Retirement

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS

A Christmas tree inside a home.

 

Wishing every one of you the BEST HOLIDAY SEASON !!!

 

 

 

In spite of the recent tragedies and no matter what your faith or belief is, take a moment and reflect on all of the GOOD THINGS that have, or is happening, to you!

 

 

 

After Christmas I will be working on my end-of-year post, which also marks ONE YEAR since I went live!  Sheesh, seems like only a few short months ago, but on January 1, 2012 My Personal Renaissance went live!  What an adventure it’s been.  I already know I won’t “wax nostalgic.”  I thought about tackling a Christmas tale from my past tonight, but I think not.  Let’s just see where the Muse leads me when I start typing the year ending post..

 

 

 

Once again, ENJOY THE SEASON!!!!!!

 

 

 

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

 

 

 

Dennis

 

 

 

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2013 – PROJECT #1

Writer's Digest Book Shipment

Ok,  I have an idea for my first official, genuine, bona fide, serious, magazine article.  I’ll be working on it the rest of this month, getting everything prepped for the next step – my Query Letter.  Right now I’ve submitted it for review, and once that’s done I’ll adjust accordingly and get it in the mail.  As it’s the holidays I’ll probably submit in January.  So here we go…jumping into it!

2012 has been all about preparation and training, learning the tools of this trade.  I know that I haven’t learned everything, but now I’m anxious to get rolling.  I know I haven’t wasted any time this year; as a matter of fact I’m in the home stretch of my Certificate Program (Thank You Jesus) and I’m really proud of that.  Basic Training is about done, and in 2013 I’ll be on active duty.

Thank God so far I’ve received good reviews from my instructors, so that’s an extra shot of confidence.  I’m not even worried about rejection, I’ve already had a couple of op-ed pieces I submitted this year turned down.  However, I did get a comment I posted to an article in the New York Times web site recognized by the Editors, listed with others under the “Top Comment” section. I can live with a one-for-three score now.

So next year can’t get here fast enough.  I’ve got my Voiceover plate spinning at full speed also, and as I’ve mentioned  in previous posts I’m still doing my balancing act between the two.  Big things are already under underway for that as well next year, but at this point I’m going to start detailing that in a separate blog dedicated to just voiceover.  An interesting thing I learned from my Publishing class is that almost 100% of the marketing and branding techniques are the same in both fields.  So, a VO blog will be another web life form next year, and Dennis 2.0 will just be about writing.

Oh, before I forget, I’m very happy, proud, blessed, and Thankful to have one of my earlier posts referenced by another blogger, so please check Amaya Ellman out:  ellmanbooks.com/2012/12/13/creative-nonfiction-is…

See you next post, definitely plan to get one in before New Year, as I went live with this blog on New Years Day 2012.  One year!!!  Thanks to God!

 

A Beginner’s Musings on Creative Nonfiction Writing – Summoning the Muse Part 2

Creative Nonfiction

       Here’s the rest of my essay from my Creative Nonfiction Writing class:

========================================================

While my First Assumption is crumbling, the Second is closely following. Prior to my first class, I think creative nonfiction writing meant interviews, straight reporting, op-ed pieces, and everything else falls under “creative fiction.” The first stories I read, the first assignments I write, are all in exact opposite of who I am. I thought everything has to be tales of sorrow. Personal agony, heartaches, turmoil, all for sharing. While I admire the personal courage   it takes to open one’s life to strangers, I am hesitant at first to do the same.  It’s not in me to talk about myself, let alone write about it. I’m partly sunny, glass half full, and I firmly believe there’s a pony in there somewhere.

 

I am curious about things, life, and people. I want to know what makes it work, how did they do that, what was on their mind, why did they do that? Only the DVD’s that contain the “Making of…” features are purchased. My first thoughts about this genre give me pause. One month into the writing program and I wonder if I’ve made a mistake.

