Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Eight:
“I believe there is still room on the couch for you Ms. Richards,” Winston said.
“You can just call me Susan,”
“Then that’s how it shall be, Winston and Susan.”
“That works for me,” Susan said.
“Mom, what are you doing in Kelowna?” Stephanie asked.
“I have had a couple of telephone conversations with your father that have made me very worried about you and Ryan. Your father told me that you and Ryan are going on separate expeditions to search for Ogopogo. I am very concerned about your safety,” Susan said.
“I can appreciate your concern, Susan, but I can assure you that Ryan and Stephanie will be well taken care of,” Winston said.
“First of all, I am taking my grandson and his friend with me. If I didn’t believe that they would be safe I wouldn’t take them. Secondly, I own a very large vessel. Even a very large creature would have a very difficult time over powering it,” Winston explained hoping to reassure Susan.
“I take it that you believe that Ogopogo is real,” Susan said.
“Absolutely, I’ve seen it with my own eyes and so have Wally and Garry. We managed to get some excellent pictures and video footage of it two days ago,” Winston said.
“Wow! How close did the creature get to your boat?”
“I would estimate it was within fifty yards of us.”
“Did any of you get injured?”
“No, the animal didn’t get close enough to my boat. Even if it did, or made any attempt to attack us, I would not hesitate to shoot it. I own some high powered weaponry aboard,” Winston said.
“I don’t know if that makes me feel any better. The mere fact that you got so close to Ogopogo freaks me out,” Susan said. “And what about Ryan’s safety? I heard that he and his father will be going with a different expedition.”
“I don’t think that there is any serious reason for concern there either,” Winston answered. “The other expedition is sponsored by The University of British Columbia. There are several university students going on that expedition and I know one of the marine biologists who will be helping to direct the project. His name is Dr. Lionel Hardy and he has an excellent reputation as a marine biologist. Their expedition is co-sponsored by the entrepreneur, Blake Riley. Mr. Riley has an even larger and more elaborate boat than I have and he can afford to hire the best crew on the planet. He has will have at his disposal nothing but state of the art equipment for his voyage. Would you consider joining my expedition, Susan?”
Episode Sixteen of Infinite Realities:
“What are your books about?” asked the industrial psychologist.
“Nothing- and everything,” Rick said.
“That doesn’t make sense. What do you mean by nothing and everything?”
“That’s a good question,” Rick began. “I’m not sure that I completely understand the writing process. Especially mine. I guess it could be described as some form of stream of consciousness writing like James Joyce used in The Portrait of a the Artist as a Young Man.
I find it very difficult to envision or to plan out my books before I write them. I suppose I use the fly by the seat of my pants approach. I am definitely not a plotter nor a planner. On most days I have a burning desire to write something. I have a great need to spill out the ideas that are in my head on any given day. I like to get up early in the morning around four or five AM. I have my Frosted Flakes and coffee for breakfast and then I sit down at my word processor and begin to write. I usually find it to be a very enjoyable experience. I find it to be more efficacious for my mental health than talking to my therapist. No offense to my psychiatrist. I believe that she sincerely wants to help me put my fragmented psyche back together and to get me back to work.
In my opinion writing is much like talking to yourself. The writer pulls down to earth some of the fascinating ideas that are buzzing around in the universe and transfers them to paper as best as he can. The hard work comes when you get near the end of the first draft. That’s when I try to find some organic unity in what I have written. I look for a unifying theme and start the painful process of deciding what to keep and what to throw out. Sometimes I have to give up the whole novel if I find that there isn’t anything that I can do to save it.”
“That sounds like hard work,” said Michael who at one time had aspirations of writing his own novel.
As soon as Bobby O’Connor left Mike O ‘Grady’s apartment he drove over to Tim Hortons to meet Harvey Perkins, the fishermen who had called him earlier in the day. Harvey spotted Bobby immediately as he came through the coffee shop’s doors. Harvey was a sports fan and had seen Bobby O’Connor’s picture several times on the sports page of The Kelowna Sun
“I’m over here, Bobby,” said Harvey as he pulled out a chair for the reporter.
The two men shook hands. “Please to meet you in person, Harvey. I gather that you have something interesting to tell me and that it has nothing to do with sports,” said Bobby.
“You’re right about that,” said Harvey. “Like I was telling you on the phone, my partner and I spotted an unusual moving object on Lake Okanagan. Two kids, Ryan and Monique saw it also and showed us a couple of pictures they took of the creature.”
“Do you think the creature is Ogopogo?” asked Bobby.
“I’d put money on it. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen and I’ve been a fisherman a long time.”
“What does your partner think?”
“Henry is skeptical about everything.
The creature would have to be staring him straight in the face before he’d believe in it.”
“How far way was the creature?”
“About a hundred meters I’d estimate.”
“Would you mind if your story was published in the Kelowna Sun,” asked Bobby.
“That’s fine with me. People can laugh at me if they want but I know what I saw.”
It was early July and it was summer vacation for Stephanie and Ryan. Both of John’s kids worked odd jobs during the summer months so that they would have some spending money and to help pay for tuition . Stephanie and Ryan both had paper routes and also did chores for some of the people in their neighborhood.
Stephanie was the first to arrive home. She had been doing some dog walking for a couple that lived on their street.
