Last week I told you I had a big day coming up. One I had been avoiding for over a month now. It was time to visit Architect of Passion, the biography I had been working on which ended up getting lost in the “flash-drive-ageddon” incident I blogged about here a few weeks back.
I’m going to take you deep into my own mind today, detailing what it was like to face something I had personally been struggling with. You may find my own this look into my brain so disturbing you may begin to question why you even follow me here and on social media. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. As a service to you, my reader, I’ve included a quick guide at the end with steps to unfollow and block me on most social media platforms.
So we begin…
I always feel like if I’m lucky enough to have you here reading my posts I don’t want to assume you know anything about what I’ve written in the past. Even if you have been a loyal reader, I’m not going to be so presumptuous that I’m just figuring you know everything that’s happened in my life to get me to this post. So even if you have read the background of what I’m about to get into, you’ve slept since then, so you might want a little bit of a refresher.
So here goes…
Architect of Passion is a biography. My first foray into this type of writing, though, I did a whole book on my own father, called Life with Akester, which included some biographical writing in it. (This was actually a hybrid, part biography, part funny stories and part about me dealing with his sudden death.)
Greg Schredder, the person I write about in Architect, is an incredible person with an unbelievable life. He’s ran in circles with some of the best known celebrities, he’s made millions, he’s lost millions, he’s on a mission to save the world (not a cliche here, I mean he really is), he’s got these great stories which easily translate into a book. I could go on-and-on. It’s even a funny story how Greg and I connected, but I will save for the book.
Getting his life story down involves me interviewing Greg for hours at-a-time on the phone (he lives in Hawaii). These are marathon with several clocking in over eight hours. In August I had taken a backup of Architect, but in September Greg and I had one of our last phone calls to go over the draft on a page-by-page basis to ensure it was presented exactly how he wanted it.
With the book now being so close to being complete, I started putting some other finishing touches on it as well. Greg had gathered all of these great photos from throughout his life. This involved a lot of digging and even going to a storage unit where he keeps his professional papers. I incorporated the photos in and then I wrote two additional sections. One was a post-script conclusion from me. There was simply the need of the “voice of the author” telling what was going on with Greg and the need to make a few points which will be better clarified in the book then here.
I also added a quick story called the Legend of La Paz which had nothing to do with the book. The book is a linear look at Greg’s career from childhood at the way to present day. As we followed Greg’s life, there would be times when we would deviate from the topic and it wouldn’t become an interview anymore, it would be simply two guys talking. It was during these times Greg would share these incredible funny stories about his fascinating life. If he was Steve Jobs and I was working on an 800-page biography I’d probably want all of these.
That’s not what this project is, and even if it was, I’d probably not be the writer to tackle this project. Greg and I had these discussions many times. He’s not that type of person, though. He’s an old-school, “my handshake is my bond” type of guy. Even though I was telling him the complete story of his is worthy of the “Steve Jobs treatment” I was his guy, the person he trusted to tell his life story, even if I was doing the condensed version.
The Legend of La Paz was just one of those fun stories which didn’t tie back to the book but gave the reader a sense for what it’s like knowing Greg Schredder. It was simply one of the many fun stories he shared.
After adding the photos, the conclusion and The Legend of La Paz, I had one of my editors go through the whole thing. She did a great job, going through it for me on a printed copy which I through away after making the edits.
The plan was then to get one last thing from Greg, a piece he wrote called “Special Acknowledgements” where he went through his whole career and simply wrote about, and thanked the people who had helped make him a success on the way. Once that was done, I would incorporate it into the story and then Greg and I would review it one last time via a proof copy of the book. I wanted to get a copy of the book into Greg’s hands since we had already been working on it for almost a year at that point.
By October, I hadn’t heard from Greg for about a month. I reached out. He was busy working on this project, like I stated earlier, which may help save the world. He would get me the info soon. In November, I heard from Greg, he said, we need to revisit the book and write a few additional chapter. He had such great things going on. If it all comes together, “I’m buying you a Cadillac” he told me.
The funny thing about Greg Schredder, that statement from him is like a signed contract approved by the Supreme Court. I have no doubt, if Greg hits it big with his latest project, one day there will be a Caddy sitting in my driveway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but it will be there.
With all of this excitement happening, it happened.
