A Year Like A Novel
by Caleb Pirtle III
For a long time, I believed that end of each year was like the end of each chapter in the book of our lives. I don’t believe that anymore.
Take a look at the novels you have read. There is a basic plot. There is a basic set of characters who work their way in and out of scenes throughout the book.
Some hang around.
But we definitely know who the characters are. If life were the single book, I would have already forgotten most of the characters. They were important for a while. They have not been around for a long time.
Life has too many plots. A year only has one with intermittent subplots. Just like a book. That’s why I now believe that the end of each year is more like the end of a book that has 365 pages.
I figure 365 pages make a pretty good eBook. It’s not an epic. It’s simply a slice of life, and that’s what a year is to the book inside each of us.
The year had a little humor. I watched and heard my grandchildren say the darndest things. I laughed. I looked for reasons to laugh.
A little sadness. My puppy died. She wasn’t supposed to. But she did.
A little compassion. I lost too many friends. I had to hug too many necks. I had to dry too many tears. I had to say goodbye too many times. I cried too many tears in the dark when I was alone.
The year had disappointments. We still haven’t figured out how to sell books. But we may be getting close.
It had hope. I wrote two novels and am finishing a third.
Depressed? Write another novel. There is always hope that it breaks through. If not, the next one surely will.
The year had its share of characters. A few have been around for a long time. A few are what I would call real friends. And what’s a real friend? Country comedian Jerry Clower once told me that a true friend is one you don’t mind calling at two in the morning if you’re in trouble. They are the ones who would want you to call.
And the year ushered in a lot of new friends. I know your names. I know what you write. I read what you write. I live with you on Twitter. In emails. Through the words of your blogs. We may never meet, but I appreciate you, have grown accustomed to you, and would hate the face the rest of my life without you. Thanks for being there.
And the year had a theme. Life is hard. Life is not for the weak. Life goes on. And it should go on.
So another book, another love story, another sad story, another story of hope, another story when gunfire erupts anew.
The year is not a book that plotters would write. It would drive them crazy. No one sees the future. No one can outline it. No one knows who all the characters will be. We don’t know what will happen, when it will happen, or to whom it will happen. Who lives? Who loves? Who runs? Who dies?
That’s what makes the book of 2018 absolutely perfect for us pantsers. I’ll fly through it by the seat of my pants, as always, which is the way I write my novels. I don’t know what will happen next and I can’t wait to find out.
Caleb Pirtle III knew he wanted to be a writer the day he read his first book. Writing for him was never as much of a vocation as an obsession. Over the years, Pirtle has served as a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, travel editor for Southern Living Magazine, and editorial director for a custom publisher in Dallas. He has found the time to write more than seventy-five books and is currently writing noir historical thrillers set against the backdrop of World War II and historical fiction novels built around the oil-driven Boom Towns of the 1930s.
Pirtle has written more than seventy-five books, hundreds of magazine articles, and the teleplays for three made-for-television movies, including the CBS mini-series, Gambler V, Playing for Keeps. His Ambrose Lincoln series features Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Night Side of Dark and Place of Skulls. Back Side of a Blue Moon is the first novel in the Boom Town Saga series. In 2018, the novel won the Beverly Hills Book Award and the Best of Texas Book Award for Historical Fiction. His psychological thrillers are Last Deadly Lie and Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever. A Lovely Night to Die is his first thriller, a novella, featuring a rogue CIA assassin who is given the assignments no one else dares to tackle. Pirtle has written a Memoir of Sorts, The Man Who Talks to Strangers, and his newest release is Confessions from the Road, a collection of short stories he heard from those he encountered during his travels.
He is the award-winning author of XIT: The Life and Times of the American Cowboy, The Unending Season, Where the Stars are Always Shining, Spirit of America, and Echoes from Forgotten Streets. His memoir of sorts, The Man Who Talks to Strangers, is an epistle that showcases the odd array of celebrities and characters he has known during his long career traveling the back roads of America – from Appalachia to death row, from paranormal ghost haunts to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Caleb Pirtle lives in Texas with his wife, Linda, who is the acclaimed author of “The Games We Play Series.” Her first two cozy mysteries as The Mah Jongg Murders and Deadly Dominoes. They serve as book coaches, teach writing classes, and work with authors to professionally package their books.