Mark Terry

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Other Interests


September 16, 2009
I recently finished reading "The Chaco Meridian: Centers of Political Power in the Ancient Southwest" by Stephen H. Lekson. Lekson is an archaeologist and the book is all about a fairly controversial theory he has about three Anasazi sites, Chaco, Aztec, and Paquime.

It was not the easiest book I've ever read, but thankfully it was fairly short. It was essentially written for archaeologists (who could then fight over his conclusions), not for people like me who've never had an archaeology class. About a third of the book was over my head (and some of it, even I have to question his theories).

But I've become fascinated by the Anasazi (which, by the way, is a Navajo word that translates roughly as "the ancient ones" or "the ancient enemies." Even using "Anasazi" among archaeologists tends to be a bit controversial, so they tend to use "ancient pueblo dwellers."). I'm not entirely sure where this interest in the Anasazi comes from. I know that when I trip across an article in Archaeology magazine that also concerns tribes in the Mississippi and Florida regions from the same time period (about 800 AD to 1300 AD) I'm fascinated. What became of these people? Are the Anasazi now Zuni, Hopi, and Mesquite? (Probably). Why leave? How can you have an organized culture for 500 freakin' years and then disappear, abandoning your buildings?

Between my graduation in college and the 18 years before I became a full-time writer, my primary obsession was writing and reading. Primarily thrillers and mysteries, crime novels of one sort or another. I read Smithsonian and Time and Writers Digest. It's mostly been in the last 5 years, since I became a full-time writer, that I've had the time to pursue other interests: guitar, biking, kayaking, martial arts... and reading nonfiction about history and the Anasazi and other things.

It was also pushed along by the death of my father, I'm sure, an awareness that life is, as a matter of fact, short, and if there's something you're interested in doing or learning about, you'd better try to do it now rather than later. I'm also a proponent of lifelong learning and I try to cultivate my own intellectual curiosity. There's a big ol' universe out there and I don't want to shrug and say, "Who cares?" and turn on the TV instead of enjoying some of it.

I've also become fairly passionate about guitar, although I was passionate about music before I got out into the working world and primarily had time to work, commute, spend an hour or two with the family before everyone went to bed, then write for an hour before collapsing between the sheets to do it all over again the next day, ad nauseum. (There are good reasons to find something to do for a living that you're passionate about. You spend a lot of time doing it).

Anyway, what are your passions besides writing? What makes you you?

Cheers,
Mark Terry

9 Comments:

Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

I'm boring. Reading, writing, piano, and Tae Kwon Do. God, I miss TKD so much I ache for it nearly every day. Camping!

8:12 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Snowboarding takes me to a completely different place than writing. I have a passion for live music. Working out, when I'm fit. (I'm not right now, so it's just a continual trial.) And cooking is fun. Baking especially.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Spy
I was wondering if you'd put travel/camping down.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

SSAS,
Working when fit. Yeah, I started out weight-lifting about 4 years ago and one of the reasons I'm so damned obsessive about it is that I don't want to have to go through that first month of agony to get back into shape.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Well, I was wondering if I should. I wasn't sure "sitting by the campfire" could be a hobby, and to me, putting down camping as a hobby is a bit like you putting down living in a house as a hobby, LOL...

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Over the years I've had long bouts of enthusiasm for a variety of things that I'm not particularly good at, from drawing to programming computer text adventures, not to mention running and orienteering. Unfortunately for decades I've been caught in a cycle of needing to spend more and more time earning money to survive and spending more and more of my ever-shrinking spare time on writing. It makes some sense to spend my spare time on writing since I am fairly good at that which is not true with respect to my other interests. But finally I ended up doing nothing but working (legal writing) and writing fiction (and not much of that). Which isn't good.

Unless by some miracle I can retire someday there's little I can do to change the situation, however, I have begun to make an effort to enlarge my activities to some extent. After several years of not getting to a meet I've gone out orienteering a few times this year and hope to do more next year. Also, I have gone back to what was once my favorite activity -- reading. I've even read some philosophy books, that being an interest I've never pursued much.

I'm old enough to realize that none of us have unlimited time to engage in such interests.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric,
"I'm old enough to realize that none of us have unlimited time to engage in such interests."

That's for damn sure. (Not the old part; the time thing)

12:11 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Hiking and crafting pretty much sums it up. Not sure I could do either for a living, but I wouldn't mind. Since Matt had a mixed experience with a job related to his passion, he cautions people to think about whether they want to turn their passion into their job. It depends. After a year out of the industry, he's just now turning back to music. Instead, he lived and breathed hockey for a year afterwards. As for me, maybe some day I'll do better at reading fiction again. Grad school has killed that hobby. I almost always get to pg. 100 and give up!

12:59 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Sara,
I read an interview with George Lucas where his Dad warned him not to turn your passion into a job because then people will take advantage of the fact you'll work for little money. But Lucas went into what he loved and become a mogul. Go figure.

I still think Matt's going to end up doing something interesting in music, but he probably needs a little luck these days.

1:05 PM  

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