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JULY 4 INSIGHTS

July 4, 2021, will go down as a day to remember. As I was checking my e-mail that afternoon, I noticed a message from my publisher, Casey Cowan, from Oghma Creative Media. He told me that I was a finalist for the Will Rogers Medallion Award for my first book, CHEROKEE CLAY, in the Best Western for Young Readers category. I was overjoyed, especially when I learned that they will hand me this cool medallion for being named as a finalist. So, come October, you might just catch a glimpse of two Okies, traveling southbound on their way to Ft. Worth, where the award ceremony will be held. For more information about this year’s nominees, check out https://www.willrogersmedallionaward.net.

Speaking of Will Rogers, I have always admired the man. He was a successful writer, actor, speaker, and fellow Oklahoman. Not only was he a real cowboy, he was a Cherokee cowboy and proud of it. Here are two examples of what Will said on the subject.

“Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you that personally, I am sorry he (Columbus) ever found us. The discovery of American has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all of our land.”

“I am not so sweet on old Andy (Andrew Jackson). He was the one who ran us Cherokees out of Georgia and North Carolina.”

Amen, Will.

REGRETS

Do you remember that scene from the first SUPERMAN movie in which he used his super strength to turn the sun back a day? He changed the course of history just so he could save the life of the woman he loved, Lois Lane.

Author Stephen King went back to the past repeatedly in his novel, 11/22/63. His protagonist wanted to Save JFK, and later, his lady love, but he finally learns that changing history has consequences.

Haven’t we all wished we could do that at some time or another? The first time I remember doing it I was very young. Through carelessness I had stained the new skirt that my mother had just bought me. There wasn’t a lot of money for new clothes, and I knew she would scold me. I remember praying that God would turn back time so that I could avoid the stain and the scolding. Of course, my frivolous request wasn’t granted, but I don’t remember the scolding being traumatic at all. The time I spent fretting about my anticipated punishment was much worse.

When I grew up, I experienced many situations which I desperately wanted to do over. If the day could just start over, I would act in such a way that the end result would be happy, not sad. I could have easily avoided some bad decisions, accidents, and arguments. I might have even saved a life once or twice. But, in real life, unlike in fictional stories, there are no do overs.

We all have to live with the regrets brought about by the mistakes we have made in the past. I want to live my life in such a way that my regrets are few and my joys are abundant.

Considering the Journey

So often the phrase from the play, Hamilton, runs through my mind.

“Why do you write like
you are running out of time?”

The answer: Because I am.

Despite having retired early at 58, my time for achieving my dreams and goals is growing
short. Yes, I have been published in magazines, journals, and newspapers. But my first book,
Cherokee Clay, wasn’t published until I was 67. I have written two more to complete the series,
“Cherokee Passages.” I have been told that these will be published in the near future.

I have four other books in development: three children’s books and one historical nonfiction.
That last one, my first nonfiction, Before We Were a State, is taking all I have to finish. The
clerical parts, such as the endnotes and the index, plague me. I have been tempted to give it up as
being too difficult, but, at my core, is a stubborn stone that won’t yield.

But do I know for sure that I will see all of these books in print? No. After seeing how
COVID-19 affected the publishing industry, the world, and my own life, I know that nothing is
certain. The world can change in a minute’s time.

On a personal level, I am helping organize my 50th class reunion. How did that happen? The
years have flown by, and several of my classmates are no longer living. They ran out of time,
and I am working fiercely to make sure that doesn’t happen to me, at least not until I am ready
for it.

This was my first blog. I will be submitting another one in a few days.