The Top Five Things I Did When I Disappeared

I am not one to make blog posts about News of My Life, mostly because my life just isn’t that interesting. Like everyone else, I breathe, I eat, I work, I sleep and I scratch myself inappropriately at random times. In my opinion, this does not qualify as what the Interwebs calls “content.” That said, I have not created a blog post since February, thus you may be asking, as you might ask Jesus if you ran into him in the wine aisle at Safeway, “Hey, where have you been?”

Though I promised to be a more diligent blogger with my previous February post, it simply wasn’t in the cards. Regardless of the amount of duct tape I threw at the problem, it turned out there are only 24 hours in a day, and that wasn’t about to change. Therefore, I present The Top Five Things I Did When I Disappeared. I decided to do this as a Listicle because search engine algorithms apparently still love listicles (not to be confused with Fisticles, the 5-part porn series that promised to “open more than your mind”). I present these in no particular order, so if “I Took Care of My Kids” shows up third on the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a lame parent.

I Took Care of My Kids. Ok, I just guilted myself into doing this one first. Single-parenting is like having a 20-hour, part-time job where your boss comes up and says, “Would you mind working another hundred hours?” This year, we put the kids on the swim team, which unbeknownst to me is like enrolling your kids in the Jonestown Cult, but without the highly-unfortunate Kool-Aid. None the less, the kids had fun (which is parent-speak for “the kids inherited my complete lack of athletic ability”).

I Spent My Nights Writing About Umbilical Cord Storage. I needed to make ends meet, as my ends typically have one-night stands and never see each other again. So, after the kids went to bed, I got paid to write various 800-word blogs for a cord-blood storage company. I wrote or edited about twenty of these, most of which were variations on the theme of, “Only Parents Who Hate Their Children Don’t Store Their Baby’s Stem Cells.” This is exactly the lifestyle I had in mind when I chose to be a freelance writer. Exactly.

Money from blog writing
My first pay day from writing blogs. Or maybe it was selling crack. Tomato/Toh-mah-toe.

I Developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Boy, did that suck. I will devote a few solid posts to this particular development, but about four months ago, I thought my heart was going to explode in my chest and did some general freaking out (hence the “General” in “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”). I attribute this affliction to burning the candle at both ends, then taking a blow torch to the middle of it, and then dropping the whole thing in a bonfire. In medical parlance, this is known as “unhealthy,” and apparently not a good thing.

drinking Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley
Anxiety? What Anxiety?

I Finished My Second Novel, Pairs With: Life. Though I was able to complete a first draft in just over seven months, it took me an additional three to edit a draft I’m ready to throw out into the world. I will lay all modesty aside and say that I’m really pleased with this project. I’m going to spend the next month researching literary agents, then start the querying process in September, which means I should be getting my daily dose of rejection just in time for the joyous yuletide season. I’ll also post the final draft of the first chapter on this blog in the coming weeks.

I Collaborated With Elon Musk On A Method To Detect Wine Oxidation As It Occurs In The Bottle. No, I didn’t. But I ran out of things to say. And it sounded almost believable.

With the novel out of the way now, I promise I’ll be devoting more time to these blog pages, and as my ex-wives used to say, this time I’m not lying. On an actually-sincere note, I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of my work, and patient with me while I’ve been holed-up in the cave. What little of my sanity that remains is because of you. Someday, we’ll all get together for a glass of wine. As long as you bring the wine…

Reappearing After Five Months Pairs With:  The 2014 Nellcôte “Rallye 76” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Nellcôte is a new project (’14 is the first vintage) spearheaded by Tyler Olbres, who sold his marketing communications firm to devote himself full-time to developing Nellcôte’s distinctive style. As Olbres describes it, “Nellcôte is inspired by over a decade of living in St. Jean-Cap Ferrat in the South of France and draws on influences from the worlds of design and luxury autosport.”

Me & Troy: Hardening arteries since 1996.

His firm must have been worth a buck or two, because Olbres spared no expense on this project, including hiring Phillip Corallo-Titus, the esteemed winemaker from Chappallet for over twenty-five years (who also makes wine under his family brand, Titus Vineyards). The 2014 Rallye 76, named in honor of Ferarri race cars, achieves incredible balance despite putting the “forward” in “fruit forward.” This is the style of wine that Robert Parker should go full-boner for, though it’s also more understated than most Napa cabs. This may be more a character trait of the vintage, but after my buddy Troy and I paired this wine with All The Meats, I concluded that Olbres was trying to establish an old world, food-friendly style out of the gate. A most welcome new appearance in the valley! Visit the Nellcote website.

16 thoughts on “The Top Five Things I Did When I Disappeared”

  1. Welcome back my dear friend!! Aaaaah life…ain’t it a peach sometimes?! Of course, the alternative is far more unpleasant. I am certain that the great Karmic wheel is now spinning on the upward slope for you as it tends to do after months of smacking you in the head. Really looking forward to more literary musings from you and the inevitable moment when I can say to the world – “I knew him before he became that rich and famous author/musician/actor/raconteur douche bag”! Love you man!!!

  2. Welcome back! Was wondering where you’d gone. Congratulations on the book and good luck with the next phase – I look forward to reading more. So maybe today’s the day I bump into Jesus at the Publix (Safeway for southerners). Cheers!

  3. So great to have you in my inbox again! Wow that sounded much less inappropriate in my head. Anyway, I think you should just self-publish online. You know we’d all buy your book. Can’t wait for Chapter 1! Bottoms up.

  4. Generalized anxiety disorder is no joke, you have my sympathy! Both Brett and I have had it, and nothing kicks your ass like that heart pounding unexplained anxiety attack. Glad you’re feeling better, novel ready to shop around, and plenty of heartfelt stem cell banking testimonials under your belt. Rock on you crazy diamond!

  5. I know I’m only one person, but you can at least count on one sale when you publish your book And if nothing else we can talk about our mutual anxiety disorders! Glad to see you back, and as always, hanging on your every word. XO

  6. Mistress of Toad Hall

    John, so very good to hear you are on the up and up. I suspect that many, if not all, of your followers have experienced the trials you have just described. I personally have had no experience with self-publishing. Back when I was actively trying to get published it was simply waiting for someone to make a decision about your work. Ialways felt lucky when I got a personal rejection letter. LOL Well, not as bad as a printed one. Now, however, you have a wonderful array of ways to go. I’m so delighted that you’re moving forward. HANG IN THERE, i know good things are just ahead.Much, much love from your Aunty Susan

    1. Thanks, Aunty Sue! One of the coolest things about the publishing world these days as that you typically receive incredibly gracious email rejection letters from literary agents. Though they may be form letters, they are effusive with apologies for having to reject your hard work, and encourage you to keep looking for that right agent. It’s a far cry from the band days, where A&R guys would yell “Don’t give up your day job!” from the audience and walk out of a performance 😉

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