arts

Announcing My New Book!

Nothing I've ever experienced quite compares to the excitement of a book launch. I've waited for this day for a very, very long time. I'm incredibly excited to present to you my first traditionally published book! This book contains everything I've learned in my nearly two decades of crafting a career as an indie author. I've done my best to write an honest and helpful book for writers going through the same struggles that I did. It's my wish to help save you time in reaching your goals as an author. I can't thank you enough for your comments and your support. Writing, and my communication with you, add immeasurable substance and happiness to my life.

If you are a writer struggling to achieve your ideal writer's life, please give this book at try. If you know an indie writer, please share the link with them.  One Word At A Time is available today in paperback format on Amazon.com and from Barnes and Noble.com. The eBook version can be found in iTunes and across most other eBook platforms.

Click here to view the announcement from the publisher!

One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author

Ditching Satellite Television - Eight Months Later...The Conclusion

As many of you might remember my wife and I got fed up with the insane cost of satellite TV earlier this year and decided to seek out other alternatives. We opted to try a digital antenna (Amazon.com, $30 one time cost) which brings in 24 free stations from the air and AppleTV (refurbished from the Apple Store, $79 one time cost). We subscribed to HuluPlus and Netflix through AppleTV for a total monthly charge of under $17.00 versus the $130 per month we paid for satellite television. We're eight months into our experiment and have discovered a few things, some of them we expected and some we very much did not. Obviously, we love the cost savings. The total return on the investment of $109 for the antenna and AppleTV was made back the very first month after we cancelled our satellite tv subscription. We have $100+ more in the bank now at the end of every month. What's not to love about that?

Now it’s going to get real. First, there was the honeymoon period. For the first few months our excitement over the cost savings carried us through with smiles on our faces. For me, doubt began to set in around the third month. We found ourselves starting to grumble about the lack of good things to watch on tv. Although Netflix does have really good independent and foreign films (which I love), the bulk of their mainstream movies are horribly outdated for the most part. HuluPlus? Forget about it unless you missed all of the bad movies from the 1980's and 1990's. AppleTV has a vast variety of current movies but our internet connection isn’t fast enough to stream them. For more current movies Redbox is a great option.

Over the air TV programming during our peak viewing time of 6 to 8PM consists of nightly network news, Wheel of Fortune, and a few sitcoms. The former of which bombards you with a steady stream of depressing/negative stories, fear mongering, and mostly nonsense. Our savior has been a combination of PBS and a weak local over-the-air channel that plays reruns of 1970's sitcoms like MASH and Sanford and Son.

Now for some of the things that we weren't anticipating. We are watching far less television. As a result we have more of our time to do other things, like read, listen to good music, exercise, and write (for me). This has enhanced our lives in ways that are both measurable and in many ways that aren't. We find that we aren't zoned out in front of the tube so we talk more. About six months into the experiment I noticed that my brain isn’t as fuzzy, my mental recall is faster, and even my perception of reality had become vastly different than it was before.

Even before this experiment began we watched far less television than the average American. Still, this transformation took a full six months to start to occur. Once I reduced my television viewing I began to realize on a deeper level that the importance our society places on celebrity gossip, consumerism, and trends seem utterly ridiculous given the more serious things going on in the world. Some programming seems like an absolute insult to your intelligence.

Eight months into life without satellite TV life is different but I can assure you that it’s better. I feel more intuned with my body and soul, I feel healthier physically and mentally, I have more free time, and there’s more money in my wallet. I realize that more than our television was deprogrammed as the result of canceling that satellite television subscription! In conclusion, although I miss American Pickers and a few other shows, the positives far outweigh the negatives. A veil has been lifted and our lives are so much better for it.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Inspired

Image I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the world was being completely engulfed by consumerism. Yesterday, something happened. My faith was renewed at the Saint Paul Art Crawl. It was so inspiring to be surrounded with that much creativity, intelligence and interconnectedness.

For thousands of years, this is what humans did best, we made things either for survival or fun that allowed us to express our awesome power of creativity. Unfortunately, the modern world doesn't encourage the average person to use creative expression. Really, who has the time?  In the last hundred years the powers that be have tried their best to mold us into one thing, consumers of corporately produced goods. This has largely succeeded and as a result we are more disconnected and often confused as a species. An important part of who we are has been forgotten and it's created a huge void that try to fill with countless other things.

I was reminded yesterday that there is a great and growing underground community of artists and musicians out there trying to change this. Although you'd never know this by tuning into the media.  These individuals are attempting to regain a bit of what has been lost and integrate it back into our lives again. For this, I commend them.

To hold something born of someone's mind and made of their two hands helps us to reconnect with the awesome power we have lost. As a species, we have such depth, talent, so much intelligence within us.  We are so much more than we are lead to believe, the power is just waiting to be awakened.

I liken being a creative person today to being a circus juggler. Often times we have keep two lives in constant motion, one to pay the bills, the other to practice our chosen craft.  It's exhausting and both lives suffer for it. The luckiest among us have found a way to successfully merge the two but most of us only dream of doing so.  It is the hope of one day joining these two aspects of ourselves that keeps us going.

I saw a prayer hanging by the door of an artist's studio, beautifully stamped into a square of  tarnished copper, "Artist's Prayer - Lord, please allow me to live the kind of life that they think I do".  This says it all.