Well, It Ain’t Boring

By October 2, 2011Comms

Those of you will follow me on social media know that I was finally released from active duty and am back in my shoebox of an apartment in a rather, ahem, socio-economically disenfranchised corner of Brooklyn, NY.

It’s taking some adjusting. Time in uniform keeps me from writing as much as I’d like, and it forces me into the rigid system of protocol that I both love and hate about military tradition. But it also surrounds me with people, let’s me see the doctor and dentist free of charge and pays me a regular wage.

I hadn’t really grasped how truly solitary the writer’s life is. I have a few friends in the city, but most are married, parents or both. Add NYC’s huge size and the expense of transportation (a roundtrip subway or bus fare is almost $5.00) and you find yourself alone more often than not. This is punctuated by odd bursts of rampant socialization at conventions, author readings/launches, industry parties and happy-hours and group outings to see newly released films. But the vast, vast, vast bulk of my time is spent alone with my laptop, writing, revising, promoting or some variation of all three. And it’s lonely. So lonely, that I find myself looking forward to time spent in the gym, or running in the park or writing in the coffee shop, just so I can see other people. I don’t talk to them, but somehow knowing they’re around helps. I guess humans are pack animals down in our DNA.

So, yeah. The military helps with that. I joke with my department chief that he’s paid to be my friend, and I’m only half kidding.

But I have to admit that, in spite of the turbulence and uncertainty that has become thematic in my life since I decided to make a full time go of this, the past few months have been incredible. And I mean, points where I literally stood stunned with disbelief, unable to wrap my head around the face that this was actually my life. Some brief highlights include:

– Serving as Hurricane Duty Officer (HDO) for Irene, evacuating our base at Cape May (the last vehicle out as the hurricane dogged our heels) and helping to stand it up again as soon as the storm passed.

– Hanging “gunner’s sling” out the side of a MH-65D Dolphin helicopter, photographing our post from the air.

– Receiving a Defense Imagery ID designating me as a military photographer, and going on to have a slew of my photos published in the Coast Guard’s Visual Information Library (our permanent media archive, which the press uses for footage. If you want to see my work, search on MM152) .

– Bobbing in a training buoy 15′ above the water while one of our non-rates broke in.

File under "things I never thought I'd do."

 

– Participating in a mass casualty exercise.

– Assisting with the training of hundreds of Coast Guard recruits as they prepared to go out in the fleet and serve.

All this while I’m writing and editing my fantasy novels in the few hours I’m able to sneak in out of uniform. And then I come home to cover flats for the first of said novels, as well as the announcement that I’m to be a featured guest at this year’s New York Comic Con, right next to some of my biggest genre heroes, like Peter V. Brett, Brandon Sanderson, Marjorie Liu and Patricia Briggs. Heck, I’m actually sharing a panel with one of my favorite authors in the genre, Jack Campbell.

So, yeah. My life is uncertain, and it is stressful. I spend a lot of time by myself wondering if I made the right move.

But there are moments, brief and brilliant, where I’m able to cut through the loneliness and fear and realize the amazing adventure I’m on.

More of that, please.

Author Myke Cole

Myke Cole is an American writer of history and fantasy who leverages a lifetime in military, law enforcement and intelligence service to take you to battlefields, real and imagined.

More posts by Myke Cole

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Mhairi Simpson says:

    I hear you on the loneliness. “That’ll be £3.20” doesn’t really cover the full gamut of human interaction. I was starting to have a stronger relationship with my gym locker than with my friends (I’d get jealous if I got there and someone else was already using it – two-timing piece of crap). Thankfully a few things have changed, mostly along the lines of weekly get-togethers with friends. Who live within walking distance. Thank god.

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