The Truest Thing I Know


By Joe Rector

The first one was a fictional novel about rivals turned friends who weave their lives in baseball. The second book was a confessional about the mistakes I made with my son during the years he played baseball. Unknown to most folks is a third young adult e-book.

The first two books sold “dozens” of copies. The young adult e-book hasn’t sold more than a couple of downloads. That’s not what I had hoped for when I wrote these tomes. No, I had visions of book signings, television appearances, and speaking engagements. Money would roll in, and Amy would quit work to help me with all the wonderful things that a successful writer experiences.

What I discovered is that I’m not good enough for those things. My skills aren’t on par with such famous authors as David Baldacci or John Grisham. My style is different from theirs. They are wordsmiths; I’m a writer. My pieces and books rely on the common, everyday language that folks speak. My character development isn’t elaborate; dialogue sometimes fills pages without revealing anything about the complication of the plot.

My best work comes when I begin with the basic rule of “what’s the truest thing I know right now?” From that, I develop a column or a story or a book. I also follow the acronym K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple Stupid. Because I work on simplicity, my books don’t have to be measured by thickness or word count. So often, major authors are paid to produce hundreds of pages in single books. As a result, the plots are sometimes drawn out too long or pages of description interrupt the plot.

Thanks to The Focus and Charmin Foth all those years ago, I’ve been allowed to fill a column space each week. Furthermore, folks have supported those pieces enough to keep me going. I wrote for other publications, but this little weekly paper is home. The people who read my “stuff” sometimes write to agree or argue. Either way is fine with me. We are equals and have the good fortune to think and hold opinions.

I sometimes wonder if I should fade into the background. Maybe I don’t fit in today’s world. I sure don’t understand many things about it. Then again, maybe I’m supposed to write each week to keep in touch with the oldest generation of which I am a member. I do worry that I might someday run out of things about which to write. Family and friends can’t imagine a time when I would go quiet or run out of opinions.

No, all those things that I hoped would happen in this writing “career” that’s been going on for about 20 years have fizzled. Still, I can be satisfied writing a weekly column for people who love or hate it. My views are often in opposition to readers, but all of us can keep minds and bodies healthy by letting blood flow quicker as we give an “amen” in agreement or a “hell no” in opposition. My prayer is that I never fail to come up with the truest thing I know right now.