I admit that when I received the congratulatory notice, it had me fooled. I thought the well-worded email was the lead into a scam informing the recipient they've won an award but would have some sort of out-of-pocket expense to be paid in advance with a product I'd never see. As I read on, I found it was in fact authentic. My screenplay was a "Silver Ace Award" winner at the Las Vegas Film Festival being held July 18-21.
While it's difficult to find a silver lining with any tragedy, I became aware of a blessing amid the sadness a few weeks ago when I was reunited with cherished individuals who played a significant part in my past law enforcement career during the funeral service of a former patrol partner of mine.
Many of our readers may recall the little yellow VW bug that became former Riverbank News editor John Branch's 'signature' vehicle. We laughed (mostly with him) at the trademark jet engine sound when he fired the bug up, shared our concern when one of the wheels literally fell off as he was turning the corner to come to the Oakdale office – luckily he was close enough to park with three wheels intact – and celebrated with him when the bug went to storage and a newer, more reliable vehicle emerged.
Who knew there would be an adjustment period to living the dream? I certainly didn't. Many of you know I published my first book in December 2006 and it's been a dream of mine for longer than I can remember to support myself solely on my fiction writing income. After many years of incredibly hard work, I managed to make that dream a reality and I left my post at The Leader to live the dream.
Monday, April 15 did not start for me as it did my friend and running teammate Cathy McClelland or Oakdaleans Vanessa Walton and Tom Burchell, or Jesse Santana of Riverbank. I did not board a motor coach in my sneakers with a race bib pinned to the front of my shirt in anticipation of running the 117th Boston Marathon.
My wife, Lindsay and I are approaching our two year anniversary on June 29. Over the last two years we have made life plans such as travel, career aspirations, eventually purchasing a new house where we can raise a family; which leads me to my topic: starting a family.
Around the newsroom this week, upcoming graduations were a popular topic as some of the reporters prepared to cover the high school commencements. At our last staff meeting I was taken back when I heard of one local high school's selection of four valedictorians and two salutatorians for its graduating class.