Journey of 1000 Miles

Fourteen Daughters

Since January, I have had fourteen daughters and a couple of brothers. Seems outrageous, but being a coach on a softball team, there is a sense of family. For months I got to witness, coach, laugh and get frustrated by a whole baker’s dozen of teenage girls. Granted, one is my own and I feel the experience has pulled us closer together. The other thirteen have shown and shared parts of their eclectic personalities, but after a rather quick seven months, it is over.

I’ve seen them all come together as a team in unlikely circumstances and crumble in moments when they should have overcome. They all share different levels of friendship but are always there for each other to pick themselves up when needed. Team sports do that, they bring out the best of us as long as we remember it is a team and no one is above or beyond having a bad moment, a bad play, a bad inning or a rough game. We bring ourselves to the field and for a brief hour can let go of whatever troubles or stresses we have waiting for us when the game is over.

The brothers I mentioned are the other coaches I was lucky enough to stand with. Both have shown me different sides of what it means to be a coach, bringing their own unique talents of focus and motivation with them. They are older than I am, so as the younger, I get to see more of how they work instead of working alongside. In return, I get to spend more time learning about the players and how they operate. I’d say it’s an even trade.

Some of the players couldn’t finish out the season and sadly won’t get to have them in the tight-knit family again. They will all go on to do great things and pursue their passions in life even if not with the team. In all it has been a great season and I am thankful for the coaches, the players and the families who allowed me to experience what having thirteen other wonderful daughters could be like.

Until 2016… Adrenaline forever!



The Next 1000 Miles

I Have a Perfect Life

I have a perfect life. It might not be perfect for all, but for most.

We all have a perfect life, mostly. When you peel away the masks, the Facebook friends, the accolades. We surround ourselves with various friends showing us our many forms. We blend in, stand out and take note of those that make no sense to us. We have jobs, people we call friends and family. We find ways to entertain ourselves and to entertain others. We starve for nothing except the frail, limitless wonder of things we want.

During this time, we take note of the footprints we’ve left in the year and where our feet will take us the next. I like to think of what I will accomplish, what I want to change, the luck I hope to find and the happiness I expect by next year’s end.

Truthfully, that happiness is already here, always has been. It’s covered in dust from lack of notice and debris from the packaging of things I’ve bought. My family makes me one of the luckiest people on earth. My friends are a reflection, allowing me to see, time and again, the beauty I have in myself and those around me. Everything else is simple want. I write this today, not in complete harmony, but realization. I want to be a better father my daughter can look up to and answer any question wholeheartedly. To be a husband that can leave my wife wondering, “what else could I ask for?” In short, I want to take advantage of all that I have and all that I can be. Not because it’s New Year’s Eve, but because I should every day of every year.

I have a perfect life. I just need to learn to live my life perfectly.



 

Journey of 1000 Miles

I Talk to Inanimate Objects

“I’m finished,” I murmured to my keyboard as I concluded my long-awaited ending.

“Now what?” my keyboard blankly suggested back.

“Shit, keyboard, quit pressuring me…”

Okay, so my laptop is a pushy little bastard, but that question certainly ran through my mind. I had been working in little stints for years up to that point and after setting a deadline, I came to the end of the trail. Once I was there, I expected something, but there was no direction and no more worn paths to follow. I was stranded.

Like most early writers, I assume, we all have an itch that needs scratched in terms of writing. We satisfy our cravings by getting our thoughts out onto paper and when our story is complete story, well, who takes it from there? Well, at this stage, we still do. No one is looking for our work; no one cares if we’ve created something completely by the efforts of concentration and imagination; and no one knows our names. (This is aside from you, mom and dad, love you guys)

We are waiting in the dark and preparing to emerge. For some of us, it will be a persistent movement from crawling to walking into the spotlight. For others, the trail will be muddy and uphill and if we want to make, we’ll have to claw and believe in ourselves like never before.

I am currently learning that editing is the world’s largest chore. The demons on the page are corrupting the literary soul of my work and I am needing to play exorcist to cast them out (“I cast you out!” – Max von Sydow, The Exorcist). Funky placed prepositions or an over-abundance of the same word again and again and again has me questioning if I ever passed an English class throughout grade school. Luckily I have a small team of holy divers that are diligently plunging there way through my work in order to show me what exists beyond my blinders.

Family is the #1 resource to any new writer, followed closely by any long-standing friends. Now, my mother and father will love anything I create. My father will tell me what’s wrong and where my strengths are shown. My wife will be my best critic because she has no need to pull punches or sugarcoat the obvious in her mind. She lovingly points out all of the faults that I have painstakingly transcribed over months of work. My best suggestion to anyone seeking this free editing help is to listen.

As writers and authors, we know what our story is in our minds; but it will take many sets of eyes to show you how other people will see it. I have read my first story so many times that I am like a child on the third round of leftovers for the week, I crave something/anything different.

After I get through my initial edit of catching grammatical mistakes, the second edit that helps me with structure, the third edit that restructures it to make sense, and the fourth edit that polishes and ties one chapter to another; I am finally working towards the fifth (hopefully last) edit where I make sure that I am completely happy from where it starts to where it ends. My best way of editing this portion is to read it aloud. If it sounds good in my ears as well as my head, I think I’m doing the right thing. It tells me how hokey some scenes might be, how overused some words are, and some areas that might get extra jolts of life that have been laying dormant in my imaginarium.

So, I talk out loud. I talk thru dialog to make it run together naturally. I talk to my computer screen, to the radio in my car, to the walls in my house. I look like I’m guano crazy. But I make it work. Each lunatic step helps me edge further.

As I see it, I have climbed the ladder of a literary high dive (and that was the easy part). Now, I am exposed. I’m becoming visible to a small crowd below, getting ready to plunge into the water that will be publishing. Each step of progress I complete gets me one step closer to looking over the edge, toes curled around the lip and holding my breath until I decide to leap. I will get to the pool below where book-lovers, critics and fans will all judge my performance. I hope that when that time comes, I have made it entertaining enough to watch me dive again, faster and with better poise.

For now, I have made it a few timid steps as I work up the confidence to get to the diving point. One thing I will not do is stop moving; I will dive. If I belly flop, cannonball or make it through like a spear, you will see me go up again. I have too many dives in me not to.