My first novel in the “Rising Tide” series, of the same name has been re-released with a face lift. I’m also including the cover of the second book “Eden’s Wake.” Check out the first two books in this action packed series, available at all fine bookstores.
Tag Archives: reading
Autobiographically Speaking; Multiple Personalities is Not a Huge Problem But the One I’ve Got Could Use an Upside Down Overhaul
I have considered many times over the years penning my autobiography. If I were able to begin this work of nonfiction as a destitute underling clawing his way from the sewers of Lichtenstein and one day parking my keister in the cushy monarch’s chair; then I’d say yeah, sure. That would at least be something worth writing about…or, possibly if I was a repugnant little quip, born with a silver spoon in my mouth having lived my early teens with a lifestyle of entitlement until the powers-that-be kicked me from the lap of luxury into the streets of South Franaganistan. Through my years in the low-rent district, I learn a great deal of humility. With my tail tucked between my legs, I returned home, organized a coup, and slaughtered all those responsible for my banishment.
Being as my life reads more like a Tom Sawyer novel, I guess this is where we’ll begin. It seems that Huck, Jim and I were rafting down the Missi— hold the phones. Correct analogy, wrong story.
Let’s begin again, shall we? I was born a middle-class white boy. By the time I hit my early teens and discovered the Chickahominy River flowed within a mile of my house, it became my second home. Starting the last day of school for summer vacation, I was standing on the bank of the river, casting for chain pickerel, a smaller version of a northern pike.
Hanging with friends, we would participate in all sorts of mischief, nothing mean-spirited, but things that certainly, OSHA would not have approved of had they known. For instance: locate a suitable sapling, make a mad dash toward the tree. Once you make contact incorporate both feet and hands to literally run up the tree, 18 to 20 feet. After reaching said height, throw your weight backward and ride the sapling to the ground. A perfect landing would be your feet softly touching the earth as you release the top of the tree, sending it back to its original position. No harm, no foul.
An unacceptable landing would reveal your inability to choose a suitable piece of lumber to climb. The unacceptable landing would go something like this: run, run, run. climb, climb, climb. Throw weight backward. Hear bone chilling snap just prior to your back contacting the unforgiving ground. Wait several minutes until ability to breathe returns, then on to the next activity.
Let’s wade through foot deep, snake and leech infested stagnant water, to catch snapping turtles. “By the way, how does one catch these snapping turtles?” I smile. You, stomp through the black water until your foot lands on something that moves. Pick it up and hope that it’s a turtle. If fingers began to drop into the water, this will be an indication that not only have you secured a turtle, but have grasped it by the business end. Make mental note: keep fingers on the outside of snapping turtle’s mouth.
Now, it’s on to more fun activities. Swimming with snakes, building rafts from 55 gallon drums, chopping down random trees with an axe to build a log cabin and my favorite: wading in knee deep swamp water in the middle of the night, gigging for frogs. (Believe me when I say, keep the flashlight off as much as possible. You’d rather not know what you’re sharing the water with) As I’m sure you agree, all are perfectly safe activities for young teenagers to participate in.
It’s a good thing my parents didn’t know what I was doing… In fact, I’d better stop there before I start spilling my guts and let something slip that may have been dangerous.
Come to think of it, maybe I’d better check on mine. He’s too much like his old man for my comfort.
Ah, the written word….so much more reliable than its close cousin, the spoken word. Way back yonder in them thar olden days, folks would have to commit important happenings and occasions to memory. And what was the most efficient way to accomplish this? Turn them into a story to be passed down from generation to generation, of course.
Can’t you just see it?
The Chief Elder, dressed in fur, staff in hand, flames from the fire dancing off his wise bearded face. throngs of children, young people, and adults alike awaiting for this gifted storyteller to weave his tale of adventure, romance, and intrigue.
Then, one day, some party-pooper picked up a piece of charcoal, or some such other soft piece of material that would make a mark, and commenced to scribbling on the cave wall… and there you have it–the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are born.
Now, I have mentioned the spoken word, the written word, but left out one very important part of today’s language, and that is none other than the stupid word. Please allow me to explain.
I spent nearly 16 years of my life in and around the corporate world, and every so often a new phrase, spoken only in what we will now dub “corporate speak,” would surface, rear its ugly head and spit out some silly nonsense.
Think outside the box.…… Now that I’ve stopped laughing, I will admit that even though I know what this means, will somebody please tell me…… What does this mean!!! Do we really need this cornball phrase to tell us not to be like Jethro; instead embrace creativity. I hereby ban this saying and replace it with my own…… Don’t be stupid.
Here’s another little ditty:
Too much on my plate.…… Boy, there’s one for the ages. The last time I had too much on my plate…….I don’t think I’ve ever had too much on my plate. I have no choice but to flush……… and down the porcelain La-Z-Boy she goes.
