Monday, December 31, 2018

Who were your direct personal Heroes in your life?

We all have personal heroes. People who affected us directly and changed the course of our lives, forever. People we never may have gotten a chance to thank in later years. People who we never saw again.

Who are these people? Your teachers, friends, significant others, romantic relationships. I'm not talking about political leaders who will never know they affected you or accept they have as you're being a part of a group. But those who have touched you directly even physically, who knew you, who were in your daily life.

Regarding family, my siblings, my mother and especially my grandmother (my mother's mother) were major influences. But I'm not talking about our parents, grandparents, or siblings. That should be a given. Rather those beyond your nuclear family and family in general.

Here is a chance to thank them in a public forum. They will never see this, some of them are gone now, but here is my chance anyway and the reasons I have to thank them for. I almost didn't post this because it's not a brag post. Some of what I say below isn't so great. I'm not perfect nor the best person I've ever met. I try always to be better, to update my life view. But it's all founded, as are we all, on our past and our choices.

I had ADHD as a kid and I guess I matured out of it into ADD, without the hyperactive physical concerns. But my mind still works in a not quite normal way. This has led to my excelling in many things. But it has also caused me, and others, grief, and difficulties.

For those few who saw something in me, who took that extra time and concern for me, it made my life just a little bit easier and overall, better. I remember after graduating high school, years later, considering who that was in my high school years and came to realize there were three teachers pretty much all the kids who knew them believed them to be the three smartest teachers in our school. And I realized those three were the only three who realized my potential and had patience with me and helped me along.

So just remember, you never know what you do for others that could change the course of someone's life for the better. Or the course of the world, for that matter.

Remember too, that in changing someone's life like that, we also can change our own. These are some of mine.

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS - This is a difficult one to address for obvious reasons, but I'm brave and will do my best. I'll only mention a few major ones. I wish them all well and have always hoped they would do better after we separated.

--M., my first wife (yes, I had a few, see below). She was my best friend and we married (I married, she had pointed out that we didn't have to, but I had been raised Catholic, hadn't quite washed that out of my mind yet and so, we got married) undoubtedly too young (at 20). We went through our early 20s together and for that, I am forever grateful. We were a great match, until, as happens, we weren't.
--M., my long-term friend before, during and a bit after college. Never my legal spouse but I always credited us as a half marriage (not quite common law, not quite, not, and so I've always felt I've had 3.5 marriages) and she certainly deserves the credit. This was my most honest relationship in my entire life. Something I only realized in recent years. Even though we were both exploring our selves through our lives and through getting our university degrees in psychology, I wish we could both have been more emotionally mature. Especially myself. I have thought of her often all through my life and I know she was something extraordinary. Sadly perhaps other relationships after suffered in comparison. Not so much because I was thinking in comparison, but because I had seen what could be in a relationship. Even when it wasn't.
--K., my second wife who gave me an amazing albeit difficult to raise son. Actually exactly, according to my mother, like me...and it was then I began to appreciate how much I owed my mother for not having killed me as a child, but instead, found creative ways I could excel and she could retain her sanity.  We had a great deal of fun in the beginning. She met me when I was at a point of growing somewhat suicidal after my previous relationship break up. I was partying myself to death over about a year and a half, on purpose and with intent. I was growing more serious about questioning my life and existence when she showed up and ... made me smile again. While we probably should have ended things before marriage, it happened. And I got my son out of it who has been my friend and a became a stabilizing factor for me until I grew into being a father.
--C., my third (and final?) wife who gave me an amazing daughter. I had thought maybe this marriage would finally be the one to last forever. But I can see now that was never going to happen. Still, I gathered many interesting and rewarding experiences from our relationship and for a few years, it was a great romance. Perhaps because I was more mature and educated by then? Raising a son with ADHD (especially as a step parent), while married to a spouse with ADD, never an easy thing to deal with and in the end it, among other things was our downfall.


Jimmy Snowberger, 3rd grade, he led to my character "Jimmy", in DEATH OF HEAVEN's first full chapter, The Conqueror Worm, available as a standalone ebook and audiobook.
James Snow, 3rd grade, he led to my character "James", in DEATH OF HEAVEN's first full chapter, The Conqueror Worm, available as a standalone ebook and audiobook.
Bill A. 5th - 7th grades (moved away), introduced me to Dave.

Dave H. 6th - 12th grades and beyond, a compilation character in my true crime screenplay, THE TEENAGE BODYGUARD.
Rod W. - 11th -12th grades and beyond, a compilation character in my true crime screenplay, THE TEENAGE BODYGUARD.
Curt W. - childhood until he died in the late 1990s, friend of my older brother and our family and my extra brother from another mother and father.


Horace Mann Elementary School, Tacoma, WA 1965-1966
Mr. Llewellyn (5th grade) - Aside from being a good teacher and a decent person, my mother paid him to tutor me in math after school. It was a painful and laborious process. Even he was surprised how hard it was for me to grasp certain concepts.
Mrs. VanArnum (6th grade), an amazing teacher who pushed me and put up with me and set me up for better success in junior high school. On our last day in 6th grade, she brought in caviar (I hated it), and other things to stimulate us and introduce us to new things and played a 45 records for us.

Stewart Jr. High, Tacoma, WA 1967-8, 1969-70
Mr. (9th grade Industrial Design (Mechanical Drawing))
Mrs. Arden (Earth Sciences), just a great all around teacher. We loved her so much, the entire class held her hostage and held a kangaroo court about her teaching. At the end of the class hour, she was pissed off, but hid it well, and we judged her a great teacher.
Mrs. X (Algebra) - I'd love to tell you who she is. Was probably, she was older even in 1969. She is listed as "X" on purpose, because in giving me a passing grade out of junior high school with all Ds and one B (mechanical drawing), she made me promise her two things: One, never ever tell anyone she taught me (thus the "X") and Two, promise not to go on in high school to take Geometry (I broke that promise and yes, though I loved that class, I got a D,  and for two semesters. But I got through it, and never told anyone who my Algebra teacher was).

