Category Archives: Kyran Ravencroft

Looking At Forty . . . And Zen Buddhism

Aging. It happened before I even knew it. And as I fight my way to live life day by day, it keeps happening. And, most days, I can’t truthfully say I’m enjoying the ride.

When I was a little kid, the world was full of endless possibilities. Anything was within reach. And they were, so I thought, the best years of my life. But, unfortunately, that was about to all change.

My early teen years just sorta happened. But in my mid to late teens, I noticed more reality than I cared to. And the closer I got to eighteen, the more and more I dreaded becoming an adult.

I was blissfully ignorant of the things of the world despite my constant teachings and lectures from my father. I should had listened. But I already knew everything. Or so I thought.

My twenties came in like roaring tornado. A swirl of having to quickly grow up, getting my own place, paying my own bills, and the unexpected surprise of parenthood. And that’s how it goes, I guess.

In my thirties, I wizened up. I looked at teenagers and twenty something year olds and thought to myself, They have no clue. Little did I realize, but neither did I. It was my thirties I began to see life for what it truly was: a bitch.

I didn’t want to turn forty. And, even without having my consent, it happened all the same. It was at this point that I have started to look more deeply and more seriously at my life. I now understand what they mean by having a mid-life crisis.

This year for me (and my wife) has been a torrential cascade of bullshit in the worst kind of way. The events of this year have been the fuel that has propelled this rocket car of bullshit, slamming us into a brick wall only to discover there to be more and more brick walls.

It just doesn’t seem to want to end. But, even so, we have one another. And, for that, I am beyond grateful. I am blessed in that way. I can only hope she, as I’m undoubtedly sure she does, feels the same way.

Waking up everyday with a heavy heart, going to a factory job that continually sucks the happiness from my very soul when I thought there was none more to be gotten, and fearing what’s going to happen to us this time, leaves me everyday – several times a day – asking two questions over and over:

What is my life’s purpose, and where do I go from here?

I find myself at a crossroads. And a very important one. But, I must digress . . . .

When I was a young man-child, my dad taught a form of martial arts called Goju Ryu. Later, a man came from Okinawa and was handed the class. From there, I learned Kodokan karate. Interestingly enough, and to the best of my knowledge, both styles being Japanese.

During this time, I was introduced to the famous David Carradine movie, Kung Fu; a series that ran during the 70’s before becoming a singular film. Kung Fu . . . the grandfather to the Goju Ryu my father taught. With Kung Fu also came Tai Chi. Like Goju Ryu, another offspring.

In short, it was Kung Fu that planted a seed that I would find myself coming back to to water from time to time.

I was grateful for my dad being hard on me, teaching me how to defend myself all those years ago. But it was the spiritual connection I found in martial arts that captivated my soul.

With this, meditation to calm oneself and to look inward became a very real thing to me. Mind you, I came from a very Christian family, so, of course, my dad never divulged much on the topic being Buddhism the principle behind it.

On a side note, I one day managed to get my hands on a book about self-hypnosis. I’m not going to say much about this here, because this was a whole new avenue of self discovery in and of itself. But it did play its part in its own way.

Fast forwarding . . . I grew up in a strict and religious family. I’m not sure when it happened or what sparked it, but, at some point in my mid to late teens, I began to question the bible. It no longer made sense to me. I found it contradictory.

So, I started to look deeper at what it was saying – trying to explain things myself with historical and scientific fact rather than just accepting a belief on blind faith. This ideal to just believe in something made no sense to me.

Little did I realize then that I had taken it upon myself to follow a teaching, I would later discover, from the Buddha: To not follow something on blind faith, but rather decide for yourself if a thing is worth believing/following (to paraphrase).

This dissecting of the bible led me to “study” demonology. From there, I looked more into witchcraft; namely Wicca, of which I began practicing, then into Druidism, which I felt more comfortable with.

With witchcraft, there was also meditation. Different from what I had known thus far from martial arts.

I never got too serious into being a practitioner of the craft, but it made a lot more sense to me than what my family had forced me to believe in. On the other hand, I still found something was missing. Then came metaphysics. And suddenly, the rabbit hole I thought I knew well showed it’s true colors.

And, my god, it was beautiful! Albeit vastly confusing.

So, with all of that said, I come to this point in my life; confused, emotionally racked with pain and heartache, sad, depressed, angry, temperamental, and still ever curious. In what seems like a time when I would have my mid-life crisis I see a door. A familiar one. And, this time, I’m walking toward it.

I’ve told people many times before that if I ever once set foot in Japan I would never leave. That’s funny considering I’ve never been there. But I can say that because there has always been something about the Chinese and Japanese cultures that have drawn my attention. Particularly that of Japan.

Somehow, I feel drawn to it. It pulls my heartstrings in a way that only a bird, who feels when it’s time to migrate, can understand. Although modern Japanese culture is now technologically advanced and fast paced, it’s the simplicity of the old ways that I love and admire most.

And, so, here I am.