How about number three:
Low hanging fruit……… I sure would like to know who came up with this one. Just in case you don’t know, it means to get the easy tasks out-of-the-way first. I can only imagine the phrases the creator of this one canned on the climb toward number one.
Picture wavy lines and fading scenery as dreamscape music ushers you to another time and place. The place where corporate speak is created. It’s a small room. The walls and ceiling are painted an institutional white. The single door and frame painted an inviting light gray; the carpet a stain resistant dark gray. There are no windows, and a small fluorescent fixture in the ceiling, its worn-out bulbs blinking to the tune of Good Golly Miss Molly. A small man, in a gray suit, with dark framed glasses, sets at a small gray desk humming, Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got. Every now and then he’d release a phrase and allow it to flow around the room before shooting it down into the trashcan and sending up another.
Let’s move in closer and intercept some of these words of wisdom.
1) Smash the eggs and let the birds go for now. We’ll blast them from the sky later.
Nah, too long and a hair too violent.…… I know… how about?
2) Stomp’em afore they get too big.
Won’t work either. The length is close, but the content’s just not quite there. I’ve got it!
3) It was the best of times, it was the worst…….
Nah, it’s been done to death.
What do they want from me? I’m going with my first choice, the hanging grape thing, the one my supervisor shot down. I’ll show him. It will become the greatest, nonsensical, off-the-wall corporate speak phrase ever uttered! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Needless to say, the phrase enjoyed moderate success and the employee was transferred to the mail room.
Now for the crème de la crème:
4) Who’s got the rock?
I refuse to waste virtual paper and ink on this ridiculous collection of words.
So there you have it. Give mankind a toehold to create something totally unnecessary and of use to absolutely no one, and he’ll do it.
In a way, it reminds me of this blog. Chocked full of useless information; ready to use at your discretion.
Until next week
Have you ever written a page or even a paragraph and as you wrote you were certain in your heart of hearts that this piece was some of your finest work? If Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or H. G. Wells himself could have read this single page in their day, I am convinced that nary the three would have dared to put pencil to paper ever again for fear of substandard work in comparison. Then, as you backtrack to read the stellar work you have just produced, you realize that a third grader has somehow entered your article through a secret backdoor and rewritten your magnificent page.
Or, have you ever written a piece that reinforced the notion that your writing skills were actually that of a third grader, only this time when you reluctantly began to reread, now there seemed to be a possibility that you were one big ball of benevolence–a gift to the literary world?
After the highs and the lows, you settle into your latest project, enjoying each word, sentence, and paragraph.
Then comes the reviews…
Oh, you’ll revel in the adoring four and five-star reviews. Just don’t let the ones and twos, pull you down.
My first suggestion in surviving reviews is to eat foods which promote growth in the outer layers of the epidermis as thick skin will become necessary in order to survive the onslaught of negativity and rejection you will no doubt have to face.
I’ve had reviews that lifted my head above the clouds and with the same book, a review that ripped me to shreds. It bordered on a personal attack; all from the organizer of a book club that I gave a book to in the first place.
It reminds me of our friends in the animal kingdom, the “praying mantis.” During the mating season when the male and female come together (the female being the larger of the two), they engage in an elaborate dance of love before the big event.
I can imagine the thoughts of the smaller brown male. Wow! What a big green hot momma! She sure got some kinda six sexy legs; that pretty face; those emerald eyes; and man oh man, what a thorax! I sure do hope that she doesn’t have a boyfriend.
And the female’s thoughts:
He sure is cute and looks to be right strong. I wonder if he’s got a job. He’ll have to call in sick on Monday. She gives him a wink and he saunters over. They dance the night away, and then finally comes copulation.
They both sigh a long breath of satisfaction. The male lights a cigarette and the female chews his head off.
Oh well, just like writing, it’s one more thing that comes with the territory.
Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, string bean casserole, cranberry sauce, family, friends and football. Put these together and what do you have… a 4th of July picnic, correct?
No, of course not, it’s a super bowl party… I think I’m wrong again.
I’ll refrain from this silliness. We all know I am speaking of Thanksgiving–that time of year when families come together to eat themselves into a class A-1 stupor.
Needless to say, this post has nothing to do with writing other than I’m writing this post.
More importantly, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for the things in our lives that make us truly thankful for what we have.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and since that time I have realized so many blessings they’re impossible to count.
To begin, our church built a ramp and a roll-in shower at no cost to us. I’m on a special diet and one of the ladies from the church cooks all my meals and another friend cuts our grass.
Friends visit, call and build things that I come up with to make life easier or to assist with exercising.
