Saturday, September 20, 2014

International Child Abduction: A child victim's story - another work in progress

The world is a difficult and scary place when children of a multi-national marriage are taken by one parent to a country where the other parent loses de facto custody, or loses the ability to visit the child, or cannot even enter the country or contact the child. If you think it's bad for the losing parent, think how bad it must be for the children.

My new work in progress, as yet unnamed, is based upon this subject. Although fiction, it is inspired by a true story and told from the child's point of view, it describes many years of separation between a father and child, where the child was removed from their home county with no warning.

Now, as strange as this may seem, there are many countries of the world where there is no legal recourse for the losing parent. None at all. (The non-blue countries, below.)

In some cases, the practices of the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction apply. And, even those countries, the return of an abducted child is not at all certain and can take countless years, often with child aging out (at age 16) of the provisions of the Hague Convention.

If I paint a dark picture, where many children never see the losing parent again, this is the reality. My work will try and humanize international child abduction, with a rarely viewed children's perception of this terrible kind of event.

In the meantime, I hope you keep reading my other books.

Wil

Monday, September 1, 2014

I wish I had... but didn't. So, the time to start is now.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now. (Chinese proverb)
I was looking at that Chinese proverb, and thinking about how it could apply to so much of our lives. It might be 20 days, or 20 years, but it's all lost time. For instance, one could say, “I wish I’d started publishing my novels 20 years ago, but I didn’t, so I’m going to start now.”
Think of all the other statements that could be said:
 -      - “I wish I’d started learning to swim, or golf, or learn Azeri, or learn Tae Kwon Do, or travel, or go to the library, or read more books 20 years ago, but I didn’t. So, I’m going to start now.”
-   “I wish I’d started to save and spend my money better 20 years ago, but I didn’t. So, I’m going to start now.”
-  “I should have started to tell my son how proud I've been of his accomplishments at school. But I haven’t, so I’m going to start now.”
-  “I should have attended more of my daughter’s ballet recitals when she first got started. But, I didn’t, so I’m going to start now.”
-  “I wish I’d said more times how much I love and appreciate my father or mother or brother or sister or grandparent, and I didn’t, so I’d better get started now.”

What you don’t want to say is:
-  “I wish I’d told my father or mother, or my grandpa or grandma, or my uncle or aunt, or my brother or my sister, or my son or my daughter, or husband or wife how much I love them, but now it’s too late.”

So, whether it's one year or 20 years, perhaps the message here is that we should not put off until tomorrow what we can or should do today. Because, just perhaps, tomorrow will be too late.

Wil

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Persevere and overcome with tenacity, courage and understanding


I sometimes feel the need to explain myself, a bit, as a writer.  As in, why do I write?  Or, where did the ideas for my stories come from? 

Not easy questions to answer, really.  I suppose it was, initially, because I heard of some event, or tragedy, and I wished it had turned out differently.  In my mind, I wanted to change the way it turned out.  In real life, that cannot be done, of course.  But, in fiction, all things are possible.  As Paul Theroux says, “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” In my writing, I can create anything I want, and give it a happy ending, and mostly I do that.  Along the way, there may be tragedy, or hurtful events, but I try to create success and triumph in the end.  Here are some things I would be happy to achieve:
  • If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. 
  • If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. 
  • If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. 
  • If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled.
I have found that I really enjoy writing.  When I write, I imagine that I’m in the scene, or watching the action, and I want to describe it as fully as I can.  What’s more, I can change the scene, or the dialogue, or the action, as much as I want.  Most importantly, I write for myself.  I write what I want to read.  I like Jesse Stuart's quote, “Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.”

If even one person (young or not-so-young) finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.

Thanks for reading,
Wil

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting it Right...almost always starts with Getting it Wrong


Getting is right almost always starts with getting it wrong.  Unless we put ourselves or someone else into danger, the only bad thing about making mistakes is failing to try again.  And again.  And again.  And as many times as it takes to get it right.

