Inside the mind of me…
Back from the beach and except for one bad day under using the sunscreen, I survived with my little pale backside still pale. We went to Topsail Beach in North Carolina with three other families plus a couple of extras that pushed the maximum sleeping capacity of the house to nineteen. It was a busy house for sure, but busy is not boring. The connection for the families is of course the women. They are like sisters and are as tight as thieves. The kids range from 14/11/10/10/7/6/6/4, with five boys and three girls. The best part of it is that only the oldest knew a time without the other kids hanging around. The rest of them have grown up together and are as thick as but not quite as sweet as cold honey.
The husbands are much like Christmas lights. We are nice to look at and we make everything better but Christmas will still happen even if we are burned out. The good news is that we are a little harder to replace than a bad string. The past two group vacations, I had to miss a couple of days each trip because of work commitments. This year I made the entire week but another husband had to miss because of his work. It is tough to be a man down but it is what it is.
The two highlights of the week for me were taking my son fishing for the first time and he caught a huge sea bass. Fishing from the beach behind the house at sunset, he got a very serious look on his face and said something was pulling on it. He gave me the rod and sure enough, there was something there. I gave it right back to him and told him to crank. He cranked it but his little six year old chicken wing just isn’t strong enough to twist the handle. I told him to start walking backwards and he pulled the fish towards the shore while I waded into the surf with a net to scoop it up. We took his fish back to the house to show Mom screaming like a couple of soccer fans at the World Cup. When he went inside, he was so excited she thought I had been eaten by a shark. We got the hook out of the fish, took a picture and released it back to the ocean. That little kid can do anything.
Equally exciting was holding my daughter in the recliner as she fell asleep. She turned ten last week and it has been years since she let me hold her that long. Life must have been good because sitting in a living room with three women talking about all things women. I feel asleep with my little ten year old baby in my arms. The time spent with my wife was equally wonderful but we really didn’t get any alone time. In a house with seventeen other humans tends to make it like that. But this week is our anniversary and we have a little Mommy/Daddy trip planned so all is well. All things being equal, it was a good vacation.
But it is time to get back to work. A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from our good friend Abby over at A Gentle and Quiet Spirit. She was participating in a blog tour and asked if I wanted to be included. A blog tour is started by someone and they nominate a couple of other bloggers to answer some questions and so on. Normally, I don’t participate in these types of things but I really didn’t read her e-mail very well. I just typed something like, “I guess so” or “maybe” and forgot about it. After reading her thought provoking answers to these questions and going back to see the high caliber of writers that have participated before me, I am not sure I should have committed to the project. But here I am and apparently someone somewhere is expecting something. I intend to give them what they want and I want to impress them so I sharpened the crayon a little more this week. Look out world!
What am I working on?
What am I not working on would be a better question. Other than doing a weekly article here, I also write for an on-line magazine at the Magill Review. The topics vary depending on the request of the editors there, but generally I like to talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The next article for the Magill Review will be an analysis of Bowe Bergdahl. The last one covered my favorite grilling techniques and some of my favorite cooking recipes. Additionally, I have taken on a new commitment interviewing local veterans and writing about their experiences for the local newspaper. Finally, I am in the editing process of an unpublished fictional novel that is approximately 165K words.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Everything has its place and purpose. I will explain the purpose for this site in the next question. But generally, I attempt to look at the world through a different vantage point. Sometimes that vantage point starts and ends with a loving spirit. I’m not saying I am a loving spirit but that is one of the perspectives I choose to view the world through. I also have a different background from most writers and I make every attempt to connect with like-minded folks because we have to stick together if we are to survive.
My writing experience is probably much different from everyone else too. I didn’t come out of the womb writing like most writers. In fact, most of my youth was spent trying to avoid writing at all costs. In high school, most everyone was happier when I chose to skip class and when I did show up; it was usually to get a nap. I was a poor student but a great day dreamer. And if left to my own devices I could imagine some really cool stuff, like how to skip more school. Like an early role model Farris Bueller, I think my work is different from most everyone else because I chose different paths.
In my fictional work, my work is unlike anything that I have never heard of. I am unafraid to change a plot line or hold to a script because I am not bounded by years of learning all the “approved writing rules.” The fictional work touches on several different genres, at some points it is an action novel, at others it is a mystery, spy thriller, and epic adventure mixed with life lessons. It is mixed with an honest look at the hardships of prolonged war, dangers from the over-reaching surveillance state and a healthy contempt for the TSA. But I really hope it is just a plain, old fashioned, good read.
Why do I write what I do?
I write to lift others up, to encourage and to highlight everything that is right with our nation. The main purpose of this site is to be a vehicle to tell stories from the life I lived from 2003 to 2007 as a C-130 pilot in the West Virginia Air National Guard. I would love to have my stories become a stepping stone to a non-fiction book about the exploits of the 120 men and women I deployed with during the war with Iraq and Afghanistan. But for now, it will be a way to document the life I had before my kids were born so that they will one day know who dad was before he was old and fat. It also serves as the basic platform that I use as my writing base.
How does your writing process work?
The short answer is not very well. Ha ha. Actually, I let the story stay in my head for a period of time before I even sit down to type it out. It runs in my head like a computer program runs in the background of your laptop. When I have time, I bring it to the surface and let the words form and when I get busy they fade into the background just percolating until the next time I think about them. At any one time, I have three or four thoughts going on in my brain. That is above and beyond normal life thoughts. Right now, I am typing out these answers to the questions. I have been thinking about this post for the better part of a week. But I am also mentally working on the Bergdahl story, this morning I interviewed a local vet to begin work on his story and I have the novel that is a constant companion. But when it is time to do the next story, it flows fairly quickly because it has already formed in the subconscious.
Working on the novel is another process and much more detailed. I found that I literally played the same scenes over and over in my head like a movie. Moving forwards and backwards in the scene and re-imagining the conversations, changing a detail and re-running it over and over until it was perfect mentally. Then I would sit down and write the scene. This happened for all of the big scenes and for the in between sections I just free styled, letting the words flow out and the story meander as it wanted until it connected to the next big scene. About fifty percent of the free style was cut entirely and another forty percent needed major reworking. But ten percent was solid gold and something I never saw in the work before then. I hit on several parallel storylines that add a definite richness to the story and will hopefully end up with some returning characters because they are too cool just to discard after a single book.
I hope I haven’t scared anyone off because of my strange writing process. In the meantime, I would like to hand the baton off to Evan of the site” In the Words of an Evan” http://inthewordsofanevan.wordpress.com
He is a wonderfully talented writer who will one day be a legend. I knew that immediately after reading a single post of his. He has a talent that I never will and he has a drive that is second to none and he just graduated high school. I can’t wait to take a peek behind his writing curtain and see how a pro does it.
Evan always signs off with the phrase, May you remain existential. I don’t know what that means but it sounds great. Until next time, keep on rockin.