Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of Todd Crawford

Hello and welcome to "A Day in the Life of..."©, a featured guest post exclusive to my blog that's published on Mondays and sometimes, on Thursdays. On these two days, a spotlight guest will share a normal day in their lives, giving us insight on their thoughts, projects, interests, obsessions and more. Occasionally, and if we're lucky, they'll even throw in a giveaway.

And now on with the show...

About Todd Crawford 

Todd Crawford (1994) was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, where he wrote his first three books, a Clockwork in the Stars, The Final Gospels, and his anthology The Black Season. His writing style is recognized as descriptive, cynically honest yet whimsical. His works obsess over the geography of the human mind, existentialism juxtaposed with the politically religious, and nature hearkening back to the Romantic era of literature. He first published a Clockwork in the Stars through Lulu publishing, but released his latter works under the CreateSpace banner before reissuing Clockwork with his new label. Although his only currently released works have been of the literary outlet, he has indulged in other orientations of Art such as music (having composed a companion piece for his novel, The Final Gospels), film (having adapted his novella, Brighter, into a short film), and comic books. Crawford is currently working on his third (traditionally structured) novel, The Pilgrimage, an abstract commentary of politics as he is browsing agents to market the release.

Connect with Todd Crawford

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A Day in the Life of Todd Crawford: 
Todd Crawford Could Really Use A Time Machine Right Now

I wake up hung-over around Noon every day. I've never touched a drug or alcohol in my life, although I would never consider myself what some would call "straight-edge," yet I still can't shake the feeling that I woke up in a bed leapt into as a last resort in order to prevent any damage I may have otherwise caused in my latest of waking hours. I immediately grab whatever clothes are nearest as well as a bath towel before heading to the shower to wash away all lingering memories of the night. I actually enjoy my natural scent, but I find the thought of waking up in my own oils and greases rather unsettling, especially as a long-haired male who can feel the dampness of my roots pressing against the back of my skull.

After my shower (sorry to disappoint, but that's even more private business than I am willing to give out!) I typically begin my day by logging in to Facebook or spreading the pages of a comic book. I have always been fascinated and somewhat obsessive about comics, but I haven't felt this strongly about the craft since I was 12 years old. I like to consider it studying for a few potential comic series that I aim to get off the ground, but to be totally honest, I'm more likely just obsessed. The sad part is that I can feel a deeper connection to this than I feel with most of my fellow humans in this town, but more on that later! Being that I don't speak with many of my former classmates since Graduation (we'll get there, no worries now) or many people at all as of late my comrades on the Internet are some of the best social interactions that I get in a day. I'm perfectly okay with that, though, because I know that they do not want to take anything from me and vice-versa. They're probably healthier relationships than most I've had in high school, to be fair. 

Around 3 o’clock, I go downstairs and wait for my father to get home from work. I'm not the best at social interactions all of the time, but I always try to make sure to be around for when my father gets off work and we have our ritualistic family dinner. It's the one sanctity of our household, it often feels like, and one that I don't intend on breaking if I can help it. (Confession: I missed dinner today for a pizza party and four movies at a friend's house.) I usually don't get discuss my family with others because I often come off as bragging. I have this odd situation where I actually enjoy their company. Speaking of friends, I've been spending a lot of time with Randi Armour lately, a girl who has recently moved to my hometown, Greenville. This usually lasts until around 2:30 so that I can be home in time for dinner, or from 4 (or whenever she gets off work) through Midnight. (I used to stay over much later, but my family set a curfew and as shut in as I feel inside during the latest hours of the night, I would like to respect their wishes.) We'll watch movies, go to SHTZ, or go on walks, really casual-yet-entertaining things.

