where the writers are
Young Impressions

Once upon a time, I read a book. And once upon a time, I was a young boy.

Those sentences bookend my life choices.

As a child, I watched television and discovered a show called "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." They were spies, fighting evil and righting wrongs while flying around the world meeting beautiful women. Therefter, I adopted Ilya K's mod hair style and turtle neck sweaters and fancied myself a spy in training. 

Later, I watched "The Persuaders". Tony Curtis and Roger Moore played an American and Englishman. International playboys, they jetted and drove about investigating and resolving mysteries and helping people. Moore - the Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair - drove an Aston Martin. The wild American, Danny Wilde, drove a Dino Ferrari.

Me liked.

I'd discovered cars about a dozen years before. I was drawn to Porsches and Jaguars. Cars weren't a large part of the U.N.C.L.E. guys. I decided that I would drive a Ferrari like Tony Curtis. The 246 GT remains a favorite to this day.

Along that time, the Marlboro Man came on the scene. I admired his ruggedness and his mustache. He looked like my uncle, too, so much so that Uncle V adopted it as part of his persona, hand to God. Uncle V was a divorced, womanizing, articulate, literate party animal. I decided to be like him, too.

Rock music was making heavy impressions on my youthful mind. I started as a Beatle, became a Monkee, and then moved toward the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd. Yes, I would become a guitarist. I was learning trombone, a desire created from a love affair with "76 Trombones". I begged a guitar for a birthday present and began learning, you know, as a fall back in case the spy business went under.

My new career direction required a new wardrobe. I bought second hand bell bottom jeans with a hole in the rear and a tee shirt with a marijuan leaf on its center.  Lettering around the leaf said, "Keep America Green. Grow Grass." I began wearing one of my father's military fatigue shirts and carried around a magic marker, inviting girls to sign it and asking them to add their phone numbers. My black leather weave belt was twelve inches too long and flopped like a tired dog's lolling tongue as I walked. White high tops painted flourescent orange finished my ensemble. My brown hair hung around my shoulders in thick curls. By happenstance, by fourteen, a mustache and goatee were thickening and darkening around my mouth. 

People didn't know what to think. 

I discovered literature, though, and started reading. My friends nicknamed me The Professor. While I was still active in sports, I no longer had classes with my friends and neighbors as I was shifted into advanced classes. I was painting and drawing, learning different styles. I was reading more. Discovering Frank Lloyd Wright, I now wanted to be an architect. But the space program was happening.  I would be an astrophysicist and astronaut! My curriculum was adjusted. I saw a prototype F16. I would be a fighter pilot. 

A pattern had emerged. I was easily impressed and dreamed of being someone. Notice none of those professions included writer or novelist.

When it came time to actually be something, I went an easy route and joined the military. No, it wasn't glamorous. It was rewarding. I'd already met a young girl and was in love. I wanted to be married. To be married, I needed an income. The military provided it. Best of all, she was a Charley girl. 

Remember them? Charley was a perfume. Still might be, for all I know. Urban, smiling and knowing, energetic, Charley girls skipped through life, drawing men's attention and driving them wild. 

It's depressing how much advertising, marketing and television sculpted my choices. I wonder how many other young people were similarly blown around by these changing currents?

Eventually I came to realize that being in the military, while offering some challenges, was mostly pretty boring. I also realized I could not stay in the military forever.  

One day, I read a fantasy book. After reading it, I denounced it, a moment affixed in my mind's amber:  "What crap. I could write better than that." 

My quest began. 

The thing about writing books and stories is that it was supposed to be easy. How hard can it be? We're all taught to write. It's English, for crying out loud. Sentences, you know, verb and noun, periods and commas. Just tell a story. Instead of speaking, type it up. 

No problem. 

Now, decades later, I'm a little closer to realizing the closest thing I ever had as a real dream. I've worked on it for a long time, teaching myself, slowly drawing closer. Along the way, I've learned to love words and writing. Maybe I loved them all along and didn't take the time to investigate them and myself back then. After all, writing isn't glamorous and as an adult, I've become a person who prefers solitude, someone who ducks attention. Let me sit in the front of the back. I'll participate but I want to be anonymous. 

So if I could ever go back to that young boy, I would tell him, have fun. But you know what? I think you're meant to be a writer.

 

Comments
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Michael, So true! I had many

Michael,

So true! I had many dreams as a child. I was often the characters I read about in books. Many of those characters were interested in writing.

You've inspired me to write about my childhood dreams!

Annette

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Excellent!

I'm beginning to think of myself as the earth's crust. It's a conveyor belt. What was once on the surface becomes buried as I journey through my life's epochs but they're still there, arising later, when the conveyor belt returns them to my crusty surface.

Thank you so much for reading, commenting and blogging. Cheers

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Michael, This piece has such

Michael, This piece has such a nice flow to it. The opening line grabbed me; the personal details and your reflections are interesting to read.

What your post also makes me think is that as a young girl I don't recall having big dreams. I think subconciously I was focused on survival. As an adult I have many dreams to make up for it!

p.s. I do remember watching reruns of The Twilight Zone. They were great.

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No dreams!

That's interesting that you had no dreams. For a while, I couldn't think of my life past twenty-five and convinced myself that I would be dead by then because I couldn't imagine my future. 

Thanks for the compliments on the post. Such positive comments help me stay positive. And I'm glad that you know of TWZ and appreciate them.

Cheers

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If

. . . if I could ever go back to that young boy, I would tell him, have fun. But you know what? I think you're meant to be a writer.

And if you alter the past will that change the future?  Would you become a time-travel mentor and thereby gain momentum in your craft?

Ah, the possibilities.      [pensive smile]

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I know....

I considered that paradox as I wrote those lines. My contemplation of such changes is what made me decide, I would not mentor him. Even that small visit may be too much. 

Hard to say. I've enjoyed the writing effort, learning and teaching myself but could I have had more fun if I had told myself that and pursued writing courses and MFL, meeting writers and devoting myself to writing? 

Maybe my time machine will have a 'FixIt' app. Don't like what happened? Hit the button. But who controls the button? When can it be pressed? 

You've force me to think.

And you know what? I would not want myself to go back. The hard part, the hard path, is to accept and celebrate what I've done and who I've become and go on, building from it, and not ruing what might have been. 

Forward, onward, lead the way into the future, press on regardless.  I own this life.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers

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Do it over?

And you know what? I would not want myself to go back.

Never, Michael, never would I want to go back. Not 18, not 25, none of it.

How do we know we'd do a better job second time around? What if it's just the same pain and grind? Sure there are great times,  amazing events, but all the rest goes with it. 

No thanks. I'll go on from here and enjoy every moment I can.

Peace and joy to you, Michael