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Friday, March 28, 2008

How hard can it be...really!

You know, the older I get the more I like soup? Sorry, senior moment...hehehe

So, phase one, write a novel. Sounded easy enough. A few pens and pencils, a couple, three composition books (narrow ruled of course), and a new laptop, everything I needed shy a really good idea. Actually, I already had a notebook, a mechanical pencil and an open mind.
So one Saturday afternoon while I was sitting on a bench on the old wooden pier in Newport Beach, California an idea materialized in the bright sunlight and strolled right on past me. It was an Hispanic family out for a walk. The youngest, a waif of a girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old was giggling at the spinning butterfly pinwheel she was holding. The strong ocean breeze provided enough power to seemingly lift the child right off of the deck. I watched her glide on by me, my eyes following her and her family until they blended in with the rest of the crowd. Just like that she was gone, and just like that my novel was born.
In an instant I was transported to the central valley of California, to a town whose name I had not uttered in more than thirty years. In that same instant the basis for the story unfolded, the characters born, one after another in rapid succession as my mind blended realities from my memories with the fantasies in my heart and soul. The words came so quickly that I could hardly write fast enough to keep up. Before I knew it, two hours had past, and enough pencil lead had been expended to easily cause a blip on an environmentalist's radar (or whatever they use to measure excessive emissions).
Voila, chapter one was complete! The next two hours were spent reading and re-reading, as my first experience at active editing took place unwittingly (easily evidenced by the small pile of eraser shavings on my Levi's and the string of line-outs on each and every page). In the end, it turned out I had written a decent stand alone short story that would eventually inspire the next forty-five chapters in The Migrant. I remember being unable to hide the grin on my face. I knew I had done something extrodinary, but, I was more excited about sharing it with the girl at work. I was really looking forward to that smile!

next post...persistence is omnipotent

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Careful what you wish for...

I have always been a dreamer, a real life Walter Mitty of Thurber fame. So much so that my early recollections of childhood all begin with the same parental admonition, "goddamn it son, stop daydreaming and pay attention!" I believe that I was five when I first remember hearing those words, or words close to those. What my parents missed was that I WAS paying attention, so much so, that my brain was recording everything. And, to my great surprise, I had been blessed with the keen ability to recall vast amounts of it. Add that to a propensity to fantasize and you have the makings of a storyteller.

Throughout my life I have called upon that "talent" to get me into and out of trouble. I was always capable of telling a whopper or two while growing up. Sometimes for gain, sometimes for fame, always for the shear fun I had at never knowing where I was going until I got there. Eventually I began writing things down, short stories or cartoons to entertain myself, but never to share with anyone else. Heaven forbid someone read what I wrote, they would surely think me lame. The original George McFly!

Then one day, I stepped off of my self imposed ledge and shared with a co-worker a short story I'd written . A girl, of course, someone I had developed a crush on at the tender age of forty-four. And wouldn't your know it, she liked it, was actually impressed. Now what was I going to do? So, I shared some more and the next thing you know she is encouraging me to write more, to get published, how could she help, who should we call, how do we go about getting an agent?
WAIT, let me think a second! What had I done, all I wanted to do was get her attention, get her to smile at me. Now the cat was out of the bag, and more people were reading my stuff, asking for more "reading material." It got out of hand, but, it also opened my mind to the possibility that maybe I could do this writing thing. Maybe I could?

Next post...the journey begins...
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