The Inept Genius

Inept, a harsh word by definition. Yet used widely in all realms of media to describe anyone who misspells, misspeaks or missteps in public forum or physical place and time.

After browsing several online thesaurus and dictionary’s, I came away frustrated and even defensive. Synonyms like; clumsy, awkward, inappropriate, unskilled, and stupid popped up frequently in my searches. My favorites, “MALADROIT and GAUCHE”, what haughty gathering of “Horse-faced”, “Inbred Nobles” would one need to attend to hear such fancy degradation of another human being?!

I don’t get it. Why are we collectively so mean and why are we so good at it? What disturbs me more is that such language is more often directed at the less fortunate, less educated, the collective middle-lower class. (American Peasantry) seems more appropriate. That’s not to say that the oppressed and maligned are any less guilty. Since their voice has little affect on the upper class, they turn their frustration inward.

As for the upper class, (American Nobility) at least publicly, seem to be less vulnerable to the affects of bad press and snooty banter. They wield it among themselves like sabers dulled for the theater. At the end of Act One, everyone goes back to their glass towers and gated communities. No blood shed.

So what’s with the title of this piece, “The Inept Genius”? It was suppose to be about my father and to a lesser degree, myself. I was going to write about my father’s extreme intellect yet inability to follow through on most things. He was socially absent, yet could talk exhaustively “at you” about the gearing of a 1927 model X Duesenberg transmission, (that he rebuilt from original blueprints). The last a point never included unless asked. He had stacks of note books with mathematical equations and sketches of steam locomotives detailing the function of every part.

In the end, he died at 65 years of age from emphysema, a lifelong smoker of Raleigh non-filtered cigarettes, 4 packs a day.  And he was penniless, spending his last days in a nameless ward of a small county hospital.

His life in so many ways is a metaphor for our society. He was both a Nobleman and a Peasant. Where he was gifted with endless potential so are we as a collective. Where he failed to follow through so do we, both as Noblemen and Peasants.

It starts with our words and ends with our actions. Time will tell if we are able to follow through.

 

Note:  I only saw my father a couple weekends a year growing up. Those weekends were magical. I loved to hear him tell stories of running down to the train tracks to watch the steam locomotives come through town. We spent hours working on his model railroad and talking about cars, trucks and steamships. He had an album that had every article from the local newspaper that mentioned me in sports. I truly think I’m the only person he ever really heard when they spoke. I never felt so loved and important.

As for me, I’m working on being better at following through. I have a loving supportive wife that makes sure I hear when other people speak to me. And socially, I do pretty well. I hate small talk and avoid haughty people, although I can pretend when necessary. As far as genius.. What is that anyway? Success for me, is following through.

 

Managing Time

I just spent my valuable morning writing block reviewing the Writing Workshop of Chicago, May 14th, 2016. I just spent 20 more minutes eating cereal, staring at this first sentence and monitoring the time in the corner of my screen.

I’m now 40 minutes past my allotted time. The daily time I have set for writing is 9:00 am to 12 noon. So if I spent 20 minutes eating cereal then started writing again 40 minutes past my allotted time, WHERE DID THAT PRECIOUS 20 MINUTES GO?!.

Moving the 32 feet from the study to kitchen and back, taking a moment to pet our dog, Memphis the Mastiff, grabbing a handful of jellybeans…well, I guess that’s where it went.

I’ve never been to a writer’s conference or workshop. I’ve only been a serious writer for about 4 days…this time around. The Chicago workshop is only a 3 hour trip, so no overnight expenses, just cost of workshop and any extras, paid time with agents. etc.. I would have to take my wife. She’s my greatest advocate and best friend, not to mention, she remembers everything! So the cost just doubled. I don’t suppose they have a reduced rate for advocates and human dictation machines..?

Now it’s 20 after 1:00 pm. I’m suppose to be working up a bid for my first client with my new business, C.W. Hime Carpentry and Millworks. Don’t worry, I won’t let her down, she’s also a dear friend.

