How Fast is Fast?

long-exposure-lights
 
I passed an interesting milestone recently, and it’s made me do some serious thinking.

The milestone?

The thirty-ninth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday.

If you’re young enough to wonder what that means (or why I would use that phrase to describe my age) … well … the 1960s was the decade of my “coming of age.”

Those of you who are close to my age should certainly remember one of the prevailing mantras of the time …

“Don’t trust anybody over thirty.”

For those of you too young to have heard it … in my day, in the age of Selective Service numbers and the military draft for the Vietnam War debacle, every teenager and early twenty-something knew it.

When I turned thirty I started using the phrase to represent my birthday, in a silly attempt to forestall time.

But this year may have been the last time I ever do that. Saying it that way sounds a whole lot older than just saying my age.

For my latest “anniversary” one of my sons sent me a nice hardcover edition of Stephen King’s excellent treatise ON WRITING and, although I’ve read my dog-eared paperback version of it many times, I sat right down and read it again.

It’s that good.

When writers are told “write what you know” … the best way to do that is exactly the way Stephen King mentions – as broadly and inclusively as possible. I’ve always tried to do that.

Take my first novel, REICHOLD STREET. I grew up in the Vietnam era, so I know a lot of the sentiment of the time. The story made readers feel the things I was talking about, and won a Readers Favorite Gold Medal.

The ghost I talked about in my short story, “Forgiven” didn’t really exist … at least I don’t think so. I’ve never seen it, anyway. But it didn’t stop me from writing about it.

I’ve never seen the devil, either, but I wrote about an encounter with the Beast in my short story, “The Devil and Charlie Barrow.”

Likewise, I’ve never met a talking rock, but I wrote about one in my flash fiction story, “Conversation With a Lonely Island God.

Those short stories must have struck a chord, because the collection that contains them, ZEBULON, was a 2013 Readers Favorite Silver Medal Winner.

I’m trying to do it again in my new book, BLOOD LAKE, due out early this summer. It’s a historical fantasy/horror story based around a real event from the early nineteenth century … the forced migration of the Cherokee Nation … known as The Trail of Tears.

I wasn’t around in 1838 (although there have been some days in the dead of winter lately when I feel like I could be that old). I was never forced at gunpoint from my home either, but I can write about it because I can understand hardship and fear.

I’m still writing what I know, because I can also read, learn and use my imagination to apply facts to new storytelling.

That’s what I hope you’re doing in your writing, too.

Now, about that “thinking” I said I was doing …

Writing can be hard work. It can take a lot of time. I don’t want to miss out on family and friends … and I won’t.

But passing the thirty-ninth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday makes me wonder if I have enough time to tell all the stories that are still in my head.

I’m obviously going to have to write faster.

**********

My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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