Why I Write, Summed Up In A Picture.

I love writing and I love pie. Given a choice between the two, I’m going for a third option:

My book friends.

Today, at the Louisville Author Event, my friend Cindy Calloway’s husband was kind enough to bake a pie, which Cindy brought me. Pecan. Home made. (delicious, by the way)

Background: Three years ago at my first signing, in Knoxville, TN, Cindy was a volunteer. She was fun, professional, passionate about books, and has turned into a wonderful friend.

Cindy and my other book friends are the reason I write. They’re readers, fans, friends, and allies. They show up. They support writers. They READ, a lot. They’re the best thing to ever happen to someone who decided to write a book at the age of 43, fell in love with writing, and sees no end in sight.

Without further ado, a few names of friends who were here today, and other days. I’ll update again and again as I naturally remember more people, but this is just a start.

Cindy

Lorie

Christine

Mary

James

Kenneth

Jen

Nova

Wren

Tasha

Kelly

Melissa

Nancy

Brad

Tim

Karen

Lile

Amy

Patricia

Grace

Tracy

Jonny

Kayte

Katy

Katie

Kelly

Cat

Net

Rebecca

Jim

Dan

Ronnie

Jo

That’s a representation of this week. I have an embarrassment of riches in friends, and I am incredibly thankful.

Cheers,

Terry

 

I love you.

I am forty-eight, and I have achieved a kind of balance where I can now tell my friends I love them.

It’s liberating and invigorating and a lot of other action verbs (gerunds, I think) and I’ve waited my entire life for the satisfaction of having friends– some who have known me for thirty years or more– to whom I can say, without hesitation, “I love you.”

Yes, we may accompany this with an awkward male hug or no hug at all, but it’s an unexpected benefit of aging that, up until recently, had been wholly unknown to me.

I anticipated the aches and pains, the, ahem, thickening around the midsection. The, ahem, lines of character, hard earned and now worn as an emblem of experience and a life well lived.

What I did not anticipate is what I’ve seen older men doing around me all my life. They are both sweeter– yes, sweeter– and meaner all at once, a contradiction I’d previously only found in childish candy and chocolate milk on the verge of spoilage. It’s a heady sensation to me, since I (among everyone who knows me) am most surprised to see myself here, on the cusp of fifty– happy, rich with friends, and able to put away the concerns of a younger man.

I think it’s the best of both worlds. In my mind, I am twenty-something, an impervious wall of the me I knew from mirrors long ago, but a construct; a thing that existed only at a glance.

I like this aspect of me a great deal more. My son senses it. My bride, too.

I think getting older means that going slower means we are free. Free to say things likeĀ I love you without irony or care.

I’m also closer to the senior discount at Denny’s, andĀ yes, I will use it.

I’m a man!

 

Old Books, Dinosaurs, and Being Terrible At Math

I didn’t bother to look it up. What qualifies as Antique?

I know I’m getting perilously close to being old because the books I read as a kid are now valuable. My school lunchbox is probably worth a hundred bucks, easily, and that’s assuming I don’t clean out the fossilized peanut butter residue. The difference between old books and antiques is that I read my books and enjoy them. I don’t gaze at them, dust them, or forget about them as a relic of a bygone era. And I may be strange for saying this, but old books just smell good.

My Bookshelf:
From the age of four, my bookshelf centered on the following topics:
1. Dinosaurs
2. Rockets
3. Volcanoes
4. Dragons
5. Monsters
6. Fossils
7. Any combination of the above, but in space.
I present exhibit one, a 1956 volume that is now so out of date is exists only as a relic. Sort of the way I will be someday, but with less complaining about the temperature of my soup. 

Let’s take a look inside this beauty.

Gorgeous. I love everything about this book. From the tales of hunting fossils in the Gobi Desert to Montana, it’s amazing.
I also learned that my love for reading had some serious effects on my life. Case in point: while other students were actually doing math, I was busy writing stories about aliens that came up from secret tunnels in the bottom of farm ponds which naturally connected to another dimension and oh by the way, they look a lot like snapping turtles. I present the following evidence from 1983, my Freshman year of high school:

Ouch. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a student who will go on to achieve great things in History.
I’ve been pawing through my old books; there are titles in my collection that I’d nearly forgotten, but when I pick them up the entire story floods back to me like a returning tide. I love my old books. They’re a record of what I was doing (or not doing–math) and not unlike an old group of friends who will wait for your forever. Books are loyal. Stories are permanent, as long as we remember them.

And Algebra is the devil.