Fred Rutter Interview

 

Charity: [00:00:00] This is Loose Leaf a multi-author podcast journal, where we talk about goals, the ups and downs of writing, and where we try to warn you off of our greatest pitfalls. Quick notes. Before we get to the interview today, you can find the podcast on Apple, Google, Stitcher, Spotify, and Castbox. You can also find us on Facebook at loose leaf podcast.

Make sure you check the notes for links that we will be talking about today, especially for Fred Rutter's page and his book. I also want to make an apology for today's editing. I switched computers and did not separate the audio links on zoom going forward. That will be fixed. So bear with us today and enjoy this interview with Fred rudder.

Well, welcome to loose leaf today. We're really excited to have Fred rudder with us. He has a new memoir out, and I know this is a little bit different for us on loose leaf, but I'm really excited to talk to you about it and find out a little bit more about you and this journey that you went on that led to your memoir.

I'm going to start by reading your bio from your website. So Fred has been sober for decades and actively pursues, a life of recovery and spirituality on a daily basis. He has lived in central Ohio, his whole life, and resides in a small rural town and a very old and funky house along with his wife and a number of cats, which she says we may see today.

This has served as a convenient location to travel the country extensively. Writing and photography have both been hobbies since adolescence. He has worked in warehouses sales, uh, factory construction. He's been a bartender and he's driven trucks. He eventually gained stability through sobriety and retired following a 27 year career at Mid-Ohio food bank, primarily in transportation, logistics, and management.

So mid the Mid-Ohio food bank, distributes food over 650 hunger relief agency partners across a 20 County area of central and Eastern Ohio. And I'm thinking that's probably going to play at a little bit of a part in your story 

Fred: [00:02:25] today. Uh, to some extent it does. Yeah. 

Charity: [00:02:31] Well, Fred, why don't you go ahead and tell us what else you would like us to know about you personally.

And then we can talk about your memoir hitting the road without a map. 

 

Fred: [00:02:41] Well, um, you know, the, the, the bio did kind of allude to the, uh, the important aspects of my life. And that is, um, my life was kind of a mess for me for a long time. And then, uh, I did get sober and, um, it's through a 12 step program then.

Yeah. Um, learned to, you know, face, um, my own character defects and try to improve my life on a daily basis. And, uh, and in spite of that, um, you know, life keeps throwing us curves and. We discover things that we really hadn't faced before, or hadn't even recognized. And, um, and, and one of those recurring themes is facing fears, you know, and our society, we don't like.

Muck about, you know, all I'm afraid of something, you know, the whole thing is we've got it all together and, and none of us do. And none of us do, that's the truth, uh, through a program of recovery, I have a way we all have a way of looking at these things and, um, You know, finding out their source with this particular, um, memoir, the first one was, I'd never driven a giant RV I'd driven trucks.

And as the story kind of unfolded, uh, at one of the options was we're going to tow a car behind us. Well, I've driven trucks, but never semis I'm towing a car behind something I've never driven was. You know, rather freaking me out and, uh, and then the whole deal collapsed and I thought I was out of it. So, you know, I breathed a sigh of relief and then my buddy called me up.

Um, I was out in the yard doing something. And Tammy, my wife thought that I was completely out of it. And he says, so are you ready to go yet? And well, no, no, I wasn't. So all of a sudden, all this stuff came back again. Um, And even though I'd known this gentlemen, uh, I really didn't know him. And so, you know, often when you talk to people about, Oh, I wish I could go take a certain trip or go to a certain place, but I don't have the time and I don't have the money.

And, um, I would certainly want to go with somebody that I knew that it would be compatible. And you know, that the user one is your family, your spouse, uh, well, this was not going to be any of that. So I thought, you know, I don't even know this guy and we're going to be stuck together in, in a, uh, piece of 10 30, seven feet long for the next week and a half.

Oh my God. I don't know if this is such a good idea. And, um, and part of the other aspect is these just aren't my fears. Um, my, my wife, Tammy, was dealing with, uh, things of her own, such as you know, we're a team. We had always wanted to travel together and here I was going to take off for Oregon without her.

