85 YEARS OF LIVING

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We went to Portland, Oregon, last week to celebrate my father-in-laws 85th birthday.  Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I spent the time at dinner getting to know him and his history.

He was born in Baker City, Oregon and grew up there.  He wanted to be a rancher, but circumstances changed the direction of his life and he worked at a local Texaco station.  At one point he found out there was a bigger station available in Boise, Idaho so they moved.

After five years he burned out, working seven days a week.  After taking some time to decide what he wanted to do next, he discovered he had knack for accounting and started to get his degree at Boise Junior College.  In the middle of his tenure there it became Boise College, the forerunner to BSU.

He had several accounting jobs in his career and eventually retired from the state of Idaho and moved to Portland.

His favorite subject is history and I got him to talk about his perspective on FDR, World War II and just his life in general.  If I could talk him into it, I would invite him to write a column for this blog about his point of view of history and the changes he has witnessed in his eighty-five years of living.  So far I haven’t been successful, but I will keep trying.

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A WOULD BE ACTOR OR WHY I LIKE WRITING FICTION

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I am a would-be actor.  I would be an actor if I had the temperament for it.  I don’t.

The sticking point was rehearsing.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole reason for rehearsals.  Everybody needs to be on the same page, so to speak.  Lines have to be memorized and blocking has to be worked out.  I get all of that.

I just never quite got the hang of liking it.  In fact, when I directed television and had to rehearse, I liked it even less, even though I was in charge of the circus.

That’s why, when I had a chance, I stayed in radio.  No rehearsals.  Just read the script a little ahead of time, open the mic, do my thing, close the mic and wander off to do something else.  And, I got PAID.

Now, what does this have to do with writing fiction?  Easy!  I can be the producer, director and actors all at the same time.  I don’t have to go to a theater to rehearse and I can tell the actors what to say and do without having to debate whether the character would say what I have in mind (besides, it all gets fixed in the rewrites.)

I can be anyone, anything and set the story anywhere and anytime.  If I set it in the past, of course, there needs to be some research to make everything feel authentic.  If I set the storyline far enough in the past or into the future, I can pretty much make things up as I go.

I am the master of my imaginary world.  A dictator with a computer! And, I don’t have to worry about being deposed.  If my plans don’t work out, I simply hit the delete button and start over.

Best of all – No Rehearsals!

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