Holy Rosary Catholic School
Ms. X, I do not remember her name. She did not normally teach at this school. I had the principle and head nun of that school in my only grade there, eighth grade. I went only for that last year they taught, then returned to public school. Why, is a long story. My younger brother five years my junior started there in first grade until he died of liver cancer. Ms. X was a teacher for Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics and taught it to us in 8th grade. It was an amazing time and experience. I read 60 novels that year. My reading went from what I found to be a disappointing below average 280 words per minute at 60% comprehension, to 20,000 words per minute at 80% comprehension. But I settled into a comfortable rate of reading a novel in about an hour. And I was already a comparatively voracious reader compared to children my age. Over time I found that, even though reading a novel in an hour was like watching a movie in my head, I really did enjoy taking a week (or two) to read a novel, to savor it over days, rather than have it over in an hour. Reading dynamics was better suited to what JFK used it for, reading newspapers.
Lincoln High School, Tacoma, WA 1970-1973
Mr. Coe (Literature, 10th grade), was helpful to me in my reading in independent reading and literature classes.
Mrs. Barden (English Comp., 10th grade), saw I could be a writer and tried to invigorate that side of me.
Ms. Wooten (Civics / World Problems during the Watergate years, 12th grade). She actually met Zhou Enlai. She was an amazing teacher during things like Nixon, China and Watergate.
Willie Stewart, principle. Just an amazing man. He was black thankfully as we had the largest percentage of black students in the city and a very volatile time in our history, when there were still civil (race oriented) riots downtown in the hilltop district. Everyone loved him. Yes, I got to know him better than many, in visiting his office more than once.
1973 Lincoln High School Rifle Team
Mr. Williams, rifle team coach. I was on the team for all three years of high school though not so active the final year as I had a job as snack bar manager at the Auto-View Drive-in Theater I worked at since 9th grade. But when I became manager my time was limited. Mr. Williams would talk to us and tell us stories about his time in the army in Central America and just stuff about life in general.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES. My mother always said to get the best possible teachers in anything and she did that for me. Because I was so active, she knew she had to wear me out and get me out of the house a lot to save her sanity... and mine. So I took guitar lessons (2nd grade), tap dancing and acrobatics (4th grade), foil fencing, and other things. I was also in a variety of organizations like YMCA Indian Guides, Cub Scouts and so on.
Me and Steve Armstrong Sensei day of my blue belt
Steve Armstong Sensei, Isshinryu Karate. Steve is gone now but was like a second dad and role model to me and many of us. I started there in about 5th grade. He had been a Marine drill instructor and based in Okinawa where he learned under style founder Shimabuku Tatsuo. I had to fight in tournaments and he started the first Seattle Open International Karate Tournaments. I met interesting people in the 1960s like the later infamous Chuck Norris, Ed Parker, and others.
Dan Delaney Sensei, his wife (bowing), visiting Lorraine DiAnne Shihan, and myself
Dan Delaney Sensei, Aikido. This was after the year 2000. I studied various martial arts in my life but found Aikido in college. First time I had a dojo nearby, I went and stayed until years later I had knee problems and gave up active training. Still, I am to this day on the Board of Directors for our non-profit 501c3 school. Dan had a stroke some years ago sadly and had to give up active practice himself but it still on our board.

Mr. Ekes, private youth gun club leader. One day in junior high, about 8th grade, I don't know what sparked it but my mother said, "I've had it with you're being gun crazy. I called the police department and they suggested a guy who has a kid's gun club and they highly recommend him. He also reloads some ammunition for the police and uses their gun range downtown Tacoma. You're going." He was an inspiration. In the actual handling of guns, I learned to respect and got over my fascination. Guns he said are a tool, not a toy.

Flight Commander, I'm on left, my First Sgt. on right
Sgt. Davidson, TPD & Civil Air Patrol, in my 8th-grade year. Our neighbor was a Tacoma Police Department Sergeant and CAP leader. CAP is an auxiliary of the USAF. His kids were in it also. They got my sister, three years my senior into it but she didn't like the military aspects and wearing a uniform. She becomes a flight attendant and is one to this day. I learned so much in this about search and rescue, aviation, communications, and flew small planes (also in my screenplay The Teenage Bodyguard).


USAF 1976-1979 (my service began in 1975 Vietnam era, ended in 1981)
TSgt. Pete Pettina (Fairchild, AFB, Spokane, WA 92nd FMS, Survival Equipment Shop, he was like a second dad and even told me on my last days in the service that I was like a second son to him.
Dan M., my best friend at that time. I'd tell you more but I could go to jail. Kidding. Sort of. I was also his parachute shop Sgt. though I think he was actually in the front shop in Fabric and Rubbergear (life vests, 20 man and 1 man life rafts, environmental suits, and Thermal Nuclear Flash Barrier Radiation curtains for nuclear weapons platforms (B52 Stratofortress bombers).
Craig T., my other best friend at that time. Again, I'd tell you more but I could go to jail. Kidding. Sort of. I was also his parachute shop Sgt.


Ft. Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce College), Steilacoom, WA 1980-1982
Prof. X - English Composition. I simply cannot remember his name but can see him in my mind. He was an ecologist and was building a replica of Henry Thoreau's cabin from Walden's Pond. This was my first professor to actively try to engage me to become a writer saying that I simply had to become a writer and he could see that clearly, because my writings "sparked with ideas". When I rebuked that belief and he asked why I said because I was terrible at the rules of grammar. His response was that was why we have editors and I should forget about that and just write. Thereby for the first time really as an adult giving me license to go for it. I owe him for that.
1984 University graduation with siblings
Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 1982-1984
Prof. Rod Rees (Psychology Dept./Phenomenology Bellingham, WA), my departmental advisor. A massive brain who attended Brown University in the 60s and who's student think tank was instrumental in the famous shut down of that campus in protest. Through his guidance and advice, I learned so much about myself, psychology, the mind and brain, and life.
Prof. (now) Perry Mills (Theater Dept. Bellingham, WA), another massive brain and aggressive dynamic teacher who I couldn't get enough of. To sit in his presence and listen was to go on a journey into history and brilliant academics.
Instructor Bob Schelonka, Theatre Dept./Team Script & Screenwriting series of classes. He was my introduction to writing in this format and had a gentle and incisive style that led with humor and dealing with the eight rabble-rousers that we were.
Prof. Cvetkovic, Linguistics. Wow, I forgot all about sentence diagramming. I also took linguistics at one of my universities. "Alveolar fricative", that just stuck in my mind. lol
Fascinating stuff I was lucky enough to have an amazing professor for during the year I graduated, in a class that could have been dry as dist with another instructor. I remember he had an accent. He was passionate, energetic, funny, like a kid teaching something he was fascinated by. I don't know how I could have gotten through that class without him. My gf had the class with me and she agreed, he was amazing. At graduation he was given a professor of the year award or something like that to my surprise, and we both had to fully agree.


Stanley Kramer, film director. Bellevue Community College. I took a serious of film production classes from him in about 1985 and only on Saturdays for a series of weeks, he was an amazing and impactful teacher and storyteller. Amazing stories.

