Last week it was February. Now, October looms on the horizon.

I don’t know if it’s the relentless advance of age or the chaotic business of life, but I feel like I’ve been going in every direction at once this year.

THE MFA

I have two courses remaining to complete the MFA in Creative Writing that I started in 2019. Until a few days ago, my thesis proposal was on track for an on-time completion. I realized last week that my proposal was so grand, so over-the-top, that I would not have it complete by the mid-October deadline.

With a heavy heart, I withdrew from the course until next year. Despite the academic and financial penalties I now face, I feel I made the right choice. I don’t want to be a writer who settles for “passing” or “just okay”. I strive to give every project, every story, every article, every poem, every blog post the best of my heart and mind.

Had I continued with the course, I would have likely passed and completed the MFA before the first frost of the year. Instead, I’ve given myself some time to redevelop my thesis project.

THE CLIENT

I started a freelance writing business earlier this year, in February actually. Before the formation of my business, I worked for one client, writing articles on demand. It has been my intention to scale the business up over this year, but that hasn’t exactly happened.

One obvious reason was the coursework that required a lot of my attention. I found myself caught in the balance between passing the courses I paid for with earning the money needed to pay for the courses. If I focused on just the coursework, I’d earn no money. If I focused solely on the business, I’d fail the courses. What a life!

I’ve been out of class for a week now, and I have thrown myself fully into the writing business to assuage the sadness of being out of class. It wasn’t a bad week, earnings wise, but I’m still ever more dedicated to working on my thesis.

My one client, who now operates three content-hungry websites, is ecstatic that I’m back on as a full-time writer. They have a laundry list of articles for me to write and interviews to conduct. Even so, I long to bring on another client or two.

As the sole writer for my business, I think three clients is the most I could handle. If any of you are freelance writers, how many clients do you maintain?

THE READINGS

Earlier this year, I wrote about my reading plans for 2021, wherein I sought to read the works of Nobel Laureates. I planned to read one author each week and target 40 authors for the year.

It may shock you, but that plan was loftier than it sounded. I’m still reading these authors, and I even have a whole bookshelf just for the novels, poetry, and other work written by the Laureates. However, the heavy reading load from the college courses revealed the chink in my plans!

Now that I will be out of school for about a year, I plan to pick up where I left off months ago. I’d just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Artist of the Floating World, and I’d even started the blog post covering my thoughts of his work. I need to finish writing that.

In addition to my noble Nobel reading list, I’ve been diving deep into learning about artificial intelligence. A large portion of my thesis revolves around the idea of AI versus Humanity, and I am not well versed in the technical aspects of AI.

One portion of the MFA thesis is a novel I’m writing that explores the relationship between AI and humans. My research for the thesis has led me to books like:

  • World Brain by H.G. Wells
  • Genius Makers by Cade Metz
  • A Thousand Brains by Jeff Hawkins
  • Algorithms Are Not Enough by Herbert L. Roitblat
  • Your Wit Is My Command by Tony Veale
  • A couple short introductions to Artificial Intelligence
  • 1 the Road, which is considered by many to be the first novel written by AI.

These are just the books and not indicative of all the MIT articles I’ve read that cover the topic. There are also some great Reddit boards that have helped me discover new ideas.

If you’re knowledgable about Artificial Intelligence, what books and sources do you recommend?

THE AUTUMN

It is officially my favorite time of year. I much prefer the cool transition of Autumn to any other season. I love the relief it provides from scorching summers as we charge into freezing winters.

I may lose one and most of my followers here, but I honestly dislike summer. It is my least favorite season. In fact, if I ranked the seasons in order of preference, it would be 1) Fall, 2) Winter, and 3) Spring, with summer not even making the cut.

The reason? I hate being hot.

I spent most of my childhood living in the divine heat of Tucson, Arizona, where I was born. As a preteen, my family moved to southern Ohio, which has a different, muggier, suffocating kind of summer heat. I hated that, too. However, for the first time in my life, I experienced all of the seasons.

Fall and Winter quickly became my favorites. This despite the frostbite I earned that first winter. Who knew you couldn’t play outside for hours and hours when it’s below freezing? I certainly didn’t. The burning cracks in my swollen knuckles also taught me that it’s not a good idea to run your frozen hands under hot water from the sink.

For a couple of my mid-teenage years, I lived a block away from the Atlantic Ocean in central Florida. It was always hot there, too, except when the winter temps would drop to the low 70’s. At that point the whole state broke out their winter clothes.

After surviving until adulthood, I joined the Army and spent the next two decades in some of the hottest places on the planet. From the soul-sucking heat of California’s Mojave Desert, to the exotic and nauseating furnace of the Middle East, I spent most of my career sweating.

Once I retired, I made two choices. First, I wanted a career that I could do from anywhere. Since my wife is still active-duty, we move frequently enough that “going” to work for someone else did not fit my desired lifestyle. Hence, freelance writing.

The second choice I made was that I wanted to eventually live someplace where summers were mild, if even existent. Iceland sounds like the most ideal, but it’s probably just because of its cool name. Maine would probably be the best place for me.

In any case, I’m glad Autumn is finally here. Summer can go suck an egg.

THE END