Posts Tagged With: writing

Unplugged!

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We’ll be headed to the GSG Mountain Meyham in West Virginia because everyone said I had a good time at the last one! http://mms.gsgiants.com/Calendar/moreinfo_responsive.php?eventid=9034&org_id=GSGI becs

We will stop at a few rallies going and coming, BMW MOA International Rally (Des Moines, IW) and the BMW RA (Wellsburo, PA).

I’ll be speaking at in Des Moines and Wellsburo; Motorcycling in Baja: Is it Safe? and Moto Camping: Everything You Want to Know.

So I will be unplugged for a few weeks unless I get lost and wonder back onto the tarmac!

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Happy Father’s Day!

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The Decroos. My sister, Audrey Decroo and my dad, Ken,Sr. He will be 94 this September. He’s still hell on wheels. ¬†My dad is a true american hero. He lived through poverty as a boy, combat during WWII in the South Pacific and is a true product of the American Dream. He raised a family, worked hard in construction all his life and made sure my sister and I had a better life than he and my mom had. He and mom were married for over sixty-five years. I once asked him how that was possible and he said, “Learn to loose the argument as quickly as possible.” Mom and dad wrote to each other throughout the war and married shortly after and settled in California.

Dad is part of the generation who built this country. They stormed the beaches of Okinowa and countless other islands when they were kids (my dad was 17). Fought that war with the knowledge that they would only get to come home when it was won. The Decroos serve. He lost many of his high school friends on those beaches and islands. He was wounded (purple heart) and silently carried those injuries to this day without complaint. Those kids had no “safe places” but rather had to make them for themselves.

My dad taught me many things but most importantly to be an honorable man. He has always said if your decision is good for people and your motivations are pure then let the chips fall where they may. Dad and mom made my sister and me who we are; for better or worse when it comes to me.

When the last of them pass, our country will have lost our greatest treasure. They are the spirit of this land. His generation is a non-renewable resource that will be missed. Don’t get me started on my mom! ¬†I love you dad.¬†

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He No Longer Lives in Brazil

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The flight from LAX to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) had been a long one but while tired I was excited to be at last joining the movie company to film on location. I had been hired to train Jaguars and was the only America working¬†for the British film. When I met Gabriel at customs, I soon¬†discovered that I had stepped into a surreal world and time. He stared right through me wearing a sweat-stained t-shirt that read ‚ÄúKill Them All and Let God Sort them Out.‚ÄĚ I could just make out a faded French Foreign Legion logo on a worn canvas bag slung over his shoulder.

In a thick Portuguese accent, he said in rehearsed English, ‚ÄúWelcome to Brazil,‚ÄĚ and commenced to orchestrate us through customs. This was the tone that the shooting of this movie would take for the better part of a year. We filmed in fifty-five different locations that year which took us from the coast to deep in the jungles of the Amazon. We were on a golden voyage, a real old school adventure and it was 1984. Each day took us further from what we knew to a world of wild animals, jungle darkness, danger, Voodoo and real outlaws. We were a long way from home.

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Just One More Story

 

Photo By Gail Fisher, LA Tiimes

Photo by Gail Fisher, LA Times, 1980

 

It is really gratifying to be contacted by so many readers (many are fellow writers) requesting the background story on Almost Human. As a writer, it is a humbling experience to realize your work is reaching out beyond the private and often lonely effort of putting the words on the page.

Recently, I received an email from a reader in Russia (Russia!) who asked where I got the inspiration for Chapter 3, Lester and Girlie. That chapter is based on someone I knew years ago when I worked in the motion picture business who had a unique relationship with an aging chimp. He was an animal trainer in his late seventies or so. The old man and chimp were a real odd couple, who I enjoyed visiting from time to time.

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Goodreads Giveaway of Almost Human Begins February 22, 2017

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Almost Human by Kenneth L. Decroo

Almost Human

by Kenneth L. Decroo

Giveaway ends March 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

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Peacock Hunting

peacock_bird_201860I have been working diligently on the sequel to Almost Human.

Finally, I’m close to finishing¬†More Than Human. Over the last six months, personal matters side-tracked my progress‚ÄĒwell sort of. So, I‚Äôve set a goal of a thousand words a day no matter what. I‚Äôm pleased to say it is working. I am several weeks into this endeavor.

Writers, write. Continue reading

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The Same Question

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Asking the right questions can be the difference between a life well lived or just following the dull path of others. I learned this lesson from a six-year-old, many years ago.