These were many of if not most of MY personal heroes from my life.

Have a great New Years in 2019! 
And, remember those of your own personal heroes in YOUR life.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas! OR, Happy Holidays. Why? I'll tell you...

Merry Christmas! It seems like a fairly innocuous greeting.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
It has inherent goodwill intended. Which confuses some.

Because we live in a diverse world, a diverse multicultural, multitheistic country and environment, we merely need to be aware of that in our thoughts, speech, and actions.

No, it's not asking that much of us. For myself, I was raised Catholic, old Slovak Catholic. I went through stages of seeking God and found how humankind invented all this thousands upon thousands of years ago.

I have in my search for what is truth in religion, or "God" in a supreme intelligence, or whatever you wish to refer to it as been through many stages. I see using the gender of "Him" (or "Her") as questionable in ascribing a kind of anthropomorphism to an entity far beyond our understanding and why ethereal beings need gender is quite beyond us, though not really).

From my childhood and deep into my 20s, I have experienced being a "born again Christian" in my late teens. Then in my research and studies to "find God", an agnostic, an atheist, an agnostic again and finally a follower of reality as best it can be defined, through science, through the Buddha Dharma when lent itself to the Christian form of restructuring Judaism, and also Aikido, "the Art of Peace".

I was surprised to find how much "Buddhist" beliefs fit into Christianity and general psychology orientations during my university years of study toward my degree in psychology, and in Phenomenology, and physics.

That being said, I don't just have a problem with Christmas and below I'll explain why.

IF one cannot function appropriately and positively in that kind of life, one in America's "tossed salad" citizenry and community, one of diversity, of inclusion, of acceptance and fellowship, then one is of limited mental, emotional and cultural capacities.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
So before you start ranting about the ludicrous immature belief in a "war on Christmas", of which there is none, but is rather an opening of awareness of others besides one's self or one's culture or religion, or in some cases, one's "bubble", do consider you are merely extending that well-intentioned greeting to other to whom it may have no meaning to them.
Not everything is as we believe. 
  • December 25th is understood to not be the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. 
  • The song Jingle Bells was originally intended for Thanksgiving, and was titled, "One Horse Open Sleigh" 
  • December 25th was originally a pagan festival day but the Catholic church absorbed it in order to compromise and assimilate pagan cultures when they were moving into.their region. 
  • Christmas now has transcended the Christian faith and spread out in a secular fashion to those of other cultures and religions. How is that a bad thing? The underlying principles are still there and if Jesus were alive to see this, he just might be okay with it. Because what he preached was the reality and not the dogma, not the diction, not the rules. But the people. And compassion for one another. 
  • The Golden Rule is based on the principle Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,” adding, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The significance of Jesus "Christ’s" statement here is huge. What we call the Golden Rule is the summation of God’s entire view on the way of life.
So much of Christmas is about peace and love, make it so!

What we believe to be is different originally than we thought to begin with. So there is really no need to be zero tolerant, or uncompromising, or to believe in a war on something merely because of a call for greater awareness and understanding of other's different cultures or religions. Essentially...

It's Okay! We need either greater awareness and compassion for one another or have more wars and cultural friction and misunderstanding of one another. Especially during a season that calls out for greater compassion and caring, help and sacrifice for others, it truly is, okay.

So why would you offer it to them? It is obviously out of ignorance either in an understanding of our country or specifically in another person, you do not know very well and perhaps should take the time to consider and address them appropriately in a way they can understand what you mean and intend.

To wish them goodwill and happiness this season. Christians, many of them, like to point out the original intent and meaning of "Christmas" is all about Jesus. But as was pointed out above, that is at very least disingenuous and even, ignorant.

It really just means we have to give some thought to something we may never have given much thought TO. Which is actually the original intent of that greeting. to wit, if you are NOT giving it enough though, in the first place. You are actually, in the bigger picture of things, going counter to what you are trying to do and say. In trying to point out to others that there is or was a war on Christmas, you are the one missing the point in coming from Christians who cannot actually give the greeting enough thought and feeling, in order to share it in the most appropriate and productive ways.

Even if that means using another greeting.

This really isn't all about you after all.

What we all really need more than anything else in this world, is simply to all get along.

Because that is in the end, the Thought...that is in the end, what counts. Isn't it?

So with all that being said, I really have to end here with this...

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays, whatever you believe and practice!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Middle East, Vietnam, All Over Again?

As a fiction writer, horror and science fiction writer and filmmaker, I wish you all a very Merry (or, Scary) Christmas Eve Day. Scary for fun. Not the scary reality we feel crushing us from every direction.

We do live in interesting times.

I had thought America lost its taste for war and playing chess with another country during in Vietnam. Although today with a ridiculous Pres. Donald Trump, we can all see we are now playing checkers... and losing.

And yet, Iraq. And then, Afghanistan. And illegally, Iraq and so on now within and all over the Middle East. Interesting times, indeed.

It feels like Russia and America are simply trying to sow chaos throughout in the Middle East for reasons of unethical self-interest. All when we should be trying to solidify the region and get the hell off fossil fuels, the Middle East's primary source of wealth.

In 1984 I wrote a screenplay. My first. It was titled, Ahriman. He was a prince/prophet on a violent desert planet who was trying to lead his historically extremely violent people to peace.

Not unlike sectors of the Middle East and even America today in many hating the idea of peace and many luxuriating in the cathartic concept of...hating.

I set it on that desert planet for the interaction between them and earth. I got two professors to let me write it as a self-study class I'd get credit for, and so I'd leave college with a full screenplay. I got two A's on it.

After a year of a special team script/screenwriting class toward my minor (psychology being my major), I was selected with seven others from my playwriting class. A class I was sent to by my intro to fiction writing professor to improve my short story dialog. Even though I was one of the top two top writers in the class.

At the end of my college career that spring, I was surprised to realize I still didn't have a full feature screenplay to leave my university with. Just short plays and TV scripts.

One of my university professors read it and asked, "Why a desert planet?"

I said that it fit what I was trying to do in using the ancient middle east religions and associations. I was concerned at the time about Dune, in having just come out as I was NOT trying to associate with that film.

Though I didn't see the film Dune until months after finishing the screenplay, I had heard about it and had loved the book when I first read it in 10th grade in high school. Which led to me finishing the book and writing my first ever short story, a science fiction story of an assassin school and one student's coming of age and realizing that the authorities were not what he had been led to believe.

As was happening to America at that time in 1970 with the Vietnam war and so many other things. Eventually, I did see and like the film and so I am now and ever since a David Lynch fan, who directed the film. I must say I would have loved to see the film that it almost became in having Alejandro Jodorowsky direct it, a project which fell through.

