Saturday, December 7, 2019

Early mornings at P.A.'s

As has been the case for most of my life when I ‘go to town,’ as I occasionally do, I go to Salem. And if you happened to join me there early on a weekday morning I might suggest that we stop by P.A.’s to catch up on the latest news and gossip. 

There, tucked away in an east-side industrial area, we would find his scruffy man-cave. Though it might look a bit disorganized ……chock full of tools, machines, duck decoys, a coffee pot, and several chairs arranged in something like a circle……he would surely swear that he knows exactly where every one of his treasures is located.

I don’t know what P.A. does the rest of the day, but most any morning you will find him there playing host to an eclectic assembly of drop-in guests. Chances are that motley crew will be male, long-time friends of P.A., often dating back to high school, even grade school.

There, coffee in hand, those of us who fit that description will be revisiting our version of some vaguely-remembered highlight or lowlight of our long-ago glory years. Occasionally we will be reintroduced to one-time classmates we haven’t seen in years, even decades……familiar names with faces we don’t remember at all.

Time passes quickly in those unscripted visits, as one story or long-forgotten incident triggers yet another recollection, sending us off on a new tangent. Names will be dropped and personal histories updated as we exchange news about other friends and classmates. The information itself may sometimes be less than accurate, even exaggerated. So what? What difference does that make when basking in the comfortable sense of connection to a shared past.

At an age when so many of those schoolboy and schoolgirl friends have left the scene, I find that those moments spent at P.A.’s, revisiting earlier times, provide a connection I won’t find in any other social exchange. I am reminded that no matter how much we have changed those youthful recollections, so important in their day, still draw us together.

Perhaps it helps to know that like me, every one of the fellows who gather there is dealing with his own unique set of what we label “late-life issues.” Except when someone decides to express a particular concern or offer special thanks for a bullet dodged, there is no need to elaborate. Suffice it to understand that we all face our own octogenarian trials.

Truth be told, not every one of P.A.’s early morning dialogues takes us down that ‘good-old-days’ road. Some days a younger group, with fewer of us old fossils on hand, will deal comfortably with other, more contemporary topics. But when the conversational scales are tipped in our ‘remember-when’ favor there may be no reining in our far-ranging recollections. 

I, for one, am just fine with that. I am living in my own November, for God’s sake. (at least I hope it is.) I reserve the right to indulge myself a bit, while putting my personal history in sharper perspective. I am thankful for a forum that helps me do that. I’ve been around long enough to know that the past is not a proper place to live. I do, however, find it an enjoyable, even fruitful place to visit from time to time.

I would never say P.A.’s is a fit for everyone, but if you are one of those who would benefit from that sort of connection I wish for you a morning with P.A. or some place like that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Family Time -- the ultimate Thanksgiving gift

           After years of blogging there came a point when I finally moved past the need to fill these largely unread pages with new material on a regular basis. It seemed I had moved beyond that ‘pen to paper’ itch.
Still, every so often I sense the urge to open my rusty mind-gates long enough to free pent-up thoughts that want to escape. This feels like one of those times.
It strikes me as fitting that the annual Thanksgiving season marks the time of year when Roma and I are once again the same age. This year the number is 82, which I accept as a well-earned benchmark, meaning we’ve been together for 63 years, which is surely reason to give thanks. Chances are it also wins her a medal.
At moments like this I suppose it is natural to count our blessings. That seems especially true after the weekend last month when our clan gathered at the beach for several days to celebrate Roma’s birthday. It was a special, unstructured family time……four generations of us visiting, playing games, laughing together, and generally enjoying ourselves in the company of that special lady, a prime molder of the persons we  have  all become.
Truth to tell, the two of us have moved beyond the time when travel ……whether extended international adventures or quiet weekends at the beach……is a favored pursuit. For a one-time travel junkie like me that is quite a change. 
What has not changed, however, are the warm and comfortable possibilities of family time. Neither a long drive nor a few nights in an unfamiliar bed is too great a price to pay for that
Of course those family gatherings may sometimes include awkward moments……when Grandma’s first inclination is to do what she has always done……organize, prepare, and do most everything that has to be done. Fortunately,  our very adult offspring, and their adult children, were quite willing to step up and carry the load……though it wasn’t always easy to convince Grandma that she had earned a break?
As viewed from the adjoining living room (except for loading the dishwasher and carving the turkey I am not a ‘kitchen guy.’) the results were invariably an amiable compromise. With everyone lending a hand we had a great time……walks on the beach for the energetic ones, eating well, enjoying a few ballgames, and playing our share of pinochle.
Long story short……such a matriarchal celebration was cause for thanksgiving  It was not the time to be dwelling on the sometimes dubious reality of growing another year older. Instead, the Queen and I sat back and basked in the pleasant warmth of caring company and family fun……thankful for how the years have blessed us.   
And why not? There will be time enough tomorrow to deal with those sometimes distressing ‘aging’ situations we cannot avoid even the best of times.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Permission to raise a little hell

