When someone I know writes a book, I stand in awe of him or her. How anyone can write that difficult first sentence and continue writing over 200 pages developing a lovely plot, descriptions, sub-stories and come to a successful conclusion has me totally amazed. It would be so difficult.
One of our own native-born Ellsworthites has done just that with Song of the Second Wind. He uses the pseudonym Samuel Stillmore, but we all know him by another last name. The first name applies, but he’s changed the last to protect his privacy.
There are many references made to Ellsworth, places you’ll recognize, situations you’ll recall. The names have been changed, but the stories are familiar.
In high school, Sam was a member of the “Honor E” Society, forensics team, Hi-Y, El-Kan staff, and was treasurer of the senior class. He played the part of George Gibbs in “Our Town”.
Sam wore his hair in the style of high school seniors in 1972. It can best be described as a long sweep across one eye and the side of his face. Sam’s was the most extreme and well-groomed of any of his classmates. His compatriots in the new radical hair style that year were Bryce Mog, Ronald Brady, Keith Herbst, Jeff Hoffman, Scott Nichols, Randy Rathbun, Donald Stone, Rick Roehrman, Martin Hochman, Curtis Ellard, Kevin O’Donnell, Donald Stone, Jon Lange and Gary Wooten. Son Todd and many others were close to the full sweep, but I’m sure for senior class picture they were encouraged to trim enough of their hair so both eyes could be seen. I bet they all wish they had those full heads of hair now as many are partially bald.
Sam has been one of my blog readers for a long time. He wrote me several years ago, but I don’t remember exactly what our exchange of letters pertained to. Reading my blog is his way of keeping up with some of his friends and what is going on in his home town.
Recently, Sam sent me a copy of his book to read. In his note with it, he only mentioned that if I liked it, I might mention it to my readers. He doesn’t have a problem with people in Ellsworth knowing who wrote the book, but he would like to keep a level of anonymity at the internet and press level. He likes to be referred to as an Ellsworth native and former resident who is writing under the pseudonym, Samuel Stillmore.
Song of the Second Wind is a novel with many references to non-traditional spiritual musings. It’s a slow-paced book and introspective. He was hoping I’d like it, and I do, enough to read most of it twice. There were many passages I went over several times, because I felt the same way he did about them. I made other comments on a blog about this book on Dec. 11th if you care to go back and read it.
Here’s are some excerpts you’ll connect with:
…The mark of a true friend, Jessee would come to recognize was that when you came back together after an absence of some months or years, you could pick up, not where you left off, but at that farther spot you both had reached somehow, in your separate wanderings. As if you hadn’t parted but wandered together, even in your separate existences. It is for less authentic friends to be stuck in reminiscence only, and once the old times have been recounted, we stare across at one another silently, and shake hands on parting, saying that we must do this more often, all the while avoiding one another’s eyes…
…The sumer after their first year of college, Jesse and Jamie would meet on Mrs. Palmer’s porch to drink beer with her and her husband and discuss all that they had learned. Her husband was a marvelously jocular sort of soul who would add an unbroken comic commentary to their earnest discussions, a sort of running Groucho Marx side-chorus that didn’t detract from the discussion so much as energize it…
…It is difficult, on a long trip, to keep your spirits high. Jesse used to ride the bus a lot, back when buses were cheap. Jesse would ride from Kansas to San Francisco or New York to Tucson. Getting to see the worst parts of every town you pass through. Jesse like cross-country bus rides, but even with the best of intentions, he would eventually sink into a dull slumbering consciousness. Bus-time. Jesse thought that after a couple of hours on the bus, it didn’t really matter how long the trip was, you drop out of reality into bus-time. Time was only an offset to the next fifteen minute stop or thirty minute break. Current time was meaningless, sitting with your head rattling against the window, listening to the droning voices of the talkers, or the whining of the wheels. Driving on the interstate can be like that, with time broken into miles instead of minutes, sixty-seven miles to Blythe, forty-two more miles to Blythe, twenty-nine miles to Blythe, California. He would stop for lunch in Blythe. It was difficult to keep a good thought going.
Another’s description of Song of the Second Wind:
He grew up in a hopeful time. But lately, Jesse hasn’t been feeling too hopeful. Once he was young and unwavering. He searched for things that were lasting and true. But somewhere along the line he had given up the chase. Maybe he was too old for it now. Or maybe it was time for a second try.
Jesse is at work on the morning of his fifty-second birthday when he receives an unexpected email from a long-lost friend that sends him slipping out the back door of his office building without a word to anyone.
In this lyrical tale of renewal, Jesse retraces the paths of his youthful wandering from the deserts of Tucson, to the hills of San Francisco, and back to his hometown in Kansas. Along the way he rediscovers many of the beliefs that were once essential to him, and finds once more the possibility of wonder. Song of the Second Wind is the story of one man’s journey to a new understanding.
Sam’s book is a fulfillment of a lifetime dream although it has taken him some time to get used to the notion of other people reading it. He would like to give the book a chance to find its way, if it can. Sam doesn’t get back to Ellsworth as often as once did, since his parents passed away, but it’s still very much a part of his life. It would be nice to give Sam a boost with his book and order it from Amazon.com new for $15.95. You can also check it out at the local library, but it would be very nice and supportive to Sam to buy the book.
Title of ebook:
Song of the Second Wind
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Download file size: 1255 kb
Released online for download: 12-03-2007
Author of eBook: Stillmore, Samuel