Um, so, you know, I'm in, I'm abandoning my, my, my travel partner. How will this impact the relationship? What if we go off a cliff and that's the end Hallisey now. Exactly. And, uh, and then something else cropped up during the, the, the actual trip. And that was, she started coughing up blood. And one of our biggest fears is that, uh, you know, cancer.

Yeah, and, and I wasn't there to provide support. Um, so there, there were those various dynamics, uh, before, you know, the, the wheels even started rolling. Oh my goodness. You know, I've read a lot. I love to read. Uh, I love to write, uh, but, but the things that I read, uh, are very enjoyable about travel. Uh, but you often really don't.

Get to know what's going on in, in the writer's mind, you know, it's kind of a greatest hits of things to see and do on a particular, you know, geographical area and right. And the photographs are always, you know, stunning as if out of well shows my age, life magazine or national geographic, and you go there and this doesn't look anything like that.

 

Charity: [00:07:46] Yeah, they got lucky to catch that special moment.

Fred: [00:07:49] You know, I did know enough about photography that in some cases, those pictures take weeks or months. To take, yeah. Right. Lighting, you know, the clouds, everything, and then you get this gorgeous shot and, and, you know, a perfect example. We wound up at Mount Rushmore. Well, it's on the South face of a cliff.

Well, it really wasn't a cliff until. They blew them out now to make it, but anyway, you know, and that was for the lighting. We show up after five o'clock and they stopped taking money, uh, at that time. And part of the reason was Mount Rushmore's no longer in the sun and you look at it and it's just. Well, four guys up in the shade,

not quite what we were expecting the picture of it anyway, because that's the way you saw it. I love that sound. It's, uh, uh, it weaves in, you know, the book and this is what it looks like, uh, hitting the road without a map. It weaves, first of all, you know, what was going on inside? Uh, me, my wife, uh, my thoughts, a little bit of background, you know, how I got to a point like this and, um, and then actually seizing on this opportunity.

This was not really planned. 

 

Charity: [00:09:25] I was wondering how did the whole trip. Happened. Like where did that idea come from? Like, did you approach someone, did someone approach you 

Fred: [00:09:33] or it was a kind of a combination of somebody approaching me actually is more of me sticking my foot in my mouth,

a, uh, A dear friend of mine, a couple actually, who I'd met in recovery, they had, uh, they were getting ready to retire and thought, well, they lived way in rural, Southeast Ohio it's Appalachia. And, uh, he had been a truck driver and, uh, they decided, well, you know, when we retire, we ought to, you know, roll around the country in an RV.

So they bought one and, uh, went out and did new England and stuff and, and found out they really enjoyed it. But unfortunately they got in a wreck, um, and the RV was totaled. And so it was the car. They were towing behind it. Uh, the fact that they're even alive is amazing because it was, they were in Vermont, in a dump truck, pulling a bulldozer, lost his brakes and came down the Hill and sideswiped him.

But anyway, but they went all right, we need another RV. So they got another RV. And then they started thinking about, well, um, Maybe we ought to do this full time. We'll sell our house. So let's try this. And they went out and did three months of wherever and went, okay. We, we kind of see what we're going to do this, but we need a bigger RV.

So they sold that one and then got this giant honker as 37. Was the slide out of it. Uh, you know, it has a shower, it's got a skylight, wow.

Washer and dryer, a full kitchen. I mean, it's amazing what is in these things. Um, But it was designed for them to live full time. They're going to sell their, their mountaintop property. And that's what they're going to do. So the thought of, well, we'll give this a shakedown and before we pull the trigger on it and, um, took a trip.

And before they left, Tom told me, he says, I'll sit good. Well, there was a reason for that. It turned out he had lung cancer. So they had to come back early. He passed and then our mutual friend, his wife, you know, Amy says, well, I'm going to try to do this on my own long story short. She realized that that was their joint plan, but.

With him gone and no longer a real plan, but she'd gone out West with a sister and ran into a college friend and the college friend goes, Hey, I'm moving to Portland, Oregon. Want to come with me? And she goes, why not? Uh, everything's changed. And so that's what she did and sold the house, but the RV we're was still in Ohio and it was, you know, Now I need this RV.