My professor thought about it for a moment and then said, "Well, desert or jungle, I guess you could go either way." And I didn't want to go jungle.

Which brings me back to the Vietnam jungle war and now these desert wars, and these problematic desert religions of Judaism, Catholicism and the youngest sibling, Islam. None of them towers of intellect or humanity as we've seen. And most recently in the actions of sectors of the Islamic Jihadi actors. Not to blame an entire religion for the actions of a few fools.

Our, Humanity's need or desperate lack of need for religion in today's modern world is another topic for another time. One which I've covered extensively in past blogs.

The Middle East did not just do all this to themselves. I'm just unsure now if we are trying to clean it up and retract to leave them to their own devices as should be done. We are seeing some behind the scenes defensiveness going on. But with this President Trump, not so much behind the scenes really. We are seeing clearly some of his actions as being for himself and that in any president is a serious if not a treasonous issue.

Or are simply disingenuously continuing the madness for fun and profit. Of which I assume we are and will continue do in following our trail of destruction of the latter. Along with the primary actors of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran. And how (or where) is China not surreptitiously involved?

The president's own party is not with him any longer.


John Michael Mulvaney is an American politician of the Republican Party who is serving in President Donald Trump's cabinet as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, who called Trump a "terrible human being" on video, leading up to the 2016 election.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has just said: "It could be a costly mistake." And that it, "...not only threatens the safety and security of the United States, but also emboldens ISIS [which Mr. Trump just said was gone and we won the war against them, which is patently not true], Bashar al Assad, Iran, and Russia."

People elected Donald Trump to break the nonsense. To shatter the status quo. Oddly enough, maintaining a now gone perceived status quo is also the primary goal of conservatives who voted for him. That pretty much sums up the confusion of conservatives and the Republican party. And in part why we are in this mess in the first place.

Indeed, Donald Trump has shaken things up. Which in some ways is good. But that was incidental and truly not his plan, if he even had one. Which he does not. He has not. He's simply injected even more nonsense into an already self-induced mess. And for his own devices and profit. In fact, he has done far more damage than anyone could foresee. Except those many who would never vote for him.

What we need now is a real POTUS. One who will look around and fix this mess. For America. Not for one man. Putin. Or Trump.

We need to bring back America. Bring back sanity. Return democracy to the world and America in a better format.

And give the world once again, Peace. War, it is said, is failed politics. We need to elect high-quality politicians from here forward. Purge our ranks of these failed politicians.

I wish you all an island of peace in all this in this holiday season. A brief moment where you can look down and see you are all right. Your loved ones alive and hopefully well and around you.

All the best this season. We deserve a break. We deserve peace and a humane world.

It will come to us if we want ti enough. It will take time to be sure.

It will arrive sooner, if we pay ever more attention to it, nurturing it to move toward us every day, in ever action.

Monday, December 17, 2018

21 Reasons I Like Working For Myself

I've had a variety of jobs. Retails sales from 10th grade nights in high school on and for longer than I wish to remember. There was a time I thought i could never get out of retail sales. then after high school I worked in an insurance company in various departments like shipping and receiving, mailroom, printing, deliveries, etc.

Then years in the USAF. I went in Law Enforcement, got changed because of bad feet in basic training (when inducted I asked if I should remove my socks and the doctor said, "No, not if you want to get in."), went into being a parachute rigger in survival equipment (because I'd been sky diving (as detailed in my true crime screenplay, The Teenage Bodyguard). I just missed out on becoming a flight simulator technician), joined the OSI at end, then got out for college where I eventually graduated.

I'm the one taking the photo
After that some unbelievable jobs both bad and good. Through college and university years I worked at Tacoma Tower...Posters, then Records, then after graduating, Video (in both Tacoma and then moved to Seattle Mercer store...
Tower Posters in Tacoma
So many great stories and friends from there (some no longer with us). Then years in a corporate environment I eventually retired from as a Sr. Tech Writer, and various kinds of IT administration jobs.
Corporate office in 2008 Seattle 
It paid for my kids growing up, for us to live. Then when they moved out and I could do whatever I liked or wanted to do, I kept working and started writing day and night toward retiring.

I just wanted to write and be involved in filmmaking. Something I grew up being fascinated with and really, should have started doing after high school.

So now that I'm doing it, what is so great about it? What are the things I like about working for myself. Obviously there are some down sides. That being said, I also do work as hard as ever but I also may put in more hours day or night or whenever as I feel necessary and wanting to do it.

My home office
Well, I'll give you a look inside:
  1. There is no limit to how many hours you have to work or how few. You cannot work more hours than are allowed if you want to. No concerns about allowed overtime or required minimums. And so, my hours are obviously my own.
  2. Work is always judged by myself and not a committee of those who do not have even an inkling or any a background in whatever the hell I'm doing.
  3. Absolutely no commuting. Unless I want to.
  4. No Christmas or New Year's holiday layoffs. In fact, NO layoffs. 
  5. Casual Friday is EVERY day. Dress code is what I put on in the morning. If anything.
  6. I can go anywhere on the Internet at any time without repercussion or concern from management with no worry about firewall, seeing the principle or being fired. Only maybe, the Federal government. 
  7. I get lunch or breaks whenever I want them. NO limit in their time or number. Lunch is when I take it and it's over when (if) I return. 
  8. If I ever want a drink or a vape hit...done. I can use any substances I want to aide in creativity, if and whenever I want. NO Drug Testing. In fact, I think I'll have one right now! Which brings us to number 9....
  9. I can have as much fun as I want.
  10. I can now actually give a damn about what I'm doing 99% of the time. Sometimes even 100% of the time.
  11. I feel far more alive now!
  12. There is no one to blame but myself. Meaning, when there actually was someone else to blame, you couldn't really point that out. Now there IS no one else to blame and you CAN point it out! Or uh, wait....
  13. I can jump between projects at the drop of a hat as energy and creativity dictate, to do whatever I FEEL I NEED to be doing, and when. 
  14. There is no "Monday Morning Blues". In fact, there is no "Mondays", or "Fridays" for that matter. My week starts every week, today. Or tomorrow. 
  15. I can actually be myself, 100% of the time. On the other hand, I am also the only one who annoys me, or for that matter, who makes me laugh. That last one though I'll admit, can be a bit weird at times.
  16. Only I decide the projects. When they start, finish and how good the finished product turned out. 
  17. No cubicles! EVERY one gets an office. No one argues about any of that!
  18. Great coffee and treats! Always. 
  19. No guilt when personal things crop up.
  20. Finally...NO corporate BS. No shareholders \ no stockholders \ no management at all to answer to.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2018

America's First & Necessary Post POTUS Execution

Is there an argument for the State execution of Pres. Donald Trump, once he is removed from office? I believe the consideration it is now rapidly being approached and very likely will soon be surpassed.

