Shifting gears

mustang-50I sit at the traffic signal, eyes locked on the red light. My left foot is depressing the clutch while my right foot is hovering over the top of the accelerator pedal. With my left hand at the eleven o’clock position on the leather wrapped steering wheel, my right hand caresses the gear shift knob presently in first gear. The tunes are streaming wirelessly from the cell phone in my left pocket and I am perched at the starting line awaiting clearance to launch with the anticipation of a green light.

I have been in this situation many times before. The versatility provided by my car allows me so many choices. I can ease away from a standstill and revel in the low rumble of the engine as the RPM gauge cycles from 1,000 to 3,000 – back and forth through the sequence of gears.

I can punch the accelerator with my right foot while simultaneously releasing pressure on the clutch pedal and accelerate – to a legal speed, of course – faster than most vehicles on the highway. And it’s perhaps what I enjoy doing most, getting where I want to be posthaste, both in my car and in the things I set out to do in life.

I was prepared to do just that on this day when something happened. It’s another reason why I am so protective of the commuting time in my car. It’s like a personal sanctuary for me. Some of my most persuasive and compelling thoughts have come to me while nestled in the cockpit of the driver’s seat.

As the final chords of The Goo Goo Dolls Rebel Beat finished, there was a momentary pause while the software in my phone decided what would be queued up next. Once upon another time.

sara-once-upon-another-timeNo, this is not the beginning of a story. This was the song now streaming through my car speakers. The title track off Sara Bareilles’ EP album released in 2012 had been played so many times before. But, on this particular day, it provided me with something different than it had in the past – perspective. There is no logical reason why I heard the lyrics differently on this given day, why I paid them more attention, especially since I was focused on coordination of movements between feet, hands, and brain to accelerate quickly off the starting line. But, that is exactly why I have allowed logic to ride in the backseat more often these days. Situations arrive on our doorstep when we are ready to invite them inside for a visit. Today was that day.

Once upon another time
Before I knew which life was mine
Before I left the child behind me
I saw myself in summer nights
And stars lit up like candle light
I make my wish but mostly I believed

Something about the words resonated with me on this go-around. And I felt compelled to look up the meaning of these lyrics when I arrived into work. In an interview, Sara explained that this title track is really about loss of your childhood and letting go of your past, a part of her journey through life at the time she wrote the song. I sat and thought for a few moments. I was grasping for some connection. I was meant to hear these words in a different light for some reason. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. I had a good childhood. There was nothing I needed to let go from that past. And then, it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks. There is more than one past. There are an infinite number of pasts that we are creating each and every moment of each and every day. And I did need to let go of one of those to move on towards my next big ambition.

rafiki-it-is-timeFor the past year, I have been publishing short stories to this blog. And it has been extremely gratifying – to tell stories, to share emotions, to welcome everyone who chooses to read them into my small corner of the world. It has become comfortable – like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. But, it is time for me to toss the comfy blanket aside and embrace the chilly air of doubt and uncertainty. You see, I have been encouraged, nudged – and eventually now – persuaded towards publishing some of my stories. I have a sense that it is going to require a fair amount of time, work, and growing pains to reach this ambition. But, as Rafiki proclaims in The Lion King, “It is time.”

Here I was, all ready to accelerate to 60 mph as quickly as I could, and instead I ease from one gear to the next as the captivating sounds of the harmonium echo in my ears. I am not going anywhere from a writing sense. In fact, I will probably be writing as many stories, if not more, than what I was writing before. But, they will now be in anticipation of publication in a book as well as on my blog.

Many of the stories that I have previously published on this blog will be made accessible, in the near future, via Amazon in e-book format. Check if one of your favorites is slated for release through the new Short Stories menu on the home page of my blog. If your favorite isn’t there, let me know and I will add it to my next wave of short stories to be published in e-book format. Each of the stories will be provided in their entirety with a short passage provided by me detailing the inspiration behind the story.

artist-easelIn addition, I will be releasing a new short story series titled Impression exclusively on Amazon. As a humble way of showing my appreciation for everyone who has read and commented on my stories to date, this new short story will be available to download for free during the initial days after release.

