God, Grief, Life, Writing

Memoir Publishing Update – “Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry”

The journey has begun from draft manuscript to published book.

Please Note: This is most likely not the final cover only a draft I created.

The manuscript, about the author bio, back of the book blurb and foreword have all been submitted to the Editing Department. Next steps is comprehensive edit with suggested changes submitted back to me for further editing and approval. It is a little nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time.

The foreword was written by a good friend of mine who I first met through a professional relationship many years ago. The following is a short excerpt from the foreword he wrote for my book, which I absolutely love. He captured the theme, tone and purpose of my story perfectly. He knows my journey intimately and I am honored he would do this for me and very appreciative.

“This book is for people who have had real pain. People who have loved and lost, and are struggling to move on.” #Memoir #Foreword #UpcomingBook > ‘Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry’

I have also submitted ideas to the Cover Design Department to begin the process of creating a book cover. I look forward to the creative ideas from the cover designer. More to come on that progress in a future post.

I will leave you with this – if I can write a book so can you if you want to. It took me over 25 years to finally complete the manuscript. Many years of contemplation, learning, living and healing until I could pull it all together into a whole over the last 3 years. And now I am a mere months away from having a published book in my hands and maybe yours!

You can > Reconcile your Past, Embrace your Present, and Redeem your Future! #LiveYourDreams #JustBelieve #HopeLives #Memoir #Grief

LIVE YOUR DREAMS

Grief, Stories, Writing

“What Do You See?”

“What do you see?

The blue sky is beginning to darken as night approaches and I watch you lying there. Your head on its side resting on the ground. You stare straight ahead past your nose, eyes wide open.

We both stay in the silence of the moment, only a faint rustle of leaves in the trees. Slowly I watch you lift your head and look around before you stop and stare off into the distance. Your dark nose crinkles as you sniff the evening air.

“What do you see?” I want to ask, I open my mouth to speak and the words catch in my throat. I swallow hard, my heart beating loudly within my chest.

I close my mouth and sit silently conjuring images of the unknown that may be floating through your mind. I sit helpless to ease your pain, wanting to comfort you as each second ticks by.

If you could only speak. To tell me what you see, what you are thinking of. For I would do whatever it is you ask or need. The world around me swirls, a strong breeze rustles the leaves, and a voice in my head from long ago breaks my reverie transporting me back.

“Please shove the pillow down lower, closer to my hip here…”

“Oh God!”

Your shrill voice rings loud in the silence of the late evening. I quickly jerk my hands away coming off the pillow as I back pedal a few steps watching your pained expression.

“I am sorry.” I speak slowly in a trembling voice as I slowly move back closer to the chair. Your head is tilted back resting hard against the back of the chair, your breath deep and labored.

“I know, … it’s okay. It just hurts so bad, ya know. I just can’t ever seem to get comfortable where it doesn’t hurt.”

My mind whirls as I stand swaying on unsteady legs unsure what to do next, not wanting to cause you more pain. I stand staring not knowing what to say waiting until you speak.

“Okay, let’s try this. Put that little pillow down behind my lower back. I will hold this one here at my side and we’ll see if that works.”

Okay I say, tentatively moving forward treating you as a fragile porcelain doll instead of the courageous strong woman that you are despite the circumstances. Inside my helplessness screams at the absurdity of it all.

Several minutes later after many machinations and adjustments you are finally somewhat comfortable for now. Breathing a heavy sigh you sink deeper into the chair closing your eyes.

“Okay that will work, thank you love.”

“Your welcome.”

I fall onto the couch next to your chair my own exhaustion overtaking me. Our eyes meet for a brief second as you open your eyes and you faintly smile. Then you turn away from my gaze to look out the window at the darkening sky. I watch as you sit motionless, your pale arms resting on the arms of the recliner.

Your short dark brown hair barely touches your shoulders now as it hangs framing your face. I can still picture your long locks that used to cascade down your back and over your shoulders. I see your eyes gloss over, focused on something that only you can see. I wonder are you seeing beyond the veil that separates the worlds.

“What do you see my love?” my mind asks as I swallow my words.

My head clears, I come back to the present. You are now on your side, head once again laying on the grass, eyes open staring. The dark brown fur of your coat in sharp contrast to the green grass of late summertime.