Why do I keep thinking of the French Revolution of 1789 – 99? And, "Why [does] President Trump resembles a pre-revolution French monarch."

Either way, treating our abusive leader appropriately, is really my point in all this.

The Donald, or The Don?
The argument against it is far less strong with each passing day. Not to mention Mr. Trump's own orientation on the death penalty being required for certain crimes. It's not a long stretch to consider if he were on the other side and himself were his enemy, he too would be calling for the execution of a traitorous POTUS. Especially if he could have pushed for that against an obviously far better president in Barack Obama.
Where there is this much smoke...there's fire.
First off, IF we allow this kind of abuse to go unpunished, we are essentially following the Donald Trump foreign policy for his beloved dictators and the abuse of national leaders' own citizens as in Syria or even as with Saudi Arabia against a journalist: "Oh well...."

We have GOT to send a strong message to not just Donald Trump AND his people who appear to be dropping like flies in a firestorm. And the vapid and zombie Republican party for this manufactured nightmare. But also to ANY other party (or foreign actor) in the future who may consider similar actions against the American electorate in their desire for power and position, or simply...chaos.

Putin loves western chaos, not Trump
That includes Vladimir Putin as a foreign actor against America and as well against his own country. Putin needs to be removed. I can't say that enough and I'm sick of saying it as I have since about the year 2000, a year after he took power.

Perhaps, had we better helped and made better decisions along with Mikhail Gorbachev in the bringing down of the Iron Curtain, we would never have seen a coup that replaced him with the alcoholic criminal Boris Yeltsin. Who then put Putin into power to protect him and his family from prosecution once he left office. It is a chain of authority from a decent path to a criminal path until today we have a State Criminal in Putin and a government he crafted in his own ex-KGB image.

Obviously, we need the appropriate and legal proof against Donald Trump to act upon it. The last thing America needs now is more illiberal or criminal actions in our government. We need to not follow in the footsteps of Russia.

Or China for that matter in their recently giving Pres. Xi a position for life. A stupid move. A very stupid move for any country to do. And a sign that something is very wrong. One that other nations need pay attention to and in their dire fortune if they ignore it. As they are doing. As we are all doing.

We must also take a stand against presidential plausible deniability. A tough thing to accomplish.

Which one should suspect Mr. Trump has already screwed up anyway and may prove not to even be a concern for us. Mostly because of his innate ineptness and that of his crew along this path he has taken these past decades.

The president is indeed held to a different consideration than the rest of us. And rightly so. Up to a point. Therefore he (or hopefully soon, she) needs and, especially this president Trump, needs to be held to a different judicial consideration.

We obviously have to be sure what we're doing. That is, to be transparent. As there will always be those who believe this is being done TO the POTUS  and somehow had not been done BY him and to himself and therefore, to America at large.
These are difficult times to be sure but we're up to the occassion!
That being said, IF Mr. Trump did these things, IF we cannot prove it in the normal ways, then it needs to be proven in an appropriate enough way to succeed in finding a ruling that should be found in considering just what he has done. Leaving things like plausible deniability by the wayside. We need to protect the citizens by rule of law. But we also must protect the nation by rule of reality.

Presidents DO need that capability at times in plausible deniability, in order to not be held accountable. There IS  a legit reason for its existence.

But FOR the American nation, the American people, and not against them as Mr. Trump has apparently done. All for wont of money and power, to satiate his defective ego and personality. That is no longer in question. Mr. Trump obviously has some serious defects. Defects that should have disallowed him ever to become POTUS. We have damaged the office of president, ourselves in allowing such a man to enter into it.
In actuality, our least hardworking POTUS in history
Otherwise, we will have allowed ourselves to continue to be dupes to what and who is basically a conman in a Donald Trump as president.

However, if all this happened as we're seeing it, but Trump is technically "clean" though obviously not, as a nation we have got to demand appropriate repercussions. We cannot let a conman slip through our fingers because he is the president.

Just as being POTUS should have certain protections, so too it should not have certain protections because of a situation just as we're seeing before us now. The loopholes have been found by the Republican party and Donald Trump. When that happens sometimes you have to step sideways and correct an abusive action, in the most powerful and democratic ways available to us.

IF for no other reason than not being seen worldwide as the fools we are now being seen as!

Otherwise, we will inevitably see this action again and again, over and over again, against us. These conservative Republican abuses will continue against America (potentially and quite plausibly with the aide of one foreign entity or another), UNTIL we do something aggressively against it in order to once and for all, stop it.

We have got to end all this nonsense now! End all the extremist conservative right wing abuse from the GOP, from the NRA (which reportedly now may no longer be with us anyway), from Russia, from criminal types like Putin, from THIS president...once and for all!

Saying that this is treason, is actual and real patriotism. Unlike the fake forms of nationalism we've been seeing from the far right and not so weirdly enough, also from Russia who has been backing them.

When Nixon was pardoned by Press. Ford, I was like many, angry at the time. But eventually, I came to see Ford's reasoning. in order to protect the office of the president.

That certainly is not the case any longer. Quite to the contrary, this is exactly and specifically not that case.

Through this process, we have also got to work toward putting an end to this bacterial infection of authoritarianism worldwide. We need to end the greater potential we see for war today and the abuses from our wealthy who are involved, our military-industrial and our corporate sectors who have all had a stranglehold on what IS after all, OUR government.

It's time to clean things up. To truly empty the swamp Trump was foolishly elected to empty and instead, filled to the brim and overflowing with his political appointees. In the cabinet, in his offices, in our judiciary. And not for partisan, organizational interests, but for his own personal financial gain and empowerment. Never satiate an egotist's personality, that never goes well for anyone involved.

And yet we've force-fed Mr. Trump at his request again and again.

Trump is not the last, but merely the first domino. We need to flick his blank piece, executing the beginning of the end for as many of our ongoing nightmares as we can effectuate. Now!

We are and should be in control. We just need to start acting like it! An America for all. Not just a few.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Is Russia Steering the America Ship?

We have an interesting situation here. From an espionage POV anyway. Russia hacked America in 2016 and helped, did what they could for Trump to become POTUS and whatever they could do to hinder Hillary.

Their goal is not to support Trump. It is to destabilize western democracies. Mainly, America. Just because, we're US.

