I never really thought much about writing a book. Once I started, I discovered many other people who also spoke of their desire to write. It’s a great goal to have and I encourage anyone who is interested in writing a book to go ahead and do so. It is a very satisfying experience. As I look back now, maybe I was slowly being prepared to tell stories while watching too many 30-minute sitcoms in the ’70’s, somehow that formed my mindset. By mindset, I mean my way of viewing life in story-lines; to cope with challenges of the world, I’d see myself and others as characters in a series.
Everything came together for me at a launching point sometime around 1998. I was in Virginia, traveling the highway, Interstate 64, the car danced between the lanes while on the last legs of one of my earliest trips to see the ocean at Virginia Beach. That day, I did get to see the ocean; I was awed by the experience; I was transported in spirit beyond my roots of the corn and soybean fields Illinois offered, to the vastness of the sea and in that moment, I was given a story to tell. I invite you to share that journey with me.
Before I knew it there I was on the #89 Metrobus from Greenbelt to Laurel sharing my first pages with my kind friend Deanna Cunningham. Deanna was pleasant to me by sharing her writing experiences while employed at American University. I am forever grateful for her assistance.
Those days were filled with computer problems, floppy disk concerns (yes, floppy – not a misprint), yaa di, yaa di, yaa. Somedays it was really difficult to come home from hours of work, interact with the family, then somehow tap into the creative juices like a maple tree in the forest. I recommend everyone get an encouraging friend and remain diligent.
The story would center around the relationships of young twenty-somethings and a common struggle; how to deal with the question of going to college or not. The backdrop would be music; I really enjoy the liberating feeling one gets from simply jamming. When I was somewhere between 10 and 15 years of age while playing basketball on the outdoor court at the Boys Club in Springfield, Illinois with my childhood friends; Andrew noticed I was singing while trying to play the game and teased me that someday I’d probably become a ‘rock’ star – yeah right. Nonetheless, the point is I’ve always enjoyed music and the influence that it had on my life. So, I figured that I would include it in the story line of Noteworthy Tribute. Made sense at least to me, especially since we have a family garage band and this would give another dimension to the book. The songs in the book are written and performed by our band with a little help from our friends here. The combination of music and writing is sort of like when James Waller did an album to coincide with The Bridges of Madison County. The fact that the ensemble cast in our book reflected the camaraderie that I experienced growing up was actually not planned but was a pleasant surprise. It is somewhat of a tribute to the friends that I had growing up and the fun that we had…I now realize how special those times were. It’s possible I’ll miss a name or two, please forgive me but while I’m in the flow – well, here’s a shout-out to the guys (yes, there were girls also, thanks ladies – but this is about props to the brotherhood here). Steven Richie, Andrew Carr, Tony Young, Anthony Thompson, Brian Singleton, Phil Brown, Ron Smiley, & Keith Chambers. I have told my four sons about the days of our youth and encouraged them to pursue friendships that I was blessed to have had with you.