A letter to my daughter

You were born at exactly 4:00 a.m. Not one minute before, not one minute after. I looked up with the nurses, our eyes on the clock above the bathroom door, watched the minute hand click into place above the 12, the hour hand already resting on the 4. The time leading up to that moment was some of the most trying I’ve ever been through. There’s not much a Dad can do during childbirth except be there. Fetch ice chips. Turn the fan on. Turn the fan off. Put a cold towel on a forehead. Hold a hand. Say the word ‘breathe’ more times in an hour than we have likely said for the entirety of our lives to that point. That time, the minutes and hours before you, was an immeasurably frustrating experience for a man who — as I’m sure you’ll discover one day — doesn’t do well with that sort of a thing.

I was there, though. If I ever give myself credit for anything, it will be that I put my all into being there on the day you were born.

I have never been more proud of someone than I was of your Mom in the build up to you. Sweet, imperfect you. Lumpy head. Long, gangly fingers you didn’t (still don’t) know what to do with. Lungs that were only turning over for the very first time. Understand that you only existed in hypotheticals until that moment. Schrödinger’s child, there and not there at the same time.

And then, you arrived. You became you. You were.

The first time I held you in my arms, I whispered dreams to you, softly for ears not yet accustomed to the volume of hope. I still have them, all those dreams, tucked haphazardly next to the wishes I also hold for you. In case you ever need them.

It had snowed while your Mom pushed you into being. We didn’t know, not until your Grandpa told us via text. Only then did we look out the window and realize that the world had resumed running, as it always does, tick tick tick like that clock above the bathroom door.

But you had stopped time when you were born. You have that sort of magic in you.

This world, like you, is imperfect, as are the people on it. We disagree on things, some of those things bigger than others. We try. We try again. You will meet good people, and you will meet bad people, but mostly you will just meet people.

I have thought a lot about this letter. Long, long before you. I believed, through arrogance or ignorance, I could come up with words to present to you, to guide and protect you, on the day you were born. That would be my gold, my frankincense and mir. Words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into a shield immense and impenetrable and inimitable.

I never found those words.

We armed you, your Mom and I, with a name. It means “noble, kind.” We didn’t know that when we picked it out. It was a quirk of fate. It fit though, in much the same way keys fit their locks and daughters their fathers’ arms. May it always serve you well.

I don’t think you will ever understand this letter. I don’t think anyone else possibly can. Relate, maybe. But they are not me and they will never be the me I am to you. I was there when the minute hand clicked into place above the 12, hour hand already resting on the 4, with the snow still falling in a world outside a window that ceased existing in that moment because I was too busy being there, in the way only Dads can be.

And that’s the trick of this letter, you see. I was there, on the day you were born. But I never stopped being there.

I am here. For you. And I always will be.

The last time we left our intrepid hero…

So… Anything new happen since I’ve been away? *Cue laugh track*

I’ll be honest — I always expected my updates to be sporadic, and in that sense, I’m happy to see I’ve been true to form. Living up to my own underwhelming expectations! Truly, the gift that keeps on giving.

Snark aside, a lot has happened in the world in the past few months, and I’ll also be honest in saying that some of it has weighed heavily on yours truly. It’s been tough to sit down and write about myself when there’s so many other things happening way bigger than my quaint, little life. Raindrop in the ocean has never felt a more appropriate comparison.

Look, I’m not here to legislate for anyone’s political views, but for me, it was, uh, interesting to have my worldview more or less completely shattered. Some of that was this unique capacity for naivety I seem to have that I think very few children are capable of, let alone a thirty-something. That said, I retain a singular hope that despite how chaotic things have been, maybe this will end up being a good thing in the long run…

…Or maybe I’ve still got some of this naivety clinging on that I can’t seem to shake off. I’m telling you, it’s like a ketchup stain, man. Shit just doesn’t come out.

In other news, I became a Dad a month ago. Like, literally, one month ago. Jesus, I can’t believe it’s already been a month. But yes, she is precious and wonderful and in spite of an absolutely agonizing labor (which I didn’t even have to actually physically go through, so imagine how my wife feels about it), I couldn’t be more overjoyed to have joined the new parents club. I want to sit down and write something about it, but the time doesn’t feel right. Not yet, anyway.

Book stuff! That’s why some of you are here, I presume. You others must be the masochists here for the sheer pain of reading this nonsense (to wit, you’re very welcome). And so, big book news… Well, there is none. Let this be a lesson about getting your hopes up. I’m hard at work on something a little different than The Ferryman Institute but still related, and I hope that one day it will see the light of day. But that is, quite literally, a story for another time.

Finally, I feel like I’ve more or less adjusted to the concept of having an actual book in the world. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, on the whole, I think. I don’t sob uncontrollably every time I go to my Goodreads page anymore, for example. Does it still sting when someone tags the book on Goodreads with “not-going-to-finish-because-it-suck” [sic] or when a reviewer on Amazon says “I’d give the book zero stars but amazon has a minimum of one”? I mean, I went out of my way to quote those here, so clearly it does. But at this point, I’ve learned to live with it. Que sera, sera. It’s forced me to examine my writing style, which I’ve tried to tighten up, and it’s also made me look at how I treat characters in a different light. So maybe there’ll be some good out of this yet.

See? I found the silver lining. It’s cold and smells vaguely musty and I sort of wish I hadn’t gone looking for it so actively, but hey, I did it.

