Tuesday, December 16, 2014


High School Reunion.  Yes, reunion.  This is a topic that has started to appear more frequently as my graduation class' twentieth anniversary approaches.  It really seems like an odd concept.  Why would anyone want to gather the remnants of a group that was formed by force?  We didn't ask to be classmates.

We attended school because the law demands it.  The school we attended was determined by our parent's choice of community.  By circumstances, we were interned in a system that offered us no control.  Our classmates were fellow inmates.

We did our best to follow the rules... most of the time.  We did our best to understand the contradictory values being taught:  Work together as a community while striving to be better than your peers.  Conform yet excel.

Alliances were made based on shared interests or skills.  Some chose to be loners.  Many were complacent and embraced the passing of time.  Others struggled to face each day... feared they would never break free.

We managed to complete our sentences.  When the day came to declare our accomplishment, we stood as one and departed as individuals.  No longer bound together, we were free to make our own choices for the road ahead.

Many left the community to return with greater knowledge.  Some stayed.  Some departed and never looked back.  "Life Happened", one might say. 

Each person chose a path.  Some paths were short with great wonders.  Some paths were long and hard, continuing still.  A few paths revealed to be nothing but circles.  Still, we walked our path... took our journey.

Along the way, each person gained experience.  New skills.  New insights.  New understanding.  There was joy and pain... Success and failure.  Mostly, there was growth.

When a reunion was suggested, I thought about my former classmates and honestly cannot say I knew any of them.  Familiar faces, familiar names... but little more than acquaintances.  I realized I had spent years coexisting with strangers.  If I knew so few, how many knew me?

A reunion isn't about reconnecting with old classmates.  A reunion shouldn't be a competition of who gained weight or who was more successful.  A reunion is an opportunity to meet the men and women that grew from a bunch of clueless children.  We survived school and we are surviving life. 

We have grown as people and everyone has something worth sharing.  Personally, I look forward to meeting my former schoolmates... to truly meet them for the first time.

~ Don C Wilkes III

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NaNoWriMo vs Driving Career


Simple rule everyone should be following.  Texting isn't limited to sending messages either.  Creating text-based messages of any sort while in operation of a motor vehicle is dangerous.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Instagram, searching digital maps or reading anything on any device must be avoided.

Avoided?  No.  Not just avoided - prohibited.  Staying connected through a phone is tempting.  We must all be committed to be safe and leave the phone alone.

That being said... I find myself being tempted more than ever this month.

I have been trying to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  Simply put: writers from around the world attempt to rough draft a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.  So far, I've managed to write 29,262 words.  Reaching 50k shouldn't be a problem, yet it does present an interesting observation in the area of writing process.

What can you expect to achieve in 30 days?  Is 50,000 words realistic?  Is it worth the effort?

Well, let's start with some simple math.  The goal of 50,000 words in one month equals 1,667/day.  Now, you take a someone who is slow at typing like myself (25/words per minute average) and that works out to just over 1hr of writing time each day.  Surely, anyone can find a single hour in which they can dedicate to writing.

Thus, time isn't an issue... if you have something to write about.

If it was a simple matter of typing an hour each day, this challenge wouldn't be hard at all.  Of course, it isn't so simple when we want to have something worth reading in the end.

I am in day 9 of this challenge and have spent just over 20 hours of actual typing to achieve 29,000 words.  What I have created so far is a good beginning to a story that establishes a few key characters and sets a foundation for the story's world.

Honestly, it needs a lot of work.  Spelling, grammar, plot transitions and overall flow will require major rewrites before out can be considered a novel.  Right now, it is a notion - an idea requiring nurturing.

When I reach the end of this month, I will have 50,000+ words that hint at something more.  As it should be.

A draft isn't supposed to be pretty.  True, there are writer's who will turn out a beautiful tale on the first try.  This is rare and never consistent.  When you first write a story, you must ignore perfection and just focus on putting the tale in writing.  If you spend all your time worrying about the details, the story will never get written.

Just write.  You will have plenty of time to edit and mold the story.  In fact, you may find that much of your story needs reworked in the end.  As your story grows, so do you.  You will find new ideas to add earlier in your tale or realize that other ideas must be removed.  This is normal.  Let the tale evolve and watch yourself grow through the process.