As I mentioned before, this year has been horrific. The results of events that have driven me to the edge, looking deeply into the abyss, contemplating if it’s worth it – reaching a level of stress and unhappiness that has me weighed down to my breaking point.

Of course, I could never make the leap. I’m not that kind of person. However, I know I can’t continue going like I am, so I began to re-evaluate myself and my place in the cosmos.

Many things I would do, places I’d go, I can’t. It’s the sort of sacrifice you make when you marry. You have to find a middle ground. Granted, this can be a struggle, going against what you feel is best for yourself, but part of the end result, the happiness at the end of the tunnel, is finding a solution that you and your significant other can be happy with together.

Moving to a new locale, at the time of this writing, is not a solution; even though we both feel a change of scenery would do us good. Unfortunately, I can’t change jobs either because of reasons I won’t go into.

What I can do, and must do, for now has to start with me and start at home. I must devote my energy doing what I enjoy doing whether there is money in it or not; writing, art, treasure hunting. Mainly because it’s inner satisfaction and tranquility that I’m looking for anyway, right?

Money is one of the leading causes to my stress and worry. It can only provide relief, but never happiness. And this is a new programing I am having to force myself to face because it’s definitely not how I was raised.

Enter Zen Buddhism.

When one thinks about Zen, they often think about gardens filled with sand and rocks. I know I do, but there’s an interesting thing about that. At least, for me anyway. Let me explain:

The rocks in a Zen garden represents different things, and I like the representation of the five elements; earth, air, water, fire, and metal. For others, they may represent islands. Hence the raking of the sand to show water flowing from and/or around the stones.

But it’s the raking that I want to mention here.

For as long as I can remember, I have often enjoyed sweeping. Somehow, I find it relaxing and meditative. I figured this out long, long before I learned Zen Buddhist monks rake the sand in their gardens for this exact same reason.

With Zen Buddhism comes the obvious: meditation. Ah, yes. There it is again. It’s something that I am all too familiar with. And something I have probably, and unknowingly, been grooming myself toward most all of my life.

But there are the roots of Buddhism, as well. This is where I put forth the real work in my quest for inner peace. And, admittedly, although I’m obviously not looking to become a full fledged Buddhist monk, it’s still something that will take a conscious effort on my part.

So what am I hoping to get from this? I can answer that question in a word: contentment.

To come to terms with your true self and not who and what you perceive yourself to be is a journey. To accept the problems you must face, and face alone, is also a journey. To understand where you belong in the grand scheme of things the universe has laid out for you as an individual . . . also a journey.

There are questions I keep asking myself everyday. Questions that, ultimately, are negative when you really take a hard look at them. And these questions need to be replaced with different questions; the right questions.

I heard once that to find the answers you are looking for you must ask the right questions. This is seemingly much more difficult than it sounds. Wording is everything. This is where meditation comes in.

I need to change. If not myself, then, at the very least, my outlook on things. I have come to terms with the belief that Buddhism is the answer; has always been the answer. I have just been too ignorant to realize it.

Buddhism has always been there like a shadow; you see it, but so much so you take it for granted. Only this time, I’m stopping to give it my attention. It’s time. Past time! It’s simply what I have to do.

It may seem easy on the surface, but it’s actually a complicated thing with many labyrinths of subtle layers.

I have a good idea of where I want to be this time next year. But maybe, somewhere along the rails of self-discovery and change, I’ll learn that the path I once believed to be the correct one for me will turn out to be something completely different. For better or for worse, only time will tell.

Advertisements

Komplex Sinplicities Character Interviews

Hi and hello! Today, I have with me a few special guests to speak with from my book, Komplex Sinplicities. Let’s see, we have with us Aldwin, from The Game, Carly, from No More Apart, Stephen, from The Unwelcomed Guest, and Amberly, from The Cereal Thief. Let’s get started!

KR: Ok! So, in no particular order, let’s start with Carly. Hello, Carly!

Carly: Hi! How are you?

KR: I’m good! I’m good! Welcome! And thank you for joining us today!

Carly: Thank you! Glad to be here!

KR: No problem! So, uh, in the story, No More Apart, you played a wife who had a beautiful life ahead of her and was brutally murdered.

Carly: Yep.

Me: Wanna tell us how you felt about playing that part?

Carly: Well, you wrote it, of course, but it was actually pretty intense! Robert (no offense, Robert!) is a scary looking guy. So when he came after me to do the rape thing, most of that, from me, wasn’t acting. It was for real!

KR: Well, you weren’t suppose to know what was about to happen. We needed that raw emotion for the readers, ya know?

Carly: *chuckles* Yeah, but you could have written me a heads up! That guy is spooky as hell! I thought I was going to have a frick’n heart attack!

KR: Yeah, except you were horrifically mutilated . . . .

Carly: Erm, yes. I was.

KR: Sorry. Just kidding. Well, I feel like you played the role very well. It was a graphic scene between you and Robert!

Carly: Oh, god, no kidding! And poor Johnny getting all smashed up and everything!

