Perseverance

To work at something consistently, that’s how Webster defines perseverance. I define it in a much simpler way. Don’t give up!
It is hard to move those things that we believe in our head the short distance to the conviction of our heart. I find this to be true in many areas of my life; the craft of writing being one of them.
Three years ago I embarked on a journey to become a serious writer; I decided I wanted to write books. How hard could it be? The answer to that question would come quickly and I wouldn’t like it very much; hard, very hard.
Ninety thousand words sprawled out across three-hundred plus pages, arranged in such a way to capture the reader in a compelling story with complex characters worth hitching a ride with until the very last page of a satisfying ending; that is the job of a writer.
What was I thinking?
I have so far to go, but with every small accomplishment the conviction in my heart grows stronger; the passion burns deeper.
Support is the key; to have those who believe in me more than I believe in myself. My wife Karen is first on that list.
Oregon Christian Writers is another such support, sharing 50 years of experience with writers like me, trying to find their voice. So many names, I can see their faces, each playing their part with encouragement and a willingness to share their knowledge to help grow me into the writer that God has called me to be.
With my first full manuscript being considered for publication and my next book well underway, and several short stories sold, I look back on the last three years and smile at how far I have come. As I look ahead I am far less intimidated, but instead I am in awe of the possibilities.
So I will toughen my skin for the rejections yet to come. I will learn, I will grow, I will write, and with each small success I will deepen the passion for story that God has placed within my heart.

Advertisements

The Art of Being Creative

20130402_164925Have you ever wondered what a writer does when he isn’t writing? Before I became one I never gave it a second thought. I just assumed they wrote books and found wonderful and exciting ways to spend all that money they were making—then I became one. It didn’t take me long to figure out I had better not quite my day job (that’s the one that pays the bills), at least not until I sold at least a million books.

So by day I pursue my passion for artistry in wood and by night I passionately weave stories of fiction that transport the reader to places they can only get to in books. Both find their starting place at the point of my imagination.

So there you have it—a little piece of who I am.

If you want to know more about me just ask. The answers are free . . . and who knows—you might find answers worth the questions.

For those of you who love beautiful things made of wood visit me on Pinterest.

OCW Week-end

Henry, a old friend of my Mom's. Conversation took us back to the 1930's.

Henry, a old friend of my Mom’s. Conversation took us back to the 1930’s.

Friday morning, eleven o’clock, and Karen and I are headed out of Seaside on Highway 101. Portland is ninety minutes away; our first stop, to pick up a banner for the OCW conference.

Then it’s on to Salem for a two and a half day marathon of historical research in the farm country of Independence Oregon followed by a Saturday filled with Davis Bunn, lunch, classes, and finally dinner with friends we hadn’t met yet.

Then there was Sunday; Breakfast with Davis Bunn and friends for good food and conversation. Early afternoon found us at Subway for coffee and a two hour conversation with a friend we hadn’t met yet. Shopping in Woodburn finished our weekend as we headed back to Seaside—exhausted.

You might read this and think I am crazy—and that may be true—I am a writer. So my wife Karen must be crazy too as she travels with me on this writing adventure. In reality she is not crazy, just committed to my pursuit to be a great writer. So this is the price we will pay, because without passion the dream dies.

Early in the game I discovered (as it is with all things in life) success comes with persistent learning and doing and believing; learning from successful writers, writing and more writing and more writing, and most of all, believing that what I have to say folks like you will want to hear.

On my journey, so many have made it special. Davis Bunn is one of those. Thank you to all who have been willing to invest in the lives of so many new writers; and thank you Oregon Christian Writers for providing a wonderful platform.

FOREVER GRATEFUL

Salt Sprinkled Memories

The frantic splash of tiny feet move in a blur through the thin layer of surf, just ahead of a foam-crested two foot wave. A seagull squawks, out of tune, against a blue-gray noonday sky as the children’s laughter hitches a lazy ride on the quiet breeze. I smile in wonder at the two young children in silhouette; the emerald Pacific serving up an endless backdrop to their fantasy world of salt flavored air. The sand is warm beneath the oversized, multi-colored, striped beach towel. Karen leans in, her head on my shoulder and the gentle squeeze of her hand in mine speaking words without a sound.

Twenty-six years seems but a moment in passing. Our children are grown with children of their own. But the memory lingers like the fresh, sweet fragrance of a favorite flower. Karen and I weave a pattern through the sea of happy faces along the Promenade before turning east down Broadway. It is spring break in Seaside Oregon as moms and dads, kids and dogs make memories to last a lifetime.

I have often wondered: Is it the roar of crashing waves or the sun burning orange against the endless liquid horizon at day’s ending, or is it the bite of salt drenched air breathed in? What desire of the human heart connects us so deeply with the ocean? Maybe it is our beginnings—the fluid world in which our journey starts.

Or maybe life’s craziness pushes us hard toward a child’s world of simple wonder, bathed in beauty and mystery; beyond a need to understand.

Maybe it’s all of this and more.

As Dorothy would say: “There’s no place like home.” Seaside is our home; has been for almost ten years now, and a famous line from the movie, “Field of Dreams”, pretty much sums it up for us.
“Is this Heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa.”
Seaside, Oregon may not be heaven, but it’s the closest Karen and I will come—in this life.

So, if it’s a day, a week, or maybe a lifetime, drink in all of Seaside; let it take you to that happy place where memories are made to last forever.

From our house on the hill we watch the sun set over the mighty Pacific as the lights of Seaside grow brighter against the waning colors of an evening sky.

2009-7-20 Ruth & Naomi 001

 

 

Heyday — Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement

Heyday — Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement.

