Thursday, December 27, 2007

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions -- Jay

Christmas was great, thanks for asking!

I spent five days in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains with my wife’s family. Except for being stuffed-up the entire time (which often made me too embarrassed to talk) and the hernia I got last week (which kept me at home during some family hikes), it was wonderful.

But those five days made me re-examine my life's passions…or lack thereof.

Not too long ago, my brother-in-law picked up an accordion and dove into learning the instrument with such commitment that he’s recently been touring with an amazing band, 3 Leg Torso. That same b-i-l also knows everything there is to know about coffee (he even roasts his own beans and brought a portable espresso-maker to Christmas so no one ever got tired before midnight). One of my sisters-in-law is an amazing aerial silk acrobat (it involves ribbon-like material dangling from up high, from which she performs all sorts of death-defying tricks) and even installed the ribbons to the ceiling of her A-frame. That same s-i-l, along with her boyfriend, ride unicycles together and even set up an elaborate obstacle course in their yard.

I could go on and on, but I’m going to stop talking about them because I’m getting depressed (don’t even get me started on the harmonies my wife and her sisters can produce). Over the vacation, I also finished reading Backyard Giants by Susan Warren, subtitled: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever. Now, I have no desire to grow humongous squash, play the accordion, excel at unicycling, or tangle-up my limbs in ribbon (though I just might try roasting my own coffee), but I’ve decided to find a quirky passion to call my own before the new year arrives.

Yes, writing books is a passion of mine. But now that writing has moved beyond being just a hobby, I need something that will occasionally avert my mind from worrying about writing and promoting my book. I need something which comes with absolutely no expectations...other my own.

Here are the top two considerations I came up with on my three-hour drive home:
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Extremely healthy cooking

Stand-up comedy has been a dream of mine for years. But it wasn’t until this year, because of promoting my book, that I realized how much I love speaking to large groups...and that I can do it without barfing before they call me to the stage.

I haven’t mentioned the extremely healthy cooking option to my wife yet (and don’t worry, she’s still up in the internet-less woods, so she probably won’t read this post), because I know she’ll try to sway me towards this option due to entirely selfish reasons.

Outside of writing or reading, what are some of your unique passions? What’s something you immerse yourself in? Something you can’t learn enough about? I’m looking to add to my list before presenting it to my wife, so maybe the extremely healthy cooking option won't stick out so much.

- Jay


Heather said...

Interestingly enough, my b-i-l roasts his own coffee, too! But, he and his family are down in Arizona, so we did not get to see them this year. Anyway, my quirky passion is knitting miniatures. You might have seen the doll I made for Laini Taylor - well, I knit the tiny skull on her purse as well as a tiny heart tattoo for her bottom. I'm working on going smaller for 2008! Another thing I like to do is paper quilling (also called paper scrollwork). You'll have to look that one up. Why did I pick two hobbies that are going to make me go blind?

Colorado Writer said...

Texas Hold 'Em?
Online Mahjong?
Extreme Skateboarding?
BBQ Sauces?
Making soap on a rope?

I think standup comedy is a great choice!

Or maybe you could finish book #2 for your adoring fans?

Disco Mermaids said...

Wow, Jay. A couple days away from us and you're already choosing new passions and stuff. You know my vote. Definitely go with #1. Healthy cooking/eating is way overrated! Plus, you're reeeallly funny. To us anyway.

Or you could always take up running so you can spend more time with Robin and me. But I guess that hernia may present a problem. Or I could teach you to paint. Or eat fudge. I'm really good at that. Ooh! Movie critic. No, costume designer. Seriously, dude. With your talents, the possibilities are endless!


Jodi said...

Photography is my other passion. I love taking pictures, and my best friend gave me an AMAZING photo printer for Chanukah. He wants me to pursue my dreams of making money off my art. Of course, I have no place to put it at the moment so it's still in the box, but hey, it's the thought!

Rachel Bird said...

Jay, you NEED to do stand-up. It's just bursting out of you. At least that's what I thought when I took your workshop. I'd like to do it too. I'm also thinking about live podcasting me commentating one NBA game a week because so many NBA commentators are just terrible. I'm hoping I would be an alternative to that but I won't know until I try!

Disco Mermaids said...

Okay, confession time. I do have a subject that I research a lot and watch shows and read articles about whenever I get the day I want to build a pod home that is self-sustainable and "green." (I can't believe I haven't told you guys about this!) I even watched a show last night about a home that had insulation made out of soybeans. I love that!!

For you Jay, I say eat healthy and then go do some stand-up. But not for long (the stand-up part). Because I think you should take Colorado Writer's advice: finish book #2 for your adoring fans.
(Well, that and make soap on a rope.)


Katie said...

Not sure what Jay should do - although I find him quite funny as well...but Robin - I wanna build a green house too! I love reading those books! I think no one would ever get sick if they lived in a green house...and did yoga, of course (my personal passion.)

I do think movie critic is a good idea though. Healthy cooking involves alot of onions I think...

Disco Mermaids said...

Photography has always been something I've admired, but it can be so expensive (and Robin's hubby is a professional photographer, so there's already enough of that in the Mermaid family).

And yes, Heather, I absolutely love what you made for Laini. Quite a gift!

If I decide on the healthy eating thing, I think I'm gonna combine it with writing, and write a healthy cookbook for onion haters. I know I've said it here before, but stop telling me that I won't taste the onions, and that they were only added for flavor.

In fact, that's gonna be the title of my anti-onion cookbook: It's the Flavor I Hate!

- Jay

SilberBook-Blog said...

Ha. And again I say it. Ha. I too am seeking to fill an empty hole. And just an hour ago sent out 2 emails to banjo teachers here in Montreal - because I am looking to have something going in my life (other than writing) .

I once took banjo lessons in LA and was proud to be able to play 2 songs - tho my wife started going bonkers.

And I agree with the others - I imagine stand-up would fit you like a glove.

g'luck -and happy new year!

Candace said...

It's not an incredibly unique thing, but I horseback ride. College is a killer, because there are hardly any horses within reasonable distance of school, so I ride when I'm home during break (like right now) and I sigh and moan at school about the lack of four legged equines. But it's lots of fun, and something I do to get away from everything else.

I like the cookbook idea. But I can't imagine no onions. And yes, onions have a very distinct flavor, I can't imagine why people would tell you that you can't taste it. But I like onions.

After you write your anti-onion cookbook, could you write an anti-mushroom cookbook for me? :D

cynjay said...

I have a habit of serial passions - I do one thing obsessively until I can do it pretty well and then I stop. Here's a short list over the last few decades in case you want to borrow any:

Unicycle Riding (although they have that one covered)
Silver Jewelry Making (You get to play with fire)
Making Chocolate Chip Cookies w/o a Recipe
Knitting (I knit one humongous blanket for our bed then stopped - that one takes about a year though)
Old-House Restoring
Interior Decorating
Guitar Playing

I am currently or want to obsess over:
Stained Glass Window Making
Reaching Expert on Guitar Hero for XBox 360
Old House Restoring (that one never ends)
Carpentry (see above)

Good Luck! Maybe you should ditch the healthy cooking idea and see if you can come up with 1001 Things To Make With Chocolate. You'll make more friends that way.

Anonymous said...

I say combine a stand-up routine with a writing workshop. That way you can tour regional SCBWI conferences talking us newbies off the rejection ledge, while peppering in a few gut busters. If it goes well, you move up to the Laugh Factory and score a spot in the next Christopher Guest film. If it goes poorly, well, you become the subject of the next Christopher Guest film. Not bad, right? Besides, eating healthy is overrated. :) Laughter is really nutritious!