Monthly Archives: March 2012

New personal writing project has begun

Greetings, readers. I am very happy to announce that along with Bear Spring Camps book 2, I have begun another writing project which is more deeply personal. My writing assistant and I set up the outline yesterday and I have a pretty clear picture of how this book is going to look when it’s finished. That is a good thing.

Now for the bad thing. This morning at 7:30 I began writing and wrote approximately two paragraphs before looking at it and saying to myself this is bullcrap. It’s frustrating because even though I knew exactly what I wanted to say, for some reason it just didn’t want to come out. I’ve already told myself that tonight or tomorrow morning I shall try again with another story in the book. In first draft there really is no particular order that I must write these stories in. That’s the fun in editing. That is where boo-boos are fixed, flaws are unflawed, t’s are crossed, and i’s are dotted.

Now for a couple of particulars about this project, especially for my Facebook readers. This book is going to be a memoir of my life up to this point, ranging from my earliest memories of childhood through junior high and high school, and junior college and beyond. I wish to make it known quite clearly that I will use no last names unless I have express written permission to do so. This is not going to be a smear-all book.

I have absolutely no time-line for when this project is going to be finished but I can tell you this. Once I really get going on it, I expect it to flow. My editor, Rebecca, will then take over and smooth it out. I am estimating that this project will be completed and ready to be put on my e-store for sale in 12 to 18 months. I of course will keep you all updated. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. Until next week, take care and have a good weekend.

Technology … Grrr 2

Greetings readers. Today it happened again. Technology bit me somewhere where I don’t like to be bitten. Allow me to elaborate. After a night of insomnia, I decided to turn on the lights, fire up the computer, and type a story for my new book project. No sooner did I have my soft music playing, my diet Coke on the coaster, and the word processor page on the screen, then I made my mistake. I opened up what my writing assistant and I call a formatted blank page. I got it ready to use and went to save it to my project’s folder. I was then going to save that to my thumb drive. Well, I hit Copy instead of Send To and then thought I was sending the original to the recycle bin, but instead the copy didn’t work and the original folder with notes included went off into oblivion. I wonder where things go when that happens. Do they go off to cyberspace?

While sitting here dictating this blog entry, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t say, Joseph Kockelmans … Grr. Because it most likely was due to my own fatigue and lack of computer experience – of not knowing what command does what. In any event, no work got done this morning. Luckily, however, this afternoon, Rebecca and I were able to quite effectively reconstruct our outline of notes.

I’m not saying that this caused my concentration gaffe, but I have been preoccupied with a personal issue and sleep has not come easy the last few nights. Things are much better now, and hopefully the sandman will return soon.

Lastly, a mild technological dilemma. My trusty refurbished PS3 is showing signs of wearing out. So far it has frozen three times during use, and the customer service rep at our local GameStop store said that it is beginning to die. According to him, it has no more than two months of life left. Time to start scrimping and saving. Yes, readers, I am a gaming and movie geek, and cannot do without my PS3 for very long. I shall have another blog post for you either tomorrow or next week on Wednesday when Rebecca and I return to work. Until then, happy reading and happy weekend.

Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans

This blog post is extremely special to me. It is a memorial to my late father, Professor Joseph John Kockelmans. Professor Kockelmans, or Pop as I called him, was born in or near Meerssen, Holland on December 1st, 1923.

Dad, a professor of philosophy with great knowledge in religion as well, studied and taught these subjects in Holland before moving to the United States, where he taught at the University of Pittsburgh from 1965 until 1968. Then he moved to State College, PA. with his family and began teaching at the Pennsylvania State University until he retired in 1993.

Even though my dad was a full tenured professor, he remembered the rule to, “publish or perish,” and wrote over 30 books dealing with philosophy and religion, as well as numerous articles. He also was sought after to teach all over the world. In the early years when I was a child and travel was less expensive, Pop would take the family with him to Europe. He lectured in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, as well as twice in Rome. I have vivid memories and many pictures of those trips.

As a child I sometimes felt as though dad was too busy. Most times he would be upstairs in his office typing away, either working on a book or preparing for the next day’s lecture. I was too young to understand that he was taking care of his family the best way he knew how, by doing the work that he felt so passionate about.

My father specialized in the philosophies of Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl and taught them very well. Though I never had the pleasure of taking one of my father’s classes, I heard from many of his students that he challenged them intellectually, yet used language that was easily understood. He was able to get his points across without confusion.

My father was president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, also known as the APA, from July 1, 1986 to June 30, 1987. I called the APA today to get the dates, and a very nice woman looked it up and got back to me within minutes with the exact information. I also got some information from John Protevi’s blog post written just after my father’s death.

One of his favorite times was Christmas. He and I would set up the Christmas tree as my mother would unpack the manger set. Dad also made the Christmas wreath for the dining room table every year. They were works of art. When I was little and wanted to go for a ride to see Christmas lights around town, he always got excited and put his work aside for that special hour that his son enjoyed so much.