A great read for anyone who desires to know the truth about Japanese families returning home after the interment camps.

The Journey Worth Taking

20130223_072820

I love Seaside.

If someone had told me when I was a kid growing up in Eastern Washington, that I would someday be a writer living on the Oregon Coast, I would have told them they were crazy. I had never seen the ocean. Besides, what could be better than pine trees, scrub grass, and sub-zero snowy winter days?

1978. Our young family took an 11-day camping trip down the coast of Oregon. I was 28, and in love—again—this time with the mighty Pacific. Nothing speaks the awesomeness of God like waves crashing in perfect rhythm against the endless expanse of sand and rock.

Well . . . maybe it’s me who’s crazy . . . because here I am, so many years later; loving where I live, doing what I am called to do, and sharing it all with the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.

To write the greatest story for my life would be of wasted effort in comparison to the one that God has already written. Is He amazing—or what? To think that God planned the whole of my existence before I ever was—my humbling observation.

Well, enough for now; I think I’ll relax in my room with a view, let my gourmet burger from Sam’s Seaside Café digest, and marvel at all the blessings I don’t deserve given by Almighty God. And why you might ask?

Because he loves me.

P.S. I would love to hear your comments of God’s blessings in your life.

Stories From The Heart

Writing is personal—a baring of the soul. From writer to reader a bond must be formed; whether it be fiction or non-fiction. A heart (emotional) connection must be made with the reader if there is to be a willing investment of time in the story. I am a writer—but just as important—I am a reader, and as a reader this is my expectation.

Exciting yet intimidating; that is the process of honest, transparent writing; leaving a part of yourself on every page. Every character, every scene, every word in description and dialogue carries the writer’s DNA. Every story is unique.

Historical fiction; it had never appealed to me. I write supernatural suspense. But what happens when the past meets the present in the form of a story needing to be told? Not just any story—but my Mother’s story. How personal is that? And how about taking all the dry details (no matter how compelling) and turning them into a fictional tale of redemption rising from the broken pieces of a young child’s life.

It has been said: “Some stories are meant to be written.” I believe this is one of them. I have begun the journey and deeply embedded in the words of the story—in varied measure—you will find my DNA.

Below are the first few paragraphs of chapter one of my Mother’s story.

“SHADES of YELLOW; TAINTED WHITE”

It could have been a day, like any other day—but this day was different.
“She is not your Mother.”
Five words to change Lena’s life forever.
It wasn’t that she loved her life, but it was hers—it’s all she knew—until now. Lena kicked at the dirt along the edge of the tall grass bordering the familiar country road, turning brown with the early August drought.
Tears came hard, but today they moved with ease down Lena’s cheeks, mixing with the dust, leaving a mud stain of brown on her hand as she wiped at her face. The late morning carried the promise of another scorching summer day. She walked—slow—stepping on thirteen years of shattered pieces of the girl she thought she was.
Two hours ago seemed an eternity. The conversation beat at her brain; the words assaulted her senses and she wondered at her limited understanding of what she had heard. Japanese was familiar; English was still so foreign. Had she understood Martha correctly?

The Beautiful Side

There are ways to view a work of art, in whatever form it may come; be it a painting, a sculpture, a hand woven rug, a tapestry . . . First, the backside, the underside, the inside . . . the unexplored side; it is of necessary function to the other side.

We are, each one of us, a work of art, designed by our Creator God. And we are the most loved of all His created things; we are designed to be His masterpiece. How might that be?—one could ask. In the mirror of our mind and consciousness the image presented might seem distorted; a reflective view as from a piece of broken glass—something less than beautiful. We see with human eyes; we see what is. But what does God see?

God sees what can be.

The broken places of our lives, maybe that’s the distorted view—the backside of our tapestry with strings that dangle and crisscross in a jumbled mess of nothingness. We weave, we stitch . . . we labor to create; each string a choice, each thread a moment in time; each a part of what makes up the whole of our lives. God allows; we have free will.

Free will—the will to choose. Do choices matter?

God is perfect; flawless in character and motive—we are human; flawed and broken.

In the hands of a perfect God, the broken places and the twisted strings of our flawed but yielded lives become the beautiful side of the masterpiece. So, why would we choose the backside, the underside, the flawed side?

Choose the beautiful side—choose God’s perfect plan for your life.

Passionate Pursuit

023

I have an art room; there is a lock on the door. It is where I go to get away. It is my room. It measures 9 feet by 13 feet and is slightly messy, filled with my stuff. There is a table with books, and bulging file folders, and framed artwork, and a stack of miscellaneous sticky notes. From my brown leather chair with its matching ottoman, I can look through the north window towards Illwaco, at the gray-blue Pacific Ocean (which by the way is awesome this time of year), or I can sneak a glance directly west, through the double glass doors that open to our second floor balcony just above the living room, and catch a view through the triple windowed dormer. On the wall across from me is a stretched canvas sign with inspiring words (in no particular order); a constant reminder of the things that I aspire to in my life.

This is my world; this is where I write.

It is now 2013; a new year; my year. I no longer feel intimidated by this strange new world of writing, but instead I am inspired by its endless possibilities. I sold my first short story last year and my first full length manuscript (The Dark Side of Winter) is off to an agent. The first week of January, I sent a short story and a poem off for possible publication, and I am in the beginning stages of my new book—“Shades of Yellow; Tainted White”—a true story, in fiction form, set in time before the beginning of World War II. My plan is to have it ready to submit at the 2013 OCW Summer Conference.

I have stories; to many stories. So, from my room with a view, I will write my stories—with passion—and pray that God will use my words to touch the hearts of those that read them.