She tried to sell it, but it wouldn't sell. And so this kind of mutual friend that I knew vaguely says, all right, I'll take it out there. And he's telling me that. And I said, well, that sounds interesting. And he goes, yeah, you can come with me. Uh, and then I was like, Well, why not? Yeah. So, um, I did know, but then I thought everything fell apart and I thought it was over.

And then suddenly he calls her Thursday. Um, we're leaving, I'm leaving. Do you want to come? I, I got some plane tickets and, uh, that Sunday. We were rolling. There's no time to prepare for it, not. And, uh, uh, but in some of our conversations, I, I got, you know, while you're checking this thing out, cause he had done a bunch of repairs.

I says, look and see if there's a road Atlas or something, you know, we need to figure out where we're going. Uh, we knew we were going to someplace near Portland cause that's where Amy had moved. Um, She did not have a place for, we thought we might drop it off in a Walmart parking lot or something. We really didn't know.

And, and you know, when he arrives at, uh, my little town, I said, so is there an Atlas in here? And he goes, no, but I've got a phone. You know, how hard can this be? And halfway through the first day we missed one of the major interstates we could have taken, which would have taken us more directly to Oregon.

And, uh, by the time we figured it out, we were in the next state. We were in Illinois. Yeah. And I go, Hey, Todd, I think we need a map. So that's how the title of the book. Came about. Yeah. Uh, and then it turns out that even though Todd's a truck driver for FedEx and a bunch of other companies, he knows nothing about geography.

And not that we could just get on interstate 70. Hey, go and go. Well, interstate 70 does not go clear across the country ends in Western Colorado. And

uh, so you got to work, make it work, but we really don't know what we're doing. And, um, and so it just kind of unfolded from there. Uh, but, but. Part of the, the self-discovery is that once we realized we'd made this mistake and we were hundreds of miles off the track, and in order to fix this, we were going to have to drive almost to Kansas.

Oh my goodness. Interstate. And it was like, well, not really doesn't make any difference what we do. Yeah, we have kind of a end point. We know we're going to wind up in North Oregon. We know it's, I'm going to be a week and a half later because even under the best circumstances of say driving 500 miles a day, it takes.

Over five days to get from Ohio door, Oregon. Yeah. It's a lot of driving and a lot of things can change. And so it was like a, the next day is like, well, what would you like to see? Yeah, fun. I love it. I'd like to go to, you know, He said I was wanting to go to a grand Canyon, which is totally opposite direction.

I want to go to grand Canyon too, but in the Southwest part of it, The country

now, fortunately Amy was paying for the fuel. So we had a debit card that we were going through and th this thing only gets four and a half months. Oh, wow. When we fill up, uh, we fill up yeah, it's like two or $300. Fill up and, uh, I don't think she's going to buy, you know, how we wound up in Arizona.

So he just casually goes to, where would you like to go? And I said, wow. I just kind of wanted to see the bad luck. I wasn't worried that, and I wasn't, we're not anywhere near where we are. We went to the Badlands. Oh my goodness.

It was quite an experience. And then, you know, as any road trip, you know, you have mechanical breakdowns. And so the, the second night, uh, Well, no, the generator was giving us problems and this whole thing took place. Uh, we left the last day of September. And so it's early October, well in the North and the Northwest, uh, winter comes early and, uh, we were aware of that, but we really didn't know the implications, but knew that, uh, having a phone functioning generator.

To provide heat would really be a good thing. And, uh, so the second day we kind of got that straightened out. It was a fuel problem. And then, uh, the next night we were in the Badlands and the furnace blew up and, uh, kinda ate itself up, uh, the fans and everything. And. So then we had to fix all that. And so that's kind of what the third day turned out to be.

And it just kind of went on from there and then everything of the parts that have blown off the thing burned up the next night inside the furnace and the smoke alarms went off and drove us out of the RV. And fortunately it didn't really catch on fire is just plastic smoke. Oh, my goodness to see was, was just a, you know, we're from the Midwest.

