A few years ago I accidentally purchased a motorcycle on ebay. I know, how do you “accidentally” buy anything, much less a motorcycle? Right? Well maybe accidentally is a poor word choice, let’s just say I made what I considered to be a ridiculously low offer, which I never thought would be taken seriously. It was. As a result I found myself with a dilemma. You see, I live in Texas, near Dallas, and the bike that I had just purchased was in Connecticut. I made the decision to go and get the bike rather than have it shipped to me. The resulting road trip back home on the bike is what inspired me to write Poseranity: Unmasking the Poser Within, the title of my latest release.
Poseranity not only chronicles the story of my trip home (halfway across the country) physically on the motorcycle, it also tells of my spiritual journey. I consider myself to be an ordinary guy who’s had a backstage pass to some extraordinary happenings. From Harley’s , tattoos, and rock n roll, to fire, death, brokenness , and restoration, Poseranity is about the journey.
2. Why do you write?
Honestly, I didn’t begin writing until about five years ago. Before that I had never really written anything other than what was required to get me through school. I would also have to say that frustration was my initial motivator to write. I had become frustrated with the apathy I was witness to within the Christian community.
I began with a poem, which was intended to be a Rap song for a well-known Christian artist I had promoted at the time. I never submitted the song to him. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I felt I was supposed to hang on to it. So I did. Consequently I began writing more of this type of thing and yes, I kept them all. This went on for about a year and I stopped. I filed all of my poetry away on my computer and went on to other things.
A year or so later, my world began to implode. All of the dreams I had been chasing, and everything I had had been working so hard to create, began to crumble around me. I went from being a well-known innovator, think outside the box, color outside the lines leader, to a frustrated, disillusioned, heart broken man. So I began to write…again.
I found writing to be a therapeutic, even a healing activity. I discovered that I had a gift for writing that I never knew I possessed. I simply began to write. I have never been formally educated in the art/skill of writing, so I knew that proper grammar and punctuation were not my strong suit. Still, I wrote. For months I wrote most every day. I really had no plan, or long-term goals for my writing. I just wrote. I wrote and let the healing take place.
3. When/where did the decision to write this book hit you?
After several months of writing I decided to let a friend read some of my work. I really didn’t have any expectations other than I wanted to know if what I had written made sense to anyone but me. OK, maybe I was really looking for a little affirmation. In light of all of my recent apparent failures, I wanted to be successful at something. My friend read my work and told me “You should write a book!” Of course I didn’t think she was all that serious at first, but she insisted she was. “I don’t like to read that much, but your work leaves me wanting to know more. I can understand things the way you write”, she told me.
That conversation sparked something in me. I felt as if a fire, although very small at the time, had been re-kindled. I actually began to consider writing my story in a book. Maybe…I thought, I can actually do this. I had never even considered it before. Me, write a book?
So I began to write in earnest. Every day I would write, recalling details of the motorcycle journey I hadn’t thought about for years. Describing to the best of my ability the turmoil I had been through in my faith journey, until finally it was finished. Or so I thought.
Telling the story came pretty easy for me as it turns out. I can’t explain why that is the case, but it really did. So there I was, I had a manuscript in my hand. Now what?
I read through it once again, but it seemed as if something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it though. I went back to my laptop and re-opened my poetry files. I read once again the poems I had written over a year prior, and was amazed that the content of the poetry fit specifically into different stories of my book. It was a total surprise to me because I hadn’t planned on using any poetry in the book. As a matter of fact I hadn’t even read the poetry in several months.
Those six words at the beginning of the previous paragraph, “I read through it once again,” proved to be the most difficult aspect of the writing process for me. I lost count of how many times I read, and re-read my manuscript. Reading and making changes, attempting to be more descriptive, at times became very tedious for me.
I have a great friend who is a freelance editor (who I met through the process of writing this book) who challenged me; “Don’t just tell the story, show the story.” That is probably the single most enlightening advice I have received to date about writing. Thank you Tiff.