It is fair to ask what brings me back to these blog pages. After all, I’m the guy who said it was time to head for the sidelines, that he had run out of October (and November) things to say. That may have been true. But it was before the following bit of elder wisdom that had me thinking second thoughts.
For people like me the notion that ‘old age is a time to dial it down and play it safe’ is a cop-out. Those of us who are still able should be raising hell on behalf of whatever we care about.
Those are the words of Parker J. Palmer, from his book On the Brink of Everything — Grace, Gravity & Getting Old. I am pleased to recommend the book, and especially the implied permission it gives me to continue with my own low-grade ‘hell raising.’
Later, in those same pages Palmer adds, “I may be old, but I’m still a member of this community. I have a voice and things I need to say, and I want to be part of the conversation.” With that in mind I invite you to consider the following bit of elder-babble.
No matter what our age, our life-journey has included its share of highs and lows, twists and turns……which can be measured and charted in many different ways. Drawing on our own recollections we can track our life’s path in terms of our school and work history, the things we have done and not done, how successful or unsuccessful our efforts have been, or the family we have helped create. Like a wilderness explorer blazing a trail through the forest we have left all sorts of personal markers in our wake.
This morning I set out to expand on another of those life-journey trail markers……namely, the most impactful friends I have made along the way, and how they have helped me become the person I am. 
We humans like to blame someone or something else for what goes wrong in our life, while taking full credit when things turn our right. Yet too often we fail to recognize the contributions of our friends and allies…… especially the ‘best friends’ we have made on our journey to today.
The logic seems so sound, so rational. Everyone needs and wants friends. They complete the person we are……helping us fill in the blanks that are part of every life. That is true in childhood, in adolescence, in adulthood, even in elderhood.
We know that deep friendships are not a matter of random choice. They happen because mutual needs are being met. It is also true that over the years our needs have changed, replaced by new ones that lead us to new and different friendships. It seems to me that over time those close friendships, including the ones we have left behind, can act as trail-blazing markers, helping tell the story of our Becoming.
At different stages of our journey different friends have helped us learn different life lessons. In a real sense we can chart important parts of our own path to Becoming by remembering the best-friends we have won and lost along the way. 
That was the story I meant to tell this morning, the notion that revisiting those life-changing friendships helps us understand the person we have become. Sadly, a closer look at my own ‘friend’ history was enough to raise more than a little hell with my logic.
It took about five minutes to realize the truth of it. Perhaps that ‘friend tracking’ idea does not apply to me. Instead of remembering a string of best-friends, and their contributions, what I came up with was largely a list of kind and caring acquaintances. Though I certainly appreciate all those, when it comes to close, life-changing friendships……beyond the family circle that has always been central in my life……I was able to count just three individuals, three best-friends, who played the role I have described. For some reason I expected there would be more.
First was my high-school best-friend. Careening together through adolescence we seemed to give each other permission to be a little crazy, taking us to places I would never have gone on my own. And then there was the high-school girlfriend, the first girl who seemed to like me just the way I was……until I left for college and ‘out-of-sight out-of-mind’ won out.
Finally, in college, there was Roma, the one I was not willing to let out of my sight or mind. We met in our freshman year and 63 years later are still filling the role of Best Friend for each other……expanding the definition of what friendship means to us.
Still, returning to my original point, the close and meaningful friendships you and I have made in the course of our life journey (no matter what their number or when they arrived on the scene) have most certainly played a role in our Becoming. I know for sure that those on my micro-list have met that test.
Which brings me to my suggested homework assignment, one I highly recommend. The instructions are easy peasy. Simply turn off the TV, crank the recliner back a notch or two, and close your eyes. If you haven’t dozed off by then, make a conscious return to your past. Introduce yourself to one or another of the once-close friends who have perhaps not crossed your mind in ages.
With that old friend perched clearly in the front of your mind ask yourself a few questions. What did you learn from your time with him or her? How might your life be different had he or she not shown up?
Make that internal dialogue as real and personal as you dare. Dig as deep as your comfort zone allows. This is not about sharing your insights with anyone. Its about you exploring you.
Though I have no illusions of it happening, if you are so inclined I invite you to share your own bit of friend-related ‘hell raising’ with the rest of us……in an appropriate, abridged form, of course.

