30 Years

Hard to believe it has been 30 years since the Challenger exploded.  Here is a small look as to what was happening in my life at the time.  This is from a larger piece that I am working on.

There was this girl in our class, Elizabeth Hayes, that had juvenile diabetes.  I didn’t know what that was or what it meant other than when we had parties in school Elizabeth got a cupcake with no icing.  The local TV station wanted to do a story about Elizabeth, so they filmed her and her parents at her house doing different things and talking about what it was like to have a child that had diabetes and they filmed her giving herself insulin.  They also came and filmed her class at school and showed us working at our desks and Elizabeth at the board with Mrs. Wood practicing cursive writing.  We also were filmed in the gym practicing tumbling.  The reporter thanked us and then told us that the story would air in a couple of weeks.

I went home and told my parents the day that they story would be shown.  We had gotten our first VCR just a few weeks before and now we had something to use it on.  Dad went out and purchased a new blank tape for the occasion, quite an expense in those days.  If there was a cloud 9 then I was on it.  I just knew that I was going to get discovered and become famous because of this story.  Despite having limited screen time, no dialogue, and being on a local station, this was going to be my big break.  I guess I was depending on my cute level to pull me through.

The day finally arrived.  The class was buzzing with excitement over being on TV.  I remember being at my desk about midday when our teacher asked for everyone’s attention.  When she did stuff like that we knew she had something serious to tell us.  She said that someone’s mother had called the school and told them that the space shuttle Challenger had exploded shortly after liftoff.  The Challenger had Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was going to have actual classroom lessons on board the ship from space, as part of the crew.  Mrs. Wood told us that there had been some sort of malfunction on board and that’s why the space shuttle exploded.  I didn’t really follow the news all that much, but they had written about Christa Mcauliffe in the Weekly Reader that we got at school every week so I knew it was a pretty big deal.

The crash was the lead story that night of course.  I could rewind and fast-forward the entire short flight and explosion from start to finish.  I knew that it was a serious and sad occasion although I couldn’t say why.  I knew what death was or at least I thought I knew.  Death to me was some broad thing that only had a vague definition to me.  The people on that shuttle were gone, but since I didn’t know them, it wasn’t real to me.

As for my television debut, Hollywood didn’t come calling.  The report came on and there I was, cut halfway down my body, only a little of my head and desk were visible.  I had one of the shortest 15 minutes of fame on record.  What should have been a good day in my life became one of pain and sorrow.

A few clarifications

I have been bad about not answering back comments in my blog lately, one of the things that I really believe in. I think that is the number one thing you have to do when you have a blog, answer comments. It just makes good sense to me. I have been so incredibly tired and busy the past few weeks and to the readers of my blog, I apologize. I would also like to clear up some things that people have asked me about my blog, specifically questions about some of the things I have written in some Friday’s Feasts.

The job that I work at has some particularly hectic times of the year and this happens to be one of them. I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it all in. I am sure you have heard of the expression 24/7? In my line of work, it is more 25/8. As a result, I feel 100 when I am only 29. That is why I am feeling so old this week. I usually appreciate my age and have no problem growing older. It is just hard for me to get up and get going for some reason this week.

Some have commented about the statement that I made a couple of weeks ago. I commented that I believe that everyone has a purpose, although I also think that we will never what the purpose is for some people. It is hard for some people to grasp that concept, I admit it is hard for me to grasp it. There are some pretty bad people out there in the world, I don’t see how they could serve any useful purpose. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, nor do I know why good things happen to bad people. I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t even have anywhere in the neighborhood of half of the answers. I have come to the point where the questions don’t make much sense.

I have a little notebook that I carry around. It has everything in it from work stuff to grocery lists to books that I have read. One of the things I have written in there is a list of things that I want to do before I die. About half way down the list is write a book. I want to write something from start to finish and see it published. While I would love to make a million dollars off of the book, I am realistic that it probably will not happen. That isn’t why I want to write a book any way. I have a story to tell and want other people to read it. I made a promise to myself that I may write the worst book ever written, but it will not be the worst unfinished book ever written. I start out writing longhand and then transcribe what I have written to the computer after I have finished. This process takes longer but helps me work through some things.

The book that I am writing is a memoir of my life. I have started at the beginning and have written about my life up to the period that I am 11. The main part or “meaty” part of the memoir will go from roughly 2000 to the beginning of 2005. I have learned that the writing process is an interesting thing. I have not done an official outline, but I do plan out about two or three items that I am writing next. I thought it would be write A write B write C, I have found out that I have to write about 1,2, and 3 between A and B. Some of the stuff that I write about is good, some of it is unprintable. I have surprised myself a few times as well, saying “I can’t believe I just wrote that.”

I was asked why I was writing if it was so hard for me. I just feel like it is something I have to do. There is something in me that feels like writing, and I have to respond to it.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Late evening update

It has been a while since I did a regular post. I have only been doing Friday’s Feasts and posting my questions of the week for you all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have left comments on the site. It means a lot to me to have people comment on what I have written. I just want to take this opportunity to update you on a few things.

I have done some more work on my book lately. I am a little farther behind than I want to be at this point, but have really been writing some pages lately so maybe I can get back on track soon.

Work is starting to get a little busier at this point, but no more than I can handle. The busy season is still ahead of me at this point. I cleaned out my office on Thursday night, one of my goals for this summer. I am glad that particular task is behind me at this point.

I haven’t had a chance to see any of the big summer blockbusters that have arrived at the cinema the past two months. It sucks because I want to see so many of them so badly but don’t have the funds at the moment. It sucks not having money.

I have had a chance to read a few books this summer. I am slowly making progress on my Million Page Project. Still way behind on the number of books for this year, but every little bit helps.

Calling all Writers, I need your help

I have mentioned in some of my last posts that I am trying to write a book. It is a memoir mainly covering a 5 year period in my life. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done but I need to do it to prove to myself that I can do it.

What I would like from any writers out there is this. Did you ever edit yourself to protect others or their perceptions of you? There are some very personal things that I am going to be writing about and I am leaning toward writing about them. With that being said, if you have written like you wanted to and have put that writing out for others to read, how did you deal with the comments and/or criticism that you got back from your readers. Any help on this matter would be appreciated.