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100 Hubs! My Path as a Writer
This One's For YOU!
This is my 100th submission here on HubPages.
Appropriately, and with great appreciation for all of you who have helped me from Day One of my journey on this remarkable literary platform, I am dedicating this article to YOU.
With no excuses or apologies, it's taken me fourteen months to get to the century mark. My progress as a writer can best be described by figuratively alluding to an aerial shot of a marathon.
You will see at the front of the pack about a dozen or so elite runners. I'm definitely not one of them.
At the rear, you will see the walkers and the most conservatively-paced joggers. I'm not there, either.
In fact, you'll have a hard time spotting me. I'm smack dab in the middle of the pack, a place I'm comfortable being in, having realized a long time and several pounds of excess baggage ago that it's perfectly alright to be right where I am.
On HubPages, writers of all calibers find a warm haven of acceptance and support. Those just starting out are deemed as special and as important as those who are five-year veterans. Those bringing up the rear will be greeted during the endurance run as endearingly as those running like gazelles.
And the greater majority of us, the ones creating the bulge in the middle, the average writers aspiring to become good writers, the good writers aspiring to become great writers, the unpublished Dad always thought I could write a novel writers...why, we just keep plugging away with our writing muses and best friends--Consistency, Perseverance, Diligence, Vision--encouraging us every single step of the way.
All who enter and take up residence in Hubsville are already winners.
Yes, there will be those who drop out along the way. Sadly, every marathon has its casualties.
And, yes, there will be the frauds who join the race for purely self-serving reasons. Eventually, their covers are exposed, or they come to realize just how very difficult it is to pull the wool over a cohesive community.
But those of us who sincerely and diligently work at this craft of writing are eventually surrounded by a loyal circle of friends who--on the drop of a dime--will come running to offer assistance or feedback.
My fellow warrior workhorse writers, this one's for you!
Infancy to Age 4
I was the first grandchild on both the paternal and maternal sides. As such, I received a lot of attention at an early age. My parents were very young, still teenagers themselves, bringing limited skills to this business of parenting. Dad worked hard in the sugar cane fields while Mom tended to the humble home and took care of me in the plantation village of Kealia on the eastern coast of Kaua'i.
Mom sang lullabies and Christian songs to me, and in the evening, after Dad had washed away the island soil, smoke from burning fields, and residue of weed poison from his body, he'd strike up one-way conversations with me.
On the weekends, they'd take me to a movie. I was an infant and have no recall of these events, but I would listen to my parents' accounts of those early days, and over the years, I never forgot my early roots.
I learned to write the alphabet at the age of 4. Armed with all those wonderful letters that had interesting lines and curves and nuances, I practiced writing on paper, in the dirt, in the sand, and--yes!--on the walls of our home. The house was so old and dilapidated that I don't think my parents were that concerned about my lack of discretion.
Published at Age 5
My father showed me a page from the Sunday issue of The Honolulu Star-Bulletin featuring poems and short paragraphs written by Hawai'i's children. He encouraged me to write and submit something. The payment for published submissions was $5, a good amount of money in 1957, and a Junior Press Agent card from the newspaper.
With my father's help, I submitted two poems--Mother and Anahola.The latter poem was the birthplace of my father and a favorite area for camping, picnicking, and fishing.
My father helped me by suggesting key words, and I then added my own childish spin as to how the words should be organized and connected. I can't remember if the poems even rhymed or not, but what I do know is that they were rich in imagery, at least from a little boy's perspective.
Approximately three to four weeks after submitting each item, I received a business envelope with the official Honolulu Star-Bulletin logo in the upper left corner and my name and address squarely in the middle of the envelope. With heart beating hard and fast, I pulled out the congratulatory business letter with the enclosed $5 check made out to me and the impressive orange-yellow Junior Press Agent card.
At the innocent age of five, I was a professional writer...and I was hooked for life!
Inspirational Writing at Age Twelve
In the seventh grade, I applied for and was accepted into a private school for children of Hawaiian ancestry--the Kamehameha Schools Preparatory Department. Since the school was located on the neighbor island of O'ahu, I boarded in a dormitory.
The regimen of the school was highly structured and disciplined. We had a strict dress code and wore uniforms consisting of white shirts, khaki pants, and polished black shoes. On Sundays, we were required to wear long sleeve white shirts with black ties smartly tucked into the middle of our shirts.