5. What was your first experience with a motorcycle?
I was probably eight or nine and my family and I were visiting relatives in Lubbock, Texas. My cousin, who is my age, had a new mini bike. I had never been around anything like this before. I thought he was the coolest person I knew because he had a “motor”, as we used to call them. I was enamored with the whole package. From the shiny chrome to the bright blue paint, and the sound of that motor running, was beckoning me to join it.
Something deep within my soul stirred when he revved up the engine. I was drawn to it like a moth to the flame. I was in an almost trance like state as I neared the beast. She growled and it was as if she was calling my name. As I took my seat at the control, my hands wrapped around the handgrips, I felt powerful. And in that moment…I was cool.
Slowly I twisted the throttle, and the engine responded with enormous power, as the beast began to move forward, slowly at first, then faster, and faster, and faster. I navigated the machine nimbly through the obstacle-riddled backyard. Around the swing set I flew, past the doghouse, dangerously close to the sand box I came, around, and around the small back yard I raced. It was as if I was one with the machine. I was in control. I was king of my universe.
And then, a wave of panic swept over me as I raced full speed ahead. During my haste to mount the beast, I had failed to comprehend one very important aspect of my pre flight briefing. I didn’t know how to make it stop.
Well now, this was quite the dilemma. It would seem that the balance of power had shifted, and now the beast enjoyed the authoritative position. As I raced in a big circle around the back yard, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Where’s the brake?” My Dad, who was witness to this tragic attack on my pride, responded with, “Let off of the gas!” Of course I couldn’t hear him over to roar of the motor.
Round and round I went, screaming for help, overcome with panic, until finally the inevitable occurred. I noticed the wooden fence getting precariously close with each lap. My eye was drawn to it, and with a sudden, deafening crash; my inaugural ride came to an end. The beast laid smoking in a heap beside the wooden fence, entangled there with my smoldering pride.
6. What’s the coolest thing that happened to you while on a road trip?
Recently I was visiting Bakersfield California conducting research and doing interviews for a project I’m currently working on (more about that in a bit). I was at the world famous Buck Owens Crystal Palace, where I was to interview Doyle Curtsinger, a member of Buck’s band, The Buckaroos. It was about eleven thirty in the morning, and the Buckaroos were getting ready to rehearse for their upcoming show later that evening. As Doyle and I sat and chatted (which is pretty darn cool in and of itself) it became apparent that he was needed on stage to prepare for rehearsal. Sensing this I cut the interview short to allow him the opportunity to do his job. As I began to put away my computer and notepad, thinking the interview was completed, Jim Shaw, another member of the Buckaroos (whom I had interviewed the previous day) called to me from the stage and asked if I had eaten lunch yet. I told him no, I had not. To which he responded with an invitation to join him and the rest of the band for lunch there in the Palace.
As a result I found myself sitting at the table and chatting with all of the Buckaroos over lunch as if we were long time friends. Consequently, I was invited to stay after the meal and sit in on their rehearsal with Buddy Owens. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Palace watching this incredibly talented band rehearse their show, with me the only fan in the entire place.
7. What is your favorite tattoo?
I have a few tattoos; in fact my left arm is completely “sleeved” out. That is to say it is covered from my wrist to my shoulder in one, continuous artistic expression. It would be very difficult to name only one favorite however, as they are all significant to my life journey. My tattoos tell my story. That story is an artistic expression as well. But if I had to name my favorite, it would have to be those that deal directly with my wife and two children.
8. Tell us about your part of the country — we love travel.
I live in the great state of Texas, more specifically, the greater Dallas Ft. Worth metroplex. I have lived in Texas my entire life, and mostly in this region. No, I don’t drive a Cadillac Eldorado convertible with bullhorns on the hood, and I don’t have an oil well in my backyard. However, I have been known to sport a Stetson, and a pair of cowboy boots from time to time.
I suppose I love it here, for the most part. The summers can be more than just a bit unbearable. As I’m writing this it is mid April, and already we have been seeing temperatures reaching near ninety degrees. It’s just too hot here in the summer. I guess that would have to be my biggest complaint. Other than that, it’s a great place to live.
