November 11th is Veterans’ Day in the United States.
My dad was an armorer (US Army) in Vietnam. I shared an office for two-and-a-half years with someone who was former 82nd Airborne during the Gulf War. A professor at the college where I used to work IT is a veteran of both the Army and Marines. And the dad of one of my best friends retired from the US Army.
I’m not one to play the ‘what if’ game or sit and speculate about the roads I haven’t traveled over the course of my life. By and large, I like how I’ve turned out. Who I’ve become. And I don’t feel that I can really say that and mean it if I also harbor thoughts like, “Oh… I wish I would’ve done this” or “I wish I would’ve done that.”
One of the roads that I didn’t take was joining the US Navy. I have wondered from time to time how my life would be different if I cared enough to chase the grades and be co-valedictorian of my high school class, then pursue acceptance at the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Yes… I’ve wondered that. But I don’t regret the path I’ve taken.
Because if I had pursued a Navy career, I would’ve been at Annapolis when my grandpa died. If you’ve read the Acknowledgements page of any of my novels, you’ll see that my grandfather figures prominently on that page..in every story. I probably would’ve also been at Annapolis when my grandma died, too.
Not to mention that I would’ve been there when 9/11 happened…
There is a possibility that I wouldn’t even be alive today to write this or my stories. Would that outcome have been a strong probability? There’s no way to know.
It’s also highly unlikely I would’ve met some of the people who now figure prominently in my close social circle.
Now… all that being said…
I have great respect for the people who choose that path.
Do each and every one of them put their life on the line every single day? No. I’m sure there are office workers in a base in the center of the continental US that have never even been close to combat. But… there is a much greater chance that they might face that risk.
And to me, that choice–that service–necessitates respect.
I started off Friday morning trying to double down on the mistake from Thursday. I hadn’t quite figured out that I was ready to wholly focus on The Fall of Skullkeep. And so, I put 90 minutes into The Shepherd.
But none of it really “clicked.” None of it felt right.
At the end of those 90 minutes, I realized I would eat into my prep time for my afternoon plans if I tried working on it further, so I stopped right where I was and focused on prep.
Then, I drove to Parkersburg and spent one of the best afternoon and evenings I’ve spent in quite a while.
A couple weeks ago, one of my best friends contacted me and said that his mom had a story she wanted to publish but didn’t know how or what to do. Any of you who have personally interacted with me will probably not be surprised that I pounced on that like a hungry lion going after a weak antelope.
I enjoyed reading the story, and I’m looking forward to helping her publish what I hope is the first of many stories.
Daily Word Count: 2,160
Weekly Word Count: 13,452
Remaining Words to 25,000: 11,548