Three Weeks into the Dream..

Well, this is me three weeks in. Twenty-four years have passed since I last actively tried to learn something and become a productive member of society. Not that I haven’t been one all this time, but I will be the first to admit I have spent all this time living well below my potential. Then again, I think the same could be said for many of us. Whether it’s from living in fear of failure if we try and fall short or just simply circumstances put us in positions we can’t seem to fight our way out of, it is the rare human being who actually gets to become the person they thought they’d be as a kid. Sometimes it’s just easier to let expectations slide and give in to staying as you are.

Thing is. I couldn’t be that person anymore. Not that I didn’t like myself, because for the most part I did. I just didn’t like the things he/me were willing to accept. I once had dreams, and over the years I let most of those dreams die. I let art sink into the shadows. Lately, I’ve let my writing follow the same path. It took these three weeks being back in school to show me why.

I had no purpose in my life. I won’t say I had no reason to get up in the morning, but it was close. I had no reason to be the best I could be. Call it a midlife crisis if you want, but now, I know I need a reason to go forth and be me. Yeah, that sounds about right, but it’s true. Age doesn’t dull the need to strive to be a better person, a better you. If anything the older we get, the more we need to find purpose. Without it, we stall and can’t move forward. We can’t become the best us possible.

And, don’t think that ever happens. Humanity is an evolution unto ourselves. We evolve as a race, and we evolve individually. When we stop seeking knowledge we stop being. We simply exist without the ability to live or to drive to new heights. That in no way means it’s an easy process, or doesn’t come with a certain amount of fear. Trust me it does.

Over the past three weeks, I’ve questioned this decision more than once. It’s hard to accept you don’t know as much as you thought you did. Worse still it’s hard to think there are some things out there that can beat you mentally. Again, trust me there is, and those things have kicked my butt. Being stubborn and having some amazing family and friends, I refuse to give up. Might be better to say my support group refuses to let me quit. I’ve heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. In this new day, let me add this, it takes an internet community to keep a middle aged man on the right track.

It is humbling to realize that you can’t do it all yourself. You can’t even get twenty-five percent done without someone or several someones hanging around to never let you forget you’re a little bit better than you give yourself credit for being. On the other side of that, you need someone to let you know you’re not as smart as you think you are either. That one there should be the number one thing every person needs in their live. It is so easy to become full of your own potential that you forget you haven’t got there yet.  Looking back over my life, I can point to several parts of my timeline where I should have had that person in my life. Sadly, I have even more instances where I did, and was too full of myself to listen to their sage advice. I probably still have that problem. Before I end this paragraph let me say this, someone reminding you that you don’t know everything isn’t the same as someone telling you that you don’t know squat. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something you want because you’re not good enough. You are! So let you dictate your worth and never allow someone else put a price tag on how much you affect the course human events.

I’m sure there’s more in me to say about myself, but I’m not in the mood. Honestly, no one should be forced to listen to that crap. I don’t believe half of myself in any case. Why should you?

I do ask you to allow me to paint an example for you. In my life I’ve been a success, a failure, a son, a father, a boy and a man. I’ve been alone, and I’ve had the love of my life. Now, at the age of forty-seven, I have an old dream made new. I’m going to be a teacher someday. It isn’t the maybe that I kept talking about to convince myself I could do it if I ever got time. No, it’s the time now, and I will do it. I might screw up, but I will never be able to say I didn’t at least try.

So when you think you’re too old to try something, remember old J. Morgan. He was stupid enough to try and hopefully will be crazy enough to succeed. I kinda like the sound of that.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

  1. Morgan
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Jmo, Following that Dream.

It’s been awhile I know. I should have dropped you a line or something, but quite frankly, I didn’t have anything to say. Funny how that happens from time to time.  Though I’m pretty sure if I’d stayed off Facebook more some words might have been written. Not blaming anyone in particular for that, especially myself, just in case someone might be wondering. I see no reason to assign blame, so let’s just ignore I brought up the subject.

I said ignore it! So get on ignoring in 1. 2.. 3…

Good all ignored so we can get on with this blog.