Yes, the “it” being that flash drive which blew up in early December. I lost 98% of my files on there. There were a few odd files which weren’t affected at all. Small files like lists of ideas for future projects. Any large file, like a book, or photographs was lost, though.
Architect of Passion was the tough one. I had really wrapped up most of what I working on so I was able to recover files through Amazon of my other work. I lost everything from Architect, though, that I had done after my August update.
My response: avoid it.
For the next 5 weeks, that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t tell Greg, I didn’t open my preserved file from August. I can’t tell you why. There was just something about it that was too painful. Work which I considered complete was lost. Wiped away in a moment of my own stupidity. That file represented everything bad that happened in the loss of my flash drive.
At Christmas Greg called, emailed and sent me a card with a calendar. I sat in my shell like a frightened turtle. This past Monday my company was closed in honor of Martin Luther King Day. I circled that date as the day I was going to address it. I would reach out to Greg, I would open that dreaded file. Here’s a timeline of the day for me.
4:30 a.m. – Wake up at the usual time, even though I’m off of work.
4:30 – 5:30 – Not ready to get started on the book so it becomes time to check-in on social media
5:30 – 7:00 – Let’s not look at that file yet, after all, it’s time for a walk.
7:00 – 7:30 – Quick check back-in on social media.
7:30 – 8:00 – Hey, I was just walking, I better take a shower before I get started.
8:00 – 9:30 – Rather than getting started on Architect, let me get this quick OPUS interview with Courtney posted on tumblr and then I need to promote it a bit on social media.
9:30 – 10:00 – A quick game of hide-n-seek with Leo and a check of what’s on TV.
10:00 – I sit down to get started, but a wave of fear grips me, maybe I can “nap off” these feelings.
11:00 – Time to do this. Let’s take a look at the file. You know what? You really need to have a proper lunch to write. It’s early, but I’m off today, I’ll take a quick lunch break. “Then it begins,” I tell myself.
11:41 – I sit down at the computer and open the file. I scan through it and see everything missing. This is real. All of that work is gone.
11:42 – I walk away. (insert your own expletive here…I know I did. Use a bad one. I mean a really bad one. I know I did)
11:42 – 12:39 – Self-loathing.
12:39 – 12:53 Composed an email to Greg about what happened and sent it.
12:53 – 2:33 – Rewrote The Legend of La Paz. I may have even improved what I initially wrote, at least as I remember it.
Okay, this was going to be all right. I was in a better mood. The rest of the afternoon, I put Architect away, knowing I could take on the demon and 2016 would mark year two I would be working on this project but it’s going to be great.
I was so euphoric about getting started on rebuilding Architect, I reached out to fellow author Jenna Brownson about a potential joint project we might be working on and I wrote a post for Evan Haskill thebourbonguyandrye blog (it’s worth a read). It was a fairly productive afternoon.
Later that day, I got a message from Greg. He understood, we would have this book rise from the ashes. I had also requested the photos he had already sent but he told me he didn’t have them and we’d have to wait until he could get all of them back together.
I did suggest checking the sent file since he had emailed them. I’m pleased to say on Friday I got 26 emails from Greg with the photos.
Architect of Passion is on the way back, baby! Look for it later this year. I sure hope so. It’s been quite the journey!
STEVE’S QUICK GUIDE TO UNFOLLOWING AND BLOCKING HIM ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This guide is designed to assist you in taking two steps to remove Steve from your virtual life via social media: unfollowing and blocking.
Wait a second, you are actually reading this? You were really going to examine unfollowing and blocking? I had a traumatic experience. It isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person, I agree, but it was tough nonetheless.
Guess what, you aren’t unfollowing nor or you blocking. In fact, for reading this I demand you RT something on Twitter or Like AND Comment on a photo on Instagram, you know, as a way to make up for almost senselessly removing me from your social media world.
Unfollow and block.
I don’t think so!
I will have to say, this blog has evolved over the last several weeks. It’s gone from a weekly 200 word post to a much more detailed account of behind the scenes of my writing. I don’t know where it will end up. I prefer the 200 word quick updates… the audience clearly prefers the detailed read. For now, I’m giving ’em what they want with these long accounts of what’s going on with my writing.
Next week we’ll take another look at OPUS. This time I’m going to share some of the funny questions I’ve been asking people and why I ask them.
In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:
His Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP
The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com
Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration
What’s App: Steve Akley
Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!