My girlfriend, at the time, had to work so asked me to take her son to the first day of kindergarten. It was an exciting time for us, full of promise. We really didn’t know what to expect but hoped little Chris would make new friends and start on the path to success. Continue reading

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Sally‚Äôs Cafe and Bookstore ‚Äď New on the shelves ‚Äď Almost Human by Kenneth L. Decroo

What happens when the line between ape and man is blurred?

Cover Illustration by Casey Whitesell

I’m honored and humbled. Almost Human¬†has¬†been¬†selected for the bookstore in¬†Sally G. Cronin’s great blog, Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life!.¬†Thanks so much, Sally, for your¬†support.

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Rules to Travel By….

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As you may have heard, there is a gasoline strike in Mexico. And based on some media reports, it has gotten quite dodgy in places. Yesterday, after ten wonderful days at our place in Playa de Estero, Baja Norte, my wife (Tammy) and I headed home to Lake Arrowhead, SoCal. Continue reading

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I’m Back!… Or the Two Brains of a Writer…Or Is It Just Me?

A year ago I was well along to finishing the sequel to Almost Human when I got a phone call.

Little did I know the winding path I would follow¬†or how much I would learn about how the two parts of my brain work when it comes to writing. The Superintendent of a school district I had consulted for had an emergency and he¬†wanted me to¬†come back and help put things right. I agreed to come back for a few months. Those few months stretched to a year. It was then I realized that this school district didn’t hire consultants,¬†it¬†took hostages! I found myself beginning the second year.

I had been asked to take over a struggling school and reestablish leadership. This kind of work is administrative and political. It requires long hours and lots of paperwork interspersed with workplace and small town politics. Much of my time was spent in hard conversations with students, staff, parents and district administrators–politics.

From the start, my creative writing ceased replaced by dry reports and number crunching. The flow of my new novel, More Than Human, had disappeared. My characters had faded and had left me. I suspected that this was partly because my routine as a writer had been interrupted. But I soon realized on the days I could jump back into my routine, that I was dry and blocked from getting back into the world I had created. Something was going on in me as a writer that was more than just an interruption of my routine.

It seemed the more I immersed myself in the day-to-day work as a school administrator, the more distant and resistant my characters became. Their world faded from me. The flow I feel, as a writer, when my story is revealing itself was frozen. I was shut out, block.

Yet, I could write pages of reports about attendance, discipline, mission statements, grant proposals and the like. I could be absolutely creative and articulate in the art of expository persuasion but it seemed at the expense of my novel.

Like in a good story that requires conflict and climax, my life took a turn at the closing of that first year. I needed a surgery that would require several months of recovery away from work, a painful recovery. During that recovery, I found that removed from the politics and problem solving, my creative juices began to flow again. It was though I was able to switch back to another compartment of my brain where all of my characters and the world they lived in had been patiently waiting. The flow came back in spite of the physical therapy and pain that was my reality. I could write again. In fact, I had to write again. There was an unexplainable sense of urgency while I wrote.

As I healed from my surgery, I began slowly returning to the work of the school district and finally back my office. I was dry again. I realized that my novel would have to wait until I could tap into that other place in my brain that kept the world I had created safe and waiting. But what if I wasn’t there when I returned? What if I couldn’t find that place again? This was my mindset as I entered year two¬†of this consulting gig.

My mom who had always supported my efforts as a writer advised me to quit the job and return to what was really important to me and made me happy. Writing. She cautioned me¬†not to waste time in endeavors¬†that did not truly satisfy me and move me forward in living life’s grand adventure. Life is fleeting and you don’t want to reach the¬†end with any regrets. Mom loved hearing about my adventures and loved a good story.

I felt trapped and entered a very dark place. For the first time in my life I did not find joy in what I was doing. I found myself going through the motions at work and dreaded continuing. I needed out. I needed to find my voice again.

The climax to this little drama came when sadly my mom unexpectedly passed away. I took a leave from work to help care for my dad and the rest of our family. My mom must be smiling somewhere up there. In spite of the grief and pain, I found myself writing again. My characters all came¬†back. It was than that I realized that I couldn’t take for granted that they would aways be there. I resigned, and as though to reward me, my characters and this story came back. In fact, it is so vivid that it is writing itself.

What I’ve learned from this little journey is that we can never take the creative process for granted. It can be fleeting and ethereal. I believe for me, there are two parts of my brain. One is were my writing patiently waits but I can never be sure for how long. This time, I was lucky.¬†My characters were patient and kind to me. They waited.

I’m back writing and adventure traveling on my motorcycle. My office is now were my heart and moto take me. Im confident that¬†More Than Human will be done soon as I am writing and traveling again; seeking life’s wild adventure¬†as¬†I write and think best on two wheels.

Thanks mom. I love you.

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Ready to head out for an adventure in Baja.

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