About Me Stories
Published in

About Me Stories

About Me — Hawkeye Pete Egan B.

Not New -Just Renewed!

Me today in my home office

I’ve walked this planet for 66 years, and hope to stay around for another 34 — then, I’ll reevaluate! This from someone who wasn’t expected to reach age 30, and hoped to live down to that expectation! I didn’t trust anyone over 30 then — so I never wanted to be “one of them”. Plus, life then was pretty damn hard.

I just had a rough patch, from age 15 to 25, which was basically the entire ‘70’s. I started drinking and doing drugs in March of 1970, and smoked my last joint on March 17th, 1980. Call it my lost decade. I’ve been clean ever since.

Navy Days

I was a functional addict, though. I managed to qualify to run a nuclear reactor plant in the Navy, getting through Naval Nuclear Power School when they said I couldn’t — I set my mind to it, and I did it. I sailed the world on the “high” seas, first discovered I was a writer, penning beautiful poems under the bright moon in the middle of the ocean, danced with Tina Turner once, then started my journey to recovery in 1977.

That journey got jump-started with an out-of-body experience followed by the death of my best friend five days later, in 1979, when we were both 24. He’d brought me back from an overdose, then caught pneumonia while fighting Hodgkins Disease, and it killed him. These events eventually led me to the rooms where I finally found recovery.

I got there just in time to help the fellowship where I got clean write their first Basic Text on Recovery. I came to get clean, but I had a few skills, so they put them to good use. I could type, write and edit. Applying those skills to the task at hand kept me clean until I was able to find someone to help me through the 12 Steps.

A charcoal portrait of me in my early years getting clean and helping with the writing of the Basic Text

Ironically enough, I couldn’t find recovery through the book I helped to write! I was too close to it, but found some folks who had used another book, the Big Book of AA, to take recovering addicts through the 12 steps. By then, I was so desperate for recovery, I didn’t care what book they used — I just needed what they had.

That was a game-changer for me, as evidenced by the following — during those first 4 years clean, I went through 17 jobs, and couldn’t sustain a relationship if my life depended on it. Once I went through the 12 steps, I got an entry level job at the outfit I still work at today (because I could type). Now I’m a senior executive there! I also met the girl who has walked with me for the last 37 years of my journey, nearly 36 as my wife. My fortunes were turning.

The crew I got clean with — I’m second from left in back.

Meanwhile, the group where I found that recovery got kicked out of the fellowship they were in because they were not using the approved fellowship literature — that book that I’d helped to write! I left and never looked back (until recently).

I wrote a lot of poetry in the 70’s, during those dark years, but reached a point in my journey where I had to let it go — it was holding me back from really living life. About 14 years ago, I began to think about some of my old poems. I wondered whatever happened to an old book of poetry I had gotten rid of in a workshop I took with my wife, where we had to bring in something we were letting go of in order to move on with our lives. I’d thrown that book on the pile and never looked back — until I started wondering about those old poems.

The lost book of poetry that came back to me years later

Within weeks of having that thought, that same book showed up in the mail, with a note from that workshop facilitator suggesting I rethink and reconsider my decision to give up my writing. That workshop had been 15 years before! I took this synchronicity as a sign to get back into my writing.

I did just that, and in 2012, was introduced to an on-line story-telling community called Cowbird. It immediately rejoined me with my writing muse, and together we kind of took Cowbird by storm. Stories and poems just flowed out of me. I wrote and posted 56 in my first 11 days on there, 123 in my first month! After a year, I had posted 625 stories on Cowbird.

I continued to write like I was running out of time for the next 5 years. I arose at 4:00 every morning, and worked on my craft for the first 3 hours before I got ready to go to work at my “day job.” I averaged writing 1200 to 2000 words a day over that period, posting a total of 2,000+ stories in those 5 years.

A few of my fellow storytellers on Cowbird

Then in 2017, my happy little global story-teller world got rocked on its axis. The creator of Cowbird decided to shut it down to new content. He took an interactive, online community and reduced it to a library. All the content remained available for reading, but no new stories, and no interactivity. There was no talking him out of it. I tried!

That’s where Medium came in. I had first been introduced to Medium back in 2014, when a fellow Cowbirder had introduced me to this platform. He become a mentor. Here on Medium he was able to help me by editing my draft stories, teaching me how to take the time to give my stories a proper editing before posting. He was a much younger man, but a brilliant storyteller, and was dying. I’ll never forget the gifts he gave to me.

In 2017, Medium gave me a place to continue what I’d gotten accustomed to doing on Cowbird, writing and publishing stories and poems every day. Some other exiled Cowbirders started up The Story Hall here. I had a new writing home!

I never continued writing at my previous pace. My muse never got quite settled into the Medium writing life. It was too big — too many distractions. I stayed very close to The Story Hall that first year, daring not to venture out beyond its friendly confines.

I didn’t even become a paying member on Medium until a year later. Then I began to wander around Medium, and found other publications on here. For about a year, I was very active on many different publications on Medium.

Then, we moved in 2019, and in the new house, which I loved, I initially found it difficult to find a spot where me and my muse were most comfortable to resume our writing. My whole world was getting resettled, and writing took a back seat to many other pressing issues.

Fredericksburg, where I now live — this is a view of the town from Falmouth, the part of town where I live, from across the Rappahannock River

Then, Covid hit. One would think that this would be the perfect opportunity to get back to what I loved most in life, writing — but that’s not what happened, not at all. My muse was even more unsettled than before, and I practically abandoned my writing altogether. I found many other pursuits to occupy my time during quarantine, which I’ve been hunkered down in since last March. I’m a high risk on a couple of counts — I’m 66, and I have asthma. My wife has even more health issues than I do, so we’ve been laying very low.

Through the miracle of technology, I’ve stayed very connected to people all over the world through Zoom and Marco Polo, among other connecting devices. Every now and then, something does inspire me to return to writing. I’ve recently been so inspired, and so here I am.

That’s a little taste of who I am. I’m delighted to meet you all, and hope to wade back into the wide world of Medium, to maybe find a niche for me and my muse, this time. I do miss the daily writing, and hope to find a community where I fit.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Hawkeye Pete Egan B.

Hawkeye Pete Egan B.

3.1K Followers

Connecting the dots. Storytelling helps me to make sense of this world, and of my life. I love writing and reading. Writing is like breathing, for me.