Milestones

I will be mercifully short this week. I drove to Baton Rouge and back from Westerville, Ohio for a quick two day visit and am still working the road whine out of my ears and catching up on the archeological dig which I call my desk. I do have something to share with you, however.

This week marked a couple of personal milestones for me. The first, and more important of the two, was that on April 1 I completed twenty years of sobriety. I believe in giving credit where credit is due and the credit in this case is due to a now-retired Baton Rouge pediatrician named Leon Bombet whom I was fortunate enough to meet in 1989. Dr. Leon at that time had been sober for nine years, and my reaction, which I kept to myself at the time, was “What?! Nine years?! Without a drink! Wow. I’m sure glad I don’t have a drinking problem.” Of course, I did. I eventually stopped stuffing my life down the commode and it has been Dr. Leon’s friendship and example, and that of his wife Susan, that have kept me on the proper course some two decades down the road.

The second milestone was the fulfillment of a promise I made to myself as an urchin in short-pants in 1962. When I wasn’t sneaking Shell Scott and Mike Hammer paperbacks into my bedroom, I was reading a lot of science fiction. Ace Books at the time published a number of titles per month, Dick and Vance and Zelazny, oh my, as well as reprints of Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter titles with those beautifully painted covers by Frank Frazetta. I promised myself, at the tender age of eleven, that I would be published by Ace Books one day. That happened this week with the publication of Dark Delicacies III: Haunted, an anthology of original fiction in which my story “Starlets & Spaceboys” appears. “Starlets & Spaceboys” was inspired by a hallucination I experienced some six years ago in the New Mexico desert just west of Albuquerque while driving with author Marcus Wynne; the title was graciously given to me by my lifelong friend William D. Plant III. I would not be sitting here today but for the friendship and assistance of both of those gentlemen.

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What I’m reading: The Priest by Gerard O’Donovan. Just get it and read it, whatever you do. You won’t be sorry. You will have nightmares.

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17 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Hey Joe. Big congratulations on your 20 year milestone. Amazing! You have a lot to be proud of. And bravo on your deal, too. I especially love goals set as kids that are achieved when you’re an adult. Those are so meaningful and significant. Thanks for sharing your good news with us.

  2. Congratulations on your milestones, Joe! It’s a wonderful feeling to fulfill a childhood ambition, isn’t it? I look forward to reading your story.

  3. …and now you can enjoy the extra 20 years you probably gave yourself by your healthier lifestyle. time to do all you wanted to do in life….and bask in the glow of it. and get your hat really broken in!

  4. Congratulations on your milestone, and the childhood dream fulfilled. That is way cool. The dreams we set as kids are the most powerful I think. Because somehow as adults, it almost feels like they stop being “dreams” and start being “goals”–sounds a bit drier, and shows how some of the starch has come out of us in adulthood.

  5. Joe,

    Let me add my congrats on both of your very big accomplishments. Each is the result of hard work and determination. You have a lot to be proud of.

  6. The amazing thing about childhood dreams is they are usually attainable in some form. While some realistically specific dreams can come literally true, like Joe’s did in a very outstanding way, others may be modified to bring about results that equal the state desired in the dream. For instance, the dream to be published was a sort of dream for happiness which could probably only be fulfilled from a sober state of mind and the sharpness of thought that comes from a clean body. Therefore both of Joe’s achievements are fully intertwined. The one depended on the other, and the desire for first enabled the second.

    That being said, one of the dreams I had as a kid was to be a super version of the Bionic Man and travel the world with my best friend and side kick who is talking chimpanzee named Deek with ninja skills and an English upper class accent.

    I don’t know the context in which it will come true…but here’s hoping.

  7. Wow. I was off the radar for a bit — my younger daughter was at a fencing tournament at Ohio State, and it took all morning to find the barbed wire (just kidding). Anyway…
    — Kathryn, it’s a great feeling, true. It hit me last night that at some point in my life in the last several years it went from a childhood dream to a powerpoint on my bucket list. But it’s done.

    Kathy D., uh, while I did stop drinking, I also quit jogging because the ice kept dropping out of my glass. You know how you have friends who tell you they lost weight? I keep finding it!

    BK, thanks, I know exactly what you mean, and when they become goals, they stop being fun. One reason I’ve never entirely grown up.

    Thanks so much, David. The sobriety wasn’t so hard, once I figured out that running head first into a wall every day is no way to go through life.

    Thanks, Joe. BTW, I want to be you when I grow up. But don’t tell anybody.

    Basil, thanks. You nailed it better than I ever could.

    ..and Michelle, I hope you enjoy my story at least half as much as I’ve enjoyed all of your work over the years.Thanks!

  8. John G. and John M., thanks so much. You guys are an inspiration to me. And John M., we need to talk soon. Lots of great news about Annalisa.

    Jackie, thanks. It’s amazing how fast the time goes.

  9. Congratulations, Joseph! I just ran across this today; strange and wonderful synchronicity since I was just thinking about that road trip the other day and dropped you an e-mail, LOL!

    Huge respects, congratulations and honors to your 20 years, bro. You define yourself with your choices every day, with grace, dignity, strength and compassion.

    You *are* the ultimate boon road trip companion, and we’re doing it again sometime — guns, ammo, Delta Blues CD and all, LOL!

    Much love, brother.

    cheers, Marcus

    ps: and I’m looking forward to you getting your great stories out even further, brother!

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