Amongst all my waxing poetic over the last year or so, I’ve discussed in some detail my dream to one day become a teacher. For some time now I’ve been working toward that goal. Admittedly slower than I should have, but everything comes in its own time. This being one of those times, or at least I’m saying it is. Same thing, so deal with it. You deal. I don’t have to, because I’m the one writing this. Egotistical but sadly this is the way of things when dealing with us writer types.

That’s right, I’m a writer of sorts, or I’ve tried to be one for the last nine years. I’ve succeeded in some ways, failed in small ways, but generally been true to myself during the whole process so I’m calling this whole thing a win. But, let’s get back to the dream part of this blog. I so do hate it when I digress for no good reason. Instead of digressing, let’s call this organizing my ideas before I get started. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

A long time I ago I wanted to be an artist. I thought it took painting and drawing to be one. Thing is, I had been an artist all along and those things were only a small part of what it took to be an artist. You had to believe you were an artist first and foremost. So I did a lot of artist type things culminating in going to college to be officially labelled one. I did that, but a funny thing. With a diploma saying I was a fully recognized artist didn’t really make me feel like one. If anything, it made me feel less of one. I struggled with the concept of who or what I was for a long time. So I set out to explore those two questions.

I could paint and draw, so I had to be an artist. Right? Stood to reason, but I liked doing other things to do. I loved writing poetry and the occasional bit of fiction. You’re reading this blog because of fiction. It took me a long time to work up the courage to actually become a writer, but when I did, I like to think I proved capable enough of the enterprise. Okay, my wife might have had more to do with me being a published writer than I did, but the point is I ran with it and kept the thing going for nearly nine years. I’m not counting this last year. I was on break.

Again with ‘the thing is.’ I didn’t fully feel like a writer any more than I felt completely like an artist. Somewhere in the process a vital portion of who I was remained hidden from me. Maybe not so much hidden as ignored. I’d always felt like I wanted to do something more. Drawing and writing fulfilled a need, sure, but I still had an empty spot that needed satisfying.

I think I’d always known what the missing element had been. I wanted to share what I’d learned. Over the years so many great teachers and friends had given me their knowledge and led me to this point in my life. The point where I had to stop being afraid that I’d fail at my dream and go ahead and do it. That might not make much sense, but I believe that’s why it took me until the age of 47 to attempt to make this dream come true. If I screwed it up, then what? At 47 it’s kind of hard to come up with a new what if to keep me going. As long as teaching remained a what if, I could always say one day. If I went ahead and tried I couldn’t hide behind that what if. I was stuck in the middle of doing and failing. Scary as hell when you get right down to it.

Now, I sit on the edge of doing it. Tomorrow is my first day of Grad School. My first day of the rest of my educated life. Succeed or fail, I can at least say I tried and didn’t cower behind a big ass WHAT IF that amounted to nothing more than a reason to stay hidden behind a dream instead of going out there and living that dream. So, I invite you to join me. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Just do it. If someone as neurotic as me can follow his dreams, there is no conceivable reason you shouldn’t. Other than you’re even more neurotic than me, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on stepping into the light and finding the future we’ve been looking for.

Just a side note. If the attempt is all that matters, tomorrow is the day our dream comes true. Succeed or fail, we’re going simply because we believe in ourselves enough to take that first step. So, before I sign off, I promise to hold your hand if you get scared along the way, if you promise to hold mind.

Sound like a deal to you?

Til next time, this is Jmo riding that rainbow to wherever it might go!

Dad’s are Muses? Who knew?

Dad’s are there to inspire.

Read that again. I want to make sure it sinks in good and deep. I’m not saying it to be funny or to give myself an elevated position as a dad myself. I am simply stating a simple and undeniable fact. Before anyone tries to dispute me, give me a chance to make my case. Even by not being there, a father inspires his children by his actions. Whether death has ripped him from their lives or he’s just an asshat who has no business being anyone’s father, he has inspired his children to become the adults they will eventually grow into being. That’s for good and bad, people. So any guys out there, pay close attention to what I typed. If you believe you’re a better influence by not being in your children’s life, you just taught them that men have no other responsibility than being a piece-of-crap sperm donor.