In assessing what I have done this week thus far; Monday I built my company webpage, www.cwhimecarpentry.com. Applied for a contractor’s license and reviewed state requirements. Blogged, motivated my unmotivated son to do something..he raked leaves. 

Tuesday I did a controlled burn on our property, visited my clients condo, took measurements and discussed designs. Oh, and wrote the first draft prologue for my novel, “Donor Farms”, which you can read here on my site, page link at the top.

Wednesday I blogged, worked on my business plan, took some calls regarding my retirement, did some heavy cleaning around the house-loaded the truck for the dump.

Thursday I wrote the story concept for “The Mud People”, the second in the series novel to “Donor Farms”. You can read both here on my site. It too, has a page link at the top. We then drove our son to be dropped off for a spring break family trip. that was a 3 hour round trip.

So here we are Friday morning..well now afternoon. I’ve been with you most of my day so far. I will spend the rest of the afternoon working on my bid and drawing some designs. My wife will be home from traveling with work about 6:30 pm.

I guess my week has gone pretty well. As far as blogging and writing, I’ve managed to gut something out everyday. Not bad volume for a two-fingered, 1 thumb-space bar typist.

Did I say my wife will be home from work at 6:30 pm and our son is away on spring break?! I can’t wait to see her!

Nothing to do About Rain

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It’s a rainy cold morning here on my hilltop. I took this picture off my deck just moments ago. The wide eaves of the house don’t allow for the traditional rainy day view. There are no raindrop laced windows to sell the mood. As you can see, the trees and fence are wet and a light mist rises from the distant lowland.

What is absent is the traditional wet pavement, umbrella’d pedestrians and sense of hurry and caution. There is no tranquil park for lovers to stroll in rain-soaked clothes, warmed by their hearts and lost in the moment.

The only signs of my being is the fence that keeps the dog in and the coyotes out. The hay field in it’s early spring awakening and the quarter mile long driveway that has nowhere to go today.

I suppose if I was a city folk, I would possibly find refuge in a type of brownstone, homogeneously tucked away among a dozen more. I would have a large rain-laced window to sit and ponder the lovers and umbrella’d pedestrians as they cautiously navigate the rain-soaked streets. I would wonder where they find refuge and what busyness drew them away from it on this rainy day.

Until recent, I lived in town far longer than I was ever meant to. And I have to admit, I spent little if any time in front of raindrop laced windows pondering anything. I did not take time to observe the silliness of lovers nor did I care about where all the umbrella’d pedestrians might seek refuge.

All that I knew was refuge was temporary and fleeting. I found it whenever I could, tucked between 12 hour shifts in ICU. Pedestrians were replaced with bodies, many many bodies. Raindrops were replaced with the blood and tears of lovers now faced with lose.

It will take some time on this hilltop and a lot of rain to wash away the blood and tears, to silence the weeping of lovers and to allow me to ponder where all those umbrella’d pedestrians might find refuge.

These are the truths as I know them; The rain will always come. The coyotes will always want inside of your fences. There will always be more bodies. Refuge is in the heart, whether on a hilltop or tucked away in a Brownstone.

As for those lovers, well that would be me and my wife. And I can’t wait to stroll in the rain, warmed by our hearts, lost in the moment. I love you Sateash

“I recently retired after 25 years in healthcare/critical care.  My truth; I am a carpenter, I am a writer, I am no longer a warrior…my war is over.”

 

 

Getting Published Over 50

I suppose that title should specify, getting published over 50 for the first-time author. Some time back I read an article, possibly in Writer’s Digest, that suggested that it was difficult for a first-time author to have work accepted after 50 years of age. The concern being that you might not have more than one or two books in you.

As a writer with a plethora of material in different states of development and a fertile mind that borders on being distracting, I would like to know if there is any ground in this notion.

I will plainly admit that I have not one finished manuscript to test this idea with. Having recently retired from healthcare, I plan on changing that.

