Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In a nutshell

I'm off to Thrillerfest in a couple weeks and they will be honoring me and some other first time authors with a little breakfast get-together to chat about ourselves and our books. But they've only given me 60 seconds to do it. Gee, 60 seconds isn't very long. I've lived a 40+ year life; I've written a 300+ page novel. Not sure how I'm going to squeeze all that living into 60 seconds. I guess I'll have to give them the "nutshell" version of my life and writing.
I was born. I grew up. I loved. I got married. I loved some more. I died. Yeah, pretty much in that order....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No way to go....

I read the article below in my local paper a few days back. It seemed funny at first - bizarre for sure. But then I got to thinking - I don't want to go out that way. I want to go out with a little dignity; a little class. I don't want my obit to read I was chasing a cell phone down a sewer drain. Seems a bit symbolic eh?

Sheboygan man drowns in sewer
SHEBOYGAN, Wis., June 7 (UPI)

A 41-year-old man drowned in Sheboygan, Wis., while trying to retrieve his cell phone from a storm sewer. Lt. Tim Eirich of the Sheboygan Police Department said the man, who weighed more than 300 pounds, was wedged in the storm drain with his head and shoulders under water, said the Sheboygan Press Thursday.

He was unconscious when he was pulled out of the drain and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center.

Police said the deceased man's name is being withheld until his relatives are notified.

Neighbor Chris Van Erem and a local child were the first people on the scene to try and rescue the man, but his weight proved too much for them and they called 911.

"I could see his head and his shoulders were completely under the water," van Erem said. "His legs weren't moving. He was completely unresponsive."

Sheboygan County Coroner David Leffin has ruled the man's death an accident.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fishing the Serengeti

Some of you might be surprised to learn that the original title for "Running Wrecked" was "Fishing the Serengeti." Yeah, kinda out there as far as titles go. That's why, in their infinite wisdom, my publisher changed the title. But the concept behind the first title is still there in the book, of course. That being, that Phil is a fish out of water in the situation he finds himself in. He is a figurative fish swimming in a place he shouldn't be.

I re-took up fly fishing last year after a long hiatus from it and I'm finding I'm a bit of a fish out of water with the whole fishing thing. I think it's that I don't do it enough to get good at the casting and reading the river and "matching the hatch" but I do the best I can. I dutifully ask my local shop "what's biting" and Mike just looks at me and sets me up with about 700 different flies to try knowing that I'll lose most of them in the trees or to my not so "improved" clinch knot.

But I'm trying and I'm learning and like Phil I'm learning that learning is all part of the game. That you have to do in order to improve. That the game of life is one long, never ending homework assignment. But at least I get to do this homework standing in a stream.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

breathe in, breathe out....

“There are only two things in life,
and I forget what they are.”
-John Hiatt

I was at a baseball game the other night with a friend, sitting between her and her son – a young, virile, handsome 17-year-old boy. We settle in and he strikes up a conversion with this young lady in the row in front of us. They get to chatting about things. She knows him because she’s seen him around town or some lame thing and then she asks, “Is that your Dad?” and points to me. I immediately flagged down the beer man and ordered two…for myself.

Look, I’m not a vain guy, really. No really, I’m not. I am what I am, moving along the path of life at a clip I consider reasonable. I’m happy with the accomplishments I’ve reached and I certainly don’t have a dearth of shiny and sparkling dreams to chase. There is a lot of life ahead of me and I’m looking forward to running it all down.

Although I do have this “slight” memory “problem” creeping up on me. Oh, don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. It’s not like I can’t hide my own Easter eggs - yet. But on occasion, I do have to stop and think about where I put the car keys. I attribute this memory “issue” to having too much going on in my life. Overload or something like that. The damn CPU that is my life is running at 100% most of the time. That little green line is flat-lined at the top of the graph.

So I’ve been taking more time for myself lately. Taking my retirement a little bit at a time (extra credit for those that know where that line comes from) and letting my mind rest a bit. Occasionally, you need to stop, fire up a nice Montecristo cigar, have a wee dram of Clynelish and enjoy the sweet, sweet summertime. Sit on the deck and listen to the neighborhood kids scream and hoot. Smile a self-satisfied smile that the rabbit you are watching is eating your neighbor’s flowers and not yours. Yeah, these days are certainly growing shorter and not longer, and I don’t want to forget to take time to enjoy them.