The Future

This is not my last post.

This post is a goodbye, and an ending to three and a half years of fun.  It’s a change.  But it’s not my last post.

First of all, some stuff about me.  I’m eighteen, and soon going to college at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, which trains officers for oil tankers, container ships, bulk carriers, and anything large that floats.  Essentially, it’s a school where I learn to sail giant ships around the world.

The Academy (USMMA) is modeled after the United States Naval Academy; it has many of the facets of a military academy as a result.  One of these things is the basic training at the beginning of the first year, and the boatload of restrictions for all students.  Also, it’s a larger school than the one I’ve recently been attending.  (As a homeschooler, that applies to just about everything.)  I have some idea of what to expect from all this, but still little of one.  During my time there, I’m going to need some time to figure all of this out.

Long story short, I’m going dark.

I need four months.  I report in July, the first trimester ends in November.  Between those two deadlines, you won’t see me anywhere except in person, saluting to someone important.  That means no blog, no Twitter, no social media of any kind.  It also means no chatroom and no NaNoWriMo site.  It also means no email.

It’s very dramatic, I grant you.  I could probably survive without cutting myself off completely, but it would make everything harder.  Even these days, I occasionally try to put social media or extracurricular fun stuff ahead of school.  I think most of us do that.  At a service academy…  Yeah, I’ll let you figure that one out.

I’ve thought about this a long time, and I think it’s the best way to go: I’m going dark for four months, and at the end of that period I’ll reassess.  It could be that I have too much time on my hands, so I reinstate noveling and blogging.  (Those two are priorities.)  It could be that I’m overwhelmed, and have to simplify even more.  Whatever happens, I will tell you all.  See?  This is not my last post.  The one in November just might be.

I’m hoping it isn’t, but we’ll see.

So all that is about me.  I have to shut the door for a little while on this part of my life.  That doesn’t mean I find it easy, or that I welcome the opportunity.  This blog has been a wonderful place for me to learn and to grow, and you as readers have made that possible.  I’ve been truly terrible at keeping it fresh these past few months, especially in comments, but you all are amazing.  I don’t expect many of you to stick around for the full four months, but if you do, I hope I can get you something new to enjoy.

I haven’t been very emotional on this blog since I found my style around year 1 (that style being dusty old professor with bifocals, which isn’t very conducive to much of anything fun), but I do want to stress this: I’m sad to leave you.  I’m sad that I have to let this stagnate.  I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing for another ten years, but that won’t be possible if I’m going to grow.  Thank you for being here, and thank you for understanding what I have to do.

Obviously there are still some more questions about this.  The biggest one is: Why would I go to a restrictive service academy when I enjoy writing and apparently want a career in that field?  Obviously there’s a 5k word reason, in-depth with multiple examples.  The shortest answer, however, is this: because I can.

You might not agree with it.  You might think the only way to success, especially in the literary career, is to drive straight at it until you achieve it.  But I haven’t found that to be true.  I’ve long held that I can succeed by knowing a little about a lot of different things.  Although I seem to be very good at writing, or at music, or at sailing, all of the qualities I learn there can apply to a million other things.  Everything on this blog?  It counts toward living life, making friends, or telling stories in any medium I want.  It counts toward being productive, being happy, being receptive to other attitudes and cultures.  The things I’ve learned from this blog apply to so much more than just writing.  That’s what I hope to do with the rest of my education.

I’m not going to a school that beats me down and teaches me a single, specific skill that I’ll use until I can retire, at which point I’ll dust off my notebooks and consider writing again.  It teaches leadership.  It teaches survival.  It teaches things that most easily translate into the shipping business, but with a little work can translate to writing, to music, to anything I want.  Could I learn all of it on my own?  Of course, yes.  Over the past three and a half years, I’ve gotten really good at teaching myself things.  But if this school offers those things up front, I might as well learn from them.  If it means giving up my blog for four months, or even four years?  I can live with that.  I can absolutely live with that.

