Archive for the ‘ Writing ’ Category

My Grandpa – Melvin

Melvin Scott was born on a Thursday and departed this life on a Tuesday. To me my grandfather Melvin was larger than life. As a child I remember seeing him as the strongest man I knew. His humor, quick wit, and easy laugh fit on Melvin like a favorite pair of gloves, and he wore these traits with an easy nature. He loved his family, and he collected friends. It was hard not to let Melvin into your heart. He was honest and simple with his words. He taught me how to saddle a horse, he taught me to serve our country, and he taught me the value for your family and friends. I remember riding with him on the 4-wheeler as we herded cattle or went to irrigate the fields. While checking on the water he sometimes ran into rattlesnakes, with all the ease in the world he would smoothly take his shovel and dispatch the snake without missing a beat, or flinching. He was a brave man. These small things I noticed as a child showed me much more about the man, my grandpa Melvin than I would realize. His bravery, honor, integrity, and love for his family aided him tenfold as he was called to military service on a Monday the 14th of February in 1944 and participated in the Liberation of the Philippines. He finished his Army service on the 17th of February 1946 but he really never stopped his service to kin and country. After leaving the Army he returned to his family’s homestead farm, Mantua Farms where he and my grandmother Jody raised three children Keith, Kathy, and Steve Scott.

As a farmer he fed this great nation his whole life and taught his children what true dedication to your community and family really mean. Little did he know that all the hard work he did, all those times he took me with him to check the water, or the cold winter nights where I watched him with his cattle, he was really teaching me what it takes to be a man, to be a father, and to serve those around you. He was dedicated to his wife, my grandmother Jody Scott, and when she passed and he remarried he showed the same dedication to Mary Scott. His whole life was one of honor, family, and strength. As much as he loved the land here in Powell, and especially the land he farmed at Mantua Farms, this land is as much a part of him as he is a part of it. Those of you who have broken bread with him can attest to the truth of these words.

My summers were spent learning from this man and on his last days, he had every reason to be afraid, to be scared of what comes next, but rather than give up, his eyes only shone with love for his family and friends. Melvin left this world with dignity, he left on a Tuesday and on his terms, born to this land of Wyoming and dying on this same land. We are all better people for having known him and having loved him. To me, even as his body became weaker he was the strongest man I have ever known. He could move mountains if he had wanted. Melvin was a powerful man, he showed that power in the simple nature of his love, his hard work farming, and his service to his country.

To me Mantua Farms and Melvin Scott were one and the same. They were magical and smelled of adventure and wonder. Grandpa, you are adventure, you are magnificent, and you are amazing. Your life was spectacular, you held this family together, through the hard times and your strength and power were a force to be reckoned with. You are the greatest grandpa a boy could ever have, you are the best example of a father and a man. I love you with my whole heart. Thank you for being in our lives, I will miss you Grandpa, my heart overflows with love for you and for all you have done for this great nation and for the people here in Powell, Wyoming. I hope that someday I can be a grandpa just like you. I want to thank each and every one of you here today as we remember with great joy my grandpa Melvin Scott. I know that if given the opportunity to speak this church would be filled with stories similar to mine from all of you. Grandpa, I love you and you will always be in our hearts.

Time to write again

Something that I believe I’ve never appreciated when I was younger was the concept of simplistic and understandable communication.  While in school (especially middle school and high school) I believed that more was better.  Rather than boiling my ideas or concepts into their most fundamental and basic structure I would use complicated and unnecessary language to appear to have a LOT to say about something which often was very simple.

 

While communicating clearly is a valuable tool, the ability to make something beautiful can complement an important message as long as you choose to use techniques (be they written words, powerful quotes, or interesting videos) to make your message more impactful.  When I was in the military my words carried their own gravitas.  This was, in my opinion, because of the historic time of my writing, as well as the emotion I was conveying.  Since then, I have not felt the same motivation to write and communicate on a personal level.  Part of this is due to my own struggle with what happened to as a soldier and what Iraq represented for me.  Having some distance from that time and from the complicated and nuanced mental (and physical) luggage I was encumbered by, I now have greater appreciation for what I went through when I was such a young man.

 

Now, you may be asking yourself why I’m writing this (ironically over-complicated) message.  I am also asking myself why I am writing, and I believe I have my answer.  I am writing simply to write.  Over the last decade or so I’ve written quite a bit, but post Iraq most of my writing has been for work or college.  Writing for myself was one of the most cathartic things I have ever done, but we (I’m using the royal we when I really mean I here) often make excuses to do those things which are good for us.  The same holds true for working out (for me).  Speaking of working out, I’ve begun swimming 1000 meters about 2 times a week.  Never have I liked running so swimming is a great mental compromise for my cardio health.

