The words contained within the covers of this book are intended to speak to some of life’s ups and downs. Life encompasses a multitude of components that require daily maintenance and/or management…and your judgment in those areas will drive the direction of your existence. Life will, sooner or later, introduce you to the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between…humor, joy, sadness and the always-present mystery. The author believes the words in this book to be universal…although not universally spoken nor acknowledged.
Richard’s odyssey has been continuous from the denial of his rural Arkansas roots to his acceptance in “Phase Three.” While the Greyhound bus physically transported him away from his disdain…and provided the escape from his dysfunctional family, the relocation only skewed his perspective. California was a world apart from Arkansas, and without an education and/or a craft…life would severely test the author’s fortitude and determination. It would resemble a scavenger hunt as he chased his always-moving, always-fading demons for personal understanding.
This book began simply enough as letters to his son (the second of two from the author’s second marriage) who was/is also seeking self-understanding. The son was serving prison time for drug usage and drug-related crimes stemming from twenty years of abuse. Added to that, his son, Landon, is afflicted with epilepsy and the combination (epilepsy and heroin) can produce deadly consequences.
His son’s first letter not only requested that his father correspond with him, but that he fill in the gaps of his life…his words were, “Dad, I know nothing of you before our family.” The father was taken aback…he had rarely, if ever, thought about his past life…much less verbalized it to others. Initially, as he reflected on the request, he wondered if he even remembered anything about his past…or had he buried it so deeply (through denial) that he would never be able to resurrect the information that his son was requesting.
The book chronicles the author’s early years in Arkansas and his own drug abuse during his twenties as he struggled in California. The book reveals the author’s insecurities regarding his lack of a formal education. How he created a façade to conceal his perceived deficiencies as he managed a challenging career (the majority of those years at the supervisory level) within the oil industry.
One cannot read just one of the letters, encapsulated between the “Foreword” and “the last page...,” and fully comprehend the purpose and/or intent of this collaboration between the writer’s present life and his long-buried past. Singularly, none of the enclosed correspondence is capable of standing alone…but linked together, they provide a measure of insightfulness and understanding (you decide about what). There are common threads woven throughout the writing…and there are also subliminal messages, advice, thoughts, insight, understanding, encouragements and reconciliation embedded within the dynamics of this endeavor.
From the author: Landon and I have come a long way with our burdens; and while neither of us have arrived yet…I believe we are both on the correct path and approaching the other side. But only time will tell…