My mother and sister are down each week to help any way they can. My son works but takes a day to spend with me so my wife can go into work; other days we are blessed that she is able to work at home. I have an aunt that comes down to type for me and an uncle that sleeps while she does so …. and makes hot tea. My step-daughter used to type until another little blessing began to take up too much of her time. That little blessing would be my grandson (and I say this with no bias) he is the cutest and most adorable child in the entire known world. My stepson works constantly but will always take time to help us out if we need him. Even my in-laws who live five hours away have made it a point to help.
I myself have found that a person who was full of pride and thought he carried no baggage happened to turn around and notice the three mile long train full of baggage he had been pulling all these many years. I always thought of myself as a totally self-sufficient human being. What a rude awakening when I could no longer make it on my own. It was then that the pride began to fall away.
Now my wife: What can I say about a woman who has stuck beside me when many would have run. She treats me with unbelievable kindness and patience. She works normally seven days a week. Takes care of me twenty-four seven. Sacrifices sleep and any time for relaxation and yet greets me with a smile and a kiss throughout the day. I certainly don’t know what I did to deserve such an angel but I thank God every day for this blessing.
What better way to summarize than to tell you where all these blessings have come from. I am so thankful I have a God who loves me enough that He would take the time to correct me as a good father corrects his children and I am floored to think He would send His Son to die in such a horrible way so that I might spend eternity with Him.
This makes me think of my son and I know deep within my heart that I could not sacrifice him for anything.
So enjoy that turkey leg and especially your family but don’t forget where they all came from.
Have you ever sat just daydreaming? Possibly about your past, your childhood, your dreams, or what you hoped to be when you reach adulthood?
Perhaps your present situation comes to mind–marriage to the love of your life; your offspring and the worries that just being a parent bring.
One undisputed fact is that we are constantly facing the future. What wonders will it bring? Disappointment or a long time dream realized?
As usual, my daydreams are reserved… maybe that’s the wrong word. Not so much reserved as they tend to pop up when I’m writing but what I’m writing about doesn’t necessarily dictate the content of the daydream itself. There are many lulls as I search my mind for just the right words to complete the particular paragraph I’m working on.
Occasionally while searching for an idea to continue my storyline, I’ll stumble upon a daydream door. Well now, how can I help but turn the knob and enter?
Now, firmly entrenched in my world within a world, I am a small fellow with a towel tied around his neck, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, out racing speeding bullets, and just downright saving the world.
I have an uncle who’s name to the majority of the family is Larry; I call him Wayne. We were quite the pair (him being 13 years my elder) when we were coming up, especially after I reached my mid-teens. Nuff said! What the family don’t know; won’t hurt’em.
Simply because of its comedic value, I think often of a story my uncle relayed to me. It seems that when he was but a wee lad, during a “reach for the sky,” gun-slinging incident, he backed off the tool-shed roof allowing the dirty hombres to escape!
For the most part, daydreams can be a welcome respite from the daily grind; however, there are instances when slipping into that midday coma is not recommended.
Case in point:
I recall one particular day during my eighth grade math class. If memory serves me correctly, I entered the classroom with my usual eagerness to learn, just brimming with excitement. I made my way to my desk, giddy with the thought of mathematical equations I would soon be able to solve.
Readying myself for the start of class, I snuggled into my desk to become as comfortable as possible in order to be receptive to the magical problems the teacher would bring that day. To make a long story short, the teacher’s soothing words on such an interesting topic pushed me past the daydream state directly into a sound sleep. The next thing I knew; I was having a rude awakening by way of my snoring. The class was chuckling as the teacher made her way toward my well rested body with flames of passion in her eyes. Needless to say, I still retain the same love for mathematics as I did then. Please pardon me while I yawn…
In conclusion, enjoy your daydreams. They’re just another way to embrace pleasant memories of your past and create, of a virtual nature, pleasant memories yet to come.
I have often mentioned how much I enjoy writing as I pen the various posts in my blog.
The same rings true with the one I am now working on. I guess I could say writing gives me that
warm and fuzzy feeling not unlike the folks that care deeply for our welfare and prove
this notion by wonderful gift offerings.
Case in point:
I turned my television on and, what do you know, someone thought enough of me that they offered $90.00 worth of skin care products for only $19.95. Wow! …and all this from a total stranger.
Then out of the blue, another caring individual was eager to sell me $180.00 worth of fitness products for only $29.95. Boy, is this my lucky day or what?
Then wonder of wonders, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a total stranger, for whatever reason, showed their genuine concern for my ability to hear. They were actually going to sell me a product that I could shove in whichever ear I chose for only $60 bucks.
Now I want you to stay with me on this one, because you are not going to believe it; they actually cut the price in half before I could pull out my credit card. This is where it really gets weird…they offered a second device for the same price!
When I finally came to, I quickly ordered the skin care products, fitness items and even though my hearing is fine, I just couldn’t resist these two tempting devices (and just in case I didn’t mention it, they fit in any ear I choose to cram them in).
