Sunday, February 1, 2015


     I remember a dismal attempt or two at composing words when I was young.
I had decided to write a fiction novel when I was like 8 or 9, but I'm sure not going to embarrass myself  here with the subject storyline, plot, and predictable ending. Parts of which I still painfully recall all these years later. My reasoning was that I would be excused from school to stay home and create my potential Pulitzer. It was worth a try, nothing else was working. Thankfully the publishing world was saved an unknown fate by a bad case of writers block, when my active little mind just kind of dried up. It happened somewhere on about the third paragraph, right after I had covered the unbelivable story line, flimsy plot, and predictable result. It was probably the particular genre I chose, I've never liked fiction, and still don't. But I wisely made the decision to leave the book writing to others, and became an avid book reader instead.
And I do still read, every damn day.
   I gravitated towards biographies and such, to see who people where in life, that always interested me. As did history, and books by old timers that had taken on the frontier, and had a story to tell in their own particular style. I always liked the idea of writing a book about your life though, it seemed to me something that you would naturally do when your an old bugger, and have your own story or two to tell. 
   For a period back in the '70's, I was living and working on a small cattle ranch on the not too distant outskirts of civilization, and found myself front and center with a certain incident involving a broken water reservoir. Rains and a high creek had filled the dam to its brim, and seeing it was going to eventually overflow and breach the dam that held back a considerable sized reservoir, I tried what I could, including rounding up an old buddy Fred, who had some diving experience. I somehow convinced him to strap on his tanks and mask, tie a long rope to his leg so I could haul him back out of there if I had to, then slither into the muddy water to try and blindly find the outlet pipe somewhere down there and ensure it was clear of debris.
   The time of reckoning had arrived, and to my horror, standing there in the pouring rain, the dam spilled over, washing out a chunk of earth and a wall of water went..., well never mind. But you have to admit it was a dumb idea to put in a subdivision downstream from a cattle ranch in the first place, especially this outfit. I'm bringing this unfortunate series of events up only because it was this particular mishap that inspired my writing career. With all the resulting legal action directed at my employer, and as the sole defense witness, I was asked by his office and formidable legal team to write out a brief statement of events that day.
   A day or so after the event, I sat in my trailer up on the mountainside, overlooking what was left of the subdivision lights incidentally, and began to write, by hand, in great detail, about my minuscule contribution to the flooded streets and basements below. Due to the serious nature of the report, I started off straight enough, as I thought a statement should, and continued for a boring, stilted paragraph or so. Suddenly, my brain appeared to take on a mind of its own, or maybe it was just the spiced up coffee. In spite of my aching left hand, one page led to another. It came out on its own, and I let it go, stopping here and there to laugh at something that had spilled from my pen. From my heated efforts to drain the pond, to interactions with the irate inhabitants of said soggy subdivision. A considerable number of whom were already mad at us over that time before when the road was blasted into the mountainside with dynamite, and a whole row of picture windows over there fell out from the concussion.
Oh well, they're the ones who wanted to live in the country.
   The witty adventure story/legal statement ended up being a volume of about 10 pages. I believe I even enclosed a detailed hand drawn map of the disaster area for reference, with a little cowboy hatted stick person, representing myself, standing innocently in the general area of the broken reservoir dam, and a whole bunch of little stick people over in the adjoining subdivision, all jumping up and down and splashing about with exclamation marks over their heads. I proudly turned my manuscript over to the engineer at head office, whom was still convinced I had something to do with the dam breaching in some way, and as a budding writer, was about to receive my first literary rejection.
"We didn't mean for you to write a goddamn book, just a few facts for court!" he says, then slumps back in his high-back office chair, swivels to one side, and begins to thumb through the pages.
"What the hell...?" he soon says, stopping here and there, reading brief passages. 
Pretty soon he begins to smirk, in spite of his cranky self, and broke out laughing.
"I don't think we better call you up in court as a witness, if we can at all help it." he assured me.
   My report was copied and sent out to the various departments and lawyers for use in the case, and I found out later more copies had been made and distributed out to friends and associates, sent on not as a report, but as an entertaining read. I felt I had finally found my niche, maybe I could be a writer after all. I didn't carry on with it at the time, my energy went into other ventures, but the bug was always there, to be brought out on occasional long letters from some remote job site or adventure some place to friends and family back home.
   Back in the 80's, I became involved in my spare time with a small upstart motorcycle magazine. I started writing about events, stories of interest, and had my own regular feature called, Technically Speaking-With Mr. T., a nom de plume I used back then. This was all pretty bush-league, and we learned as we went along. One of my more memorable Technically Speaking articles, explained in plain language, the workings of a motorcycle front fork suspension. The article was called, and I cringe now, Fork Your Brains Out, by Mr.T. It started as a working title, and I had hoped something better would have come to me by the printing deadline. It didn't, and I soon found out the power of a well intentioned, but ill conceived heading title.
You probably think I'm making this up.

