Ashleen O’Gaea’s short story, THE CHICKEN RACE,” will be included in the 2009 WOW (WIZARDS OF WORDS) ANTHOLOGY, to be released in June. In Ashleen’s tale, the protagonist is resigned to attending another of his company’s annual retreats. But his car breaks down near the small town of Descuido, stranding him there just in time for the annual Chicken Race, and the three-foot tall racing roosters and their quirkly fans help him put his life in perspective. Visit her website: AshleenOGaea.com!
Taken from the Write Word, the newsletter of the Society of Southwestern Authors Vol. 37. No. 2 April-May 2009
When I was a child I heard my parents tell me I grew up on asparagus. Asparagus; I now love asparagus. I heard that before I was two years old that I had been in twenty or thirty States; I love traveling. I heard I had a big imagination; I can see myself bicycling around the world. I heard someone say he walked through the Khyber Pass backwards, to which I saw possibilities; throughout South East Asia, then onward to Europe, all the way to Vienna. That, I say, shows how there has been a progression to my life, though illogical in many respects, but logical in the sense of one thing leading to another. That, I also say, gives some insight as to who I am and even perhaps why I became a writer.
You can go all the way back to the time when as a very young boy (before the age of two) I wandered down the road by myself and, rather than wander off into the miles upon miles of vineyards, stuck to the road. And I think you will understand how difficult it has been for me to stay put for as long as I have now. Especially now, when at 65 years old (going on 66) I still get on my bicycle as often as I can, the urge to ride from Arizona (where I live) to Tierra Del Fuego is still very much alive within me. In a real sense, even though with my Parkinson’s my body may have its limitations, my ATLAS OF THE WORLD (the EIGTHTH or NINTH EDITION) is not worn out enough yet. But perhaps you might think that if I took off right now I wouldn’t know what I was doing; I could counter that with I’ve heard that before, and heard that more from myself than from any other person. What I have said here about my life, however, comes from my current perspective. And by no means does having perspective stop restlessness. Only now, when the time I have left is relatively short, I also have a strong urge to write and to try and catch up with my writing. That means the biggest challenge I have left now is to go as far as I can go.
I said I loved to travel. That was so, and that remains so now, when I’m forced to make a choice. I’ve always gone with my urges. I’ve preferred a journey without a map. I’ve lived for surprises. Adrenaline made me happy. I didn’t avoid hardship, the rain and catching sleep on barrels when there was no other alternative. Even when it came to the hardest job in the world, investigating child abuse, I thrived in that environment, an environment of danger and non-stop anger. My life has taken many directions but has been enhanced by each turn. And I had to go where I did because I’ve never liked to backtrack, and I’ve always chosen the right turn (I’d have to backtrack to dispute this). I can say that because I’ve followed a predictable progression that started when I was very young.