Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I don't have much of a fantasy life.  Rarely daydream in the traditional sense.  My mental resting state is a half doze where images float across my mind.  Never stories, and I'm not in them.   It's almost like watching clouds change shape.

What fiction I have written so far (and may be publishing, we'll see) has almost all been written because K and her writing group challenged me to do it.

The lack of imagination hasn't always been that way.  Some aspects of early life were rough and fantasy, from fiction to detailed daydreams, were escapes.  And I had all the usual ones: superpowers, swords, spies and saving maidens in various apocalyptic worlds.

When I went to college, the transition from a homestead only one notch removed from a survivalist cell (no electricity or running water, graduating class of six-- and I was sixteen when I graduated) to a state university was intense.  So I can't say college was boring, but it didn't feel complete, either.  Lots of reading, mostly fiction.  SCA.

Always a voracious reader, I first turned away from fiction at Ft. Sam Houston during 91A school.  I was coming off of BCT (Basic Training) and BCT had been intense.  Not earth-shaking.  Basic skills and fitness were fine going in.  The use of time.  From before dawn until late was non-stop movement.  PT (Physical Training), skill development, learning.  Any spare moment was spent reading, studying the SMART manual (can't remember what it stood for) the Common Tasks manual or reading the Bible.  (I'd brought a bible because it was the one book I was sure the Drill Sergeants wouldn't confiscate-- so I have read the Bible cover to cover.  Twice.  Primary reason I'm not a Christian.)

At AIT (Medic school at Ft. Sam) I wondered if I could keep up a BCT level of intensity on my own.  There was a lot of training, PT and studying, but far more free time than in Basic.  So I decided to use the time.  First step was going to the base library and instead of just looking for a fun read, I grabbed a guide book to local plants.  Started practicing tracking again.  Discovered MWR (Don't think we called it that back then but...)

Morale Welfare and Recreation.  I went in and found out that they had a complete lapidary shop.  I'd been taught to cut and polish stones when I was 13 or 14.  Just cabochons, nothing fancy. So I got back into that.  And one of the old guys who volunteered at the place to teach soldiers taught me to cast silver.  I made K's engagement ring there.

Life got as full as I could keep it.  Nonfiction was just as entertaining, but infinitely more satisfying than fiction.  But then something else changed.  About two years into working with the Sheriff's Office, spending more waking hours with bad guys than with my own family, dealing with bad stuff and aftermath, I started to find most fiction not just unsatisfying.  Most was aggravating.  The things that authors seemed fascinated with were not the things that resonated with or bothered me.

Fiction is on my mind.  K wants me to publish some of the things I wrote when a member of her writer's group.  I'll be spending next weekend at the Oregon Science Fiction Convention.


Charles James said...

Discovered MWR (Don't think we called it that back then but...) believe we called it "Special Services" in the early seventies, maybe your time as well?

SMART was, I believe, Special Medical Augmentation Response Team (US Army MEDCOM) and Soldiers Manual, Army Training

Soldier Manual Army Recruit Training ?

Anonymous said...

fiction ideas:
365 tomorrows - probably a good way to get started
on line sight with a new short story every day.

Check out the book: To Stand on a Stone - story followed by instruction.

Good Luck.

Flinthart said...

"...so I have read the Bible cover to cover. Twice. Primary reason I'm not a Christian."

Quote of the day.