Kurt G. Schmidt is an old owl, sometimes wise, often not. When unable to find a satisfactory word for writing the wisdom, he observes bird feeders from his studio window. On at least one occasion, this owl perched on a branch and watched him. If Kurt publishes any interesting stuff, he may share it here on Links. If not, he will either watch the birds or go hiking with his wife. Kurt has written three memoirs that may find their way to a discerning publisher someday.
In a coming-of-age memoir, Consequences of My Mother’s Love Life, a city of chaos forms a young boy’s struggles with authority before Mom moves the family to her parents’ unheated summer house in rural New Hampshire. They struggle to overcome adverse living conditions and Dad’s odd behavior (for example, Dad cannot touch the fish that he and Kurt catch). Dad’s drinking leads to toxic episodes. Slipping grades, his parents’ divorce, and poverty diminish Kurt’s chance for college. A small loan and a kitchen-duty scholarship take him to Washington D. C. and seven months at a school specializing in study for the service academy entrance exams. Afternoons after classes he rides a trolley to Congress, where he tries to lobby various congressmen for an appointment to Annapolis. Once he arrives there, a military regime and its hazing rituals bring back childhood ghosts that precipitate a PTSD crisis. Drawing on old survival instincts, he discovers the courage to overcome the trauma of failure.
Vagabond Relationships is the odyssey of an American discontent who quits his engineering job for a year-long road trip to discover the inner lives of Europeans. A fragile Bavarian mother relates the pain of her husband’s rejection. A depressed Danish woman in the south of France believes sex supersedes the myth of love. A Norwegian journalist invites him to her fiord cabin and into a bout of honesty. He stays in London with a British Casanova-pilot who has problems with relationships. A Croatian Robin Hood enlists his aid in stealing materials from government construction sites. A German virgin tries to exploit him. Two inhibited Oxford University women hitch a ride with him from Greece through Slavic mountains to Dubrovnik. He tries to understand each person’s emotional history, discovering newfound empathy. He returns home with the conviction that what he has garnered from these relationships will sustain his travels along a new road. He enrolls in a Harvard University writing class that leads him to an unplanned life that includes publishing a novel. (Excerpts from this book have appeared in several issues of Eclectica Magazine and in the Adelaide Literary Award Anthology; see “Links”.)
Jesse and the Inquisition is the story of a boy whose questions cause parental migraines but lead him to life as a high achiever. Shelley’s doctors are pessimistic about her ability to conceive a child. Too many surgeries, too much scar tissue, only one fallopian tube. But then comes the miracle birth of a whirlwind who grows up asking “What’s God?” As a toddler, Jesse shouts at a minister on Christmas Eve in an effort to speed up the service. Later he asks, “If you fly into space, will you see God?” How do Mom and Dad deal with a child who forces them to confront their own spiritual questions? Is there a solution to a risk-taker who has the potential to become a computer scientist but hates school and is obsessed with racing? Dad’s writing over twenty-five years examines Jesse’s thinking as he passes through tumultuous stages of maturity, tracking modern social issues in a family intent upon raising a kind and empathetic child. Essays adapted from this memoir have appeared in Your Teen Magazine, Parent Co, The Good Men Project, Grown & Flown, and the Bacopa Literary Review (see “Links”).