I have been a writer most of my life. Though I don’t consider myself either a great or gifted one, I have enjoyed the artistic aspect of creative writing and have invested much time in pursuing this lifelong interest.
I will post some of my short stories and poetry that I have written over the decades under this “Short stories/poetry” heading. One of my favorite short stories, “Deliverance from Auschwitz,” was started in 2001. I would edit it from time to time over the years, and will present it here publicly for the first time.
“Deliverance from Auschwitz” is perhaps my most polished work to date. I have always been fascinated by WW2 and have spent countless hours researching this incredible part of world history.
Since this short story was written over twenty years ago, I’m unclear exactly how the idea came to me and how the story developed. I do know that I have always had a more than passing interest in pocket watches, being fascinated with them since I was a child and always desiring to own one. If memory serves me correctly, my father owned and carried one on his person, and this may be where the interest in pocket watches first began.
But one memory from my childhood shines bright about pocket watches and it comes from the movie, “For a Few Dollars More.” This was a 1965 “spaghetti western” that was popular when I was a child, and there is a scene in the movie where this pocket watch was pulled out, opened, and its haunting melody played. That scene is forever etched in my mind.
Here is the other scene from the movie that sticks in my mind. On a side note, this was one of several movies that my dad would allow us to watch; obviously, this kind of movie was completely inappropriate for a small boy of only about five or six years old to be watching. It’s no wonder why I had horrible nightmares for most of my childhood and teenage years:
Its been almost sixty years since I first saw this movie and these watch scenes are still in my memory. There is little doubt this is one of the reasons I carried this fascination with pocket watches with me for so long, and may be one of the inspirations for my short story.
I came from a troubled, dysfunctional home. My relationship with my father was never close; he was an abusive, angry individual who I never got to know on any level except fear of being beat by him—that emotion I knew well.
Because of this, of never being able to experience what a loving, close relationship with my father could have been, subconconnciously throughout my life, I have yearned for this. As part of filling in this emotional and psychological void, I believe in this story, Deliverance from Auschwitz, I have idolized the main character, Eleazor’s, father, painting him in the way I wished my own father would have been: kind, loving, supportive, wise, respected by myself and others, etc.
I cannot remember one tender moment with my father, no hug, no kind or supportive words, no conversation—nothing. Only yelling, anger, fear, rage, and abuse. To have been wrapped in the loving arms of my own father even one time, as I described in my short story between Eleazor and his father, is a dream unfulfilled for me but perhaps, in some strange way, realized in my life through the telling of this tale.
I have written elsewhere in this blog of how my writing perhaps began. I took journalism classes in high school (Sahuaro High School here in Tucson, AZ). I was a reporter for our school newspaper, the “Mountain Shadows,” and in my senior year was promoted to editorial page editor.
Several people, including my journalism teacher, Mr. Thompson, evidently recognized some small amount of talent I had for the craft and recommended I pursue a writing career. I loved to read, and read voraciously during high school (I think I may have read close to two or three hundred books during my grade school and high school years).
Two of my favorite authors were John Steinbeck and Ray Bradbury. Steinbeck’s writing in particular captivated me; I loved his style and the power he had to create entire fantasies in my mind. His novel, “Grapes of Wrath,” was one of the greatest books I believe I have read. Steinbeck was an “artist” in the truest sense of the word.
But I knew I was no Steinbeck. I realized I could write, but I also understood I was nothing like Steinbeck. I compared myself to great men like him, and in that comparison, knew I fell far short of the mark. This is why I did not pursue my love for writing: I felt I could not measure up to true greatness in the craft, which was a criteria for me in order to pursue writing as a lifetime pursuit, the thing that earned my living.
Now, in my early sixties, I feel I may have made the wrong decision. Writing has always been a part of my life, whether it was through keeping a diary (I have six “nothing books,” books with no words in them I have used as my diaries), keeping diaries on my computers, this blog site, or my website, which has immensely helped me to earn a living as a contractor and salesman.
I have learned that innate skills, like writing, become better the more one practices. I ask myself, “If I had pursued a career in journalism, might it not have been possible that I could have evolved into a great writer like John Steinbeck?” And the answer, of course, is “yes.” It was very possible.
But I didn’t. That opportunity is long past, as Shakespeare so aptly put it:
How I relate these verses to my own situation is self-evident: I had an opportunity to pursue a career in writing when I was a young man. That opportunity may have remained there even in my middle aged years. But now, in my old age, the “tide” has long since gone out and I missed the opportunity.
I’m not complaining, though. My life, though extremely difficult in countless areas, has been fulfilling. Though I would have never chosen the path God seemed to ordain that I should walk, I have learned valuable lessons I’m glad to have been privileged to be introduced to.