Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

My fantastic wife says I hate to plan. That’s not entirely true. She did marry me for my improvisational wit and spontaneity, but I’m pretty sure I used to plan all the time.

Although my biggest adventures — traveling several times across the globe, new [crazy] gigs, and wild creative projects — were all in-the-moment decisions, my work teaching in higher ed obviously requires some degree of planning.

No, she’s right: I generally don’t like to plan.

But maybe I do a little bit… Even now I have a creative deadline, 100% self-imposed, lumbering at me in fifteen days. My…


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If you’ve never heard of the hip-hop artist Russ, you’re seriously missing out. If you have, you already know the deal: self-confidence for miles and the artistic results to back it up. His prolific output can save you from those diminishing thoughts and condescending voices swimming around in your dome. That’s what good artists always do: Refine their message, find their true fans, and speak directly to them. To their experiences. Our shared experiences.

But young rappers-producers don’t generally take the time to write a book. Most are understandably too busy making music.

Honestly, I was stunned when I read…


This is hands down one of the most stunningly beautiful, touching, and brave things I've ever read. Peace to you and bless Ana's memory. Now thousands and thousands of us have connected with her, and you. I feel the same way about my daughter and we treasure every single day with her. Thank you and take care Jacqueline.


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Many years ago, as a young college student and “weekend warrior,” my Army National Guard unit was activated right after the holidays to serve in the first Gulf War. My time overseas — Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait — was eye-opening and largely uneventful, and unlike later wars in Iraq, my unit brought every soldier back in one piece to their families after our deployment was over.

(Sadly, my squad leader returned to Iraq years later with a different guard unit, and was killed by an IED [improvised explosive device]. RIP Joey.)

Years later, and out of the Army National…


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When I first started the first of my [now several] side hustles, I was wildly impatient for the revenues to pour in. It wasn’t simply about the income; it was my need to know that my time — after hours, late nights, and weekends — was being well spent.

Maybe you’ve already started your side business: ecommerce, content, writing, products, services, etc. If it’s going well for you, congratulations. Perhaps you’re on your way to becoming fully 100% self-employed — if that’s your goal.

But what happens when the side-hustle growth you were expecting isn’t there? You’ve put in the…


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As a retail investor and trader, I have three confessions to make about my own personal finance:

  1. I shamelessly bought some AMC stock today.
  2. I secretly long for the day when finance professionals recognize that we’re not all “dumb money” investors.
  3. I certainly know that “hope” is not an investing strategy, but I did it anyway.

So this afternoon, before the company announced earnings, I made an investment (~likely a trade) in AMC. Yes, that’s AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc, a movie theater company largely shuttered by the pandemic, but slowly reopening. …


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Too many of us are coping with current events by shopping online. (Guilty as charged!) It’s both practical during social distancing and it’s a fun distraction. But we all need limits. What are yours?

Before we go any further: How about 328 million cheers to all the amazing essential workers making the online economy work: transporting, packing, shipping, and delivering these goods. You folks are literally saving us!

I could — and should — make a post of the amazing, useful purchases I’ve made since March-ish that are keeping me sane and contributing to my quality of life, but that’s…


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Can you imagine how magic it would feel if you built a regular writing ritual of at least 2,000 words per day, and what you’d do with it? Wait! Is that the only simple part? The imagining?

Some days, does it feel you have to trick yourself to write?

If I’m honest with myself, I know I’m magical, but often I’ve been phoning it in. Okay, I’ve said it.

But in all honesty, I know that I’m magical.

M-A-G-I-C-A-L.

I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard, and we should do dazzling things with these Merlin-ish, Gandalf-ish creative skills we have. How?


Photos by Srikanta H. U and Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash. Graphic by the author.

My daughter, like many American kids, is remote learning. She’s set up on our dining room table in front of a window showing the New England foliage.

One morning last month, a few minutes after 9 A.M., as I walked by on the most-traveled route in our house — from my computer desk to the teapot — she stood and placed her hand on her heart.

I stopped — not visible to her class or overworked elementary school teacher — and joined her, mouthing those important and poignant words: The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.


Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash

Thank U for sealing that door behind you. It’s dangerous out there,” the postman said. “I know you’re new around here, but You Learn fast it takes everyone on high alert to keep out the Uninvited. Danger is always Closer Than You Might Believe.”

You Oughta Know that I’m not new,” said the preacher. “Been fighting evil my entire life. I carried the Torch for peace every Sunday at my parish. All I Really Want is for Everything to get back to normal, so I’m Joining You — ”

“That’s Ironic that a man of faith would fight the undead…

Andy McWain

Writing (fiction and non-fiction), composing music, e-commerce. Teaches higher ed music & music business. Launched: www.incrediblyusefulnotebooks.com

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