Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creative Outlets

I guess many people, like me, feel a need to express themselves, and do so through many forms, such as writing, painting, photography, music, acting, and so on.  I've tried most of them.

Only one thing kept me from being a rock star.  What, you say?  I don't have any talent.  Old joke.

There are a lot of talented people out there, most of whom will never earn a nickel from what they do.  That doesn't stop them.  Take, for example, my ex-wife Jahnn.  She had broken both of her wrists in an ice skating accident and was in casts for three months.  During that time, she wrote a young adult's sailing book called "Susan's Sailing Adventures", still available at  What she's earned from the sales of her book works out to about 25 cents an hour.  She didn't write it to make money, though.

A friend of mine, Ron Chappell, just had a book published called Fat of the Land.  It's a compendium of short stories about growing up in the southwest.  I'm reading it now and enjoying it immensely.  It is a product of Ron belonging to a creative writers group which spurred him on.

I don't know how many blogs there are, but there's a lot.  People blog about cruising, homesteading, politics, and anything else you can think of.   Some are good, some not so good.  I don't know anyone who earns a living blogging, especially if there's no advertising (like this one).  Still, we blog on and on.

My first recognition as a writer was my 11th grade English teacher.  I was struggling to get through a humanities class and needed to pass the New York State regents exam.  After the exam, I was walking down the school's hallway, past the teachers' office.  Mr. Schwartz was there, saw me, and called me over.

"Your test essay was good," he said. "Reallly good.  The best I've ever read."

That floored me.  I never considered myself much of a writer, and no teacher had ever made any comments about my writing, except derogatory ones.  My essay was about UFOs, something I was passionate about back then, and it must have showed in my writing.  It must also have been a fluke, I thought.

Later in life, much later, I posted about chartering in the Caribbean on the old Cruising World internet message board.   Shortly thereafter, I received an email from Herb McCormick, the editor of Cruising World magazine, asking if he could use it in an upcoming issue.   Sure, I thought.  Cool.  Knock yourself out.   A few months later, I was in print, and received a nice little check.

That spurred me on to write subsequent articles for Cruising World, Good Old Boat, Latitudes and Attitudes, and All At Sea Southeast magazines.

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, I still don't think I'm a very good writer.  I have a folksy style, writing pretty much the way I talk.  It seems to work for me, though, and it will work for you.  If you're getting ready to cast off the dock lines, or are building a cabin in the mountains, or whatever you are doing that you'd like to share with the world, write about it.  You'll be surprised who might enjoy reading about it, and you'll have the satisfaction that you've made someone else's day a tiny bit brighter.   Maybe someone you don't even know.  And I think that's pretty awesome.


  1. As you know Dave I am greatly entertained EVERY DAY by your writing and photography! Your style is very comforting and a pleasure to partake of each and EVERY day!!!

    1. Thanks Mark. Comments like this are fertilizer to me. :)

  2. You ARE an excellent writer Dave. Your style is very effective and you are most definitely publishable.

    I love your story about Mr Schwartz. I can still picture him like it was yesterday. You should hunt him down and let him know the impact of his compliment to you.

    1. Thanks Bob, and I think that's a great idea. I've sent a message to WHHS and posted a note on FB asking about Mr. Schwartz.

      On another note, let's plan on a trip to Williamstown this summer.

      And on a final note, ignore Carl on FB. He's a nut job.