We have it all here in Texas. Regardless of what you may be into, we have it here, or at least close by. From epicurean delights, to rodeos, great wineries, incredible entertainment, deep sea fishing, to mountain climbing, you name it we’ve got it. Oh, and lets not forget Willie Nelson!
9. What is your favorite southern food/why?
I love Barbeque! Any way you slice it I love it. Brisket, ribs, sausage, chicken, pulled pork, it doesn’t matter, I love it all. I love to cook it almost as much as I love to eat it. I really enjoy having friends over and cooking for them.
A few weeks or so ago I put a pork shoulder onto my “big green egg”(which by the way is an amazing creation) at around seven o’clock in the evening and let it smoke all night until seven o’clock the next morning. After I removed it and let it rest a few minutes, I pulled (more like it just fell apart)it and mixed it with scrambled eggs, avocado, peppers, and Monterey jack cheese all rolled up in a flour tortilla. Man that was some of the best pulled pork breakfast tacos you will ever have. Now that may not be as much a “Southern” thing as it is a “Northern Mexico” thing, but around these parts, it doesn’t get much better than that.
10. How did you become involved with Christian singers?
I grew up loving music. In those days your identity tended to be determined by the genre of music you listened to. If you listened to country music you were considered a “Roper” (short for goat roper, a slang for cowboy). If on the other hand you listened to rock music, well that was a little more difficult to nail down because it depended on what type of rock music it was. If pop rock was your thing, you were labeled a “prep”, hard rock and you were a “freak”, soft rock and you were a “nerd.” I know, pretty sad.
I had an identity crisis because I listened to all of it. I have just always loved music. It didn’t matter to me what the genre was as long as it sparked an emotional response in me, I listened to it. So I grew up listening to everything from Buck Owens to Boston, to Bach. Waylon, Willie, Merle, George, The Beatles, Van Halen, Joplin, Hendrix, I loved it all.
Today those lines of separation have faded tremendously. Today’s country music was yesterday’s rock music. More importantly today’s “Christian” music has evolved into a sonic force to be reckoned with. Gone are the days of second-rate singers and musicians playing old tired and worn out songs that their great, great grandparents sang. Today’s Christian artists rival anything Nashville, L.A., or New York mainstream labels are putting out.
About ten years ago I started a live “Christian” music venue. Music is a very powerful medium for change in our culture. So naturally with me being bent towards doing ministry much different, and being a lover of music, it wasn’t a hard stretch to combine my two passions into one. So I started producing and promoting concerts.
11. What advice do you have for writers?
Honestly, I don’t feel qualified to give advice to folks who have been striving to become a writer for a long time. Like I said, for me writing was a gift that I just discovered I possessed. However, I will pass along some great advice I received from some people much wiser than me, “show the story, don’t tell the story.” Also, write about things you know and love. But most importantly, never give up. There will be many times that you just throw your hands into the air in total frustration, and everything in you is screaming “I quit.” In those times I have found it helpful to just set it aside for a bit. Let it rest…then you can pull it apart easily.
12. What are you writing about now?
My current project, which I eluded to earlier, is still centered on music. A few years ago, (while I was writing my current release in fact) I was promoting a concert series featuring Texas country music artists. At the time I lived In Sherman Texas (I just recently moved away from there) the very town Buck Owens was born in. Buck had passed away a couple of years prior, and I got the idea that I wanted to do a Buck Owens tribute festival in his birthplace.
As a result of numerous phone conversations with various artists that had some direct link to Buck, I met a man named Homer Joy. Homer wrote possibly one of, if not the biggest hits Buck Owens ever had, The Streets of Bakersfield. Homer and I quickly became great friends. As a result of my relationship with Homer, I have been immersed within what the world knows as “The Bakersfield Sound.”
Homer Joy has an amazing story. At the time we met Homer was about two years into life with a new heart. Meaning he had been given a heart transplant. Two years later his body began rejecting his new heart. He now is awaiting a second heart transplant, and has asked me to write his story.
This story has already taken me on an incredible journey, one in which I have been given the opportunity to meet some of my musical heroes, and hear their story. I am truly excited about this project, and can’t wait to get it out there for all of you to read.