My Life: A Game of Stitches

While I was young I spent a lot of time outdoors. This meant I got dirty, a lot. Not just your average run of the mill grass stains on the knee area of your jeans dirty. More like, hey look mom! I jumped into a pile of what we thought was dirt but was manure, dirty.

I and my two brothers, Chris and Bryan (we call him Moe) were always trying something  new which meant one of us would be hospitalized or injured for at least a day. We’d say things like ‘I bet we could jump over that!’ or ‘how about we sled off the roof!’ and ‘let’s cut some branches out of that tree so we can climb higher to jump down onto the trampoline’.

Other activities included ‘one pump’ bee-bee gun wars (without eye protection, yes what were we thinking!) and shooting bottle rockets at each other leaving black burns and small fires all over our yard and occasionally our pants.

Behind my parents house is a field that rotates corn and soybeans. Behind that is a pond. So, as our neighborhood was filled with boys, one winter we decided to play ice hockey.

Now, when a group of boys gets together things tend to get a little violent, especially if parents aren’t around.  So we didn’t just play hockey. We called it ‘full contact’ Ice hockey. What did this mean? Well after about six games four of us were in stitches, and one boy who begged his father to let him come (I think his dad was an English teacher and he was familiar with Lord of the Flies) was sent home with a long gash down his nose.

That was the end of full contact ice hockey. We still played roller hockey in the summer and we would go back and skate occasionally but that was the one of the few times the reality of life set in and we all realized that we could get hurt. That is, until the next boy said, ‘Hey I have my license. Why don’t we pull you on a skateboard behind my car!’



Why I Listen To Audio Books

I love listening to an author read their book. Now some of you might recall an author who gave an awfully monotone rendition leaving you wondering how they could have composed such a beautiful story. So, let me rephrase that. I like to listen to MOST authors read their books.

The reason for this might be as simple as they know the characters and thus know how they might sound in conversation. Another reason is because you hear the intended inflection of each sentence as it was supposed to be heard, unlocking the story even more.

William Golding

For the last few years I have been on a classic binge. This romp has taken me through most of Dickens’ work, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, C. S. Lewis, and Ray Bradbury. Thus, one of my most recent library borrows was William Goldings’ Lord of the Flies.

Mr. Golding, though terribly old at the reading, can deliver a story. His introduction was spectacular and his ability to deliver a line was clear from the first sentence. He painted word pictures effortlessly and just listening to the first few chapters left a vivid impression of the story he wrote.

Recently, I was instructed to work on pacing. Working on structure or verb agreement is much easier. Pacing seems ethereal, like trying to investigate something in a spirit world using scientific instruments. So, besides getting critiques from my writing friends, listening to audio books is the best way I know how to glean this part of the writing craft.

Listening to audio books has helped me more than I expected. It has given me perspective and a glimpse of pacing. It has also given me something to do on the way to and from work each day.

Do you like to listen to audio books? If so, why? Do you use it as a tool to become a better writer?