Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Coming Home: I am Kickstarting the Blog

Greetings from the Lone Star State. I hope this message finds you all well and safe. Thank you for coming back and taking the time to read my thoughts. I have been absent from this platform for quite a while now and those of you who continue to visit are much appreciated.

After much consideration, I have decided to kickstart the blog. I love writing it and hearing from all of you regarding the various odd topics I discuss here. I have missed the process of writing it, the interaction between us, and having an outlet for my opinions and thoughts. I guess there is truth in the old adage “You can’t miss something until it is gone.” I have missed the blog and I want to get it going again.

Much of the reason I have been absent has simply been a personal choice. I suppose the blog started to suffer once I started work on my book on the black panther phenomenon, Shadow Cats: The Black Panthers of North America. I toyed with the book for a couple of years before deciding it was time to either finish it or junk it. I felt it was a worthwhile project and at that point, I devoted my writing time exclusively to the book. That is not to say that I had a lot of time to write. I do not make my living as a writer; I am a teacher and until recently, a coach. I am also happily married with two daughters. My particular line of work is demanding of much time and my family gets the lion’s share of the time that is left over. You may think what about summer? You should have lots of time to write in the summer. It is true I have more time to write in the summer (hence the timing of this post) but this is also the time of year when I catch up on all the things that went undone during the school year. I remain quite busy.

Some other circumstances played into my neglect of the blog, too. After finishing the book, I was exhausted. My hat is off to prolific writers of non-fiction that requires a lot of research who are working only in their spare time. I was burned out after finishing Shadow Cats. I was seeing black panthers and other cryptid creatures in my sleep. I needed to step back for a while. I decided if I ever wrote another book it would be fiction. My logic was that it has to be easier to just make stuff up than do research, fact-checking, cross-referencing, and citing sources (I would find out that is not exactly true).

I have also reached a point in life where my parents and in-laws are getting up in years. There have been multiple health crises that have demanded the full attention of my wife and I. My youngest brother has also fallen into poor health and my elderly parents are now his full-time caregivers. They live less than 30 minutes from my home so I get over there and try to help as much as I can. Again, nothing anyone would not do for their loved ones, but it is time consuming. 

I could go on but you get the idea. What I finally decided was I needed to prioritize things in my life and make some adjustments. As a result of that decision, I left the school district where I have taught and coached for more than 20 years in order to accept a position closer to home. Instead of a 30 minute drive to and from work every day, I will be working at a school only 7 minutes from my house (that’s when the traffic is bad). I have also decided to put some other interests/hobbies on the back burner for now. My free time will be devoted to my family, my work with the NAWAC, and my writing.

While I have been absent from the blog, I haven’t been totally underground. I have continued to appear on radio and podcasts plugging the book and discussing all things cryptid. My most recent appearance was an interview on Spaced Out Radio a couple of weeks ago. I now have a personal website – Michaelcmayes.com - where my activities are summarized and the organization makes it easier to follow (I needed that even if no one else did), and have continued to write. I have tried my hand at fiction and actually had some success. Most of you know about the illustrated children’s book I did several years back with the brilliant Arkansas-based artist – and fellow bigfoot enthusiast – Robert Swain called Patty: A Sasquatch Story. I don’t know about the writing, but Robert’s illustrations make the book worth the purchase price. I have also written several short stories and am proud to announce that one of them, a ghost story titled "Troubled Waters," will be published in the fall by Hypnos Magazine. I have high hopes for a couple of other stories and hope to get them published in various periodicals over the next few months (fingers crossed). Too, I have broken my vow to never write another non-fiction book. I am currently working on a book detailing the adventures and work of the NAWAC from its formation (originally the TBRC) up to our current work in the notorious Area X. It is a story that needs to be told and should be a breath of fresh air for those who have watched one too many silly cable television shows on the subject and want to know what it is really like to pursue the elusive wood ape or sasquatch. Hopefully, there is a publisher out there that will take a chance on it as I believe there is an audience (likely, one much bigger than those who follow the black panther phenomenon) out there who are hungry for something other than retellings of the old bigfoot classics and scary campfire tales.

The blog is back. I will make every effort to post something at least a couple of time per month. While I do not think I will ever get back to posting as often as I did in the early years, I am making the site a priority again. It is true that I have said what I have to say about most of the well-known cryptid creatures out there, but will continue to mine new nuggets where I can find them and comment on current cryptozoological events more often.

It would help me to know you guys are still out there. If it is not imposing too much, I respectively request you officially “follow” the blog. This helps me to know I am not just talking to myself and might convince any potential publishers of future work that I do have people who are interested in what I have to say. It would be a huge help.

Until next time, continue to follow the Facebook and Twitter pages (where I have remained active) and I’ll let you know there when the next post is up. 

It’s good to be back.