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April 1, 2017

Last Column

by Webmaster

On Dec 31, 2014, I closed my web business. After 38 years in the computer business, and 16 years building web sites, I needed a change.

But, nice people came to me and asked me politely if I would build a web site for them. I wasn't doing much at that time, so I did.

On Jan. 1, 2016, I began to clean out my house. I don't mean a usual Spring cleaning. I mean an evaluation of everything in the house, starting at the top and working my way down toward the basement. In May, 2015, my basement flooded. The water-salvage people threw away many things. To this day, I don't know what's left in my house, and better, I don't miss it. But, since May, 2015, many of the things we rescued have been stored one level up. So, that level did not get cleaned out. I still can't even get into one room.

In the mean time, I built more web sites, because people asked, and put on a cowboy gathering, because people asked.

And the change I promised myself over two years ago didn't happen. I'm still not done cleaning out my house.

Don't get me wrong. I loved computer work. I loved building web sites. I'm grateful to have a career that I was passionate about. Loved. Was passionate. Past tense. I burned out.

I need a change. I need to follow my passion. Last year I took up making silver jewelry from precious metal clay. The woman who got me interested in that asked if I could learn to make dichroic glass caboshons. I took up fused glass. And I love it. I get complements from total strangers on my jewelry, offers for commissions, and an offer to be the only jeweler to show at a convention in August this year.

I took classes. I bought tools. Some people have a bucket list. I already have a bucket, so I have a power-tool list. Hey, I'm old, my mind and eyes are failing, my hands shake, and I'm learning to use power tools. What could possibly go wrong?

And, as long as we (meaning the handyman and his assistant) are finishing the work on the basement, I decided to put a jewelry-making studio down there.

In the meantime, I'm writing and attending songwriting and prose writing workshops and critique sessions. Last Fall, I wrote what I think are the best song lyrics I've ever written. In Dec., a nationally-known songwriter, whose work I greatly admire, asked if he could put my lyrics to music.

Previously, as a joke, I said I don't have a bucket list. Well, I don't now. My bucket list was to co-write a song with this man. And now, I'm doing it.

For two years I've been inching along, trying to make room in my life something new, something important, something really special. I didn't know what it would be. I just knew it wouldn't happen if I didn't make room for it.

To that end, I'm scaling down on all of my web work. I'm encouraging web clients to move along to other web wranglers. I'm scaling down other web sites. Even this web site has been condensed, and will probably continue to lose pages that are not viewed much, like this column.

I finished editing and annotating two books in the last two years. One was a compliation of my mother's family stories. The other was a compilation of my father's letters home to Mom and my older sister from Europe during World War II. The books were printed in a limited edition and distributed to the family. I wrote chapters to entwine their two stories, to show the changes I went through while transcribing and editing these two books. I don't know if I will ever publish this book for others to read. At this time, I doubt it. But the possibility is there.

Meanwhile, I have first drafts of a small novel and a novella. I also have a second draft of a very large novel. I will be writing a lot of prose in the foreseeable future. What I learned in a 4-hour workshop recently makes me want to rewrite all three novels. There's a 3-day workshop coming up this month. I can't wait to learn more about writing fiction.

And, I'm not done writing songs.

So, I will be writing a lot of prose and song lyrics. But this will be my last column on AcousticByLines.

I don't think anyone will miss the column. Even though this was published on April 1, 2017, it is not an April Fool's joke.

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