I’m in my own world these days. I walked through the portal at least a year ago with my last completed book.
People think that because I don’t receive a W-2, I am retired. I don’t know what that means, being retired, that is. In truth, I am more engaged today and my brain more active than it ever was during my years as a pilot, a businessman, and a writer of novels.
Since my return to the Sonoran desert three years ago, three things dominate my agenda: working with my friend Justin in Haiti to feed and educate ghetto kids in Cité Soleil… working with my friend Dwight on an agriculture project in the desert to support the Haiti project… and to a lesser degree, working with my friends Chuck and Carl doing what I’m not quite sure of to mitigate homelessness.
I remain true to my commitment and pray throughout the day every day.
My last book – The Vitruvian Man’s Book of Hours – came out a year ago in 2021. I published my last and most recent novel – The Faith of Job – two years ago in 2020. I don’t have the time, drive, or focus to finish any of the manuscripts waiting in the wings. If my attention span were longer, I’d try to finish American Holocaust.
Last week, Dwight and I spent three days fly fishing the Colorado River in the north country. It was time well spent in the wilderness. I didn’t think much about Haiti, agriculture, or homelessness during those three days. I think that was a good strategy.
Now I’m back on the farm planting, watering, weeding, fertilizing, harvesting, harrowing, and tilling the farm and anything else that needs doing there every day, and keeping my finger in the hole in the dike with the other two projects. Whatever it takes, we’ll get it done, my friends and I…
I identify more and more with Louis Jenkins’s poem “Out of It.” I have yet to decide whether that is good or bad.
Out of It
I’m out of it these days. I guess I have less interest in
keeping up to date on what’s happening. I don’t know
the names of most of the current movie stars and have not
seen their movies. Same for the music scene. I have not
read what everyone is reading. I don’t know what’s on
TV. I’m out of it, but not too far out. I figure somewhere
between 12 to 18 inches. I’ve noticed that when someone
speaks to me he or she seems to be addressing a space
just a little to my right or left. When it first happened I
thought my acquaintance was speaking to someone else.
I looked around but there was no one else there. I’ve
tried moving to adjust the conversational direction but
the speaker only readjusts. I realized that if I kept moving
our conversation would be going in circles. So now I just
stand still and let the talk continue at cross-purposes. It
is getting worse. Sometimes I can’t make any sense at all
of what someone is saying, as if he were speaking Welsh.
Then I remember that I am in Wales and he is speaking