Monday, September 5, 2016

SURPRISE AND SHOCK



"MY WRITING HAS A LOT OF
SURPRISING TWISTS."
                                                           Brent Weeks

     Some people have surprising twists in their writing.  Some have surprises in just life in general.  Then there is being shocked and surprised as I was while researching a story for my book.
     The subject for this story is Doctor Don Coldsmith.  Don was a private practitioner in Emporia as well as a rancher.  He had a very interesting life and his experiences in World War II would have made a good book in itself.
      In the end Dr. Don was a writer and one of the most imaginative writers that I know.  Now I don't know a big group of writers but I do know what I like.  Not being a fiction reader it takes a very special story teller to get my attention and to call myself a fan.  Don was one of them.
     So what is so shocking?  Time and fate.  I met Dr. Coldsmith while taking a Tallgrass Writing Clinic that he had helped to found.  Along with Dr. Jim Hoy I was writing poetry at the time and had done a little free lance in the past and had ideas for some books.  So I signed up and went to Emporia State for the seminar.
      I was a bit older than the other participants and the world of computers and word processing was something I was avoiding like the plague.  During Don's segment one of these up and coming hip writers asked what he used to rough out his stories with?  The answer was expected to be whatever the latest electronic do dad was at the time.  When he said he used a number 2 pencil and a legal pad I almost jumped up and hugged him.  That is what I used, and getting the thought on paper was the important thing.  Typing and editing could be done later.  I was so happy.
     Don Coldsmith wrote a series of books about native Americans from their viewpoint.  His series, The Spanish Bit Series, was inspired one day as he crossed a creek on horseback in the Flint Hills and looked down and saw a bit of something sticking out of the bank.  Digging it out, it turned out to be a broken Spanish horse bit.  The finding of that one thing started him wondering how in the world it had found itself lost in the Flint Hills?  He imagined a person with a Spanish exploration group being lost and ending up living with the native tribes and introducing them to the horse.
     From the original character 'Heads Off', he built a whole series of books numbering around twenty four in the series.  If you read the series do your homework.  Start with number one and read in order because it will make so much more sense to the reader.  He has an amazing list of over forty books and other work.
     So I am working on his story for my book and realize that he died in 2009 at age 83.  This shocked me.  Time has flown by so fast that I cannot picture him at 83.  And this is 2016 and I am just taken back at how the time has slipped by.
     In today's world it is not easy to be shocked.  Seems that the world goes out of it's way to be shocking and we get used to it.  Just think of how our family members, that seem to be gone not that long, and how shocked they would be at how things have changed.  Maybe we all need to be shocked now and then.

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