Let Sleeping Babes Lie

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My six-month old puts his head down for a nap; it’s one of the two he takes during the day. When his eyes close, I jump all over the house trying to get things done.

A part of me wonders if I will ever be a productive member of society again. Once a master of organization, now I try to content myself with getting all the bottles washed before he wakes back up. In those odd moments when I have time, I spend most of it trying to decide what to do with it.  Watch television? Read? Edit? Work on my novel? Take a nap myself? Eat every unhealthy thing in the house? Tackle one of the countless chores needing to be done?

Or perhaps I could make a blog post.

I never really understood the value of time until I didn’t have any.  If fatherhood is teaching me anything (outside of patience, diaper skills, and baby fingernail trimming), it is to focus on doing one or two things well, because there isn’t enough time for the renaissance man jack-of-all-trades nonsense anymore.


Roughly a year later…

One of the main reasons I started this blog was so it could serve as a time capsule for me. A lot has changed in the year or so since this post was initially generated. For one, Thor is running all over the place and causing mayhem. Indeed, Past Corey had no concept of how little time he would have.

The irony of the original post doesn’t elude me. Past Corey believed he was taxed for time. With Thor napping only once during the day now, and my amazing wife consistently being away on a warship, time truly has become a precious quantity. Here’s my takeaways:

  1. Be willing to tell people “no.” When time becomes a premium, then you have to learn to say no more often, even if it’s a project/job/task you think is awesome.
  2. Don’t stress about the small stuff. And man, it took my a while to figure out what the small stuff was. Figure out what you can control and focus on that. You must tend to your garden of f***s and not give them too freely.
  3. When it’s time to work, play, or chill, don’t get sidetracked. In a world where multitasking is listed on resumes, I strive to do the opposite. Multitasking usually means I’m half-assing something. As Ron Swanson would say, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.”

These lessons are about as deep as a puddle in the desert, but heck, I never claimed to be a philosophizer. I’m just a dad trying to sort through the madness one day at a time. That’s it for my blog time; I’ll update this post in another year.

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Writing for the Busy Parent

Welcome to another Feature Friday…sort of. As always, the days are just whizzing on by. I’m doing something new for this Feature Friday. It’s my first collaborative post. I’d like to welcome Dillon, from over at From Rad to Dad.

Why thank you Corey! It’s a pleasure to be here! Hi, new friends!

dillon-fam-4A little intro about my family! Korina (my wife) and I are both 26 years old, and at the time I’m jotting this down our son, Killian Jaymes, is 10 months old. I work a normal 7 to 4 Monday through Friday job while Korina runs her amazing nerdy crafting business from home while taking care of Killian, whose occupation is currently pooping his pants and chasing our dog Lupin around.

We run a small Youtube channel where we document our life in weekly videos. Korina and I also both write our parenting blogs and work on our modern fantasy stories! Well, when we find the time to write on the side, which is actually what this blog post is about.

So writing is tough, we all know that. And parenting is tough too, even folks without kids can fully acknowledge that. But what’s it like trying to be a writer and a parent at the same time? That’s what Corey and I have teamed up to shed some light on!

With that great introduction, below are the five questions we are addressing. If you are tackling the challenge of being a parent and writer, feel free to Contact Me with some answers to the questions and we will link you into this post and point people to your page. If you’d like a photo(s) included, be sure to attach them. The parenting struggle is a bit easier when it’s shared.

Now to the questions.

  1. How do you balance work, home, writing, love, and life?
  2. How has becoming a parent changed your outlook on writing and reading?
  3. What’s the biggest misconception you’ve faced with stay-at-home parenting, or parenting in general?
  4. As a parent, where do you go to write? When is the best time for you to write?  
  5. Why do you write, and how does that reason impact your writing?  

QE’s answers:

family-11.) For me, scheduling is the single most important thing I do. I’ve found I have to constantly tweak my schedule as life changes (Thor grows). Allocating my time prevents me from over-committing to a single project and leaving others lagging behind. When Thor’s awake or my wife is home, I typically don’t spend too much time writing or editing and instead try to take advantage of the time as a family.

2.) When I became a stay-at-home dad, losing my work identity was hard. As Thor grows, he’ll never look at me as “His dad who was in the military or who was a cop.” I think children having a way to identify their parents to others is important. Dedicating my time to writing and reading lets me share stories with him, but also helps me feel confident he will know his dad “does” something other than just take care of him.

3.) The biggest misconception I’ve faced is that because I’m a stay-at-home dad I have tons of time and don’t really have any commitments. Most laypeople don’t look at writing and editing as a real occupation. When people ask what I do (which inevitably comes up), I tell them I write and edit books. This is usually answered with an awkward smile and look that says, “That’s not really a job.”  

img_23344.) I have a study where I write and edit. For me, having a space dedicated to work helps me focus in on what needs to be done and not get distracted. I usually work while everyone else sleeps, or during my son’s naps. Right now, I only sleep 4-5 hours on normal days. When my wife is home for her weekends, I try to catch up on sleep and recharge.

