Kurt G. Schmidt is an old owl, sometimes wise, often not. When unable to find a satisfactory word for writing the wisdom, he observes his 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 he hopes to get published some day.
A coming-of-age memoir, Consequences of My Mother’s Love Life, is the story of a boy’s struggle to overcome authorities who would impede his drive to explore the universe and achieve his mother’s goal of seeing him graduate from college. Kurt’s early conflicts with authority accelerate when his handsome, beer-salesman father demands proof-of-love from Mom. An anxious childhood leads to resilience at sixteen and meetings with the President and his U.S. senators. Poor senior grades, his parents’ divorce, and lack of funds diminish his chance for college, but two small loans buy him seven months at a Washington D.C. prep school. His work there produces high grades on the College Board exams and entry to Annapolis, where an authoritarian regime brings back ghosts from his past. A crisis in his third year forces him out, leading to a blowup with his father and a job at a summer resort. There he works for a pudgy chef who is an authority on women. A Midwestern college offers him a chance for redemption, but a wild woman there seems more interesting than his engineering professors.
The foreign odyssey memoir, On the Road to European Intrigue, is about a daydreamer who quits his engineering job for a year-long road trip to discover the lives of Europeans and his life’s purpose. He becomes involved with an injured Bavarian mother disguised as a scarecrow, a lonely Danish girl in the south of France, a Norwegian journalist, a British Casanova-pilot, a Croatian Robin Hood, a rude German virgin, and two Oxford University hitchhiker women. He learns the human experience is unique with respect to each individual’s emotional history. (Excerpts from this book have appeared in recent issues of Eclectica Magazine; see “Links”.)
Consequences of Raising a Risk-Taker is a parenting memoir about an aging first-time father rejoicing in his son’s birth only to be faced with a risk-taker who asks mind-bending questions. What do parents say when their child asks about drugs, death, sex, and Dad’s ex-wives? What about pornography and the Tooth Fairy? How does Dad cope when his son leaves the nest and takes his favorite sofa? How do Mom and Dad learn to respect the moody teenager? Dad chronicles the twenty years in which Jesse attempts to understand adult behavior in a confusing world. As Dad tries to mentor him with humor and respect, his thoughts often drift to his own precarious childhood. Mom and Dad must confront past and present anxieties in allowing their teen to race dirt bikes. “Some of my solutions to controlling a risk-taker were born of incompetence,” Dad says, “and some were blatantly stupid. It still amazes me that anything came out right in the end, that the boy did not become a Wall Street stock broker or a stunt pilot.” Seven essays adapted from this memoir were published this year in Your Teen Magazine, Parent Co., and The Good Men Project (see “Links”).