A Spot of History: One source I have outlined a CRB oath that every delegate had to take before entering Belgium. While I have NOT yet confirmed this as fact, it certain covers the primary tenets of the organization:
"Upon your word of honor as a gentleman and a citizen of neutral America, do you solemnly swear to uphold absolute neutrality in word and act, vigilance and firmness in guarding the interests of the Belgian and French people, and tact in official relationships?"It's interesting to note that many of the CRB delegates were young, idealistic Ivy League grads, who -- upon entering Belgium -- promptly fell in love with young Belgian women (some of whom worked in the Underground against the Germans). That's why I titled my historical novel, Honor Bound.
My Post: First, thanks to all those who correctly pointed out that I will be working in my 61th year, not my 60th year. Yes, I do know about the passage of time, but I choose to ignore it for the greater glory of symbolism. Three simple questions: How old will be I be in March 2013? July 2013? November 2013? The answers are 60 and 3 months; 60 and 7 months, 60 and 11 months. Additionally, I believe that everyone who read my "60th Year" email understood I was talking about working in 2013, not working in 2012. All of which leads me to keep in my heart that I will be working in my 60th year during 2013. No atomic clock can tell me otherwise...
Stepping back for a moment, though, I want to share something that I said to my brother, Eric, last night when he called for my birthday. For me, getting to this very initial point of departure has been a monumental step. Here's what I told Eric:
I believe that any writer has to have a huge ego to believe that he or she will write something that everyone will want to read. No matter how shy, reserved or humble an author might be on the outside, he or she does have, somewhere deep down inside, a diamond-hard ego that maintains a tremendously conceited belief that others want to read what he or she has to write.
That ego is critical for keeping the author motivated and moving forward. Without it, nothing would get done. I had that necessary ego through:
- My first book, Stapleton International Airport: The First Fifty Years (6 part-time years in the researching and writing) -- published, great reviews, poor sales.
- My second book, Honor Bound (nearly 3 years of full-time research and writing) -- never published.
- My third book, Denver: Crossroads to Tomorrow (1 full time year under contract with publisher) -- never published.
- My fourth book, Facing Your Fifties: Every Man's Reference to Mid-life Health (nearly 2 years of full-time research and writing) -- published, great reviews, poor sales.
After all the hard work, it was crushing to me that we had failed when only a few feet from the finish line.
As an author, I psychologically crawled into a cave to hide. My ego all but dried up and died...
Over the last 10 years, every time I looked at Honor Bound and the CRB material, the task of converting it to a nonfiction historical narrative seemed too daunting, too pointless..."what's the point when I do all the work and then I don't get rewarded for it with good sales?" My negative side was the only one talking.
During this time, I could never envision myself actually doing the work (a necessary psychological tool I've used all my life).
Then, as I mentioned in Post #1, "How This Blog Started," Dec. 16, 2012, I literally saw myself laying out all the CRB material on my basement floor and finally getting back into the research and writing stages.
My ego was back! No more questioning, no more doubting, no more wondering. I KNEW in my heart that this is what I need to do now.
AND, that it's my last real chance to do this work. After this year is up, if I haven't made any money (someway, somehow), I'll have to take a job as a WalMart greeter! :)
So, it doesn't matter to me that I don't yet have a theme for the book, or even a general concept of what it's going to be like. That will come, I'm confident, as I scuba down into my research. Working through all the material, I am absolutely sure -- with the purity that only comes from a diamond-hard ego -- that I will find the best way to write this book. The moment will come when the time is right. The inspiration will come when the work has earned it. The creative spark is just around the corner from the tinder of research.
All of which means -- Jeff's BACK! It's been a lonely 10 years in my cave (aka fortress of solitude), but I'm now back into the sunshine and I'm ready to work again -- unimpeded by dreams of fame or fortune (although I will hope for them! :). I'm here and I'm working because this is a GREAT story that needs to be told.
And so, the journey begins...unless, of course, I get a full-time job, magazine consulting client, or travel article assignement...Isn't the unpredictability of life grand?! :)