Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WW Featured Writer: Michael D. Lockhart

"I don't want to win - I just want to run."
Michael David Lockhart

Greetings, friends!

I'm excited to welcome you to the first post for, what I hope will become, a Wednesday tradition on my blog.  I can't promise it will be every Wednesday, and I can't promise it will necessarily be the focus of an entire post, but I'm going to do my best.  Wish me luck.

I was thinking of ways to give back to my readers.  As a token of gratitude for the advice, tips, and encouragement you all offer, I thought the least I could do is return the favor in a meaningful way.  During my teaching career, I was always recognizing students with awards or nominating them for different things, so this kind of thing is in my blood.  I got to thinking that since Wednesday is #WritingWednesday / #WW on Twitter (you follow me, right?), I could pick a fellow writer each week to acknowledge on my blog.  My own elaborated #WW mention if you will.

So that's just what I'm going to do.  Starting now.

For my first post, I wanted to acknowledge someone never before tagged in my blog - you know, to keep it interesting.  And since the first name that came to mind was perfect, this week I've selected my fellow writing friend Michael D. Lockhart.

Oh, it's important to know I don't give out half-hearted compliments.  When I choose to recognize someone for making a certain impact, they truly deserve it.

Michael's blog was one of the first I discovered when I joined this online culture.  I can vividly remember coming across his site, reading his most recent post, and thinking: Holy Crap! I'm not nearly smart enough to be reading this.  See, Michael is a knowledgeable and insightful guy.  He's also philosophical, which I like.  I just don't always comprehend what he's talking about (my fault - not his).

But, despite my intellectual shortage, I hit "follow" and started keeping up with his posts.  I had too - he seemed like such an interesting dude.

Shortly after, I began following Michael on Twitter.  At the time, I was also new there and had only attracted a handful of followers.  So, I have to admit, I was a tad surprised when he returned the follow.  I mean, I had no business being followed by someone so superior, did I?  But, believe it or not, he actually responded to some of my tweets, and I got to know more about this interesting person with a great deal to offer.

Michael's approach to writing is best summarized in his statement, "process is more than results."  Yet, as he outlined in his post November, he finished his fantasy manuscript after beginning the first draft fourteen years ago.  Perseverance? I'll say.  And despite his humble personality, I am rooting for him to break out and share his words with the world.  Readers will certainly benefit.

I keep a (private) Twitter list called, "Guys who would actually have been nice to me in HS" and he was one of the first to be included.  I'm sure I don't need to go into the background of why I have that kind of list - use your imagination.  It's just so refreshing to know not everyone is a d-bag.  It gives me hope for mankind.

This post is already longer than what I planned (Anyone shocked??  Didn't think so...), so let me just summarize what I've learned about my virtual colleague since we met:
  1. He is highly intelligent; one of the most brilliant minds on the web.
  2. He's philosophical and has strong opinions which he supports with - get this - LOGIC! Michael explores the controversial issues impeding society, such as banning books.  I appreciate his commentary on significant current events such as the recent shooting of a U.S. Senator.  His posts are thoughtful and leave you learning something new; they're never a waste of time.
  3. He is an outstanding writer.
  4. His family is extremely important to him (check out the posts he's written about his mom - I'm told they can make a mother melt...)
  5. He is passionate, ambitious, and motivated.
  6. He's friendly, encouraging, and supportive.
When I told Michael I chose him for this post,he mentioned he had no idea what he did to deserve the honor.  I explained it was simple: he's cool.  See, to me, "cool" refers to a genuinely nice person - someone who is friendly, respectful, and considerate. Those are the character traits that impress me.  Perhaps I've been subjected to too much unkindness in my life, but I genuinely appreciate nice people in the world. 

I swear I'm finishing up, but I have one more thing to add.  I'm one of those people who really grabs and holds on tightly to the words of other people.  I really enjoyed Michael's post the last twenty minutes.  In our brief correspondence that sparked from that post, he sent a  powerful statement in my direction.  We've all had moments when someone tells us what we need to hear.  I'm young; I have lots to learn. And sometimes, it helps knowing someone out there gets it; that there is more than one way to accomplish a dream. 

In his facebook biography, Michael states he hopes to one day make a difference.  I know that means on a grander scale, but I thought you should know that you have, in some way, already succeeded.  Thanks for your words, thank you for your knowledge, and most importantly, thanks for your friendship.

To quote his own comment sent to me a while back, "Cheers, Brudda!"

Oh, and since I'm pretty sure it was Michael's link to this song that got it stuck in my head, I figured I'd share it here.  Great lyrics; truly inspiring.  Enjoy.

6 comments:

  1. Dude. Any blog whose title header quotes the Dalai Llama is an instant follow for me.

    Nice to meet you, breda!

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  2. What a supremely nice, well thought out piece. You are a good human being Paul Joseph. It speaks volumes not only about your friend Michael, but about you. :)

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  3. Michael seems like a really cool writer. Fourteen years is a very long time to spend writing. This is a great idea. I think I might do this when I have nothing else I can think to write (like today's entry). Reading through it, I found I had enough in common to look him up. That means you did a great job. Nice Blog and I see your writing improving. Keep up the good work.

    Draven Ames

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  4. I'm so behind on the hashtags. This post, right here, is how the online community works. This is how I found the people I follow. I like the Twitter list, by the way.

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  5. Scott, you're right, it is how it works. Paul, I'm still a bit dumbstruck though, to be honest. Coming from a guy that has dedicated so much of himself to teaching and giving and championing important things like bullying awareness, your comments are especially humbling. Thanks, I'll try to live up to billing.

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  6. Michael, your humility just exemplifies you were the right person to choose. The fact this has been a positive addition to your week makes it that much better. Just keep being you.

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