October 28, 2009

The Next Chapter

Man I love to write.

When I was a kid, I would write stories about nothing in particular so nobody in particular would read them. For 3 weeks when I was 10 years old I wrote a 20+ page “story” about a boy and his robot friend. (No, not A.W.E.S.O.M. – O but God I loved that episode) When I got to high school, I would get in trouble for turning in papers that were too long and too wordy. Then e-mail came along, and I bantered back and forth with friends about just about everything. Eventually I started to write about things that made me angry all the time, and lots of people started to read. It was pretty cool to have my work featured on ESPN.com, CNNSI.com, and Maple Street press. It was great interacting with readers and bloggers, taking part in “round tables” and the like. But in the end…life went on and that fire I had just kind of burned out.

This past summer, I started this current blog to at least give me a writing outlet, so that I could address issues as they came up and feed that craving that somewhere still burned inside me. But after several months…even trying to put down thoughts to screen once a week has become a burden of sorts.

So when you still want to write, yet don’t like your vehicle in which to express those writings, what do you do? Start a pet blog? Twitter away the day? (Don’t worry..I like Twitter because it’s quick and doesn’t require much thought. That’s certainly not going anywhere soon.) What do you do if you are stuck with the same old problem you tried to get away from the first time?

I’m in my late 30’s, and my path in life is pretty well chosen. Most of us from Generation X feel the same way I’m sure, as we approach 40 and try to figure out what we want to do with the back half of our lives. Perhaps you are like me? All throughout my childhood and beyond, I was timid in approaching things that I wanted to do…but didn’t have the guts to do. Later in life, the same feelings persist of restlessness and fear of failure still simmer. The way I see it…you can either try and stuff those feelings inside, or you can turn them into action, and do something about them. Even if you fail, at least you can look back upon yourself later and said, “at least I tried it.”

What I’m going to be doing is going to take away from my spare time normally spent writing blogs, watching games or yapping on message boards. It’s going to take concentration and effort and most likely will consume my spare time like nothing else I’ve ever tried before. But I say this again…if you don’t try, how can you live with yourself later on, knowing you MAY or MAY NOT have been able to do it?

Starting very soon, I’m going to shift my focus into doing something I’ve always wanted to do..but never had the guts to pursue; and that something is writing a book.

I can’t really divulge much more than that, other than I have thoroughly enjoyed my time bantering back and forth with people who both agree with me, and those who absolutely loathe me. For a long time, that jousting, that verbal sparring with friends and foes alike got me through the sporting calendar and kept me in tune with myself. But getting angry and writing long diatribes simply doesn’t light my fire anymore.

You see…to me, challenging yourself is the most noble of endeavors. All the time, we read sob stories of people who started business or personal ventures that failed. They are often pitied or even mocked. (Hell, even I mocked Aaron Taylor and other former Huskers as they failed in their attempt to open a restaurant in Omaha a few years back.) But in the end…I was very very wrong about that. (I still wouldn’t have been caught dead there, but still) People who take risks are the ones who should be envied..not pitied. People who push themselves to do better are the ones who take the hardest falls, but reap the greatest rewards. As the old cliché goes: “You can’t steal second base, if your feet are standing on first.”

I have no idea if a book that I author will ever be read by anyone other than me. I have no idea if somebody..somewhere will look at it and think, “This is pretty good…I think I’ll keep reading.” I have no idea how any of that would go. But what I do know is..I simply can’t go any further without at least finding out.

This blog is not closing, but the concept of it certainly is. I may go weeks, maybe even months without commenting on your favorite team or the teams you hate. I may throw out a random power poll or I may, at some point, feel the fire again and rant and rave on somebody or something for old times sake. For those of you thinking, “This idiot is just finding a new way to waste is time”, that’s fine. For those of you who think to yourself, “Oh sure…stop now when your team sucks”…please remember this: Your team just lost to Iowa State…at home…and all I could muster was a one word reply. THAT right there, should speak more than any speech I can come up with.

The readers of my work are often one of two people: Either somebody who agrees with me and eggs me on for more…or someone who hates my guts and simply reads my work to fuel their own rage. (Or to go on super long rants on the radio…but I’m not going to touch that one today). To all of you, I say thanks again. I appreciate the kind words and the not so kinds words. But at the end of the day…I hope you all understand that.

I’m going to challenge myself, because I think I have the skill and the patience. I don’t want to sit around wondering why I didn’t do something, when the opportunity is certainly there. I want to look back and be proud that success or failure, I was able to attempt something most people wouldn’t have the ability to even dream of.

Stay tuned for more, and thanks again for your kind and not so kind words.



  1. Then there's some of us who just read it just for a good chuckle or two, much like the way I watch Colorado football games. (I think Toledo just scored again...)

    Good luck, AJ. Whatever you write will be very entertaining when it finally comes out.

  2. AJ, I have pretty much never agreed with you, but I still have been reading your blog for 2 years now. If you write a book, I can promise you that I'll at the very least pick it up.

    Is it going to be football related? Fiction or Nonfiction? One of my favorite books of all time, Steve Smith's "Life in the Red" probably hasn't been read by more than a few hundred people, but I'm willing to bet they all enjoyed it. I would imagine you could write a pretty killer mirror version of that book.

    Anyways, thanks for keeping football fun, and I'll keep checking in here for updates.

  3. Thanks dude.

    Appreciate the support, advice and antagonism over the years. (Not that the antagonism part is going to end anytime soon)


  4. Thanks Drew...you have been a long time reader, and I really appreciate it.

    Right now, I've got a few ideas that I'm bouncing off some people. Which direction I go depends on how tough the research is, permissions etc.