You seem at peace with whatever may come and I envy you. My mind again asks “What do you see girl? Do you see the end?” I wonder.

A chorus of memories run through my mind of the years together. The joy, the laughter, the adventures we all shared. You completed our family and made it whole. We watched you and her grow alongside one another becoming best friends. You have always been a loyal companion that shepherded her well into her teenage years.

I know your body is now weak and frail. Age or disease catches up with us all and I hope you know I will continue to try whatever that may mean. I truly will, my mind screams into the silence of the ever darkening sky overhead. To spare you and others from what inevitability will come. My helplessness looms large, again a mountain in front of me that I am once again forced to climb.

Your eyes now closed, I watch you breathing slowly, your chest rising and falling as you sleep. There is life left and I will do whatever I can to ease your days. Although I know that option is sometimes not offered. And so we live with the unanswered question of ‘What do you see?’

“Best Friends”

Sharing a little free write essay that compares the feelings I have watching our older dog as she battles lymphoma and the triggers of memories it evokes from long ago. You will be able to read more about those memories in my upcoming memoir to be published in early 2021. You can read about it here and be sure to sign up for email notifications to get the latest updates.

Life, Stories, Writing

What Is It to Have Succeeded?

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson #Quote #Success #Life

As I look back over my life, the questions haunt me, ‘have I succeeded?’ and ‘how do you define a successful life?’

Success by the worlds standards might include the following:

  • He who has the most toys wins!
  • Building wealth and showing it off!
  • Amassing a large social media following!
  • Having a perfect relationship and a trophy companion!
  • Launching a billion-dollar business that changes the world!

I am sure you can think of many others things that might apply as well.

If you don’t define success for your life, someone else will define it for you.

  • What mountain are you climbing?
  • How do you know if it is the right one at the right time?
  • When you reach the summit will you see your mountain off in the distance?

For me the idea of a successful life has shrunk over the years. Not in terms of impact but in terms of grandiosity and self-serving vanity. The Emerson quote has been a favorite of mine since the first time I read it.

To laugh often and much to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others to leave the world a little better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.

I have stood at the bedside as a last breath was taken and I have no doubt my presence made that breath a little easier. You can read about this in my memoir to be published in 2021 and an update in a previous post here. I pray that I have also helped others breathe a little easier in times of trouble, strife and pain. For what good is a life that offers nothing of value to other human beings, living things and the world around us?

It’s probably not surprising to paraphrase Emerson this is my definition of success >

Now tell me, what is your definition of success?

Grief, Life, Stories, Writing

Memoir Update – Signed Publishing Agreement!

It’s official!

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

Exciting news!!! I have signed a publishing and distribution agreement with Christian Faith Publishing for my memoir. I submitted my manuscript to their review board, they accepted the draft and want to publish my book. Woo-hoo! 😁

Signing the agreement with my daughter!
  • It has been a long journey for sure to get to this point, never stop chasing your dreams!
  • Expected publication date is still to be determined, sometime in early 2021.
  • Lots to be done before then – editing, proofing, typesetting, cover design etc.

I have been busy drafting my author bio and the book blurb. That is harder than writing the actual book. Who knew? 😳

Book teaser >

When did we come to believe the best thing you can do with death is ride off from it? In Cowboys Are Not Supposed To Cry, Mark Wayne tells his story of living a life with grief beginning in his mid-twenties. #Memoir #AmWriting #UpcomingBook #WritersLife

I hope to post some excerpts from the forthcoming book as I go through the editing process as well as other updates here on the blog. So be sure to hit the follow button and sign up for email notifications to get the latest.

*Note: Working title and not actual cover.

I would love to hear your initial impressions or thoughts. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help guide efforts as I move forward in publishing and marketing.

#LiveYourDreams

Grief, Life, Writing

She Comes Out of the Sun – “Hello”

“Hello” it was that simple little word that started it all in the fall of 1984. I remember the girl with long brown hair, tanned skin wearing a summer dress and espadrille sandals approaching the art table where I sat as the lyrics to the Al Stewart song The Year of the Cat rang through my mind.

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running – Like a watercolor in the rain https://youtu.be/tqW4xIr7nj0 Al Stewart “The Year of the Cat”

My voice trembled and I heard myself say with great effort, “I only want her to not be in pain.”

