Go Write a Book

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I am a middle child. Well, actually, my older brother is the middle child, but he is also the oldest of the boys, so I inherited the title and all the benefits that come with it.

Because of that, I spent a great deal of time fading into the background. I became pretty good at it, actually. It’s a talent I still try to use to the best of my ability. I became an “Observer.” Back when I was a little boy I spent a great deal of my time under the couch (I was pretty small), listening to what the rest of the family was saying and doing.

When I became a teenager, because I could no longer fit under the couch, I became bored rather easily. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I had an abundance of overactive imagination.

The summer of my 13th year, I must have been driving my Mom crazy with my questions and moaning about being bored, and my Mom yelled at me, “Go write a book.”

So I did.

The first one was longhand in a notebook (I’ve still got it, somewhere). After my parents realized writing was occupying my time, my Dad brought me a Smith Corona typewriter to use, and I spent every minute I had pecking away to get the voices out of my head. He worked in a typewriter repair store at the time, so it wasn’t long before I got an electric one for Christmas. And I pecked away even faster.

I came up with an idea for a story when I was 15 that has occupied my mind for the past 37 years. It started as a simple fantasy, then turned into a horror and much later into a science fiction story. But the story was always pretty much the same, just the time and place changed.

I finally got the first part of it out of my head and into my hands a week ago. I’ve been reading it this week as a reader rather than a writer or editor. It’s not as perfect as I had hoped, but I’m satisfied that at least those voices aren’t screaming in my brain.

Looking back on it, I wonder if my Mom told me, all those years ago, “Go write a book” as reward, or punishment. Either way, thank you Mom.

That is all.

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A Roadmap to the Rages

 

The Rages – Castaway will be published tomorrow, and as the hours tick away there was one item I wanted to provide on my website that I have neglected. It is right next to my “About the Author” button at the top of the page and is called “The Seven Realms of Man.”

On this page you’ll find an explanation of the people, places and things that make up The Rages and The Book of the Shepherds. I’ve disclosed no spoilers within, because that would be bad.

I created the page because I’m not particularly fond of page upon page of “info dumping” in a novel. For this novel, if I were to have done so, it would be biblical in proportion. I know some readers enjoy the experience of reading “world building” by authors, but I’m not one of them, so I try to keep it at a minimum in my writing. Two of my sons enjoy the occasional “info dumping” in science fiction and fantasy, but they’re electrical engineers, so I’m not sure they’re entirely human anyway.

I have done some “world building” or “info dumping” in The Rages because it’s a fairly complicated place and I didn’t want to keep everyone in the dark. But I’ve always preferred that an author give me a little tease and let me figure it out as they guide me along the path. I’ve tried my best to do that with The Rages.

Consider The Seven Realms of Man a road map for those who like the information up front, versus a tease. I’ll add to it from time to time, as the journey continues. I hope, in the words of Harley Nearwater, the protagonist of The Rages, that you find it “Int’restin’.”

SumDaze – Raised by my Hero

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I’ve always considered myself fortunate to have been raised by my hero.

My dad’s been my hero since I was a kid, longer then I can remember really.  He’s always been a little bit larger than life in my eyes and even though I now stand a couple of inches taller than him and outweigh him by a good 40 pounds, I still don’t seem quite so tall or so big standing next to him.  He’s the hardest man I could think of to measure up to and he’s the one man I want most to be like.

With that said, I will admit that my dad was a little on the eccentric side.  He might have even been a little bit crazy.  He would have certainly told you he was if you had asked.  He was also one of the wisest men I’ve ever met and the most aggravating.  I’m not sure those two traits go hand in hand, but I think they might.

My dad was one of those soft spoken types who you would never think would be a prankster but always was.  He would throw out a question just to test your belief in your religion, your politics or your convictions and when you told him you loved him he would ask you why.

He was also one of the biggest worriers, hardest workers and best speakers I’ve ever met.  Growing up with him I chased his shadow and he was kind enough to allow me.

I got to ride along in the bucket of the backhoe in our hometown as a kid when he was excavating to install sewer lines or water lines and I learned more sitting on the porch listening to him talk than I think I ever have from anyone else.

As for the reasons why my dad has always been my hero, I couldn’t really tell you.  He doesn’t meet any of the qualifications we tend to attach significance to when it comes to being a great dad.  I can’t recall a single time when my dad ever pitched a baseball to me or tossed the football.  He didn’t take me to ball games and he didn’t go on bike rides.  He didn’t go camping. He never would, but he would show up to your camp site long enough to make sure you had food to eat, and then he would go home where it was comfortable.

He did on occasion take me fishing.  But when I had in less than five minutes hooked my older brother, a tree limb and finally my own jacket, he pretty much stopped taking me fishing.  I’m not sure he ever fished again.  Maybe I ruined the experience for him.

What he did do was find every opportunity to teach you a thing or two about your world and what part you might play in it.  While frying ants on the sidewalk with my magnifying glass he would come out and softly ask me what I was doing.  When I told him I was killing ants he would go into a five minute sermon on how those ants hadn’t bothered me any and I shouldn’t bother them.  He would crumble up a piece of cookie and tell me to watch closely as those ants went about cleaning up the mess he made.

“They’re useful,” he would say and I would roll my eyes.  Today I give the same speech to my own kids and smile when they roll their eyes.

My own children were blessed beyond measure to live close to my parents and to learn a little of what I already know about my dad. When they came home to tell me the stories my dad had told them I would nod my head and let them retell his story.  I know most of them by heart.

“I’m a rebel,” my dad liked to say and usually when he did one of us would smile and my mom would roll her eyes.  He was a rebel only because he would say things just to make you think and most of us don’t want to bother with our own thoughts too much anymore; we’d rather just be fed someone else’s.  But he kept shaking us up, forcing us to consider things we might never have considered without his prodding right up to the end.

In all my experiences with my dad over the years I believe my favorite are and always will be those times when I sat with him and listened to him talk about his dad.  I smile at the look in his eyes when he talked about his dad because I know it’s the same look I had in my eyes when I talk about him.

I hope, some day, to be so lucky that my children have that look in their eyes when they talk of me.

Happy birthday Dad. I miss you.