So to follow Putin's plan, destabilization, make some nonsense POTUS, by supporting Trump. In 2016 they hacked the DNC and others, including RNC associates.

Now we see the NRCC has been hacked by "foreign actors".
The pattern would be, should be, now to destabilize the Republican party, not the Democrats. it's a basic rock the boat enough, it sinks.

BUT, they can't. Because if they do, if they support the Democrats, they are not happy at all with Russia, like Republicans are. They are pissed off, worried, and want to stop the madness, not accelerate it as we're seeing from Trump and the GOP.

So what do you do? Yeah, what?

When you can't rock the boat to sink it because if you do you will go down with it, all you CAN do is to steer the boat where you want. At least for now, so maybe you CAN start rocking the boat at some time in the near, or far future.

THAT is how Russia does things, that is how they work.

So the NRCC was hacked. IF that's wrapped up in this and since the RNCC has spent a lot of money now after discovering the hack, to pay for damage control (why?), this information begs the question.

Does the NRCC know they were hacked and now compromised because of it? Can they not know that?

Is someone else now steering the boat that is America? At least from the Republican side, the Trump side? Because up to now they have been but losing control. Did they just reassert that control?

Could they have not?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

So...this whole Trump thing.

This is starting to look like Russia gave Trump a good deal (Trump Moscow building), then Trump and friends bailed when they (FINALLY) realized they were compromised because of a Russian Kompromat operation against them and therefore in this case, the US.

That's, US.

I'm not the only one seeing this. And, there's more....they didn't bail because they realized the op was in progress. That would mean they could extract themselves safely. They didn't realize until they found they had done things that could be held against them. It didn't even matter if it WAS illegal or NOT. Once you have Kompromat over someone, it means by definition they will do what you ask of them so you don't use that Kompromat against them.

There are several ways that kind of thing can be used against you if it is revealed. It can ruin you, or get you killed or if you're lucky, just imprisoned. These Russian are the definition of world class players.

Once not Trump but his people, figured that all out, they convinced Trump to bail on the deal. I wouldn't be surprised if they couldn't see it being done to them for the typical reason any con's mark can't. Greed.

So yes, much Trump says about this now is true. He didn't do the deal, decided not to do the deal, he says. It's not an issue. But not because of anything other than they had to drop it... once they realized they were completely screwed and shot into damage control. But that's not how you get out of a Russian operation like that. You don't get out of it. Tell the truth, tell the FBI. That's your choice. Or....

That's the genius part. It didn't matter. That's what Russian is so good at, what I've been talking about for years.

Once Trump realized they'd been targeted by Putin, it was too late, they were already fully compromised. Trap set and accomplished. And so the next step was to distance yourself and...become president.

You get no choice. Putin put a lot of time into this, Russia even more. Maybe going back to the early 80s. But by this point, you can't really distance yourself. And yet, you have to.

How do you play that? You just, run for president and try hard to blow the deal. I remember we kept saying, stunned at some new Trump antic we thought was just Trump... "What is he trying to do, blow the election and lose?" Yes, most definitely. Not that he wanted it to begin with. But now he REALLY didn't want it.

Go back and look at recordings of Trump. How long did you think that love affair would last as a Putin buddy? How would that make Putin feel about Trump? Obvious, he's a KGB agent and Trump is his useful idiot. Literally. Trump the Chump. And once a KGB agent, always one. That's a well-known thing. Ask any ex KGB agent. Or opposite number in any foreign service.

Now what? Well, we're all watching now what, that's what.

I know some conservatives who, once Trump is locked up, will call it a witch hunt and that their president was railroaded out of office maybe into prison. WE never liked Trump, they'll say, WE never gave him a chance. Just did all we could to rake him out!

Okay, except this is exactly what the GOP did to Obama. Literally. And actually. All they could do to bring him down and... Fail!

Besides, we haven't even really tried. We've .just been pissed off mostly BECAUSE the guy now going down was the guy we saw him to be and THAT was why we didn't like him. Because he IS the guy we just assumed he was.

WE didn't do this to Trump.

Trump did this to US!

#Trump #realDonaldTrump @realDonaldTrump #conservative #Republican #POTUS #GOP

Monday, December 3, 2018

Victim? DPCR - Defensive Passenger Car Riding

This isn't just about being a passenger. More broadly it is about being put in the position of being a victim and then, how you handle that. What do you do when you are trapped in a car with someone attempting to take control away from you?

When you are with someone who is driving and they won't let you out, how do you handle it?

Ask, please? If you're going slow, leap from the car?

The best way may be to distract them so you can grab the keys in the ignition, turn the engine off, extract the keys, possibly throw them out the window or toss them when you exit the car. If you can blind them, perhaps with the extracted keys, you can get the car to stop pretty quickly.

It may be better if possible, to crash the car. At times death is preferable to living through what may be coming. But that takes reading the situation correctly, during a very difficult situation.

The website, suggests:

Wait and see what happens – then decide what to do.
Reason with him, if at all possible. [Because odds are it will be a "him".]
Outsmart him – using Outsmarting strategies. Some of their suggested options are a bit out there, but you do need to think "outside the box". [This is basic martial arts. It is not unlike Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do style of scientific martial arts. Use what works, be smart. Use your capabilities, your environment, your options. SEE your options. Maintain a clear head. Act. But act wisely.]
Invite him to “a more comfortable place” – one that provides an escape. [decades ago my fiancee found herself in a situation with a guy she thought she could trust. Who I thought we could trust as he was my best friend at the time. A time when I was in basic training 2,200 miles away. Once she realized what was going on, and that she was trapped, in a car by the way, she suggested a motel room, for him to take her to her car, which was at her house so they could both drive there and leave from there. When he got her home, she got out, said thank you, good night, and moved quickly into her parent's house where she was staying until I got out of basic training in the Air Force. She outsmarted him. She was smart, but she was also lucky. [This actually worked for my fiancee years ago by someone we thought to be a friend. She suggested taking her home to get her car and they could go to a motel. Then said goodnight when she got out and went quickly into her parent's home. But it takes being believable to perhaps an unrealistic degree and selling something they want.]
Initiate violent action – preemptive self-defense – before she’s taken to a secluded place.

Slamming the car in park is good or reverse is good, if the car will allow it or if you can get it to work. Even getting it into neutral may be useful, or downshift can be lit hitting the brakes... but you'd have to hang on to the shifter for dear life. Not the safest option by they way. Should they realize others in the area may notice who can see the car, and they will take serious efforts to stop you.