So now, having been fortunate enough to stumble across these three wonderful products for which I would have gladly paid triple the price, I can actually hear my skin growing softer. And my fitness product, well once I get it put together, I have no doubt that it will make some type of noise that only I, with my super hearing, will be able to decipher.
And to think, it only costs $190.90 and $300.00 shipping.
What a bargain!
deeply for us
Writing has become a healthy obsession and a new vocation that I more or less fell into. There’s just something about sitting down in front of a blank sheet of paper that empowers me; not in an evil creator fashion that gives me the power of life, death, but more like a sense of satisfaction. It’s something that I do from the time I get up until the time I lay my cute little head down to sleep.
Novels, novellas, short stories, long stories, it doesn’t matter. All are fodder for this ravenous author. I guide myself and the companions within my imagination through all sorts of adventures, dangers and just down right good times, and through these journeys I have learned that things are not always as they seem.
That being said, this is probably the most unusual segue that you have ever experienced, but for some reason it works for me. Perhaps it’s just my misshapen head that exudes deformed brain waves. Or maybe it just is what it is. For whatever reason, I’ve spent enough time on this introduction and now I invite you to join me as we delve into the world of unsweetened sweets.
Our first subject is the horse apple:
This particular strain of fruit goes by many other names but in actuality it is equine excrement. And as they say, a turd by any other name is still a turd, although these particular turds are genuinely useful. They’re used around the world to manufacturer bricks, to cook food and heat homes. They are said to burn hotter than seasoned wood (although I don’t believe I would hold my marshmallow directly over the fire).
This brings me to our second offering, the cow pie:
You guessed it. It’s bovine excrement. We will dispense with the “turd by any other name” statement. Not only can the cow pie immolate the horse apple, but it is also used as a thermal covering for walls, a mosquito repellant (and before you start thinking that it’s applied to the skin, it’s actually burned because the smoke keeps those aggravating little blood suckers away). Since 1970, Oklahomans have been drying cow pies and turning them into organic Frisbees for an annual cow chip throwing contest.
And now for the big finish. The rabbit pellet:
What can we say about the lowly rabbit turd? Two things, actually. It’s called a pellet when it goes in as well as when it comes out, and it also looks pretty much the same way when deposited as it did when ingested.
So what have we learned today? Horse apples are good, cow pies are very good, and rabbit pellets are worthless. Remember: Just because it’s called a pie, you may want to check the filling before you dig in.
I just returned from the second great American pastime, “vacation.” Ah, a week at the beach, what could be more relaxing? I had a chance to do some writing. I also came up with an idea for my next book.
Seven full days of good food, wonderful family, including my mother and father-in-law, a son and daughter complete with spouses, my magnificent wife and our fifteen-month-old little slice of heaven. The family’s first grandson, none other than the, “I’ve got everyone wrapped around my little finger,” the one and only, Lil’ Ed.
The weather was absolutely perfect. The water an emerald green, and prime for swimming. My son even caught a nice sea mullet. What could be better than a week of sand, surf and, well, just great stuff?
Let’s backpedal a few steps and see exactly what it takes to create a magical week such as this.
We book our accommodations a year in advance, in order to procure our desired property. Two days before departure we (and by we, I mean my wife) begin to pack. Now it will be easier and consume less paper to tell you what we don’t pack as opposed to what we do. With that being said, the list goes as follows: refrigerator, oven, toilets and various sinks.
After the necessary items are gathered they must be loaded……………………………………………………………… Now that the vehicle is loaded and everyone is hot, sweaty and worn out; we board the personnel carrier and settle in for a short five and a half hour drive.
We’re there! All we have to do is unload, but this time we get to climb stairs…………………………………….
The house that we have rented for a week is finally full of our stuff. In a few short hours our stuff will be spread about so that it is just like home.
It’s almost time for our vacation to begin only one more thing to go, food. A quick three-hour jaunt to the grocery store, and now we can play, eat and everything… Only right now we’re too exhausted… maybe tomorrow.
A good night’s sleep and we’re ready for anything. This goes on for six straight days and once again it’s time to round up our stuff. The morning of our departure we pack our vehicle, only this time we are assisted by gravity due to the fact that stairs also work going down.
We’re finally loaded and ready to head home. Five and a half short hours later we pull into our driveway. Once again we unload our vehicle. And by four o’clock in the morning all of our stuff is right back where it was a week earlier.
Even though I had a great time and enjoyed spending time with family, I’m forced to ask myself this question: why do I unload my house, pack it in my van, take it on the road to another house, pack it into that house for a week, pack it back into the van, take it on the road one more time, only to end up where I started and all my stuff back where it started?
I’m entirely too tired to even consider an answer. And knowing that I will do it all over again next year, I choose to defer and go to sleep.