Klutzy Me: Childhood Blunders and Other Disasters

Rescue Work - Dayton (Bain News Service, Publisher)

Flood – Rescue Work – Dayton (Bain News Service, Publisher)

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” – Confucius

Believe it or not, I’ve actually been called a good dancer (no, not by the guy in the mirror), but I admit, I’m not someone you probably want to give a sword to . . . unless, you know, it’s time to wield it, time to slay the dragon or defend the kingdom. I’ll be all in, then, focused on my movements, on the intention. My body might even cooperate then.

To just carry around, though, probably not such a good idea.

Even though I grew up playing sports, you could say I was a wee bit klutzy as a boy. I’m a bit suspicious, though, that my little sister crept into my room one night while I was sleeping and adjusted the controls to my center of balance.

No, I can’t prove that. Yet. But here’s what I mean.


When I was about eight-years-old, my mom asked me to go to the store for some milk. Simple enough of a request, right?

The store, it should be noted, was a mere block-and-a-half away, other side of the street, on the way to my favorite hide-and-seek location, the cemetery.

This was back in the day of glass bottles and penny candy. It was the coolest store, and I have to find a way to get that store and the old man who owned it into one of my stories.

I rode my bike, because, you now, it was faster.

I had things to do, after all, like playing football or baseball in the street with my friends. Fortunately, my friends were all in their own houses at the time and were NOT waiting for me on my front stoop because THAT would have been mortifying, since, well, I sort of ran into a snag on the way home.
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Family, Friends, and Our Stories: Continued

famsmallIn the beginning, FAMILY is pretty much all we know.

While we’re infants, they’re perceived as an extension of us (in regards, mostly, to how they meet or neglect our basic, inherent needs).

Most of the early truths and discoveries we make are learned through our experiences with family. Our values, our beliefs and attitudes, are influenced by them (as we grow to accept or to resist theirs).

As we age, as we approach and then navigate the muddy waters of adolescence, our FRIENDS assume a much larger role in shaping us (or at least in influencing how we shape ourselves) into the people we’ll become.

All of this may be true. All of it may, and does, and will influence our stories.

But, as Willa Cather stated: “most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” I can say that most of my personal stories, most of the memories I draw upon when I write, are from that time in my life. They’re related to experiences I had with my family, and adventures I had with my friends back then.

A few of them, in particular, have in some way influenced the novels I’ve been working on recently, but not in the ways you might think. Not for the events themselves, in most cases, but for something more.

Here are a few specific events I recall from when I was between six and nine years old:

The Great Carpet Incident
Broken Bones & Concussed Noggins
Shattered: Or Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Body
The Land of Up & So Much Falling
Climbing the Walls
Rooftops & Hurricanes

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