Year 2, Month 4, Day 16 of this Writing in Public challenge.
Day two of writing the novel Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel.
Ended up doing a lot of work today on workshops and on Smith’s Monthly. I worked on those two things all afternoon at the WMG offices after the writer’s lunch, then Kris and I went out to dinner, then back to WMG offices.
I ended up taking Kris home around 9 p.m. and then went back and managed to get Smith’s Monthly stuff done there by midnight. Home to watch just a short bit of television, then at the online workshop homework, much of which I had done already, thankfully.
Managed to get everything done by 2 a.m.
Then over to the writing computer. There I went after the opening of Lake Roosevelt. I managed about 900 words in just under an hour, took a short break, and managed 1,200 words before I gave up right before 4 a.m.
Stunning I got 2,100 words done today. Not where I want to be, but happy enough.
Topic of the Night: Turning Points. (A personal long post…deal with it or skip it.)
I’ve been thinking about this a great deal over the last few days since I discovered a person I used to know had died about a year ago. I had not seen him since the summer of 1974 (picture of him that summer below), had not talked with him, or anything, so no need for saying you are sorry for my loss. Thanks, but not needed. I didn’t really know him at all.
One of the reasons his death caused me to think about turning points is because for four months of my life, this man changed the entire direction my life was going in. Completely and totally. I would not be here now without those four months. Period.
Now, there have also been other major turning points in my life, the biggest was Algis Budrys sending me to pick up Kris, of course. That changed everything.
And my house fire and losing all my writing changed me suddenly as well. (Certainly killed any idea that books are special snowflakes.)
The fire did not change me as much as meeting Kris, of course, but it was still a sudden turn in the road that got me here.
So I looked back at the major, and I do mean major turning points that got me to this point in my life, and there were actually only four, counting meeting Kris, which was the last one twenty-eight years ago. And interestingly enough, the first three all put me in a position to meet Kris. (I suppose having indie come along when it did might be considered a major turning point. I’m writing instead of playing poker, but not enough hindsight on that yet.)
The first really major turning point for me was leaving Boise, alone, with just barely over one hundred dollars, a car payment due, and no where to go. I had my golf clubs and all the clothes I owned in the trunk. I was homeless for four months, sleeping in my car (which happened to be a Porsche. Damn things are almost impossible to sleep in.) I had no money and I was chasing a dream.
So I went hungry and ate a lot of crackers and Ketchup during those months.
I got flat lucky and caught the dream. And on month five after leaving Boise I was working for one of the top 1940s golfers of all time as his assistant professional and he was teaching me how to play top golf. And I had a small apartment and had caught up my car payments.
It was somewhere about month six or so after being homeless that I met the man who just died last year. We were both young and drinking with other golf professionals in Palm Springs in the evenings. Damn near every night. We hit it off and started playing rounds of golf together most afternoons. When the season ended at my golf club and I was laid off for the summer, this other man, who was the head professional at a country club in Palm Springs, had a job open and offered it to me and I took it. (Picture above is what he looked like when I went to work for him.)
For the next four months, working with him, he taught me how to really play the game of golf. He taught me how to play cards. And I mean really play. He introduced me to odds-making and the dark underside of Palm Springs as a book-maker on sports events, and we spent numbers of trips in Las Vegas playing gin and poker.
I never once, from those four months forward, ever questioned my ability to play cards and make a living with cards.
Four months after I went to work for him, I had a month off for course work, so I headed north to teach some city recreational golf programs and see friends. When I had got back, he had been offered a great job and moved to another golf course. I was offered the head golf pro position at his country club in Palm Springs. At the age of 22 years old. (It seems the members really liked me. The picture below is me in 1974 (I was almost 24 at this point) and my clubhouse is behind me.)
He was only one year older than me.
I still saw him at times, still drank with him (turned out his last 30 years or so were as a recovering alcoholic, but we were young back then in case you couldn’t tell from the pictures), and we still played some rounds of golf. But I had my course, he had his, and we were busy, and when I quit my job, packed up, and headed back to school the following summer, it never occurred to me to even say goodbye.
Because I got his job when he left, because I spent those four months with him in the first place learning so many skills outside of golf, I did not remain a golf professional. More than likely, if I had stayed a golf professional, I would have ended up on a very similar path that he did. I would have gotten married, had a kid or two, (as he did) and some grandkids, and fought alcohol my entire life because the golf business would have bored me to tears.
He remained a respected golf professional his entire life and even wrote a few books about golf and about alcohol. But for me, reading about his life, I saw my life as it might have been. If he had not given me the skill to know odds and play cards, I would not have been able to pay my way through college on blackjack teams. If I hadn’t gotten his job and worked a year at the top of the golf profession, I might have remained in golf and strived to get there for years.
Four months were a turning point, one that sent me with skills and an immense amount of courage back to school at the age of 24. And from there those four months sent me to writing and meeting Kris and ending up here in this home overlooking the Pacific and writing this.
Everyone has turning points. I really don’t want to know yours. They are yours and this is my blog and I can do things like this. Write about yours on your blog.
But sometimes we are reminded of the turning points in our lives. One man, for four short but very long months, forty-plus years ago, taught me more than I had the right to learn.
MONTHLY TOTAL ON NOVELS
Day 1…. 3,950 words. Total words to date…. 3,950 words
Day 2…. 3,500 words. Total words to date…. 7,450 words
Day 3…. 3,050 words. Total words to date…. 10,500 words
Day 4…. 3,250 words. Total words to date…. 13,750 words
Day 5…. 2,200 words. Total words to date…. 15,950 words
Day 6…. 2,350 words. Total words to date…. 18,300 words
Day 7…. 6,400 words. Total words to date…. 24,700 words
Day 8…. 5,400 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 9…. 0,000 words. Total words to date…. 30,100 words
Day 10.. 1,150 words. Total words to date…. 31,250 words
Day 11.. 3,400 words. Total words to date…. 34,650 words
Day 12.. 5,600 words. Total words to date…. 40,250 words
Day 13.. 5,200 words. Total words to date…. 45,450 words
Cold Call Done.. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 50,050 words
Day 15.. 2,400 words. Total words to date…. 52,450 words
Day 16.. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 54,550 words
(At this point I need to be around 64,000 words to be on my target for the month. Lost a little tonight.)
Totals For Year 2, Month 4, Day 15
– Daily Fiction: 2,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 55,450 words
– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 900 words
– Blog Posts: 1,400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 12,700 words
– E-mail: 36 e-mails. Approx. 1,100 original words. E-mails month-to date: 383 e-mails. Approx. 11,050 words
– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers
For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.
For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.