Okay, my soapbox is done, because that isn’t what this blog is about. I just happened to hit a sour note and felt like saying something that so obviously needed to be said — even though it should NEVER HAVE TO BE said. Sadly for our society, it does.

If that isn’t what this blog is about, what is?

It’s about my dad, the greatest man I know. When I say a dad is there to inspire, I speak from experience. My dad gave his four sons and now his daughter the inspiration of being a role model each of us have aspired to become to our children and now for some of us our grandchildren. The first and foremost thing he taught us is that loving your kids supersedes everything else short of loving God in your life. It’s that love that defines every single memory I have of my father. I include those from today. My dad loves me, and it is the one thing I’ve never felt the need to question.  His every action reflects his love for all his children and grandchildren. Out of all the things I’ve learned by osmosis from being in his shadow, loving my family, and extended family is the greatest thing I’ve taken from him. Sometimes, that love isn’t easy.  Sometimes it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it’s always the greatest thing I’ll ever do.

My dad taught me that anything worth having is worth working to hold. This ranges from earthly things to education. You name it. You have to work to get it. As a kid I saw my dad leave before daylight only to drag in way after the sun came down to put a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. He’d do this seven days a week for months at a time. One of my earliest memories is coming downstairs and sitting in his lap so we could watch Bugs Bunny together on one rare Saturday he was off. That taught me that memories are big extravagant things. They’re moments captured in time, and it’s up to us to hold them inside us for all time.

Like I said to start this, dads are there to inspire us. He should be our first hero. Before Superman, Batman, or Luke Skywalker, our dads should be the standard all those other guys must strive to be. My Dad might not be able to leap a building in a single bound, but growing up I sure thought he could. That’s how it should be. I wish all kids had a dad like mine.

Maybe not exactly like mine, but the perfect dad for them. My dad taught me more than how to work for what I want, and how to pray to God for those things working won’t get. That’s a dad’s job. All kids are born with the best and worst of two parents. I’m sure I have a lot of his habits that irritate me. It’s  probably why they irritate me. But, I also have the best parts of him. The parts he showed me while sitting on his lap, or working beside me on my old PoS car. Over the years my dad gradually became my best friend. The man I turn to for all the answers, even when he doesn’t have them. Again, that’s how it should be. I pray my daughter sees enough of him inside me to have learned some of the lessons I imparted without meaning to. Some of those influences aren’t that great, but thankfully some are. When I see her with my grandson, I know she learned the valuable ones. The same ones I learned from my dad. Love your kids totally and with every fiber of your being, even when they are behaving like shits.

Just to tie all this into writing and literature, which as a writer I think I should do at some point. When I look back on my childhood, I always see me and Dad reading together. He, more than anyone, gave me a love for reading that encompassed everything from the Old West to the pulp heroes like Conan, and John Carter of Mars to books about World War II. I even remember him writing on his own book, so writing isn’t just something that popped up out of nowhere. It comes to me naturally.

On this Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for making me not only the man I am today but the person I am still becoming. I want to thank him for the butt whuppings I deserved, and those he slipped in just because. Believe me, I deserved more than I got. I want to thank him for the shootouts at the Old West corrals and for the stars I flew to in my mind. While I’m there, for the wild jungles and swinging through the trees. Most of all, I want to thank him for the love he never stops showing and for teaching me that showing love doesn’t make you less of a man. It makes you a man worthy to be called a Dad.

 

Til next week, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Be an inspiration to not only your children but to all the kids who see you as an example of what a man should be.

Happy Reading!

Believe! Writers’ Commandment #1

Last week we talked about ‘So, you wanna be a writer?’. This week, I thought it only a natural progression to say, ‘So, I’m a writer?’, which should be closely followed by, ‘What the fudge now?’. That’s a question I tend to ask myself more times than I care to admit to myself or anyone. At times writing is the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean, the imagination just flows out of you and paints the video across the page. Then there’s the other times. The times when your brain, imagination, and the ends of your fingers are at World War III with each other. That’s when a ‘writer’ is most likely to become a ‘reader’. Before we get too far into this blog, I’m going to spell out my intent.

