I’m discovering that confidence in writing comes with just sitting down at my keyboard and start hammering away. I’m a blessed man. Scenes come to mind all on their own. Then comes the editing. I follow the advice of Mr. Jerry Jenkins (author of the Left Behind series). He suggests beginning each day I’d writing by editing the work done the previous session. That works for me.
On Friday 12 June, i underwent back surgery for spinal stenosis, and a few related ailments. Since then, I have been laboring through the challenges of physical therapy. Being a Marine, my mentality on the subject of physical therapy echoes something once said by Sir Stirling Moss after his Formula One crash at Goodwood, England.
“No exercise is any good, boy, unless you push it to the absolute limit.”
Pursuant to our mutual philosophy regarding the subject, i am finding that physical therapy / exercise is arduous, demanding, and takes the wind out of my sails in a big way. Yesterday, I was determined to attend my church meetings. At first, i was full of energy. It felt so great to see friends I hadn’t seen in weeks. The meeting began at 1:00pm. But after less than thirty minutes, the room began to spin around. I was sitting perfectly still, but the room wasn’t. My wife had to drive me home and I missed the second speaker.
Everyone keeps telling me to SLOW DOWN – TAKE IT EASY – DON’T PUSH SO HARD. It’s not the Marine way but i’m trying hard to reach a comprimise. Thanks to all my supporters for your encouragement.
Today, I’m reflecting on the definition of the word, aspire. When I was sixteen years old, I aspired to owning a car. I needed a car so I could get a better job. I needed a better job so I could buy food to eat and clothes to wear. So, I put together a plan, and worked to earn $25.00 a week to buy a 1946 Ford coupe for $100.00. The car didn’t run, so I had to work another week to earn another $18.00 for a starter motor. I still remember how excited I was the first day I drove my very own car to school.
At age seventeen, I aspired to join the fight against the world-wide spread of Communism. So, pursuant to that aspiration, in August of 1965, I joined the United States Marine Corps. By March of 1968, I had learned to be much more cautious about the things I aspired to. Being shot down in a helicopter can be a bone-jarring experience. Being shot out of the air eight times is not only bone-jarring, it’s downright sobering! My time as a combat helicopter aircrew member did, however, earn me a title of respect. I became know by the nick-name of Shaky Jake.
For several years after returning home from the Republic of South Vietnam, I aspired to develop a closer relationship with God. I had compelling questions such as, “Who’s in charge up there? Who decides who gets killed in action and who gets to return home and live with survivors guilt? “How is it that I can get shot down eight times and live, while some other poor slob gets killed on his very first mission?” Those were questions only God could answer, and – guess what – He did.
In 1972 I aspired to earn my FAA certifications as a commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor. I accomplished the goal and worked for years as a charter helicopter pilot and flight instructor.
In the year 2012, at the age of sixty-six, I aspired to retire and begin the final career path of my lifetime. I aspired to be a published writer. I self-published my first book in October of 2013: “Boyhood Adventures.” By October of this year, I will have published the revised edition of that same book; this time, to be published by a traditional publisher. Following achievement of that goal, I will complete “Wings of Valor,” a project I’ve been working on for decades. After publication of Wings, I’ll begin working on a fictional story I’m calling, “The Troubleshooter.” I’m very excited to get to work on this project. Inspiration has played a huge part in development of plot and character elements. I have high hopes for its success.
Today, as I reflect on the definition of the word, aspire, I’m compelled to recognize the effect of its counterparts on outcome. Things like planning, action, and diligence are key elements in achieving any objective, except – maybe – standing under an apple tree waiting for fruit to fall. But I don’t believe much of anything of real value, comes so easily. Anyway, diligence comes into play in that few worthy goals are achieved without negotiating hurdles. Typically, I believe, the greater the value of the objective, the more a person must plan, work, and be perseverant. Anyway, that’s been this humble writer’s experience.
Creative writing is fun. One of the things that makes it so much fun for me is that it’s challenging. The learning curve is substantial. The climb to reach my personal pennacle of achievement is invigorating. There seems to be no end to all I must learn to be the best I can at writing. And I love a worthwhile challenge.
In August of 1988, I began working as the technical training instructor for Hyster Company. My job was to provide training for mechanics servicing powered industrial forklift trucks at Hyster dealerships throughout Southern California. I conducted classroom and shop training on subjects such as hydraulics, electrical systems, fuel systems, cranking & charging systems, etc. I enjoyed the work very much for the first few years, but by 1990, the work was getting stale. After having taught countless classes on Delco-Remy electrical systems, I increasingly felt like I was stuck in a humdrum pit. Fortunately, in 1990, Hyster began to get in step with technology, requiring technical training to do the same. I loved it! The job surged with new and wonderful challenges. To me, challenge is the spice of life. I love it when today is more challenging than yesterday.
I love it that there is so much to learn about my final career as a creative writer. And, the best part is that my work is a “learn by doing” experience. To say the least, I am having a blast!
Sooner or later, every parent finds him/herself manning their child’s confessional. Actually, it’s more of a moment wherein a child feels so self-assured in their pseudo-adulthood that it seems more like a boastful proclamation.
last night, my twenty-two year old son told how he and a few friends had violated the sanctity of an abandoned and (reputedly) haunted house, remotely located in a secluded spot near Byron. This, of course happened years ago when – had I known – I would have grounded him for the rest of his life.
His story included his proud report that a property watchman / caretaker had been guarding the house, and armed with a shotgun loaded with rock salt. This, he said, explained the blood his mother had washed out of his shirt, and the peppered wounds on his neck and back. Hmmm, sounds frighteningly similar to a story in my book, Boyhood Adventures. It makes me wonder what other experiences he’s had that I’m not privy to as yet.
Forgive me for saying so but being an empty-nester has its perks.