My name is Jason Lee Crutchfield; I’m the author of the four-part science fiction series: NANO. The first book of which is currently published on Amazon. If you’re here perusing my site, I want to thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about me and my work. I hope you find this website useful, and if you have any suggestions for the site, things you’d like to see me blog about, or comments regarding my writing, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise my response will be immediate, but I will do my best to get back to anyone with questions or comments.
I was born on November 12, 1985 in the small town of Milton, Florida where I have lived my entire life. I am the oldest son to Mark David Crutchfield and am part of a large household. I have a full brother, a full sister, a half sister, a step brother, and two step sisters. My family life has been complicated since I was a small child. My brother, sister, and I were subjected to intense, prolonged abuse from our biological mother until around the time I turned six years old. Child services ultimately stepped in and transferred custody of us to my father. By then my father had remarried to a woman with a child from a previous relationship. Shortly after, my step mother gave birth to our half sister, and our little family of seven lived peaceful days until my step mother suddenly passed away when I was fourteen. My father remarried again a year later to a woman with two children; given the circumstances, our home became far too small… or perhaps our family simply became too large. My grandmother, the most influential woman in my life, took me in right around the time I turned fifteen. I lived with her until I turned twenty-two after which she passed away.
I began writing as an outlet for my emotions as early as middle school. Thanks to the influence of my friends at the time, I took an immediate interest in science fiction and fantasy. The first “thick” book I ever read was The Hobbit and subsequent Lord of the Rings trilogy. The first movies that really got my blood pumping were the original Star Wars trilogy films. In some shape or form, I wrote every day. This persisted on through high school, but I never considered pursuing writing as a career until I took my first Advanced English class in tenth grade. There, I met the second most influential woman in my life: my mentor Anthea Amos. Ms. Amos took my unrefined passion for writing and molded it into a presentable craft. With her tutelage, I developed more than just a love for imaginative storytelling; I developed a love for the written word itself. Turning phrases, manipulating pacing, and using a language’s rules and exceptions to the fullest effect became just as fun to me as weaving a story, building a world, or creating a character.
Ms. Amos continued mentoring me through high school and college. After early-enrolling at Pensacola State College (then known as Pensacola Junior College) for my junior and senior years, I pursued a general studies Associate’s Degree with an emphasis in English Literature and creative writing. I constantly deferred to Ms. Amos for advice and critiques regarding my writing during my studies, but when graduation day approached, she pulled me into her office and told me something that would shape the next decade of my life. She knew that my dream was to become a published author; she knew that, at that point, I had resolved myself to pursue a career as a novelist. She sat me down, put her hands on my shoulder, and said, “Jason, you’re the best writer I’ve taught in all my years of teaching.” Imagine my elation when I heard such praise. But it was followed by a harrowing warning:
“… but only two percent of writers with your talent make it in the industry…”
Only two percent, she told me. Imagine my mortification when I realized that my happy-go-lucky dreams were not as simple as I originally thought. I will never forget that day; it’s the day that my life toppled all around me as though someone had pulled the wrong block from a Jenga tower. I did not realize at that point in my life that she had just given me one last exam as my mentor. So, like any sane eighteen-year-old with his entire life ahead of him, I buried my dreams and joined the work force. Over the last decade, I’ve worked jobs ranging from retail to security. Don’t get me wrong, each of those jobs are respectable, but no matter where I worked I could never take my mind off writing and creating stories. I wrote before my shifts, I wrote after my shifts. I played tabletop roleplaying games as what is called a “Dungeon Master.” I even built worlds in my head while vegging in front of a video game or television. I participated in writing contests, and when I participated, I usually won. Despite all the writing I was doing in my spare time, I still remained fearful of the “two percent.” That fear governed my decisions. That fear kept me in check and made sure that I only viewed writing as a hobby.
But that all changed in August of 2012. For my current day job, I work at an Armored Truck security company as an armed service technician. It’s a fancy title that basically amounts to me carrying a firearm and delivering money. That job, however, is required to adhere to Department of Transportation regulations which includes a yearly physical. It was that physical in August that changed my life. The acting physician went into a panic the moment he took my preliminary vitals and urine sample. My sugar levels were off the charts, my blood pressure indicated I was in immediate danger of cardiac arrest, and my heart rate was in excess of 120 beats per minute with a dangerous irregularity. Not only did he fail me out of the physical, my condition was so dangerous that he recommended I immediately be rushed to an emergency room via an ambulance. His every word felt like the icy fingers of death to me. For the first time in my life, I was crippled with terror. I did not want to die.
I opted to drive myself to the emergency room. This was partially to avoid outrageous ambulance fees but mostly to avoid anyone seeing me bawl like a small child. During the drive, many thoughts raced through my mind. Looking back on it, a lot of those thoughts are foggy and hard to place. But there was one thought, one regret, that stands out implacably. The entire time I drove to the emergency room, I regretted not pursuing my career as an author. It was my only true regret, and it was the only thing that horrified me more than the thought of my death itself. I was afraid that I would leave this world without ever having written a novel. Without ever having attempted to live out my dream at all. I gave myself all kinds of excuses. I told myself that two percent had just been too low of a chance, that the odds had been stacked too high against me. Nothing I told myself helped quell the heaviness in my chest, though. When I finally pulled into the parking lot of the emergency room, I was left with one loud thought that drowned out all the others.
“How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
It hadn’t been. In that moment, my perspective changed, and all of a sudden two percent became this beacon of hope in the face of zero percent. Because zero percent was the chance I had by not even trying. Zero percent was the chance that I would make it as a writer for the decade I spent avoiding that dream. How could I have been so blind to something so simple? Two is an infinitely greater number than zero. Any chance is infinitely greater than no chance at all. It pained me to know that I had learned such a lesson only at a point when I might be leaving the world without the chance to exercise it.
Funny story, though. It turns out, whatever instruments the physician at the Department of Transportation physical used had been quite off. My heart rate was only eighty beats a minute, and an EKG revealed no strange irregularities. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, and my sugar levels were very high. The doctor politely informed me that I had developed a case of early-onset Diabetes, but that I was in no immediate danger of dying. Like all the excuses and obstacles I set up for myself over ten years, I was also largely responsible for my health. I had not been properly taking care of myself. I started seeing a specialist, taking medicine, exercising, and eating healthy. I am still fighting against this disease, but my weight is down and my numbers have all stabilized; I feel healthier than ever.
More importantly, though, I followed through with my resolve. I finally realized that what Ms. Amos had given me was an exam like no other. For too long I focused on two percent as a “chance” or “odds.” As though this two percent would either magically happen, and I would be lucky, or it would not and I would fail. I now believe there is something very important that separates the two percent from the ninety-eight. I intend to hold onto that until the day I die.
I picked up my proverbial pen that day; starting November 5th, 2012, I began writing my first science fiction series. April 1st, 2014, I typed the last line of the story’s epilogue. I wrote every day to make that happen; I sacrificed a lot to do it, but what I feel now that the series is completed and my first book is published is worth it. And it’s not a sense of finality or completion. It’s a sense of beginning. A new beginning for me as I strive to join those two percent with the perseverance to never stop trying. I will never put down my pen again.
I hope you enjoy reading the NANO series as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope that you can take something from this website, something from my blogs, or something from my story. Again, if you have any questions for me, need any advice, or just want to talk to me about myself or my work, feel free to email me. I will correspond with you as soon as I am able.
Thank you for your continued support.
– Jason Lee Crutchfield