What do you think? Might it be time to revisit one of the 'someones' who once played an important part in your life……to perhaps mentally thank or scold them for their role? Most of us recognize the ways we were shaped by parents and family. I’m not sure how many of us understand the important ways our friends and friendships have played a part. I think it’s worth the effort to see where that takes you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

We Need An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s all in our head
Hey, we’re not kids you know. We’re adults, some of us very mature adults. We have known about the facts of life for a long time…..long enough to know that those 'facts' come in more than one version.
How about this fact? Simply put, we live life in our head, in our mind. It was that way as experience-seeking adolescents, learning to cope with an exciting new world. And it is that way today, after all the miles we’ve traveled.
By October and November we realize how much of our life's journey…..mental, emotional, and spiritual…..has been played out in our mind. If that time of life describes you, you know how those mind-trips can feel…..for instance, the mornings when you wake up wondering why it is happening to you…..again.

We know about those late-life speed bumps
The particular complaints are an individual matter. They might be physical. Maybe your aging body is again rebelling and you know for sure that your youthful resiliency is no longer in play. Perhaps it hurts to simply move around, especially at that early morning hour.
On the other hand your problem may be mental, something as simple as remembering what the coming day holds for you….. important details that were indelibly etched in your memory hours, or minutes ago, but now seem just out of reach.
Or what about the most aggravating stumbling blocks of all, the emotional rumblings that so often contribute to a restless night’s sleep, then remain to haunt our waking hours? They come in many forms, those nagging concerns we label “worries.”
You know the routine. We may fret about our family. Who knew we would still be worrying about kids and grandkids at our age? Money, or the lack of it, may be a worry. And what about our health.....those concerns comes naturally at our age, don’t they? Yet no matter what creates the anxiety, most of us know that once those distressing thoughts take hold they are hard to shake.

When the negative takes charge
       At any age, but especially in late-life, there are so many things to be anxious about, if we are so inclined. Though we may consider those concerns to be warning signs, telling us that something in our life needs to change, we are rarely thankful for the ‘worry’ they create. 
       No matter what the “problem de jour” may be, it is likely to include one distressing is probably negative, something we wish would go away and leave us  alone.
How do those ‘negatives’…..petty or not …..affect us? I suppose that depends. I believe that in the course of a lifetime experience and our own natural inclination have combined to create a personal understanding of the world we inhabit. From an early age we learn to view our world through that filter… welcoming and friendly, dark and threatening, or somewhere in between. Given where we are on that positive-negative continuum we will usually act accordingly.
Still, though we can’t simply turn off those negative worries, who wants to stay in that depressing space when there might be a better way? Why not turn away from that, to a more positive and accepting view of the world and our place it in?

Can we make way for the positive?
We can do that, you know. It’s not easy, but even in our darkest, most depressing moments we can take time to recognize the ways we have been blessed, the reasons we have to be thankful in spite of our problems. 
Still, when a truly distressing worry gets its hooks in us simply reciting an off-setting blessing, no matter how real it is, may not be enough to chase it away, at least not at first. 
       The logic behind that is simple enough. We tell ourselves that we are supposed to be blessed. Good things are meant to happen to us. That is the way things ought to be. Why then should we be especially thankful for what is ‘supposed to be’.….. especially in the face of a worrisome problem that is most certainly not ‘supposed to be’?
In spite of that fragile logic we have to carry on in the face of aging reality and concerns that are not easily dismissed. Still, no matter how hard it is, seeking and living out our blessings, the positive moments that are part of every life, is a powerful way to make the most of our Becoming. Whatever path we rely on, whether religious faith, our own meditative practice, or stubborn will power, the goal of existential thankfulness seems worth the effort.

