Hey all,

This is Eric.  I’m sitting here at midnight creating this blog.  In case you didn’t know, I’ve recently joined the blogging community as a result of completing (and winning) NaNoWriMo 2010.  Writing every day full force has inspired me to open up more doors of possibility in the writing world.  Hope you enjoy what you read.  Feel free to subscribe and check out my other links.  Thanks.

Me with my early '90's Fender Malibu Acoustic Guitar

Me with my favorite guitar: An early Fender Malibu Acoustic

The Real About Me”

My name is Eric.  I was born and raised in Monterey, TN.  I’m what I like to call the product of divorced parents.  After I was born, my parents split up and divorced and ever since then I’ve been the “middle man”.  What I mean is that not only do I have one family to go to for Christmas, but three (since then my parents have remarried).  I’ve always been bounced around between them and even after I turned 18 and was “my own man”, I always felt an obligation to my many family members.  Maybe that’s why I turned out to be so eccentric.

Enough of the autobiographical stuff.  I could go on and on, and I’m sure you don’t want me to.  Who I really am first and foremost is a musician.  I play mostly bluegrass acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, and bass.  My main instrument is the acoustic guitar.  I started playing around Christmas of 1993.  I know this because the earliest video I have of me playing the guitar was in 1994, and I was fairly decent by then — I could play chords, strum in time, etc. — so I had to have been playing for at least a year prior to 1994.  Pretty bad I can’t remember exactly when I started playing, huh?

I had wanted to play guitar so badly that I requested from my grandma on my dad’s side (Ma, as we called her) a series of guitar instructional videos when she asked what I wanted for Christmas.  I remember that was also the year I got my first journal.  I still have it, too.  Anyway, all I can remember about those videos is that they had songs on them like “Tom Dooley”, “The House of the Rising Sun”, and I think “Wayfaring Stranger”.  They weren’t written in tabs back then (this was before tablature was even popular); instead, they were written in individual music notes like a lead sheet.  Since I couldn’t read music — and still can’t really — and wanted to play guitar NOW, I just looked at the chords that were included in the back of the instructional booklet that came with the videos and went from there.  Other than those basic chords, the only thing that helped me on those videos was how to use the relative tuning method.

Skip ahead one two-year high school relationship that didn’t end very well at all, go past college at Roane State Community College where I was unable to finish a degree in Computer Art & Design due to lack of funds and grant money (if I could do it over again, I’d major in a music field, preferably — you guessed it — guitar), and bypass countless jobs I’ve had through the years, and you’ll find me here, now.

I’ve always been a lover of music.  I listen to all kinds, but I prefer bluegrass and bluegrass gospel, instrumental guitar like Tommy Emmanuel or Tony Rice, other instrumental music like Enigma or Kenny G, and shred guitar like Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, and Joe Satriani (The three giants of shred guitar).

I’ve also always been a lover of books.  I read and listen to around 40 or 50 books a year, some twice or more.  It’s always been something to keep me company and help my mind unwind.  I call myself a self-diagnosed ADHD because I always seem to be thinking at 100 mph non-stop; I have a hard time concentrating on more than one thing — I’m always in between two or three books/magazines at a time, for instance; and I also have a very difficult time finishing/completing projects (which is why it’s such an accomplishment for me to win NaNoWriMo 2010).

Being the creative, right-brained personality type that I am, I’m always on the lookout for things to do with my creative energies.  Other than music, this is where writing comes in.  As I’ve said before, I’ve kept a journal since 1993; though mostly off and on because as I mentioned above I have a hard time sticking with any one thing for long.  I kept a journal from my freshman year in college on up until graduation.  These were the skipped years mentioned above.  After that, I just wrote in one when I felt the need to vent.

I always felt guilty when I failed to write in my journals.  I still do even today, even though I have multiple journals and notebooks scattered all over the place.  It’s too hard to commit to writing in them every day, so I just write to scratch the itch my mind gets from time to time.

Enter Stephen King, my all-time favorite author.  The first book I ever read of his was The Eyes of the Dragon. This is still one of my all-time favorites. The Dead Zone and Pet Sematary were next. Rita Hayworth and The Shawhank Redemption, Bag of Bones, Delores Claiborne, and The Green Mile came shortly after that.  These were not all stories of horror; they were much more than that.  They were stories of humanity and of who we are when pressed against the wall, fighting for the survival of ourselves, our families, our beliefs, our individuality.  They inspired me to become a writer.

The one particular book of his that launched me into thinking I could be one was On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It was his Opus of how to write as well as a partial autobiography of how he became a writer.  That book — which I listen to at least once or twice a year on audio and still have in the original paperback format — let me know that I could become a good writer if I just put in the time and effort every day (though, as I’ve already said, I’ve failed miserably at).  It also inspired me to read more.  In it, Stephen King said that he gets through around 80 books a year.  That’s a great lot, especially if you’re spending your time writing books of your own, much less reading other people’s.  It was On Writing that spurred me into birthing a fascination for “How To Write” books.  I’m constantly on the lookout for these when I go to the library or any bookstore.  They really are fascinating because each one of them says something about the author themselves; they’re all autobiographical to some degree; even more so than the novels their authors create.

Some of the best ones I have are Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Beyond Style by Gary Provost (you should really consider looking him up), If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland (an older book, first published in 1938 by G.P. Putnam Sons.  On the back cover, she is said to have published six million words in her 93 years before her death in 1985), Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print by Lawrence Block (one of my favorites, very witty), Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury (also a very informative and witty book), The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White (any writer’s handbook; I have three copies: one on the shelf as a backup, one on my desk, and one for when I’m on the go), and The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes: (And How to Avoid Them) by Jack Beckham (Im’ in the process of reading this, but it’s very straightforward and well-written).

There are other things about me I could list.  Things like how I’ve been the lead guitarist and vocalist in a local bluegrass band called Grassphalt for a little over a year now.  Being in that group has cost me much in the way of time and outside relationships, but it does for my musical side what writing does for my venting and emotional side:  they’re both therapy for me.  They help me forget the real world for just a short span of time; and isn’t that what we all need every once in a while?  Just to be ourselves?  Is that really too much to ask?

The list goes on and on.  I could write a book (did anybody else hear a rim-shot), but I won’t.  I’ve written enough about me for now.  Read my posts for the rest.  Don’t forget to subscribe and if you’re going to leave comments, please don’t be rude or profane.  I am a Christian preacher of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I take that very seriously.  Some of you just left just then despite all you’ve read.  That’s your prerogative, I guess.

Constructive criticism and ideas or suggestions in regards to my writing and style are appreciated.  And thanks again for caring enough to read.

My verse to live by:

Proverbs 3:5, 6:

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”