Um, You can't imagine the wide open spaces, uh, you know, you hear it, you read it, you see pictures and it still does not compute until you're actually out there and realize that the horizon you are seeing is actually. 50 miles away or even farther, you know, on a good day, if you find a high point in central Ohio, you might be able to see 30 miles and that's kind of jaw dropping because you have to be at exactly the right spot on the right day with low humidity.

And then, wow. I can see that. But 90% of the time, you can't see that far. And a valet here is like, You know, quarter, mile wide, not miles. And it's just, just the scale of this country is, uh, amazing leverage this whole thing of not knowing what we're doing to just being total license, to do whatever you want.

 

Charity: [00:20:30] Oh my goodness. I know last year, January, I took my daughter out to, we were taking her to Rexburg, Idaho for college, but we went. We took a really long route. And we went the Southern route and we did go to the grand Canyon. We did a route 66 kind of loop to take her. And we had an exchange student with us and his country.

He said you could drive from end to end in two hours. So for him to experience, and we were just kinda in the middle of America, we never got to the edges. Was just amazing, you know, and I saw things that I've never seen and, and I just think everybody should hit the road at least once in their life. And just go, 

 

Fred: [00:21:12] I drive this as being an unscripted journey and you know, other than we had a destination, we had a goal.

Yeah, well, we didn't have, uh, in society today, you know, you have to plan things down to the minute, you know, our, our, our meeting right now, you know, bland and, and when you can get into the mindset of it, doesn't matter, nothing matters. You can do whatever you want to do. It is quite a liberating experience.

So it allows you to, 

 

Charity: [00:21:53] in that moment 

Fred: [00:21:55] and fully. That is the point. My dear you're living in the moment and, um, I would have taken more pictures and things like that, but I was so stunned by what we were seeing. I didn't even pick up the camera.

 

Charity: [00:22:13] Oh, I guess, uh, if you don't mind, I'd like to read. One of these quotes from the book that you have on your website, and I'll make sure that the links to your website are on the show notes as well. But I really, really liked this and it's a little bit long. So bear with me break the bonds of convention, hit the road to siren calls percolating below the constraints of everyday busy-ness and fast paced living in all of us.

Yeah. We tell ourselves we will do just that someday, but when the opportunity arises, do we recognize it? And do we run with it? Life responsibility and guilt often hold us back. The reasons are always logical and justifiable. And yet we are left with a ninth sense of regret for having not acted upon the chance.

So what happens when we actually do it, the experiences will be different for each individual because circumstances and the emotional baggage we carry will be unique and alter our perspective to what unfolds much. Depends upon one's attitude. I love this because I felt like. Not just a road trip, but that really encapsulates our whole lives.

I mean, yeah. We, we carry regrets and we have those moments where the opportunity comes up. And maybe because we're so planned with our schedules, we don't take that opportunity. And then we have the regret and I just, I love that you did this, and then you wrote about 

 

Fred: [00:23:38] it. I have many regrets. Yeah. Uh, and some of it, but you know, is, is missed opportunities, uh, you know, something or other, you know, it it's always justifiable, but sometimes it's, it's a very flimsy excuse, uh, because.

You know, I I'm afraid to leave my comfort zone, you know, we all are and know, and, and, and that was one of the aspects of this was, um, you know, traveling with somebody that I had seen, you know, let's say it's somebody that you see at church. You're seeing them, you know, every week for years. You don't really know him, does that going to be like, and, um, and so that's out of my comfort zone.

Uh, these things hold us back and then, uh, you know, I, I don't want to live in regret. Um, we'll always have regrets. We can't be absent of any, all of these things, but it it's, these things play out in daily life. And it's partly part of what you mentioned earlier, you know, of being mindful of the moment, you know, living in the moment.

Well, it, isn't just the things that are surrounding us that we're experiencing be at work or play or vacation or whatever part of the moment is what's inside of us. And how it changes our perspective, uh, on that moment, uh, you know, two people can be looking at, uh, you know, a mountain or a Canyon and their impression is going to be different from each other because of what's inside.