KR: The poor guy. *chuckles* He’s a good guy, but who cares, right?

Carly: O-o-oh ho ho ho you’re so mean!

KR: *laughs*

Carly: Harsh, but it is true! At least he didn’t have a guy’s head inside his body! *chuckles*

KR: The joys of being a writer. *laughs* Thanks, Carly! It’s been a pleasure. Next up? Aldwin! Get in here, hero! Aldwin from The Game, everybody!

Aldwin: That would be me, yes. Thank you.

KR: Whatever. So! Quite a show there with the suicide club thing.

Aldwin: I wouldn’t exactly call it a “club”.

KR: No, you wouldn’t. But I would. And I did!

Aldwin: Unfortunately.

KR: So, Aldwin, what did you think of the part I wrote for you?

Aldwin: Well, since you asked, I think . . .

KR: And where did you find these suicidal club members? How did you get a group of people together . . . that all wanted to . . . kill yourselves?

Aldwin: Um, it’s called fiction. It wasn’t real, Kyran.

KR: Yes, it was. Fiction, I mean.

Aldwin: It was a funny story though.

KR: That happens to be my opinion, also! Wow! We have so much in common!

Aldwin: No, I don’t . . .

KR: Thank you Aldwin! It was great having you here so I could waste your time!

Aldwin: Wasting the readers’ time . . . .

KR: Oh, yeah? You want to bring that attitude to the table? You just wait until after this interview, and see how I kill you off this time! *clears throat* Right! So! Let’s all give a big round of applause to our next guest, Stephen!

Stephen: Hey, Kyran!

KR: Hey, Stephen! How’s that trigger finger?

Stephen: *chuckles* Well, it’s better now! But you damn near broke it when you had me use that pistol as a damn carpenter’s mallet!

KR: Anyway, Stephen, that role in The Unwelcomed Guest was pretty twisted!

Stephen: Yes, it was rather sick, really.

KR: Yeah, disturbing! So, tell us, how hard was it for you to play that role? I mean, what was your method?

Stephen: I didn’t have a certain method or anything. It was more like me just knowing none of it was real and just moving forward with the scene.

KR: If you had a choice, how would you have written the story differently?

Stephen: Oh! Wow! The author asking the character in his story how they would write the story?

KR/Stephen: *both laugh*

KR: Well, just throw out an idea. Anything!

Stephen: Ok, well, I think I would had made it more clear, in a hinted sort of way, that the family’s house I went to wasn’t my actual family, you know?

KR: But then the ending would’ve been spoiled for the readers!

Stephen: Well, you asked. *chuckles*

KR: Ha! Ha! Yes I did. Thank you, Stephen. Our last guest played more of a supporting role, but she was fantastic nonetheless! Let’s bring in Amberly! Hello, Amberly!

Amberly: *smiling* Hi!

KR: Amberly, you played an annoyed older sister who was just . . . bored with life, bored with the world, bored with . . .

Amberly:  Bored with being held hostage!

KR: Indeed! Yes! Like you get held hostage every other day or something.

Amberly: *laughs*

KR: You played the part good, I think, but you don’t seem like the annoyed type?

Amberly: *more laughing* No, I’m not, but it seems to be my thing, so I just go along with it. I’m actually a happy-go-lucky sort of chick.

KR: Yeah, I get that from you! So, tell us, what did you like most about the story?

Amberly: Oh, gosh! What did I not like? I absolutely loved Brynn! She kept me rolling! Like, I mean, how many times did you have to stop typing because the story fell apart because of her?

KR: *laughs* She was a hoot, for sure!

Amberly: But, seriously, I also liked the other characters, too. And the names you came up with for those cereals? OMG! *laughs*

KR: Oh, the cereals! *laughs* Did you ever eat any of them?

Amberly: No! But I so-o-o wanted to try them!

KR: To be honest? So did I! *chuckles* So, thank you, Amberly! It was a pleasure having you in my book! Maybe we can do a part two to the story in the future?

Amberly: I would very much like to do a sequel! And thank you, too!

KR: You’re most welcome! So, that’s all the time we have today. I’d like to thank you for visiting my website. I hope, if you have read Komplex Sinplicities, that you have enjoyed it, and, if not, then you can go here to grab a copy for yourself.

I’d like to hear from you guys, so drop me a line! I may not be able to reply to all of them, but I will certainly read them. And as always, have an awesome day!

Ya Gotta Have Goals For 2016!

For some reason, people like to hear about goals authors set for themselves. I don’t blame them.  It’s interesting to look on the other side of the fence like that.

But! Here’s the thing . . .

People follow people for specific reasons. It could be because they’re interested in an author’s life, what a lead singer is having for lunch, or whatever. There’s countless reasons to follow some one of interest.

So, yes. This is my writing blog/website. It’s devoted to my writing. But I am, believe it or not, a real person. With real problems and concerns. And I even like to do things outside of writing.

GASP!!! Heaven forbid an author do ANYTHING except write all day every day!