Now, I am going to trying writing another chapter in my story without stressing about my horrid grammar.  Happy Creating!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Walker Legacy: Threnody of Dreams

Excerpt from book one of the Walker Legacy: Threnody of Dreams by Don C Wilkes III:

I often find myself remembering the tales of my youth.  Stories filled with dreadful villains and valiant heroes fighting ever onward towards an honorable goal.  Though others may recall such tales shared by their elders, I fear my tales were of a different origin.  The stories I remember lacked witches and magic and mythical beasts.

Instead, the stories told to me were of simple people like you and me.  Boys and girls working hard to better themselves... one day becoming men and women who would usher in a better world.  You can become anything your heart desires, the stories said.  Dream.  Strive.  Grow.  The world is changing, things are getting better and the future is bright.

So I sat.  I waited.  I watched.

As the years progressed, I started to realize the myth behind those tales.  Opportunities suggested by the stories were few.  Hard work was rarely enough to grant a better life.  For most people, only two options existed:  exchange every waking hour of your life for very little or do very little for the same amount of gain.

I chose work.  Sometimes I question why.  I guess I was holding to the belief that it actually mattered.  A job that demanded weeks - even months - away from my family seemed reasonable to keep my family fed and secure.  Of course... the world was changing, things would get better and the future was bright.

Still I sat.  I waited.  I watched.

I felt such failure as hard work fostered my isolation.  The years spent in a futile attempt to better my home only resulted in the alienation of those I love.  I found I was laboring for the benefit of strangers.

The blame is my own.  I accept the product of my deeds.  At first I had believed that everyone had changed in my absence and I felt betrayed.  Honestly, it was I who changed.  I was the traitor.  I thought I could force the tales to become a reality.  Hard work did little to secure my livelihood.  Ah, but the world is going to change, things must get better and the future surely is bright.

I'll just sit.  I'll wait.  I'll watch.

I dwell in a home that lacks in space or privacy.  Only thin walls separate my dungeon from the meager dwellings of other families.  At night, I can hear the shouts and cries from the strangers sharing my building.

At times I wish they were the sounds of violence.  So simple it would be to call for help.  Violence would identify a victim needing aid and a villain needing punishment.  Unfortunately, the cries are of desperation.  Lack of food.  Insufficient medicine.  Fear of being cast out into the night with no means of shelter from the elements.

My heart aches to offer aid but I have nothing to give.  My body begs for food while my mind insists that I must wait.  I ignore the body's ailments... for I must choose between eating and being healthy.  I would help others... but I can't even manage to help myself.  In the morning, I will leave for work and pretend everything is fine.  Besides, the world will change, things will get better and the future is bright.

I sit.  I wait.  I watch.

Gunshots rang through the night near my home and I failed to fret.  I calmly walked towards the flashing lights.  I could see the truth from far away.  Too many lights.  Too many officials.  Someone was dead.  I felt no surprise.  No regret.  It wasn't me lying on the ground.  It was just a stranger who I assumed was deserving of death.

Oh, how wrong I had been.  A stranger, yes, as I had never met the man.  Still, he was a brother.  Strewn upon the ground where the man died was nothing but scattered bits of food.  Bread.  Meat.  Milk.  The man had stolen food without the use of a weapon... he died trying to eat.

No longer is crime an act of the greedy.  People have taken to the role of villainy in desperation.  Has our society truly gotten to the point where larceny is a survival skill?  The world has changed, but things aren't getting better and the future seemed bright.

Sit.  Wait.  Watch.

I see the masses and cringe at the blind complacency.  The rich become ever richer.  The poor and weak are ignored.  The productive are either pressed into poverty or struggle to maintain the illusion of mediocrity.  The stories had told of the poor achieving success through determination and virtue.  The stories were wrong.

I see the able-bodied bulk of society sagging under the everpresent burden to fortify a gluttonous nobility.  The strain is too great!  People have started to break.  Many have fallen to their darker urges and taken to striking against their fellows believing there is nothing to gain from fighting the powers that be.

I am not immune to these effects.  I feel myself cracking.  I lash out at those around me in frustration.  I regret my actions.  I apologize though I know it will happen again.  I will break eventually.  Beneath this veneer of insight and reason lies something stronger.  Who I am will crumble away leaving something new.

I fear the inevitable change.  Some claim I will become a hero.  Worse, some expect a prophet.  I am no prophet.  I am barely a man.  None have spoken of what I expect to emerge.  A beast.  A demon.  A monster.  It really doesn't matter, I guess.  I'll become what I must.  The world must change, things have to get better and the future is now.