I go on a lot of walks, by the way, as in, at least two hours' worth of walking a day. I've heard it repeated many times on the tele that one solid hour of walking a day will help you lose weight, so I figured that if I walked two hours a day then I could be healthy and still have the liberty to eat as I please without consequence! Of course I have since learned otherwise, but the thought is pleasant, nonetheless. It's upon these walks that I really get to understand myself better. There is a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that claims "All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking," and I find that statement very amiable. I used to hide myself between the trees of what little woodland remains in Greenville, PA, but the past six months or so I've found Main Street very interesting to walk down. The street itself is lined with bars and coffeeshops, and knowing that these establishments are not only open, but quite well populated and I am not inside of - or welcome inside of - either is truly isolating. I have always tried to avoid falling prey to unnecessary clich├ęs, at least without putting my own twist on them, but one truly recalls the classic Vampyre mytho that the bloodsuckers cannot enter a building until they are invited by the home's rightful owner. Another reason I feel so repelled by the Main Street is because I was once welcome within these places, and I once conversed with their people. It all brings back a flood of memories, both good and bad. I walked the streets with a very close friend who I will never see or speak to again, and stopped to sit along benches and watch the river flow underneath the bridge. There are even more memories at the Riverside Park that I often frequent, as well. I used to trace circuits around the park with this same friend, talking or swinging (it sounds juvenile, but my concept of absolute happiness are two men in business suits dropping their suitcases and blasting off on a swingset together), but often both, until well beyond nightfall. If my memory does not fail me (and it very well may be, as I have long ago surrendered any sense of reality that belonged to my past for fiction, or "New Truths" as I like to call them) I had my second first kiss there. (Score!! ... *ahem, if you will, that is.) The park in general is a very magickal place to be, yet it is also very haunting. I feel unwelcome in this town, as if my time here has been spent, my quota of memories well past brimming and my eviction notice is long overdue. I think that in many ways, it is. The people of this town do not want me, nor do I want to live my life in such an area.

I've been really into comic books lately, as you may have heard. When I originally got 
started on them (with Sonic the Hedgehog, The World's Most Way Past Cool Comic! by Archie), I was very prejudiced and biased towards the superhero genre. It all seemed the same to me, yet just recently I have found a very deep connection to these modern mythologies. The superhero (be it Spider-Man, Batman or Iron Man, pick your choice) does not always want to go about the task at hand, and oftentimes there is a great deal of inner-turmoil within the character that the readership is shown thanks to editor's notes and thought bubbles. Recently, I have found that my relationship with my Art is not very different from those characters' to their life works. I feel that I owe it to the world to be the greatest possible Artist that I can be, and just as important as that, I owe it to myself. When I walk around Greenville I often wonder why I bother to keep up with myself, or why I haven't given up when everybody else so clearly wishes for me to, (How easy would it be for my detractors to write me off as a lunatic if I blew my brains out, per-se? "Oh, that Todd Crawford? He didn't have a clue and he was well off the deep end! Best thing he did with his life was end it," rather than seriously considering the messages I have to deliver and accepting that, hey, I may even have a point or two to make about society.) yet just as integral to Bruce Wayne as Batman is, or Spider-Man to Peter Parker, I believe that there is a similar relationship that I hold with my Art. "With great power comes great responsibility," as Uncle Ben would have it. 

To end my night, I usually head home and check all of my online profiles before retiring into bed. You may be asking yourself right about now "Wait! What about that whole writing thing!? What point is there in reading these posts if you offer no insight into your Artistic methods!?" Well, typically my Artistic process goes quite a bit like this. I spend months, sometimes close to a year this way, letting my ideas "gestate," as I like to think of it, before finally releasing them upon the paper (and you can be sure that when that time finally comes, I'm fit to burst). Just to humour you, the reader, myself, and Nely, for ever-so kindly inviting me to her fancy little page (I type that endearingly, without a hint of condescension!), let's say that this is a night where I take it upon myself to fit a little writing in before bed. I typically listen to inspirational music (whatever fits my current mood) and let the ideas possess me. I literally want them to take ownership over my mind and body, because I have been waiting, studying, and listening for so long to understand how these characters and plotlines may work, and finally I can let them just run free. I'll hear full conversations in my head, witness scenes that I am about to paint in the readers' minds, and formulate ideas revolutionary to the plot outline. Around Midnight (or earlier if my ideas just can't wait and I'm drawn to the page) I begin writing, a process that can last anywhere between two to eight hours. I write feverishly, and typically I'll have hundreds of pages lain down in weeks to make up for my otherwise stagnant nature. I often realize a lot about myself during this period, and I go to bed wholly contented. I know my place in the world, and tonight I have fulfilled it.