Then there’s traditional versus self-publishing. I have done a great deal of prior research on the traditional method. I’m not opposed to self-publishing. I guess my first ignorant response to the idea was “great, lets just flood the market with a lot of useless material and give haven to all the idiots that don’t get it, they suck”.

Not to be mean spirited but most writer’s clubs has one or two. And during shared reading it feels more like an AA meeting and you’re listening to that one guy. You know, the one everyone knows is still drinking and everyone knows he’s still lying about it.

So I throw this out there; if anyone knows what the truth to this notion is, could you share it here on this blog. And no, the truth either way, will not dissuade me from my passion. I’m here to stay and with plenty of time to test this new ground.

 

 

“Much About Nothing” by C.W. Hime

Before I’ve written a word, I’m already sidetrack by the obsessive nature of my tendencies. I think I would like to eliminate the periods following the “C” and the “W’ in my name. It’s my father’s name actually, Charles William.

I use his name because I’m proud he was mine and I think a man like him should not go unnoticed. My father lived his life largely isolated, even from the few friends he had and most certainly, family save his mother and me.

Ironically, he went by Bill. He hated Charles and any of it’s synonyms like Charlie or Chuck. And if irony had a brother it would be this notion, my name is Bill, William Edward to be exact. I hate Edward and go by C.W. to honor my father!

Now none of this has anything to do with me wanting to write “CW” in lieu of “C.W.”. One could argue that “C.W.” is grammatically correct and I suppose it does look a bit more polished. But “CW” is easier to type, takes up less space and confuses the analytical fool that spends too much time staring at and pondering absurdly what kind of name is “CW”?!

Now if ironies brother had a sister it would be this, Grandma Hime was called “Mammy”, but her name was Ethel. I do not think she disliked being called Ethel or grandma or grandmother.

So here comes ironies sister’s illegitimate baby, my dad never addressed her with any of those, he just called her mom. Go figure…

And now you know too much about nothing. C.W. Hime

“Unlike Mr. Hemingway Continues” by C.W. Hime

Wow, how time steals from the things we love. Nonetheless, I am here. I see my last comments were June 12 of last year. So much life has happened since. So much time stolen…and perhaps wasted. After all, there is always some personal accountability is there not?
I turned 55 this year. I turned 54 last year and 53 the year before that. I see a trend here with no end in site. One might be tempted to point to the obvious, “death”.
But I would argue that if one is a spiritual person then death is only a step towards eternity. Or, if one is successful enough to have their life celebrated by the masses, it could be said that Mr. Hemingway will be 117 years old on his birthday, July 21st. Now that’s a life well lived! …I will deliberately forego mentioning he took his own life 19 days short of his 62nd birthday.
Hmm, I wonder what about 62 troubled him so?

Personally, I’m looking forward to 117. I hope I’ve actually done something more than write another paragraph or 2 once a year. That would be 70 or so paragraphs collectively over the course of the next 62 years. That’s not prolific, and very unlike Mr. Hemingway.

Unlike Mr. Hemingway, by C.W.Hime

I find myself sitting here in a labyrinth of my creation. Years of success and failure stacked precariously like ancient Greek columns rising from every available flat surface. A library of books and periodicals spreads from shelves to floor in an organized chaos that only I understand.
Here, I’m comfortable, surrounded by all that represents all of me. Every thought I ever committed to text lays before me. Every mood, cause, notion and whimsy lays here recorded. If I were to vanish from this earth, this would be my footprint.
This is where anyone who cared about me would come to touch what is left of me. Perhaps they would read through these pages and in doing so, hear my voice and feel my passion. Perhaps, the one I love the most, would sit at my desk, fingers tracing my doodles, comforted by the cologne of my scent and old leather as the arms of my chair wrap around her.
This is what I imagined it would be like ever since reading an article about Ernest Hemingway when I was fourteen years old. I think it was in National Geographic magazine and there where several black and white stills included. The one that captured me was of Mr. Hemingway wearing a house coat or robe. There he stood in a room much like I described above, frozen in time. He held a pad and pencil, appearing to stare off in thought.
The article went on to explain that this was his favorite way to write. I found this fascinating knowing in his early years he earned his bread and butter as a war correspondent. I can only guess he had some mad typing skills, something that seems to have eluded me over the years.
I’m at my best writing with a yellow legal pad and #2 pencil, Ticonderoga Wood-cased #2 HB to be exact. Unlike Mr. Hemingway, this is out of necessity rather than option. I have more than a few, “unlike Mr. Hemingway’s”.