Also, sailing.  You have no idea how much I love sailing.

It’s not going to be easy.  I’m going to miss all of you.  But this is what I’ve decided, and I hope you all can live with it too.

A little more housekeeping before I go: because of the miracle of scheduling posts, the YAvengers blog will publish a post per month during my absence, written by me.  I’m going to write those in the next couple days, so I don’t know what they’re about yet, but they’re going to be fun.  I’ll do my best to stick around as Captain America over there (especially now that I have personal experience), but if I can’t keep up this blog, that blog will have to go too.  You are my priority, and I will make sure you know what’s going on.

So, farewell.  This is not my last post— I hope to return triumphantly in four months.  Thanks for bearing with me.


76 thoughts on “The Future

  1. I confess, I’m a little teary.

    I wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life.

    You were the first online friend I ever made (it actually took me about two weeks to tell my family I’d made an online friend, because not only was he online, of all scary places, he was male *gasp.*) and without your friendship and the book recommendations and all the great things I’ve learned on this blog over the last three and a half years, my life would have been a lot less awesome. So thank you for the past three and a half years. Here’s hoping we can keep in touch for the next three hundred.

    As sad as I am, I’m super excited for you. Hope you have an awesome time at the academy, the sailing is amazing, and that you learn lots of interesting and useful stuff.

    See you in November.

      1. Ooh, for the simplicity, or the similarity to the Grim Reaper? Personally, I go for a claymore. Less mainstream, but more devastating.

      2. Because on the stormy night when I discovered the bloody path fate had set before me, it was either a scythe or an antique sewing machine, and such a piece of history was a) too good to abuse and b) too heavy to lug around.

        *Googles claymores.* Ooh, nice choice.

        My sister informs me that her weapon of choice is a double bladed axe. Much more mature than a single bladed axe, she says.

      3. *considers what her weapon of choice might be*
        Claymores are beautiful.
        *considers more* Either a longbow or a porcupine cannon, I think. Depends on the context of the battle, really.

      4. …Wait a minute. We’re speaking with what weapon we’d off someone, aren’t we?

        Longbow, no contest. Porcupine cannons make too much noise.

      5. *shrug* But I am not exactly in good enough shape to outrun anyone if I need to retreat. Yeah, that sounds cowardly, too, but oh well. I’ll say something nice about you at your funeral.
        I’d also choose Captain America’s shield and use it as a Death Frisbee. That’d probably hurt a lot worse than an arrow…

      6. Dismantle the machine and you’ve got a wealth of portable fatality options.

        Obviously more mature, but also more hackneyed. So many people use the battle axe, and it’s getting a bit unoriginal.

  2. The Merchant Marine? That sounds so exciting! Good luck, Liam! *hugs you*
    (Don’t feel too bad. Iris and I are both having similar experiences, though she’s heading to a flight academy, I believe. She wants to go into the Air Force. I should probably tell her to watch out for Captain Jack Harkness, in that case. -_- I was not impressed with that character very much.) I’m in college to become a journalist, apparently. Trust me to get stressed out in the sophomore year and then pick a twenty-four-seven job. AND one that sounds practically pedestrian next to all of my friends’. What I really want to do, though, is be an editor with a publishing company. Helping new authors edit and polish their drafts to get ready to be published–that would be a dream come true.

      1. Yeah. I like both writing and helping other writers. I’ve been Iris’ de facto sounding board, beta reader, and minor editor for several years. (She used to write ‘defiantly” instead of “definitely”. “I’ll defiantly remember that.” X-D It was awesome.)

      2. X-D
        The other day I was typing up something and someone mentioned turtle pecan (the caramel, chocolate and pecan cluster things), only what I typed wasn’t turtle pecan, I typed “turtle pagan.” Dear me.