 

Thankfully, I am exposed to writers like Talese and Iyer, writers who write from the “indirect I” perspective. I especially like Talese’s style. The clouds part and the birds sing again. I can do this.  There is no consent form I have to sign before publishing that stipulates, “Only stories of personal pain, defeat, despair, and/or desperation are accepted for first publication.” I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading about a father taking his infant daughter along on a mountain trail in the story “Cloud Dancing.”

 

More self-discovery occurs. I do share something of myself. I write about cloudy days. I share a story of a short-lived escape to New York City from an unhappy home. I share another story of the relationship with my stepfather. I notice I do not lose any sleep after. No one looks at me with sorrowful eyes, shaking their head in sadness. A comforting hand is not laid on my shoulder and I hear, “You poor bastard, that is just awful!”  I develop a recognition and appreciation of the courage of others sharing their personal pains, and triumphs.

 

I have developed an appreciation for the “creation” part of the process. I like it. I can write a plain description of my first trip to Los Angeles, and the thrill of seeing the Grand Canyon and the Rockies. I know now I can do better than that – I can take the reader with me, a companion on my journey. I love flying, so the window seat is mine! They’ll have to settle for the inside seat. Not to worry, I’ll paint a picture in words of what I’m seeing.

A Beginner’s Musings on Creative Nonfiction Writing – Summoning the Muse Part 1

Creative Nonfiction

       Here’s a submission from my Creative Nonfiction Writing class:

========================================================

There is a line in the movie “History of the World, Part 2” that I have adapted to describe my adventures in writing. Dom DeLuise, who’s playing the Emperor Caesar, interrupts the activity and declares, “Wait, the Muse is upon me, I must recite a poem.” I think about that line often as I write my essays for the Creative Nonfiction Writing classes I’m taking at Emory University. For my purpose, I change it to “Please, Muse! Come unto me. I must write!”

After eight months of writing – correction, seriously writing in preparation of doing this for the rest of my life, I’ve learned more than just the elements of nonfiction writing. I’ve learned about myself as a writer, and about how I fit into the world of nonfiction writing. In addition, there are the “The Assumptions” that I had about writing that were quickly proven false. Not a discouraging discovery at all, but definitely giving me pause…albeit only for a moment or two to reorient myself, not abandon the journey.

The First Assumption: Creativity can be summoned out of thin air. It’s connected to a switch one can flip. The Muse is not fleeting, fickle, and acts on her own whim. She comes when called, especially when she’s told the due date. Open the file, fingers ready on the keyboard, and wait… wait…wait for the words to be whispered into my ear.

The Second Assumption:  Nonfiction Creative Writing doesn’t require any emotional investment, any part of me, to be a part of the writing process. In addition, I don’t pay attention to the “Creative” part of the genre name; at least I initially don’t give it the proper respect. My thoughts are on magazine articles, straight reporting. A book will come later. I’m thinking “should be no problem, just slap the letters on the page and they’ll tell the story automatically. How much thinking is required?”

I am enrolled in the program to fulfill one of my lifelong ambitions – to write. I’ve done some before, the most serious effort occurring during my brief time writing for a new, local magazine that lasts only a few issues. All I write are interviews, and what I know about writing at that time results in my practically creating a public relation piece for the subject. No probing questions, no insightful queries, no warming up to make anyone reveal inner thoughts, no Sixty Minutes make ‘em sweat questions.

For over thirty years, any writing I do is for my corporate job, and it’s predominately technical. There’s no “creativity” in writing procedures for ordering routers, summarizing internet capacity growth, or writing meeting summaries. I’m thinking I can carry the same process to creative nonfiction writing.

With caution written across his face like the wanderer who has seen the horrors that lies ahead, Dennis pointed out to the team that, unlike the halcyon days under previous ownership, our new direction, swept along by the winds of change that affects both local and remote offices, now carries us to the vast expanse of unchartered territory and new opportunities.  The project was approved by all department representatives present, and will be forwarded to all affected Directors by COB Thursday. 