Unlike Mr. Hemingway, I have no such room as described above. I have not amassed my life’s work in any such quantity. In fact, recently I have been going through my old writings and much to my dismay I’m afraid I can barely clutter my desk. So many starts and stops. I know there was more, between three moves and ultimately a divorce, things just seem to disappear.
It would be easy enough to run with this notion but lamenting rarely has the power to promote anything positive.
I did not start writing again to walk through barren fields.

As I stand today, what I see is tillable land with good dirt. The seed remains strong. I have never felt so free to write as do now at this stage of my life. I have never had such a partner as my wife. She is my crusader and a believer in who and what I am.
With every hour I write I’m building those columns. I own the books and like mushrooms, there always seems to be more. But unlike at fourteen, I realize those columns of notes and manuscripts exist by default. They’re the by-product of doing. My hope is for them to be read, to be published.
Words that remain sheathed and unread, serve no other purpose than to quiet the one who wrote them.

Our lives are measured in many ways and differently for each of us. Often we are measured by others. But people are a finicky thing. They come and go. And there is no uniformity to the measuring stick they use. So it falls upon those who love us and who know us. We should measure ourselves by how faithful we have been to our passion and to those we father and to those we call wife and husband.

Unlike Mr. Hemingway, I still have the opportunity to do all these things. We should not waste a day walking through barren land. This is tillable soil, the seed is strong. Unsheathe your words and go forth.

“The Monsters of Men” by C.W. Hime, 2nd of a young readers summer series/thriller. Character introduction, “Skinner”

Rhrup…Rhrup…Rhrup..”Come on Susie!” pleads Skinner under his breath.  Rhrup..Rhrup..Rhrup….”Dammit!” Susie, ever faithful, isn’t giving Skinner anything tonight. Frustrated, Skinner settled back on the seat of his 16 foot aluminum john-boat. With a couple of heavy breaths, he stared at the old Johnson outboard. Susie, was a relic even by Louisiana standards, but she was Grand-pappy’s motor and until tonight, never failed to start.

With daylight fading fast, Skinner’s eyes trace the surrounding swamp. What was familiar, even comfortable an hour ago, wears a mask where truth hides in shadows and fear stares back. Nobody spends the night in the “Black Hole”, not even Skinner…

Assessing the Next Ten Years…

I will start this by saying I’ve been here before. I’ve done a great deal of “assessing” all along the way of my 54 years. Many paths and opportunities have come and gone such as being a Navy Seal, Deep-water welder/diver, wildlife illustrator, shipwright and captain on a tall ship.

I wanted to explore the Pacific Northwest in search of Sasquatch, not for exploitation but to satisfy the heart of a young boy’s recurring dreams of seeing this creature in the distance and it looking back at me. These dreams were always peaceful and welcomed into my sleep.

I always wanted to see a true UFO, something not of this earth. Now that I have a family I do have some reservation on this one. I think it is as likely we would find ourselves livestock in a now interstellar feedlot as to having any meaningful interchange of knowledge or peace. We are not very good at peace and I’m sure that any travelers from outside our solar system would have figured that out before arrival.

There were more of these wants, desires and notions that came and went along the way. Their specifics elude me at the moment and lend no more insight to this assessment. What I can say is that all these notions caused me to do one thing every time, to research, read everything I could find on the subject. I would seek out the people who were doing these things I considered for myself. At 54 years old, I now realize that none of this was a waste of time. I learned. This is not a conclusion I have come to during past assessments. I can thank my beautifully smart wife for this new revelation.