In the evenings, just before bedtime, we had Christian devotional readings. During this period of my life, I was fascinated with finding pertinent Bible passages and writing two or three paragraphs about current events or things I remembered from my childhood that were relevant to those scripture verses. I wrote several of these and kept them in a small notebook, sharing them at evening devotions.
I truly believe this particular writing niche paved the way for my future writing as an adult where I enjoy connecting the dots between things we normally take for granted and their spiritual object lessons.
Hubs About Writing
- How Walking Enhances My Writing
By necessity or by choice, the writers of yesteryear did a tremendous amount of walking. This aspiring writer is beginning to understand the symbiotic relationship between the two actions.
- How I Overcome Writer's Block
Each writer has his or her own unique way to hurdle the literary obstacle. With thanks to Starbucks, Sir Isaac Newton, and loving family, here's how Hawaiian Odysseus resolves writer's block.
- Hawaiian Odysseus' OHANA--rajan jolly
One of the most prolific and dedicated writers I've had the pleasure of meeting during my first year at HubPages is also one of the most humble human beings. I'm honored to pay tribute to him here.
Writing Poetry and Light Verse from Ages 14 to 17
I returned to Kaua'i to attend Kapa'a High School between 1966 and 1970.
During high school, my parents' marriage was disintegrating, and as the oldest of six children, I was especially sensitive to the emotional turmoil at the time. I became very introspective and moody, fashioning my world around the rock music of the sixties, an era immersed in war protests, the hippie movement, and a general mistrust and disrespect for authority. Since my father was a police officer and beh that were hurting the family, I experienced a huge cognitive dissonance at the time. Some days, I hated my father with a passion. Other days, I was almost in awe at his ability to be such a stud. This love-hate for the most significant male figure in my life really messed me up big time.
So I found comfort in Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, Jim Morrison, Herman's Hermits, the Beachboys, Dave Clark Five, and all the other musicians who could drown all the emotional and spiritual agony I was experiencing.
Oddly enough, or perhaps understandably, I began isolating to my room and writing a ton of poetry. One of the poems was entitled, My Father's Garden. My dad spent hours in that garden, and in my sorrow, I perceived that he loved that garden more than me, and so I said as much in my poem. As a senior citizen looking back on that vulnerable time, I see things much differently...that the garden was to my father what my poetry was to me--a safe haven, a womb a man could hide in (an allusion to a line from Simon and Garfunkel's I Am a Rock).
Dad eventually left home, and I became the man of the house, a position I thoroughly sucked at and hated with a passion. I was a kid, dammit, and I didn't want the added responsibilities! I just wanted to have a normal life. Whatever that was, it had to be better than what I was experiencing.
Again, looking back, I was a typical self-centered, self-serving teenager, insecure as hell and with my head deeply immersed up my dark side of the moon.
Always one to wear my feelings on my sleeve, I met a beautiful Hawaiian-Portugese girl from another school and fell deeply in love with her. Borrowing from Mr. Dickens, it was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. Good because there was someone outside of me that I could totally fixate upon. Good because a passionate romance does things to one's body and soul that equate with superior healing. Bad because I turned my back on my mom and my siblings when they were in need of my presence and leadership. Bad because I had something else in my life that I could hold up against my personal life at home, accentuating the fact of how much that life looked like crap.
Yes, I was very selfish. It was a very painful time in my life. Looking back, perhaps one of the few smart things I did was to puke my pain into my writing.
Case in point: I wrote an epic literary piece comprised of several snapshots of life in the sixties. The literary form was haiku with several verses forming each snapshot page. Strung together, it was a short story in verse form entitled, Why?
The literary creation moved my English teacher so much that word of it got to a community resource center leader who then contacted the University of Hawai'i on O'ahu. At the time, UH was sponsoring a lyceum series event on each island showcasing noteworthy artistic and cultural endeavors.
Long story short, UH asked me to present the epic haiku creation at the Kapa'a Neighborhood Resource Center. I agreed to do so, figuring the exposure could help me in my bid for locally sponsored scholarships. But first, I needed to complement my creation with something visual.
I took my trusty Kodak instamatic camera and began snapping dozens of photographs, using my family members, my girlfriend, and the idyllic island scenery. I also added images of the current political drama as well as the Vietnam War.
It was spontaneous combustion, this opportunity to create without any traditional classroom constraints, and it was an effective way for me to quit dwelling on my pain.
The University of Hawai'i Lyceum Series event was a huge success. There was a picture and a write-up in the local paper. I won a few scholarships as an indirect result of the notoriety. My high school got a bunch of kudos. My mom and siblings were very proud of me. My girlfriend glowed like a Polynesian Tinker Bell.
