I Swear, I’m Still Alive

Let me start off by misquoting Twain and say, “The Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I swear I’m still here. I’ve just been going through some personal issues lately and while I have been writing, (at least some, but not nearly as much as I would like) my social media efforts have been forced to take a back seat. Without going into too much detail I can tell you that while it’s not the most ideal situation, I have come to a solution so I can now get back to living my life. At least my trials and tribulations will make good story fodder. Right?

I have to admit something. Thanks to everything going on, I have broken my new year’s resolution. While I tried desperately, I haven’t written every day. Truth be told, I fell into a pit of depression over my situation and some days, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and go to my daily (well, nightly) job. Even when I was writing, most of it was unfit for human consumption.

Anyway, now that the worst is past, I can get back to the business at hand. I have two stories in need of editing. I’m hoping to have at least a few stories published in the next few months. As you can see, I’m back to being my usual over-optimistic self. It’s time to make this writing career a reality.

I’m afraid that’s about all I have for you today. I will ask all of you for a favor. Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, please send good vibes my way. I could really use them right now. I promise you this, I will be back next week.



It’s Time To Nut Up Or Shut Up

Friends, today I received some bad news. At the end of summer my current job, which I have worked faithfully for the past seven years, will no longer exist. I received this news just before it was time to go to bed and thus, rather than sleep, spent the day tossing and turning in bed as I progressed through each of the stages of grief. In the end, believe it or not, I found serenity.

Serenity ship
I wish

After much considering and a little gentle prodding from my wonderful girlfriend, I realized I had two options.

1. I could start looking for another job where I’d be miserable and earn a pittance while making someone else rich. Or…

2. I could stop talking about becoming a successful writer and actually work full time at making it happen.

The first option would be the smart route. I would have a steady paycheck which I could count on to be there and maybe even get something with some benefits. But would I really be happy? I think we all know the answer to that.

Admittedly, the second option will be downright terrifying, but as they say, fear is an excellent motivator. If failure is truly not an option, then I can’t let myself fail. Besides, all the best writers had something I don’t. They were hungry, both figuratively and sometimes literally. The fact of the matter is, I’ve gotten way too comfortable in my current job anyway and spend far too much writing time doing other things than writing. (Damn you Netflix.) It always seemed like there was more time. Well my friends, time has suddenly gotten exceedingly short.

Don’t worry, I’m not expecting my writing to pay a living wage right off the bat. Fortunately I have other hobbies that I think with a little hard work could turn enough of a profit to pay my bills. I am an amateur blacksmith and also make copper jewelry which I sell here. I admit there isn’t much in it right now but keep checking back. I’ll also post to this Facebook page when I add new items. I plan to add items on a regular basis. I am also going to be setting up an eBay store to sell some of my items as well as swords and knives not made by me. I will post the details here when it’s up.

As always, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JustinMKelly1. Also, check me out on Tumblr

I also have some informational e-books in the works on topics from wilderness survival to romantic advice and everything else I’ve learned in my time here on earth. I’ll post a link as soon as they’re done.

So basically, it’s time to make my dreams happen. Or as Tallahassee put it…



What Does It Mean To Be Man?

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking lately. I’ve been thinking about what I want to say with my writing and I think I’ve finally figured it out. Truth be told, it was there all the time. I just had to take a step back to see it.

Manliness. It seems to me that being a man, and I mean a real man, is rapidly becoming a lost art. Young men have no real role models to teach them what it means to truly be a man these days. They know nothing of chivalry. They know nothing of hard work and sacrifice of themselves to provide for their wives and children. Instead they are forced to turn to false role models such as musicians and movie stars to teach them to be men. In their misguided search for manliness, they instead become douchebags who think the way to manliness is racking up a long list of one night stands with women whose names they can’t even recall.

I realize writing for men may be career suicide as the majority of readers these days are women. However I can’t help but think that perhaps men might read more if there were more books out there geared toward them.

This leads me to the big question. What does it mean to be a man? I think I have a pretty good grasp on this. Luckily, I was blessed with a strong male role model in my father who did his best to raise me right. Still, I would love some fedback from you. What does it mean to be a man?

Here’s my list. Toughness, Courage, Chivalry, Selflessness, Compassion, Conviction.

Toughness & Courage: To me, these two go hand in hand. This isn’t to say that to be a man, one should go around picking fights or even being ready to fight at the slightest insult, but knowing when something is worth fighting for and standing up for it. It’s okay to be afraid, as long as you don’t let the fear paralyze you.

Chivalry: A man should never prey on or bully those weaker than himself. Whether it be children, animals, or weaker men. In fact, a real man should feel obliged to protect those weaker than himself. Women should also be treated with chivalry. Not because they are neccessarily weaker but because they are deserving of respect. This means not treating them like they are some sort of conquest to be forgotten about except when bragging in the locker room. To me it is manlier to love one woman with all your heart than to love thousands of women with one small part of you.

Selflessness: This is not to say a man should be subservient to anyone, nor that he should never get his way. He should however be willing to sacrifice what he wants in order to provide for his wife and children. I have nothing but respect for the man who spends his life shoveling shit because it provides for his family.

Compassion: To some, this might seem like more of a female trait but I disagree. Not that women aren’t also compassionate but some men seem to think that because it’s associated with women that it’s somehow unmanly to show compassion. Instead they replace compassion with cruelty in order to show their false manliness. To me, compassion is an important part of chivalry. There is nothing wrong with a man showing he has feelings.

Conviction: This is one of the most important things when it comes to being a man. Stand up for what you believe in. Some day, something might change your thinking. Until that day comes, stand up for yourself and don’t let others silence you or make you feel stupid for your beliefs.

That’s my list so far. Please comment with your definition of a man.

I should add this disclaimer. In no way am I suggesting I have mastered any of these things. They are however, qualities that I aspire to. I know I am particularly deficient in courage and selflessness but I am working on it.



My Brain Is Trying To Tell Me Something

Yesterday I had what was quite possibly the most terrifying dream of my adult life.

I was working in a warehouse at the top of an unfinished skyscraper. I had no safety equipment and I spent every second of every day in mortal terror of falling to my death. I found myself so paralyzed with fear that I got very little actual work done. My bosses kept offering me drugs to calm me. I got to the point where I was desperately clinging to a beam for dear life and refusing to let go. Finally, after all my efforts to prevent it, I fell anyway.

And I was just fine.

And now for my absolutely unqualified analysis of the dream.

For some time now I have been considering some drastic steps to jumpstart my career and leave my days of working for someone else behind me. The problem is, some of the things I have in mind are very risky and liable to cost me dearly if they don’t work out. It’s a frightening thing to think of living life without the safety net of a steady paycheck. At the same time, I’m afraid if I don’t do something soon it may be too late. In short, the dream was my brain’s not so subtle way of telling me to take the leap. I’ll be just fine. Chances are, one of these days I’ll find myself without that safety net anyway and have nothing to show for it.

It’s time to start taking chances.

It’s time to start living.