My path in life has never been straight, never arrived at the destinations I was originally shooting for.
Sometimes you wake up and find a new path spreading out before you.
My dreams were once to go to the Air Force Academy and learn to fly planes.
But bad arches in my feet, poor eyesight in my left eye, and nagging difficulties with allergies turned that dream on its head. I was physically ground-bound, and able to fly only in my dreams.
And then I went to Cow College, Iowa State University, to be an English Major. I was good at drawing. I had endless story-plots bursting out of my fevered comic-book lover’s brain. And I was determined to be a story-teller and comic book artist. But arthritis crept into my hands and slowed the drawing down, my confidence dried up. I realized I was a graduated English major with no chance at ever finding a job just reading books.
So, I went to the University of Iowa, the Hawkeyes, and got myself a remedial Master of the Art of Teaching degree and a teaching certificate. And this time the door actually opened… to a life of a pedagogue. I got to perform my act six times a day in front of a hostile audience for the next 31 out of 33 years, with two years off for bad principal behavior, and time spent being a sub for every kind of teacher that there was. I got to teach everything from autistic special education to P.E. teacher to Librarian to Orchestra teacher.
Some days I was the worst teacher that ever lived. But most days I was a pretty good teacher. And I never let a bad day pass without learning something from it. And I learned to use my drawing ability on chalk boards and bulletin boards and dry-erase boards and overhead projectors. And I learned to be a good story-teller, whether it was by reading aloud or re-telling stories that were mostly factual from history, and funny stories from my own experiences. I became a fascinating nearly-human bean that could keep the attention of even ADHD twelve-year-olds for as much as twenty minutes. A good trick, that.
And when the time came to give it up, I did not go gentle into that good night. I had a miserable last year in 2013-2014 because my health was so poor. I lost money from excessive absences since I had the flu three times that year and had a son spend a week in the hospital. I retired that May and thought my life was over.
And then the real nonsense started.
I published the original AeroQuest in 2007. Then in 2012 I added Catch a Falling Star, published with I-Universe/ Penguin Books.
Once I retired, I published Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing. Then, disgusted with traditional publishers whom I paid more money than I ever earned from, I began self-publishing with Amazon.
Snow Babies followed, with Stardusters and Space Lizards after that.
The Bicycle-Wheel Genius, Recipes for Gingerbread Chidren, The Baby Werewolf, Sing Sad Songs, and Fools and Their Toys followed that (in order).
Then I doubled down on writing more than one story at a time.
I began rewriting AeroQuest, publishing 1,2, and 3 as of this writing.
I wrote the prequel to Snow Babies, When the Captain Came Calling. I also wrote The Boy… Forever, the sequel to The Baby Werewolf.
Most recently I have published A Field Guide to Fauns, a novel where all the main characters are nudists. And I completed a book of essays from this blog, which I call Laughing Blue.
And then I began working even harder to get my books read and reviewed.
I have gotten more five-star reviews than any other level.
My current work-in-progress is The Wizard in His Keep. It currently stands at 30,000 words out of a probable 40,000.
How much more I can get done now until my life has ended remains to be seen. But I keep on trudging on the path into the future, not knowing where it will go next… and not really worrying about it.