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Archive for August, 2016

When I moved into the “estate at 428” it was obvious from the wallpaper that this room had once been a child’s bedroom. One of the first things I did as I moved into the house from a newer duplex on Sprngfield’s west side was take off the closet door and store it in the basement. For a few months after I moved my double-size mattress into this room, it was my bedroom. It allowed me to keep my huge collection of aviation history in the larger room down the hall. But that didn’t work. The mattress was as wide as the room was wide and almost as long as the room was long. There was no space for anything else.  For about a year, my bed occupied the “front room,” close to the front door in the large parlor. I used this room as a model airplane workshop, later as my office.  All material aviational was moved out to the airport when I was given space for AeroKnow Museum, and for a couple of years I returned model building materials (kits, paint, glue, shelves)  to it so I could build here at home as well as at the airport. Today I use it for nothing.

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After returning the model building material back to the airport, I considered using it as a literary  room for keeping my writing (from the past 30 years)  and collection of memorabilia about Springfield native son, internationally acclaimed poet Vachel Lindsay. Storage boxes of articles, poems, bank receipts and writing correspondence were moved from the humid basement to  this room, and there they remain today. I find that with so much to do with the airport museum, returning home as late as 10 pm for dinner (soup sometimes, some fruit, a sandwich maybe, always some Burgundy) and right to bed, I have no time and no passionate interest in writing any more. This saddens me.

I would like to donate what I’ve collected about Vachel Lindsay to a person or collection where the material would be preserved and appreciated: anywhere but the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site on Fifth Street. After several years of mildly “testy” interacting with that site, I departed and expect that I will never return for a visit. I consider the Vachel Lindsay Association the greatest disappointment of my life as a creative writer. When I’m even more depressed than I am now, I will probably take the poems and song lyrics I have written, my materials about Vachel, and eventually, probably, my collection of Vachel Lindsay  books, including some rare first editions,  to the Sangamon Valley Collection of local history at the main branch of our municipal library. They can do whatever they want with it. For now, it all remains in the room where nothing happens.

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Also part of the room are articles written about me by now-retired State Journal Register columnist Dave Bakke, including “People don’t seem to get Job.” It describes my almost life-long discontent with the city where I was born. I feel as I know Vachel Lindsay felt regarding the anguish of frustration living in Springfield. The media have walked away from me since I began devoting body and soul to the airport museum. The silence of media locally and nationally to  the museum is DEAFENING! I’m even writing this  Honey and Quinine post at my museum office.

The acoustics in the room where nothing happens are terrific. I should set up my notebook computer to record videos of me reciting poetry and playing songs on my guitar. That would be an ideal “something to do” here. But I don’t have the time or the passion now.
The upstairs is being vacated and real estate taxes are due in three days. If I had passion for sharing, I would find the time to share.

Life goes on . . . . . . . except in the room where nothing happens.

Live long . . . . . and proper..

 

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On January 16, 2016, I picked up 200 copies of my most recent book John Thornton Walker, Story of a Hero Who Didn’t Come Home from my friends at Capitol Blueprint (printers) in Springfield and delivered review copies with notes explaining author, book sysnopsis and how to purchase. I visited the offices of Springfield Business Journal/Illinois Times, the State Journal Register,  and mailed six copies to my friends at American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS)  Headquarters in California. I explained to AAHS, which had offered to sell some copies at their coming convention, that one copy was for them to keep in their collection after reviewing in their FlightLine quarterly, and send any unsold copies back to me.

You can imagine how I felt when all FIVE copies came back to me!  I’m looking forward to their review. I’m also looking forward, on August 2, 2016, to  reviews from the other recipients of my book. At this point I think it would be easier for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to march through the eye of a needle than to maintain my  expectation of a review from Springfield media.THIS after also giving a copy to  now-retired columnist Dave Bakke, whom I had chance-encountered at the local airport a few months ago. I have been absolutely CRUSHED by all this.  It appears that my days as a writer in  Springfield are OVER. I do have  another employer and Social Security, I’m not hungry. Recently, I considered how this woeful reversal of fortune has occurred.

Lesson 1 — Over the years, I learned that the State Journal Register could  not share archived copies of material they had published with other journalists.  So when John Thornton Walker’s daughter Connie and her family donated original newsprint copies of Thornton Walker’s aviation columns he had written for the then-Illinois State Journal, it seemed to  me that since I scanned hard original newsprint, there was no need to request assistance or permission from the  current management of the publication. I am GUESSING that. I have read or heard not a word from the publication since January 16. Maybe their in the process of launching legal action against me. Next time, I will quote excerpts from his columns. I will not scan and include articles published by the  paper during the war.

Lesson 2 — Since all references to sources and dates of original publication were includes on the pages that displayed them, I did not include a list of credits with page numbers at the beginning of the book or as an appendix. I should have.

Lesson 3 — I didn’t obtain an ISBN number for the book. That was a costly procedure, and I didn’t have the resources. Maybe, in the course of obtaining the ISBN number, someone would have noticed the afore-mentioned faults and directed me, mandated me, to correct them. Who can say? No body in local media is talking to me anymore!

Lesson 4 — I also didn’t send copies to other state and national publications. I gave up!

WHY did I give up? It does seem “premature” doesn’t it? When the family visited Springfield in 2012 and donated a treasure trove of John Thornton Walker material to my AeroKnow Museum so I could amplify the “story of the hero who didn’t come home” to museum visitors, I promised them a book that made maximum  use of those materials. They had been the only respondents to my widely circulated request for anyone who had information to  share about Springfield citizens who had been gained some fame as aviators. What they had initially contributed to my book Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing was pure gold, a big help for that book.  As I began producing the book devoted exclusively to Walker’s exemplary and tragic life, I doubted the book would be little interest to aviation enthusiasts beyond central Illinois, so I didn’t try harder to tailor it to the expectations of a national publication. If I knew in 2012 what I know today, I would have tried harder, acquired the ISBN number and reached out to national media. The few copies that have found their way to purchasing readers have generated unanimously favorable responses! Local media have turned their collective back on me.

I’m no longer as devoted to poetry and song either.

This is  a dip in the road of life.

If I rise again, you will know about it here.

Live long . . . .  and proper.

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