About Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes a 7-year-old beagle and a 5-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, dog boarding, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

I was going to be a baseball player

In middle school, one of my teachers asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember timidly responding, “I want to be a baseball player.” Well, it wasn’t for a few more years that I would lose my love for the sport (and haven’t ever regained it :)) but up until then, I believed I could do it.

2 me and Whitney Williams

me in 5th grade sporting a Semper Paratus shirt.

Childish dreams, that’s what it was. I didn’t have the talent, and even if I had the drive and the willingness to work hard at it, I didn’t have the talent. Have I mentioned that I didn’t have the talent? But kids don’t think about what it actually takes to make it in professional sports. Or anything professional, really. It takes time, dedication, and oh yeah, talent.

The last year I played organized baseball was in 8th grade. Something flipped and I didn’t care to play anymore. When I went off to college (I say “went off” like my parents didn’t live right down the street), I played intramural softball for a winning team, albeit we were all students not playing for any school-sanctioned team of any sport whatsoever, but we were the best intramural team at FSU for 3 or 4 years running. #stillhavemyjersey #livinginthepast

As a grown man, yes I’m a grown man!, I love playing softball and even if most leagues I’ve been in fall into the “beer league” category, I’m still competitive and I’ll push a guy if it comes to that. Hmm, maybe I’m just living out the broken dreams of a middle school kid who just wants to come back to his hometown and ask his dad, “Are you prouda me, Pops?” like some dramatic New Jersey school dropout with a strong accent.

It’ll never happen, though, because my dad doesn’t go by “Pops”. Dang it!

-Out of the Wilderness

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The dude in Carly Pearce’s “Every Little Thing” music video

If you’ve been listening to country music radio lately, you’ve no doubt heard the refreshing sound of rising star Carly Pearce on her new single, “Every Little Thing.” And pairing along nicely with the new song is a new music video. Take a look!


Carly plays the woman in the video, which makes sense. Hey, who better to help tell the story of a break-up she went through a few years ago, right?

I wrote this song — my debut single — thinking that no one would ever hear it, about a guy who broke my heart a few years ago.

Well, the guy she’s talking about might remain a mystery but for now, the face we’ll see belongs to a 6-foot tall actor from Chicago, Illinois. He’s got a degree in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame–go Irish– and ladies, he’s a Geminiiiiii– that’s right, he’s gentle and affectionate– drum roll, please…

Playing the role of heartbreaker in Carly Pearce’s video is actor, model, artist, photographer, and sometimes bearded Erik Rocca!

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images courtesy of wilhelmina.com, for more click here

Models: Pipko and Jasmina, Assisted by Jesse Rosenthal and Andrea Heap

images courtesy of wilhelmina.com, for more click here

According to his profile on saatchiart.com, Erik “has been represented by Ford Models and Wilhelmina Models with a client list that includes Barney’s, Nordstrom, Cadillac, Thom Browne, and Moncler. Erik is a self-taught photographer. He lives and works in New York City and Nashville, Tennessee.”

Feel free to follow Erik on Instagram here.

You can also follow Carly on Twitter here and Instagram here.

More about the music video, including behind the scenes clips, can be seen here.

Thanks for reading and when you get a chance, check out these artists’ work and support them in their pursuits!

-Out of the Wilderness

Love’s first heartache

The year was 1993 and I was a 14-year old kid living in Miami, Florida. I hadn’t ever had a real girlfriend up to that point, save for a few in middle school which boiled down to seeing movies together and not talking on the phone. And yet, around this time was when I first felt the heartache of a break-up, a lost love, two people going their separate ways. It wasn’t any of my relationships, though. It was between Kevin and Winnie.
wonder years
My dad loved watching the show, so naturally I became interested in it, as well. It ran for about 5 years with the finale airing in 1993. I bet most fans assumed the show would tie a nice bow around Kevin and Winnie’s relationship, where they live happily ever after. But that’s not how it happened.

Maybe this was my first taste of how real life can be: sometimes the way we wish things would go isn’t how they go at all. Sometimes there isn’t a fairy tale ending. My heart ached for days, maybe weeks. As if Kevin and Winnie were meant to stay together but their lives took a different course. Although some fans of the show were reportedly disappointed in how it ended, I wasn’t. It affected me deeply, even if, back then, I didn’t know exactly why.

I can still remember that feeling. I’ve only felt it a few times in my 38 wonder(ful) years.

-Out of the Wilderness

Rekindling an old flame

handsSo I’ve posted a few blogs about my trip to Missouri. If you missed them, check a couple of them out here and here. This one, though, is diving into a deeper and more private part of my life…something I don’t do very often. It has to do with dating and relationships. I guess when I post something, I try to keep it somewhat light and entertaining so I’m a bit nervous about what this post could reveal to you about me. Maybe it’s something you don’t know? Maybe it’s something I should keep to myself? Hmm, anyway I’ll just keep typing and see what happens.

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 3.09.59 PMOn our 15 hr trip from Tallahassee, Florida to Branson, Missouri my brother and I covered a lot of topics, my dating life was one of them. Being single at 38 offers a decent topic to waste time talking about, right? 🙂 To catch you up, and this is something my brother already knew, I’ve dated on and off over the years but had 2 relationships that I’d call “serious,” meaning they each had the potential of progressing to marriage. We talked about the ins and outs of each one, the reasons the relationships ended, my thoughts on that, his thoughts on that, where those 2 women are now, etc. We talked deal breakers, compatibility, likes/dislikes, faith, personalities, core values, and more.