Yeah, well, get over it. Anyhow, I thought I’d come up with a list of things I want to accomplish in 2016. They include things related to writing, but they also include other things also.

So, without further adieu, I give you my goals for 2016:

  1. Publish Komplex Sinplicities. If you read my blog before this one then you will already know that I have ordered my first proof for the paperback. There will be an eBook version to go along side it as well.
  2. Buy a vehicle. This one we did already. I say we because me and my wife don’t make those kind of decisions alone. Besides that, we may both drive it, but it’s really for her anyway.
  3. Work on my other writing projects. I have so much stuff to get out it’s crazy! I can’t just work on one thing. My mind doesn’t work like that. So I bounce from project to project.
  4. Work on illustrations. I have cover art and ads to work on, but I ALSO have a book project that will be illustrated almost like a children’s book would be. But this is no children’s book. I also have a comic strip type book I want to work on. Only time will tell.
  5. Publish one other book with eBook and one eBook. Talking about a challenge! This may be easy for some people to do, but not everyone has that kind of time! Again, only time will tell.
  6. Metal detect more. Until last year, I slacked off from my metal detecting. And that, my friends, is a real shame! So I plan on doing more of that and maybe some bottle digging. I have a sifting screen that I’m gonna put to more use this year too.
  7. Upgrade to a better metal detector. I’m more eager to do this than I can express with words! I’m looking at getting the Garrett At Pro and grab myself a NEL Tornado coil to go with it. It’s PAST time I found those deep targets that’s been out of my reach this whole time, dang it!
  8. Take a trip. Due to life and all that, me and my wife haven’t had the chance to really go anywhere in the last year or two. So this year I’m looking for us to take a trip. We know where we want to go, but it’s going to be a while yet before we are able to. It is what it is, I guess.
  9. Make some videos. I have a camera, not a very good one, mind you, but I have one all the same. Whether it’s metal detecting videos or videos about writing, I’m looking to throw some up on Youtube. If you have any ideas for some, let me know!
  10. The usual crap. Every year I tell myself I’m going to lose some weight, eat better, and blah blah blah. Well, I did lose about twenty five pounds last year. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did! But my #10 goal(s) are just the usual things we all say we’re going to do every year, but end up not doing.

And there ya have it! My personal top ten goals for 2016. It’s not everything I want to accomplish this year, but it’s the ones I think you would be interested in knowing about.

So tell us what goals have you set for yourself this year in the comments below. And tell us how you’re currently working towards them. Until next time, and as always, have an awesome day!

First Proof For Komplex Sinplicities In The Mail

It has been one long and tedious journey to even get to this point: Ordering the first proof for the paperback. Whoo hoo!

But, we’re not out of the frying pan just yet. There is still plenty of work ahead. With that said, I want to go over a couple of things about where I am at right now with my writing.

Firstly, let’s go over what will happen once the proof arrives. So the files look good and the eBook files are waiting for their upload. It has been my experience, being this is my first paperback, that publishing a paperback is a whole different baby than doing eBooks.

In short, eBooks are formatted differently. You only need a front cover where as you need to create the spine and front and back covers for the paperback. The paperback cover has to be tweaked to meet the page count.

The interior is also different. Paperbacks are just that . . . paperbacks. Which is to say you are printing a physical book. So when formatting for this you have to think more traditionally.

On the flip side of this are the eBook files which are HTML and look different on digital devices. although there is a lot of freedom with what all you can do with digital files there are some things you’re going to have to sacrifice in order for the book to look right on a person’s reader.

Another thing to think about are pictures, links, and so on. Of course, in a paperback these things are printed on the page wherever they are in the file. Not so with eBooks. However, links can be clicked in digital files which will take the reader where ever you want to take them; website, landing page, etc.

Most people already know these things, so I’m not going to go into formatting details here.

Secondly, as stated before, the work isn’t over yet. Once the proof arrives it will need to be thoroughly gone over and looked at with the attention to detail of a forensics lab.

Such things I’ll be looking for are:

How does the cover look?

  • Do the images (live elements) fit? Are they cascading too much one way or another? Are they off kilter? Too short on any side? How is the image quality? Is the text clear and readable?

How does the interior look?

  • Are the pages starting on the correct page numbers? Is the text aligned properly? Is there any weird spacing anywhere? After reading the book from cover to cover, were there any grammatical and punctuation errors?

. . . and so on.

After going over every inch of the book, corrections will be made (if there are any and there probably will be) and the  files will be re-uploaded. Should that be the case then another proof will be ordered and the cycle repeats itself.

Once everything is fixed and finalized then comes the heart pounding moment when you push the Publish button. But hold on a minute!

Are you promoting? Do you even have a marketing strategy? This should have been worked out a long time ago. If you don’t or haven’t promoted yet then don’t release that book into the world just yet. You need a following!

I’ve got my marketing strategy laid out. It may not be the best of them, but I feel it will be good enough. It’s not like I’m looking to be the next J.K. Rowling. I just want people to read my stuff.