But it wasn't enough to bring Dad back home.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
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Reprise of the Charles Dickens Quotation
Eventually, I went to college in the mainland. After the first quarter, I married my island sweetheart. Later that year, she gave birth to our beautiful baby boy.
...best of times...
I managed to finish two years of college before the unresolved issues surfaced--exploded would be a better way to describe it--and I experienced a major meltdown. Less than two years after getting married, as the result of hurtful choices on my part and the devastating consequences, my wife and I were separated. I remained on the mainland, and she and our son returned to the islands.
Essentially, I dropped out of life...pulled a Brian Wilson rabbit out of my hat and went on an extended hiatus. It was like falling into a deep abyss. My very soul was paralyzed. No amount of drugging or drinking could medicate the pain.
"...worst of times..."
A few years later, I resurfaced in Tacoma where I worked as a bartender at Shakey's Pizza on 6th Avenue (I can see billybuc sitting up just about now and saying to Bev, "Hey, I remember that place!").
I had finished two years at the University of Washington but didn't have any English Comp or Lit on my transcript. So I signed up for these two classes as well as organic and inorganic chemistry. In the span of just one quarter, I would actually have enough credits to graduate with an Associate of Liberal Arts degree from Tacoma Community College.
Fortunately for me, whatever raw writing talent I had at the time improved immensely for having taken the English Comp class at TCC. (Again, God is so good that even when we errantly stray, He's like this awesome GPS that re-routes us.) My English professor was just that...an Englishman. David Gilmour, English prof by day and amazing soccer athlete by night, painstakingly took me under his wing and taught me proper grammar, punctuation, diction, and all the other nuances of the most difficult language to learn on this planet. My compositions looked like bloody battlefields after he liberally marked them up. I obsessed on the goal of getting a paper returned that didn't have a red mark on it. Never happened. Even when I earned an A, it was a brilliant scarlet letter.
You Still With Me?
Are you still with me, dear reader? Good. Thank you for your patience. I'm almost done.
Intense pain has a way of catapulting an average writer into a fairly decent writer. Even in my darkest despair, I kept on creating new ways of putting words together.
I missed my wife and baby boy so much that I began creating songs in my head, finishing them before committing a single note, chord, or lyric to paper. When I was eventually strong enough to shake off some of the funk, I grabbed the closest guitar or ukulele and finally was able to liberate the incubated songs from the depths of my soul.
In all, I must have written a dozen or more songs. Someday in the near future, when I have disciplined myself to learn how to create a video with my webcam, I am going to record these songs and post them on YouTube so I can create hubs out of them. It may be a simple enough matter, and perhaps I am only minutes away from discovering how to do this, but for now, anything high tech scares the hell out of me.
Here are other things I created in the depths of my despair and my self-appointed sabbatical from happiness:
- More poetry, many of which were published in The Tacoma News Tribune and several collegiate literary magazines throughout the country;
- Crossword puzzles, several of which were published in national magazines, and a couple that were syndicated in newspapers;
- Greeting cards for the Sangamon Company;
- Inspirational verse, also published;
- True-life narratives that were published in The Christian Reader and Insight;
- An unpublished play;
- During a brief stint as a church newsletter editor, a handful of interviews and articles;
- Reviews of restaurants and coffee shops in Seattle and Walla Walla; and
- Two blogs.
Okay, let's wrap this all up and leave on a high note. You spent a good many minutes of your precious time reading this hub saga, and you deserve nothing less than to have at least one good thing to embrace and inspire you.
With God's abundant grace, and nothing less,
- I am liberated from the shackles that bound me in my past;
- The prayer indelibly engraved within my heart is this: Where once I was a curse, help me now to be a blessing;
- I have been blessed with a second marriage of almost 31 years, and we have two wonderful adult children--healthy, successful, and each an excellent writer;
- What came of that baby boy from the first marriage? He will be 42 next month. When he was 18, with the blessing of his reluctant mother, he made an all-out effort to find me. Nine years later, on an isolated sandy beach on The Garden Island of Kaua'i, father and son were reunited in a long embrace after 25 years of being separated! I also got to meet my two grandsons for the very first time.
- This, then, is my 100th hub, a memorable one to mark the achievement of a major milestone in my walk through HubPages. Thank you so very much for sharing in this experience, and I wish all of you continued success here in this literary community and beyond! Me ke aloha pumehana!