Tag Archives: Nathan Marcand

My Writing, My Identity

Should I even apologize for neglecting to blog? It’s becoming a bad habit. Sorry, True Believers!

Part of the reason for my absence lately is my increasing busyness. I’ve written often about time management, and while some of my busyness is my own doing, much of it lately has been thrust upon me by outside forces. Most notably, my “day job.” Whenever people quit or are unavailable—as has been happening recently—it invariably throws more responsibility on me because I’m competent, reliable, and available. It’s supposed to be a part-time job, but I’ve been getting full-time hours (which has led me to call it “my part-time full-time job”). This has eaten into my writing time like Pac-Man would an apple.

I’m not happy at my day job.

There, I said it.

I took this job thinking it would be temporary and would allow me time to pursue my true passions. While I’m grateful to have the steady income and enjoy (most of) my co-workers, I feel like I’m not doing what God created me to do. When I have to work long hours and lose writing time, I feel this most potently. I get annoyed when people see me not as a writer, an author, an artist, and/or a creator but as my day job. I don’t care if it’s, unfortunately, where the majority of my time is going. It does not define me. It is not what I want to be doing. If I had my way, I’d be living like most of the great writers, who spend eight hours a day working away on their craft.

As you would expect, I’ve been reflecting on my identity. I think of myself as a writer. That’s what I tell people I do for a living. Yes, I add that I’m working a part-time day job until I can write full-time, but writing is always mentioned first and foremost. That’s why I hate when I have weeks (or months) where the day job consumes more of my time. I start to feel like I’m lying to people. Most of all, I fear complacency will seize me, and I’ll stop writing, resigned to the humdrum of my daily labor.

However, in order to have a healthy identity, I believe, one must have a multifaceted one. I’m not just a writer. I want that to be a bigger part of me (and I do believe it is already a big part), but it isn’t all of my identity. Lisa Edelstein said in the movie Keeping the Faith, “I am many things, no one thing defines me.” (FYI, I found that quotation with a Google search. I’ve not seen the movie). I’m also a Christian, a man, a brother, a son, a conservative, a gamer, and a ballroom dancer, among many others. By having so many smaller identities within my larger one, it prevents me from becoming totally dependent on any one of them for my self-worth. I could, God forbid, be in a car accident tomorrow that damages my hands or my brain, thereby robbing me of the ability to write. It would be devastating, but hopefully once the dust of grief settled, I’d have other things to fall back on to form a new identity.

In the meantime, I’m gonna keep fighting to preserve and protect my writing time!

What facets make up your identity? Are you too dependent on one or two? If you’re a writer, what else are you? How would you cope with losing part of identity?

Gen-Con 2013, Prep Day & Day 1: No Money Today

After a three-hour trip, I arrived yesterday in Indianapolis at a Hampton Inn and met my friends Eric and Darrin, who were both attending Gen-Con. (I was glad I an audiobook of Moby Dick with me). Darrin was kind enough to get us a room. I must say, I’m not used to staying in a hotel. The last time I did, if I remember right, was in 2004 on a college-sponsored mission trip to New York City, and it was a barely passable motel. To be honest, I feel like I’m being treated like a king at this hotel!

Anyway, Eric and I went to the Indiana Convention Center to pick up tickets and set up. Like last year, hauling my boxes of books was a workout that left me with a sore lower back, albeit briefly. I met a few of my neighbors, although not as many as I did last year. The writer next to me is a gentleman I call “Captain Charisma” because he sells his books like an auctioneer who was once a used car salesman. He’s difficult to compete with.

After setting up, I met Eric and we wandered back to the parking garage, taking a little time to listen to a free Five Year Mission show in a beer tent (no, we didn’t drink, but I did contemplate getting a Tribble drunk. Yes, I’m a nerd, and I think about such things!.

We returned just in time to get the pizzas Darrin ordered. He got four because there was a special. It was way more than we needed, so we’ll be eating the leftovers all weekend. We played a few games of Space Alert, revised some HeroScape custom figures Eric and I created, and went to bed.

We were all so high on excitement, we could hardly sleep.

After eating a better breakfast than I’ve had in months, I dressed in my first cosplay, Capt. James T. Kirk, complete with communicator and phaser. We made excellent time getting to the ICC, though we did have a long walk.

