Friday, March 30, 2012

Gold Mines

What's weird about my life these days is I spend a lot of my time profiling entrepreneurs, on the one hand, and self-published authors, on the other hand, who all stand a much better chance at becoming rich than I do.

It is a strange moment in history, and I am aware that I stand on the bleeding edge of it all.

Because I am becoming poorer and poorer as every day passes. It often feels as if we are on opposite sides of a train track. I am watching them ascend, and helping them do so with my stories, while they are watching me descend into a far less fortunate place.

Yet, it is my duty, as a father, to become rich and to do so fast. The colleges my younger kids will attend cost around $50,000 a year, some half that, but if you do the math, as their provider, it's my role to come up with this type of money.

How to do so? Is anything I write popular enough to attract this kind of reward? Here, I write for free, out of a love for writing.

But how could I write for profit?

Should I write "how-to" guides? Erotica? A guide to memoir-writing? My own memoir? A novel? A love story?

I do not have a clue and I could use some help. Some very big bills will need to be paid and the only way to make that happen is to answer these questions now.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Concert Once Again

My kids have been singing in their school's spring concert in the magnificent Herbst Theatre in downtown San Francisco every year since we moved back to this town in the year 2000.

Tonight, the boys and I landed at SFO in late afternoon, drove to Bernal and collected their little sister, and ended up at the Herbst to watch her and the other kids in her school sing and perform.

She looked radiant up there on stage, even though she has a sore throat and does not feel at all well. She and her cohort sang well, bringing tears to our eyes with a twist on the Beatles' "That Boy," changing it to "That Girl."

Afterwards, her brothers hammed it up with her outside the building, before they went off into the night to attend a premier of a movie, and I took her home to a warm cup of tea and honey to treat that sore throat of hers.

Such are families -- we show up for each other's big moments, happily, and would never be anywhere else.


Scouting Colleges and Scrimmaging in a Light Rain

Late yesterday, as we visited Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, Aidan got to scrimmage with some members of that school's soccer team. As I was watching him play with guys a few years older than him, my mind wandered back to his first days learning soccer.

It was the fall of 1999. He was five. We were living in a big house on Maple Street in Takoma Park, MD.

I was his coach.

Here we are, a Baker's Dozen years and a continent later, and he's playing soccer with college-aged men on a college campus. It's not a game; it's a practice, but that's where it all starts -- at practice.

As the Evergreen coach watched beside me at the sideline, Aidan passed to a teammate and raced to the other side of the pitch, took a pass, and scored.

In this little friendly three-on-three, he did that multiple times, but on this particular play, the coach smiled at me and said, "Nice run."

It has been a nice run, being a soccer Dad these many years, privileged to watch this gifted young athlete and call him my son. Knowing how hard he has worked to get this far, it doesn't really matter whether he makes it as some sort of star in college or beyond -- to either of us.

It just matters that he loves the game, and will always be able to strap on some cleats, run out there on whatever field is at hand, and kick the ball around with others who love "the beautiful game."


Science and Family

My younger boys got a rare treat by visiting their older brother's neuroscience lab at the University of Washington.

It was a rarity, my three sons and I hanging out three nights in a row, eating dinner, talking Giants, just being together.

Hope we can do this more often...


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three Brothers

Together again, up here in the Pacific Northwest. Such an honor, to be their father.

We've been visiting colleges in the Seattle area. True to its reputation, the weather here has been rainy and cool.

It's the first time here (that they can remember) for the younger two boys. As much as the specific colleges we're touring, it's the region that is making an impression on them.

Going on campus tours present one of those quintessential human moments -- a bunch of high school juniors, feeling awkward but secretly excited, reluctantly accompanied by their parents, following along a college student walking backward and talking rapidly, pausing to ask if anyone has a question, which almost no one ever does.

The high schoolers are listening a lot more closely than their expressions reveal. They are listening for signs to their future, trying to imagine the unimaginable, being on their own, at last.

Slowly, the image forms in their minds of why they have been told for so long now to work hard in school. It's for this -- this vision being held out to them by one just a few years older.