About me

Howdy! I’m John Shieldsmith, the owner and writer of Landlocked Living. I’m a post-college hopeful in his mid-20s who writes for a living. Welcome to my humble abode!

I was born and raised in the magical city of Portland, Oregon. My time as an Oregonian quickly came to a close, when my parents decided we should move to Indiana. I had never heard of Indiana, but my five-year-old brain imagined it to be a land filled with Native Americans and rolling plains. This imagining made my older brother’s disdain towards moving very perplexing to me. Could a mystical land of wild animals and endless fields really be that boring?

Orcas Island April 1993 v2
The wonderful state of Washington, circa 1992. I had yet to venture into the dry states beyond the coast.

Upon arriving in Indiana I quickly realized that there were in fact no Native Americans and that the rolling plains my brain dreamed of were just corn fields. On the upside I did spot some squirrels in our new yard and my parents mentioned the abundance of deer in the area. I would later learn that deer are the bane of every Midwesterner’s existence, but for the time being they were a majestic and magical creature.

Time drifted by at a leisurely pace in the small town of Nashville, Indiana. I spent my childhood years crawling through the creek beds, playing with crawfish, and developing a passion for video games and writing. This continued until high school, at which point I decided writing was something I didn’t just enjoy, but loved. Numerous short stories, dozens of terrible poems and one really awkward phase later, and I found myself finished with high school and embarking on my college journey at Indiana University.

Almost everyone has an awkward phase in high school. This was mine, 2006. Nobody ever said they were pretty.
Everyone has an awkward phase in high school. This was mine, circa 2006. Nobody ever said it was pretty.

Like most college freshmen I spent too much time enjoying college life and not enough time reading college textbooks. Luckily for my future self I turned things around in my second year and began taking major steps towards an English degree.

After five long and strange years I managed to procure a piece of paper that declared me competent in English and creative writing and less than impressive in history (read: a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in history).

As is the case with many fresh college grads, I assumed I would find a killer job in my field and leave my part-time retail job behind me. Unfortunately for me, the only career advancement I had in the following year and a half was a promotion to full-time at my retail job. On the bright side I did land my first freelance gig as a writer, something that would eventually pay out in more than money.

Shortly after the beginning of my freelance writing spot I also met the love of my life – a beautiful girl from Texas named Valerie. Not only did she make my retail job that much more bearable, she motivated me to continue pursuing writing no matter how grim the market looked. Not one year later and she urged me to apply for a copywriting position at a book publisher. To my surprise I didn’t just get called back for two interviews, I got the job.

That leads to the here and now. I’m now in corporate marketing at the publishing house, while Valerie is still motivating me to keep my pen moving in my free time no matter how discouraging the world of writing gets. Oh, and I am still in Indiana. Now that I’m older I’ve realized why my brother found Indiana to be so dull, as it certainly can be. That being said, I’ve realized that every place is what you make of it, be it a barren land of corn or an island hugged by beaches (the latter definitely requires less effort on your part to be fun). There will always be corn and never-ending plots of forests in this state, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t also never-ending ways to entertain oneself and find the beauty in everyday life, something I chronicle with this website.

My maiden trip to Texas with my maiden, 2013.
My maiden trip to Texas with my maiden, 2013.

I look forward to sharing with you the many things I find that keep my chin in the air and the pep in my step. Welcome to the world of landlocked living, where there aren’t snowcapped mountains or expansive oceans, but people with the creative drive to find entertainment where there was thought to be none. There’s also corn. And beer. Lots of beer.

Corn, corn, corn!

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