It’s been quite a while since I posted here. In fact, I was working on a new post to share with you two weeks ago when I was blindsided by a personal tragedy. But let me stop here and back up. Most of you don’t know me personally and such is the nature of social media. So I thought I would share a bit of who I am and where I’m at in my life.
First, I’m a happily married father of two grown children. My wife and I married 31 years ago and we still love each other as much, and certainly much more now, as the day we took our vows. I’ve held various jobs throughout my life and spent the last 23 years working for the same IT company. In June of 2012 I was laid off. I was 53 years old. To make this a bit shorter, in January of 2013, we lost our home. In July, my wife lost her caring and loving mother. In August, I made the hard decision to part with my publisher over Rockapocalypse. In September we lost our beloved dog, Schatze. And last Sunday morning I lost my wonderful father as I held him in my arms during the final seconds of his life.
The last 18 months have been hard. Really hard.
But let’s talk about dreams for a moment, shall we? A few years before my layoff, I decided to chase my dream of being a writer. I worked hard on my first book, made a lot of amateurish mistakes, and finally nailed a decent version I thought would stand a chance in the hands of the public. It was a labor of love. In the big picture, it did as well as any debut novel, I suppose, but for reasons I won’t go into, I opted to part with my publisher a year later on amiable terms. But I wasn’t sitting around twiddling my thumbs during that year. As things started to unravel in my life, I forged through another book, a mystery/thriller called Cold Currents. It was fun to write, and maybe so because I needed that escapism, that detachment, if you will. I worked hard on that book, too. One month after my layoff, I secured an agent. It’s a good book. I believe that with all my heart. Five agents believed that too, when the dust settled. Two months later, I started on my third novel, a follow-up to Currents tentatively titled Bone Whispers (or Smoke and Bones, perhaps), and forged ahead, albeit a bit slower, as unforeseen misfortune clamored its way up my pant leg, desperately reaching for my heart, soul, and dignity. As of today, Cold Currents has still not found a publishing house to call home.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
My original post, the one I was working on two weeks ago, was about patience. After my father passed, I looked deeply into my soul. I struggled with many things that take on a shadowy form inside our hearts when we try to identify and rationalize them. It seemed that everything I’d tried to accomplish with this dream, this struggle to create, to grow, to contribute, had fallen short in some way. I felt that life’s conductor was glowering at me on the Train of Days, his tiny watch cap tilted askew on his head, a bony finger tapping the face of his ancient pocket watch, reminding me that my stop would be approaching oh too soon. At my father’s funeral, as the honor guard ceremoniously folded the U.S. flag, as the notes of Danny Boy played from bagpipes, drifting across the headstones and brown grass of that tiny cemetery, I understood with shameless clarity that time was precious and fragile and unpredictable. That all the bad things of the last 18 months were a part of my Tapestry of Life. That I had to look forward, not back…
that I had to tirelessly pursue my dream.
That said, I suppose it’s officially Christmastime. It’s also the end of 2013. Good riddance!, I say to a year that was heavy on the negative. I will look forward now, not back. The years 2012/2013 will always be a part of my Tapestry of Life, part of who I am. And like my father, who was a loving, intelligent idealist, with his own dreams and an unquenchable thirst for life, I will seize every moment as if it’s my last…
So, 2014, here I come.
I’ve just signed a contract with Webster Falls Publishing to republish Rockapocalypse, and a live trailer is in the works for early 2014. I will find a publisher for Cold Currents in 2014. That’s non-negotiable, no stone unturned. Bone Whispers will be finished by Summer ’14. I’ve also taken on some editing work for a small publisher in the northeast, to expand my horizons, so to speak. What else, you ask? And I say, does it matter?
Good or bad, every moment is your life’s story, your tapestry. Rub your hands over it. Feel the pain and pleasure, the sadness and happiness, the laughter and tears, beneath your anxious fingers… then dance like no one is watching, my friend.
Rest in Peace, Dad. I will treasure your Tapestry of Life as I work to create my own.