 

Charity: [00:25:28] I was going to say a lot of times, I think we don't stop and just feel and. My guess is throughout the book. These are examples where you're talking about stopping and just really getting in touch with, what am I thinking? What am I feeling? And do you find that after this trip and getting your memoir out, that even though you still have regrets from choices earlier in your life, you're finding that your quality of life is so much better, that you can look back on that and go, I learned something from those mistakes.

That have made you who you are today? 

 

Fred: [00:26:05] Yes. Yeah, I absolutely, um, I, you know, come to, um, be okay with being okay. And that includes, you know, being okay with some of the dumb stuff. Uh, You know, that's part of what I describe as the baggage we carry along. And, um, you know, part of the recovery program, a 12 step program is learning how to get rid of the baggage of the past and then learn how not to create the baggage of the future.

Through attitudes and outlooks and, and being, you know, self-will run riot, you know, it's going to be my way or the highway and just creating chaos around us. Yeah. So, yeah. Um, I was not carrying a whole lot of some of that baggage, but, you know, there are things like the fears and things, but those were being, let go.

As the trip went on, it has been transformative. Um, there are aspects of, um, this particular trip. Well, my life in, in, in general, but this trip in specifically that are very spiritual in nature. There's um, you know, where we went, who I even traveled with could not have been a full coincidence. No, it, it, it could have gone wrong in some way, in many ways.

And yet people reading the book will go, well, it did go wrong. You did break down. You didn't know what you're doing. Well, you're living in the moment. Then you go. Well, yeah. So what if the furnace blew up? You know, we'll just figure something else out, um, or whatever, uh, it, it, it it's, it's you try not, you try to wear this all as a loose garment and not be strangled by.

Uh, life and its demands and things like that. So you can see what all is around us. You know, uh, I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude all the time. Um, Because it's so much better than the alternative, and that is having a, a feeling, a life of regret. Um, 

 

Charity: [00:28:33] well, you could have very much have felt like a victim of everything's going wrong and I didn't even have to do this.

And you know, why can't it just be smooth sailing, but the truth is life is not like that. So this really is a metaphor for life, this journey. And like you said, you can, you can choose to get down with it and be negative and. Throw a fit or you can just go, okay, well it happened, what are we going to do to move on and, and just find your own inner happiness and peace with being okay.

And, you know, life is never going to be perfect. So I I'm excited. I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet, but I do want to pick up your memoir and. And read it and experience this journey with you. 

 

Fred: [00:29:19] Well, good. I, I hope your listeners, you know, feel the same way that there are things in it for everybody.

Uh, you know, when, when we share our story, if, if we're open and honest about our own journeys, then there is something for everybody to pick out. Maybe not identify with the whole thing, but you know, if all of us were the same, then most of us would be non-essential, we're all different. We're all individuals.

Uh, we're going to see things. We're going to learn things in a different way. And, uh, Why, like I said, being open and honest about these things, then, you know, hopefully somebody will be able to take something from that. Uh, it may not be the spiritual journey. It may be just being brave enough to go out on the road and, and, you know, see what there is to see.

Yeah. And we got off the interstate. So, uh, like I mentioned about, you know, winter was coming. And for people who, you know, do not live in the Northern part of our country, uh, even on the interstates, there are big Gates that look like railroad crossings that close the road. And when you see those as kind of reminder, um, If I'm out here at the wrong time, I can die out here, uh, because they literally close everything.

And some places where these Gates are, there's nothing. There is absolutely nothing there. And you have to turn around and figure out how to save your own behind. And so we did, um, we didn't run into bad snow, but, you know, It was early October in Ohio. It was still 80 degrees and we're running into snow and high wind and, and even the locals are getting very concerned about yeah.

This early storm. And so we had to pay attention to that. But, um, one of these, uh, you know, early, uh, weather events took us off the interstate. Uh, we were thinking about going to Yellowstone, but we were still. 400 miles away when we realized, you know, we need to start making our route towards Yellowstone.

And so it took us on two lane roads for the next, you know, day. And then as it turned out, um, there were more weather events. We did get to see Yellowstone, but then Yellowstone was closed and some of the roads North of it were closed due to snow. So we had to head South. Yeah. And then roaming it's it's wide open country.

