After four combat tours to Iraq and nearly twenty years of active service, my Army career came to a grinding halt when I began to experience symptoms of what would ultimately be diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you’ve ever hit rock bottom and survived, then you can imagine where I was at when I had to start over.
Growing up, I was raised in several small towns in rural Upstate New York. Common to each house that I lived was Amish buggies, gravel roads, and rolling fields of goldenrod weeds that did little to impede the strong Nor’easter Canadian winds. It was perhaps a cliché then that I fell in love with reading; the internet was still a figment of science-fictional imagination and there was little else to do when I wasn’t able to escape the close confines of our house. I was not picky then, nor am I picky now. If a book piqued my interest, then I would devour it on the hour-long bus ride to or from school, or while prostrate in front of our little kerosene heater as the endless inches of snow fell outside.
Eventually I would carry my love of reading into the Army with me, borrowing, buying, and trading books wherever I found them, and I found them everywhere. In fact, it’s a well-kept secret that the military writ large has a love affair with books and reading—symptomatic, some say, of a culture steeped in the tradition of waiting long intervals for absolutely nothing to happen.
In the early days of my forced retirement, I began to cling to the idea of becoming a writer as one might cling to a buoy after dog-paddling away from a sinking ship. And while those first attempts certainly left a lot to be desired, they did land me some freelance opportunities for a few blogs as a novice ghostwriter. Truthfully though, I didn’t enjoy the work very much. I was writing, but I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write. It certainly wasn’t the type of writing that I fell in love with. So, I went to work studying creative writing and then set out to create exactly what I wanted, and how I wanted it to look. These days I write serial novellas and short stories for my webpage, which some people seem to enjoy. I can’t say exactly where I’m headed with all of this, but I do know that this is the hill that I plan to die upon, (so to speak). See you around the campfire!
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