Though certainly not a commercial success by any means, my journey in putting together my first novel – “Unwashed Philosophy: A User’s Guide To Our Imperfect Union” – (available via Kindle through Amazon) put me on a path or certainly changed the path I had been traveling along, that has resulted in a fairly significant number of changes in my life I honestly never saw coming.
That I decided to even try, despite all of my challenges, to put together a novel in the first place was almost exclusively because I needed to prove to myself that I actually could. The effort took the better part of a year and I regret not a single minute of the time I spent but along the way I learned quite a few things about myself, I might not have otherwise if I hadn’t pursued that dream. I’d be willing to bet that all those people out there who have spent a lifetime in the world of writing specifically so they can generate an income via publication of their works similarly learn things about themselves as they go through all the steps necessary to put their words in front of total strangers’ faces.
One of the more humorous traits of an aspiring novelist is the extent to which we talk to ourselves out loud and answer ourselves in response. It seems silly and cute, and to some perhaps a sign of mental defect, but it really isn’t; writing is, by design, meant to be a singular journey spent alone and devoid of external human interruption. Another thing I learned is that the more earnest your efforts become, the farther into the project you get, the more serious you take each piece of information gathered during research and the introspection and self-reflection you get yourself caught up in as you internalize and process things you either never knew before, or things you had never considered in such ways as your “enlightenment” brings you to understand them.
My first book is live on Amazon and after some time spent sharing that news with various social media outlets, it began to occur to me that not only had I not said all I wanted to say, but once I had put that book down and on the shelf, a whole new world of things began to occur to me that ought to be considered worth saying once I had gotten the first story told. It’s too soon to say, of course, whether this is an inspiration or simply an addiction But whichever it might be, I’ve decided to let it take its own course and bring me along for the ride.
A brief history: My oldest granddaughter, after weeks and months of conversations between us about life and her future and her dreams and aspirations, led her to say one day that I could be a philosopher. I never considered myself such, but it was an intriguing idea. I built a website, “Unwashed Philosophy” and started writing. Not long after, I invited an old friend and fellow blogger (13 years my senior) to join me whenever the spirit moved him. In relatively short order we decided to collaborate on a project which resulted in the book. You would think that would have been the end of it but after a year of phone calls and emails… And Relentless encouragement from my youngest granddaughter who insisted I could not give up until the book was published… Ongoing conversations resulted in the decision to pick up the story where we left off, and assemble a collection of essays we continue to write for our respective websites.
Work is now underway on what is effectively the sequel to our first book and it will be titled “Unwashed Philosophy: Essential American Wisdom”. Where the first book was a reflective history, in sequential order, of how America came to be in the first place, accompanied by narratives on the matters of what we have done with this country in the last 60 years and what we might want to consider doing about it going forward, our sequel will look at a number of issues, in essay form, as they relate to the State of Affairs in America and around the world since the last presidential election (2020). As with the first book, ours is not a desire to haggle over politics or politicians but to look, long and hard, at the direction we are heading and the potential outcomes and effects on future Generations as well as the long-term survival of the American Nation.
Periodic updates will be forthcoming, here and at my substack (named accordingly and free to subscribe), so if you are interested in keeping tabs – @bushmillsvassar has agreed to join me on this encore tour – we would be happy to have you join us.
The one good thing about surviving past your Prime is the breadth of wisdom inevitably gained by having done so. God willing, Vassar and I will publish volume one of our essays in the fall.