Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Chuck Noland

If there ever was a time when being stranded on a desert island was a good thing, this was not one of those times. After lightning blows one of its engines, a FedEx cargo plane plummets into the South Pacific brightening the night sky with flames. The lone survivor manages to inflate one of the sinking plane’s rubber rafts to save him. He doesn’t know it, but his life has changed forever.

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland
Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland

Cast Away‘s Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), an employee on the clock, loses his sense of time in today’s Wednesday Warriors highlight.

When Chuck awakens the next morning, he drags his stomach along the white sandy beach to lie in peace while the sound of the waves entertains his ears. The sweater he wore on his ill-fated flight suddenly becomes much too hot to bear. He sheds whatever semblance he held of his former life and begins a journey into self-discovery.

The first thing on Chuck’s agenda is realizing he doesn’t have an agenda. The pocket watch, given to him by his wife, no longer works. He will never surrender it though. It contains a photo of his beloved, the only thing that reminds him of how things used to be.

There is no electricity. There is no civilization. Chuck quickly learns he’s alone on the island. His steady diet of coconuts and fish provides for a fraction of the nutrients he needs to survive, but not enough to prevent losing a tooth along the way.

An unlikely friend
An unlikely friend

Having trekked through the island multiple times, he comes to know his surroundings, the borders and his own limitations. He understands he can’t go beyond the tide without an adequate floatation device. His understanding also grows regarding time. In his former life, time is what made Chuck’s life complete. Without time, it’s a disorganized life. He keeps time in a cave by etching notches on a wall, presumably trying to make sense of it all.

As part of his survival, he learns how to build a fire, make shoes and work on a plan of action to get off the island.

Chuck’s biggest enemy, however, is much more than he could have ever imagined. His enemy is his loneliness. To be the only living and breathing person stuck hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles in the middle of nowhere, makes him desire companionship with the least likely of objects.

He calls it Wilson.

And as Wilson soon becomes Chuck most treasured friend, his outlook changes to a more positive direction.

If anything is true about Chuck it’s that, he’s a survivor. He could sling a noose around his neck and end his turmoil, but he doesn’t. He overcomes all obstacles and lives each day with the hope the next will bring him the freedom he desires.

Not all things are easy for those willing to endure until the end.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen Cast Away? If so, what do you think of the movie? What do you think of Chuck Nolan?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Letter to Future Self

How would you start a letter addressed to your future self? Let’s say you know you’ll be opening it twenty-five years from now, what would you say? Would you start it off congratulating yourself for having survived another quarter century? Or would you simply turn over in bed one morning muttering something silly under your breath? Perhaps you would say, “Meh.”

I’ll tell you how I would do it…

Writing a letter to future self.
Writing a letter to future self.

Dear Jack,

Here you are, twenty-five years later. How does it feel to be officially old? Imagine where you were/where I am now, and pat yourself on the back for having survived this long. It takes guts to go through a full lifetime having read all the warning labels on products, obeying your traffic signals and eating the right things to live another day. But you did it. You’re here and there’s no turning back the clock.

How did I do? Did I finally become that best selling author I dreamed of becoming? Whatever happened to the blog I wrote? Did it go out peacefully, or did I call it quits while I unceremoniously set my laptop on fire? Do I still use a laptop? I would have thought by now I would have been typing on an air keyboard complete with optical sensors and biometric security.

Whatever happened to the movie I wanted to make? Did it ever become a success? Okay, so maybe that was shooting too high. At least I would have hoped to have realized it, right?

How are the kids? Did they grow up to become what you had wished—contributors to society? I didn’t forget that it doesn’t matter what they have become, as long as they’re healthy and happy, that’s all that matters. You do remember that, right?

Hey, how’s retirement? Did you retire like you were planning or are your working as a greeter at a department store? Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that, I would have imagined flipping burgers being more fun in the elderly years. The image of a cranky old dude flipping burgers seems like a lot of fun. Now that I’m thinking of it, did I do that? Yeah, if I have forgotten about my retirement plans it’s because of what I just wrote.

How’s the love of my life? Has she grown old with me? I’ve always had a sense of recognizing how important she is to my well-being. Did she provide the encouragement to become the best I could be? She is the mother of my children, after all. Did I comfort her during her down times? Did I offer her guidance as we moved from year to year? How is marriage treating me? Hopefully, as good as it is now.