 

Perhaps you have enjoyed my writing in the past (and maybe you are even enjoying this rambling piece), while I do write for your sake I want to make it clear that on a much deeper and meaningful level I actually write for myself and my own sake.  My children have even enjoyed a bit of my fiction writing and have asked me to finish the story I once began for them.  Perhaps with that too, I will find my motivation and finish it, or who knows, I could begin a new story and see where such a story takes me.  If you have made it this far then you may be wondering where my simple and concise message is.  Perhaps someday I will get to such a message, but for today you will have to accept this instead.

Why do we write?

Why do we write?  Why do we care?  My life and my goals are always present but at times I don’t know how to reconcile the two.  Those I hold close go away and those who I tell myself cares about me are liars just as I am a liar.  The need is always present, for me to rescue, for me to save, to make this a better place for anyone but myself.

It is odd how just a few life events can shape an entire existence.  How they can determine my choices, both good and bad.  The light brings all my discretions to air, brings them about for others to see, for them to judge.  You may ask what my preoccupation with justice is, why I care, and yet I judge myself so harshly.  It is to the point that those who once cared about me can even use my own sense of justice against me.  I become a target for those who want to lash out, for those who want to hurt, and I absorb this and allow it inside my head.  These thoughts are as welcome as my own self-doubt, my indiscretions as a father, as a lover, as a soul.

Part of me wants to go back, to go to whichever war needs fighting, and to lose myself in the destruction, perhaps over there I can save someone, for I am already lost.  My soul is the one untouchable thing that I cannot destroy, it can be cracked and torn, filthy and unwanted by all around, but it is something that nobody can take from me.  My only true possessions are the thoughts in my head and my soul.  I’m good at finding things, at breaking things, and at learning.  My skillset travels with me as I journey through this life.  My goals are still unmet and I will not leave this earth without reaching at least part of those, if not all.

As I was saying before, like others, my life is shaped by a few events which have affected me, events that I want to control and which end up controlling me in their own way.  I want to be loved and to love, to have life and to live.  I will find these things eventually and perhaps someday it will be said that I was a good father, if nothing else in this life I want that…

The New Super Heroes Are Coming to Internets Near You!

The world is at stake, we need new heroes.  Who will provide them. Where do heroes come from? Will they save us?

These questions and more will be answered in the as yet un-named comic book being created by Zach and Kids in the massive collaborative art project utilizing paint, intellect and imagination.

An object is heading towards earth, its scale is massive and it is as yet undetected.  How can this be? Even in this modern age something of this size could go through our atmosphere with no notice as it smashes into the mountains and leaks its innards onto this planet.  What does it contain? How will this alien substance affect us?  As strange things begin to happen and as new villans and heroes compete for the fate of the planet we must ask, will we be saved? Will what is left be worth saving?

Stay tuned for this amazing Comic book coming to the internets near you!

Zach & Kids…

Life is adventure, and fear…

Days blend to weeks and weeks to years.  We often find ourselves feeling spent and done with.  I feel that way lately, stressed about school, about work, and about the finalizing of my divorce.  Not to mention bills and such.  Then I look at life, look at those around me, the strangers I see pass me by.  They too are living life.  This stressful world we live in is wonderful, difficult, and absurd all at the same time.

The things that happen to us, part of me believes that there is a reason for everything, but the other side of that coin is that there must be some level of chaos, of unpredictability.  I get lost in it all, but I also think that is the point of life as well.  People talk of thriving, of never having a care in the world.  I am content right now to keep my head afloat, and in a few weeks or months I will be sailing again on the choppy and wonderfully unpredictable sea of life.

One last thing… something my father once told me.  There are always choices.  You can do anything you want to.  You just need to do it.  People travel the world on less money than I have, they build wonders and write of their adventures.  There are very few real excuses to be made.  Me?  I will take life one day at a time, but with my eye on my goals.  I never want to lose sight of my dreams entirely.  So next time the waves cover my head, I will remember that the surface is above me, all I need to do is swim back up to it.  Sometimes easier said than done, but that is indeed life.