Everything I learn batters at my assumptions like waves upon a sand castle. I begin by purchasing enough books on writing to open a bookstore branch, and the first books I read are about the process of writing. Free writing, Journaling. Collections.  I try them all. The First Assumption becomes shattered, as they run head on into my impatience. Ah, what did I read about writing becoming a journey of self-discovery? The first steps are taken. Collecting and journaling implies time. A process…a long, slow process in my mind. A moment occurs… write it down…for someday I can use it. “Someday” is a concept I struggle with in every aspect of my life. “Now” is a concept that comes easily to me, sometimes to my benefit, sometimes to my detriment. I “now” learn that I, as a writer, must work with the Muse. Call upon her, but be damn sure I’m ready when she replies. I “now” learn that to be a better writer, I have to be as patient with this as I have to be in other parts of my life. Think, and let the words come together.

Free writing works best for me. Let me add, “As advertised.” As prescribed, I just write and write with my subject in mind. Ah, done. All thoughts are now on paper. Now I have to remember to be patient, and reshape the thoughts into a coherent structure. Structure, an area needing more development. Even with the brain dump, I still stare at the words, calling on my Muse to magically move them around. I  now know that there’s still another step I must take. It’s a lesson I’ve learned from golf – a simple little thing called “practice.”

I see the same mantra repeated in just about every book I’ve read – “the more you write, the better you’ll become.” Practice. The Muse has been speaking to me. I’m asking for magic – yesterday, thank you, please. The Muse is telling me her magic requires things of me: practice, and patience. The First Assumption has been washed away.

… to be continued

ONE YEAR

Hourglass

September marks one year since I retired and started the second phase of my life – Dennis 2.0. I wanted to spent the rest of my life doing what I wanted to do, to pursue the things that I always wanted to do. My interest in writing and photography and using my voice .

I am writing under “Dennis 2.0”  

I am Voiceover under “Dennis Young – Voice Talent.”

Everything under my own, personal,  Renaissance: Resurrection of Dreams Deferred”

All of my efforts this past year have boiled down to laying down a foundation. I’m not a published author or in-demand voiceover artist – yet, but I’ve done a LOT to set me on that path. I’ve had a ball going to classes and rediscovering the joy of learning things. I’ve been able to do new things and meet lots of wonderful people, live and on-line. Just recently traveled to Chicago for a voiceover convention, learning and networking.

My life has settled into a nice routine around the two interests. My writing program at Emory is going quickly. I’m almost finished. Right now working on a piece about street preachers.

My voiceover pursuit keeps me really busy. I have learned this is going to take a LOT more work than I thought. Not a bad thing at all, as I’m enjoying the journey. As I mentioned, just came back from a trip to Chicago for voiceovers. I am also part of a very strong Atlanta voiceover networking group. Lots of conference calls, meetings and training sessions, and they’re all beneficial.

A lot of stuff happening, and that’s what I enjoy. I had no intention of just retiring to watch grass grow. I was very, very miserable during my last year of work. I never wanted to be the person who came home everyday complaining about work. It had gotten to the point I hated Sundays because it meant going back to work the next day. Which meant I hated Saturday nights because next day it was Sunday. I couldn’t enjoy he time away from the job because I was too busy thinking about it.

For years I kept trying to get into the media end of the business, and outside of a few volunteer opportunities I never got anything solid. Meanwhile I was getting blessed with jobs all over the spectrum of things that never interested me. Sort of like paddling towards your goal but the currents keep sending you to other ports. And I did well at other things, with promotions and awards, which only frustrated me more because if I did well at those things then geez, what can I do with something I love???

So it’s been in my hands.  Finally. Training courses are courses I choose to take, and it’s my deadline, not a corporate target deadline.   Conference calls are ones I choose to participate in, because I want to  and need to.  Words can not begin to describe how liberated and happy I am to be doing this.

Make it or not, I have a little more control over what happens to me.  I thank God and my wife for the opportunity and blessings.

 After One Year… it  tastes and feels so good.

LOOKING FOR THE PROPHET

It’s been fun but exhausting doing research for my class paper! Attempting to profile street preachers, or as one web site calls it, “open air ministries.”