And that means near South there. Yes. And it's two lane roads. Yeah. So yeah, the towns, we would go for hours and literally see maybe only one vehicle. Yeah. ABC one small town. Um, No. We drove from Cody, uh, Wyoming, um, down across the continental divide and then FA finally wound up in this little town. We'd been seeing signs for it all along Farson Wyoming and Farson is like a dozen trailers, scattered Pell Mell in the scrub trees and a, uh, And a gas station.

That's Farson but it's the only gas station.

So we stopped in Farson and there is kind of a bizarre conversation that took place in Farson that's on the website. Uh, I called it, uh, getting the real story and Farson. I don't know what this guy was talking about, but the roads out in Wyoming and most of the area, if you're on a main state road, they're wonderful are just desolate.

And this road we'd been following for hours, uh, when we got to Farson you look across the intersection and. It looks kind of like an alley. Uh, it went from nice pavement to not so nice and no berm and nothing. And, you know, I asked this guy, so what what's with the road across the way, if you go straight and.

And his reply is, well, I wouldn't drive that at night, the clock in the afternoon, buddy.

So then to explain it, it's free range for folks not familiar with free range. There are designated areas out West that. There are no fences. There's nothing the animals rule. And, um, and then he says, it's getting close to winter. And the cattle out there are coming to the road because the ranchers that have these.

Uh, animals, uh, they either come and pick them up or they drop hay on the road so that they can feed through the winter and then there's and a low, and there's all this other stuff.

what are you driving? And I said, well, that thing out there at the fuel pump, that's sucking your tank dry. He kind of looks at that and goes. Yeah. Well, if you leave, leave now, so we did, 

Charity: [00:35:42] they didn't even tell you where it goes. Like you just, 

Fred: [00:35:44] you were just, well, yeah, I asked him, so where's go. And he goes, well, it goes to the next road.

How far is that? It's about 30 minutes.

I report this back to Todd, my driving part, and he just looks at me and goes, well, this outta me, interestingly,

by then he had hooked up some sort of satellite thing in the RV that just stuck it in the dashboard. Then you could actually get a satellite map through his phone. Yeah. And so we took off out across free range for the next three and a half, four hours. And, Oh my goodness. You know, saw antelope. No, and there's nothing

cross road and about five miles in the distance. I could see a tanker truck. Why the hell he was out there? I am driving along some Ridge and that was the only, Oh wow. Have you habitation or whatever? Yeah, it was great.

Well 

 

Charity: [00:37:01] understand, like you said, how freeing to get out there and do something like that and just experience the country and nature. And just being able to say, I'm not tied down to phone calls on my computer and this and that, and just kind of. Live like really, really live. I mean, I think so much of the time we get so caught up in, well, I've got to do this and this, and, and we're just letting the world tell us how to live our life instead of stepping away and going, what's this really about, you know, why am I really 

 

Fred: [00:37:39] here?

You know, life is, is a matter of compromises, but it's also. Learning balance and you know, anybody, uh, if we've ever watched somebody on a tight rope balance is always changing. So it's not a static thing. And. You know, I think, you know, my, I know for myself, you know, I always want some sort of stability. I don't know what stability looks like, you know?

Yes. I have a roof over my head. Yes. Most of the bills are paid for, but things are always changing. And, um, and so we're, we're always having to learn to move with it. If we don't move, then we'd become very miserable. And scared. And, um, I know there was a, probably a point in time in my life that, you know, had I been out in that wide openness?

No, it didn't desolation it's. I mean, you're so far away from everything that it's almost frightened. Yeah. And yet, I'd had enough experience, uh, you know, Todd NEI interacting that, uh, I knew that no matter what happened, we would be okay. And what a comforting feeling, you know, we would be okay. And then you'd just have to embrace that and continue moving and you know, it'll be okay.

Doesn't, you know, explain what the outcome is, right. It's li living in the moment. This moment is okay. And in the Buddhist thought that this moment is all we have our lifetime is right now. And the next now is another lifetime. Um, which drives some people crazy. But I find that comforting, you know, if I do the best I can now.