So, you wanna be a writer? Never give up on you!
A good many people have asked me, ‘What is the most important thing you need to have to be a writer?’. What I wrote up there is it. Huh? Confidence in yourself. Do I need to spell it out for you? Apparently I do, or I think I need to spell it out. Either way, here goes.

 

I’m going to start out clichéd but that doesn’t make it any less true. If anything, it gives total validation to my statement. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Can you answer that? Does your answer begin with the word Yes? If you said yes to those last two without using the word but anywhere in the answer, I think you’re well on your way to becoming a writer. It’s up to you to become an author. We discussed that last week, so let’s not get sidetracked. That’s what Facebook is for.

It is so easy to listen to friends tell you how great you are. It’s even easier when experts tell you you’re great. Thing is, if you don’t believe it– right there in your heart–when those same people become indifferent or just stop talking all you have is that doubting voice in your heart telling you how you weren’t that good to begin with. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you hit that point, you’re not an author, writer or reader. You’re someone who’s not sure who exactly they are. At this point you can do the easy thing and just give up, and tell people years later about how for a little while you were a writer but grew out of it. Yeah, you can do that and forever live with that dull ache of all the imaginary worlds that will never be told. The heroes and heroines inside you will never go forth and become role models for whoever reads their stories. How easy does that sound? Knowing you have lives inside you that will never be lived all because you believed in things but never yourself.

OR!

You can struggle to find that part inside you that unlocks the imagination “YOU” are forcing down to some deep pit. Because you are the only one who stands between you and becoming the writer you always dreamed of being. Believe in yourself. Believe that all the awesome you wish you had DOES reside within your heart. Let it out and become a vision for others either through your writing or by telling this similar story about how hard it was to write but you didn’t give in. You believed in yourself and let others do the same. Become a hero or heroine to someone who thinks they’re all alone in these feelings. They’re not. At times we all feel unworthy or empty inside. Sometimes that might even be the case, but you shouldn’t let that voice dictate your life or your dreams.
I’m going to say something right now that might sound crazy but I’m going to say it anyway. I believe in you. I have never met you and most likely I never will, in person at least, but I believe that you hold inside you the ability to make others live lives in worlds only you can create. I believe you can spark the wonder of true love, knights going forth to battle, wizards waging wars against evil untold, spaceships flying into the void of space and coming back with races we’ve never even considered possible, and most importantly I believe you can do whatever you want.

Why?

Because I have friends who believed enough in me to never let me give up. Every time I wanted to walk away or hide, they were there telling me to trust in myself. I know I said up there only you can believe in yourself. That’s true, but you shouldn’t stop listening to the people who love you while you search inside yourself for your own confidence. Just accept yourself first then walk out among the masses and say here is my story. Come along for the ride and let’s see what’s over that next hill.

Take that ride.

Me? I’m still going on my own journey. Maybe, sometime soon we’ll meet again and tell our stories over the campfires of our dreams. Until then, Happy Reading, and never stop believing in yourself.

Jmo

Writers, Go Figure…

So you wanna be a writer?

I think this is a question every would-be author should be asked before they jump into the ocean with the rest of us would-be authors, are authors, and best-selling authors. Why? Well, not to be mean for one thing, but to save some hurt feelings and manic depression if you really want to get down to it. Let’s sit back, well you sit back, and I’ll try to explain what I mean. Seeing as how this IS my blog you had to see that coming. You did stop by to read what I have to say after all. If you stopped by as an accidental Goggle search please free to continue on your way.

No hard feelings but understand you will be discussed in my next therapy session and by therapy session I mean when I talk to the guy in the parking lot of McDonald’s cleaning my windshield while I wait for my McGriddle. Like I can afford therapy. I’m an author. I can’t even afford a McGriddle.

Now, back to this Blog business.