5.) I write because I love reading stories and have always enjoyed telling them. Reading stories to my son is one of my biggest joys. Even though he’s too little to understand them (almost a year old), he still stops what he is doing and listens, as if he’s trying to understand. I write with my son and family in mind. I don’t tailor the stories to them, but knowing they will read them is very empowering. Knowing after I’m long gone my son might have a book I wrote on his own shelf is even more inspiring.

Dillon’s answers:

dillon-fam-21.) In short, an unhealthy amount of coffee. Outside of work, my schedule changes frequently and I spend as much time with my family as I can. They recharge my batteries and motivate me to be better than I am — they are my greatest inspiration. I give myself every opportunity to write, I have Google Docs on my phone, so I squeeze in a few lines, or outline points while in line at the post office or even in the bathroom. I make small time throughout my day burst-writing as much as I can, and then I spend time editing in the same fashion. Piece by piece!

2.) My outlook on everything changed the day I found out about Killian. I wanted to write, not for fame or glory, but to simply have him look up at me and say, “my dad is cool, strange, but cool.” I want to write interesting things, motivational words to help him in the future when the rain pours down and I may not be there. I want to read so I know how to answer those questions that he’s going to come at me with. I want him to know there are a million ways to be creative and he can chase any of them.

dillon-fam-33.) Parents trying to be perfect. I thought, for a brief moment, that becoming a parent would make me picture perfect. It did anything but. So many parents have picture perfect Facebook lives, and that is garbage. We fight, we cry, we make mistakes, we show up late, we forget the diaper bag, we don’t read bedtime stories every night, we forget to write, we are tired and no one ever talks about all of that being okay. And IT’S OKAY, we are not supposed to be perfect. We are supposed to be human.

4.) I don’t have a dedicated place or time, a lot of my writing is done on my phone in lines or on my lunch break at work. Even though I don’t carve out dedicated time, I still write, I still edit, and I still post. Getting something done when you can is better than not ever getting to it. If I’m gonna pick a time, I really like writing in bed later at night with my wife sitting beside me and Killian sleeping in his crib. A small cup of coffee beside me as I type and a flurry of grammatically horrible words strung together is where I always end the night. Usually followed by me saying, “I’ll fix it tomorrow!”

dillon-fam-15.) Two reasons: To motivate other parents, and to remind us all it’s okay to fail and make mistakes. We are not perfect; we are parents. I love being a dad and I want to share the stories of how it’s changed me and hopefully help at least one parent out there not feel so worried about it all. As for my personal writing: I am a genuinely curious day dreamer, and when a character walks into my head I want to chase them down the rabbit hole and see where they go and how their story unravels. I have to know how they end up. I guess I just want to share these stories on both the blog and in my personal writing. I want people to be happy and confident.

question markThat’s it for today! Again, if you’re a parent, grandparent, or parent to fur-babies—we’d love to hear from you. How do you manage the madness?  Contact Me and I’ll update this post with your answers and link your blog into the post as well. Every now and then, Dillon and I will recycle this post on our pages and put our feelers out for more struggling writers/parents. From Dillon: Thank’s for taking the time to read! Hopefully you picked up some tricks for your own crazy writing style! Thanks Corey for having me!

Until we all cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp! As Dillon likes to say on his page, “You’ve got this!”

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On Writing, Blogging, and Fatherhood

Thor Born.jpgNovember 23rd of 2015 is the day my life shifted into a new (and frightening) gear.  My son Thor Alexander Truax was born.  I knew this new addition would change my life, but I wasn’t entirely sure just what this meant.

Before Thor came I was a police officer, before that a Homeland Security scholar, and before that eight years of military service.  My entire adult life, up to this moment, was spent making myself better, smarter, stronger.  My identity and self-worth orbited around my work.  I remember driving my police cruiser to work on my last day and turning in my gun, badge, and gear.  At the time, turning my back on this job and explaining I was going to be a stay-at-home dad, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (despite how much I hated that job).  I felt useless.

Even in the hospital when I saw Thor for the first time I didn’t have that “ah-ha” moment.  It’s horrible to write, but it’s the truth.  I wanted that moment so badly, but all I could think of was all the things that needed to happen.  Double check the car seat, make sure documents are in order, check out of the hospital, help Heather walk to the vehicle.

me and thorIt was a few weeks before the moment came.  Thor was crying, I was trying everything I could to calm him down, and nothing was working.  I put him down on the bed in his tiny swaddle and just stepped back.  I was absolutely defeated.  He just continued bawling.  Then for a few seconds he stopped.  He blinked his little mole eyes and squinted toward me.  Then it happened.  The moment.

He needed me.  He needed me more than any job, or title, or position could ever need me.  He needed me to be there, to protect him, to guide him.  If my life was a book, this moment was my paradigm shift.  I picked him back up, and of course, he continued crying.  It was okay, because the more I think about it, if he would have stopped in that moment, I probably would have started.

The weeks following this epiphany really made me examine my life.  Was I living a life based on the prestige of my current job, or based on the joy  I derived from it?  It was the former.  This needed to change.