That is something you want to avoid. Keying them up to be hypervigilant and defensive. You want to take action that permanently stops them and lets them know that hurting you will not help them but will indeed hurt them in some way (be it physically, socially, legally, whatever works that stops them). It's all about believability and excessive reward or punishment. However many times the only thing that will stop them, is disabling them.

Consider that they may not be fully rational in some way or another. You may just have that single moment or specific situation and you need to exploit it.

Mostly physically taking control away from them is always best (e.g., throwing the keys out of the car on a busy highway). Be aware however that some cars, mostly older vehicles, may have a capability of the keys being removed while remaining fully in operation. But those cars today are few and far between anymore.

It may be better to force a crash, than to allow them to remain healthy and intact. You would have the element of surprise if done correctly, giving you the opportunity to brace yourself which they hopefully may not have.

If you have a seat belt on, pulling the steering wheel hard toward you and not letting go, or some degree of that. Faking turning hard one direction and when they apply steering to the other direction, go fully and hard with that, can be a very effective technique.

Basically, it's whatever works, just do it. But be prepared to reverse it in order to surprise them and take control. But once you grab the wheel, don't let go... literally to save your life. You may have to ask yourself which is better, going with them, or taking a chance on dying. Once you apply something to change the direction of the situation to your direction, hang on and even if they beat you, don't let go.

Carrying pepper spray? Not a bad idea either. On that matter, whatever you do carry, and I've said this for years about the foolish who practice "open carry" of firearms...if you show it they know you have it and you lose one element of surprise, power or control. If I know you have it. I can take it from you. Yes, at times the directed display of a gun can end the potential for a situation. But showing it to all. Is just stupid.

Guns are about security (as are other protective devices). Security has several levels.

Security by obscurity. Security by obfuscation. If say, you have a safe, if no one knows you have it, how can they rob it? Or if you have a safe, and they know you have it, but can't find it, or you slow them down until police can arrive, you again have them at odds. Security is frequently about those two things. As well it is about time.

Nothing is 100% secure and mostly security is about slowing down access until it is too costly in some way making it untenable. Either because of time or their own issues of security in committing a crime. You have to make the object of their desire too expensive for them to go all the way to the end of their attempts against you.

And so it is much in the same for weapons and defensive tools. Their surprise at your suddenly using some device (pepper spray, gun, martial arts, etc.) on them, gives you one more level of control. The element of surprise and their inability to not be prepared to protect themselves from something they didn't even know they were about to get presented with.

If you are put in the trunk, if you have your cell, well, call someone. If you can, pull the tail or brake lights, wave through the tail light lens or if possible, break it out (quietly). If you can stick your hand out the tail light, that is a pretty good indication that someone has been kidnapped. newer cars have anti trapped in trunk release devices. If they are smart and prepared they will have disabled it, but it's worth it to verify that first.

But that is getting pretty deep into this situation. The best defenses are to be aware before it happens. As far as when it is happening, visualizing it far before the situation helps you be able to think clearly when it is happening and then to be better able to act on your best possible exit or end to the situation.

Once you get to a certain point, however, in waiting too long, you have given up one potential opportunity after another until finally, it may simple be too late. That is a situation you want desperately to avoid. Tough at times there may be no choice.

It depends on if this was carefully planned or a chance event, a crime of opportunity without aforethought. Not something you run into with serial killers or offenders. But you don't know that in the beginning. And that is part of the problem. Part of the reason criminals have an edge over citizens. YOU don't know you are being involved in a crime until it's too late. At least that is their desire in how they present things to you and set it up.

But even then you have the potential for survival.

One clear and painful example is Alison Botha, who was a twenty-seven year old from South Africa. She made a documentary film about it titled, Alison.

She had been abducted, raped and left for dead by two men.

Alison Botha, right, with Christia Visser, who plays Botha in the film version of her ordeal 
One of the men stabbed her in the throat so badly her head later flopped back when she tried to rise and she literally had to hold it up to be able to seek help from the location where they had left her for dead.

Alison was stabbed more thirty times in the abdomen. Had she just lied there, she would surely have died. But she first tried to move, to find help. She really had no other course to follow if she wanted to live. Through her own massive efforts in moving to a better location, she was found.

In the end, she survived. It is a lesson for us all.

Never. Give. Up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Writing the True Crime Biopic, The Teenage Bodyguard

Yesterday afternoon I should have had my consult with screenplay and overall film creative consultant Jen Grisanti. More on that below. So I thought I should blog about what's going on with my current primary project.

Lately, I've had a few projects, one being my short little 8 minute macabre horror film, The Rapping (an homage to Edgar Allen Poe and sorry, not Rap music). Here's the trailer as I've submitted it to several film festivals.

I have also produced a shorter short titled, Below in the Dark.

Back to the bigger and cooler project. In 1974 something very unique happened to me. I was eighteen years old at the time. It took place during a single week in my hometown of Tacoma, Washington. A week I never talked about to anyone. That next year I traveled some, my younger brother died, I went into the Air Force, through basic training (always fun stuff), technical school, and got married.

All in that next year of 1975. And then I forgot all about that week.

Until about five years ago when I was looking for a personal story to base a new screenplay on. In running through my mental catalog of things I could draw upon, I came up with several. Stories about my childhood, that week in 1974, my years in the USAF, various orientations on my life related to subcultures, my years during college and for a while working at Tower Records at three stores (Posters, Records and what were the new Video stores), in two different cities and, a few other stories.

I easily settled on that week in 1974 as the most marketable.

Obviously. I needed a working title so I called it Teenage Bodyguard (later, The Teenage Bodyguard, that "The" has an important reason as it's very specific). I thought about it, did some brief research on it and realized, I had something. So I spent some months researching it in depth. It started with a murder, the local mafia and a witness who was female. The more I researched, the more I uncovered, the more fascinating the story became and t more I realized I actually had some connections, more than the one I thought I had.

I realized a couple of my "friends" especially one in particular whom I had known for years since I was in about tenth grade, sort of threw me under the bus to save himself. Now I haven't spoken to him since I started doing this research, so I haven't heard his side of this story. But at this point, it's pretty damning.

This whole thing started with giving a woman a lift to a new home, and a newspaper clipping.

This is a copy of the actual article she handed me that day.

The story is a simple one: damsel in distress asks for help and gets it.

She contended that the mafia types were after her for having been there and witnessed the murder. A murder which she said was of one of their own by one of their own. It was to this day labeled a murder by unknown suspect. She was adamant that it was a murder her bosses committed and they wanted to "talk" to her about it. She was pretty sure if that happened, she would never do anything else ever again. And would I protect her for a week until she could escape and leave town, forever, for her hometown in another state far away.