Then that that's a lifetime of doing well. I 

 

Charity: [00:39:51] love that thought too. And I think, you know, even those who have other. Spiritual beliefs beyond kids still take a lot from that. Actually, my mom and I were just talking about this recently about not expecting ourselves or others to be perfect, because we believe that God thinks as long as you're doing the best you can.

Right now that's enough. And I think the world teaches us. You're not enough on so many levels that looking at that as this is my lifetime, and if I'm doing the best I can right now in this moment. Then I'm enough and you can let go of so much baggage that allows you to move forward a lot easier. So, so that living in that moment helps your future too.

Fred: [00:40:35] Yes. Well, and even on the Workfront, you know, trying to balance these things, you know, sometimes I would move out of, you know, what would be considered proper, um, Just to see where the boundaries, um, and I was in management and I remember my boss telling me, you need to tell these truck drivers to blah, blah, blah.

And, um, and then I said, well, I can tell them. But don't expect it to happen. Just like, well, it's your job to make it happen. And it's like, I understand what you're saying, but I can't make anybody do anything really. And that was the wrong answer in business. No, you will make them.

Yeah, I, you know, we have to learn how, where, where the, the kind of the boundaries are, but, you know, you like to test them every now and then, and see, uh, philosophically, you know, w where, you know, other people stand and. And, uh, she wasn't. Yeah, no, your, your job is to make these guys do X, Y, Z.

Some of them might, some of them won't I didn't bother saying that, but we'll deal with that as it comes up, I'll tell them, well, I know we're, we're 

Charity: [00:42:09] getting close to our time here. So why don't you tell us where we can find the book? Um, I know. Did it, it just recently came 

Fred: [00:42:17] out in February. Yes. Um, I really liked the fact that it was all versions of it came out on Groundhog's day.

I don't know what it is about Groundhog's day, but I like it to me. It means that spring is coming. But, yeah, that's a, that's a diversion from your question. That is yes. Uh, it's in a hard back. It's in soft back. It's available online from, you know, your, your major favorite, um, online retailers. Yeah, Amazon Barnes and noble, any independent bookstore.

Uh, if you ask for it, if they don't already carry it, um, they can order it for you. Um, it's published and distributed by Ingram. And so that is. Yeah, probably the widest distribution for, you know, booksellers to acquire books. So it's, uh, it's available. Uh, however you want, uh, the website has links to all of those.

Uh, the website is, um, hitting the road without a map. Uh, there's even a button on there that you can link with. You can find the nearest bookstore it's under indie books and, uh, you know, you can find a, a local bookstore and call them up or email them or walk on in, you know, make sure you're wearing a mask.

And, uh, yeah. Yeah. And that's, what's made promoting this book hard. Is that right? You know, during the time of a virus, a pandemic, uh, things have changed. And, uh, so it's been, it's been interesting. It's definitely been interesting. And, uh, the publisher is Willow moon publishing. Uh, it's a small woman owned, um, publishing company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

And so their, um, their basic promise was. We'll help you put this book together and we'll publish it. Hmm, but guess what the marketing of it is on your shoulders. Like I know nothing about book marketing. Well, here's some websites for you to check out here's pointers and

 

Charity: [00:44:46] you know, and, and COVID really has. Made marketing hard because we're kind of stuck to just doing everything online now. And I know some of us, we just do better in person. I'd much rather talk to somebody, then try to come up with images of plaster everywhere, but. I'm glad that hopefully our few listeners will be able to connect with something today and go, Hey, I think I'm going to check that out because I know I've been kind of on this road of self discovery for the last year as well.

And I think COVID has been great for that because it's a good time to step back and really reflect on, you know, all that busy-ness, you know, that you talked about in that, that quota read isn't really, what's important. You know, what can I cut out so that I'm doing, what's the most important to me and you know, for me, that's writing.

And so before we wrapped up, I did want to ask you, how did you decide to finally sit down and write this Memorial? I mean, kind of what was your, your publishing journey from making the decision to, I'm gonna, I'm gonna write all this stuff down to where you are today. 

 

Fred: [00:45:51] Well, as, as mentioned in the, in the bio, I write a lot.

