Travails

Well, haven’t been writing. Not on paper. Or computer. Have been writing in my head.

My wife wanted (needed, she claims) a vacation. COVID-19, you know. Sheltering with me, you know. And the cats. She thought she was going a little crazy.

Her sister called. Hey, she and her boyfriend were coming west. His children (and his children’s children) live on the west coast. He hadn’t seen them for almost two years except on Zoom. So. Would we like to meet up in Seattle? The boyfriend’s son lives in Kent and the boyfriend lived in Seattle for years before retiring from Boeing. He can show us around.

Difficult for me. And yes, selfishly, I was thinking of me. I’m already a frustrated writer. Now I was being asked to travel and surrender more time. More energy. I’m quite jealous of my writing time, by choice. See, I wanted to pursue writing for a looonng time. But I was in the military. Traveling, writing on the side. My wife wanted me to stay in, get my pension. Smart financially. Good security. So I sucked it up and stayed in.

I was 39 when I retired from the military. The plan was that we would now move to somewhere where we could survive on my pension and write. But, she then got a job in advertising that she liked. Could we please stay there, in the SF Bay Area?

I was employed by startups, then was acquired by corporations. Made very good money along the way doing jobs that weren’t too hard. It all meant deferring my writing dream. I ended up staying with IBM for fifteen years after they acquired one of the companies I was at. Yes, good money but soul-sucking employment. No fun for me, for the most part. Some challenges but mostly tedium.

So, this is my state of mind. I am now sixty-five. I’ve been writing and reading, improving my writing and story-telling skills (or hope so, you know?), trying to get to know my muses and discover my voice. It’s a challenge. I love that challenge. COVID-19 was a serious interruption. Just as I felt that I was finally making substantial strides forward.

Writing the current novel-in-progress took me through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021. I then discovered that I was trying to tell the story in the wrong way. So, recalibrated. Took all that previously written stuff as background work. And kept going, now on the right path.

It’s exciting. Then, vacation. Preparation for vacation. I’m not social. The vacation meant committing to being social. Delaying my writing efforts for another week. But what’s another week, right? Sure. Rationally, I reply, it’s just seven days or so. With writer’s angst, I tell you, it’s a painful and frustrating interruption. An unwanted interruption. The conversation with the muses was going well. I was having a good time. Who likes to stop a good time?

But I try to be a good husband and some kind of contributing member of society. So, the time was taken. The vacation done. Good for me? Sure. Aren’t I nice? You betcha.

Back in the writing seat today. Picking up those story strings that emerged as I was on a ship in Seattle, walking a street, driving the Interstate, observing a person, sipping coffee, gazing at a street scene, etc. You never know when they’ll come.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Again.

A Teaching Dream

First, I was required to fly an F-16 fighter jet. Flying the F-16 was just the beginning. I was told, not taught, how to do it, and then did it, no problem. Flying it was like walking with my arms extended to me. I delighted in it. Then the troubles began. I was immediately given a mission. It was at night, with bad weather. I rushed to leave, but oh, no, I forgot my oxygen mask and helmet. Couldn’t find them. Someone else, with derision, gave me another. There were a few other small problems but I put them aside and completed the mission.

After landing, I had a black backpack full of money. Well, other things were in there, but I had many stacks of bundled bills, too. I realized that I had to keep an eye on it. Others were present and trying to steal it. I kept catching them at it, so I didn’t lose any money.

Next, I was selected to teach others. We were being taught to teach something that required twelve steps. After we were given cursory instructions in a classroom, we were given a part to teach. My part of it was ‘supply chain logistics’. A class of new adult students were herded in. The class was about fifty. Someone else began teaching their module. The students were disruptive and the new instructor didn’t take control or even introduce himself. He did a poor job, which our teacher pointed out. I was chosen to go next. I began and realized that I didn’t have my notes or my laptop with my slides. No worries, I’d wing it. Two students, a tall male and female, got into an argument. They stood and walked around, shouting. I went to them and told them firmly to sit down. They did, and I resumed teaching. We were forced to move to the left side of the room because someone else needed the other side. People began going in and out of the classroom. I continued trying to teach. The students started interrupting; I restored order among the group and kept going. Half of the students left. The teacher left, and the other instructors left, but I kept going on, talking to them about the importance of communications, including feedback. As I taught them, I became more comfortable and confident, even though the interruptions grew and confusion swirled around the class. Other groups were meeting in the room, forcing me and my students to circle our desks. Weirdly, I wasn’t in the center of the desks, but walking around the outside, talking to the students. They kept trying to play stump the teacher but I wasn’t having it.

That’s when the dream ended. Funny, but in writing this, it seems very short, but it was lengthy and detailed dream, full of interactions with students and outsiders, and details that I used as examples, like types of aircraft, or making a shopping list and sending someone else to the store. A vey involved dream.

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