A different kind of story
If you’ve been following my column these past few weeks you’ll know my life has been pretty hectic. I’ve been driving back and forth between Hayward and Colby trying to help my dear friend Jo’s husband.
Sometimes it feels like I am accomplishing something while other times I feel like I am Sisyphus, pushing his rock up the hill, only to see it fall back down.
Somedaysit’shardtoknowif I’veevenmade any progress. As a journalist that can be frustrating. When it comes to producing a product and seeing progress, I can see the newspaper unfolding in front of me, see my sports section come to life with each new word.
But life isn’t as easy as pairing pictures with stories, and when life deals you a serious blow, it’s important to have something to cling to, like the proverbial chunk of wood after a shipwreck.
For me, writing has always been a comfort. Sometimes I write stories for the paper, but other times, when I have some spare moments, I like to write short stories or just little anecdotes and see where it takes me.
Over the years I’ve even written novels. Some will remain hidden from the world, as they were truly nothing special and mostly derivative. Other stories are decent, could use a little polishing, and might become something.
Some stories I’ve devoted hours to, worked to find the right turn of phrase or the precise description.
It was Mark Twain who once famously declared that “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
I never understood what he meant until I tried my hand at writing. But it’s true. The right word can tie everything together and it’s almost like magic when a story comes together. One of the biggest challenges I ever set out for myself was to write and finish a novel and then publish that novel. I am happy to say I accomplished this feat five years ago. Back in 2015 I finished my first science fiction novel, titled “The Telepath” and put it up on Amazon as an e-book. It came out two weeks before my father passed, and he had a chance to read it before he died. It was always a secret pleasure of mine when I could surprise my father, and my book impressed him. I would have written more, but after his death I found it hard to write science fiction or fantasy stories. Sports is easy in my eyes because the narrative is already there - someone did something and this is how they did it. But Jo’s recent death reminds me that life is like the lightning - it flashes and dazzles and is gone. So it is that I went back to my science fiction series and started writing again. It will be fun seeing where the story takes me. Perhaps in time I will even share it.
M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS
ROSS PATTERMANN REPORTER