Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Look Back. Something Might Be Gaining On You

The glorious Satchel Paige was undoubtedly right in that advice.  Often the best policy is to keep your eyes and attention focused on the myriad possibilities that lay ahead of you rather than on the unalterable events, decisions and mistakes that lay behind.

But when called on to provide an autobiographical sketch, looking back at least a little is necessary.  So here goes a brief glance into the past to describe something about me.

          I was born in a big city and grew up amid pavements, pigeons and the near-constant clamor of bumper-to-bumper traffic and testy pedestrians.  In acknowledging my brick-and-asphalt background, my college roommate, who hailed from a small town filled with lush greenery, once actually said, "When did you see your first real tree and did you know what you were looking at?"  She later insisted it was a joke, but since she seemed dead serious at the time, I still have my doubts.
          A writer and researcher, who has dealt with subjects as diverse as international organizations, multiple sclerosis, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the Soviet Union (when there still was a Soviet Union), I enjoy taking long walks, visiting the Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Etruscan and dinosaur exhibits in museums, doing sudoku (but only the easy ones) and concocting stories about everyday people who laugh a lot, cry a little and ultimately find the happily-ever-after they deserve.         

At the moment, I still live in a big city, but now thanks to the diligence of the local Parks Department, I can always recognize a real tree when I see one.

Friday, June 10, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be…A Naval DDS

Years ago, in my carefree but highly unfocused youth, I took one of those tests designed to pinpoint a person’s perfect career.

It pinpointed my perfect career as being a dentist in the Navy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have only the highest admiration for the brave men and women who serve in every branch of the military, and I greatly respect those equally accomplished men and women who study for years until they’ve acquired the skill to keep our mouths in tiptop condition.  But since I get motion sick from just thinking of bobbing around on a ship and since the mere prospect of looking at an infected tooth, let alone actually ripping it out of someone’s head, both leave me feeling seriously queasy, I figured the test results were a little less than accurate.

So I ignored them and decided to become a writer instead.

I know…saying you’re a writer is like saying you breathe.  Everybody is a writer, or once was, or plans to be, someday

But unlike some of those someday writers, who somehow never get around to putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, I actually had the good fortune of doing it via research reports, several short stories and now (cue the triumphal music) a book that’s just been contracted for digital release by The Wild Rose Press, a publisher of romance fiction.

More on that soon. 

For purposes of this post, my only point is that I made the right decision.  By following my heart instead of some test results, I not only remained a happier person, I also kept both the U.S. Navy and an unknown number of innocent toothache sufferers safer and healthier by staying as far away from them as possible.