, I walked in and curled up on the couch.  A dark quiet apartment.  Within about 15 minutes, the sickness had floated away.

That's when I started putting all the pieces together.  I went from the flood of seriously intense emotions of grief, relief, pain, and joy from the movie to an establishment full of agitated and amped up sports fans and it was too quick of a 180 for me to process.  I guess that's the darker side of empathy. It's never a cakewalk for the empath. I don't care what anyone says. Gift or curse, there is always a price for giving in and letting it wash over you.

The plus side is, if I ever decide to write about a fledgeling telepath who suddenly hears hundreds of thoughts in his head, I'll know what that feels like. Or how it feels to be attacked with a non-lethal sonic weapon.

For now, though, I will go back to my regularly scheduled day of playing D&D and not being Batman, LEGO or otherwise.

Have a good rest of your day, my friends. And please, stay warm.
-AT


1.02.2017

Identity Crisis - 2017 Edition

Welcome to the first post for 2017! This would normally be the spot reserved for careful reflection of the year that passed and a healthy dose of misplaced optimism for the year ahead.

I've done that all before and to be completely honest, you're going to get enough of that from other people. 

You may have read in previous posts on this here bloggy blog, that I plan on grabbing 2017 by the short hairs and making my dream of being a published author a reality.

2016 saw me accepting the fact that yes, I am a writer. I won't belabor the point here as I'm sure I said it better in other posts. 

One thing that's completely humbling to me, though, is the amount of love and support both from friends and family as well as the community of writers that I find myself now regarding as family. 

It has been an experience that I can scarcely put in to words (which is terrible for a writer, I know), but it's true. Every time I try, I am flooded with emotions.  I'm sure it's partially why the poems came back in such full force the second half of the year.

So, one of the things that I've been pushed in to doing sooner rather than later (because I have friends who have decided that they are going to throw me the rope to climb this dream summit I'm seeking) is figuring out what name I'm going to write under when I publish.  When. Not if. When.

I had originally settled on Andrew Todd.  I plugged all of that in and created a fancy (not really that fancy) Facebook page for my writing, an author page, if you will.  It's over here, if you're interested.

And it's cool. I'm feeling cool with it. The name flows. It's all looking good. 

And then I see that someone has liked the Andrew Todd page this morning. I got the notification "Andrew Todd has liked Andrew Todd" and I kind of freaked out a bit, to be honest.  I thought my account had somehow been hacked. And then I saw that there was actually someone named Andrew Todd. 

My heart fell a little bit. I thought I had been thorough. I searched Amazon and goodreads and didn't see an author Andrew Todd. Note to self, next time, search Facebook. 

I was talking about this with a friend this morning. They reminded me of the struggles I had this year of accepting myself as a writer. That was a huge hurdle for me. And I'm not going to lie, I still don't know that it's quite real yet.  2016 was full of "holy shit, this is real. I'm a writer. I'm owning this shit."  And I'm guessing that 2017 is going to be along those same lines, maybe more so. 

And just like that this problem was addressed.  To be honest, it really wasn't a problem, it was just me overthinking things and finding things to worry about effectively slowing myself down. It's one of the many ways I've gotten in my own way and prevented myself from fully becoming the person I'm meant to be. How's that for some introspection?

So, ladies and gentlemen, I would just like to let you know that when you see my books in the bookstore, library, or online bookshop, you will simply need search only for Todd Skaggs.

Todd Skaggs, Author.

That's me. 

And I'm not going to lie, after fighting so hard to get through the mental sludge holding me back this year, it feels pretty freakin' good to say that.   You'll still see me sign the blogs and the poems with 'A.T.'   It's my way of keeping things a bit distinct. The personal ramblings and the like. 

I have more to say on this whole identity thing, but unfortunately my lunch is up. And I'm not paid to write full time (yet). So, I must get back to work.

Until then, have a wonderful start to your new year.

And in case you missed it, here's my promise to 2017.

Sloughing skin of a year gone by.
Each flake instrumental in
shaping the man before you.
Yet clinging to them would be
dead weight, impeding the man
I am yet meant to become.

Emboldened by love given freely.
The likes of which unknown to
a man resigned to ponder
true love's elusive existence.
I wear love's armor proudly
as I do battle, liberating lifelong dreams I had almost forsaken.

For me it is no mere resolution.
It is a terminal commitment.
I have stood too long, willingly,
in the shadows of who I am to be.
I will make the dreams my reality,
or die trying. Either way set free.

-a.t.

Shakubuku Part Two: Eclectic Booglaloo

I posted on the book of face recently that I felt out of sorts. The gist of it being I couldn't decide if I was hungry, horny, or on the...