Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book publishing

What's the phrase about life?

"Plant a tree": Done that!
"Father a child": Done that!
"Write a book": Done that!

When "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" was published, the first feeling I had was one of accomplishment. From the initial idea to actual completion took 15 years. For the most part my discipline was 20 minutes a day, no matter what. Usually that amounted to a paragraph but there were times when work and family obligations allowed me enough time to produce a lot more, perhaps a page or two. There were times of elation and times of feeling overwhelmed and without a thought in my mind. The driving force was to get the story out of what can be lost forever when catastrophic accidents happen. In particular, carbon monoxide poisoning. "Joe's Story" being published validated my efforts and I have since spoken with hundreds of readers that have better, safer lives due to the knowledge they absorbed from the book. Yes! That was the whole idea. But now I still want to write.

Being a published author does not necessarily mean there is an open door for future books. So, here I sit with 5 fictional stories and one based upon a semi true event in my life and the question is, how do I get them published? I've submitted most of them to a variety of publishers but to no avail. Alas, they remain out of print. I can, of course self publish but that is, at this time anyway cost prohibitive due to all the hoops I have to go through with sub-letting the artists, proof readers and then the set up for printing and all the other stuff I don't even know yet. Somehow, I'll get it done eventually. I sincerely believe that. Meanwhile, I just thought of another story line. Gotta go write it down before I forget............Enjoy the day..........Bye!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Throwing away Old stuff

A TV program, based on, otherwise normal folk who accumulate things, has a dedicated following of, otherwise normal folk who evidently don't accumulate things. Somehow a facilitator enters the home of the accumulator/hoarder and proceeds to rip the heart out of the hoarder by getting rid of the stuff. Nope! I've never watched the show, situational TV shows like that are of no interest to me other than they actually exist at all. A oddity in itself. However, I myself admit to more than necessary accumulation of items most likely worthless to anyone except yours truly. Cards, letters, folders, pens, pencils, news articles, gifts I'll never use, broken radios, vinyl records scratched beyond recognition, old faded photos of heaven knows what or who, movie tickets, restaurant napkins, advertising match books and unrecognizable drinking glasses from wherever. I don't think I would be attached enough to these objects to make a good prospect for any kind of TV show but non-the-less I have an unusually strong attachment to my collection of mish mash. Every Spring I set a goal of getting rid of some or all of my treasures. (Yes, trash to others but treasure to me.) Every Spring I open a box full of things, start to sort it for proper disposal and alas the memories flood through my mind and the reasons I'm saving it stop me from placing them in the trash or Salvation Army box. Just can't help it. Happens every time and I've set this goal for at least a decade or two.

A while back, on a warm summer morning, before the sun rose I was up and ready to do something, anything except sit and wait. I grabbed a flashlight, took myself to the garden and dug up a dozen night crawlers, put my fishing pole in the truck, locked the house and sped off to a local park with a few ponds just big enough to have a small population of stunted fish that could be easily caught with reel, rod and wriggly worm. Not big enough to keep but big enough to provide a thrill for an avid fisherman yearning for the feel of fish on hook. I could think of no better way to begin my day. The crimson glow of the dawn steadily grew brighter, the sun lazily moving to brighten our existence. I stuck the worm on my hook just above the sinker, pulled my arm back and let the hook, line and sinker fly with enthusiasm as far as humanly possible into that tranquil, reflective pond awaiting me. The sinker and worm hit the water with barely a splash and sank in the circling ripples. That worm never had a chance! In what seemed a split second my pole bent nearly in half with the weight of something. Until that morning I had never seen a fish larger than two or three inches in length, what was attempting to pull the pole from my hands must be a good sized turtle, that's what I thought. Then the "turtle" jumped from the water into the air, flipped it's tail and dove back into the pond. Huh? What a fish! I fought that fish for several minutes, seemed like an eternity, pulling, jumping, diving, jumping, tail standing and flipping and pulling, each jump was just a little weaker, each pull a little less harder, after what felt like forever I managed to reel the exhausted fish into my waiting hand. It's gills pulsated as if gasping for air, it shown silver in the increasing light, varying colors reflecting off it's scales. I admired it for a moment or two but quickly removed the hook from it's upper lip and released it back into the pond so it could get back to whatever it had been doing before it was "Fish On!" I packed up my gear, drove the truck to work and had a very enjoyable day relating my story to anyone within earshot. Who would have thought there would be a bass that huge in such an itty bitty pond. I've fished that pond for 30 years and that was the only time. I still have the hook and sinker in a little box. I tried to throw it away over the weekend. I ask you, how do you throw away something like that? Maybe next year huh?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl

I am about to spend some quality time watching a football game. In thinking about it, I wonder just what importance a game can be when it comes to life lessons. Competition? Yeah, competition, no matter how it is disregarded right now is important. If we lose the spirit of competition we will become just like the people in the book/movie, "The Time Machine." Where the Eloi become dinner for the people of the underground. If we lose the desire to compete, we become little more than something to take up space: Cows! Eating, sleeping, fattening ourselves up to become steak, right?

Super Bowl reminds us that in our infinite desire to have a good life, we must exceed at something. Super Bowl also reminds us that we don't always have to pick the same side. We can disagree on who we want to be our heroes. This day some of us want the Ravens to win, others want the 49ers to win. We are all still football fans aren't we? It's the game and the competitive nature we love and follow. We are even willing to give up our New Year's resolutions of eating all good food to sit back, snack and enjoy the game.

Life is comparable to Super Bowl. It's the best that win. Not the players that get schmoozed and felt sorry for. We don't love losers. However, when someone in real life has a problem we feel sorry for them and give them stuff even though they lose. We coddle them and then we watch Super Bowl and rave about the winners and make fun of the losers. "They didn't have what it takes to win" The winners put themselves on the line and took the glory home.

I will enjoy this game. I will also remember what it took to win. The officials did not give the weaker team anything to help them compete. The officials did not take anything away from the superior team and give it to the other team to equal things out.

It's interesting how we as people have a different set of standards when it comes to sports and real life. Sports take the best to win, life takes someone to feel sorry for us and give us stuff to even the playing field.

What am I saying here, this is only a game right? I should best set back and let it all happen. Yeah, I just put too much stuff into this Super Bowl. lets get on with it. Sorry, just thinking out loud I guess.
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