Being a writer is totally different from being an author. An author gets paid. A writer writes because they need to write like they need to breathe. Now, before I hear an outcry of shock and rage, let me elaborate. Writing is something a person does instinctively. The need to express themselves is so overwhelming they write on anything — napkins, notebooks, their palms, literally anything in the rush to get the things out of their head and out into the world. It’s only as time goes by that this need evolves into the idea that somehow they can make money from doing something they love. Let me stop here and say this thought is great and all, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Making money is not as easy as it sounds and should never be the sole reason for doing something. When it is, you’re doomed either to failure or to becoming a heartless robot. Do it because you love it and let monetary gain be secondary in your reasoning.

Even once the concept of making money enters the picture you’re still just a writer. Writing needs a lot of things attached to it before Author enters the picture and a lot more things have to happen before Best-Selling Author is attached to your name. Luck for one thing. Don’t think I’m jaded or being negative about the process. I’m not. Luck is the fundamental element in any success whether it be in writing, or music or art. Why? Because talent and skill does not always equate to success. Most of the artists you know by name, Rembrandt and Van Gogh just to name two rarely made money from painting. They died poor and let’s face it more than a little crazy. Even fame isn’t monetary success. If fame and fortune are your sole reasons for writing, I feel sorry for you. That in no way means you won’t be famous one day. It just means I think you’ll be missing the emotional thrill of doing something that completes you on levels money and fame can’t begin to do. So the first thing you need to ask yourself is why are you doing this? Depending on the stability of your psyche in relation to your answer please continue on your chosen path.

So what does it take to become an author? I’m really not sure if I can answer that question. There are just too many variables in play to answer it. Again, I’m going with luck. Why? Surely, hard work and talent will get you where you’re going in your chosen profession. You’d think that, but I know way too many amazing writers who bowed out, not because of lack of talent, but because of lack of opportunity to get noticed. I’m not saying to fold up your laptop and quit before you even get started. Just do what you do because you love it and not for the reason of getting rich. I got sidetracked by gauging my success on sales and not readers reached. Trust me it’s not a backroad you want to go down.

Write because you love to write. Success is based on individual lives touched and not how often your checkbook is touched. The true value of being an Author is that. Over the past 10 years I have become richer not in cash earned but in lives earned. I’ve gained friends by meeting fellow writers and learning my craft from their influence, them picking me up, my failures, and from editors beating knowledge through my thick skull. I’ve become enriched by meeting fellow readers who have become family to my heart. They have guided me in both my writing and my personal life. Lastly, I have become a better man from succeeding in failing. Yeah, from failing. Because when you realize you’re not God’s gift to the world, you see the world as God’s gift to you. That world consists of His gifts to us, our talents, our family, and our friends. I, and a lot of my fellow authors, use those skills to bring joy to our friends and in the process we make more friends and for some blessed few we become family.

So, here’s to my fellow aspiring writers. May we one day become authors and call the world our family. Until then, let’s write like there’s no tomorrow, and read like the world is make believe. Me? I’ve been living in Middle Earth for so long, I have no clue what the real world even looks like.

Until next time, Happy Reading! And watch out for Orcs.