In Dad’s later years, his health declined and a new office was added on to the family house, thus eliminating the danger of climbing stairs. When Mother passed in 2003, I moved back to the house and took care of Pop until he passed away in 2008. I remember my father as being strong, witty, loyal and true. He was a kind man who would spend extra time with students if they needed it and sat on many doctoral committees.

Update: Thanks to everyone who has read and enjoyed this blog post, as well as my other entries. I do have an update for this blog entry about my father.

My father’s official title was Joseph J. Kockelmans, Bacc, Lic, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University. I got this information from the Purdue University Press entry on my father’s book Edmund Husserl’s Phenomenology.

I hope this doesn’t send a notification to everyone twice. This is the first time that I’ve had to update a post. I’m still in the trial and error time period. I’m still learning how this all goes.

We get a gold star today : )

Greetings, readers. Oh, yes, today Rebecca, my writing assistant, and I have earned our gold star. After looking at what we call our Done/Done folder, I see that I have 11 stories for my new book edited and ready to go. This puts us ahead of schedule. Whoo-hoot!

I actually had been worrying quite a bit about the sales of my first book as well as how well book 2 would sell. I’ve decided to not worry about it any longer. Worrying does not sell more books. All it does is keep me up at night and turns my hair gray.

Today we edited two pieces, a longer story which did not get finished, and a shorter one which did go into the Done/Done folder. Call it a sense of urgency to get finished, or perhaps our stars aligned, we have had an exceptional two weeks of work.

So please, everyone, keep you fingers crossed and throw good thoughts our way as we strive to maintain our pace to get this book out before the end of camp season. See you all Friday with Pop’s blog entry.

New project underway

Greetings, readers. I wish to share with my friends on my Facebook page that within a few days I will start a brand new writing project. Bear Spring Camps book #2 shall still be worked on and its estimated publication month is this coming September. My new project, as of yet untitled, is going to be a deeply personal memoir of events in story form, poems, and in dialog form. The idea came to me last night, and it intrigued me enough to wake me up out of an almost sound sleep. So here I was, making notes at four in the morning with a PS3 baseball game on in the background. The Binghamton Mets won, ha ha.

On to something else, it shall be a glorious day at my Godmother’s house. The photograph of my father and family, taken in 1938, was framed this past week and turned out beautifully. I cannot wait to see my Godmother’s face when I give it to her. That alone will be worth every penny.

On Friday, as promised, I shall write the blog entry about my father. I never did hear back from my cousin Wino (pronounced Wee-no), but that’s ok. We’ll go with what we have.

Until next time, take care and have a good week.

P.S. My writing assistant, Rebecca, and I attempted to put a picture of the photograph in this entry, but the camera feature on my laptop would not co-operate. Sorry about that, we tried.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Greetings, friends and readers. Rebecca, my writing assistant, and I have worked out the issue which was holding up the sale of my book in a local store in downtown State College. Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories is now on the shelves, for anyone to buy, at Appalachian Outdoors.

Now that I have that out of my system, a happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. I don’t know whether or not TV stations around the country still show St. Patrick’s Day parades like when I was a child, but if one was on around here, I forgot to watch. Oops, sorry. There is always next year.

I am making an unusual promise here on my blog. The blog post about my father will be posted next Friday. Until Monday or Tuesday, have a great weekend and I hope the weather there is as nice as it is here.

Bear Spring Camps 2 is ahead of schedule

Greetings, readers. It is a lovely warm day here in State College, PA., and I’ve got some good news to share. My writing assistant, Rebecca, and I have been working feverishly the last couple of weeks, and now seem to be slightly ahead of schedule for the release of Bear Spring Camps book 2. It is set to titled Tales from North Bay and Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories. I had figured to have it out this coming September at the earliest. Now, unless we hit a snag, July or August is not out of the realm of possibility.

Camp book 2, as I call it, is going to have a slightly different format than the first. It shall be comprised of five longer anchor stories along with many shorter stories in 4 categories, which we call basketfuls. We are having just as much fun creating this book as we did the first, and I’m sure that my camp friends and family will enjoy it.

Small update about book 1, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories. We now have it for sale in one of our local stores, Appalachian Outdoors as previously blogged, with a second store possibly to follow. Everybody, please cross you fingers. I shall keep you posted. It is still available on Amazon, from your local bookseller, or from my e-store

If you are having sunny warm weather where you are, enjoy. If not, chin up, better weather shall arrive quickly. Take care, and until soon …

Sad day today

Greetings, readers. Yes, it is a sad day today for me. Yesterday evening I learned that a very dear friend of mine passed away. As some of you may know, I wrote one book about Bear Spring Camps in Central Maine, and am in the process of writing the second. Mrs. Mosher was the owner’s mother, who I had known since I was five years old.

