Blogging in Formation: January 2014
MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION – Mark L Berry
As this New Year arrives, I feel a virtual tsunami cresting the horizon even as this annual wave of change blocks my view of things to come. The quest for the cockpit has called me like a Siren to many strange ports over the years, and mostly I have managed to avoid becoming dashed onto the rocks: St. Croix, San Juan, Poughkeepsie, and West Berlin are just a few places I have been based before St. Louis. But change is coming my way again, and I expect to land in Texas once this tsunami washes me ashore. My airline has mostly closed my STL base, and my new domicile will be DFW. I’m not ready to buy a pair of snakeskin cowboy boots and start listening to country music (although Garth Brook’s “Live from Las Vegas” was pretty good on TV), but an excess of steak, a lack of snow, and the absence of a state income tax all sound appealing.
This year I’m making a conscious effort to exercise my positive outlook—an optimistic viewpoint I’d buried deep inside me for far too long. This year, I’m going to attempt to surf the big changes thundering my way. That’s my big resolution: to look ahead toward new opportunities.
Alison has given her required six-month notice to her current employer, and she is interviewing down in the Big D. House hunting will begin shortly. After over a decade in my 1905 meticulously restored brick home, it is time to pack up and bid Missouri a fond adieu. I’ll plant the For Sale sign in the front yard this spring sometime after the perennial tulips appear. Alison bought me a trailer hitch for the holidays, and we have begun preparing for our migration.
In 2014 I look forward to helping some close friends though the hard times they have been facing. Seasoned author Thomas Block once told me that getting old isn’t for sissies, and I gain respect for his advice daily. Embracing change does not come naturally. I won’t say which of my friends are having trouble making mid-game adjustments, but all I really want for 2014 is to help them find their own way.
As for specific writing goals, I have my year mapped out already. I’m busy recording and mixing the audiobook version of my memoir 13,760 Feet—My Personal Hole in the Sky. It is twice the size of my podcast novel Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun (available for free on iTunes>Podcasts) and a hell of a lot of work—albeit a labor of love.
When it is done it will have all 34 companion songs integrated into it, and I hope that makes for a unique and entertaining audiobook. I also hope to release this version of it on Audible sometime during the spring, before the tulips bloom and I hook a trailer full of household goods to my new hitch. The Kindle and paperback versions of my memoir are still steadily gaining readers, and I thank everyone who has written feedback for it on Amazon, Facebook, GoodReads, and wherever you share your social media.
After my memoir is finished in audio form, I plan to rewrite my second novel Street Justice before releasing it on Kindle and in paperback. Then I will begin recording the audiobook version for it as well. I will most likely perform this task from Dallas, so I hope I can find a new home that is not underneath the numerous departure corridors of DFW and DAL. This project will take me through most of 2014, and finally I will be caught up and ready to start a fourth full-length work. Perhaps I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to hammer out a rough draft, or maybe I’ll begin research for a new nonfiction project. Since telling my own story in 348 pages, I’d love to team up with someone else who has a deep story to reveal, and needs my help to write it. I would become the “with” author, or the second name on the cover in smaller print.
Bringing other people’s stories to life is something I can envision myself doing for a second career. I have met too many pilots who don’t know what to do with themselves after they retire. Flying airplanes for a living is awesome, but life offers many other opportunities outside of the cockpit. Just like the long road I took to become a professional aviator, it takes a long time to develop a writing career, and I hope that by the time I eventually hang up my uniform, I have an audience large enough to support my creative habits. But for now, it is the journey that is important, and I plan to breathe deep and ride as much of 2014’s tsunami wave as I can.
Happy New Year.
Cheers, Mark L Berry