I will still be a regular contributor in the blogosphere – perhaps just in a different capacity now. I am not exiting the highway, I am simply changing lanes. I am shifting gears so that I can accelerate towards the next step on my own journey as an author. It’s a difficult decision for me, more than you could probably imagine. I have had this draft sitting on my computer and in the back of my mind for several weeks. Although things never seem to be black and white – except for my car, of course – the perspective provided by each situation helps us to discern the various shades of gray in between the two extremes. And even though it may not be easy or comfortable, it’s the process of choosing one of those shades of gray that adds depth to our perspective, and growth to our lives.

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18 thoughts on “Shifting gears

  1. Hariod Brawn April 28, 2015 / 11:22 am

    Good luck with your book Dave; it will be a wonderful achievement to accomplish such a thing, and incredibly satisfying too I’m sure. All best wishes, Hariod.

    • davecenker April 28, 2015 / 3:34 pm

      Thank you Hariod, I sincerely appreciate you words of encouragement and confidence 😉

  2. Lynn April 28, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    Wishing you tremendous success as you switch gears & venture down another path! Congratulations Dave!

    • davecenker April 28, 2015 / 3:36 pm

      Thank you Lynn, I sincerely appreciate the good wishes and look forward to continuing my connection with readers here in the blogosphere also – best wishes for an inspired day!

  3. heraldmarty April 28, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    So I’m sitting here reading your article and even though we’ve chatted about this I slipped into the zone imagining myself behind the wheel of the car and what’s really weird was I pictured the Triumph Spitfire I treated myself to after college … OMG I loved that car! She could (and often did) easily do 115 mph on my weekend trips to the mountains … and then you brought me back to earth with your announcement! I am so excited for you and there is no question in my mind that you’ll achieve whatever it is that you set your mind to do Dave. Now, I have this sudden urge to take a drive … zoom, zoom, zoom!

    • davecenker April 28, 2015 / 3:43 pm

      He he he, I always aim to convey emotion in my writing (both fiction and non-fiction). I am happy to be able to get you moving at 115 mph, at least through a virtual adrenaline rush 🙂

      Your blog, Marty, is the second one I ever found myself reading on the internet, long before its name change to Emotionally Resilient Living.

      Your words of encouragement, motivation, and insight have helped to make this decision come to fruition for me, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

      Now, go – zoom, zoom 😉

  4. Writing to Freedom April 28, 2015 / 2:28 pm

    Shifting gears indeed. Congrats Dave. I admire your clarity in knowing what you want and the willingness to act on it. Best wishes in your new writing adventures.

    • davecenker April 28, 2015 / 3:38 pm

      Thank you Brad, I really appreciate your kind thoughts and wishes. I look forward to pursuing new adventures while keeping the existing ones still going 😉

  5. Don April 28, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    I wish you well with this venture Dave. Admire your courage. I’m sure it will go well.

    • davecenker April 28, 2015 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you Don, I appreciate your words of encouragement and motivation – best wishes for an inspired day!

  6. Mari Biella April 29, 2015 / 8:55 am

    All the best, Dave. At its worst, publishing (on Amazon and the like) is a little like banging your head against the wall. But at its best, it’s incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. I hope you find it as fulfilling as I have!

    • davecenker April 29, 2015 / 9:53 am

      Thanks Mari, now I know who I can commiserate with when things don’t go quite as planned, or share excitement with when things eventually do 😉

  7. Dalo 2013 May 2, 2015 / 5:48 am

    Best of luck to you Dave and look forward to hearing more & reading more from your new project ~ buckle up for this great ride you’re going on. Pretty cool.

    • davecenker May 3, 2015 / 10:22 am

      Thanks Randy, I appreciate your kind words – and the clever analogy to buckling up 😉 Best wishes for an inspired day!

  8. thenicethingaboutstrangers May 4, 2015 / 9:28 pm

    Best of luck and I’ll be rooting you on, Dave! Thank you for sharing this idea of many pasts. This really stuck with me as well. Here’s to the bright future–
    Paige

    • davecenker May 5, 2015 / 8:41 am

      Thank you Paige, I appreciate your kind wishes and encouraging words 😉 May your many pasts lead to brighter futures!

    • davecenker May 7, 2015 / 2:55 pm

      Thank you Adriana, I appreciate the words of encouragement 😉

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