“That is all I am focused on.” He stated his voice low and measured. He gazed at me with a look of both sadness and resignation before turning and walking away.

Memory flooded back as I stood in the hospital corridor, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles chorusing through my mind.

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay
Against your skin so brown
And I want to sleep with you in the desert night
With a billion stars all around

I get this feelin’ I may know you
As a lover and a friend
This voice keeps whisperin’ in my other ear
Tells me I may never see you again

I like the way your sparkling earrings lay Against your skin so brown – And I want to sleep with you in the desert night – With a billion stars all aroundhttps://youtu.be/NjofshOBV5s Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling”

This post is excerpted from my upcoming memoir, tentatively titled – There is Always Hope.

My first wife died of breast cancer at the age of 26 after battling over the last three years of our short five year marriage and yes, cancer sucks.

Over twenty-five years have come and gone and still there is not a day that something does not remind me of her. The twinges of memory flit across my mind as a butterfly haunts a flower.

Be sure to click the follow button and subscribe and be one of the first to receive email updates about the forthcoming book and other happenings. I would also love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment. You can connect with me on Twitter @mwschutter, Instagram @mwschutter or Facebook @mwschutter

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople #YouMatter #BeAWarrior

Life, Poetry, Writing

Change this Way Comes!

Change is upon you whether you would risk it or not!

Welcome to my newly redesigned and updated author website. Thanks for visiting as I continue to actively write poetry, novels, short stories and my upcoming memoir for release and I would love to share it all with you.

I recently had several poems published in the anthology Broken Hearts — Healing Words by A.B. Baird Publishing. I am blessed to be a part of this great work that is dedicated to those who have loved and lost, and those who are hiding and healing.

“Broken Hearts — Healing Words” A Collection of Poetry edited Austie M. Baird and published by A.B. Baird Publishing. Get your copy today on Amazon > https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Hearts-Healing-Austie-Baird/dp/1949321096!

My memoir chronicles my experiences as a young man whose young wife battled cancer and eventually died after less than five years of marriage. I was totally unprepared for that and did what the world told me do, get on with life. Well grief is not so easily put off as I have discovered over twenty-five years later. My hope is the book will help others, especially men, young men who have experienced loss when the world tells us to be a man and that boys don’t cry.

My novel trilogy is a three book series set in the present day that combines the battle between supernatural forces of good and evil with highly advanced drone technology. The ensuing circumstances force the characters to question their faith in both a higher cause and in each other as they battle for their very lives and the fate of humanity.

“Judgement finds us all, the question is only where and when.” ~Mark Wayne (From the upcoming novel trilogy The Chronicles of Faith)

Thanks again for visiting! Please drop me a note here or connect with me on social media.

Poetry, Stories

Promises to Keep – A Memoir

My 25 word memoir of grief.

As I work on my full length memoir I have read several books, both how-to and memoir’s as research. In the book “Braving the Fire” by Jessica Handler, she mentions the shortest story of grief attributed to Ernest Hemingway, who is said to have written the following six word memoir

“For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

Six words, that’s t leaves the reader wondering with unanswered questions.  I haven’t gotten mine down to six words yet, but I will keep working on it. 

In the meantime I continue working on the ‘shitty‘ first draft of my full-length memoir. I will be posting excerpts here on the blog soon, watch for more information to come and be sure to subscribe via your email to make sure you don’t miss any updates.

And remember grief is a shared human experience that we all must face. Grief is a natural extension of love and the lie is that we are either destined to live in utter despair forever or we somehow are completely healed. This is nonsense for grief irrevocably changes you, how could it not? You carry the experience with you for the rest of our life. 

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

Life, Poetry, Writing

Stumbling Back and Chasing Ghosts

As I open doors I long ago slammed shut I am encountering parts of myself I was not aware of. It’s scary, cathartic and freeing at the same time. That is what writing a memoir of your experience will do.

Did I say that I am writing a book of my own journey through grief?

This book is for anyone who has lost someone they love and suffered through the resulting pain and grief. That means all of us, the shared human experience of life and death, love and loss, joy and pain.

Follow along as I will be posting more about this soon.

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople