It’s that time of year again, when some people remember the day the handsome little devil pictured to the right, came into this world. (born at 10:55 am on October the 18th at Edgewater Hospital in Chicago)

I’ve been thinking lately about the things I’ve done, and haven’t done.  Plenty of stuff in both columns.  For example, I’ve never skydived from 24 miles above Earth.  On the other hand, I have actually been standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona, so, I’ve got that going for me.

This year, I secured a Literary Agent who is actively trying to sell my books.  That’s huge.  I also lost my job, which sucks, but is huge in its own way.  I did my first ever live reading of something I have written, traveled to the Hugo Awards as a nominee, made some new friendships while deepening others, became an associate editor at, had a short story published in an anthology, completed one full length novel (102k words) and am nearly finished with a second (91K out of a 100k goal).  I’ve blown a tire while doing 75MPH down a seriously busy interstate highway and lived to tell the tale.  These are just the things that come to mind as I am writing this.

Another thing that I’ve been chewing on lately, probably due to my unemployment at the moment, is how long I’ve been working.  My swiss-cheese memory, to steal a phrase from Quantum Leap, has a hard time putting how old I was with something I did.  Example: I lived with my dad for a few months one year.  I can’t remember how old I was – I think I was 12, but if I said I was 11, 12 or 13, that would probably be fine.  Anyway, went to stay with him for the summer and ended up staying a little longer, even going to my old school again.  While there, I was bored, he was working all the time.  I ended up bussing tables at the restaurant where he worked just to have something to do.  A stand-out memory was the night the place was packed with people and after, the waitress gave me a quarter and told me I did a good job.  A quarter.  Sheesh.

After that, my next job was actually official and legal and stuff.  I think I was 16 (hence it was legal), and I bussed tables at the restaurant where my mom was the General Manager.  It was a buffet style place that used to be an Italian restaurant.  After that, I went to work for my Uncle.  He didn’t want to hire me.  Fought it, in fact, but after a couple of days helping out with an inventory, he decided that I was useful and hired me to come in after school for data entry.

I ended up spending 11 years in the building you see on the right.  SS courtesy of Google’s streetview.  The company no longer exists, at least – not in that location.  My Uncle sold it in ’99, I think, and shortly thereafter, I left to go to work for a company that moved me to Knoxville TN.  But there are a lot of memories about this old building; like how it was in a bad neighborhood full of drugs and prostitutes (hence the fence with the barbed wire), or that time my mom came to help us with an open house/bbq we were doing, and when she pulled into the parking lot, a prostitute followed her thinking she was looking for… um… well, you get the picture (mom -freaked- out).

Ashton’s all growd up!

Or how about the time we came in and found bullet holes in the street side wall?  I also remember the upstairs office and how the AC unit was RIGHT THERE and would blast frigid air out the vent, freezing all inside the little room.  That’s also where I learned desk-top publishing on a Mac IIcx running Aldus Pagemaker and Adobe Illustrator, and where I would babysit my cousin’s youngest kid, a baby at the time, who slept in a nearby crib.  I also babysat her other kids there from time to time, or would load them into one of the shopping carts and run around the warehouse at full speed.  The oldest of those kids got married just this year.  I learned to drive a stick-shift in the parking lot, and then promptly forgot as I was trying to drive along city streets and ended up staying in first gear and doing 15 mph the whole way there and back (I was delivering an AC unit – the first and last time I ever did so).  (Also the first and last time I ever drove stick.)

These things are on my mind as I search for a new job, try to sell my books, and work to write some new ones.

What will I do to celebrate this milestone (there’s a ~0~ at the end this year) birthday?  Given finances, probably nothing.  But that’s okay.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep blogging, writing, doodling, photo-taking, cat talking and randomly thinking…



  • John D. Posted October 18, 2012 1:23 pm

    Happy birthday!
    [golf clap]

    • Patrick Hester Posted October 18, 2012 3:32 pm

      Thanks John!

      …where’s the bagel gift basket?!


  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted October 19, 2012 4:34 am

    Happy birthday Patrick 🙂

    My own milestone birthday last year was no great shakes, either.

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