By the end of the conversation, he was pretty much sold on me pursuing one of them again. Maybe the reasons it ended were characteristics that I’ve grown out of, ya know? Like, I’ve matured and grown into a different place than I was back then, and perhaps she has, too.

The conversation turned to something else and we didn’t really get back into again before arriving in Branson. But, of course, there was still a 15-hour drive back to Florida.

This part of the trip included one of my sisters, who also knows these relationship details of my life. So she and my brother encouraged me to write down what I’d say to this woman if given another chance. Then they took it a step further and said whatever it is I write, send it to her however I can. Such a paralyzing thought, but also I felt a flicker of life there. As if there could be something rekindled. A faint sign of life, even if it is completely one-sided. I have no idea how it would be received, how she’s feeling about relationships overall, and all that. We haven’t spoken in a long time.

I haven’t written anything down yet, and I don’t know if I will. It’s something I think about and consider doing, but I have fear of hurting her in some way and to me, that makes the whole idea extremely high risk.

So here I sit at my computer, writing to you instead. Hopefully you’ll read this and accept it as a piece of my heart, without judgement but with compassion.

-Out of the Wilderness

In the name of love…

I heard a saying recently: “Days go by slow but weeks go by fast.” How true that’s been for me in the last 15 to 20 days. It seems like yesterday I was watching deer in a neighborhood yard…

…and that’s already been 4 weeks ago! Since then I’ve been around the southeast from Birmingham to Tallahassee, Memphis, Branson, Montgomery, Nashville, and lots of little towns in between.

In the name of love.

On the way to Missouri we stopped at the Civil Rights Museum, the site where MLK gave his life for freedom and love.

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My brother and two of his kids at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee.

Then we went on to Missouri, where my brother and I could do our part to serve in the name of love.

In Branson (actually it was Lampe, Missouri), we volunteered at a camp where we worked when we were in college. I’m sure I’ll post more about our time there but for now I’ll say it was a really great, exhausting, learning, fun week with him. We did a lot of manual labor type work, lifted weights, ran a 5k every day for 5 days, played whiffle ball homerun derby, and lots more. We got there on a Saturday. When my body felt like it had done all it could do, and I was ready to pack up and head out, “It’s been a great week, y’all!” I came to realize it was still Saturday. Dang. Long days, for sure!

Straight after that week was Wilder beach week back in Florida, at a little beach just south of Tallahassee called St. Teresa. This is the week all the Wilders meet up for a week of fun with 8 kids, 8 adults, and 3 dogs. Lots of love in this family!

Exhausting was this week, too, but mostly because we’re all having fun on my dad’s boat (tubing, skiing, dolphin watching, etc), playing soccer on the beach, knockout on the basketball court, volleyball on the beach, and other random fun things that don’t include flying a kite. More on that later!

I returned to Nashville two weeks after leaving. It was nice to sleep in my own bed again, to watch Leverage on Netflix again, to play sand volleyball with my friends again. But this trip was so great.


-Out of the Wilderness

Sand volleyball at camp

One thing I miss the most about Nashville as I’m on a sorta lengthy vacation is sand volleyball. My brother and I are in Missouri volunteering at a sports camp so you’d think there would be a chance to play some while we’re here…heck, there’s even a sand volleyball court! So I start the week with high hopes.
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But at the same time, around here sand vball seems to be treated more as a ladies sport, and because I’m a random old dude, I won’t play unless other guys do. Unfortunately, the bros here play basketball during their free time.

That is…..UNTIL YESTERDAY! I saw a co-ed vball game going on and ditched my brother to get some sand between my toes.
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Now you gotta know I’m not good at sand volleyball, maybe slightly above average. But my level of competitiveness and desire to win is entirely too high. I’ll kick a niece in the shin to get ahead.

What can I say, that “be like Mike” commercial went straight from TV to my eyes to my brain to my heart to my soul to my life to my evil determination to rule the world. Watch out LeBron! Watch out Kerri Walsh Jennings!

Wow, went off on a little tangent there.

OK, back to volleyball. I hopped on the court and played socially for the first few points. But there were good players on the court. I channeled my inner Brandon Sommers attempting an entertaining/encouraging play by play commentary as we hit back and forth. Brandon’s the master, but I tried. Meanwhile, I’m also determined not make a fool of myself by trying too hard amongst these middle/high school/counselor folk.

It was so fun! A great reminder of the fun I have in Nashville playing sand volleyball. Plus the net is low so I did take the opportunity to spike one on a high school guy. Call it a learning opportunity for him. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I bet karma will pay back once I’m back in Nashville. But for that one moment in time, I was April Ross. I was the wind beneath your wings. I was the future of American volleyball. I was the lion king.

Naaaaa sibenyaaaaaaaa!!

I was like Mike. Except in volleyball. But also not at all as good as Mike.

-Out of the Wilderness

Squirrels

Squirrels

There I sit, by the lake.
Two squirrels snooping around for something to take.

Empty fruit cups beside a trash can.
Squirrels descend on them like a crazy fan.

One squirrels gets it, he’s licking a cup.
The other can’t figure out how to turn it up.

He bites and scratches at the bottom.
It’s upside down, little guy, is what I want to tell him.

His buddy going to town,
searching around,
Whole head inside the cup, cleaning it up and down.

Meanwhile the other still determined to taste
the deliciousness of the leftover fruity waste.

From a distant tree a third squirrel appears.
Hops to the trash and strikes fear.

He runs the other two off, up the trees they run.
Third guy now owns this land under the sun.

The cups are now his, too, and trying to fill his tummy
He goes to the cup that’s upside down, what a dummy.

I approach with a goal to help out,
but he runs off with the cup in his mouth.

And such was my morning as I sat by the lake.