1. What inspires you to sit down and write about something?
My inspirations come from the world around me. I was in the U.S. Army for 20 years, and along the way I have lived all over the world, experienced many different cultures, and talked to people from all walks of life. Watching how other people interact with each other and listening to their stories has become a kind of hobby of mine.
Pop culture bombards us with tales of the rich and famous, but I think most people have great stories to tell regardless of their social or economic standing which is why I started the Beneath The Rainbow short story site. When you drill down in to the events of most people's lives, you will find heroes, villains, and protagonists worthy of a Shakespearean drama.
2. Would you tell us a little bit more about your forthcoming book?
Midlife Man in Crisis chronicles some of the defining events men (and some women) go through when they hit that period of life the dictionary defines as middle age. I try to approach the subject with a touch of humor although there are moments when some of the events can be described as drama, or so my beta readers tell me.
Tackling issues involved with the loss of youth, no longer being a parent of young children, and even the oft maligned "midlife crisis girl" event wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, although it has been fun. The events described in the book have either happened to me or someone I was close to, with maybe a slight bit of exaggeration in the telling. After all I am in old soldier, and we are supposed to add a little hyperbole to our stories.
3. Why do you think that our culture talks so much about the idea of the midlife crisis, and what does "midlife crisis" mean to you?
There are roughly 82 million people in the United States between the ages of 45 and 65 (27% of the population), so put into perspective that is more people in that demographic in the United states then there are people living in Germany, France, or any western European country. You could multiply the population of Canada two times and still not have as many people as the United States has in middle age category. A big reason we talk about it so much is there is a lot of us.
In my own experience, midlife crisis is what happened when I slowed down enough to realize how much the world had changed around me. Empty nest had hit, the kids had all moved out, my wife was now an ex wife, and even worse when cute college girls talked to me, they used the tone and demeanor reserved for friends of their parents and grandparents, not the flirty banter that always been our form of communication before. When you're a middle-aged man at a restaurant, and the 20-something girl who is your waitress says, "Thank you, sir".......she really means SIR.
4. You post original work on your website on quite a regular basis. What are some of the best responses you've received from readers?
I have received some great comments and words of encouragement since I put up Beneath The Rainbow, but my absolute favorite was when a guy I hadn't seen since boot camp posted, "I always wondered what happened to my buddy" under a short story I'd written about joining the Army. Prior to his comment, I hadn't seen or heard from him since 1981. We didn't have cell phones, computers, etc back then, and snail mail could take two to three weeks to travel one way overseas, so you couldn't really keep in touch with all the friends you made through out your military career. To hear from someone I hadn't talked to in 20+ years, that was a real treat.
5. What else would you like readers to know about you and your writing?
I have a kind of a sardonic sense of humor, and there are times people don't understand when I am laughing at myself, and I do laugh at myself a lot. My hope is that anyone reading my writing gets that aspect of my work.
Prior to this book, my writing has been confined to blog posts and ghost writing for others who have tailored my work to fit their own style. I am anxious, and I admit a bit scared to put out an entire book with my own name on it.
Thanks for spending time with me, Mandy.