   The buxom, overbearing mother of one of our shop sponsored riders, a devout member of a local church and a few of her hen friends were the first to complain, arriving at the busy motorcycle shop one afternoon so I could hear all about it in front of a group of snickering and giggling customers. Several of the hard to come by advertisers started raising questions about the magazines somewhat shady editorial staff. I don't know if any of them actually read the article, but eventually the matter was forgiven, but since then, I've always put a lot of forethought into a suitable title.
But in the end, it turned out to be advertising for the fledgling magazine that money couldn't buy.
   Not entirely related to the incident, I eventually resigned from the magazine, and moved from the area in general. I kept up trying to get things down on paper, and began to think if I was going to consider myself a writer, I had at least try and look like one. I began to take long walks with my dog around my country home in the waning evening light, wearing a cardigan sweater and cap, like I pictured a writer would, contemplating life and imagining future book signings and intellectual television interviews. It didn't appear to help my writing career a whole lot, but I did manage to get quite a few pages spit out of my electric typewriter with no little amount of effort. These literary efforts, such as they were,  unfortunately flew from my desk and out the back of my truck during a move and lost. I have to wonder if someone walking down the side of the road later came across some loose pages, put them back in order, and started reading..."What the hell...?"
   I had a dry spell until I came out here to the hot spring, where I had the time in the Winter and was full of fresh adventures after my return from Central America. These jungleventure stories were always well received, and I was much encouraged to follow through in print then, but somehow I always got swamped down by the business end of producing a book, and got busy working around here instead.
The question had come up many times over the years from family, hot spring users and the like, I'd always say, "Uhm, its in the works!"
   A few years back, without a whole lot of forethought, one day out of the blue I decided to start my Hotspring Lodge site here, as an outlet for my active little mind, and busy little camera.
Looking into the world of self-publishing, I began to think something in book form might be possible after all, and you can't put these things off forever. At any rate, I'm sure I fall well into the category of 'old bugger' now, and have a story or two of my own to tell. So, to all you doubters out there, past and present, you know who you are, that thought I was only hot air and would never get around to it, ha! I'm here now to tell you this... Well, uhm, its still in the works. But it has progressed considerably in the recent months and slowly becoming a reality.
*There is about a third of the content stored away, cleaned up, formatted and ready to go for final structural editing. Some stories no one has seen before, while some chapters were originally written 20 years ago. I'll draw from the pages of Hotspring Lodge here and there too of course, no use shooting myself in the foot and wasting some good stories on all you free loaders out there. Some of the more memorable will, including this one maybe or parts thereof, be re-edited to be included in their new and improved, and in some cases, possibly un-censored form. And it looks like I need to make up some new ones too, for filler. So if I'm not here, that is often what I'm doing.
*I've decided on a font, font size, interior artwork and page design.
A book needs to be readable for folks of all ages. Especially when I'm in the not too distant old folks home, attempting to pawn off unsold copies to everyone there.
*The cover art is secured, and the cover design is pretty much sorted out for now.
A successful book cover needs to stand out from the rest. Especially when its piled in with all the other hot-sellers in the huge discounted Walmart bargain bin.
*Mail order copies will initially be available from the Hotspring Lodge Bookstore.
Copies signed on request, and postage stamps licked by the actual author at no charge.
*There will be a reader version available from an on-line retailer.
*The book has been issued an ISBN. (so I have to follow through now)
*I have a publisher. Sparrow Creek Publishing, you probably haven't heard of them, I'm not going to have much luck getting a large advance out of this character. In fact, this outfit and its rather shady editorial staff have never published a book before. Oh well, may as well start big I say!
I'm not giving away anymore information about it for now, I've told you too much already.
But I'll give you a quick look...
I came up with a better title for it than that of course, I learned that lesson years ago.
Stay tuned for further developments, and to the doubters..., once again, I say ha!   


  1. I never once doubted you had a book or two in you! Way to go.

  2. Put me down for one.

  3. OK thanks Anonymous, I'll do that. And by the way, thanks for all the comments you make.:)

  4. Sign me up for preorder!

  5. I'm pre-ordering too Rob! ~ Ross

  6. if you sell 10 books it will be a runaway best seller down here count me in

  7. Holy cow, it looks like the entire first run of 5 is sold out.