Monday, June 7, 2010

Busy "Taming the Tiger." Be Back Next Week

Happy Trails to you, till we meet again next week.

It's been more than three years since I adopted my son, Vitaly, and brought him home from Ukraine, but I still feel very much like a new father. I still get excited watching him get excited over some new move he learned in gymnastics, doing art, making music or even just relaxing with TV or a DVD.

I've all but kissed R-rated movies good-bye. Strangely, I don't miss them as much as I thought I would. A lot of those kids' movies and TV shows are pretty good.

Being a father made me want to do something for kids. All kids. Not just my son. I played with all kinds of ideas for children's and young adult books. I reread some of my favorites from my youth, mostly adventure stories like "Treasure Island" or "The Call of the Wild." I also read and reread books by various children's and young adult authors, like Judy Blume.

I watched a lot of kid and youth-oriented movies from the 70's and 80's, like "Goonies", "The Karate Kid," "The Breakfast Club" and "Some Kind of Wonderful." (The first two I enjoyed sharing with my son. The others will have to wait.)

I thought back to my own childhood and teenage years and how things have changed from the 70's and 80's to the present day. I recalled how perhaps the two things that best carried me through my own turbulent teenage years were my interests in the literary, the visual and the martial arts.

To be honest, I hated what they assigned me to read in school and with few exceptions, I wasn't crazy about what they had me do in art class, either. Though I was pretty fit, I wasn't crazy about P.E. I'd preferred lifting weights, practicing martial arts and boxing, to basketball or soccer.

Then it hit me! Why not write a young adult novel about the martial and the visual arts? Those were two subjects with which I was most familiar. I also thought it would be a good idea to illustrate my novel myself. Part of the problem with writing about martial arts, especially for an audience of laypersons, is spending page after page describing action that might only last a few seconds.

By illustrating the novel as well as writing it, I save myself a lot of undo exposition and save the reader a lot of boredom.

Since last fall, I've been putting myself back in the mind and body of a 15-year-old boy during the 1979-1980 school year. I've been thinking how I wished I had a chance to learn some real kung fu, instead of training by myself in my basement because I was between instructors.

And that's when I came up with the idea for "Taming the Tiger." It's the story of a 15-year-old misfit and small-time hood who comes to develop self confidence and an appreciation for art and beauty through the study of kung fu. Charley Batchelor, the protagonist in "Taming the Tiger," goes from being a wannabe tough guy to someone who is truly tough and truly gentle.

I've really enjoyed writing this and I'm thrilled to say that I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I've written more than 14 chapters, roughly 140 pages of text, and have about two chapters left to complete.

I'm on a roll and I don't want to stop. I honestly think that, text-wise, I can complete this novel within a week. The artwork will take a little longer, but once the text is complete, I can start marketing it to various agents and publishers.

I'm going to be taking some time off from Facebook and from "Tales from the Carport Kwoon" for the next week. I'll still be working out, but I'm not going to have time to write about it here, especially with paying jobs and my search for regular employment in addition to completing my novel.

So take care of yourselves. Be sure to exercise. Try to eat right, though I'm learning how hard that is with this diet Roxanne and I are on. Take some time to socialize and say "hi" to some old friends once in a while. Tell them I said "hi" too, and I hope they're doing well.

Take some time to get alone, too, with your thoughts.

If you're of a mind to, take some time in prayer. Don't expect it to change your circumstances. It might do that or it might not. But if done right, with the right heart and mindset, it can change your attitude and your viewpoint.

Have fun. I'll get back to you all next week when I've completed the text of my novel and we can have a blast going over what we've been up to in that time.

Have a good one.



  1. Excellent idea - sounds like you are channeling your energy into something that you really enjoy doing!

    Have a good one as well!

  2. Thanks Kostas.

    I'll be posting excerpts from my novel from time to time here on "Tales from the Carport Kwoon."