      3. Hmmm… maybe an alien species… ^_^
        More proof that you should never believe anything I say. I said I didn’t like sci-fi. Then came Star Wars and now I’m into Doctor Who and I absolutely love writing it. Then I said I can’t write romance, and now I’m trying. HELP ME. *sigh*
        I am innately untrustworthy.

      4. More proof that we should never say never. I’ve done the exact same thing. Many times. It doesn’t make you trustworthy— it just shows how silly you were starting out.

      5. Very true. X-D
        I couldn’t write a coherent plot when I was first starting out. My transitions were orc splat. (They still are, sort of, but not nearly as bad as they were…) And my character interactions looked as if they’d been run over by Cluny’s horde.

  3. Goodbye, Liam. You’re one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and the only person of the opposite gender who I’ve never stammered and blushed while talking to. *blushes all over again, but because I just confessed*

  4. Truthfully, I’m not really sure what to say, Liam Wood. But I have a few ideas, so let’s just try and see what comes of it.

    First of all, I’m proud of you. Knowing how hard that kind of decision would be, and also how smart it is, you have my full understanding and respect for this choice. And you’re absolutely right about learning from different kinds of experiences. Here’s an illustration from a different kind of difficult-to-get-into career: professional baseball. There was a young man we knew who was in college around here. He was recruited to join a minor league team.They wanted him to play full time, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to finish college that way. So he made a deal with them to play for one semester, and go to college for the other. He didn’t want to ignore the opportunity for further education he had in front of him, but neither did he want to give up his chance to play professional sports.

    Secondly, I’ll miss you. It’s been a while already, actually, but anyway. I know I’ve said this before, but seriously, thank you for sharing all the things you’ve learned about writing (and more than that…). I’ve learned so very much from all these blog posts the past…what, has it been two and a half years? Yes, I think that’s about it. I seem to recall, it was a New Year’s Eve post in 2012 that I first commented, simply because you dared people reading who hadn’t commented to prove you wrong.

    Oh, wow. What a perfect representation of me. I didn’t even realize that… Poor you. No idea what you were getting into with that little remark, did you? Sorry.

    Anyway. Back to the topic. As I said, you’ve taught me a lot through the blog posts, but what I’ve realized recently is that, most importantly, you taught me how to look at books and movies and other things and learn for myself. It’s almost automatic now; I watch a movie with the family and I’m noting that good ‘ole midpoint and how this plot point worked and how this thing really made an emotional impact. I read a book and when a particular part stands out to me as beautiful words, I’m trying to figure out why.

    I’m a homeschooler, the type who’s always teaching herself things. In addition to school subjects, I’ve taught myself crocheting, knitting, piano, writing with my non-dominant hand, filmmaking, composing music, languages, roller blading, photography, knots, and violin (and I’m sure there’s more, too, that’s just what’s coming to mind). By teaching myself, I mean I used resources available to me to learn, rather than depending on someone to show me how to do every single step. The real job of a teacher, in my opinion, is to teach the student how to learn things on their own. And that’s exactly what you did, whether you were trying to or not. Thank you.

    I have many other things I could thank you for, but I know I’ve covered most of them before, and this is already quite long. So I’ll just say: Thank you for helping me become who I am today. Now go forth and work hard, be smart, be kind, be careful, be persistent, be awesome, and all that. I’ll pray for you every day for those two weeks. You can do it.

    (Because this felt like something to sign. Imagine my signature, if you please. Thanks.)

    1. Thank you!

      Absolutely. That’s my favorite part of homeschooling, the ability to learn how to teach yourself. That’s probably the biggest thing I got from this process, as well as the blog. I’m glad it translated to you a little bit too!

      You got it. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  5. Liam . . . I wish you all the best. Funny how we became part of the crazy world that is Team Internet and became a strange pair of friends. And then we laughed about stupid things for a good long while before we both disappeared into our own little corners of cyberspace. Then suddenly we found our way back to each other’s blogs, and now you’re disappearing again.

