Life Updates

I apologize for the lack of blog posts here lately. Last August, I bought a three-quarter ton pickup truck and resigned from my office job. Since then, I have been transporting travel trailers and fifth-wheels from where they are manufactured, the Elkhart-Goshen area in northern Indiana, to dealerships all over the country. As of today, June 22nd, I have delivered trailers to dealerships in 22 different states and have driven in or through 41 states. The company I am leased onto has a lot of runs to the northwest, so I have gone on several trips to Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho, and Montana over the past few months. I’ve also done a couple of runs to Las Vegas, a city I had not previously visited.

The main drawback to this job is going several days in a row without seeing my family. I’ve also had to sacrifice a lot of my reading and writing time. After driving all day, my eyes are usually so tired that reading gets put off. As a result, I am still progressing through The Wheel of Time series, something that, after a year, I would have normally finished. I am currently in the middle of the eleventh book, after which, I’ll only have three more books to go. I have read other things between Wheel of Time books, but nowhere near the number of books I had read previously. I’ve also listened to a few audiobooks while driving the truck across the country.

Also on my To-Be-Read stack are the latest Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, Larry McMurtry’s first novel Horseman, Pass By which I bought during a stop at Wall Drug in South Dakota, The Princess Bride which I bought not long after the passing of William Goldman, Storysinger by my cousin Lindsey Landgraf Hess, Aglow by Will Forest (purchased after he and I shared an author table at an arts festival this past fall), and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, a book that sold so many copies that I, as an author, feel compelled to read it to see what the big appeal is.

I’m also still working on my sequel to The “Volunteer”, the working title of which is still The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes. In my next post, I’ll share the first chapter of The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes (that chapter was already published in Panther City Review). I am also writing a short story which is a mini-sequel to Life Models for an upcoming anthology. And during a recent family vacation, I came up with a great title for a suspense story. During a hike in the Badlands, my 18-year-old son and I built the framework for a story to match that title. You have to take inspiration when you can get it.

As I write this, my three-year-old granddaughter is running in and out of the room. Being gone for such long stretches makes me cherish all the moments I get with her. Signing off for now. I’ll post that first chapter of The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes in a few days.

RIP William Goldman

I just saw the news that author and screenwriter William Goldman died today. He was the screenwriter for such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man, A Bridge Too Far, and The Princess Bride.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, stories and partial novels mostly.  Back in 2003 (at the age of 37 which, now that I think of it, is a little beyond being a kid) I decided to teach myself screenwriting.  I bought a copy of the Final Draft software, a couple of books on screenwriting, and went to work on a screenplay about a death row inmate who gets a final conjugal visit from a prostitute hired by his brother.  That screenplay went through several drafts and several different endings before I shelved it.  During this time, I made my one and, to date, only trip to Los Angeles to attend the 2003 Screenwriting Expo.  One of the featured speakers there was William Goldman.

I listened to his presentation with great interest.  He was, after all, one of the screenwriting giants, and I had read his books about the movie business Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell.  The thing I remembered most about his session was that he said there were only two writing projects of his that he can look back on with any kind of sense of pride, that he felt he had done the best job he could.  The first of these was the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  The second was both the novel and the screenplay The Princess Bride.  As a writer who struggles with feelings of inadequacy regarding my own writing, hearing someone with his tremendous body of work say that he was only really satisfied with two things really had an impact on me.

Princess Bride

After the session was over, I made my way to one of the men’s room in the Los Angeles Convention center.  I was alone at the bank of urinals when someone stepped up and started using one to my right.  I glanced over long enough to determine that William Goldman himself was taking a whiz right next to me.  The fanboy in me went into overdrive.  There was so much I wanted to ask him, about the production of Butch Cassidy, Andre the Giant in Princess Bride, adapting Stephen King novels for the screen, but I couldn’t say anything.  We were in the men’s room doing our private business after all.  So, I finished up and washed my hands.  I left without uttering a word to him.  I have always wished that I had said something…