P.S. a next book that proves my point is coming, really it is
Wow, life moves fast doesn't it. One minute you are a small child hoping to somehow get the next big thing in toys or clothes and begging your mom for a candy bar at the store and the next thing you know your old enough to be a grandparent. When you're a child you feel like life will last forever and everything that you know in your little world created by your family will go on the same way for eternity. Of course it only seems that way doesn't it, the only thing in life that doesn't change... is change. Yep! Change is the only constant we really have, the only thing we can really count on in life. Change happens in our relationships and who we are closest to, it happens in our financial means and lifestyle, it happens when we dare to take a peek in the mirror and fail to recognize the person looking back at us. For life, change is the name of the game, for worse or better.
I know I have changed in many ways in my life and not just in the normal physical aging sort of ways that crack those mirrors that we spoke of. As a child I was shy, mostly introverted to everyone except my dearest friends. My mother sheltered and smothered me at times. I think both to protect me from my alcoholic father and to a degree to keep me from having as close a relationship with him as I did with her. Just last week I made my trek to her grave site to remember her on what was the third anniversary of her death. It is still hard to believe she is gone, out of reach of a phone call. Since my father abandoned our family just days before my eleventh birthday, my mother became a even larger focal point of my existence. I was raised by the quintessential strong single mom that you hear stories about or see in movies. She was far from perfect and downright difficult to handle at times but as I said during her eulogy, she was my biggest fan and that is irreplaceable.
So, now as I sit here middle aged and wondering what the heck happened to me in the mirror. I look at my past and all those people who shaped it and made it memorable and want to somehow pay tribute. That's where my first book came in, 'Fishing for Something', the story was as you probably already know a way of sorting out old wounds from my past balanced with a fanciful tale of what could have been. Ray Barrett in the book shares many things with my own father. Rose the boy's mother likewise is a character based on my mother. The story's ending is a dream ending that never happened for our family but is wonderful to consider. Some of the plot points in 'Fishing' actually are based on real events that my brother, father, or mother went through. Fortunately the book has been well-received by reviewers and readers alike. It soon will be entered into a international book contest where I hope it breaks out and gains a large following and maybe even the notice of television and motion picture studios, it would make for a great film. Ah...what's next then or am I a one-trick pony, that is the question.
As a lonely child, much younger than my older siblings and still a little kid when my sister was getting getting married and my brother was a fun-loving teenager, I leaned on my imagination to get me through. From an early age I knew I wanted to write stories. Even as a young kid I would tell stories to my school friends mesmerizing then with my creative words. I carried the desire through the rest of my life only to have life get in my way. I never seemed to find the time while being a young father, going to college and working in the real world to make my dream come true. It wasn't until the death of my mother that I earlier spoke about, that things changed, there's that word again. I had been to several funerals for people who meant so much to me in life but yet I had never got up to speak a word in their memory. I was always to upset and emotional to really find the courage to do such a thing. My father-in-law really stands out, he was such a large influence on me and such a amazing person and his death hurt for a long time, it still does. At his celebration of life, many months after his death I wanted with all my will to speak up on his behalf and share what a fantastic father-in-law he was but I just couldn't. The pain of his loss was still so difficult I couldn't find the words in front of the large gathering of people that day who came to pay their respects. Now, my older brother has always been the opposite, he has frequently spoke at funerals and is terrific every time he does. He is even been asked by the families to speak many times. For my mother's funeral service however my brother didn't want to make a speech, well he just couldn't, he was to torn up inside. Now, all these built up feelings inside me about failing to speak before came to the surface and I knew in my heart that I had to do this for my mother, the woman who had so strongly loved me and taken care of me, my biggest fan. I spent a week working on what I would say. I rehearsed my lines over and over again so that I would only have to glance at my note cards for a second. I would tell her story and what a wonderful story it was. She survived the 'Battle of Britain', dated prisoners of war, married and moved to a country farm in America after being raised a city girl in England. She dealt with sexism, racism, and abusive alcoholic husband and yet never loss her incredible zest for life. She lived to a great age and lived a great life. This would be the ultimate story-telling moment of my life and I wasn't going to blow it! When the day came I was ready. There was about two hundred people at the funeral maybe more. I was nervous but determined, I had prepared all week for this speech and I was ready, this was for my mom! I hoped to not breakdown during it and almost made it. At the very end of it when I was speaking of her last moments I lost it for a second, but then with teeth clenched and a steel determination in the pit of my gut, I continued and finished it in a way worthy of my mother's life. As in most things you write, you really don't know if they are as good as you think they are until the audience tells you so. My family and friends overwhelmingly seemed to love my story about my mom. This inspired me to want to write more and share more stories about our family's life. This desire then became my first book.