How about a change in attitude
As you might have guessed, I have something to sell today. Perhaps like me your mother used to remind you to "Count your blessings." That seems to me another way of addressing the "existential thankfulness" I mentioned above. Hopefully that is something you can buy into.
     To help make that notion more real I have given it a name. I call the mindset I want to earn for myself and hopefully sell to you, an Attitude of Gratitude......what I consider an early Thanksgiving in action. 
      Of course, simply counting your blessings will not end our worries, though it can help put things in perspective. Still, I am convinced that focusing on at least some of the reasons we have to be grateful is an effective way to move beyond the negative burden of our accumulated worries. 
      Truth to tell, it was one of those affirming moments that brought me here today, putting these thoughts on paper.         
      We know there is more than one way to draw the positive into our lives. For instance, I happen to appreciate compliments. Who doesn’t? Everyone likes them, especially when they seem sincere. Whether about my stories and blog posts, my family, or my feeble efforts to lose weight, It feels good when folks notice, and are willing to express their opinion. 
        With that, perhaps you can imagine how blessed I felt the other morning when this brief scene played out.

Hey Good Looking
Nearly two years after his original diagnosis the doctor, who had just viewed my once-cancerous bladder up close and personal, set his scope aside. He was smiling as he said, “That is a good-looking bladder you have there, with no sign of trouble.” Then, lest I get too cocky, he added, “Of course, we’ll want to continue the periodic treatments to be sure it stays that way.”
Look, I’m a low-key sort of guy, not the kind to brag about my bladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, or whatever. I'm just not that kind of fellow.
         But let me tell you, when it comes to an ‘Attitude of Gratitude' moment the doctor’s apparently sincere compliment of my “good looking, cancer-free bladder” was about as positive as it gets, more than enough to push aside the low-grade anxiety that usually accompanies my six-month check ups. 
         Truth is, because I live life in my head, I expect this bit of Gratitude Attitude to last a while. Right now any reasons I have to worry about anything at all will just have to wait a while

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In Pursuit of Elder Wisdom

      It’s funny, isn’t it……how our sometimes fuzzy thoughts lead us off on unexpected detours? I suppose that becomes all the more true when we stumble from our October years into November. Though we have learned our share of lessons along the way, by this stage of the game we are aware that some late-life questions require their own unique late-life answers.

I like to think I had the necessary answers when I was in my prime, those glory years of my fifties and sixties……a time of smooth sailing and satisfying outcomes……which probably says something about my retreating memory. 

But today, in my octogenarian November years, (at least I hope it is November.) my personal reality is changing. I am find myself bumping into the sad realization that I can no longer do what I once could. If I let myself dwell of that dour understanding it can take me places I would rather not go. 

There are days when it is hard to shake the notion that I am on a one-way street, worn out and used up, descending a long, slippery slope to its inevitable end. In those moments it feels like the positives of my life, and I have certainly had my share of those, have come and gone. Looking ahead from that perspective, trying to imagine what awaits me, it is increasingly hard to be hopeful.

Perhaps it is the latest round of immunology treatments, still treading the path of an earlier cancer diagnosis, that has me thinking these thoughts. Though the procedures are not particularly uncomfortable, the cumulative effect is enough to slow me down a bit, and remind me again of the distress that ugly ‘C’ word originally produced. 

True, by any measure I ought to be thankful for the wonders of modern medicine, and indeed I am. Three times in my 82 years I have experienced those not-so-small miracles first hand……the welcome relief of turning “cancer” into “cancer-free,” at least for the moment. Who would not be thankful for that.

Still, when those dark thoughts begin to intrude again I need to remember an earlier lesson learned. It was May and June of 2017, in a series of blogs I labeled ‘Living With Dying,’ that I first posted this bit of self-direction.


         While I wait for the doctor to determine how effective the immunology therapy has been, I want to sort through some of the options I have in mind for the future. 
I plan to l start that process with the hopeful assumption that all of us late-life folks have more resources to work with than we sometimes realize. A lifetime of hard-won elder wisdom, things we have learned along the way, ought not be dismissed……especially in our ‘down and out’ moments, when we feel our potential slipping away. At times like that we must not give up on ourselves.


So what sort of ‘elder wisdom’ do I have to draw on? Turns out there is nothing mysterious or esoteric about it. In fact, it is little more than the common sense most of us have relied on to get this far……the kind that sometimes gets overlooked when intimidation and uncertainty raise their ugly heads.