Thank you, Todd, for sharing your day with us and thank you, readers for taking the time to stop by. I hope that you've enjoyed today's 
"A Day in the Life of..."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of A.G. Dow (+ Giveaway!)

Hello and welcome to "A Day in the Life of..."©, a featured guest post exclusive to my blog that's published on Mondays and sometimes, on Thursdays. On these two days, a spotlight guest will share a normal day in their lives, giving us insight on their thoughts, projects, interests, obsessions and more. Occasionally, and if we're lucky, they'll even throw in a giveaway.

And now on with the show...


A.G. Dow is the author of In Dreams, a short story featured in the Wicked East Press Anthology, Wicked Bag of Fantasy Tales. Being a lover of books, she is more than happy to read and review them over on the Juniper Grove Blog, run by author Jaidis Shaw.  Dow is currently working on her first full-length novel, The Shadow Man, in hopes of releasing it by year end!

A.G. Dow currently resides in central N.H. with her super supportive husband and their beautiful, wonderfully creative young daughter.

Connect with A.G. Dow

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                                   A Day in the Life: A.G. Dow

Being a stay-at-home mom with a calendar full of play-dates, family get-togethers and a mountain of errands to run, I don’t really have a structured schedule that I follow. But, I do try to follow a typical flow pattern, a way of getting through the day if you will…and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you all today!

9:30 AM- Time to rise and shine! I’ve been asleep all of two, three, maybe four hours, so I’m certainly not looking forward to getting myself up and out of my warm, cozy bed. The AC has been running on high all night and I’m beyond exhausted, making it even harder for me to resist sneaking in another hour’s worth of napping…But, I have no choice. When my four and a half year old daughter bounces out of bed, it’s then my turn to do the same! Though, for me it’s more of a rolling process.

10:30 AM- Breakfast! Yes, it actually takes us about an hour to wake up and settle into our routine. My daughter has been running at full speed since the moment her eyes opened this morning, but I have yet to de-zombify myself which only means one thing…Time for that pot of coffee! While that’s brewing, the food is served and the music has been turned on! We like to start off with some singing and dancing; it’s fun and helps set the mood for the rest of our day.

10:45AM- My daughter has taken a break and is busy munching away, trying to get through her breakfast quickly so she can go back to performing. I now have a big mug of pure happiness in hand and sit down at the computer to check in with my emails and various social sites. It takes a surprising amount of time to look through and reply back to my messages and notifications but apparently not enough, because now it’s time for some Pinterest. Such an awful site, stealing away my precious time by sucking me in with all of its magical DIY and crafting wonders, but there’s still a cup of coffee left in that pot so I may as well spend a few more minutes pinning while I finish up!

11:30AM- By now I’m doing the housewife thing, cleaning up and getting things in order. Well, kind of. I start off doing that and always have the best intentions of finishing right away, but then get distracted by one thing or another and end up with a bunch of half-done projects going on throughout the house. I suppose it doesn’t help much that as I’m going along cleaning my daughter is doing her best to destroy all evidence of me doing any such thing. I’m starting to think she’s out to get me and she just may, she’s that good. So, with some cleaning done and a little more left to do, it’s now time to get us dressed and ready to leave!

1:30PM- We’re finally ready to get out of the house! Time for a visit with friends or family, something we do very often. I love staying connected and seeing those I care about, so 80% of the time my daughter and I are busy being social butterflies. I realize this seems awful, us out and about having fun while my husband is stuck at work six days a week, but really our social time is needed and beneficial to all of us. My daughter is very outgoing and enjoys interacting with her little buddies and partaking in whatever adventure we have planned for ourselves that day. And me, well if I’m stuck here in this house for too long I go stir crazy and end up being one unhappy camper…and no one wants to deal with that.

4:30PM- It’s been a few hours so by now I’ll try to pack up and say our good-byes, then head off with my mini-me to do some grocery shopping and most likely make a trip to Michael’s or the Dollar Tree so we can pick up a few crafting supplies. I have a hard enough time staying away from those stores but when she’s with me, it’s even harder. So why fight it? Again, being creative keeps us girls happy which then keeps the hubby happy. It’s a win/win for everyone!

