Flights of Mind to Pen and Paper
A Boy Enjoying Flights of Mind
The words “Flights of Mind” never entered my mind when I was a young boy growing up in a small town in Michigan. As I recall, East Leroy consisted of thirty-two houses and perhaps a couple hundred people. The road into town crossed a small creek that circled around and crossed a second dirt road leading into town. Ours was the only house on the east side of the road, and the creek was less than a football field’s length down the road from our house.
Between our house and the creek were a swampy area and the town dump. My upstairs bedroom window looked out toward the swamp, dump, creek, and the woods beyond. That window provided many flights of mind. I would lie on my bed and gaze out on a wonderful fantasy realm where knights rode chargers and Robin Hood roamed.
My best friend and I would dam up the creek, build a raft to sail the high seas, don an eye patch and take up our wooden swords, and clash with Blackbeard and his best. Well, either that or drift the Mississippi. I was Tom Sawyer and my friend was Huckleberry Finn. There were a couple of junk cars in the dump. I was a race car driver reaching unheard of speeds, sliding around corners, laughing raucously. My mind was filled with stories— fantastic flights of mind!
One of our family games was the Authors card game. It involved collecting such authors as Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe and others. As I played I thought, “I would like to be an author someday, write my flights of mind, create stories.”
Flights of Mind and My Teen Years
As I entered my teen years I finally took up pen and paper. I primarily wrote poems and fanciful story form essays. Once in high school I wrote for our two school newspapers, sports reporting for one and general articles for the other. I made a couple of submissions to Reader’s Digest—never heard back. Revisiting those articles years later was cause for embarrassment. Most of the writing I did in my college days was class compositions—A’s and one B+. I did have some poems published during those years, and I continued to write now and then story form essays. I had story writing on my mind, but my priorities were focused elsewhere.
Flights of Mind in Ministry
Once I was in the ministry I wrote several ministry-related magazine articles, and continued to write poetry. It was in the late 70s when I was pastoring a church in Bremerton, Washington that I finally put my pen to paper and let the stories that occupied my mind begin to flow forth. Although it was years later before it was published, Accidental Heroes was the first series of stories I wrote. The Helot and Dark Danger are available in paperback and e-book formats, and the third book in the series, Terminus, just became available. Over the ensuing years I honed these stories while writing others. But I have to admit there were also times when I felt like giving up. I wondered if my stories were really worth the effort. In fact, there were times when my dream of becoming a published author seemed more like a nightmare.
Flights of Mind Honing Skills
Part of the process of developing my writing skills to a point where I could dream again was attending the Seattle Pacific University writer’s conference each year and joining a fantasy sci-fi writers’ group. I was a part of that group for nearly twelve years. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable a good writers’ group is to the skill-honing process. The end result of it all is that my flights of mind flowed out in story and the stories have become books. A childhood dream engendered by author cards has become reality.
So why tell my story? I tell it to encourage hopeful authors to “stick with it!” Furthermore, the lessons from my story, patience and persistence, have a broad application. What is your dream? What is your goal? Be patient! Keep at it!
Can you relate to my story? Did you have flights of mind that demanded to be uncaged? What is your story? Engage with me in the comment box below.