Anyway, moving right along . . . .

So what’s to be expected after Komplex Sinplicites? Well, I plan on writing a blog post just on this topic; and maybe soon. But, for now, I’ll just say there are several other projects in the works.

The hard part is is there are so many of them. Writing takes time and, sometimes, focus. I’m a fairly busy guy! And there are a lot of times when I just don’t feel like writing for whatever reason.

Hey! Writers are people, too, you know!

In conclusion, I’ll keep doing what I do when I can find the time to even do it. The first proof, again, is on its way. I’m already working on other projects. And I’ll start throwing on the thick promotion stuff soon.

In the meantime, thank you for your readership! And stay tuned for future updates by clicking on the Follow button. I hope to see YOU on the other side!

Cool Friends And Lasting Memories

When I was in the 7th grade, I made friends with a boy that I’ll refer to as K. K and I got along like peas and carrots. Sadly, our friendship was to be short lived. Childhood Memories

K was one of those people that came into my life at the right moment. He had that thing that only I seemed to know and understand. That’s probably because we walked on the same cloud.

K had a sister I’ll refer to as M. Never heard of M’s name before then. And come to think of it, I don’t think I have heard of anyone having the same name since.

I didn’t know his sister other than the few times I saw her. As for their parents, I think K’s mom stayed at home. His father, on the other hand, worked for a snack cake company.

They traveled a lot, and before I knew it, they were moving again. It must have been easier for him than it was for me. They moved all the time, so having to leave friends behind had become the norm.

But what made K so special to me?

It was his goofiness, his dorkiness, and the fact we saw eye to eye. This was in the days of the original Nintendo and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; which we both loved.

We would be the nerds we were and sing the Turtle’s theme song over and over – getting strange looks from all the other school kids.

He had WAY more TMNT action figures than I did, although I did have a pretty good collection of them myself. But video games and cartoons weren’t all we talked about.

K was a fairly heavy reader. And, if I remember correctly, his mom and sister were also. I made a trip with him to the local library one day where he introduced me to a new kind of book.

They were called “Which Way” books. I’m sure you’re familiar with them, but if you aren’t they go something like this:

You start off with the book giving you a bit of a story. Then, at the end of a section (not so much a chapter) you are given options that take you to different spots throughout the book.

After reading the listed options, you chose the direction you want the character or story to go. Sometimes the choice you made will lead to a quick end. Either you “won” or you died; in which case you would go back and take the now obvious route.

I thought the idea was rather clever. Apparently, so did K. We started writing a “Which Way” book of our own based on Nintendo games and using school kids as the game/story characters.

It was great fun and I was really getting into it. However, the book was never finished. K’s dad was being relocated and that was that.

K definitely had his quirks! One day I was spending the night at his house. The next morning, we were planning a full day of Turtles and cartoons, but some breakfast cereal was in order first.

He disappeared and came back to ask if I wanted milk in my cereal. I told him I did – as if there was any other way to eat cold cereal. Soon after he came back again with two bowls. And just when I was going for my first bite I noticed something…

NO MILK!

I told K I said I wanted milk in my cereal. Happily shoving in mouthfuls from his own bowl, he said there was milk in it. I started to look real hard. Finally, in the middle of the bowl, I found what appeared to be moist bits of cereal.

Okay. Maybe he did put milk in it?

After moving the stuff around I saw a spoonful or two of what I was guessing to be milk in the bottom of the bowl. He was right! He did put milk in it. I suppose I should have clarified the AMOUNT of milk to put in it?

Something else K did that I found interesting was how he ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Everyday, K would bring his lunch to school. He would often bring a single sandwich with whatever else his mom packed him.

The sammie was always in a Tupperware type bowl. He would open the container, take a bite of the sandwich, put the sandwich back into the container, and shut the lid. He did this with every single bite.

After asking, he told me why he did it for, but I can’t remember the reason behind it now. But it always tickled me to watch him eat.

I still have a family picture he once gave me. I tried to trace his name, but it turns out he has a pretty common name. I don’t know what kind of person he grew up to be, if he even remembers me, or would even want to hear from me.

I have often wondered what happened to K, what he’s up to now, and if he ever finished writing that book.

I know the odds of K ever reading this are slim to none, but I would just like to take a moment to tell him something:

K, you were a cool dude, man! I missed our friendship after you left, and I have never forgotten you. For what it’s worth, I’m writing you in as a character into one of my books. M will be in it also.

I hope you’re doing well and have found success and happiness in your life and continue to do so. And, K? Donatello is still my favorite Turtle!

When The Moon Touched The Earth

It’s summer time in the lower Florida Keys. The year is 1994. The sun has hid its face, and yours truly is spending a gorgeous night in a bright orange tent just off the beach. Remembering The Florida Keys

The sound of the nearby waves  soothe my soul; filling me with a kind of inner peace I’m not accustomed to in Tennessee. The stars this night seem to be in the trillions! And I am praying this day never ends.

