Geek Love #1: Adam WarRock (and my career search)
This is the first in a series of geek love articles where there will be much gushing over geeky, nerdy people who make me happy.
I love Adam WarRock, my nerdcore rap hero. (Yes, my husband knows and he’s fine with it. A little confused, but fine.) Nerdcore is rap about nerdy, geeky things like comics, movies, TV shows and games. Adam (that’s his rap name and I’ll use it here because I like it) raps about these things he loves, what they meant to him as an awkward kid and what they mean to him now.
Adam’s career change from lawyer to rapper made me love what he does all the more. Like me, he got a master’s degree (mine was in mental health counseling) and worked in that field for a while but wasn’t happy. He eventually returned to what he had done years before: write and rap. Me? Just the writing. I only rap to an exclusive audience: my car.
Years ago I was a mental health counselor providing case management services to low-income adults with serious mental illnesses. I did what I could but felt it was never enough. I felt powerless. So I finally took a hard look at what I enjoy and made my way into a new job in medical software support. (That makes the transition sound easy but it wasn’t. There were acres of angst. But that’s a story for another time.)
Now I’m ready for another career change. I learned the software and became proficient at troubleshooting problems. We changed software and I learned that, too. But I lost my love for it. I’ve learned what I needed to learn there, solving problems and puzzles and now I’m done. On the way I learned that I love technical writing (how-to documents) and I’m good at diagnosing and troubleshooting problems. That’s good, but not enough.
I was missing creativity. A few years ago a coworker called me “the geekiest girl I know” and that started my coming out process: I started talking again about the science fiction stories I love. I put up my Firefly posters. When I got angry, I said “Frak!”. I started working with a coworker researching, editing and generally helping out with stories for comics he was writing.
For years I hadn’t thought a job that was creative was okay for me to do. I thought I had to fix things, do something big, solve people’s problems. On vacation last year I made a list of the people who inspire me and it surprised me to see that everyone was an artist: Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Christian Bale, Nathan Fillion, Simon Templeman, Amy Hennig, Jasper Fforde, Harlan Ellison. They wrote stories and movies and TV shows and acted and created games. I didn’t fault them for not fixing the world or finding the cure for cancer.
They told stories. Stories are how we teach and learn and reach each other. I believe story is everything.
So, if I didn’t fault these artists for creating, why should I fault myself for wanting to? Why would creating stories mean any less than providing mental health services or software support? So I restarted my job search looking for a chance to work with creative people doing something that eventually ends in a story: research, editing, technical and creative non-fiction. That’s where I’m headed.
In the midst of all this, I don’t remember how, I found Adam WarRock’s rap “Ira Glass” about This American Life, an NPR show which is all about stories, really. Our stories. My world tilted. I…..LOVED…IT! I blasted that song every morning. It was my anthem. It was what was playing when I started this blog.
Last year he released the “Browncoats Mixtape”, music about the show Firefly, and I didn’t stop rapping in my car to it for weeks. The “Browncoats Mixtape” is a beautiful work of love for the most amazingly written TV show.
Adam has a do-it-yourself aesthetic (which I love) and raps about that, too. I take hope from this former lawyer that I can become a former therapist, former software supporter and transform into some kind of researcher/editor/creative non-fiction writing superhero.
Yes, I am romanticizing what Adam has done: changing his life from lawyer to rapper and following his dream. I get to do that because I am a fan. And I’m a fan because of who he is, not just because of the music: on his blog and in his music he shares his struggles getting where he is now. Like me, he’s stumbled.It sounds cliché (we have them for a reason), but when I listen to his music and read his words I feel I am not alone in my quest for change. I start to believe it can happen.
Even if you don’t like rap or know much about comics (I don’t), if you’ve got any nerdy geeky goodness in you, you’ll get him. So please share in the geek love and check out Adam WarRock by clicking this link here and then friend him on Facebook. Tell him Athena sent you.*
*Athena is the persona I use when I’m doing the things I love: research, editing and writing. More on that another time. For now, just know it’s the name I’ve used when I’ve commented on his blog so…indulge me please. Many thanks!