Conquering fears

24 Sep

There’s a lot to talk about so let me get the housekeeping out of the way first. The video above is part of a story that’s running in Saturday’s newspaper, part of the ongoing online identity series.

I shot and edited the video and I think it’s the best video I’ve done, content-wise. It says exactly what I wanted to get across and is very close to what the story says. I dread editing video and it always feels like I’m having to learn how to do it all over again, but I feel like the time I put into this one was worth it.

Going back a week, I did a story in advance of the big Austin City Limits Festival about some of the technology from AMD, Dell and others behind the scenes and how they were planning to live-stream big chunks of the fest. There was also a video I shot for that you can find below.

On the day of the Emmy Awards, I had a piece run in which I tried to make the case that Friday Night Lights should win the Best Drama Emmy. Of course, it didn’t, but I was still thrilled that the show won a writing award and that Kyle Chandler walked away with an Emmy for acting. I’d call it even.

And in Friday’s paper, I wrote about a large grant awarded to the University of Texas Advanced Computing Center to build a giant, devastating supercomputer called “Stampede” that will one day rule us all (benevolently, I hope).

I recorded and posted a new Digital Savant podcast, the first one in about two months, with Michelle Greer, who is leaving the Austin tech community, a loss for all of us in the area.

And lastly, this week’s Digital Savant column was about Fantastic Arcade.

That’s a lot of stuff, right? Allow me to explain.

The week before Labor Day, right before I went on vacation, our editor abruptly resigned. I tried really hard not to think about it and to dwell on that during my time off, but when I came back to the office, the mood around the office had changed and ever since I’ve been feeling the void.

Fred is someone that I had always tried really hard to impress in all my time working on his staff. In that way, he was very much like a parental figure for me. He’s not an easy person to blow away and when I knew I’d done good work that earned praise from him, it always meant a lot to me. He’s also a very funny person (in a bone-dry Texas summer kind of way) and I respected his opinion and his hard-assedness about things even when I didn’t agree with him.

The one time I ever cried in frustration about something work-related, it was in his office. He kindly, quietly, passed me a box of Kleenex.

His leaving has left me feeling a bit adrift, as have other changes as the paper. I’m not job hunting or worried for my livelihood or anything, it’s just big changes in a short amount of time. We’re all adjusting, some staffers more than others. For me, I think I’ve been working harder, trying to take on more things, unwilling to allow myself to pace myself like I should. I’m panicking, maybe, and probably unnecessarily.

So I’m trying to be better about that. I do miss Fred, though. He was a looming authority figure in my life — in the best possible way.

Outside of work, I’m working on a few writing projects and the summer laziness has given way to trying to remember what it’s like to be busy again and be juggling a bunch of things.

The big writing project I’m working on with my friend Tracy is actually making some progress and it’s scaring me a little. I write a lot, all the time. but I’ve never actually written a single volume of anything longer than about 100 or 200 pages (and that was unfinished). You could add up all the recaps I did for Smallville and it would be a few thousand pages, probably, but it’s not the same as trying to build something cohesive and I’m trying really hard not to scare and intimidate myself into being paralyzed into not doing it. Apart from Tracy being one of the friends I’ve kept the longest and being a funny and knowledgeable writer, I think I want to write with her because I’m been fearful of doing it completely alone.

That’s one reason I’ve never written a book. I’ve been too afraid of failing at it or doing it and realizing it’s not good enough to get published.

Lilly is getting old enough that she’s aware of the concepts of tomorrow and of wishes and, strangely, unicorns, which she wants to see at a county fair we’re going to this weekend.

She’s reached the age where she can see what tomorrow might be like and hope for things to be there. She’s not afraid of that future; she wants it to get here as soon as possible.

I’m trying to shed some fear, too, and to build a life where my kids embrace possibilities and don’t shut down their own abilities before they even have a chance to get used.

I’m going to try to lead by example.

I need to write. Because, clearly, I can’t draw.

4 Responses to “Conquering fears”

  1. Tracy October 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I am either incredibly touched by this or scowling at you setting me up to be the fall guy if we wind up on the $1 table outside of bookstores all over the country.

    • Omar G. October 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

      I would consider that a success, actually! I would take the fall for that, definitely.

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