It has been a long journey to get here. Suffering from jet lag and a crowded bus ride from Fort Lauderdale, I decide to call it a day.

Breathing in deeply, taking in the salty air, I soak in the beauty that is before me; trying to engrave the image into a lasting memory. With my gear stowed, I find my place in the tent and close my eyes.

The sounds of men and boys talking and laughing keep me from drifting to sleep. So I lay in amazement at the thought of how a poor boy could be so lucky to be here…now…in this place.

There’s a deep swelling of emotions as I realize there is much more to come on this trip. But the thoughts are pushed out of my mind as I begin to take notice of how bright the sky is.

And soon I see why.

Across the mass of water that is the Atlantic, and blessing us with a head on view of all of its glory, the moon rises out of the ocean. But this wasn’t any ordinary moon like I have ever seen.

No. This was the grand daddy of them all!

The largest and brightest moon I have ever seen, and have ever seen since, floated slowly into the sky as a god returning gracefully back to it’s kingdom.

I simply could not believe what I was seeing! Without realizing I did it, I made my way out of the tent and walked closer to the shoreline. There I stood in sheer awe at the sight the filled my vision.

I wanted to cry!

There are those moments in our lives when we have the opportunity to witness something truly magnificent. They are when time slows to a crawl, the worries of the world become meaningless and you realize just how insignificant you really are.

It’s a feeling we all know – an experience the dictionary can not describe. But when it reveals itself to us it stops us in our tracks. All you can do is simply be.

My Boy Scout trip to the Sea Base that summer changed my life. I have never been the same since. But it’s a good change! And one that I hold onto dearly.

So to the place that I have so longed to return, thank you! Perhaps we shall meet again…

A Good Day To Die

Once upon a Cessna, my dad took me flying with him. It wasn’t my first time to fly as I’ve flown the planes myself before. Little did I know what was in store for me on THIS day! Here We Go!

Arriving at the airport, we made our way into a building where my father paid to rent a plane, buy the fuel, get the low down on weather conditions and chit chat about I only could guess what.

Minutes later we were walking off toward a tan and white-ish colored single engine Cessna. I was already getting excited about the prospect that soon our chariot would take us to where the birds fly.

Dad checked the fuel mixture, did the walk around to examine the condition of the plane and went through his pre-flight check list. A few more minutes went by.

Soon the engine came to life and dad was on coms with the tower getting permission to take off. The tower gave my father directions as to what altitude we would be flying as well as a bunch of other babble I couldn’t make out.

Using the foot rudders to taxi to the designated runway, I made our way to an area in which we would stop to check the flaps. More pilot lingo ensued.

With everything looking good, I was told to get us in the air. I pushed the throttle in and the airplane began to roar. We began to move and quickly gained speed.

Moments later, I pulled the wheel back and I could feel the plane leaving planet earth. The feeling was exhilarating! The safety of being on the ground was no more.

We soared over town for a few minutes before my dad gave me some interesting news. He was going to take over so he could show me a couple ways to get out of a stall.

Remember! In case of emergency, the Cessna can and will glide to the ground. I was preparing for what could turn out to be a very memorable airplane ride. Little good it did me!

The first method my dad showed me, I’m speculating, was engine failure. He pulled out the throttle to deaden the engine, but not kill it completely. The annoying stall buzzer sounded. Confusion sat in.

The props slowed to a “crawl” and the plane shuddered slightly – bouncing the nose up before it decided to show us what a 3-D version of plummeting to the ground looked like. Here we go!

My hands braced dash. Panic and terror washed over me. The things on the ground were getting larger in appearance by the second. So long world! At least I won’t have to worry about going back to school!

The father figure driving our sinking ship was now laughing; all the while coolly instructing me on what he was doing to restore control of the airplane. That’s right. He was talking normally!

He might as well been wearing a clown suit and singing a gospel hymn because I was beginning to think the only thing on my mind was going to be the last thing on my mind. Forever!

The aircraft sputtered, the propellers came back to full swing and we jolted as the plane began to climb back to altitude. Heart rate decreasing. Breathing returning to normal. All was well.

The laughing dad person asked me if I was okay. Seriously, dude? I acknowledged and was then told there was another nifty way to get out of a stall.

Another way? How many ways can one drive an airplane into the earth at a terminal rate of velocity? Are you freak’n kidding me? Cool! Let’s do this!

This time, the ole father of mine pulled back on the wheel. We started climbing – gaining more altitude. I looked out of the window and watched the things on the ground getting smaller and smaller.

Heck! This was more like it! Hold on a sec! He said we were going to stall the plane again, right? Okay, so-o-o…

We reached a thirteen degree critical point of climb. The stupid buzzer started making that racket again. Great. NOW what?

Once again, the propellers slowed, but, this time, something weird happened. For a second, and only for a second, the airplane seemed to hover motionless in mid air.

Then it happened.

The plane went into reverse; slightly falling backward before tilting over back onto its bow end. Talking about a very awkward feeling!