So that’s it for this adventure of “what’s going on in the life of Colin”. Tune in next time, where I reveal the secret of life*.

* It’s “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”.

Brushing Aside Tumbleweeds + Book Thoughts

So remember that time I started a blog and then was all like Knowing me, I probably won’t post very frequently ha ha ha and then almost four months went by without me posting again? I’d like to say I did that on purpose, but, uh… Yeah…

In my defense, a.) things have been a little busy on the home front and b.) no one is reading this as of yet, anyway, so I don’t feel as if I’ve put very many people off (that’s for down the road, obviously). Also, talking about me is not something I generally enjoy, so working up the required energy to overcome the slightly higher inertia for this sort of thing takes a bit more time. Well, it takes time, period — that rare and precious commodity that I think was the resource they were after in the movie Avatar — but you can see where I’m going with this.

In personal news, I recently turned 30, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. However, I also always assumed that’s when they whisked you away to the nursing home kicking and screaming, so for any soon to be thirty-ites, your mileage may vary on that. In addition to a truly wonderful surprise party courtesy of my wife, I received a pretty special belated present:


Yes, that’s my book. It is currently slated for release on September 27th, 2016 (that’s a Tuesday, for those keeping track). It has characters, and dialogue, and occasionally, really, really lousy jokes. There might be a plot in there — I’m not sure, to be perfectly honest. Oh, and there are words! Lots of them. Some even arranged in ways that make sense (usually not, though).

I, personally, have never held a book with my name on the cover (well, aside from the one I did in 4th grade called “Will You Help Me With My Homework?”, when I had to use those tiny sticker letters for the cover that were impossible to pull off the sheet without some kind of neurosurgical training… *shudder*) and, honestly, it’s a strange feeling. I’m also a strange person, so that might be an easy explanation — Occam’s razor and all that. My agent Hannah asked me about a year ago, after we’d just sold it, if the reality of being an author had started to set in yet, and to be honest, it hadn’t. I think there’s a certain shock element to it — the “I can’t believe this is actually happening” effect, commonly abbreviated in medical speak as WTF — but it still felt like a distant, surreal thing. Fast forward to now, and once I flipped the pages for the first time — pages that had, to that point, been almost exclusively digital — things suddenly started to feel exponentially more real. People are actually going to read this (maybe more people than just my parents and wife) and that is simultaneously exhilarating and unbelievably terrifying.

Complete strangers are going to judge this book, as they should because life is subjective. I can already tell you that my writing style (a generous term for it, I think. I prefer “word vomiting”) isn’t for everyone. And that’s cool. I can live with that. Out of the gate, I think being able to disassociate book criticism from personal criticism is going to be tough for me because — and many people have already touched on this — sharing any creative work invariably means that you’re sharing a part of you. But that very idea that people I’ve never met before, who I probably never will, are going to form opinions about it, be they good or bad…

Exhilarating and unbelievably terrifying.

For me, if you asked me right now what I hoped for from this endeavor, I’d say a book that readers enjoy. I don’t need to set the literary world on fire (though I’ve got my book of matches ready, just in case). I’m just hoping to tell a good story, maybe earn a laugh or two along the way, and hopefully get the chance to do it again in the future. I’m not being falsely modest when I say that sometimes I wonder how I even got here. But whatever happens, I’m proud to call this book my own. I think, at the end of the day, that’s all I could have asked for.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about the book in the weeks and months ahead, I’m sure, as there’s still some time until its release. If you’d like to pre-order it, you can find some handy links to some common booksellers on the book’s S&S page. If you prefer to support your local bookstore, the IndieBound link here can hook you up to your local shop (like the ever-awesome Word) or if you’d like to skip that and go right to the online corporate book goliath (are we still calling them that?), you can pre-order it on Amazon here.

Finally, two quick notes: first, a huge thank you to Tottenham Hotspurs, for bringing some joy to an otherwise dour Arsenal season, and second, Uncharted 4 is really, really good. If you want to study a masterclass in dialogue in any medium, look no further.

That about wraps that up. See you again in… Oh, four or five months.

Blog.print(“Hello World”)

So, this is my blog. Me being Colin, you being the Google web crawler bot, most likely. There are many blogs like it, I’m sure. I can promise you my posts will be sporadic, rambling, and generally incomprehensible, which I think covers all my bases as far as “necessary components of an author’s blog” go. Also, because it needs to be said: No, Mom, this isn’t where you go to search for things — you want Google.

To be honest, I don’t really have any concrete plans for this place. I started this mostly because I wrote a book, and sometimes I’d like to talk about it with people who aren’t my wonderful wife, Carly (MWWC for short) or my Dad, both of whom will probably hang themselves the first chance they get if they have to hear about “the book” anymore. I don’t intend to post exclusively about that, though, mostly because I’ll hang myself if that’s all I talk about.

If you can tell by my Twitter account, following Arsenal FC occupies a fair amount of my time. To any of you misguided souls who have the misfortune of supporting any other soccer/football club, you have both my condolences and assurances that I do not gloat about the Arsenal — I fear the karmic wrath of the football Gods in the same way I fear  a President Donald Trump. I also grew up playing video games, and since I have yet to actually grow up, I still do, so I imagine that topic will crop up on occasion.

Whatever happens, hopefully this will be the first post of many to come. I doubt it, because, ya know, ME, but still. Positive thoughts.