    Life is a journey. A crazy, terrifying, sometimes breath-taking journey. All most people hope to do is hang on for the ride. But you’re grabbing life by the horns and shaking it until it moos. That takes guts. I’m proud of you. During the next four months, I hope you remember good times with me and all your internet friends when things get tough. We’ll always stand by you, occasionally yelling book quotes at you to keep you motivated if that’s what it takes.

    I’d give you a virtual hug, but we all know that touching you causes spontaneous combustion. (: Regardless, my best wishes will tag along with you.

    Ave atque vale, Liam. See you in November.

    1. I’m so sorry for my part of the disappearance. You’re one of the earliest blogs I ever followed, and a lot of fun times were had by all.

      ‘Shaking it until it moos’. That’s me. Thanks.

      I’m getting really annoyed about my past self and his aura of awesomeness. I mean, the awesomeness is still there, but if it’s so awesome, shouldn’t it allow benign things through, but incinerate the bad things? That’s just me, though, it isn’t as if I have to listen to me.

      Gratias ago, Seana. See you in November.

  6. You’re headed to USMMA?! That is so amazing!
    I myself will be at NMMI this fall as a sponsored prep, and should be heading off to the US Air Force Academy next year, so I understand the calling to a service academy.
    I wish you the best of luck over the next four months, and in your future endeavors!

    1. Oh, cool! A couple of my new classmates are coming from NMMI. It seems like a good school. Just keep your sense of humor and fun— it does seem hard.

      Thank you very much, and the same to you. Have fun at USAFA!

  7. Best wishes for the future and God-wind-speed. Even though your boats have engines. But never-mind.

  8. Okay, I think I can comment now.

    First of all, I am extremely happy for you and proud of you and I will definitely still be here in four months. I will still be here in four years. Forty years even. I can’t guarantee four hundred, though. (Now seems like a good time to come clean and admit that I am not really immortal…)

    I want to thank you. Thank you for… well, it’s a very long list. But I’ll name a few things here. Thank you for being a great friend, being a great writing mentor and writing buddy, teaching me through teaching yourself, introducing me to Les Miserables, encouraging me to blog, starting the chatroom, writing Phil Phorce (not only was it fun, the friendship between Lily and I started there), introducing me to books by Brandon Sanderson and Maggie Stiefvater, sharing music with me… this is more than a few things, isn’t it? I’m going to stop now, unless you want to hear all the ways you’ve positively impacted my life.

    Do not be surprised if you come back and all your silver spoons, as well as many other odd and possibly valuable possessions, are gone. We will give them back, though.

    *hugs* I’m hoping that this is the one time I can get away with it. And if I can’t, I’m fine with spontaneous combustion, right now, thanks. And no, I am not crying. Much. I’ll be fine; I just have an emotion in my eye. It’s like onions, I tell you…

    My mom suggests you take a journal with you to USMMA. A journal and a good pen. Write in the few moments you can- there will be stories there that you will want to remember, even if you don’t share them with anyone else.

    From both me and my mom, Numbers 6:24-26: The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

    Let us not think of this as the end of three and a half years of fun. Let us think of this as a hiatus. Castle hiatus, not Sherlock. You’ll figure everything out. I’m certain. You’re Awesomeness Incarnate, after all, and that’s not going to stop being true anytime soon.

    1. Gasp! Shock! You aren’t immortal? How can this be?

      Thanks for this. And wait, is Castle on hiatus? I missed that somewhere… But thanks for the lovely comment.

      1. *looks at floor* Well… I’MNOTANELFEITHER!

        I thought it was… *goes to look* I’m not sure. The season finale wasn’t all that long ago, so I think it might be on hiatus.

        You’re welcome.