With the first book published and selling and being appreciated by others it was time to begin to decide on what comes next for me as a writer. I have many story ideas and seem to gain more all the time. My challenge was to focus in what I wanted to do next. Sifting through my many story ideas I decided I still wasn't done with my dear old mom. My first book had a character who had a small part in the story that she had inspired but that wasn't enough. I felt like my mother's life deserved a starring role in a book, and so my next book began. It is nearly finished now and has taken me so much longer than I thought with life once again getting in the way. Several times as I started to write I wondered if I should instead do one of my other stories, but change in our world, there's that word again, fixed my focus on my mother's book even more. Covid hit the world like an asteroid hurtling from space and life and death seem to stand still for all of us. With love ones and stories about loves ones who were passing every day, the importance of remembering our past, the people who loved us became a call for action for me. I realized as covid ravaged our country and the world that so much of what matters about each of us is ingrained in where we come from, our past, good or bad. Sharing my history in story form to others is like offering them a warm bowl of soup, it might not be the most exciting thing on the menu but it still satisfies you and makes you feel all warm inside. I don't think as a writer I can ask for anything better that I can do for other people, especially these days, than satisfying them and making them a little bit happier, a bit warmer inside.
Now A Sneek Peek For The First Time From My Second Book, Yes The One About My Mom
I Hope You Like...But First My Mum, As She Liked To Be Called In Some Photo's! Three Years And Counting Mum, And We Miss You Just As Much!
Always Ready To Laugh And Entertain
She Loved To Dance & Rock And Roll
I Think She Inspired Harry Potter, She Was British
But Also A Certain Kind Of Class And Dignity
An Age Defying Spirit Who Always Knew How To Accessorize
Love Ya' Mum!!
And Now For The First Time Ever A Sneek Peek From The New Book
Me and my girlfriends including Sheila Saunders of course were having a few drinks and dancing at one of the clubs after work one night. Between all of the requests to dance from the different men in the club I took notice of one gent in particular. He had blondish brown hair and the most handsome face I had seen since my Uncle George. What really stood out about the fella was he wasn't getting up and asking any of the ladies in the place to dance. With his gorgeous looks and chiseled physique he could have danced with anyone he wanted to. The other thing about him that made me stop and look was he was wearing a regular suit while his four mates with him were all British Soldiers, military police to be exact. For the next few minutes I tried desperately to ignore him while I chatted it up with the girls and sipped my class of Brandy. Although I was only sixteen, as always I looked older and no one in the clubs seemed to care to check my identification or my friends for that matter. I nudged Sheila Saunders in the side and pointed him out to her. She agreed that he was quite mysterious and deliciously handsome. One of my other girlfriends who spends more time at this particular club than I do, she doesn't go to college just works, said she's seem him in here before, in fact several times and always surrounded by British Soldiers.
"That is very curious, isn't it?" I replied.
"Maybe he's a prisoner of war, or such." Sheila theorized.
"No!" I said. "They wouldn't have let him into an English Club if he was a prisoner of war."
"Well, will never find out if he's not going to ask any of the girls in here to dance." One of the other girls offered up.