This brings me to writing and blogging.   For me, they are one in the same.  I blog about writing, because I enjoy learning and sharing what I find out.  It solidifies the information in my brain housing unit when I write about it in my own words.  Writing has always been a passion, but it was a passion repressed.

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Just a single piece of my history.

As a child I wrote essays that won academic awards, and in the military one of my duties was as a journalist.  Despite my skill and ability, it wasn’t something I was particularly proud of.  If someone asked me what I did in the military I would give them the cool version (the version I felt gave me the most prestige).  I was a Combat Cameraman.  I deployed to Iraq with Army Special forces.  I did important work.  Respect me.

It was the lie I used to bolster my precious ego.  To maintain the illusion I was creating of the professional bad ass.  It was the murder and betrayal of the little boy who grew up as an only child in the deep country.  A boy who read Calvin and Hobbes underneath the blankets with a flashlight when he was supposed to be sleeping.  The boy who imagined himself throwing the One Ring into the mouth of Mount Doom.  The boy who would would trace comic books and rewrite the dialogue bubbles.

If I could have been honest a long time ago, then I would have written multiple books by now.  I love the craft, the work, the feeling of looking at something and saying, “I made this.”  There is a tangible product afterwards.  A feeling of completion.

It took the birth of my son to realize how important this sentiment is.  The ability to do what you love and revel in the fruits of your labor is admirable.  The strength to honestly assess what it is you are passionate about and pursue it is even more noble.  In this way, Thor saved me.  Even as a helpless little bundle who needs me to do everything for him – he saved me.  With tiny baby fingers he hacked away the illusion and left me bare.

carpe diem

So today my writing advice isn’t about writing at all, it’s about life.  Don’t wait until you are almost 30 to pursue what matters.  Don’t let a job define who you are.  Do what you love.  Do what makes you happy.  Shed the titles.  Enjoy the process.

That’s it for today.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Father’s Day: A Hallmark Holiday?

Me and Thor

Me and baby Thor.

Today is my first Father’s Day – at least my first as a father.  Facebook is churning away tagged father posts and I can never keep up with it all.  My wife made cheesecake last night (which I ate for my Father’s Day breakfast), my seven-month old was especially fussy, I called my dad, and life is going on.  I’ve always been wary of things like Father’s Day.  The cynic in me thinks it’s just a trick for Hallmark to sell cards.  I wanted to see where this particular holiday tradition came from.  A few google searches later I had my answers. (I found this on the interwebs, so it has to be true!)


Monongah DisasterT
he first origins story comes to us from December 6, 1907.  Location – Monongah, West Virginia. Circumstance – “the worst mining disaster in American History.”  An explosion rocked a coal mine killing 361 of the 367 men working within.  Of the fallen, 250 were fathers.  This left approximately 1000 children fatherless.  A thousand fatherless children.  I read it twice, I’m writing it twice.  The following year the Williams Memorial Methodist
Episcopal Church South (their sign must have been long
to fit this name on it) had an observance for the lost fathers, marking the first “Father’s Day.”  They did it on July 5th, 1908.  This was an issue because the day before was Independence Day, thus, the Father’s Day didn’t really get traction beyond the city of Fairmont, West Virginia where this first observance was held.

The second origins story comes from the daughter of a civil war veteran.   Sonora Smart Dodd’s father was a single parent who raised six children in the early 1900s. Dodd was sitting in church in Spokane, Washington during a Mother’s Day service and thought it was ridiculous fathers don’t get the same deal – after all, her dad did it all alone. She spoke with her clergy and on June 19, 1910 Father’s Day services were held throughout the city of Spokane.  She kept the tradition alive with the clergy until she went off to school and Father’s Day fell away once again.

fathers-day-kaywoodie-pipe-54-swscan06305-copyDodd came back to Spokane in the 1930s, started cracking clergy skulls, and pushed Father’s Day into the national spotlight.  Much of the nation discounted the holiday as a cheap trick to create a commercial holiday and sell stuff.  Help came in the form of the Father’s Day Council, which was headed up by various men’s retailers.  They ran advertisements in major publications to push the idea of this holiday, hocking their various wares as well.  If mom gets flowers on her day, dad should get a nice new tobacco pipe on his!

NixonUltimately, from 1913 to 1972 multiple politicians and presidents attempted to turn Father’s Day into an actual federal holiday.  Every time there was resistance from Congress.  They feared it would become a commercialized holiday.  President Nixon, with a fist of fatherly love, signed it into law in 1971.  He may have been a lot of things, but Tricky Dick obviously loved his father.

And here we are.  What have I learned from this?  Yes, Father’s Day is a commercialized holiday.  Hell, what ones aren’t anymore?  However, the catalyst that created this day was love, loss, and remembrance.  It is a holiday highlighting the concept that we will never forget those people we love and how they impacted our lives. So, in short, happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there.  Past and present included.  May the lessons you teach and the love you impart echo through eternity.

More of rant today than anything, but hey, thanks for reading.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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