Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Too Many Mornings


Too Many Mornings
by Fred Owens
I wrote a memoir covering 28 years of constant moves and changes of occupation. I chose this 28-year span because it is about a journey in search of a home. I make occasional comments questioning the wisdom and judgment of my decisions along the lines of “why did I possibly think that was a good idea?”

Here it begins--

Too many mornings I woke up in different places because I kept moving.
I lived in Kansas, Chicago, Mississippi, Texas, Los Angeles, the Skagit Valley in Washington State, and Boston. Then I moved back to the Skagit Valley one more time.

It doesn’t make much sense to move around like that. It was poor thinking on my part, but at least I got out of Oklahoma.

We had done a lot of traveling, hitchhiking around the country and riding freight trains,but in February of 1976, Susan Simple and I got married. We decided to settle down and live like normal people in a house and have children and get jobs.

That was our plan, but it didn’t work out that way. We tried to stay in one place, but we kept moving anyway. I can’t explain it, but I can tell you what happened.

The theme is the writer's failed attempt to settle down, and so the title is  Too Many Mornings.  He kept moving. Wife, then two kids, didn't matter, kept moving anyways. No home. Got to be a dreary habit. The dull and sad existence of one more trip down the road. That's why I liked writing this memoir -- because it's a sad story, and those are the best stories after all.

And why read it? Because you will like this man, and you will be on his side and want good things for him and share his sorrow. This man does not give up, and when you read his story, you will not give up on him.

It's a short manuscript at 60,000 words. My girl friend read it and she liked it but she said it was too short -- that some passages should be written out a little more. She might be right. It seems that for the most part I wrote the short version of events.

I avoided confession and defended my privacy -- which is a tricky thing when you are writing a memoir. What that means is that I just left some stuff out of the memoir. You can read between the lines........ I was not going to trash my ex-wife. Blame her? Too easy. She was impossible, she ruined everything......... No, not going there.

Or formal courtesies? "While I respected and admired my ex-wife in many ways, yet the silence grew between us and we wondered if our lives were headed for separate destinies"  ---- that is so fake, the truth is we fought like wild animals for 12 years, fought to exhaustion.

I failed at networking last week.  I want to get this memoir published, so I need to find the people who can do it. The trouble is that I don't know anybody.

It makes a huge difference if you know anybody. Publishers ceaselessly search for new talent, but they are not willing to take meetings with writers they don't know. That is the zen koan of publishing.
So here is what happened. I'm sitting at the coffee shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice. Lots of people come in here. Players and posers. People who are working, people who act like they are working. I sit with Eric the godfather. He is 76 and all the players come to him -- he never lies, he doesn't need to lie.
In comes  Adam, a scriptwriter -- not a famous writer but he makes a living in a very tough business. Adam takes a seat on the bench next to me, says hello, and then talks to Eric about this project and that project and why he is so busy doing various projects.
Adam is bragging, but slowly, and softly, not like he's the only guy in the room. He even looks over at me now and then and pauses.
This is my fucking chance, for Pete's sake. Adam is giving me a chance. He looks at me again and pauses. This is my chance to brag about what I am doing, and my projects and how busy I am and what difficulties I have over come.
Flog the manuscript, you dummy! This is your chance! But no, I feel shy. I feel embarrassed. Why would Adam want to hear about another dumb memoir? Why would he care about what I wrote?
So I said nothing. Networking fail.  Adam continues to talk with Eric.Then he gets up to leave. I'm kicking myself.
This was just a small thing, and I will have other opportunities -- but it was a chance to know somebody who knows somebody who can get things done and that's how things get done around here.
It's not over. I will flog this manuscript. The words I wrote compel me to make it known. I just think it's a pretty good story.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

send mail to:

Fred Owens
35 West Main St Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001

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