Monday, June 11, 2012

My Lost Years

Where am I going? What am I doing?

I have no idea or at best just a vague idea of the road ahead.

I’m certain of a couple of things with this new gig of mine. My chances of being
unearthed or discovered as a writer are next to nil. So I’ll do it myself and
enjoy or suffer the consequences thereafter.

And why at this age do I think I can become a writer? I have absolutely no idea other
than the fact that I thought I could live abroad, own my own business, invest in real estate, do a century, an ultra, a marathon or two. And eventually I did empty that bucket list.
So I guess this is the same sort of thing. I think I can…therefore I can.

Perhaps this is my vision quest; an iconic seeking of life’s truths even at my age. One that started out simply enough years ago.

My first novel, Apache Death Wind, was written 45 years ago. Upon review, it provided the encouragement that perhaps there was something to this storytelling route I’d chosen. The novel showed me that I could write an engaging story with interesting characters.

Debris, my second attempt at vernacular exploration, was a soap opera full of desert characters whose lives became intertwined in Palm Springs behind the glitter of that desert resort community.

Follow the Cobbler took me around the world with a mysterious and fascinating woman, Katherine. She’s still an enigma and an anomaly that I’m trying to understand for the next two novels in that trilogy.

Love in the A Shau surprised and even shocked me when it became a cathartic exper-ience that unleashed a plethora of emotions from my past; many of which I was able to transpose onto my characters, enough that it evoked quite an emotional reaction from my sample readers.

So the material is there; now what?

In order to gain traction in the marketplace, I’ve got to begin this long and arduous task
of selling myself as an author and promoting my works. I’ve got to create an image or brand of myself; who I really am and what I want people to know about me. Struggling writer, husband, father, grandfather (Papa), traveler, and seeker of life’s truths.

Quite a departure from the real me that would much rather hide in my office and just write. But I don’t just want a collection of my stories to lie dormant and then be thrown away when the kids are purging my life’s collection of stuff after I’m gone.

So I find I must venture out into the real and sometime scary world called ‘this is who I am and this is what I do’ – always adding the caveat ‘and I hope you like it.’

It should prove to be an interesting (and I’m guessing) challenging endeavor. First finish
a microsite for ‘Love in the A Shau’ complete with a synopsis of the storyline, several sample chapters, a book trailer, and finally a place to order copies on e-book and soft cover format. Hopefully viral marketing will feed on itself and generate interest.

Then a separate Facebook page for ‘Love in the A Shau’ where folks can post their own comments, reminisces, and reflections back on the 60s and Vietnam.

Finally a series of blogs on this Facebook page to help me purge these thoughts, ideas, and reflections that have been swirling around in the recess of my mind for so very long.

The rumination for these blogs was first initiated as a series of musings that I shared with a couple of friends over the past six months. Insights and remembrances of past and present experiences that somehow scratched away at the scar tissue on my collective memory and implanted a fresh perspective of this new and sometimes scary world called writing.

It’s actually reconnected me with a couple of old friends (who knew?). And while some of those connections remain tenuous at best, they still have the ability to poke through the fog of my past and bring back some warm and wonderful memories.

Which brings up my lost years; that period between graduating in May of 1961 from Cretin High School until my marriage in July of 1971. Unlike most of my fellow graduates who went off to college for four years, started their careers and families, and lived happily ever after, I took a more circuitous route to life.

My lost years encompassed ten years of searching, finding, losing, and (by micrometers) growing and maturing. It was a trial and error period in career-building, travel, love found and lost, friendships collected, and most everything else that ten years of life have to offer a seeker such as myself.

It was one big would have, could have, should have….and to a small degree, actually did.

So now at the point in my life when most other folks my age have collected their chips and said it’s time to relax and enjoy the fruit of their life-long labors, I find myself striving to prove that I can actually become a writer of many different genres. It’s as if this writing thing has become an elixir for my lost years and a culmination of a lifetime of wondering if I ever could do it?’

But in the end all that really matters is that I gave it a shot. I DID write four novels. I did write four screenplays. I did write several plays. I did write several children’s stories, and I have written many treatments still in their infancy.

Love in the A Shau will be self-published shortly. Apache Death Wind will follow after that. The rest is yet unrecorded history.

Oh, shoot, I think I can feel another bucket list filling up again.

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