I love well-told stories. Novels, memoirs, short stories, poetry and movies engage me emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Professor and author Judy Doenges wrote that good fiction is “equal parts emotional power, intellectual complexity and artistic richness.” That’s true of all good stories, whether factual or imagined.
No other device exposes the pith of a truth as masterfully as a story. Aldous Huxley said of the art of fiction, “I think one can say much more about general abstract ideas in terms of concrete characters and situations, whether fictional or real, than one can in abstract terms….And I must say I think that probably all philosophy ought to be written in this form; it would be much more profound and much more edifying. It’s awfully easy to write abstractly, without attaching much meaning to the big words. But the moment you have to express ideas in the light of a particular context, in a particular set of circumstances, although it’s a limitation in some ways, it’s also an invitation to go much further and much deeper.” (Paris Review, Art of Fiction No. 24, 1960)
I took my own plunge into the the art of fiction by writing sentimental family-based short stories. A few of these are under the Stories menu tab. I followed those with a novel that I self-published in 2002.
Aviation has been an equally big deal in my life. My father was kind enough to fund my private pilot certificate in 1975. I learned to fly at long gone Mangham Field in Hurst, Texas. Around that same time, I attended Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. I really thought I’d become a missionary pilot and fly all over Africa à la Beryl Markham. That did not happen, although I did get to live it through West with the Night. Thank you, Ms. Markham, and thanks to my dear friend and flying buddy, Eric, for sharing the book with me.
My career in aviation took place on the other side of the microphone. I joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1982 and became an en route air traffic controller. After almost a decade on the boards, as we say in the business, I switched to quality assurance work, which led to years of traveling around the country evaluating the performance of tower, approach control, and en route air traffic facilities. I spent the last portion of my FAA career establishing and managing an air traffic safety oversight office before retiring in 2012. Nowadays, I use all the great experience the FAA afforded me as a subject matter expert with CSSI, Inc.
Jack London wrote a memoir he called, “No Mentor but Myself.” Unlike Mr. London, I’ve had more mentors than I can count, though many of them probably never knew that’s what they were to me. Because I’ve encountered so much generosity in life, I’ve tried to put my best foot forward on this website, speaking things that uplift and encourage. We all could use a little more of that.