Stephanie had medium length natural blond hair streaked with bright, red hair coloring. She had a gold nose ring and a piercing in one eyebrow. Stephanie wore a black and gold Nirvana tee shirt that had a few holes in it. She wore stone washed blue jeans with a tear in one knee. Stephanie was part nineties Seattle grunge and part punk rocker. Her favorite band was Nirvana. Her other favorites, in no particular order, were Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Hole, The Plasmatics and Motorhead. Stephanie also liked The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. She owned a large collection of CDs.
Like her brother, Ryan, Stephanie lived with her mother during the majority of the year. She had a strained relationship with her mother. Stephanie’s mother did not approve of her daughter’s style of dress, her friends or her lifestyle. Stephanie’s mom, Susan, was very concerned that her daughter might be using street drugs. Her brother Ryan got along much better with his mother and often smoothed things over when Stephanie and Susan got into intense verbal disagreements. Both kids were very upset by their parents’ break up but had their own ways of dealing with it.
John was not looking forward to having to say goodbye to his father. Although John was certain of his father’s love for him he couldn’t remember ever hearing his father tell him that he loved him. On the other hand, it probably wasn’t very often that John had told his father that he loved him even though he truly did.
Robert Richards did not believe in wearing his heart on his sleeve and this was something that he had passed on to his son.
John realized that both Ryan and Stephanie would arrive home in a couple of hours and that he would have to break the bad news about their grandfather to them.
Part of John Richard was looking forward to the trip to British Columbia to keep his sister company. He had always gotten along well with Meg.
The other reason was that he needed to break out of a writing slump. He had a hard time finishing up his last short story. He was suffering from what is known as writer’s block. His creativity seemed to be drying up. Ideas for his stories weren’t coming to him as quickly or as easily. John was finding that he was no longer looking forward to his usual early morning writing sessions. John’s usual routine was to start writing at about 6:00 AM. He would listen to an audio book and drink his coffee at around 5:30 AM. John usually found it easy to write in the mornings but not during the last few weeks.
John would wake up feeling like he hadn’t slept at all. The truth was that he normally slept for nine or ten hours each night but it sure didn’t feel like it. John recognized what was happening to him.
He had suffered from episodic bouts of depression since he was a teenager. His episodes followed a very familiar pattern. John would feel extremely tired and would be completely exhausted by a half hour’s walk with his dogs. Then other symptoms of depression would kick in such as lethargy and an inability to get any pleasure from his normal activities. It wasn’t long into his depressive episode before he started to lose confidence in himself as a writer.
Sometimes a change of scenery or even in a situation requiring immediate action such as a crisis situation would break John out of a severe depressive episode. He was hoping that the phone call that he had with his sister would be his catalyst for change. John could already feel some of his energy returning.
Although his father’s illness saddened him he knew he had to be the strong one for his sister and his kids. John now had a strong motivation to make changes in his life. He was hoping that he would have both the physical and mental health to give Stephanie and Ryan a fun and exciting summer vacation.
“Well, when should I expect you guys?”
“In about two days. We’ll be driving out to your place.”
“Are you sure your old Taurus is up for the trip?” Meg joked.
“Don’t worry I have a Premier membership with CAA,” said John.
After his conversation with his sister John Richards had a lot to think about. First, he had to think about his soon to be deceased father.
Robert Richards was the kind of man that made the idea of his passing seem very unreal to John. Yes, he knew that people die every day from cancer or with heart conditions, but his father was somewhat exceptional. He was what is known as a man’s man. Robert Richards worked hard all his life as a heavy equipment operator. He was only sixty-seven years old and always seemed to be in robust health. It was a very rare occasion for John’s father to ever miss a day of work because of illness. Whenever Robert caught a cold or some type of virus he usually went to work anyway and pushed through his discomfort. He liked to think of himself as being tough and in truth, he was.
Although he was always a hard worker and a good provider, Robert Richards also believed in enjoying life. He loved his cigarettes, his beer and his whiskey. John’s dad also liked to indulge in a high carbohydrate diet that inevitably resulted in Robert developing a weight problem as he grew older. Robert rarely got any regular exercise outside of his job. He used to belong to a ten pin bowling team but had to give this pastime up when he developed a painful arthritic condition in his knees. A year and a half ago Robert had a total left knee replacement.
It became obvious to John that his father’s health was beginning to decline as he entered his sixth decade of life. Many of his life style choices were now catching up with him. Still, it was hard to believe that his father was dying of cancer and only had a short time to live. John Richards has a tendency to live in denial and believing in his father’s invincibility was a prime example.
Dusting Off The Old, Rough Copies
During the last week I have been finding copies of some of my older writing work. Most of these are still in the rough draft stage and need a lot of editing and formatting. I am presently not very good at formatting documents but I am hoping to teach myself some new tricks.
Fortunately, I’ve saved most of my older writings on either an external hard drive or on flash drives. Some of my first plays, in hard copy format, are probably in an old box somewhere in my house. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find them.
I have already revised my novella, Lake Mariposa for at least the fourth time. During my most recent revision I have been able to get the text of lake Mariposa into a more readable format. To my surprise, while revising Lake Mariposa, I found that I still thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. If this novella had been written by someone other than me I would both buy it and read it. This just be my own tastes and prejudices at work, but I wonder if some other people who grew up in the late sixties and early seventies might also enjoy it. My most recent revision of Lake Mariposa is available on WordPress.com, Typepad, Wattpad.com and my own website, kendavid stewart.com on ipage.com. This novella is free to read and download.