I can’t ever remember seeing Mrs. Mosher without a smile on her face. She greeted people in the camp dining room with warm hugs and conversation about their day. Having lost both of my parents recently, I can imagine how Peg (Mosher) Churchill and her family must feel.

It’s ironic that I have been debating making this summer my last at Bear Spring Camps after almost 40 years, because of finances. Times change and many things are just not what they used to be. I used to go with my mom and stayed in the same cabin she had since I was a child. This year I will probably have to go by bus again; not fun. I am also still trying to make my current cabin feel like my second home.

Since learning of her death last evening, I have been in what I can only describe as a funk. I am depressed, feeling older, and wondering if I’m going to be able to do all the things I want to do before I die. I sat in my recliner chair late last night with a PS3 baseball game on in the background, trying to make plans for what I was going to accomplish before I died. Am I starting to get that morbid feeling again? Oh, yes.

At about 5 am, I figured I had to get at least a few hours of sleep because I was going to work later in the day, and I didn’t want to be a complete zombie. My conclusions were that we all just have to try to do the best we can at what we attempt. If we reach our goals, that’s great. If we don’t, that’s life. But not to set goals is not living. It’s existing. Right before I switched off the lights, I decided to make a few short-term and long-term goals. One of my short-term goals is to finish camp book 2 and dedicate it to Mrs. Mosher. One of my long-term goals is to write either a novel or a series of children’s books with good, strong, loving characters that will stand the test of time.

Lastly, I am still waiting to hear from cousin Wino (pronounced Wee-no) in Holland for the final puzzle piece that will let me complete my father’s blog entry. Until very soon, take care and have a good day.

Update on miscellaneous

Good day to you all. Here in State College, PA., it is the first semi-warm day of early spring. The temperature is near 60°. Whoo-hoot. Here are some updates for you about things that are going on with me.

First, for those of you who read and enjoyed my blog entry on the new United States Football league, and were expecting it to begin in two weeks, don’t hold your breath. I read on a website that I follow that the venture has been acquired by a company in San Diego, California, and is now going to begin in the Spring of 2013. Again, I say, why even try? But we shall see.

Secondly, due to circumstances beyond my control, my writing assistant and I are going to have to concentrate on my book much for the next couple of months. New blog posts will probably be decreased in number to one or two a week. More if possible.

Thirdly, and lastly, MBL 12 The Show came out yesterday. Again, I say, OMG. What I’ve seen so far is awesome. I wanted to experiment with it more yesterday, but back spasms had me flat on my recliner most of the evening. : (  I shall, however, continue to learn every facet of the game in the weeks to come and will let you all know. I can say this, the pre-release hype was not over-exaggerated.

Oh, P.S. On Google maps, I may have seen a picture of my father’s old house in Holland. I typed in our last name and the town in which he was born. Lo and behold, a picture of a house came up with an address. I have emailed my cousin to verify whether this was Dad’s family home or the home of another Kockelmans family member. Speaking of Pop, we are very close to obtaining all the information I wish to have so as to be able to make my blog entry about my father something special.

Until very soon, Take care.

Does too nice = stupid?

Hi, all. Recently I’ve been pondering this question. At least four times in my life I have been called, “too nice.” At first I thought to myself, in today’s world of war and strife, how can someone be too nice? Well, after many girlfriend break-ups and other personal problems, I have come to realise that too nice, perhaps, might be another phrase for stupid.

So I began to think about this long and hard. I am of at least average intelligence, and can conduct myself in a grown-up manner more times than not. Every so often, however, I will overextend myself and Mr. Too Nice will show himself. Usually with disastrous consequences.

For privacy reasons, I shall try to keep to generalities. I have a tendency to give people money, even in times when I really can’t afford to, I have offered people early morning rides when I knew I was too tired to do so, and it just seems that anytime someone says, “could you help,” that the word no is not in my vocabulary.

Most of my examples stem from my girlfriend woes. I was always more than generous with girlfriends, from my high school sweetheart right up to my current girlfriend. I just can’t say no. Perhaps I have a fear of rejection.

Also, as a young child, I didn’t have very many friends. I was shy and awkward and, just like Hermey the Dentist from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I just wanted to fit in. That is probably where my too niceness stems from and has now grown like a weed.

If I had gone the Mr. Scrooge route, I am certain I would have ended up either friendless, or having friends that weren’t good for me. Plus, I would just feel like a nasty person all the time, and that is not how I want to feel. Moreover, that’s not how I was raised. My whole family gave of themselves. That’s just what we did.

In the final analysis, I feel that it is better for me to have that extra nice quality. Stupid is probably not the right word. It’s actually more like gullible. That is something I am going to have to work on. There must be a way for me to retain my sweet personality, yet not have Mr. Gullible or Sucker stamped on my forehead.

Take care and until next time …