The tally so far…
Eleven novels. Over 120 short stories, novelettes, and novellas. Five collections. More of everything in the works.
And you really have to wonder how these things happen.
What, from a very early age, molds somebody into a writer instead of, say, a stockbroker or plumber or lawyer or tree surgeon?
When my mother was eight months pregnant with me, she watched the movie Psycho. You know, the one with the legendary shower stabbing scene…? A little later she got in the shower. My father, after a long day of teaching and coaching, came home to find the doors locked and that he’d left his house keys inside. No luck ringing the bell and pounding the door. Of course not — my mother was taking a shower.
So he started to break in. Through the bathroom window.
That had to have left some kind of mark.
So it was always there, this writing thing. Before I started school, before I’d even learned the alphabet, I used to indulge a powerful urge to scribble on scraps of wood — my father did a lot of woodworking — and affix these impromptu signs to trees.
Apparently trying to communicate something to whoever might come along later.
When I was little, I spent a lot of weekends and summer weeks with my widowed grandmother. She was the best off-the-top-of-her-head storyteller I ever expect to know.
She also took me along on trips to the senior center where she played cards and bumper pool. There was one elderly man who came there a lot, and must’ve had a stroke or something similar, because whatever he said came out in a mushy garble.
He must’ve been a veteran, too. One day he gave me a handful of bullets. Big, old, military grade bullets. A couple for .30-caliber rifles. Another long one, as big around as a chapstick tube, with a huge lead slug. I realize now he was telling me not to strike them on the bottom, but at the time, I thought he was telling me to do it.
The great puzzle of my life then was how to secure these bullets in something tight enough so that I could take a hammer and nail, and whack them on the bottom, to see what would happen. I turned this riddle over and over in my mind, but could never come up with an answer.
Not once did I think of the two bench-mounted vises in my father’s workshop, a small basement room with a concrete floor and cinderblock walls. A place where a bullet would do a lot of ricocheting. A place where I’d spent countless hours helping my dad on endless projects.
Now, I was a clever, imaginative kid. Why, then, did the obvious solution never occur to me?
I’ve always wondered what greater intelligence set up that mental blind spot, and kept it firmly in place for at least a year or two.
And, for that matter, why.
Again, the tally so far…
Eleven novels. Over 120 short stories, novelettes, and novellas. Five collections. More of everything in the works. All of them trying to communicate something or other to whoever might come along later. At least some of them trying to explore possibilities for the what and the why.
Most everything that seems most worth doing stems from the inspiration of two complementary ideals…
The Renaissance Man: A person with a broad range of talents or areas of knowledge, their pursuit rooted in the belief that one’s capacity for development is limitless.
The Warrior Poet: One who is devoted to the development of mind, body, and spirit as one.
And so, out of these come forays into music and photography; practices of meditation, Krav Maga, and other types of physical training; organic gardening, a wide range of reading, and other stuff.
Although none of it seems to help one bit against the squirrels that steal our corn.
I live along the Colorado Front Range with my soulmate, Doli, and my office managers, Loki and Selkie. We’ll always miss the previous one, Fionn.
See you between the pages, or on the other side, whichever comes first.