That common sense ought to include the realization that the evolving, less-than-primetime fellow who is ‘me’ must remember to pace himself. That was true in the May and August of my life. It is all the more true in October and November. Today the question has become……. what level of activity amounts to an appropriate ‘November pace’? That has become a continuing conversation for Roma and me, as individuals and as a couple. Chances are it is the same dialogue individuals and couples our age have always had. “What is a sustainable pace for the ‘new’ us?”

Most of our late-life peers understand the need to slow down and create an activity level in keeping with their declining capabilities. Though we may be inclined to resist those unwelcome realities, at some point we are forced to accept what we can’t change.

Though the challenges faced and the resulting accommodations will vary from person to person, a new, less-demanding level of physical activity will be required. No matter how much we love our gardening, or long to take on the pesky home improvements projects that need doing, there are some things that will not be done by us. That has become a given, dictated by human aging.

What are not ‘given,’ however, are the particular activities each of us chooses to include in our ‘age-appropriate pace’ profile. I don’t think I understood the importance of that freedom to choose a couple years ago, when I first addressed ‘the need to make the most of my remaining years.’ Since then it feels like I have learned a thing or two about that existential freedom.

I have learned that I can no longer manage everything on my ‘to-do list.’ Truth be told, the time has come to selectively reduce the demands on my increasingly precious time……it is more important than ever that I concentrate on the activities I really want to pursue.

Of course, there will always be those things that must be done because they cannot be set aside. But no matter what we have ‘always done,’ or what others think we ought to do……we have earned the right to devote more of our time to the things we find most comforting, satisfying, and fulfilling. Our time is precious. We ought to use it wisely, without apologizing or rationalizing.
Of course, how we use our time is a very personal thing. No two answers will be the same, nor should they be. Within the constraints of health and safety each of us should make our own choices.

So what does that mean for me? How might I make the best use of my limited time? I ask you to indulge me a few moments as I offer a personal illustration or two. If my choices strike you as childish or escapism, I respectfully beg to differ. My intent is not to hide, or turn away from a less desirable destination. Instead, these are the destinations I had in mind all along.

Even in the face of health and lifestyle obstacles, which at my stage of life cannot be ignored, I claim the right to spend as much time as possible doing what really matters to me……things like helping others when I can, spending time with family and friends, and the care and feeding of the ‘inner me.’ 

Though the two of us don’t have all that much, generally speaking we have enough. We are warm, well-fed, and blessed with the health-care professionals who keep us going. Roma fusses over me like she does with our kids. What more could I want? 

Truth to tell I know of at least one thing I would like to have more of. That would be a larger dose of the afore-mentioned ‘elder-wisdom.’ That seems to me a worthy late-life goal ……one I continue to work toward with sometimes dubious results. You see, my stumbling wisdom search has not involved reading the great thinkers of the ancient world or immersing myself in learned theological doctrines? My intellectual tastes seem not to run that deep.

Instead, what I find myself drawn to, and happily so, are the esoteric and the not-so-ancient halls of, where I can soak up the contemporary wisdom of what I consider inspirational music and stimulating travel videos. I will be the first to admit those will not fit everyone’s definition of ‘wisdom.’ Each of us is free to choose our own ‘wisdom seeking.’ These are what works for me.

Believe me, I am not being sarcastic. There are days when my personal seeking for what is real and worthy in life has me turning to YouTube……revisiting favorite European memories and exploring destinations beyond our personal travels. Or perhaps that day’s mood will have me enjoying the melodic truth of Susan Boyle’s What a Wonderful World, Simon and Garfunkle’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle, or Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds. Those are some of my favorites. Your’s will be different, but you can be sure they are there.

Hey, I understand. I may be the only octogenarian on the block who indulges himself in such diversions. Fact is, I think of those quiet moments as important means of ‘feeding my inner self.’ 

For years my writing, both blogging and storytelling, were an important part of that effort. Today I am inclined to settle for a more passive form of seeking……a pleasantly packaged format that settles easily on my mind. You may call it entertainment. I have decided to accept the best of my seeking as Elder-Wisdom

With that I feel a sudden urge to lose myself for a few minutes in the wisdom of Alan Jackson’s Remember When?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Why Stay?

What good can come from a tired old mind left to its own devices? What else would explain today's bit of October Years whimsey, this dusty remnant I stumbled across in some dark corner of my cluttered mind?
         What do you suppose these random brain leaks mean? I'd appreciate your thoughts.

