One of the great things about reading is that it allows us to see into the minds of people we'll never meet, and share experiences that make our worlds a little bigger. It is this aspect of reading that drew me to this WEek's WEbooker, penbuddy. Reading penbuddy's work feels like finding a diary page on the sidewalk -- if the diarist is particularly thoughtful, descriptive, and talented. Appropriately enough for the day, penbuddy is also a veteran of the armed forces. He writes about his childhood, his time in Vietnam, the pleasure of love, and the pain of its loss. You can discover his work for yourself here -- but first, WEbook asks penbuddy a few tough questions.
Q: What's the brief story of your life, including your history with writing?
A: I was born
in a small town on the southern tier of New York, and raised in Whitesville, a smaller
town twelve miles southeast. Due to a split
between my mom and dad, I was raised by my aunt and uncle.
This -- the bad and good of it -- had a great influence on who I
I began to write serious pieces as a
result of English assignments in seventh grade, where I had
discovered the joy of reading. Poetry flowed from the
passion I developed as my voice began to crack as an
adolescent. I continued to write from my heart in verse and in prose,
even as I withdrew from college to enlist into the USMC. While in the
Corps, I continued my education through extension and correspondence
courses. While serving in Vietnam, I took a Corps
sanctioned correspondence course in creative writing through Utah
After leaving the Corps, I married, had two
beautiful children, and then got divorced and am married again. Through
it all, my faith has carried me, even when I thought I just couldn't
take any more. I have a deep faith and desire to know truth. I have gone on missions to Cuba as an
evangelist and found it much more rewarding to fight the ideology with
words than with war. I have pastored three congregations, started two,
and served as co-minister with one. I have an associate's degree in mechanical engineering technology and an honorary doctorate in divinity.
I've supported myself through secular work all my life, preferring not
to be a burden on anyone in my ministry work.
Q: How did your
project Reflections on the Imperfections of Humanity get started?
What's your favorite contribution from a fellow WEbooker?
began the project because I had so many stories that described the weirdness of life, the imperfections of the human
condition, and supernatural experiences. I knew that I am not the
only one who has stories like this, so I wanted to open it up
It is a little challenging to pick a favorite
contribution from a fellow WEbooker. Each contribution brings to the
table a flavor of its own. Some are a bit more polished, while others might describe a more compelling experience. Like a good buffet, we consume each for its unique flavor, texture and
visual appealing. I struggle to point to one contribution or
contributor and say, "That is the one I like best."
Q: You start
many (if not all) of your pieces with a quote. Where do you find your
quotes? What do you think they add to your writing?
A: I recall many quotes from a play or work I have read. I find others on this site: http://www.quotationspage.com
believe the quotes serve a couple of functions. They bring
more than just my thoughts into the circle, right off the bat. People have a propensity to look for consensus, and including a quote encourages the
reader to stop for a moment and ponder where I might take them in the
narrative. Quotes also help set the psychological atmosphere for the read.
Q: What's your favorite quote today?
than the Bible, most of my favorite quotes come from Shakespeare's
plays and the works of Thoreau. One quote that has become my touchstone
in life is this one, from Hamlet:
"This above all: to thine own self be true; And it must follow, as the night the day; Thou canst not then be false to any man."
-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii
I also like this one:
"Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."
-- Henry David Thoreau
Q: What is your favorite thing to eat on Memorial Day?
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.