Once again, for the second time now, my hands went to the dash as if they were magnetically attracted. Pulse quickens. But a little more clear headed this time. After all, this wasn’t my first rodeo!

Dad went through the motions of regaining control of the airplane as before. The craft started back to life as it did before, and moments later we were back at cruising altitude.

Ah, good times! You know, even if you asked me at the very moment of panic if I was having fun I probably would have said I was. And would I ever do it again?

In a heartbeat!

So there ya have it! A little piece of my life. If you enjoyed this story, or have one of your own, put it in the comments. I’d love to read about it!

Thanks, everybody! Have an awesome day!

My Favorite Season

There’s a part of the year that I look forward to above all others. A season of the year that brings back that grand inner child feeling. It is, by far, my favorite season of the year. It's That Time Of The Year Again

Can you guess what it is? Are you looking at the falling leaves in the GIF and just feeling a total loss? I’ll give you a hint:

Some people call it “Autumn” and some people call it “Fall.”

Have you guessed it yet? Ha! I knew you would figure it out!

Yes, Fall is my most favorite time of the year. At least it is in the area I live and grew up in. Maybe if I lived in another part of the world then that would change.

So why do I like Fall? Or Autumn? Does it matter which word I use? Is there a correct term here, or does it even matter? Should I capitalize the words? You’d think, as a writer, I’d have the common sense to know better!

Anyway…

For me, growing up, the winter time meant Christmas, getting together for a couple of days with family, playing with my cousins, gifts and toys galore, tons of food, and going deer hunting with my dad.

Spring time meant another school break, pretty weather that allowed me to play more outside, ride my bike, fishing, and the knowledge that summer break was just around the corner.

Then summer did come. School lets out, more outside activities, more fishing, swimming, the family vacation, more bike riding, and, of course, FREEDOM!

Freedom meant staying up a bit longer, but not much longer because I grew up in a sort of strict household that sheltered me from what most kids were exposed to, and freedom of getting away with taking a bath later than normal (some times not until the next day if I was lucky).

Eventually, summer would come and go and bring in the dreaded new school year. But there was a positive catch to this: The oncoming of the Fall season!

I looked forward to, as I still do, the turning of the leaves and keeping a keen eye out for my first colored leaf to fall off a tree and float its way to the ground to where other leaves would soon be gathering as well.

I anticipate, as I did back then, going outside and smelling that first brisk wind that carried with it the smell of the autumn leaves. Yeah, you know the one!

Upon sniffing that first cool crisp breeze, I always think of my most favorite holiday that is also just around the bend: Halloween! The one day you can be somebody or something else and no one would care.

Halloween would give way to Thanksgiving, and that meant another family get together, more play time with my cousins, and lots of food.

Thanksgiving, for me as a kid, was a catch 21. It had the positives of the things I just mentioned, but it also meant the fading out of my most favorite time of the year to Old Man Winter.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always liked winter to a degree. It just depends on the degree! *laughs*

But there’s a lot of inner emotion that swells up when Fall rolls around. It’s a feeling that’s very difficult to describe other than it’s when I feel most alive inside.

My spirit bounds, my creative process is everywhere all at once, and I just have this overall feeling of goodness. That, to me, is what it’s all about. To live life in that way everyday… Sigh.

So here we are with August, my most dreaded month of the year, just days away. Dreaded because it’s the hottest month of the year, the most mosquito infested month of the year, and the start of another school year.

And for you kids who may be reading this, if you’re anything like I was, you know how horrible it is to start back to school! I know your pain, my friends. Believe me!

Now, some of you may be reading this and agreeing with me right now while others are thinking of a different season in your minds. So what is your favorite season of the year and why? Leave a comment and give us your story!

Thank you for visiting! Have a great day!

 

15 Events In History I’d Like To See

Moments In History

History is chock full of things I wish I could go back and watch unfold. As one who is interested in historical events, I could make a seriously long list.

But, this is a blog post. Not an encyclopedia. So, in no particular order, I’ll jot down a few major events I would like to go back in time and witness first hand. Let’s get started…

  1. The first thing I’d like to see, and I think most people would be on board with me on this one, is to go back to when everything first started. Whether you’re a Creationist or a Big Banger, this one would be worth the trip!
  2. The beginning of life. I believe this one pretty much speaks for itself.
  3. The Bible stories. I mean, c’mon! You know you want to!
  4. The building of the great pyramids.
  5. The extinction of the dinosaurs. Provided, of course, I could live through it.

Of course, those are all pretty obvious ones. Here’s some other favorite moments I would like to go back and see:

  1. My birth. I know that sounds awkward, but it’s true.
  2. All of Victorian London. What can I say? I’m a bit of a Steampunk fan!
  3. I most definitely want to go back and see exactly what it was that made Plato write about Atlantis.
  4. It may sound a bit strange, but I’d like to be a fly on the wall and watch certain authors as they wrote their masterpieces.
    For instance, I’d like to watch J. K. Rowling as she wrote the first Harry Potter book on the napkins and scraps of paper she used.
  5. The library of Alexandria in its prime. That should prove interesting! But I’d settle for the invention of the wheel.