Jmo

Rediscovery

This past week has been a bit of normal except for an upper respiratory infection that has kept me on sicky poo lock down. Not really. Being an adult, sick is just a state of mind that doesn’t prevent things like work and yard work. Though I have avoided the crap out of yard work with the exception of taking the trash cans to the road on garbage day. Still, being sick puts a damper on the creative juices to the point I’ve managed to avoid writing almost all together. But, is that necessarily a bad thing? During the heat of the not writing moment, I would have screamed a resounding yes.
Toward the end of this cold–hope it is at least–I have different thoughts on the subject. Sick is a chance to take a mental slow down and rest. Personally for me, I only tend to get sick when I’ve been pushing myself and haven’t given my body the rest it needs. Quite honestly, I don’t give my body or spirit a lot of things they need. Then again, does any of us really? Don’t bother to answer. We all know the answer, so let’s not bother to lie to one another.
I’m writing. Not as much or as fast as I would like, but I am putting word to page. At the moment, I think that’s the important thing. The whole process of freeing the story from the locked recesses of your mind, I mean. Once upon a time, it was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. I could just as easily watch my books unfold in my head and let them wash out onto the screen. Age and medication has made the process a bit more complicated but I am in no way ready to fold my notebook in half and toss it in the back of the closet.
I know of late my missives have had a maudlin flavor, and for that I refuse to apologize. I am documenting my crawl from the darkness. To deny how I truly feel would be to deny this path. I am not hiding who I am or my emotional descent into whatever. I want someone to read this and say, I’ve been there and totally get it. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Not totally me, but close enough I can see myself when I look into the mirror. You’re welcome to take a gander. Whether or not you appreciate the experiences etched in my face and soul is entirely up to you. I am not asking for sympathy or pity with these blogs. I’m asking you to look at yourself and make certain the things I write about aren’t glaring back in your mirror. It’s too easy to miss that something is wrong. Too easy to write it off as just another bad day, or that everyone has these moods every once in a while. Because, before you know it that one bad day is a crappy month and rapidly becoming a year eating at your last nerve. I’ve been there and it isn’t a very pretty place to call home.
The thing is we need to fall on our knees. We need to lose our way and get stuck up against walls. If everything came easy, there would be no struggle, no reason to strive to become better than we are. This is our moment of discovery. Maybe, rediscovery is the better way of looking at the situation. I’ll fully admit before this wall, I’d pretty much run out of juice. Nearly 25 stories and I had become stagnant and bored. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t see the end of the story. No the probable WAS I could see the entirety of what was to come. There were no secrets left to uncover. There was no mystery. Nearly, a year and a half later I’m still in that pocket of finding me, but I’m getting closer to finding out who I am with 47 years under my belt.
As the words once again begin to flow, I’m excited at what’s coming out. I feel matured in what I have to say. Not a hundred percent grown-up, but not all boy either. I never want to grow out of who I was on the journey to becoming the refined me, burned bright in the fires of tribulation I’m going through. No, growing up should be an ongoing extension of you. You should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself in the becoming. If you do, you aren’t being honest to yourself, your craft, or to anyone you meet.
So I’m going to sign off here because this honesty is a bit unsettling. As an author I like to deal in fiction laced with honesty. Total truth is a tad too much for me to put out there, but then again, in the heart of fiction there is only truth to be laid bare. It is up to the reader to find you among the lies we call fiction. So I invite you to see me among the masks and tell me if you can see my journey or do I still have a lot more growing up left to do?
Good night my friends, and as always Happy Reading,
Jmo.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my many Moms

I have truly been blessed to have many mothers over the years. I know that sounds weird but it’s nonetheless true. Being someone’s mom isn’t always about birth and blood. Sometimes it’s about simply expressing unconditional love and being a positive influence on someone’s life. In this, I have truly been lucky. No, not lucky. Blessed, like I said before. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe God gives you the things in life you truly need and if that thing is love, then my life is a miracle above all others. Truly, anytime you have love come into your life for any period of time, you are enveloped in a miracle.

Throughout my life, I’ve had that. Most of the time I didn’t really appreciate it, but then again what kid does? We’re a selfish lot until basically we die. Sometimes though, we mature to the point where we see that we are the person we are thanks to the love of some very special people.  Me, I can look back and see four amazing women who started me down this path to being the man I am today. My mom of course, who gave me so much of who I am inside, be it good or bad. Still that’s what it’s all about, balancing the good against the bad and learning to accept ourselves for who we are. I am my mother’s son, but I am also myself in spite of who I came from. Please don’t think that statement in any way is a slam against my mother. I love her dearly and she did the best she could, but I’m more than the genetic makeup she and my father gave me. I am the product of the nurturing of my environment balanced with that slice of Ancestry dot com.

