Monday, April 28, 2014

Magic Moments

by Bert Carson
Magic Moments do "last forever until the end of time."  Unfortunately, we often miss them.

I don't know how many magic moments I've missed, but I'm going to tell you about three that I didn't miss and how they've impacted my life.

The first one happened in Vietnam, in the Post Exchange, on Camp Bearcat.  I was there because the building was air conditioned, and I wanted a break, albeit a short one, from the heat and humidity and war.  That wasn't an original idea. The place was packed with other G.I.s who had the same idea.

I shuffled slowly from display to display, pretending I was going to buy something yet having no intention along that line.  Then some force grabbed the back of my neck and pushed me to a deserted display case in the back of rambling building.  When the pushing stopped, I looked down into the case just as a shy Vietnamese sales clerk said in broken but musical English, "May I help you, G.I.?

I didn't even look at her, which should give you an idea of the magical power of magical moments.  I simply pointed toward the object that had drawn me across the crowded building and said, "Yes Ma'am, I'll take that."

Later, walking back to my company area, I pulled the fountain pen out of the bag, opened the jewelers case it was packed in, and as I walked I wondered, why in the hell did I buy a fountain pen.  Now I know why.  That old Sheaffer opened the world of writing to me, and it hasn't stopped unfolding  since.  I don't know what force propelled me to it, but I do know the power of that magic moment possessed  for me when I said, "I'll take that."

Fourteen years later, I lived in Laurel, Mississippi.  I had gotten myself into two horrible situations that were pounding the life out of me, and I couldn't see a way out.  Looking for a quiet place to think, I went to the Laurel Public Library.  I wasn't looking for anything except a moment or two of quiet as I roamed through the aisles casually looking at a book here and another there.  At the far end of long row, I stopped to read titles.  As I stood there, hands jammed in my pant pockets, I heard a rustling above me, looked up and saw a book falling.  Instinctively I held out my hands and caught it.  

It was Round The Bend by Nevil Shute.  If a book has ever changed anyone's life, Round the Bend changed mine.  I've owned and given away many copies.  I've read it at least forty times, and now I'm listening for the second time to the audiobook version of it.  There are a number of well known, esoteric novels.  Two that come to mind are Siddhartha and Razors Edge.  I've read both of them and many others.  To be brutally honest, they aren't even in the same league as Round The Bend.  In fact, no other novel is.

There was no physical explanation for the book falling off the shelf at any moment in time, must less the moment when I was standing beneath it, but it did.  I was much too preoccupied to catch it, but I did.  I was much to practical to read it, much less get anything out of it, but I did.  Such is the power of a magic moment.

The day after I finished Round The Bend, I walked out the front door to go for a run.  I stepped off the curb into the street, turned toward town and a split second before I hop-stepped into a jog, I looked down and saw a wrench lying beside the curb.  I stopped, bent, picked it up, and saw that it was made in India (see the photo).  I knew instantly that Connie Shak Lin had left it there for me... you won't know the power of that magic moment until you read Round The Bend, but you can trust me on this, that one was the one that validated all my magic moments.

Now listen to the Drifters as you recall a magic moment or two or three, then if you're up for it, share one in the comments.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Passing Away

Last night I began running just before sundown.  I ran for a hour and a half.  When I got home I complained to Christina about how tough the run was - "no energy - haven't had any since I stopped drinking coffee four days ago," and more meaningless comments like that.  Christina agreed that coffee withdrawal will sap ones energy.  She should know, she also stopped drinking coffee last Friday.

With my complaining out of the way, I went in the office and checked my email where I found an email message from a high school friend.  She had sent it to everyone on the Class of Sixty email list.  She simply said that S.J. Mills, one of our classmates, had passed away an hour earlier.

I read it again, and then I thought about the message. I thought about S.J., and I began thinking about the term - Passed Away.  I've said it often enough.  I know what it means.  But since I read Jackie's email, I been thinking and what I think is, I've never appreciated the significance and the beauty of the term before now.

One of the first things we learn when we start figuring out things on our own is that we are going to pass away.  We are going to stop living in the form we've lived in, and we'll stop playing an active part in the life we've we've been participating in - I understand that, but now I sense the deeper meaning of the phrase.

When we say that someone passed away, we are saying two things whether it was our intention to say two things or not.  When one passes away from one place, they are passing to another place.  Life never ends.  Though we have no memory of it, we were somewhere before we were born here.  Wherever that was I'll bet the phrase passed away was used to describe our absence there when we left to live here for a while on our way on a glorious celestial voyage.

S.J. Mills came here from another place, I know not where, and now he has gone to another place and again, I know not where.  But I do know that wherever that other place is, it will be a better, happier, more joyous place because S.J. is there.  Thinking about you Buddy.


The High Road - Chapter Eight

by Bert Carson
We're back with another chapter of The High Road and before the week is over we'll deliver two more.

Thanks for riding with John, Bird, and JoJo.  It wouldn't be nearly as much fun without you.


If you've missed a chapter, they are all here in the order we recorded them.

Thanks again,
Bert and Noah

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The High Road - Chapter Seven

by Bert Carson
If you've been waiting for the next chapter of The High Road, we have some good news for you -- it's here.

Noah's been caught up in school work and I've just been caught up.  However, we managed to free ourselves up long enough to knock out another chapter.  This one has a twist.  Let us know what you think.

Thanks for riding with us.

Bert and Noah

If you missed a chapter, click here

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Harry Dresden's Advice To Writers

by Bert Carson
Harry            Jim           James             Paul 
All writing is inspired.  I don't use the term inspired in a metaphysical, spiritual, out-of-body, context.  I simply mean that something always prompts a writer to write.  Period.

In the case of this blog post, Jim Butcher inspired me with a short message he added to the audio version of his fourth Harry Dresden Book, Grave Peril.  I've not heard anything like that message in an audio book, and I was pretty impressed - inspired to do two things:  First, to do the same thing in my audio books, and second, to share the idea with you.

Here's the source of the inspiration and the first chapter of the book, thanks to Joy and June of Buzzy Multimedia.  Listen after Jim's message, to James Marsters, and be amazed as he becomes Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.

I didn't find Jim Butcher and Harry Dresden in a book store, at Amazon, or even by word-of-mouth.  I found The Dresden Files on Amazon, in the Prime Movie section of the site.  I was in need of fresh video blood, so I decided to give it ten minutes.  Now, Christina and I have watched the entire solo season twice, and we're about three episodes into watching it a third time.  For me, Paul Blackthorne, who plays Harry, brings the character to life perfectly.  Christina and I might be the only people who feel that way, since it was gone after one season.  However, I feel so strongly about it, I decided to share a bit of it with you.

Here's the point of this post, the primary one.  Jim Butcher created Harry Dresden, and on their own, the fourteen books of the series have built a large fan base.  Then Joy and June of  Buzzy Media put together the team of James Marsters, Jim Butcher and Harry Dresden, and created amazing Audible Books of The Dresden Files.  

Somewhere along the line, Nicholas Cage got involved and produced the one season series.  And the point is, it took a team, whose members come from California, Missouri, England, and North Carolina, to get Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden in front of me, but it happened, and in this high tech, scattered attention world in which we live and write, that's what it took. 

Maybe its time to by-pass the search for an agent, who will look for a publisher, and maybe find one, and instead find someone who believes in us, our writing, and our character; someone who will put together a team to take our Harry Dresden to the world.