The worst dream I ever had in my life was when I was a boy, probably six or seven years old. I remember it vividly. I dreamed it was the middle of the night and I was standing on the unlit landing at the top of the 2nd-floor staircase in the row house where I lived with my sister and my parents, looking down into the foyer. The light was on down below and my mother was preparing to go out the front door. “Where are you going?” I asked, a note of panic in my voice. “I have to leave,” she said. “But I’ll be back in the spring.” In my dream, I knew it was the beginning of winter and so it would be three or four months before I saw her again. The prospect of not seeing one of my parents for that long a time seized me with an unspeakable dread. Decades later, in real life, I still remember the power of that dream, and it disturbs me like few things ever. I woke up sobbing in my bed and my parents, who must have heard me having a bad dream from their bedroom, were sitting beside me, my father rubbing my back.
[Read more…] about What It Means When People Leave and Other People Arrive
With all the disruptions and upheavals in daily life, the fears and anxieties of isolation and of looking bad, it’s always tempting to find a place – anyplace – where one can feel comfortable and secure, where one belongs. We are all social creatures and seeking out a group that offers validation can be an incredibly powerful motivator for behavior. The problem with that kind of pursuit, though, is that it’s all too possible to get caught up with the wrong crowd. By that I don’t mean a law-breaking, rock-throwing, breaking-into-someone’s car kind of crowd. I simply mean the kind of crowd that doesn’t really work with where you happen to be in life (other than by offering that very human need for validation).
[Read more…] about One Big Problem with Comfort and Security
I figured out what I wanted to do with my life before I was 20 years old. That is a far cry from Carl Daniels, the protagonist in my upcoming novel, Green Bay Outsiders, who has absolutely no clue what he wants to do when he graduates from college. By that point, he is 22. And the realization that he has to start making plans to find out what he wants to do is crucial if he wants to avoid falling into a miserable lifestyle set by everyone else’s expectations.
Not long after I discovered a love of writing during a creative writing course my senior year in high school, I knew that was something I would want to do in the future. But of course I was going to have to make countless choices in the following years – education, employment, travel, friendships, romance, adult responsibility – and for a while I drifted from one experience to another, experimenting, trying things out and ultimately returning to what I always loved.
This is how it all went down and what happened when I realized what I wanted to do with my life. (Too bad for Carl who doesn’t realize what he wants to do yet; he must decide if he needs to rip himself away from everything he already has in his life to discover something he considers more fulfilling.)
[Read more…] about What Happened When I Realized What I Wanted to Do with My Life
I’m a huge Star Wars fan and it was a big deal when Disney, which owns the rights to Lucasfilm, released Rogue One last December–the first Star Wars film that wasn’t part of one of the trilogies. I thought Rogue One was pretty fantastic for two reasons: one, because the characters had distinct lives and identities of their own, and secondly, because the story ties in closely with the original Star Wars film, “A New Hope”, that came out in 1977. In that film, of course, the Rebel Alliance destroys a planet-killing space station known as the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, the Rebel pilot and Jedi Knight in training, pulls the trigger that does the deed.
One wonders how the evil Empire could have constructed an engineering marvel such as the Death Star while leaving such an absurd flaw that leaves the entire station exposed to the devastating impact of a single shot. That story is the one told in “Rogue One”. My novel, Green Bay Outsiders, has something in common with the relationship between those two movies.
[Read more…] about What Green Bay Outsiders and Star Wars: Rogue One Have in Common