Old tales collide with promises hoping to find a home and friends are the tie that binds the good life together. Val was a Chief of Station for the CIA (he’s retired now, cover rolled back) when we met in a place that for him was a break from the big bucks so to say and GORUCK was a whim probably especially to me and he was one of my few friends at a time when I had nothing figured out and few prospects. But his quote back then lest we not Monday morning quarterback was Camelbak pretty much has the backpack market on lockdown that’s a dumb idea. Even though Vegas would have agreed with him and even though he’s the one that just reminded me, these days he smiles through a Cuban to request a take-back on that one and something about intelligence is not a perfect form of sorcery no matter how good you are at it ha ha.
We’ve stayed in touch over the years between his trips around the world to garden spots like Afghanistan where he sent me a pic of “Mullah Omar’s mancave potty room … imagine the assholes that this place has seen!” and too infrequent benders of ten thousand old tales and ten thousand world solutions into our Bud Heavy’s and Scotch and all the Cubans you can smoke and welcome to the prequel to a promise more like a favor I asked of him to read something I’m working on when its draft is done. End of this year is the goal but unfortunately hope is the strategy to finishing it’s taking on a life of its own or rather I’ll say it a different way:
The life re-counted has a way of evolving for the better and often we’re wise to tell tales in the moment with our hearts and let ensuing years recount the meaning. Then combine the two even as and because the edges fray.
And No Val, I still don’t have a publisher I don’t want to go down that route till Java’s tale is complete My Way and insert Frank Sinatra singing but about a dog named Java and Val’s like you had me at Java.
So I’ve promised him the first draft I’ll probably print up at Kinko’s or something and send with a smiley face on the title page. He’ll remember many of the places and many of the stories but in a distanced from my emotion kind of way. Even more distanced than I am but the goal of course is that everyone has these emotions of love and loss and heartbreak and, eventually, triumph against all odds.
And it would be fair to question whether writing a book is a good use of my time it’s probably a huge distraction from running GORUCK or other things I should be doing kinda like how you’re supposed to eat granola and salad all day every day said someone but if you like cheeseburgers on the grill in an Ohio summer or anywhere anytime of the year for that matter you gotta do that or else you’ll die unhappy because you’ll have regrets I mean what’s the point of pretending we can live forever if we do this or do that.
All this to say that I want to do it, and I’ve wanted to do it for a while now. I’m half done with a draft I don’t know the length of but I find it not that difficult to write the chapters even though it takes me forever because they’re kind of like these posts which keep me in the writing kind of mind even as I’m unable to focus on the longer tale due to other things like GORUCK.
I see massive challenges once I have to edit and refine a through line without killing the head’s revisions of the heart one syllable at a time.
So. Coming no later than 2025 a tale of war and loss and love and imperfectly happy endings because The Princess Bride may be the best movie ever created It is! but those kinds of happy endings don’t exist in reality, whether you’re a returning war vet or not.
And for some reason I want to do it and I like to write more than I like to pore over excel so I’ll make time for writing and rucking and, when I must, excel.
I’ll let you know what Val thinks when he’s done reading and probably has his sorcery down to a finer art.
Side note meets irony: Val does some speaking engagements for us via GORUCK Solutions where he focuses on the difference between information and intelligence, how to sell the hardest thing in the world, and how to manage and develop a team of go-getters. Business predictions not included ha ha and I can promise you his stories are one of a kind and worth the price of admission.