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, Surviving Bad Parents and the Annapolis Chokehold, 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. An excerpt appeared in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing.
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”.)
The Stupidity of Becoming a Dad at Forty-Seven is about an aging couple desperate to have a baby despite advice from doctors that Shelley’s chances of bearing a child are slim. She is thirty-six and has had four surgeries for endometriosis and ectopic pregnancies. But a third pregnancy occurs, and in her seventh month, she and her husband move from a city apartment to his abandoned childhood house, which may still be cursed. Kurt is forty-seven and, because of a traumatic childhood, may be too compromised to become a good father. Jesse grows up asking What’s God? Do cats and mice go to the same heaven we go to? Mom and Dad try to answer his incessant questions truthfully while struggling with their own spiritual uncertainty. Dad thinks becoming a father at forty-seven means he’ll have enough patience to answer a child’s questions without anxiety, but living in the cursed house of his childhood brings back troubling memories. Mom and Dad seek solutions to protect their son without becoming helicopter parents. But how to handle a risk-taker who has potential in computer science but hates school and is obsessed with racing dangerous machines? Dad chronicles the family’s developing relationships as Jesse passes through nerve-wracking race tracks and tumultuous stages of maturity, capturing the humor and drama of modern social issues while continually reinforcing love for their son. Excerpts have appeared in Bacopa Literary Review, Grown and Flown, Parent Co, Your Teen Magazine, The Ravens Perch, and The Good Men Project (see “Links”).