My children

This weekend we saw dragon boats, we made art and we ate delicious food.  My children are what keeps me going.  I miss them so much when they are with their mother but at the same time I know that she misses them just as much when they are with me.  My daughter is every bit as daring as I ever was, hell, she climbed a lamp-post when I had my back turned for a minute.  My son is sarcastic and intelligent as I remember being as a young pre-teen.  He can keep up with you in a discussion and his wit can often get him into a little trouble 😉
These are my children.  I love them, they are every bit a part of me as is my own arm.  I am proud of them and grateful to God for allowing someone such as myself to be able to have such wonderful children in my life.  I am a proud father, a man who wants to be the best he can be so that his children can one day grow up and remember me as a positive influence in their lives.  I love them.

Read my daughter’s thoughts on the 5k we ran today

So my daughter wrote about her first 5k today.  Yes, I ran in a kilt and have a couple pics of proof that I’ll post later.  Here is her story (also found under the story tab at the top of the blog (click on “the race” below):

The Race

A little more to the story

I added a little more to my short story:

https://nevadog.wordpress.com/stories/short-story/

Tell me what you think…

Why do I like superheroes?

Why do I like superheroes?  I like superheroes, I like comic books, i like these stories of these people who can do these things that nobody else can do.  I like a hero, I like an anti-hero even better in some ways.  I can identify with them, no not with their extraordinary powers but with the wish to do be like them, and the idea of the protector.  Especially the anti-hero.  The kind that can’t make it, they have such problems.  I remember one of my first favorite comic book heroes was Wolverine.  He is a mess, he has so many issues.  Psychological issues, pain, trauma, the ruthlessness of his life; but he is powerful and he is a protector.  Somewhere in my head I want to see myself like that.  In spite of all that has happened to me and all that I have been through I still see myself as a protector.  That is why I joined the military and why I am in the career I’m currently in.  As a father I’m fiercely protective of my kids but not overprotective.  I want them to grew up and have a better skill set at dealing and coping with life.

I look at the Comedian from the “Watchmen”.  What a horrible person this guy was.  He found humor in humanity, even in the most horrible aspects of it.  He got it, he understood that life and humanity was that bad.  Instead of letting this understanding destroy him; instead of all allowing how mean and horrible people were to each other destroy him he just understood.  He decided to protect in the ways he knew how to.  In his own way he was a ruthless and bloody protector.  What a fascinating story that was.  Then there was Rorschach, this mess of a 150 pound guy but who could fight with all his heart for the things he thought were good.  The aspect I don’t identify with him was his fierce  judgment of anyone and everyone unworthy.

I love my heroes, I like to think that somewhere inside of me there is something good because sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.  I like knowing that I watch out and try to protect those I love and even strangers.  Whether that be to help someone out with a flat tire or trying to raise my kids with a better set of skills than I ever got.  Superheros were important to me.  They were the stories I read as a young kid that gave me an idea of what the ideal way to live is.  I know that I won’t be bitten by a radioactive spider or have adamantium claws, but in-spite of all their shortcomings they helped people.  The acts they did, they helped people.  I hope that I can do that.  When humanity and my children judge my life I hope that they will see their dad as someone who was always there to protect them and someone who taught them that others are worth protecting.

Thats all I have to say on my superheroes.

Lessons from my mother

I don’t know where to begin.  I feel partly lost, partly sad, and also committed.  Looking back on my life I can see clearly that I do not trust others to catch me when I am hurting or hold me when I need support.  I have learned over the years that you can’t trust someone to do that for you, the time when you need it they will be too busy, won’t care, or will simply let you down.  The only person you can trust is yourself.  I learned this lesson at a very young age from my mother.  I can’t say that she never taught me anything; she taught me how to survive in a very cruel world, taught me that nobody will protect you.

I want to create a different legacy for my own children.  I won’t allow them to go through what I did, I will strive every day to show them what a caring parent is and how my kids should be treated and cared for.  I will protect them from the truly horrible things in this world but will allow them to learn to deal with the small injustices now to prepare them for the larger unfairness of life.  If by allowing my son and daughter to realize that homework is hard or that you don’t always get what you want, or to struggle to save and work for something you really want they will later be better equipped to deal with those problems on a larger scale (how to cope in a work environment, saving for what you want instead of instant gratification, dealing with a hard breakup, etc).

But for me that message seems ingrained.  It impacts my personal relationships, I stay behind the walls of my heart because those I love and those I have loved have always let me down.  I hope that in my life I can teach my children a different lesson than the harsh one my mother taught me.  I am a survivor, I will make it, but as for my children, they won’t merely survive I hope that I can allow them to thrive and to feel without having to guard their hearts.