Thursday, March 11, 2021

Doing what works for us


Disclaimer- - -This bit of fluff will be as personal and self-centered as anything you will ever read in these pages……self-serving, but true.

              Doing what works for us

Imagine yourself being old, but active….in an age-appropriate way. Though you can no longer do everything you once did, there are some things you can still do, and in your mind, still do well. That is especially important when those activities include exercising what have become our strongest muscles ……our imagination and creativity.

Given the luxury of retirement time, those hours we once devoted to earning a paycheck, many of us have turned to what we consider creative pursuits, using our imagination to nurture interests we now have time to develop.

I know folks my age who are able to turn an ordinary rock into a piece of art….dissecting an ordinary-looking piece of stone, revealing the beauty hidden inside, then polishing it until it glows.

Odds are you know a gardener, (I do), often a well-experienced lady, who each spring sets out to create her own living, growing, and blooming masterpiece……turning an ordinary plot of ground into a loving patch of flowering beauty. In spite of the aches and pains her season-long ups and downs will produce, there will be no holding her back.

Or perhaps you know a master worker of wood, that fellow who has learned over time to transform plain and unremarkable slabs of lumber into artistic and/or functional results.

The creative possibilities available to those senior artisans are nearly endless..…..sewing, knitting, ceramics, painting, cooking, genealogy….. all that and more. 

Every one of those folks, no matter what their chosen interest, shares a single-minded attraction to the path they have chosen. Yet even though the rest of us appreciate, congratulate, and delight in their results, it would be wrong to assume that our acceptance is the craftsman or craftswoman’s primary motivation.

Each of them has found his or her way of remaining engaged with life….. investing their time and energy in something that has become a part of them….. something, however modest, that provides a reason to carry on. 

They are following their personal late-life passion, doing what they find satisfying, to please themselves. Perhaps you can relate to an interest that pulls you along like that. That sort of motivation is especially important in this time of lockdown, quarantine, and isolation.  


Now, with that wordy and rambling introduction I have arrived at what I consider the meat of this meal.

I have spent my retirement hours creating October Years stories….what I consider to be age-appropriate tales, dealing with the all-too-human desire for compatible companionship, and the all-too-human tendency for those late-life pursuits to become stumbling, sometimes humorous adventures.

I like to think that over time, in the course of a dozen such stories, my own ‘stumbling’ storytelling efforts have improved. I have made the point before in these pages….I like the stories I tell, and just like the aging craftsmen noted above, I am proud of the results.  That is especially important to me, since I have expended that time and effort mainly to please myself. In the process of creating something from nothing I have experienced the creative satisfaction I was seeking.

The stories I tell are not the stuff of best-sellers. I know that. True, a few folks have gone all in, buying paperback copies, and I appreciate that. But mainly I hope the stories are worthy of the readers’ enjoyment…..perhaps well-enough received to prompt a recommendation to friends, letting them know a particular book is worth checking out.

After all, as modest as they may be, there is no denying my interest in having these stories read and hopefully appreciated by others. What can be wrong with that? It was that interest that led to my current, admittedly-unorthodox serialization experiment.

While all my stories have always been available in Kindle and paperback versions on my Amazon Author’s Page, I realize that unless a potential reader knows, and cares, where they can be found those stories are not likely to be read. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that posting these books here on this October Years blog, chapter by chapter….using email and Facebook to let readers know they are here….has proved to be an effective way of sharing them.

By the time I post the last chapter of Long Way Home, a couple weeks from now, I will have spent the better part of five months serializing the Harris brothers’ story. It appears that at least a couple dozen of you have made that journey with me. I have appreciated your company.

So, for those rather convoluted reasons, when the last chapter of Long Way Home is posted I plan to continue this serializing experiment by beginning a new book. Since I have enjoyed telling the stories this way a new book will provide another chance for me to indulge myself, while hopefully enticing some of you to join the journey with me.

The book in question will be Going Home….a hopefully tasteful tale of clashing generations and family dysfunction….all of it served with a healing touch. The book’s back-cover tease reads like this ………..

Going Home can trigger pleasant memories and intimidating recollections. For Tom Fedder it will produce only dread. For decades he has avoided any reason to revisit his Tanner roots. But now a last visit is necessary.

He plans an under-the-radar return to arrange the sale of his late-mother’s home, collect a few things, and make his escape.

On his own he could do all that. But in the company of his native-American step-son, Rick, those plans are in jeopardy. Overnight Going Home will become more complicated than expected.”


Now with that in mind, let’s see if we can finish sorting out the Harris brothers’ stumbling Long Way Home adventures.