The first influences on anyone’s life is our family. Mine is seriously matriarchal to say the least. I come from a family of strong independent women, who had to be strong to live through wars, death, and hardships most Americans will never experience in this technological world we live in. Their strength got passed down to their children and ultimately to us, their grandchildren. Before I move any further I’m going to say this in all honesty. My daughter and grandson are worse off because they had limited or no contact with my grandmothers. My grandmothers were heroines and pillars of strength and love within our family and the days we lost them, our lives became poorer. So, I can very easily say my first two mothers outside my real mom were these amazing women, who taught me the value of reading, education, and the strength that can only come from family. The same can be said of my Aunt Peggy, who helped fuel my desire and addiction to reading. To this day, she inspires me to read and never stop learning. You probably have her to thank for my ability to write. Blame her, or whatever. I leave that up to you.

I know it might be stereotyping but the South is full of strong women. It’s like we breed them from the high iron content in the soil or something. However you wish to view it, I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by these type of women through my life. My Aunt Evelyn and Aunt Doris are another example of why when a woman says don’t wash that kitty, don’t wash that kitty. My butt still burns from that whooping I got forty some odd years ago, but I digress.

Family weren’t the only influences I had growing up. Mrs. Williams, my third grade teacher, would be the next ”mom” to come into my life. She stood all of four foot if she stood an inch, but she taught me a love of learning and knowing things that go on to this day. As I entered Junior High, I got two new moms, Mrs. Merle Peirce who taught me Gifted Computer Science and Veronica Tappin who taught Gifted Humanities. Both women in their own right instilled in me a love of Science and Magic. Mrs. Pierce showed me there were no mysteries that we couldn’t unravel if we simply analyzed them to their core parts. Mrs. Tappin showed me magic existed in the world. In our rich history of humanity, magic constantly showed itself in the minds and imaginations of us the world’s children. If you have spent any time within my books, you can see the fruits of those ideals grown into a reality all their own. Thanks, to both these beautiful and smart women for giving me such a wonderful gift. Someday I hope I can pay this forward so their legacy can go on forever.

Entering High School, I found myself once again blessed, this time in the form of Mrs. Andrews. She truly became my mom, as she did to so many kids who passed through her class. Her son Sam was also a classmate of mine through high school. I think that created a bond with those of us who shared her class. Many times we spent our free time sitting in her classroom discussing whatever. During our time under her guidance, she further instilled the desire for learning and more importantly the belief that no matter what adversity came our way we could overcome it because we were stronger and smarter than we gave ourselves credit for being. Why? Because if she believed in us, it had to be true. Even as I grew older and doubt fueled me on to failure, I remembered back to her words, and fought out of the funk to do the ”impossible” or the impossible that my brain said would be a hurdle. The world is truly a sadder place without her, but she lives on in the hearts of ‘her’ kids as they inspire new generations of children to believe in themselves and the impossible only they can do.

That’s the thing. The beauty and wisdom of these women does not fade upon their deaths. I have lost some of my ‘mothers’ over the years, but whatever sadness my soul aches with their passing is forgotten in their memories living inside me. The valuable life lessons they beat through my thick skull are still there, and they continue to make me someone greater than I could have been if left to my own devices. God still places moms in my life to guide me through the worst part of my maturing. I thank Him every day for them. I am weak but the people He puts in my life makes me stronger and clichéd as it sounds, makes me a much better man.

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank a couple more people. They aren’t exactly moms but they are my contemporaries and constantly teach me to stretch my limits, give me comfort and give me love. Lynne Connolly thank you so much for your constant belief in me and the music talks. Alysha Ellis, thanks for being you and understanding sometimes that all it takes is some weird British geek speak to make things better. Lastly but in no way least, Paisley Kirkpatrick, thanks for simply being you. Love you more than words can say. Thank you for the fruitcake and truly making me a better man than I ever would have been without you in my life.

As I sign off, I want each of you to consider those other moms who have stumbled into your lives and your heart. Say a thank you or a prayer for them. Whether you notice them or not, they are a great part of your lives and the reason you are you. That alone makes them awesome and worthy of the love they share and deserve in return.

Until next time,

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Reading,

Jmo!