Kickstart Newsletter #315
by Ian Shires
Hi folks. This is going to be that hardest thing I have ever done. It is in part inspired by my daughter, so let me tell you a story. She plays soccer. She LOVES soccer. When she was 4 years old, we were walking out of a swimming lesson at the YMCA, and she saw a flier that had a soccer ball on it...and asked if she could try it. 8 years later, she plays Travel soccer, and also plays for a premier team. Her Travel soccer team, the Mystics, has won a number of tournaments, as well as been #1 in a season or two along the way. My good friend Dan Taylor, made us a logo that the team has used on T-shirts and sweat shirts, and bags, etc.
But over the years, things on the team have not stayed great...we've had a long slow decline as it has become glaringly apparent that the coach of the team, while GREAT with little kids, has no real clue how to teach them the real skills they need to play at larger levels as they grow up. Almost EVERY player on the team has had to seek skills training elsewhere...and we've had girls quit when they see the difference a coach that does have the training to train others, teaches them what they need to know. Our daughter, when she joined the Premier team, decided to stay on the Mystics, basically because she has friends on the team, and it does give more games a week to play. That was last year. As you can see, we have ties, and a deep love, for the team. So when practices started up for this fall season, where the team is now going to play on a larger field, with more girls on the field at a time, and a whole bunch of new girls had to be recruited for the team...it became apparent very quick, that this team was no longer the Mystics we had been growing up with. The difference between what she is learning at the premier team, and what she is not learning at the Mystics, was night and day. So our daughter, being the little spitfire she is, started talking to people. She asked questions.
The result? She found out that she could play on the boys team, found out who the coach was. We sought him out, talked to him, and he was willing to take her on the team. We set it up with the soccer board, who - to our amazement, actually approved of it. So our daughter quit the Mystics. Yesterday was her last game with them. An embarrassing 0-6 loss that was called at halftime due to a thunderstorm coming in. She actually played 2 games yesterday, the early game was with the premier team, a 3-4 loss that was as exciting as it gets. So after the game, we had to tell the coach of the Mystics, that was it. In fact, our daughter had to tell him. We thought she would chicken out and we would have to step in. But no, she called the coach over, told him what she was doing, and when he asked "can I ask why?" she just looked at him. We've taught time and again that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything...and she was holding back. Not good enough for the coach, he pressed, "c'mon you can tell me, is it me? is it something I did?" she just raised her chin up and said "I just want to be a better soccer player".
And so tomorrow night, she starts practicing with the boys team, who, as we have learned, have 3 coaches, one of whom is an actual physical therapist. The boys team "plays up" Meaning where the Mystics are a "U11" team, meaning they are all under 11 and play other U11's...the boys team, while a lot of the players ARE under 11, plays as a "U12" team. There should be a LOT of challenge and learning ahead. And our daughter, is GLEAMING, smiling ear to ear, like on that first day when we said, sure - we'll look into this soccer thing.
I have been struggling with something for the past 4 months. You may or may not know, I had been ill for a long time. On a downward spiral of health, that rooted in a decades long series of surgeries on my foot, and pain associated with that. Not being able to walk properly, gives you back problems. Seeking solutions, lead to shots and pills and more shots and more pills, and then the seizures started, the falling, weakness. By spring of this year, I had been in and out of the hospital for months. I honestly thought I was going to die. I knew the drugs they had me on, were making me a zombie, and I figured if I was going to go, I wanted to go with my head clear, so I started taking myself off of all the drugs. When my head started to clear, the seizures stopped. I still seem to be fighting what they are calling a "massive sinus infection". I'll be seeing my doc in the next week or so now that I just completed a month of some antibiotic that doesn't seem to have stopped the headaches or fatigue. While I am doing a LOT better and can think again, I still have a long road to being healthy. I have to drop about 100 pounds, exercise, get active. It's been a lot harder to do than to say. But at least now I CARE, cause I didn't when I was on the heavy drugs.
Since getting my "head back" I have been working to see what is left of the SPA, what I can do to get some things going again. And there have been a handful of people that have made that effort meaningful, HOWEVER. Things are not the same anymore. Back when I started the SPA, I was on top of my game - decently successfully running Obscurity Unlimited magazine, publishing things. Today, I am standing flat footed, against the wind, trying to re-start something that other people are doing much more successfully without me. The game has passed me by while I slept.
It is hard to give up. To let go of things I have cared about so deeply for so long. But that's what I am going to do. Effective immediately, EVERYTHING Dimestore does, is "on hiatus". I am going to be re-examining my life, what I want to do, and, I am going to start doing things that make me happy. This includes starting to write again. I started in 1985 as a writer, and outside of editorials, in the last 5 years, I have written very little. I have spent so much time trying to help others get noticed, I have stopped doing anything for myself. Getting sick in the middle of Idol 2010, and it's subsequent complete financial failure, really has put a nail in it for me.
I am not going to go around and delete everything. I am going to add a lot of "on hiatus" notices to all the active things. I will probably work slowly on the Hall of Fame stuff, because that is an active interest...I love the history of small press...and I believe as much information as I can gather and preserve, is my gift to the future. There are SO MANY creators that have come and gone that I have not even started to dig into my boxes and gather information from, from my days in the 80's and 90's running the original Self Publisher! Magazine...anyway...that interests me. I also plan to write. I have ignored my Dungar comic series for a decade. I have a dozen written scripts, and so many ideas I can explore in the series, I just need to get back to it.
I have little else to say past this right now. I feel horrible letting anyone down. I have been trying to get a "business returning to normal" situation going. It's just not happening. Not enough people care right now for me to think that the amount of work that NEEDS to be done, is actually WORTH doing.
My elder Daughter's Grandma (my wife's child from her first marriage, so her ex-mother-in-law) is in the hospice house, with little time left. We have been spending as much time as we can just being there to support our daughter, who has always been very close to her grandma. It is obviously a little difficult, because this is my wife's ex-husband's mom, and we're around a side of the family we just don't spend much time with for obvious reasons. I spent most of the day there Saturday, and for the first time in a long long time, I wrote a song. i used to write 3-4 a week, but for the longest time now, I just haven't had it in me. I would like to share with everyone, as an ending to this editorial, what I wrote. From there, you are welcome to COMMENT on this, using the little link for comments. We'll see how many people have read this far and actually do that. This is the LAST Kick Start newsletter for now. It will be on the same hiatus everything else is until I can get myself in a better place to start publishing things again. Only when I have accomplished that, do I feel I am going to be any good to anyone else.
Dimestore Productions is at: P.O. Box 214, Madison, OH 44057