The doors opened one hour early at 9pm. Sadly, I don’t have much to say about my sales today. Almost everyone today didn’t buy anything from anyone. They either didn’t have money or wanted to peruse before buying. I only made two sales and donated one novel to an auction a group is doing to raise money for a food pantry. I did, however, get many people interested in Children of the Wells, including a fellow author who was so intrigued by it, he kept asking me questions about it for 10-15 minutes.

My highlight today was meeting Walter Koenig, an actor best known for playing Pavel Chekhov in the original Star Trek and Bester in Babylon 5. I was surprised to see he was so soft-spoken, I could barely hear him, and he himself seemed to be a little hard of hearing. I got an autograph, but like last year, I wanted to give the celebrities free copies of my books. I asked him, “Do you accept gifts from fans?” He replied, “Yes, yes, yes!” while pretending to gobble up food. I gave him copies of my books, showing him where I had signed Pandora’s Box, saying, “Thanks for the memories! Keep going boldly where no man has gone before!” He saw that the book was dedicated to my mother, which he said was “very nice.” I took a picture with him, and he held my book up to the camera. Finally, I asked him, “Who’d win in a fight, Chekhov or Bester?” He said, “Bester has certain advantages.”

Me and the surprisingly goofy Walter Koenig. He was kind enough to show off my novel.
Me and the surprisingly goofy Walter Koenig. He was kind enough to show off my novel.

(I wish he had said what Nick Hayden said, “Bester. He is a nuclear wessel.”)

I went a writing seminar taught by Michael A. Stackpole on writing in the digital age. I realized I went to the same one last year, but the material was different. It was reassuring to hear things had changed for the better for indie writers like myself.

From 7pm-9pm, I played a game I used to play every Saturday with friends in college: Epic Duels. But instead of it being Star Wars-themed, it was a custom version made for the anime franchise Mobile Suit Gundam. I had a great time talking with the players about animes and Epic Duels variations.

I finished the day by briefly watching Eric kick butt at the board game Monsterpocalypse and playing in a card draw Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 tourney. In this game, our characters are selected by drawing names from a hat, essentially. I didn’t usually get characters I was good with, so I lost in the first round.

Meeting up with Darrin and Eric, we drove back to the hotel.

Expect more pictures after the con!

(Continued in day 2).

30 Lessons I’ve Learned by Age 30

Yeah, it’s slightly insulting, but it’s still nerdy and funny.

Today is my 30th birthday. (You my now sing. Thank you.) So, in celebration, I thought I would entertain and enlighten you with 30 important lessons I’ve learned in the first three decades of my life. Enjoy! Live long and prosper.

1. It’s okay to ask God questions, even about faith’s “fundamentals.”

2. Never date your stalker.

3. Make sure you gather a raccoon’s stash of berries before it eats them.

4. Always take a girl to either a horror movie or a tearjerker on a date: she’ll either cling to you the whole time or cry on your shoulder. 😉

5. Tenacity pays off when you’re a writer.

6. Love is more important than money.

7. People are more important than things.

8. Know what you want and go for it.

9. Don’t hesitate to seek justice.

10. Always be honest with God and people.

11. Don’t be afraid to terminate a friendship if it becomes unproductive.

12. Jell-O is evil—it causes blindness.

13. Despair is easy; joy is a challenge.

14. Women are the greatest enigma God ever created, and men will spend a lifetime trying to solve that mystery.

15. You’re never too old to enjoy cartoons.

16. Know when to shut up…

17. …and when to speak your mind.

18. Romance often comes at unexpected times and places.

19. Take pride in your hard work, even if it goes unrewarded.

20. Even Jesus Christ, Who was perfect, made enemies, so don’t be surprised if you make any.

21. Learn to laugh at yourself (but not too much).

22. “Normal” is a relative term.

23. Wisdom often comes in unexpected packages—like little sisters.

24. Be yourself. If some people don’t like you, that’s their problem.

25. Never lose your sense of wonder.

26. Assume the best about a person unless given reason not to.

27. Answers aren’t always easy.

28. The only unforgiveable sin is unbelief.

29. Never be afraid to try new things and be adventurous.

And finally…

30. The Doctor lies.