Former TV news executive Mike Archer, now a blog writer and contributor to Smerconish.com, provides an interesting perspective on the inspiration and process in writing and publishing his first collection of stories.
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I've always thought about writing a novel. But life and career always seem to get in the way. And so now that I was retired, I thought I'd take a shot. But I thought a novel would be a bit of an overreach for me. So the first thing I decided to try was a collection of short stories. And having a career in television news, it was easier to write shorter than longer. So I put together a collection of stories called Road of Life, stories of discovery and forgiveness. And it's nine stories that all deal with people facing a critical moment or decision in their life, or meeting in their life, what they do, how they react, and how the people around them react, and it takes place in various time periods from present day to back in the 60s.
One of the stories is about an experience I had in high school at an all boys Catholic high school in Brooklyn in the 60s, where I witnessed some of the physical punishment administered by an order of religious brothers who were teaching there, and how it was dealt with. Now, I of course, embellished for dramatic purposes the story that I told but I did witness the two events of brothers being physically abusive and hitting students and the effects you know, that that has on the students and the people who witness it.
I also told a story of which I got from kind of a current day headlines about the dangers of foul balls going into the stands at baseball games. There's been stories of little kids getting hurt, a woman actually getting killed at Dodger Stadium. And I told the story called Foul Ball of a young minor league player hits a foul ball in the stands and kills the fan, and how he deals with that. And how he comes to ask for forgiveness from the man's wife and how she accepts him. And what she does in reaction to his coming to ask for forgiveness.
I went a little outside the box and another story called Martin Collins, about an older guy who suddenly dies while gardening with his wife and faces kind of a God who I sketches a pretty odd character. And Martin gets the opportunity to basically makes his case to go back, that he wasn't ready to die and he didn't think it was fair that he was suddenly pulled away from his wife of 50 years when he wanted to stay with her and continue to live their life, they were happy, they were content. And he makes that argument. And we see that in effect, he gets a second chance at life and how that works.
The final story, called road of life is also kind of personal. I have four little granddaughters, the oldest of whom is nine years old. And I know, you know, in the next 10 or 15 years, I may not be around to see them grow up and become mature adults. So I wrote a kind of a road story based on a grandfather, it's kind of based on myself and his oldest granddaughter who's about to go to college and a road trip they take to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his desire to have one last good experience with his granddaughter who he hopes will not forget him. And he's also his, you know, search for eternal youth. He looks back in his life and what he's done and what he hasn't done the mistakes he's made and, and wants to teach her some of the lessons of life and he wants to kind of get one more chance at capturing his youth, and he finds that the Baseball Hall of Fame is a place that honors, you know, strong young men at the height of their powers, frozen in time that we all looked up to, you know, despite all their warts, you know, they're just like the rest of us. But there's something that we aspire to. And he tries to teach that lesson to his granddaughter about the value of youth and the value of life and how you live it.
This was the first time that I tried to self publish a book. So I had some difficult time with the first publishing process. And I think that was basically because I was a first timer. But the opportunity to do it, essentially for free, is something that's, you know, should empower all authors who you know, always had the dream of getting something published. So my next venture will be to attempt a novel. I'm not sure I can do that. But now that I've at least gotten the idea of how to write stories you know, I think I'll give it a shot and and see how that happened. See how that that works out.
But I appreciate the opportunity to talk about it. And I look forward to hearing the stories of other authors who are just trying to get their name out there and their work out there. Thanks for listening.