Stories

The Harvest is Plentiful

Ampersands of Time

Every tale starts with an origin story.

This is mine.

But first, a question (and a few follow-ups): If your life was a movie, would you pay to watch it? What role would you play: Hero, villain, supporting character, or extra? Who wrote the screenplay? Who directed it? Was it you?

I have always been an antihero kinda guy. A good guy trying to be bad or the other way around. Who can remember? My heroes are flawed. Rough around the edges. Survivors. In the arena.

My first baker’s dozen years were in the Big Apple. Our family ran small mom and pop businesses. Lots of them. It’s who we were. A grocery store on the corner of Broadway and 94th was my first playground and I would spend my endless summers playing video games every place I could find them. And you had to look for them back then. In corner groceries. In the back of restaurants and diners. In huge arcades. I would ride the subway and transit buses for miles to search for more adventure, more dangerous missions, and bigger badder bosses to triumph over.

My family toiled to create better for their children. They wanted their children to rise to respected professionals, they wanted us to become doctors or lawyers.

So I did the latter.

But before all that, we moved from NYC to suburbia Michigan when I was barely a teen. I went to college in-state and pursued my love of writing, reading, and philosophy. Doctor Chung was most certainly not in my stars.

Being a young man in a smallish town, I did what young men in smallish towns do:
I left. I went left, too. To the wild, wild, west, where the streets were paved with gold, or at least, silicon. Northern California. The Bay. The Valley.

*Fast forward*

I reached my legal professional peak in Menlo Park, where my identity was set as counsel for founders of startups seeking venture capital funding. It was exactly what I wanted to be doing. My dream job. But I didn’t love it. It was electric helping entrepreneurs seek the resources they needed to keep their dreams alive, but something was missing. There was this hole.

Is this all there is?

Had I achieved the American Dream? It felt off. Not wrong, off. As if I were wearing another person’s (really nice) shoes.

It became clear I was spiraling, so I went left, again. I crash landed into another dream job as vice president of an international muay thai organization. A huge win, because I loved muay thai, the company’s brand and its incredible tribe. It was the perfect amalgamation of my passions and my profession.

But I didn’t love it. The unquantifiable, intangible it. Getting the it part right, I was learning, is the key.

I left again and did what everyone should do when they are hurting. When they are lost. When they need to heal:

I went right; that is, I went home.

*Fast forward*

I am a husband and father, now. A family man. How about that.

You’ve discovered me on a quest to help others play the long game of life. To own their names, their identities and their personal brands. To become a champion leader. It’s sort of like the rest of my story, except:

I love it all.

It is vital to venture. To dip your toes (or dive) into the Pacific Ocean. To see what there is to see. To own your hours.

The best part of the journey of infinite progress? You’re among kindred spirits. Always. There are many of us. Searching. Yearning. You, too?

We are all on the way. On the path. Call it what you wish: Enlightenment. Self-Actualization. Eudaemonia. Transcendence. We are walking the earth and getting into (mis)adventures to reveal who we are, what we want, and what the next step is.

Who are you?

I am all American. Just not the kind you might be used to. I am a mixture of organic ingredients: A pound of east coast grit, a pound of midwest values, and a pound of west coast vision. My heartbeat is the American South, I have found. And my tastebuds and tenacity are somewhere in the neighborhood of an old Korean grandmother. I have spent the better part of a decade blending it all together and scratching my own itch.

I am humbled to be called a leader. Called to be a writer. Named over the years as an evocator, entrepreneur, engager, esquire, and encourager. Branded a maverick. A ninja. My favorite titles are Appa (daddy) and husband.

Our stories get told. Whether we pick pens, brushes, cameras, microphones, or just plain silence. They get told. What follows are the scenes from my life. Past, present, and future. In order and out. Like life itself.

This is my story about playing the game of life the right way. And about helping others play it, too.

It’s my it.

It’s also about what happens between:

ONCE UPON A TIME

&

THE END

About living the happily ever after.

About living the ampersand.

Author

I wrote a book. Hold the applause.

It’s an interesting thing, to write a book.

It started out normal enough. I had every intention to write a book, the book, before I started. And whenever I would write said book, the words came out alright but they came in the form of another voice, one that spoke stiffly, academically, an echo of an echo. A parrot’s book.

I didn’t want to write a parrot’s book.

And all the while, during off times, in creative spurts, and when dog tired, I would come here and find sanctuary in these stories. These posts. In my voice.

When the pressure to write a magnum opus is released, when the steam subsides, you can turn the hatch and open the top, and the writing thing can become delicious. Instead of trying to be something or someone else, I decided to be me — to take the best of these pages and bind them into 220 pages of cream paper with a tactile matte cover. It was a book that snuck up on me. A mixtape full of my greatest hits, such as they are.

Publishing it, editing it, reviewing proofs, cover designs, that stuff is terrible, demoralizing, but after agonizing over it you realize it’s time to ship. That much like the second grade teacher, you learn that the true art is in knowing when to take the paper away from the student.

I always wanted to write a book. And it happened while trying to write a different book. Two years of writing off and on, in a format that seemed like a digital journal, somehow became a memoir. And I suppose it is me writing to myself. A lot of this is writing to myself. I say it’s for others, my family and loved ones, but really, this was for the man in the mirror. They say write what you know, and to write to someone who needs to hear it. Done and done.

If you found your way here, you can find the book in the archives. Story by story. Month by month. And it would be an honor if you did. But if want a finely groomed version of the tale, sorted by subject, with a fancy intro and outro, with a professionally designed cover, then maybe it’s worth the bucks you’ll spend on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Either way, thank you for making me, for naming me, an author.

Evocator

This is a place about names. About naming. I guess I know that, now. It’s a place I created so I could figure some things out. Namely, what to call what I want to do with my life. What I want to name it.

An evocator, in the traditional sense, was someone who spoke to spirits or God. Someone would could reach beyond and talk to its citizens.

And I suppose that’s what I want to do. I want to talk to spirits. I want to talk to God. But not in the way you might think.

An evocator also means someone who evokes. One who evokes. And evoking just means calling forth something latent, hidden, or maybe forgotten, to mind. To the forefront. To reality.

I like that.

Because really, I’m talking about bringing someone back to life. That’s what I want to do. But I’m not talking about those who have passed; I’m talking about those who walk around among us right now. The real walking dead.

Maybe I’m speaking to you.

To call those who have a deep sense of purpose, but who haven’t been able to articulate it. To awaken those who know they have been sleepwalking too long.

There’s no greater proof of God than what you see in the mirror, what you see every day. I want you to remember that enthusiasm means “God within us.” And I want to talk to that God. I want to turn that switch on. Because I’m learning, I’m experiencing, an entire group of people who have been left for dead.

But they’re not.

You’re not.

Are you?

You’re not done, you know.

You’re not done.

I’m calling all spirits. An APB for dormant souls.

I see alive people.

Walking around like they’re irregular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re alive.

I see them all the time. They’re everywhere.

I see you.

Have you forgotten?