48th Edition — January 5, 2020
Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world.Willam Finnegan – Barbarian Days
1. From Hero to Suspect to Hero
I’m sure you saw the movie trailer last month of Clint Eastwood’s newest movie about the Atlanta security guard who spotted the bag with a pipe bomb that eventually blew up during the 1996 Olympics.
I’m sure the movie impacted book sales of the incident as I read Kent Alexander’s account entitled The Suspect.
Richard Jewell, the security guard, was a person of interest, but never formally charged by the FBI. Jewell was an easy target – a wannabe cop, overzealous, and even an immature personality. If you looked at him, he was not the picture of a law enforcement officer from your favorite cop movie.
But wait a minute. I could have been just like that FBI agent who thought Jewell was guilty. I could have been the reporter who was quick to pull the trigger on reporting the news about Jewell being a suspect. I could have been just like Tom Brokaw the evening he played judge and jury when reporting about Jewell during a nightly newscast.
While the second part of the book chronicles the barbarian and madman who committed this hideous deed, the first half reminds us how we are quick to judge with such limited facts.
2. Always a Hero
Even if you didn’t watch the movie, the line by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own is one of the most memorable ever made on the big screen – “There’s no crying in baseball.”
“Do you cry?”
That’s the question a flight trainer asked Tammie Jo Shults when he said he didn’t train women pilots. Apparently, he trained her well.
Captain Shults is the pilot who safely guided Flight 1380 to the ground after an engine exploded. Miraculously, only one person lost their life. This brave and humble pilot just released her autobiography about a month ago.
Do you have young kids interested in flying? Nerves of Steel is pure and inspiring with a simple message – you can do anything you set your mind on doing in spite of the odds.
3. What Is It About the Pull of Memoirs?
There’s a grey area between an autobiography and a memoir. One is more about facts and a timeline. The other is about life, frozen moments in time, and vivid memories painted on the heart.
I find memoirs both inspiring, inspirational, and even entertaining – remember Shoe Dog?
I’ve been reading William Finnegan’s, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. The author won a Pulitzer in 2016 for his memoir in the biography category.
Finnegan told The Guardian he was reluctant to come out of the closet with his obsession with surfing. He feared this would hurt him with jobs and important journalism assignments.
Should I ever meet Mr. Finnegan, I’m going to tell him that the personality of a surfer is similar to an entrepreneur’s – bold, a pang of endless hunger and thirst for adventure, grittiness, a love for the unknown, and a bit of craziness.
4. I’m Coming Out of the Closet Too
If William Finnegan can tell the world about his obsession, then I can too. Drumroll, please.
As a preteen, my cousin Tony introduced me to what would become an addiction that even impacted me somewhat during my college years. It happened on a New Year’s Eve in 1971 while we still kept an eye on the black and white TV waiting for Dick Clark to ring in the new year.
My new addiction was to a board game called Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Don’t worry, I was well-rounded. I played organized baseball 6 months out of the year. I maintained the best whiffle ball field in Monroe County, Missouri. And I kept meticulous stats with paper, pencil, and a calculator for hundreds of games I played while growing up.
I’m no William Finnegan, I don’t surf (in Missouri), and there will be no book. But at least I’m out of the closet.
5. Regarding Memoirs and Biographies
I like books that are a bit off the radar which also can be mind-shifting at the same time. So don’t be afraid to scroll past the 20th book on this list. There are some gems throughout the first 100 books.
Here’s another thing about memoirs – they are sticky. Key points will be with you for a long time. I think that’s because we find a little bit about ourselves as we read about the lives of great men and women in spite of their flaws, insecurities, and lack of resources.
In Loving Memory
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.