Did you ever look back on your life and ask yourself, “What if I had done things differently?” I just looked at what I had written and started snickering to myself. What a can of worms that thought could produce. I could play a game of “shoulda, coulda, woulda…” There is a song that Sammy Davis used to sing and the lyric went, “I’ve gotta be me.” That is the way I felt when it came to writing and to being a professional speaker too. I always gave myself the freedom to follow my muse. I let my mind, my creative imagination take me to whatever path called me and I would follow it until another voice called. I guess I can stand back and look at what I’ve written and say “I’ve done it my own way.” What a rack of books I have written – humor, creativity, speaking, safety, sales, a mess of children’s books, music, novels. First a humorous Army adventure, a book on two old coots in search of a hit song, an adventure novel on a Success Rally, and some spiritual books – Platinum Rule, Love is the Target, Mentor: Secrets of the Ages and Serenity! Serenity! Living the Serenity Prayer.
Follow the muse…follow the muse.. What a journey it has been. Yes, what a challenge and what a joy too.
Working on a booklet titled “Stuff I Wrote” I came up with 104 books or booklets I have written in my career since that day early in 1961 when I decided to become a writer. I remember the day I followed up on a want ad in the Battle Creek Enquirer offering an Upright Underwood Typewriter for sale. I bought it. And I bought a ream of paper and I went to a local printer and had 100 business cards printed that read, “Art Fettig, Freelance Writer.”
I climbed the narrow stairway to our big 3rd floor attic in the home we had just purchased in Battle Creek, Michigan and insulated the walls and ceiling and put up big florescent lights. A local travel agency gave me some big posters to faraway places with strange sounding names and I covered the walls with them. I picked up an old table and a typewriter stand and when my wife and I got our four little children off to bed I would walk upstairs to the attic and do my writing. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I haven’t stopped writing since then.
For me the joy was in the writing. I often felt as if I could leap over tall buildings. Most importantly, since that day when I bought that old used Underwood typewriter and had those business cards printed I have lived my life without a bit of alcohol. Writing and speaking has opened so many doors for me and led me to so many amazing adventures in my life that it sometimes almost overwhelms me. All I ever asked from a book or booklet is that it paid its own way. Bring in enough sales to pay for the next one. Everything else is an unexpected blessing. The real joy is in the writing.