      2. Gasp!

        That’s what normal shows do, normal meaning not aired by BBC. Sherlock isn’t really a hiatus— they just have freakishly long breaks between seasons. Most TV shows on main networks air episodes during the fall, have a short break where they just air reruns around January (that’s when Agent Carter happened, in the Agents of SHIELD rerun break), and new episodes again until the season finale in May or whenever. Then they have silly season (reality TV shows abound during the summer), and all the shows come back again. I guess I’m thinking of hiatus differently, maybe. Castle taking a summer break is normal.

  9. Good luck! This has kind of been me this past year. Juggling college, two jobs, and various other activities, I decided I had to take a break from blogging (except unlike me, you had the decency to actually write a farewell post. I just kinda…left…). I’ve actually been thinking about returning to the blogosphere (or vlogging, maybe), but it isn’t easy once you reach the college years. Anyway, whether you come back or not, we’re all grateful to you for providing us with both humorous and insightful posts about writing and life. Fare thee well, Liam!

    1. One of the great things about a service academy is they tell you everything they’re going to do long before they do it. So I knew I was going to lose all possibility of keeping up a blog. With normal life stuff, it’s a lot harder and it creeps up without your knowledge. I don’t blame you in the least.

      It’s definitely not easy in college, which is why I admire Miriam Joy so much. She’s managed to create a workable system through it all, and it’s great. We both need to talk to her about this, I think.

      Thank you very much!

  10. This is a bit of a shock. Even though I haven’t read very many of your posts this year (and I’m sorry about that — I regret it), and even though I know life doesn’t stand still, and even though I myself have taken pretty much the same hiatus from blogging, except without telling anyone — it’s still a bit of a shock. And I’m very sad that you will be leaving.

    Your blog has been such a wonderful thing. (Wow, when did I ever get so good understatement?) I’ve learnt so many things here, about writing, about people, about life. I’ve made so many of my online friends. I’ve had so much fun. And that doesn’t just apply to me, it applies to heaps of people. Your blog has basically been a community; or at least the meeting-place of a community.

    But life doesn’t stand still, so all the best. Learn lots about life, and sailing, that you can apply to your writing. Come back and write a great naval adventure; perhaps your memoirs. And if you do get back to doing regular blogging at some stage, hooray! But if not, then just make sure you let us know when you publish your first book.

    You’re off to great places. Today is your day. You’re mountain container-ship is waiting… So get on your way!

    1. Thank you. The community is absolutely the best part of this blog— I don’t care much for the guy who writes it, honestly, but the people who comment are amazing.

      Thanks for the lovely comment.

      1. The community on this blog is fantastic, but it didn’t come about by magic. It’s what you get when you have a host who responds to every comment, when he takes the time to visit the blogs of all the people who comment regularly, and when he exercises insanity therapy indiscriminately. Sound familiar, at all? Thanks for being awesome.

        Something I wanted to mention to you: I don’t remember if you recommended this one to me or not, but I have just embarked on that great journey which is The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m only 3 hours into the 2.2 day-long Librivox audio recording, but already I’m captivated. When I’m done I’ll have to check out some of your other recommendations — Les Mis or War and Peace.

      2. I’m afraid all of those qualities have fallen away in the past year. I barely visit other blogs anymore, and comments have pretty much gone out of the window. Insanity therapy… I don’t even remember what that is, as familiar as it sounds.

        That’s great! Monte Cristo is one of my favorite books, as is War and Peace. Les Miserables is difficult to get through, but I love the musical and think the book was worthwhile for that reason. If you stuck with the Dumas and Tolstoy, I wouldn’t blame you. But yes, they are all so good. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.

      3. We all get busy! It was great for building up the community, even if it couldn’t be maintained indefinitely.

        I might try War and Peace next then, but it will depend on whether I can find a good reader for it on Librivox (the free audiobook website). Recently, I’ve found I have very little time for reading but I spend a lot of time sitting on vacantly on buses, so I’ve started listening to audiobooks of public domain books to fill the wasted time. Some of the readers are fantastic (such as the reader for Monte Cristo, and also the reader for Wuthering Heights), while others are fairly average. You hardly want to be stuck with an average reader for a two day long recording.