    It will most likely be a fiction book based around true events or possible events. I do have one idea for a non-fiction type book, (Such as my favorite "True Believers" by Joe Queenan)...but I'm afraid the subject matter is too close. (IE - what makes fans tick)

    Sometimes, I know authors start a handfull of books, and then continue on with the one that has the most potential. We shall see.

  5. Good luck AJ. An ex-Nebraskan, now living in Colorado, I've been a quiet reader of your blog for over 2 years and must confess that I enjoy both the design and prose of your site. I look forward to buying your book. Check your website logs for my IP address and then look me up me using reverse DNS - I'd enjoy meeting you in person if you're ever in the
    front ranage area. Drinks are on me!

  6. Thanks..appreciate that. Long long long way to go til it's done, but you guys will be the first to know. :)

  7. AJ

    A fond farewell from a Husker fan who read your posts for the last few years while peaking through my fingers. I think one of the truest tests of a writer is to produce actual emotions from those who are reading it and I must admit you produced them in me. Often it was a general quesiness in my gut hoping that what I was reading would not hit to close to the truth. Mostly though it was with a hesitant mirth as I saw a gifted puppet master pull his strings. I would chuckle to myself as I read along, laughing at how you were riling up stupid Nebraska fans, only to find myself eventually getting sucked into the fray and finding out I was getting ticked off as well. Many of your posts were so over the top that they were comical but still acted as a kick in the gut. I hated you for that, didn't want to give you credit for it and especially hated myself for continually coming back. But come back I did because I was curious as to how you would accomplish it each time. I have long said that I wish there was a pro Nebraska fan with your abilities. Maybe it takes years of pain to develop those skills. If so Nebraska fans should finally be producing some competant writers in the very near future. I wish you luck with your book and am releaved that I no longer have to debate with myself on whether or not I click on your link. Curious to see what this weeks diatribe contained but not wanting to give you the satisfaction of my hit. It pissed me off when I finally succomed to looking, and pissed me off more knowing that you knew it pissed me off. For that you win, and I offer my humble congratulations.

    Anyway enough with the lovefest. Although I wish you luck personally I still hope Missouri continues to fail with epic proportions (continues by the way not starts) and Gabbert's leg eventually falls off.

    I look forward to checking your book out of the library.

    A Husker in KC

  8. Never really seen it put that way, but thanks I will also note that the library comment was a tactical ploy to avoid saying you would pay for the book, yet read it anyway.

    Well done.

    I'll continue to post thoughts here and on twitter, but it's time to take the next step. Again, thanks for the uhhhh..kind (?) words.

  9. AJ,

    I've been visiting your site for a couple of years—and at the very least, its been entertaining. From a Husker fan's perspective, when you are at your best, your writing is been witty, sarcastic and painfully truthful—poking holes in our fan myopia. When you are at your worst, your writing comes off angry and absurd. But I keep coming back(and so do others) so you must be doing something right.

    That being said, this blog doesn't seem to have the fire that the earlier one did. Maybe the idea and content has run its course. Maybe, like you said, you need a new outlet. I hope it goes well for you. Honestly, thats the only way it can go.


    J.C. Keller

  10. Missouri Husker FanOctober 30, 2009 at 6:24 PM

    I'm with JC Keller. Sometimes it's been a riot, sometimes merely amusing, sometimes I'd just roll my eyes and move on. You're a skilled writer when you make the effort and you've managed to put me on the defensive on occasion because you know where the buttons are for us hicks in Husker Nation. I probably won't miss you much because I'll continue to read Husker Mike and Corn Nation and Big Red Network and the like. And since I live in Missouri, I can get plenty of what you've been dishing out at work. But still, may success be yours. So what's next, a book on anger management? Maybe you'd find it therapeutic. ;-)

    Best to you, AJ, and Go Big Red!

  11. MHF, you've been a complete dick to me for quite some time, but I appreciate the honesty. I must not have sucked too bad if you guys kept coming back for more.

    Which reminds me...if you remember before 2007...I almost NEVER mentioned Missouri at all. Hell, the only reason I did to start with was because they won 22 games in 2 years, which coincided with Nebraska's fall from orbit. Bottom line, you can read Mike, Jon, CB and those guys, and if you're a Husker fan..that's cool. They're good guys and very skilled.

    But if you want to get fired up and throw down..you come to me. Obviously you guys also knew I was never 100% serious, or you wouldn't have come back.

    Regardless, keep checking in from time to time, or check out my twitter feed. I'm not going too far.

  12. Missouri Husker FanOctober 31, 2009 at 10:03 AM

    HA! Funny you'd call ME a dick! But yeah.... nobody throws down like you, even the guys at work. It's been fun and I know where you've been coming from, and I'd just throw it back. Anyway, one dick to another, if your books subject matter appeals to me, I'd read it. If I were still drinking, I'd buy you a beer. Bottom line, we both love college football!


  13. Thanks Dude...appreciate it. It's been a good ride.

  14. Jesus... when you said that what you were planning on doing was going to take away all your spare time, I thought for sure that deck-zilla #2 was going to built.

    As a Husker fan, I loved reading both blogs, and wish you well on all your future endeavors AJ!

  15. Yeah, Deckzilla took a lot out of me...gonna take a whole winter to recover. Appreciate it though.

  16. AJ... saw this article in the WSJ today and thought it might interest you, based on your forthcoming quest: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703740004574513463106012106.html

  17. How about a power poll? Just kidding.

    Seriously, good luck AJ...

    I will have to come in and drop this on ya every once in a while

    Working on that novel?