I started compiling some creative writing stories right around the 4th grade. I wrote about travel and camping adventures with my dad, my love for sports and my unwavering passion to have a Golden Retriever. Little did I know that one day people from around the world would read my stories. To my astonishment a few of them would even like them.
Our Past My Curfew blog anniversary story was actually two months ago in November. Like a Retriever with a tennis ball, we got sidetracked.
I wrote this to Celine Dion’s “A New Day Has Come”. There were dark times over my lifetime but the light was always there and my angels continued to look over me and washed away my fears.
I could have done so much with these pictures of nostalgia’s past. Yet, to see them in all of their imperfection and grainy originality is to truly see me. I’m never beyond reproach and some memories remain vivid while others I chose to let slide forever into the past.
I was brought into this life to strive and achieve not for myself but to give unto others…
My writing was always a cathartic escape and release of thought and emotion. It was very seldom done in the classroom though my thoughts wandered often. But often in reflection at a huge, gorgeous nearby park. Twin Oaks Park. I would look up from the base of their 60 foot height with the feeling of being so small. Being not anywhere near my teens yet, I was indeed small. Yet, my mind bounded within of such titanic thoughts next to these giants. I would sit down with my back against the wooden bark of one of them with profound contemplation. Not of fiction but of real life stories and adventures I had either experienced first hand or witnessed.
I would do a lot of walking by myself or hopping onto my one-speed pedal-application-brake bike just to be alone until I would arrive back at home. There I would park my bike, go into the house and grab whatever calorie ridden food item was available for my metabolism-ravage young active body. Then I would to go to my bedroom, close my door, sit on my bed with headphones on and begin writing. I looked longingly down at the floor for the canine companion I was never allowed to have.
Early on it was my father and I on the road during his time off from teaching at the high school. My idol, my guide, my protector. Showing me the world through his eyes to imprint upon my young mind. Glacier National Park which I would backpack across with family a mere few years later…
My bedroom was my safe haven. Usually. To escape. Be left alone to my thoughts and write. King of the Castle. Lord of the Manor. And my deep love for music. That was me likely rocking and giving my best air-guitar imitation to Eddie Van Halen there…
An elite camping trip, a case of beer and many other non-essentials at 18 years old with my best buddy, Scott. He was my wing man for my street racing days and ironically Mark’s (my engine builder and nemesis) brother. A week later would be a life changing move at the conclusion of this outing.
At 18 years old my father and I nearly came to blows. I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and said the most regrettable words ever, “I hate you and want to punch you!”
He calmly replied, his former Army eyes dilated and focused, “Son, I welcome you to take the first punch. But, it will be the last one you will ever remember in your entire life.”
I deferred to that look in his eye I had never seen before. I released my grip and backed away slowly. Terrified of what I had just done.
I will never forget those 30 seconds for it was five minutes later he came back to me and said, “Mike, after your camping trip with Scott you two can go visit your Aunt and Uncle in Reno. The three of us would like you to stay there for awhile.” Ya, like for the next 32 years to this day.
I moved out of our California duplex and up to Reno where things were going to take a drastic turn. My high ranking, law enforcement, uncle pulled me aside and said, “Mikey, you can choose to go this way and continue on your path. Or I will show you a way out to much better things and I will support you 100%.”
I chose the latter after the most horrible three hour polygraph ever and my life changed. Ominous signs from my studio apartment neighbor. A State trooper. My hellion, rebellious, street racing days were over. I could have smoked him from the start and been waiting at the finish line. See, always the distorted mentality back then. That would be right before he had time to call, “Dispatch, I have a…uhhh…never mind.” I adamantly advocate against unlawful street racing today despite enjoying a specific reality show that gives me a fix from several lifetimes ago. It is against the law and is dangerously life-threatening beyond belief and I plead with everyone not to participate.
I met a new wing man, Dave, who was a constant self-check to keep me in line and on that right path. He loved the outdoors as I did and being on road trips. He’s still around to this day and has raised an amazing family and accomplished incredible achievements in his life. I’m so proud of him!
We were not beyond wanting to quench our teen desires to have fun though. This is before Journey’s epic four-hour finale at Day on the Green at the Oakland Coliseum, 1983.
Yet, it was the mountain I viewed upon that I always wanted to ascend. Not for accumulation but to see from above those that I could be an angel to in this lifetime.
I continued to scribble on my notepad all of these stories. Tossed away in paper but never in memory.
I had a story to tell as we all do.
Then my lifelong dream and prayer as a little boy came true 10 1/2 years ago. I grasped him in my heart as forever a soul mate as he held his paw to my heart. Well, and stuck his tongue out which would epitomize our relationship. I named him after the mythical bird that rose up out of the ashes in the desert. My Phoenix. He’s magic and I encourage all of you to meet him to feel his soul.