      4. Agreed. I’ve toyed with Librivox, but haven’t listened to a complete book through it, mostly because of the reader quality. It seems like a great resource, though.

  11. This has got to be the hardest comment I’ve ever had to write. Oh boy.

    Okay, doing this because it will help with your writing is brilliant. My parents are always telling me I need to do something other than sit in front of the computer and write, because if I have no life experiences, how am I supposed to write well? So getting those life experiences—yes. When you get back, can I borrow them from you? Hehe, I’m going to college to get a degree in Graphic Design so that I can design book covers as a career. That might help if I decide I’ll self-publish, but otherwise, I doubt that’ll affect my writing itself. And so I’m merely doing it for the fun of it, and for no other real reason. Mostly. So I know I’ll have to get out and explore elsewhere. Which I’m kind of looking forward to anyway.

    Heh. So basically, I think what you’re doing is awesome, and I admire you for it. Even if I’ll miss you a lot. I think it also sounds terrifying, but maybe that’s just me and my being intimidated easily. You’ll do awesomely, and we all know it. And anybody who disputes that has got to answer to me. *shakes her fist warningly*

    Your blog is amazing and inspiring and I’m so glad I decided to actually comment on it. I’ve learned so much from it, especially when I was learning nothing from my own writing. And you’ve no idea how much it meant to me that you actually responded to my bajillion comments when I started reading your old posts. And all those comments since.

    Anyway, good luck, and I hope we’ll see more of you in November than just one post. And no smiley faces—remember, the world has to keep spinning. Heheh, kidding. Oh, and if while you’re gone, your stats are high, you know who’s fault that’ll probably be.

    1. Everything will help your writing, but writing will help your writing most. Experiences aren’t a guarantee of good writing. But anyway.

      I’m so sorry I dropped off there in the last couple months. That was a lot of comments to keep going, so I hope it’s okay if I leave them alone for now.

      Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

      1. Oh, of course. That’s why I’m not a terrible writer right now, hehe.

        Hehe, that’s fine. I don’t blame you for not wanting to respond to all of them.

        No problem, hehe.

  12. *wipes tears off cheeks*

    Wow. Time has sure flown by. It feels like yesterday when I met you on NaNoWriMo. My fondest memories of that brief, twoish years on NaNo were of writing with you and Knight. It’s just slightly unbelievable that we’re all graduating and heading off our separate ways. This is the only blog I’ve ever followed. Even though I haven’t been able to actually write for a long time, I’ve stilled enjoyed reading your posts and learning from you.

    Even though I barely know you, I wanted to let you know that I’m happy for you. You’re an awesome person–You’re smart, an amazing writer, and you have the most absolutely incredible wit of anyone I’ve ever met. Sailing around the world sounds amazing!

    I wish you the best of luck in the next four months and wherever that unpredictable, surprising road called “life” takes you in the future.

    Stay safe.

    Farewell for the present,

    1. Yes, you and Knight were the best NaNoBuddies ever. I wish we could all keep in touch, and now I’m mad at myself for having to leave. But thank you.

      Thank you very much. And if you feel like you barely know me, please, email me. There’s a button in the sidebar. I’m only here for the next month, but I’d love to get to know you better. (It’s strange that we have this connection without actually feeling like we know each other. It’s too bad, actually. But it’s up to you.)

      Thanks for the lovely comment.

      1. I’d love to get to know you better over the next month, too. I’ll email you. 🙂

        And you’re most welcome.

  13. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you’ll make it back to YAvengers come the Autumn, because you’re a great Cap and I was really happy when you joined the team.

    1. Thanks. I enjoy YAvengers and I want to stay as long as I can, so here’s hoping. It’s been a pleasure to work with you.

      And can I say you’re the best at juggling everything? I sit here wondering if I can hold up a blog and college, but you manage all of that and so much more. Thanks for being awesome.

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