Over the course of my eighth year of life I died a little at a time. Not physically, of course, just inside. The most vivid moment came late that year. I was upstairs, and though it was autumn, it was also mild. Outside, the setting sun was tinting the cloudless sky. I sat looking out, my fingers pressed against the glass as if saying goodbye. I was saying goodbye, saying farewell to the life I was certain I couldn’t have. I think of that day as the first day I constructed a wall to protect myself.
Sounds awful. Actually, it became worse, but hidden in those walls with me was Hope.
Hope became the invisible friend I didn’t realize I had. Hope held me when I wanted to cry, but wouldn’t allow myself what I viewed at the time as weakness. Hope held my hand when loneliness made others too distant. Hope soothed the hurt so I could outlast the abuse.
Over thirty years later I began deconstructing the walls and discovered I possessed a hunger for life, a fierce opposition to injustice, the ability to forgive, and a strong desire to make the world a better place in some small way. Too, the years spent trapped endowed me with a passion for telling stories that reflected those attributes.
It’s true: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
While recovering from the onset of Chronic Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis in 2011 I faced my past and the resulting depression issues via poetry, which became a published collection in 2014, The Renaissance Cycle.
I didn’t enter a new age. I made one.
We can all make a new age.
I’m not alone in having suffered and many have suffered worse. You aren’t alone! My emergence from the refuge that became a prison led to the vow to become a compassion warrior, my sword the written tale. There’s one race, the human race, and there’s one equality, and it’s for all. Tragedy happens, but even one person suffering at the hands of another is a tragedy humanity shouldn’t tolerate.
That’s my past.
The future is fantasy fiction. I thought to self-publish in 2015, but as I learned more about the craft I concluded I wasn’t ready. I’m not one to put forth anything less than my best effort. I took a step back. Doubled my learning efforts. Studied story structure, character arcs, conflict, Deep 3rd point-of-view, and a host of other elements that make up the type of stories I wanted to tell.
If you desire glimpses into that world they exist and can be found in several places. One is off-site on Pinterest where I have a board entitled Ontyre Visions (there are other boards also devoted to fantasy, writing, science, etc…take a look!). Another place to look around is under the Ontyre tab on my website’s menu, especially under Ontyre Maps. Fun stuff. Finally, there’s the Short Stories tab I created recently. As of this writing there’s one story there, an early Ontyre effort called Barriers that takes place long before the novels I’m working on.
Other interests? Well, reading, music, cats, the outdoors, Green Bay Packers (yeah, I know, football seems out of character), history, map making, space exploration, photography, and pizza are a good start. Too, since my move to Missoula in 2014 I’ve taken to meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
My move here was a wise one, but as time has passed I’ve realized it didn’t mark the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one. A new journey of self-discovery has commenced and it’s taken me awhile to catch-up to what my heart already knew. I’m dedicated to living in the NOW and the direction my life will take from this point forward may be quite different than what I can predict. The past is for lessons and the future for goals, but life happens in the present and I’m embracing that approach now more than I have before.
It’s vital that we believe, believe in ourselves and believe in each other. There’s pain in my past, but it’s merely the story of how I arrived in the present, its value existing in lessons for myself and others when I share. Equality is treating one and all as equals and lifting those in need. Rather then focusing on what we believe cannot be done, let us instead strive for the impossible and make it possible. For my part, I’m tired of hearing “can’t” from those lacking vision. “Can’t” was what I was told after disease ravaged my lungs and I wanted off oxygen. I didn’t listen. The oxygen tank is gone.