I’m passionate about researching and experimenting with new, and ancient, communication tools and technology and then sharing my discoveries with people.
I conduct research all the time, combining my educational and professional experience as a writer and archaeologist, acquiring knowledge of historic storytelling tools and techniques, as well as current and emerging communication technology. As I explore each process, I consider those in my acquaintance who may benefit from knowing about these tools, techniques, and technology, and I make an effort to encourage them to learn more.
My business, Hands-on Heritage, helps people communicate their legacy stories in a variety of media, from articles to books, social media posts to websites and apps, from videos to documentary films, from interpretive panels and exhibits to full-blown events and celebrations. I tackle many types of projects simply for the pleasure it gives me in researching a new way to tell a good story.
My passion is not altruistic, as I once thought. My passion is the selfish quest to learn about and toy with the tools people use to tell their stories.
Some of my most vivid youthful memories are not of places and people, but of things that I have used to communicate.
In 2001, I launched my freelance career, the beginnings of Hands-on Heritage, as a communications expert. I had a vision. I heard about the concept of eBooks, so I started making my own ebooks for clients. I made websites, designed apps, created multimedia CDs, then DVDs, all before there was a market for them. I couldn’t help myself: I loved learning about using the tools and the technology and as computers progressed, I kept learning.
A local liberal arts college offered me a teaching gig in 2003, and I worked with students for nearly 20 years. A desktop publishing class led to more classes that I’ve developed. I’ve taught archaeology and media writing, general communication courses such as public speaking, event planning, and public relations, and even an art class for graphic design. I also direct the youth summer program, College for Kids. I’m a utility player, which means I can do a lot of things.
The truth that I’ve been avoiding for decades is that I am living my passion and it is guiding my career in communications. I have been very successful as a creative individual, despite all the times I worried I wasn’t making enough money.
Because my passion is a selfish quest, and I’ve never stopped following it. I still don’t know how to quantify or describe it. It is not possible to tie it up with a tidy bow. I’ve developed expertise in many areas because I’ve been driven by curiosity.
Now consider the ephemeral culture. What did you read today? Was it a book? An article on a website? A post on social media? What songs or stories or news or podcast or debate have you listened to recently? Any videos that brought a tear to your eye, a smile to your face? This is the beauty of the ephemeral — the fleeting, the momentary experience we all crave that has sprung from someone’s imagination.
Let your imagination run free and create something, anything. Keep creating what you like and share it, and soon you’ll have a following. Your following is more than an audience. Your following can be your customers.
I know it’s hard to accept that someone will possibly like your secrets, your musings. I find it nearly impossible to accept. But they do. I’m here today, writing about the dangerous idea of accepting your passion and exploring ways to make it your career because I believe you can turn your imagination into reality.
Of course, I believe it is possible. Remember, each day I spend time researching (or, as some people may think, wasting time on the Internet), searching for, and connecting with, new applications, new writers, new broadcasters, new creatives.
“Why” is a relentless question, and it deserves an honest response. I cannot stop creatively thinking, reading, and writing and can’t imagine my life without it.