Writing Stories

By Beacon Staff

During the last 24 hours it has continued to rain. This storm has been a good time for me to hunker down and do some house cleaning in my office on our island.

I have spent the last four years coming to terms with my life and narrating my story in print.

I guess a lot of people would call it an autobiography or biography in that it is sort of a record of the ups and downs of the yo-yo pattern of the life I have lived so far. Maybe a memoir is a better word, I guess.

In cleaning up my desk I have uncovered a lot of dead flies and a few dead yellow jackets as well as a couple of spiders. But more important to me are a couple of questions someone wrote and asked me about and I know I have never answered them:

Q How much do you have to tell when you write?
A I don’t know, but the publications that I am writing the stories for spell it out in an agreement: how much I will charge and when it has to be in their hands. But I just like to write around things and let the reader use their imagination.

Q How do you describe the recent America’s Cup sailboat races in San Francisco?
A They were held in sailboats that attained speeds of 58 miles an hour. You almost have to invent new words to adequately describe this new high-speed phenomenon.

Q How much do you leave to the readers’ imagination?
A I use as few words as possible and give the reader the credit for filling in the blanks with whatever knowledge about the subject that they already have.

Q Where do you do your writing and when?
A I am very lucky because I have two offices. One is on a small island in the Northwest and the other is on the side of a ski slope at the Yellowstone Club in Montana. In the many years I owned and operated my film company, I woke early and worked late. These days I sleep late and cut off early. My writing days are interrupted by crab season and sunny golf days but when I am cranking out a story sometimes I will spend a dozen or so hours nonstop pounding the keys of my computer.

Q How do you get in the mood to write?
A I don’t know. The question I would put right up there with how do you get in the mood to eat lunch?

Q How computer literate are you?
A Illiterate. This is partly because of bad eyesight and my wife is great at it and fixes most of the problems I get myself into.

I don’t think I will ever run out of things to write about even when I pass the 100-year mark.

The stories in this book just required sorting out the words. I have been sorting out those words since I wrote my first essay in a junior high English class.

I received a failing grade on it and probably have not improved much since then.

I disagree with the skipper of an America Cup boat, after he defeated the New Zealand challenger when he was asked, “Now that you have won the America’s Cup trophy, are you going to write a book about it?”

His reply was, “That everything that is known about sailing has already been written. All you have to do is read all of those books develop total recall and you can win sailboat races as I just did.”