I clicked a button recently which published some family history that’s been a long time in the making. It was that simple.
After pecking away at this “narrative journal” for the better part of 30 years, I decided to take a leap of faith on this story of my father’s life, my life, and the struggles my family has endured going back to my father’s childhood and just self-publish the thing.
Now, “Simple Man: Learning To Live Without A Father, From Generation To Generation,” is out there on Amazon.com for anyone out there in the world with a Kindle reader or the free Kindle reader app to see. This is just the start of what I dream of being a whole new adventure when it comes to my first love in a career path: writing.
It comes out of my passion for putting words together in a way that makes the reader think, entertains, and in some cases inspires. It also comes out of necessity. It comes out of a strong desire to be my own boss, to do more to decide my own fate.
This blog was born during a low time in my life, a difficult time for my family. It was born at a time when I’d been laid off from a computer programming job, and it would help me to maintain my sanity in the year and three months that would follow while looking for another decent job.
I did find a decent job again in the middle of March last year. The struggle to regain financial footing after that continued. Just over a year later, last April 1, that “decent job” was taken away. My family and I found ourselves back at square one … again.
Just before that “decent job” was taken away, I had what could best be called a “vision” that went right to my heart. It involved self-publishing, going beyond this blog and into an even bigger arena, with a variety of stories to tell. What better way to kick it off than to publish something that’s been around 30 years in the telling?
Self-publishing isn’t the only thing I have going now. I’m seeing about getting trained at a “day job” that is about as blue collar as it gets, but — as is the case with so many middle class Americans these days — it doesn’t quite pay all the bills.
Which brings me to self-publishing.
My father was about as blue collar as it gets. His main occupation was mining, and it was that occupation that ended up killing him, four months before I was born. He came from a background where he learned how to survive through hard times, without his own father to guide him along. Like father, like son.
That “decent job” I had for around a year up until April Fools Day may have been taken away, but I come from a background where you learn to adapt. We’ve gotten help along the way, help that’s been appreciated, the kind of help we desperately want to repay many times over. We could easily choose to just give up hope, give up faith, just fade away. But I wasn’t raised that way, and I want that “family tradition” of survival to be an example for others.
My father’s death going on 54 years ago provided some huge challenges for my mother, who was left to raise three children, including an older son born with cerebral palsy who would die at age 10. It provided huge challenges for my sister and me. We’ve done what my father would have wanted us to do: survive, become the best persons we can be, making it through the hard times and being stronger as a result.
That’s the kind of survival I talk about in my book. We’re not fancy people, we’re not celebrities, but there is still a story to tell in simple lives based on survival, with the goal of inspiring others to push through their own personal struggles, no matter how hard those struggles may be.
It all started with my father, a “simple man.” It won’t end there. I will have more stories to tell in my self-publishing endeavors, at times in the same way that I’ve shared them in this blog. I will be taking a hard look at the world we live in, the hardships so many people face, examining ways we can make this a better place to live. This collection of family history is just the start. I’m gradually taking control now, not leaving my family’s fate totally up to someone else. With hard work and a lot of faith, we’ll make it.
That’s what survivors do.