5:30PM- And we’re back! Grocery shopping always takes far longer than I’d like it to but we got what we needed and we’re done with for the day! Of course, just like every other time that I run errands I come home only to realize that I had forgotten a few things that were on my list and will have to go back tomorrow. Oh joy. Now it’s time to finish cleaning up, or at least get things out of the way so my husband can walk through the door without stepping on any of my daughter’s fabulous toys…You know, all 967 of them, sprawled across every floor and doorway in this place.

6:05- The hubby is home! I’m pretty sure this is my daughter’s favorite part of the day and I’m guessing my husband’s too! It’s time to relax and hang out as a family, catch up on how each other’s day went and settle down with some grub that someone else has most likely prepared. I can cook and I used to all the time, but we hardly ever eat the same things so it has become easier to order out on most nights. I know, I’m ashamed…I’ll start cooking homemade meals again real soon, swear. After we fill ourselves up, my husband crashes on the couch for a bit, resting up after a very long day and I head over to the computer to check Facebook and such, yet again. There are messages to respond to, people to chat with, and mindless things to waste time looking at…that sort of thing. My daughter is in her playroom keeping busy, giving me plenty of false hope that I might actually be able to get some work done. There are books I need to finish reading and a review that’s waiting to be completed, oh and my writing. I could always open that up and add a page or two. I could, but I won’t be. She’s excellent at picking up the scent of productivity and will come running out of her room, making as much noise as possible until I stop what I’m doing and turn myself over to her. I should know better, happens every time.

8:00PM- Us girls have been passing the time with a couple buckets of crayons and a large stack of coloring books. It has taken me almost an hour to complete just one of my pictures while she has gone through the entire book, making sure to rip out every page and hang them all on the fridge.  Now that she’s run out of room for her multitude of masterpieces, it’s time to move on to something else. Writing! Not my writing, but hers and I’m more than ok with that. She’s all about learning and right now her big thing is learning to write, to spell out words and put them together in cute little sentences. She may not be able to read, aside from the few words she has memorized, but she really is doing a great job with her writing. When she’s done and if it’s early enough, we’ll try to get in another project before bedtime. If not, I’ll set her up with a movie or show to watch, usually something on Sprout (I love that channel for little ones!) and try to get her to wind down for the night.

10:00PM- My husband has been up long enough and is ready to get to bed! Next up, our daughter! Now that is guaranteed to be easier said than done because just like me, she will try anything to keep from going to sleep! An hour later, after many, many trips to the bathroom and all kinds blanket issues, she has finally drifted off to dreamland. Yes!! I can now stay up as late *yawn* as I need to in order to get things done.

12:00AM- At last, it’s “ME” time! The house is a tad too quiet for my liking so I usually put on the TV for some background noise. If I’m looking to veg then I’ll put on one of my shows and zone out while dubbing around online. Sometimes I’m in the mood to craft, so I’ll do that while the rest of the house sleeps and I’m free to do my thing. But mostly it means that I now have time to sit down and write!  I’ll turn on Soundscapes, a channel of pretty cool, very “new-age-y” music that helps to keep my mind focused and the ideas flowing. I know I’m supposed to be writing, and I am, but I do end up checking in on Facebook every so often to chat with a close author friend of mine who also happens to be a fellow night owl. Most will see that as a distraction but really it’s not. Helps to break things up a bit and super helpful when I need to bounce a few ideas around, to see what will and won’t work in my storyline.

And that’s pretty much how I spend my nights. I try to write whenever I can and on the nights when my head and heart just aren’t into it, I pick up one of the three books I’m currently reading and dive in! The hours pass by quickly and before I know it my husband is awake and getting ready for another crazy day at work.  I lost count of how many times I have told myself I would get to bed earlier, and yet here am again well after 5:00am and still wide awake! May as well stay up a little later and finish what I’m doing…I can always start on that new, normal schedule I’ve been hearing about, tomorrow.

Thank you, A.G., for sharing your day with us and thank you, readers for taking the time to stop by. I hope that you've enjoyed today's 
"A Day in the Life of..."

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