When the age-old mid-life crisis comes, what to do but change your life?
That's what Rob Wood did.
After a career spent in manufacturing, quality control, business management and the stock market, tapping into his artistic/creative side had not been part of his journey.
That changed, however, when he began writing a book two years ago.
As part of his bucket list, Wood had committed to penning a novel. The only problem was that with what he calls a bad case of ADD, it was difficult for him to stay in one place long enough to write. On trips to the beach from Atlanta, he might write a chapter at Bud & Alley's, a chapter while sitting on the dock, and other places. Finally, he came down for three months and forced himself to focus long enough to finish.
Wood says his book — "The Kingfish Way" — is about a 42-year-old man who loses his job and goes on a journey to find himself. The man goes from living an egotistical life in the first half to a purpose-driven life, with his journey ending at a place much like Seaside.
"The whole book is a little about moving to the second half our lives, and it's an awakening," he said. "The first half is about making money, but in the second half if we don't deal with it, we settle for a life of mediocrity. It's a search for our purpose and if we find it the second half can be an enormous adventure."
Is the book autobiographical, and has Wood found his purpose for the second half?
Wood laughs at the question.
"My purpose, I think, is to remind people that we really need to live until we die. We're not spectators in the game," he said. "I had gotten into whenever I got bored, I would move on. I wanted excitement and to do something bold and scary at the same time. But that doesn't happen. My purpose is to inspire through humor."
Wood said he has gotten good reviews and positive feedback so far from those who have read the book and 1,500 copies have sold.
"People say it's a huge wake-up call," he said.
Writing the book got his creative side going, said Wood, so, what came next happened accidentally.
One day Wood noticed a bit of left-over paint in his garage. Rather than toss it out, he took it out to the front lawn and began throwing the paint in splatters to get his creative juices flowing. He didn't know at the time that he was following Jackson Pollack's style.
Wood threw those first attempts at creating artwork away, but more have followed.
"I'm told my work is abstract impressionism," he says. "But I know very little about it."
He's learning, though, as he has started reading about art and watching videos.
Wood still doesn't use a brush and continues to create by slinging paint from a paddle or stick. His artwork is selling and he has shows coming up next in Atlanta. At this time, none are scheduled in this area.
Wood takes his book to his art shows, which has helped its sales.
In this area, "The Kingfish Way" is available at Amazon, Sundog Books in Seaside, Big Mama's Gallery in Seagrove, The Hidden Lantern at Rosemary Beach, and Grayt Coffee House in Grayton. Big Mama's has a few pieces of his artwork but he mostly sells from his website at http://thekingfishway.com/.
Wood's next project is another "philosophy" book, he said, but he won't divulge details.