"Maybe you should go over and ask him to dance?" Sheila said with a giggle.
"Maybe I should." I quickly answered back.
Sheila then changed her tone and said she was only having fun with me. "A woman doesn't ask a man to dance Rosey, it's unheard of."
Now, I was never one to be dared to do something, lightly. She threw down the gauntlet and I was quite happy to pick it up. "Well really, why not then?"
Sheila and the others tried desperately to talk me out of the notion. They said it was unseemly and again, just not a thing a lady should do.
"Are we still in the Victorian Age then?" I argued. "Is it only men who get to decide what the rules are? I think it's about time for women to tell men to bloody well bugger off and let us ladies have a chance to write some rules up ourselves!"
Sheila grabbed at my arm when I stood up from my chair. It was a last ditch effort to get me to not go over there, but it was to late, I was already riled up. I pulled my are away and marched right over to the conclave of men. "Can we help you love?" One of the soldiers asked.
I said yes. I then asked if the gentleman sitting there would like to dance. He didn't respond with words to my request, he just smiled broadly.
The British Soldiers did however. "What did you say then?" One of them asked me, not believing his own ears.
So then I asked again.
"Since when does a lady ask a man to dance?" Another soldier chimed in.
"She's got a lot of pluck, this one," the same soldier who seemed to be in charge, added.
The other soldiers began to grumble about how it's not done and especially in this case, but the commanding officer seemed to like me, or at least my pluck. He decided it was okay if it was agreeable with Maximillian. When the other soldiers complained some more they were cut off and reminded by their commander about how compliant a chap Max is. "He's not trying to escape lads, it's only dancing."
At that moment I realized that the man I had come over to dance with was, as Sheila had speculated, indeed a prisoner. It certainly took me by surprise and since his name was what it was, I could only conclude a German one at that. "So, he's a prisoner then?" I asked, although I already knew the answer.
The commanding officer nodded. "He's a German prisoner of war. But Max here is one of our favorites. He's a good soul, this one. He's no Nazi. He was just following orders like the rest of us when he got captured. You still want to do that dance, miss?"
I looked over at the young man, the German man, not much older than me. He gazed at me like he was studying my face, waiting to see what I would say next. "Yes." I answered. "If he does, that is"
The commanding officer then looked over at his prisoner and waited for his answer. "Yes, I would like that very much." He responded with his German accent almost as sexy as his eyes.
With the prompting of the British Soldiers and some pats on the back, Maximillian got up and gracefully and with great care, took my hand and escorted me out onto the dance floor. We danced for hours as Sheila and the other girls watched with their mouths gaping wide open. The British Soldiers in charge of Maximillian hoisted drinks and cheered. When it was finally time to call it an evening Max, as he asked me to call him, took my hand and kissed it. He thanked me for the evening. He said he had almost forgotten how much fun it was to dance and enjoy good company. He thanked me for reminding him of such things. I told him he was a wonderful dancer. He blushed from the praise.
The commanding officer then announced that they had to get back to camp. I said my good-byes to Max expecting to never lay eyes on him again. He then left with the soldiers, but the commanding officer quickly circled back into the club to speak with me.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked.
He thanked me for helping Max have such a wonderful evening. He then shared a bit about him. The commander said that Max got much more freedom than most prisoners of war because he was such a nice chap and a model citizen. The British Military was working on getting him sent back to his home in Germany as soon as possible. In the meantime, the soldiers were allowed to take him out and show him a good time occasionally. He then left me with one more tidbit of information, if it made any difference. He told me that they would be back here at the club in two nights, if I wanted to dance some more with their prisoner. I didn't answer but I must say I was intrigued. I waved at the commander as he left. I reminded myself that If my old pap knew he would kill me as I rounded up Sheila and the other girls and headed for the exit.
I Hope You Enjoyed The Sneek Peek
Until We Meet Again, All My Best From Your Life Fisherman
And Writing Fool!
Andrew Scott Bassett