There are a few paths or opportunities that have been a constant. They have been secured in part because to some measure I have participated in their endeavor. I am a writer, I am a carpenter, and I am a warrior…I think this word better suits me than survivor.

I left out being a caregiver, i.e. a Respiratory Therapist, for good reason. I did not dream, wish nor aspire to be this. This is what I have done for a living for nearly 25 years. It served it’s purpose. It was picked up as a tool of war. A very selfish and deliberate act exercised by an obsessed father, a warrior, to fight on behalf of my daughter, Sarah.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I think it’s fair to say that I’m good at it, but it is no longer my war. It continues to provide my household with a reasonably secure income and will need to do so for the foreseeable future. At some point it will end and i hope that I can in some way leave a positive mark on this profession. (I hope that satisfies my co-workers.)

That leaves me with who and what I am.

I am a writer. I want to be an author generating income from that which I love. I am sitting on twelve outlines,drafts and/or synopses for short stories, novellas and epic series novels. I am prepared to pursue this with purpose and vigor.

I am a carpenter. I want to build museum quality historical ship models. I have been working on designs for one of a kind custom watch winder cabinets and humidors. All of which is on the way to becoming a reality, largely due to the support of my incredible wife.

As I said, I’ve been here before. What makes this time or it’s outcome different? I do. It starts with me, it always has. With reasonable fairness one has to attribute their current circumstances to either aiding or hindering the process as well. Things have changed. Moving through the course of your life that is a given. I do not live in the state of war I did for nineteen years. I have a wife who supports and believes in who I am. I do not have a desperate need to figure things out or force them to happen.

How do I get started…I already have. At this very moment I am writing. I will use my wordpress page to share excerpts from my manuscripts and updates to progress. I will use this blog feed to continue to document this journey.

“Eddy Bose”, 1st of a young readers summer series/Thriller

The summer’s night air was cool with a hint of honeysuckle. Crickets and tree frogs sounded off the coming of another summer night. In the distance, Peter could hear the whistle of the “Dixie Bell”, as she announced her nightly pass through the village of Gettysburg. Glancing at his bedside alarm clock, Peter noted the time, 10:51 pm. Always on time, the last of the old steam engines, the “Dixie Bell” ran freight East to West then back, across central Ohio.

Now 10:57, Peter could feel the slow increasing vibration as the trained neared his house. Peter sat up, reached under his pillow and pulled out his boy scout flashlight. He then quickly crawled to the end of his bed, leaned on the open window sill, shining his light at the tracks. Peter leaned further out window, peering down the tracks. Trees, yards and houses were but silhouettes against the low glow of the town’s night sky. Two houses down, Peter could see a light shining out the window. Like every night of summer, his best friend “Jelly Bean”, his real name “Horatio”,  had joined him. Jelly Bean directed his light at Peter. Responding in kind, the two shared a code only known to 10 year old boys.

The Dixie Bell was upon them. Crickets and tree frogs were quickly replaced with the slow thunderous, pulsing crawl of the old steam locomotive as she tried in vain, to tip toe through the sleeping town. Steel grinds and squeals as wheels clack against railroad ties and track. Dixie’s load tonight, empty boxcars returning to the Lima yard, another 50 miles East.

Peter aimed his flashlight at the open doors of the boxcars. “There they are,” Peter whispered to himself.” His light dimly crossing the faces of men riding the rails – Hobos. The count was different every night. A few were familiar and would wave. Others were lifeless and unknown. 40 cars in all, six riders he could see. A dozen more boxcars past, nothing, then there he was. Not like the others, he stared back. A menacing smile tight across his face. The hobo raised his left hand pointing at Peter then drew his thumb across his throat in a cutting motion, spitting in the boy’s direction. As quick as it happened, the last of the train disappeared from Peter’s light.