I stand.  I act.  I watch no more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oops! Let's blame it on a time rift...

Oh... I am so sorry!  I was sitting here thinking about everything I need to finish and the pile of tasks that must be started... when I noticed it had been nine months since my last blog!  O.o  What happened?!  I had a notebook full of future entries - some completed, many drafts - yet they never made it beyond paper.

Simple truth:  I forgot.  Yes.  I admit it.  I forgot that my last blog was in May 2013 and I was supposed to keep adding new material.  I was distracted by other things... some may have been shiny.  (Note: this is why I don't have pets.  Not that any animals have been harmed through my neglect, but I preemptively avoid the ill fated situation entirely.)

I know, some may ask "But Don... doesn't the Blogger page send you reminders?"  Well... yes, it did.  I had gotten a new phone, though.  I installed all my old apps (including Blogger and Gmail).  I just sort of, kinda, actually forgot to log into the apps.  I have nine months of unread email, also.  Probably should add that to my to-do list...

The irony is that I had intended to blog about Time Management last June.  Of course, I would be risking a moment of hypocrisy if I followed the planned route..... or is it salvageable?

Thing is, I was managing my time quite efficiently for the past nine months... in regards to writing.  As my schedule involves seventy hours of driving each week and a troublesome need of sleep, I have been trying to squeeze out every possible minute of available writing time I could find.  (Forgetting my blog will now be shoved into the 'Task Organization' blog - due to arrive within the next 7-270 days.)

~Time Management: the day is only so long.~

Believe me, I feel your pain.  Everyone has to deal with an endless demand on their time.  Work.  Study.  Cook.  Eat.  Clean.  Kids.  Friends.  Family.  Pets.  Bills.  Sleep.  Work, again!  Every day is filled beyond capacity and tomorrow will surely be worse.  Finding time to create is often pushed aside as being trivial. 
The question:  Is your creativity trivial?

If you answered Yes, then why do you worry about finding time?  Because it matters.  Creating - be it art, writing, music - isn't about fame or acceptance or recognition.  Creativity is part of your being begging to be realized.  Your creations are outward expressions of inward thoughts, desires, fears and dreams.  Sometimes an idea becomes so important that you must see it, feel it or hear it in order to find peace.

But who has the time?  We can't all just sit at home and dedicate our entire existence in pursuit of creativity.  We have responsibilities.  Instead, let me list a few tips that I have found especially useful:

- Run the marathon one-block-at-a-time:  you may feel like you aren't accomplishing your goal fast enough.  This can be frustrating, I know.  You can imagine the finished product, but it is so far away!  If writing, it is all too easy to look down at the word count and think "Is that all I've done?!  I'll never finish at this rate."   DON'T QUIT NOW!  Rarely is anything great created overnight.  A single hour here and there will soon add up.  The goal is wonderful, but don't give up because the journey seems endless.

- Fight the urge for progressive perfection:  this can be very hard to do.  I have found myself proofreading my work while trying to move forward.  This tactic doesn't end well.  My spelling is horrendous and my grammar would shock a preschooler.  The best thing you can do is continue to move forward.  Once you have finished, then you can examine your work and make adjustments.  It is much easier to correct a draft than trying to knock out a clean, finished product in a single go.

- Waste not, want not:  throw nothing away.  You may find yourself with ideas that are ill-suited for your current project.  Save those ideas!  They will come in handy later on - either in your current piece or future works.

- Friend or enemy: a major time consumer is the desire to create something that others will like.  It is easy to get lost in thoughts pertaining to future spectators.  You can't please everyone, nor should you try.  In fact, I suggest you forget about pleasing anyone.  There will always be someone who 'knows a better way'.  If they have a better idea, ask them to create it so you can see.  Lovers of creative materials are very notional.  Create for yourself.  Should you decide to share your gift with others, they will either love it or hate it.  Nothing you do will change this.  So long as you are happy, then you have crafted a masterpiece.

Well my friends, it is time for me to sleep.  A long night of work approaches too quickly.  As always: comments, suggestions, complaints, or random thoughts are always welcome.

Special note:  I have placed a reminder in four different devices as well as on the paper calendar to remind to post.  Feel free to throw hard objects in my general direction... should I forget.

'Til Paths Meet Again...