Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Long ago and far away

1991-I had just gotten back from Desert Storm and a tour of duty in Iraq. In the Army I was a tank mechanic, repaired vehicles that now only exist in museums. Considering I was anything but a good soldier Desert Storm was probably one of the better things that ever happened to me. There was once I almost gotten sent to Levinworth prison in fact because of going AWOL for several days. The Captain decided it was better for the Army and myself if I were just given my walking papers. That was a few years earlier though and in 1990 I volunteered to do a tour of duty in Desert Storm. It had the great effect of making me honorably discharged and cleaned up my military file nicely.
While over there I decided that I wanted to get published after I got back. I didn't care how, I just wanted to get published somehow somewhere. After taking a little look around I decided that poetry was maybe the easiest to succeed in. It was too, ended up getting a couple of poems published in some small monthly publications. It took some work to get there though, I sat down and came up with a plan to do it. I realized that I couldn't read or write too well which needed to be remedied first. There was no way around that fact. If you can't read or write well you're not getting published anywhere.
Within a week I purchased a manual typewriter, a ream of paper and typing book. Each day I would learn typing for about six months, managed to start typing about 40 words per minute accurately. I'll always fondly remember that Smith Corona Galaxy typewriter and all of the time I spent with it. During that first week also I purchased a Collegiate dictionary and a Scientific American. Both of those came from a second hand store. Over the same weeks I began learning to touch type I read the dictionary from cover to cover. Also, I had the dictionary out while trying to read the Scientific American magazine I purchased. Had to do that as I couldn't understand about a third of the words there. It was around this time I also obtained a subscription to the magazine.
About three months into this learning experience I began to write and submit poetry. Another two or three months I was published and I was so proud of that. It took a lot of work though, had to set aside a major portion of my life to succeed. It built skills that I still use to this day and it's also why I keep a typing manual around always. Though I don't use it much it is something that is important to me and will always be, I treasure it. This experience more than anything gave me a great respect for learning. It's also helped to make me the author that I am today with books that have been published. So, never stop learning is the key I wish to impart today. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone, powered by Cricket.

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