A co-worker, John, suggested some three years ago that I get a website to write a blog. After a long time and debate he encouraged me to enlist the help of a friend, Chris. I did so yet waited another two years before ever writing anything on it. Chris showed me the “back-end” of WordPress and I immediately felt overwhelmed. It was not my notepad nor emails which I frequently wrote my missives on and felt comfortable with. It was not numbers that I felt comfortable with. It appeared to me as a impassable maze. But, it was not even close to that in reality. He didn’t let up for that entire period of two years. He expounded that my stories were good and that I had something to offer.
I said, “But, what if no one likes them?”
Chris replied, “That may indeed happen. But, that is about them, not you Mikey.”
Having been a sports fanatic and writing stories about Phoenix for years I came up with SportsKennel.com. You can click on the link but this is all that you will find:
Cool header bar and the background picture while not taken by my aunt it was a very similar vista while she was house shopping for me in Germany. I received an email from her a day later. She had not seen this but informed me of her ventures.
That moment. That is when I stomped on the acclerator and decided I would write a blog.
It started out with some posts but something was missing. It was the header picture. I loved having Phoenix in it but I wanted more. To be inspired. For people coming to my blog to see the real me. Through some raw sketches on paper and the help of a friend in Microsoft Paint, I hired a graphics artist. What you see at the top is the result. That is an uncanny representation of me writing. Phoenix with me, the Jeep outside and late at night always. Though we live in a residential area.
I began following and commenting to two blogs. The Everywhereist and the Amateur Gourmet. Both had incredibly successful blogs yet the former rarely ever commented back to anyone. I never received a reply despite her enormous inspiration. I committed to myself that if I ever had that kind of attention I would always thank my readers and reply to each no matter how long it took. It’s the way I’m built. I learned and mirrored every one of their recommendations. I highly recommend both blogs if either interest you.
My early support was 100% due to my friends. They kept me going and encouraged me to never feel defeated. The only dark period was about two days. When I was in a rare, yet very foul, vocal mood and took it out on Chris. It was gibberish and uncalled for and I still to this day regret it. He was considering bailing on being my webmaster and through the grace of my higher power and the most heartfelt apologies he stayed on. I’m forever grateful to you, Chris.
I had yet to have a single comment from someone on the Internet outside of my non-blogging friends.
It was this last summer. The Everywhereist blog. There was one commenter that always caught my attention. She spoke very unlike me but it always hit a note with me. I clicked over to her blog for a couple of minutes once and said not my cup of tea. A couple of weeks later there she was again on The Everywhereist comment section. I clicked over again and for whatever reason something caught my attention. Not in her content (which is awesome by the way) but in my gut. I commented on her post and I’m sorry I don’t remember which one it was now. Sorry, my dear!
Her name is Suzanne Fluhr. A lawyer and blogger in Philadelphia. A dog lover of one adorably cute Dino, loving mom, beautiful wife and the kindest friend that anyone could ever have. She suggested I join her blog hop. What the hell is that? I have to wear 50’s clothing with rolled up jeans at the bottom and a pack of smokes curled up under my white t-shirt at the shoulder? No, I would link a pertinent post of my own to her site giving her blog a link and shout out somewhere within. On the honor program, I was to comment on all of the other blogs in the hop and they would comment on mine. I followed her instructions to the letter.
The comments poured into my site. Jackpot! That City of Brotherly Love stuff exists, huh?
I’ve never looked back and we love you so much, Suzanne. You changed our lives for the better forever.
Since then, we’ve been given a guest post at Coffee With A Canine, a reciprocated guest post coming up in February, and another crowning moment. Joel Silverman from the Animal Planet contacted me to film Phoenix and I. Yes, that Joel Silverman. Yep, that Animal Planet show. Unfortunately that did not work out solely on my part. I suck.
At this point I continue to follow bloggers “outside” my realm. That being travel bloggers. My posts don’t even remotely fit into their genre. Yet, their posts allow me a whimsical escape for days to come. And I allow them a respite. To take five minutes out of their traveling wonders to stop and decompress. A moments disengagement to see, “Hmm, I wonder what Mike and Phoenix have been up to this week?” So far, the results have been favorable.
Our loyalty to all of you will remain unwavering. Like most of you I continue to build up viewers and comment exchanges. Yet, I want for nothing as that is your choice. In the meantime we will continue to give shout outs to all of you that have given us your support.
Phoenix remains the light of my life and at my side forever. Literally at the computer taken this morning…
While the fur on Phoenix’s skin is as Golden as his heart. I don’t pass judgement. I’m one who has had a glass house from my past of which I can not throw stones. We will always support you as long as you are true to yourself.
We leave you with this for the Past My Curfew one year anniversary blog story: You are limited only by your imagination.
A thank you post will likely be coming from us next week!
Always your friends if you so choose and we send you unconditional love,
Mike and Phoenix 🙂
This blog is dedicated not only to Suzanne at Boomeresque but also to my brother from another mother. My best friend, Tony, who has read and commented on every single post I’ve ever published. He and his daughter snagged that header picture, framed it and gave it us for Christmas. Best. Christmas present. EVER. I thank you both from the bottom of our heart and soul.