That process, of trying it over and over until it works, has been my mantra in life, and in writing.  How many times have we said, or heard, ‘we learn from our mistakes,’ or perhaps, if we’re lucky, ‘we learn from the mistakes of others.’ 

As a writer, I often read, to see what others are writing.  I read what is selling and I read what is getting good reviews.  I also read what is new, or does not have good reviews, or what might not be selling, yet.  I read what appeals to me.  This is how I learn from others’ mistakes, and successes.

As I writer, I look at my own work.  I put my work out there.  I see which of my books sell, and which of them earn good reviews.  This is how I learn from my own mistakes, and possibly, from my own successes.

Getting it right, as an author, can be a long process.  It almost certainly very unlikely that the first novel we write is going to be a great success.  Almost any author will tell you that they did a lot of writing before they ended up with a work that they were happy with, or that sold well, or that got good reviews.  But, the key is to keep trying.  That means to keep writing.

In my case, I write because I want to write. I write because I need to write. I write what I want to write.  I write for myself.  But; I share my writing in the hope that some will like it, and perhaps, the hope that I might somehow tell a story that will have an impact.  

But, most importantly, I realize that it’s okay to get it wrong, if I keep trying to get it right.

Wil

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those who answer the call of 'Dad'..... this is for you!


This video is a great addition to the 'Must Sees' and 'Must Reads' for Father's Day...

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Father's Day essay - what kind of a Father?


As a person, I have observed many examples of ‘fathers’ and regrettably more bad than good.  On a positive note, I was particularly struck by two recent* pieces related to fatherhood, one by LZGranderson at cnn.com, and the other by Dominic Utton at the Mail Online.

As an author, I have often created characters in a father role.  In certain of my books, the father is described after his death. In Playing the Baseball Card, the protagonist describes his father as a man who ‘made sure that his children were the most important part of his life.

In Aiden’s Arrival: Honor Before Gold, a now-grown son describes a man who assumed a father’s role by marrying a women with two young children.  “None of us; my mother, my sister, my nephew, my niece; were related to our father and grandfather by blood, but that didn’t matter to him.  He showed us, by his example, that family is about loving people, and caring about people, and living together in a supportive way.  Not always in harmony, but always caring about your family more than anything else.  He lived that kind of life, and today we carry on with that legacy.

In Zac and the Reluctant Prince, Book 1 of the Prince David series, the father is described this way:  “The example of his life teaches us the lessons of responsibility, obligation, commitment, dedication, loyalty, patriotism and also compassion.  In his life, he strove to be the best son he could be, the best husband he could be, the best father he could be, the best officer he could be, and the best man he could be.”

If you know your father, what do you think of him? If you knew your father, how do you remember him?

I believe a real father is one who looks into the eyes of his children, and says to them, “My life improved the day you came into my life, and my life gets better every day that you are still in my life.”  I also believe a real father is the kind of role model I’ve described in the excerpts from my books, above. 

If you have the chance to be a father, or if you are a father, how do you want to be remembered? 

To all fathers, everywhere, Happy Fathers’ Day.

*This essay was originally posted for Father's Day 2012. It has proven to be the most-viewed of my blog posts of all time, and so I re-post it again this year to honor the memory of those who filled a father-like role in my life: my dad and my granddad.  

Wil

Friday, June 6, 2014

helping a Dad be a Dad on Father's Day... a must-watch





This is, of course, a great story for Father's Day. What's your story?



- How many are watching this, wishing they had a Dad on Father's Day?

- How many are watching this, wishing they still had a Dad on Father's Day?

- How many are watching this, wishing they'd had a Dad, at any time in their lives?

- - - How many fathers are watching this, wishing they had done more to be a Dad, when they had a chance?

- - - How many Dads are watching this, realizing they can much more easily be a Dad... on Father's Day?


If you can be more of a Dad, on Father's Day, why don't you?



Wil


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