I agreed. The rest is history and now, a feature film screenplay. Which by all accounts to date is a very good and timely story that needs to be on the big screen. Well? Cool. Right?

This wasn't an easy story to write or an easy screenplay to produce.

So for a while, I put the story away. There were other more immediate things to work on. A year or so later I get a request to contact a producer in London about an adaptation I did for an author on her book. She said it was optioned once and expired and now there was renewed interest. So we converse via email this producer and me. I send him a copy of the screenplay adaptation, a spy romance titled, "Sealed in Lies", by Kelly Abell.

Then the producer asked if I had any other projects of my own. So I make a list of written screenplays and ones I was considering writing. He quickly zeroed right into the Teenage Bodyguard screenplay concept. He said he liked the title and the idea and if I ever write it to please think of him first.

I take that as a green light (as any screenwriter should). I spend the next nineteen days writing it and then sent it to him. He was surprised by the speed at which I got him a copy of a previously unwritten screenplay and sent it on to his readers. He now had two of my screenplays. And I never heard from him again. So, I tucked the situation under my arm and moved on with other things.

The upside in that? I had a new screenplay that I had been too intimidated before to write. Having a work you can work on is always better than one that doesn't exist and may never get written in the first place. Once you have a finished draft it is far easier to work it and it almost has to get better.

I put it away, again. In part because I was bummed at the prospects of having a producer with TWO of my screenplays and then, nothing came of it. Same old story for any kind of a writer really. I'd been through things like that before and more than once.

Then one day I took up the screenplay again. I sent it to a screenplay contest and got notes back on it. I had to pay extra for notes but I researched the contests and found one that was considered good and got the notes back. They were good notes. I got notes from another contest and they had good notes and other considerations.

I took the notes and rewrote the screenplay while doing more research on it and finding more. I contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's office and had them search for the murder report. They couldn't find it. Which fits how corrupt that era was in that area back in the 70s.

I sent the screenplay to another contest and updated it appropriately. Then I found The Blacklist. I spent $75 for coverage and did a new draft and posted it. Then I got another coverage again, this time two. I fixed the issues and reposted it. It sat there for a while.

Then one day I met someone who had a friend in the industry. We were able to get him to read the latest version of my screenplay. He liked it! Although he was an entertainment attorney with long standing in Hollywood, he said now was the time to hit with this kind of screenplay but he wasn't the one to get me there.

I realized after years of not spending literally thousands on one screenplay, as some have done and some have done getting nowhere, it was time to spend some money and get to the next level.

That was when I contacted Jen Grisanti. She isn't cheap, but there are others out there costing a lot more who just aren't worth it. Jen is. I have a meeting on Zoom with her tomorrow but just her screenplay notes alone were worth a bundle.

BLACKLIST's own coverage said, "pursue to production." BlueCat contest: "Why this isn't on screen yet!" Well-known entertainment attorney said: "It's the perfect time for this story." Sex, drugs & rock-n-roll meet sex, drugs & mayhem. For a week in 1974, a naive but well trained & savvy young man is asked by a more experienced woman to protect her for a week from local Mafia-type crime family for witnessing their murder. of one of their own.

And here we are today. I have a screenplay that is almost polished enough and ready to go. I have the rights to the screenplay, the story no one else knows about and my own story.

I'm ready to go.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Don't Let Fears End A Dream Before It Begins

Recently, Stephen Colbert humoroUsly harangUed Rachel Weisz about the use of the British spelling in the title of her new film, The Favourite.

It reminded me of an argument I had in 10th grade in high school with my English Composition teacher who noticed I was using the British spelling of words in my compositions. I really liked her. She was a great teacher. I think I became one of her favourites.

I explained to her that I read a lot of older writings and British authors and as well, I believed that the words had more, shall we say flavour, when pronounced with a Brit spelling. Less terse, more rounded and full. More, artistic. More entertaining.

I stuck to my guns.

At first, she was confused by this kid and his editorial reasoning. Then she realized my what my orientation was in my standing firm and in sharing with her my reasoning.

She looked at me for a moment, then said, "Well, I will still have to mark you down a point if you continue to do that. I mean, we are in America after all, not England."

I thought about it for a moment and then looked at her and said, "Sure, I understand. That sucks. But it's a writer's prerogative in how to present their writings in form and substance. It's my literary license, right? Even if I have to suffer for it."

She gave me an odd look and then it changed across her face. I can only think it was a look mixed with confusion, compassion and in the end, a little respect.

She later tried to get me onto the school newspaper because, in her view, I had a talent for writing.

I know it came across as being too full of myself, but really it was just sheer terror when I asked if they paid. She laughed and said, "No, of course not. It's a high school newspaper. But I think you would do well on it and you would be a good addition to the staff."

I then said, "Well I have a job at night at a drive-in theater. So unless they pay, no thank you."

I was terribly intimidated by the consideration of being an actual writer, believing I had no skill (well I knew I had more than most in the class but couldn't accept it). As I saw it, a real "writer" was some kind of creative God or something. That...could never be me. Yeah, I had some self-esteem issues.

As bullies hide their cowardice in aggression and invoking fear in others, I hid my issues by affecting indifference and perhaps, unintentionally, superiority in talent. It would be many years before I deserved that kind of rating... or respect. But I did finally arrive at what was once only hope and desire. It took many years of hard work and practice, and in fighting off repeated disenchantment and failure.

To be fair, I had been reading the best authors in human history since fifth grade when I discovered the library some blocks from home. It was the only place I was allowed to go, so my mother knew she wouldn't be getting a phone call that I had gotten into one kind of trouble or another.

My mother taught me to always find the best possible teachers you can find for anything.

So, I always had the best teachers she could find. Be that in Martial Arts (fifth grade onward), firearms (jr high onwards), flying airplanes (junior high onwards), emergency services and search and rescue (junior high onwards, which I got myself into ... Civil Air Patrol, when every adult around me tried to talk me out of it), SCUBA diving (10th grade onwards, well I found that myself), skydiving (at 17 and onward), and so on.

In reflection, to be sure...I was a fool. And perhaps a coward as that decision delayed my writing career until after the military and into my first year of college when a prof cornered me and nailed me to the wall and... convinced me. Finally giving me license and permission to be what I'd always dreamed of being... a writer.

Follow your dreams!

Don't be intimidated by those who came before you.

And certainly not by or because of yourself and your fears.

You may never be one of one of those great authors in history. But you may one day be that very person to others, who so desperately need you.

Like the old adage says, "Be the best you can be!" In whatever form it may take because of who YOU are and not who others were.

Let posterity take care of the rest.