A BIO IN BRIEF-SORT OF…

Thud! That’s how it felt. That realization that after having given very serious thought–even to the point of getting meditative for weeks and weeks–that realization was that something had to change NOW.

That lonely road out of the barren, dry, dusty, void that had come to be a “safe harbor” would be my route to salvation. I say safe harbor because, after all, nobody was shooting at me. Nobody was knocking on my door in the wee hours seeking to drag me off into the darkness like in some Druid ritual. There were no things-that-go-bump-in-the-night keeping me up at all hours.

What there was however was the fact that I had dropped over twenty pounds in the last few months and if something didn’t give my friends were going to start talking behind my back. No, no, no-I wasn’t on some kind of “Program”. I just wasn’t eating right. There was no money.

After a lifetime of working in the service industry, whether as an electrician–HVAC/R technician–handyman–or some type of sales, I found myself slowly starving. I had dropped two pant sizes and was forced to punch new holes in my belts.

There were weeks on end during which time I have a few coins in my pocket and enough fuel in my rig to get me to a job site and back. The roof over my head is a gift.

What had happened was this, about seven years earlier I had made a promise to myself (I never promise to anybody else) that henceforth I would be “Independent”. No more J-O-B or slavish takings. The Captain of my own ship now was I. And that was the beginning of a brand new life.

Trouble is a word. It should be a four letter word. Like love and hate and push and pull but much more troubling. The trouble was that the economy went in the tank and all the life giving water had drained out of my safe harbor and I was hard aground with nowhere to go but up (I could see no sign of an incoming tide either).

Hell! I want more out of life I told myself. After all, I was used to getting what I wanted. In my twenties I wanted to be a musician and play in a band-for money. That went pretty much according to plan.

The next big idea? I’m going to be a marine electrician and work on the waterfront. I like boats. The money’s pretty good too I hear. The next thing I knew I was the only electrician at a successful boat building company in Southern California.

These were nice BIG boats. The four that I wired were all around 100′ length overall. Over three and a half years I got pretty good at it too. Innovative as well some would say. Then BOOM!! The wife-the divorce-the dismal failures all came crashing down.

Dusting myself off and taking a look around I had this bright idea: Hey! I’m a darn good marine electrician and I think I need a break from all of this T-R-O-U-B-L-E. I was so arrogant that I had no regard for the possibility of failure so I made the decision. Later in life I learned that that arrogance was actually self confidence with a little pride mixed in. I gave the pride a heave-ho a few years back.

A few days later I had a little stack of seven resumes all dolled up in clear presentation folders complete with a nautical motif ready to announce to the BIG BOYS in the yachting community that I’m ready to bring my special magic to their dreary lives aboard those floating hotels.

There is much to be said about thinking big. You know, “Aim for the stars and hit the moon” and all that. About two weeks after mailing my packages to all seven yacht brokers world-wide the telephone rings…

On the other end is Rick. Rick says that while waiting for his girlfriend to finish up at the yacht brokerage office on their way out to lunch, he happened to thumb through my resume. Naturally I’m thinking this is some kind of joke.

Rick goes on to say that he knows a boat in Fiji that would probably like to have me as Second Engineer-would I be interested in cruising up to Newport Beach California to talk about it. Let me check my calendar–right?

A couple of months later I’m standing in the dawn’s early light in Nadi, Fiji with two quarts of smuggled in peanut butter by request of the crew. What a magnificent Yacht! Around a hundred and fifty feet in length. That little excursion took me around the world to some very exotic places. On a whim-or was it willed?

I‘ve gotten a little off track here. Some say I suffer from attention deficit. I think I’m glad to be alive. So back to starvation and the exit strategy.

My unpublished book resided quietly among the zeros and ones of several different storage devices. My several blogs have helped me understand a little bit about the potential of the internet. And now I find myself seeking to understand whether or not I have what it takes to ramp it up a notch and actually DO SOMETHING.

BOOM!! That was months ago and I have to say that I have never worked so hard and so long for free. Holy smokes! Day after day–night after night 8-10-15 hours at a stretch. And why not? My phone’s wasn’t ringing and nobody was beating a path to my inbox. Thankfully that all changed as if a secret switch was flipped.

Now it’s time to wrap this up with what I really wanted to say to start with. After digging around, and clicking, and saving, and reading–and reading–and reading some more it occurs to me that I’m wasting some valuable time. Here’s why:

  • Over the course of the last several months I have studied the works of too many noted authors, copywriters, creative writers, and other kinds of writers to remember.
  • My “writing resources” bookmarks folder links to well over 100 sites.
  • My desktop writing folders now have hundreds of articles written by dozens of acclaimed authors-SEO experts-copy writers-email composers-splash page makers-editors and MORE!
  • Of the many websites out there available for freelance hook-ups I’ve signed up with a few and am offering proposals. The best of all is that the book is ready for Kindle, People are buying my writing, and readers are liking what they’re reading. What’s not to like about that?
  • Printed material I pick up at the store, the library, the barber shop–all of it presents an opportunity to think about how it affects me–how I might do it differently. It’s not so just about the story anymore. It’s the content-the punctuation-the layout.
  • One thing most of the authorities agree on is this. If you want to be a writer, start writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll never stop exploring all of the new ways to succeed  as a writer. Copy-writing is very appealing. I started with creative writing and slid into legal writing out of necessity.

I don’t know how this is going to flow but it feels pretty darn good so I think I’ll see where it leads me. Thanks for taking your time to read through to the end. Now it’s history. I have to write now.

To your Bliss,

Michael Shurtleff

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4 thoughts on “A BIO IN BRIEF-SORT OF…

    • Well that’s nice of you to say Kathie. Thank you very much.
      And I’m very glad that you commented here because I was sure that I embedded a functional link like this little ol’ one right here.
      Now we can see if this is working the way I wished. Please alert me if the link fails as it worked here in testing.
      There is a lot for me to learn Kathie. This is a start and I’m telling those here in Smallbrook that if you purchase the Kindle version and review it for me on Amazon I will reimburse you the four bucks if you send me the link to your review.
      I know, this is cumbersome for those with less than exemplary tech skills but I need that ranking of reviews. You have my email address as michael@thestandingllc.com as well or call me at (442)444-0140 (home-office-text-Google voice number)

      Thanks again and let’s talk soon. =)

      Best,

      Michael Shurtleff

  1. Michael,
    I do all the writing, display and etc. for the L’Arbre Croche Museum in Cross Village. Your family has a unique historic presence in the village but as you know most of the town burnt at the end of the timber industry in 1918. We have so little that remains of your family’s history and of the museum at the Shurtleff home. If you would share any photos or information that you might have and/or direct us in a search we would be most grateful.

    • I regret that I missed this. I have meaningful images and documents regards the “Shurtleff Land Sales”. I’m paraphrasing but I think you would be pleased. I’ll scan and send as soon as possible.

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