                                          WHY STAY?

What is there left to be done? What is there that requires my doing?         
Do I really need to stick around for whatever comes next?

Near as I can tell there are only two people, just two mortal beings, 
        who actually depend on my continuing presence.

First and foremost is my beloved life-mate. For sixty-three years
        she has been central to my being, and I to hers.

Together we raised a family, did our part to continue the species.
        We did our bit, left our mark. What more is required of us?

When measured against the big picture, the history of the race,
        our time together is little more than a fleeting instant.

Yet when measured by my lifetime, my mortal consciousness,
        the scale that matters most to me, she has always been there.

True, either of us could carry on alone, and in time one of us will,
        but neither of us will find that easy, satisfying, or natural.

Our kids don't need us any more. Sure, we enjoy their company.
       But they have learned well, and will get along fine without us.

Beyond that, there are friends who will remember that we're gone.
       Truth is, however, we are not a vital part of their lives.

Finally, there is one other person I'd rather not offend by leaving.
        My life has touched many souls, but none more than my own.

 Turns out I have my own reasons to stick around for a while.
        There are still unfinished dreams for me to chase.
                 And besides, I haven't finished her 'honey-do' list.

Truth is, when I stop to consider what it would mean,


Friday, April 12, 2019

Something New

        I tried to make the point in an earlier post, that it was time to set aside my blogging and concentrate on a couple book projects I had in the works. I did not know then where that change of course might lead. I am still not sure, but I do understand that it is taking me to a place I have done my best to avoid in the past.
In the early years, beginning in June, 2009, my periodic blog posts had been entered on the Tanner Chronicles website. By April, 2013 I was finding more topics that fit my personal blogging tastes, and was including excerpts from Tanner Chronicles stories to illustrate particular points I wanted to make. It was then this October Years site was created to provide a forum for those expanded blogs.
If that sounds a bit self-serving, I plead guilty. From the beginning I proclaimed this to be a ‘Writer’s blog,’ one that explored and explained the late-life, October Years tales I told. Whether or not a reader found a purpose in my storytelling, I was wanting a forum from which to explain my reasoning. I’m not ashamed that I took advantage of that opportunity, and have enjoyed every minute of it.
For all that time however, with few exceptions, I was not in a book-selling mode. An overt pitch to “buy my book” was not a part of the deal. But that has changed… least for this one post.
You see, the recently published October Years - VolumeTwo was one of the new book projects I wanted to focus on when I cut back my blogging. Ironically, like its bookmate, October Years - Volume One, it is a book of blogs…..a compilation of October Years blog posts. Together, in more than 600 pages, the two volumes include 105 individual posts dealing with the joys and trials of late-life as seen through my tired old eyes, and/or the ways my Tanner Chronicle stories have illustrated those highs and lows.

            In my own humble (Really?) way I am ‘proud as punch’ of these compilations. To be sure, not everyone will agree with everything I say. But if any of the posts set the reader thinking about things most of us are reluctant to face head on, I will count that as a worthy outcome.
And there you have it, a blunt, illustrated introduction to ten years of October Years posts in two quality paperbacks. If you or someone you know might be interested in having a personal library of one man’s take on October and beyond, I invite you to check out the details, as only Amazon can provide them, on this Gil Stewart Author’s Page. (Is that humble enough?)

Until the next time, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

It is the first Wednesday of the month, time to check in with my friends at the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG)…….and address their question of the day.
Whose perspective do you write from…..the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist), and why?

To begin with, the protagonist in my stories is rarely a hero (or shero) in the generally accepted sense of the word. In my October Years books the hero I depict will be sixty or seventy years old ……tired, a bit worn down, and struggling in the face of one or more late-life challenges.

With few exceptions the antagonist confronting my hero will not wear a human face, but rather a situational disguise such as……late-life relational possibilities, confining health issues, distressing financial realities, incompatible retirement agendas, and the like.

The stories that emerge from that unlikely blend of ingredients will follow my equally unlikely heroes as they cope with their challenges. Though they will seldom overcome those existential obstacles, they will carry on, wringing the best and most they can from a bad situation……continuing to Become, unwilling to settle for less.

Since those October Years protagonists, the ones that pass as heroes in my stories, are literally my peers, it is only natural the I tell my tale from their perspective. They may not always be the good guys, but they are always my guys.