After three weeks of staking out a spot at the downtown Hooters and then walking from there to the Five Point MARTA station and also to Centennial Olympic Park I’ve only been able to get three sightings (two of the same guy in one day) and three street preachers in action. All I’m the midst of the HOTTEST days so far this summer. I did manage to get some reactions, but not a lot of dialog, and sadly NO interview. So much for my introduction to observing the profile subject. If it was a professional task (i.e. a writing assignment) I think I’d spend longer days looking around.

Since this is a work in progress I’m going to turn in something with what I have, and still pursue getting an interview. Wish me luck!

“So Dennis, what did you learn in school today?” Episode 3

Paper Earned!!!!

Black and white photograph of a Neumann U87 mi...

This week I completed my Voice-Over program at Clayton State.  I am now a

VOICE-OVER ACTOR

VOICE-OVER TALENT

VOICE-OVER ARTIST

As I mentioned on the “About Me”  page I’m going after my heart’s desires, the things I always want do, to do for real what I did for fun!  After years of trying to get on board with the media side of my old employer I can now pursue things on my own.  Did the DJ thing at house parties.  Did my little stint at WIGO radio’s “Community Broadcast Network”, pre-recorded and broadcasted at 2 in the morning one day a week for about a couple of months.  Did voice-over for company’s benefit program during my second year on the job, thanks to Barbara Russell, the Admin who liked my voice.

And yep, did the writing thing also.  Did a stint writing for the  long-defunct Lovely Atlanta magazine, although I fell down on  that job.  Remember, I’m my own “Renaissance Man.” Not that I’m trying to be the 21st Century da Vinci or be the next “most interesting man in the world.”  It’s just simply doing what I love!  Nothing deeper than that.  So my writing classes and my journey with the  written word continues along with the pursuit of this.

The Spoken Word:  Grab the Microphone!

In the meantime it’s on to implementing the voiceover part of my life.  Now that I’ve been trained (by one of the best, Mr. Vince Bailey) it’s time to follow through on  the many, many things  to do.

I have my hardware, my sound booth is set up, and my software is loaded:

  • Porta-Booth Pro sound booth w/stand
  • Perception 120 USB microphone w/shockmount ( for real work)
  • Blue “Yeti” microphone (using it so far just to practice at my desk)
  • Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio headphones
  • Audacity recording software
  • Adobe Audition CS5.5 recording software

With all of this it’s going to be quality in = quality out. I’m combining practice with learning Audition, so I’m just using at my desk for that.  Of course, you can throw my voice in the list also, seeing as how it’s the necessary item.  Speaking of which…

Adobe Audition Screenshot

What I learned: being told “you have a nice voice” isn’t enough!

If having the equipment is all that’s needed for success then I’m set.  HOWEVER… there is a special skill to doing commercials, audiobooks, voicemail greetings, etc., and hopefully I’ll put what I’ve learned to good use.  Vince did a good job of not only training us in the actual work of voice-overs, but he also covered the  business side of it as well.  The class was fun, with lots of good people in it, and all of them with incredible talent.  I fully expect to hear them on the radio or TV soon.

Among the many post-graduate tasks on my list is setting up a web site strictly for VO business purpose.   That won’t be a separate blog, strictly business.  My voice-over adventures will still be chronicled here, as it’s all part of my personal renaissance.

That’s my number two task, number one being getting my first demo clip out to the world ASAP.  There are many networks to utilize, including friends as well as the voice-over internet sites. Since I’ve already established a  web presence here, I’m adding my voiceover demo.  CHECK OUT MY DEMO IN THE SIDEBAR ——->>>

According to one of the web sites, the “official” spelling is now recognized as voice-over.  Right now the spelling is all over the place – voiceover, voice over, voice-over, VoiceOver, Voice-Over, etc.  So now it’s supposedly settled, per the good and wise folks who update the various dictionaries out there.

So here we are.  My next set of writing classes starts next week.  One of the courses I’ve really wanted to take, Freelance Writing, is up on Monday.  Having done the magazine stint a long time ago is still a pleasant memory and another current goal, so let’s see what happens!!