There are some darker times I would want to witness, too, simply because of their historical significance. As horrific as they were, I feel like the only way to really understand them is to have been there. Some of these tragic and sad moments would be:

  1. The sinking of the Titanic – starting five minutes before it hit the iceberg.
  2. The bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  3. I would want to be witness to the controversial Lincoln and John F. Kennedy assassinations.
  4. The height of the Black Death.
  5. And lastly, I would want to watch Leonardo Da Vinci paint the famous Mona Lisa. I know that doesn’t sound all that bad, but maybe, for him, it was. Think about it!

So if you could go back in time, what would you want to see?

My Inspiration: The Early Years

All good stories begin with a great beginning. With that said, in reference to life, I don’t see why mine (and yours) should be any different. So, how should we begin?

Well, let’s see. Ah, yes. Of course! Let’s start with one of my favorite beginnings: “Once upon a time…”

…a young boy was attending school without any expectations of something extraordinary. Life for him wasn’t as fortunate as it was for other kids. But, at the time, life for him was anything but unfortunate.

The boy had something that most of the kids at his school didn’t have; fantastic worlds at his disposal. His imagination had erupted a few years before, and in the safety and seclusion of his home, he was free to explore them at will.

And explore…he did.

I was blessed with a father who would tell stories and play pretend; thus fueling my imagination. Everywhere I looked, anywhere I was, I saw things much differently than those around me.

My favorite school years were, hands down, the years I spent at my elementary school. The school was kindergarten through the fifth grade. And little did I realize at the time just how much of an impact the school, primarily the teachers I sat under, would have on me for the rest of my life.

It was in the second grade when a remarkable thing happened. My teacher, Mrs. Rector, walked us down to the library at the beginning of the book fair that was going on. I always anticipated the book fairs, but I never quite understood why.

Upon walking into the library, my most favorite place in the world at the time, I excitedly looked over the rows of books in a state of pure awe and wonder. And then, sitting on one of the lower racks, I saw it. The single book that changed my life:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Of all the books on the shelves, that one book kept drawing my The Book That Changed My Lifeattention. In fact, I dare say, it was the only book I could see! But there was a problem. I had no money to buy it.

When we got back to the classroom, Mrs. Rector had us write a letter to some one (I don’t remember to whom the letters were going to be sent to) and tell that person what book(s) we liked and wanted at the book fair.

It’s no surprise what book I wrote about. But I took it further. I described how my parents were poor and didn’t have money to spare to buy the book with.

Later that week we received our replies.

I opened my letter and out fell some cash money! My classmates were jealous. And I really didn’t know how to feel about it myself. But instead of running to the library like a crazy person and buy my book I took the money home and hid it between the mattress and box springs.

I figured my parents could use the money and was hiding until I could figure out how to surprise them with it without getting into trouble on the thought that I had stole it.

The next day, I was back in the library with a heavy heart. I watched the other kids buying up books and bookmarks and I used every ounce of willpower I had to hold back my tears. As I was in school, sitting in my Union Mission bought clothes thinking about the book, my mother was changing the sheets on my bed back home.

Later that day, she sat me on the bed and, producing the money, asked me why I had the money hid away. So, I told her everything.

She told me that the money was mine; that I could do with it whatever I wanted. And so the next day, with money in my pocket and glee in my heart, I went to school. I was a man on a mission!

I guess I had an angel looking after me because that day was Friday-and also the last day of the book fair. Being such, we walked to the library one last time for one last chance to purchase something.

My happy butt made a bee line to the paperback and immediately bought it. The funny thing was, I didn’t even know what it was about! And when I did read it, admiring the pencil illustrations and the witty characters, I noticed that Charlie Bucket was, in essence, ME!

I saw my life on paper that was written long before I was even born.

My mind was blown!

I still have that book to this day. It’s one of my most cherished physical possessions. Around this same time, I wrote my first book. I took a spiral notebook and wrote a story about a blue bird catching a worm. I then used the yellow divider pages as the covers.

I illustrated the cover and pages within the book and colored the pictures in with crayons. I stapled the pages together and even had the sense to copyright it! I still have this book, too.

In the third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Hook, read books to the class. Such titles included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass ElevatorCharlotte’s WebJames and the Giant PeachBunnicula, and others.

Needless to say, I was starting to see my life’s purpose before me. In the fifth grade, my reading teacher, Mrs. Hopper, was going to be the first to put this theory to the test; writing stories to read to the class. And I did so with purpose. Fortunately, they always seemed to go over well.

In closing, I think the world for those who have inspired me to write. I may never become the next Charles Dickens or Lewis Carroll, but if I can give my readers something that will bring a smile to their face or take them from this world to some fantastic place, even for a moment, no matter how brief, then I will have done my job.

To all of my fans… Thank you! To each and every one of you, thank you for your readership!