Listen, Jack. I gotta tell you something. You know this, but after having read it twenty-five years later, I’m sure you have forgotten it. Have fun with your life. Keep focused and enjoy. I’m sure I’m going to have some nasty battles to fight. It won’t matter. As long as I know I will survive, that’s all I care about.

One more thing: About that Romance novel I will be publishing—I don’t need to mention again why I had written it, do I? It was something I had to get out of my system. The only thing you have to remember is that it was my way of decompressing from the zombie genre.

And the superhero thing—but we won’t get into that.

Yours in the past, always in the future,

Jack

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Captain America

Of all the superheroes that impress me, one deserves recognition above all others. He’s fast, tough, and upstanding in his morals. He takes ownership for the safety of humanity. He’s a team player.

Chris Evans is Captain America
Chris Evans is Captain America

Captain America is today’s Wednesday Warriors highlight.

In World War II, when the army needed soldiers, Steve Rogers volunteered for an opportunity to fill the ranks. His enthusiasm and his unwillingness to surrender made him a prime candidate for the front line. His only problem? He was short. And he wasn’t very strong.

A military experiment Steve Rogers took part in changed all that. He no long had height as an issue to hold him back. And he certainly didn’t worry about muscles either. The experiment made him physically superhuman, but retained his go-for-it attitude intact. This scrawny individual became Captain America.

I grew up with Captain America. I had his action figure complete with uniform, boots and shield I enjoyed playing with him when I was eleven. My mom had bought it for me. It was my favorite action figure at that time. I really didn’t know the full story behind this Marvel action hero, but I loved how he looked and what he represented. I eventually bought the comics to read of his adventures in the safety of my bedroom. He became a hero I followed into my adulthood.

Captain America
Captain America

The thing about Captain America is he knows who he is. He’s not one of those dark comic book figures who has to go through an inner struggle to overcome demons from the past. He genuinely cares for the people he saves, which isn’t much different from any superhero. Yet, his struggle is an external one, against those who want to bring humanity to the brink of annihilation.

The Cap also possesses impeccable character. At times he may fail, but he’s always ready to admit when he’s wrong. He doesn’t blame anyone for his mistakes but himself. As strong as he appears, he doesn’t allow his super-strength to affect his ego. If anything, The Cap doesn’t have an ego. This is what makes him different and a superhero other superheroes follow into battle.

I would say the best part about Captain America is how he can remain determined in the face of adversity. The world could be falling apart all around him, but he picks up from his losses and moves forward without looking back.

Captain America may make the world a safer place to live, but it’s his integrity as an honest individual that drives his fans to want to continue following him.

Captain America is the First Avenger.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What do you like about Captain America?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

The Library

To me, the library has always been a special place to visit. In grade school, every teacher I’ve known would bring me, along with the rest of my friends, into the magical world of books where I would lose myself for hours at a time. While the rest of my class enjoyed recess outside, I took to the books, drowning my imagination in their stories.

LIbrary
LIbrary

For Freedom Friday, allow me a few minutes of your time to tell you what I love about the library and why I think everyone should take the time to enjoy this great resource of knowledge and wonder.

As a teen, I had my first job working at the city library. They hired me as a page. I never really knew what the title meant, but it wasn’t until I got older that someone told me a page is a gofer. Go for the books. Go for the librarian. Well, you get the picture. I spent most of my time putting books away. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Late one fall evening, as I sat in my usual spot near the window sorting my books, the rain began. I stopped my sorting and just sat there watching. The traffic lights made a reflection on the street as they changed from green to yellow to red. People scattered to the nearest store searching for shelter. I sat on the ledge of a carpeted bay window. I remember how peaceful it was to look at the water coming down in the middle of the street.

When my wife and I had our first child, it was an incredible period. All of a sudden, we were parents, but at the same time, we became kids again. We filled our home with toys, books and baby clothes. We’d take family trips to the zoo, the movies and our nearest park. What I remember the most though, is the trips to the library. I don’t know who enjoyed it more, my child or me.

The biggest kick I got from the experience was watching my child’s face as it lit up with joy after having found the most perfect book. It brought me back to when I first graced the aisles of my school library to discover the book Where the Wild Things Are.

Now that my kids are older, I visit the library on occasion. I still get that wonderful feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing it’s an extended home to me. My interests may have changed, but I’m ever willing to explore the catacombs where fantasy and reality meet.

The library is my refuge. It’s where I belong.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you been to your local library recently? What do you like about it?