Humble and Embarrassing Beginnings: Five Years of the Writings of Nick Shell

An autobiographic look at the Scenic Route Snapshots franchise.

Scenic Route Snapshots: Est. August 2005.

When people show you a picture of themselves from five or more years ago, the tendency is often to laugh at their longer/froey hair and outdated clothing and say, “That was you?” Because ultimately that younger, less experienced version of a person was more naïve and goofier than the version of that person we know today.  Of course, it’s no different for each of us.  We too have many laughable aspects about ourselves when we look back on them, five or more years later.

This month makes exactly five years that I’ve been writing online.  In August 2005 I was in the process of moving from Fort Payne, AL (having just graduated from Liberty University a few months before) to Nashville, TN to start my career in music (which I decided wasn’t what I really wanted to do, after a year of being here).  I starting writing MySpace blogs as a way to document new life pursuing a career in music.  It’s not that my writings were all horrible those first couple of years; looking back, I can actually see some jewels in the gravels.  But for the most part, they were pretty cheesy, not to mention they were all about me and “making my dreams a reality”.

Obviously it was those early years in particular that helped me realize ways to improve my writing, eventually giving birth to The Code.  That means my older writings consistently violated The Code and I’m sure that’s part of the main reason it’s so difficult for me to go back and read them.  But anyone who has ever been successful in any kind of enterprise surely endured the same sort of sloppy early years as well.

Yes, that generic version of what we know as good and relevant was probably not always good and relevant.  Like the episodes of Saved by the Bell with Miss Bliss or the Tracey Ullman version of The Simpsons or the British version of The Office.  Sure, hardcore fans will always approve, but the rest of us know to stay away, lest we become disappointed and somehow allow our idea of a pure thing to become tainted.

And the still, the irony of this whole concept will surely prove itself that much more five years from now, when I use this post as a point of reference to show the place in time where Scenic Route Snapshots really started taking off.  The point where 1,934 were my highest views in one day (happened this week) instead of that being a slow day.  The point where I could admit that humble beginnings were over for Scenic Route Snapshots, yet the big break had not happened yet.

What started in August of 2005 as a goofy blog that just a handful of my friends read has evolved into an actual website that currently receives around 1,000 hits per day.  I sure don’t know where the future of Scenic Route Snapshots is going, but as long as I can still claim to be a writer who never experiences writer’s block, the posts will keep being born.


Read my very first “blog” from August 16, 2005, entitled “I Choose to Be a Fatalist” at the bottom of the page at this link:

It was this 2005 version of me that laid the ground work to get me where I am today.

Manspeak, Volume 8: Relaxation

One of the great things about this website is that readers can search keywords to find certain writings of mine, and even better, I can read what people type in that search box. Among my favorites: “sickle pickle”, “what does bromance mean to you?”, and “are men really attracted to women with big pupils and that smell like vanilla?”

While I’ve never written anything about men being attracted to women who smell like vanilla, I should. Because it’s true. Vanilla is often an ingredient for women’s perfume because men are indeed enticed by it. It has a relaxing effect. Subconsciously, many men find themselves quite attracted to a woman who can help him relax. There’s science behind it.

A woman’s mind is like a computer screen with 6 or 7 different programs all open and running at once, always active: women were designed to multitask. Even when a woman is taking it easy, appearing to be relaxed- she is still thinking about a few different things at once. It never really stops.

In contrast, a man’s mind is designed to focus on one task at a time, until that task is complete. Then he moves on to the next task, or he rests. Whereas a woman’s mind never really rests, a man’s actually does. It goes into Screensaver Mode. He is truly, literally thinking nothing.

In the way that kids are obsessed with getting candy, one of the things guys are always looking for is a way to rest. That is, unless they are already focused on a project, activity, etc. But rest can come in many different venues; it doesn’t simply men sitting on a recliner watching TV.

Being that it’s fresh on my mind since I went recently with my friend Tommy, canoeing is a good representation of this Restful Activity Franchise, as it represents the laid-back flow of a man’s Screensaver Mode. Others in the franchise include Corn Hole, fishing, and in an individual setting, even simply mowing the lawn.

Screensaver Mode. Restful Activity Franchise. Vanilla. There is definitely a connection.

So it makes sense that a man is going to be drawn to a woman who makes him feel like he can relax with her. Hence, the relaxing scent of vanilla in the woman’s perfume. Women look to men for action and strength, men look to women for nurture and rest. That is part of the groove design of the male/female relationship.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: