Both my husband, Lloyd, and I are on a learning curve these days. He has taken up writing as a retirement project and he has writen his life story. Initially that project was intended to to be a record for his children and grandchildren. He is an excellent story teller and upon first readings he has been encouraged to expand it and publish the work as a memoir.  He does not want to self publish, so he is looking for a publisher. A long road to travel, filled with frustration so far.

It doesn’t help that he is a typical “Type A personality”; a man of action who has always taken charge of things and found a way to make them happen. This waiting game is not one he plays easily. He wants results–like yesterday already.

Since completing his memoir, he has written a book about his hunting experiences. He has been an avid hunter all his life; a love installed in him by his father from early, early childhood.  He has years of tales to tell;  some funny, some frightening, all based on real experiences. I actually just finished my final edit for that book yesterday, but he has to decide on a title.

And now he has moved on to another book about our second oldest daughter who is a petite, determined, gutsy little gal. Like her father, she loves the outdoors, the mountains, she has a special way of working with animals and does amazing things.  He’s titled this book “CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK”.

Lloyd will be 74 on November 29th–just 9 days from now.  He has worked hard physically all his life, becoming a man of many talents.  He had little time too just goof off and be a kid during his growing up years. At the age of nine he was working after school and on weekends at the small family sawmill and horse logging operation, doing what ever he could handle, which to me was surprisingly a lot.  As he grew older, his dad’s sawmills got bigger and he took on more responsibility, learning to work in every aspect of the business except for being a sawyer.  In his later teens he morphed into a cat skinner, still working in the family’s business which had left behind the sawmills and moved into oilfield and road construction.

Finally, at age 20, after years of long, long hours, few days off and bare minimum pay (because it was a family business) he decided he wanted more out of life.  He struck out on his own with no money to back him; only a dream, determination and willingness to work hard to achieve his goals.  First he became a farmer, then a miner, and finally a rancher. His dream from childhood had been to own a ranch in or near the mountains, and he made that dream a reality. Shortly after buying his ranch, he became a logger to financially support his dream.  He logged and ranched until he retired at 69.

He had never touched a computer until about five years ago, when I bought him a laptop and installed Dragon Naturally Speaking on it, handed him a headset and told him I wanted him to write the story about his life for his family. For a couple of months he scoffed at me, refusing to use it.

For 45 years I had been his “Secretary”, often cursing (under my breath at first, and then eventually very vocally) as I tried to translate his “english”.  I told him that from that day  on he had to use the computer and I steadfastly refused to be “secretary” any more.  When he realized that I really meant it, he begrudgingly decided to give it a try.  Of course he needed help, which I was more than willing to give, and suddenly he was having fun and enjoying it! A miracle!

Now  all that said, Dragon Naturally Speaking is not fool proof by any means.  And since I am no longer his secretary, I have to wear a different hat–Editor.  Yes, I still shake my head and curse, but I know his stories well enough that I can figure out what he means to say and if not, I just have to call him from my office and confirm what he meant. And he’ll say–“I never said that. That stupid computer. I don’t know why it does that.” (LOL)

But, I don’t have to decipher his writing and type it in anymore! However, often he will edit his work before he gives it to me; after all this is a man who wants do it himself!  His intentions are good. He sincerely is trying to save me time and frustration. And he’s gotten pretty good at it, but spell-check can create hidden nightmares in a manuscript. Now I have to read each word carefully, with no warning underlines to catch my attention, checking for words that he has accepted as correct because spell-check made the suggestion and the red underline went away; but in fact the word is totally inappropriate, or thanks to the little quirks in our English language, is the wrong form of the right word (to,too, two).

But WE are learning.  He is getting better at watching for those pitfalls and I have learned an extensive “logger mouth” vocabulary, that doesn’t include anything to do with tree species, skidders, loaders, powersaws, logging trucks, operators or payroll–and yet it has everything to do with them, because I learned them from listening to Lloyd when he was dealing with his frustrations  in the bush.  I certainly didn’t learn them at my father’s knee.

Why isn’t it as good a stress relief to say “OH MY’ or even “SAM HILL!” the way my father did, when the frustration meter is registering a thread below the explosion level?  Some how it just isn’t!  I didn’t realize how deeply I had fallen into that habit until one day recently when I was working on his book and everything was going along smoothly.  Lloyd came into my office and asked what I was doing.  When I told him I was editing his book, he said  “Oh, I haven’t heard you swearing, so I was wondering what you were up to.” Wake up call!

So now I have to learn something else; how to unlearn this bad habit.  I don’t want my grandkids to remember me as their cursing grandmother!

I’m on a big learning curve in other ways also! Facebook,Twitter, youtube, as well as building websites and Blog sites.  Quite a stretch for my poor brain!  All this when I’d rather be writing, like Lloyd is!  You might want to check out the website and Blog that I built for Lloyd at  http://www.memoirsofmylife-historyinthemaking.com/