Friday, June 20, 2014

Leaving Home - The Epilogue

In September 2010 I wrote in this blog:

Leaving Home

Three weeks ago, Suzanne and I accompanied our youngest daughter, Christie, to London to help her get settled into her new school – Central St. Martins School of Art and Design. Two years ago Christie had enrolled in The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She did well her first year, but wanted a program that had more of a fashion design focus. One of her professors had suggested she apply to St. Martins and the Royal School, both in London. So last year she stayed home, got a job as a cashier at CVS and worked on her portfolio and her applications to art schools. She was accepted at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and Parsons in New York and then to her surprise at St. Martins and the Royal School. I had been secretly hoping that SAIC or Parsons would win out but she chose St. Martins.

I had really enjoyed the year she spent at home. Probably because she had been gone for a year and so I’d already had a chance to experience the empty nest (although our house is definitely not empty even when nobody is home.) She doesn’t drive so I would chauffeur her to work most days. We usually did the grocery shopping together – she’d take of the produce and cosmetics and I’d get the beer and wine. We were a good team. Her friends hung out at our house a lot (we had cable and they were all True Blood fans.)

Everyone tells me how exciting it is for Christie to have this experience – and intellectually I absolutely agree. But I will miss those silent rides to work, and the grocery shopping grand prix and all of those young people taking over my television. I will miss the casual encounters with Christie. Visits aren’t the same.

Life goes on. We don’t own our kids – we just rent them for a couple decades.
Somehow four years have passed and now Christie is a few weeks from graduation.  We are back in London to attend the exhibit of fine arts prepared by the graduating students.  Yesterday we toured the exhibits of Textile Futures, Textile Designs, Ceramics and Fashion. 

Today is Jewelry – Christie’s section. Her work was described as “unsettling.”  But not in a bad way. I think. I actually don’t have a clue, but maybe by tomorrow I’ll be more informed. I already feel a lot smarter about textiles. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

Do Not Go Gentle...

I started my blog, “Do Not Go Gentle…” five years ago.  The purpose was to chronicle my pursuit of two specific goals:

-          To finish in the top 10 of the USAT Age Group Championship and

-          To get my novel, “American Past Time” published.

Back then I was young and naïve and thought I would achieve those goals in a year or at most two years.

In the last five years I have made it to the Nationals twice. The first time I didn’t even finish and last year I finished 33rd  about 20 minutes out of tenth place.  I’ve qualified for the Nationals again this year and I’ve been training all winter with the goal of this year making it to the podium.

Meanwhile, I rewrote the novel three more times. In April it was published, but now the challenge is to find readers who aren’t family and friends. I want the book to be read by strangers.

2nd Place Medal
This weekend I had a rare convergence of the two missions. On Saturday I competed in the Elkhart Lake Triathlon. I finished 2nd in my age group, which is an improvement from last year when I finished 5th, but not good enough to be even close to a top ten finish in August. I still think I have a chance.  My coach has been working on form in all segments and I can see improvements (for the first time I finished 2nd in the swimming segment, which has my weakest leg). I need to pull it all together and continue to train smart for the next two months. It’s a longshot, but not impossible.

Famous author awaits his fans
On Sunday I got to attend the Printers Row Litfest as an alumni author of the Writers Studio of the Graham School of the University of Chicago. Me and James Patterson and a few other notables. I brought copies of the book to sell, but I didn’t have high expectations and I only brought four.  I didn’t sell out.  Okay I didn’t sell any. But I did give away a bunch of post cards with the laudatory Kirkus Review excerpted on the front.  

It was fun to attend and talk with other aspiring writers who were interested in the Writers Studio.
I have two months until the Nationals and then maybe I will need to come up with a new goal for the blog.  Or maybe a retirement party.

For the blog not me.