I I'm, I'm usually working on several projects. Normally they are short stories. For personal pleasure. And my wife said, you ought to write this down. I said, well, fortunately, I kept a journal when I did this. And, um, you know, it'll make a pretty cool short story. Well, the short story it turned into about 30 pages and she kept on pushing me.

He says, I think there's a book in here. She's always been telling me I need to write a book. And I've never thought that I had a book in me. I have stories, but never enough. For our complete arc of, you know, progression for a story. And, um, the more I looked at it, I realized, I think there might be something in here and, uh, just, just kept on writing, fleshing it out.

And, um, yeah. Um, I surprised myself there, there, there was a book in there and helps that there's a bunch of photographs in, in, in the book as well. So, you know, if people just want to look at the pictures, that's fine too, but, uh, So it wasn't something new. It's something that I've done. You know, I wrote a short story and there always narratives.

Um, you know, uh, we went to see the totally clips of the sun, um, a couple of years back 2017 and you know, what a fantastic story. Um, I like, I like history. Uh, it's important to record these events to me. Maybe half the world doesn't care. I don't care. I care. So I'm writing it down and maybe somebody will find it later and go, well, that was pretty interesting.

So yeah, that was just kind of, the book is, is an outgrowth of something that I've done for decades and hopefully there's other books in me. I bet there 

Charity: [00:48:01] are. And if nothing else, you can always put together collection of your short stories that are, that you love. 

Fred: [00:48:08] I have thought about that. There are some wild ones.

Those 

Charity: [00:48:13] are all the better 

Fred: [00:48:16] because 

Charity: [00:48:16] you can't make up like real life. You can't make up fiction as cool. And as. Absurd sometimes as real 

Fred: [00:48:24] life. Yeah. Yeah. I applaud fiction writers. How do they dream this stuff up and, and really appreciate it? Um, that's not quite how my mind works, but, uh, yeah, I enjoy it. Yeah.

But yes, real life can be well, like the conversation with the guy in the gas station though. I couldn't have thought that

at night. Well, that's not the first thing he came. 

Charity: [00:49:03] That was 

Fred: [00:49:03] my plan. I'll go wait here for six hours. 

Charity: [00:49:10] I'm so glad that we were able to connect and. We're able to come out here because I love just talking to people who love to write and experience life. And, you know, generally we have talked about fiction and I think it's great for all of our listeners to know that they don't have to say, well, I must write fiction because that seems to be what sells.

You have to write what's in your heart. You have to write the way you naturally flow because in the end you're not guaranteed. Anything, so you need to enjoy what you're doing. 

Fred: [00:49:46] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And there's a Mark really is. It takes practice, practice, practice. And this book grew from 30 pages and it's now 286.

But there were eight rewrites and edits before it even got to the publisher. And of course then finding a publisher is a whole nother thing. That's a journey in itself and. Lay, I don't believe that Willow moon knew what they got ahold of, but God blessed Jody stapler for saying yes, that sounds cruel.

But then she had to deal with me and then it went through another editing process, but it was pretty much a finished product by, by the time. It got to that point. So, well, 

 

Charity: [00:50:46] the last advice you would give to readers or, or people who just need to discover who they are, I know that's kind of a broad here solve everybody's problems.

Fred: [00:50:56] Well, it, it goes back to what you and I were just talking about through this whole thing. Um, don't be living in regrets, you know, pick up a pencil. A tablet and start writing. And if it looks like something's coming to it, then, you know, get on your computer or whatever, you know, where's the best place for thoughts to flow and, and then look at it and, and, and, and decide for yourself.

Is there something here? Can I make something of this? It's literally to use a metaphor, you know, starting with clay. Your thoughts, your ideas are the clay. And, and then try to, you know, mold it into something that is coherent to you. You know, it doesn't have to look like Rodin's the thinker, you know, there there's modern art that, uh, is pretty cool looking, but you still know what it is.

That could be your thoughts and emotions as well. That's the way I look at it. 

Charity: [00:52:02] Well, the most done that's the way our thoughts and emotions are in our head. They're just this muddled mess anyway. So 

Fred: [00:52:08] exactly. 

Charity: [00:52:08] You know, I think for me, the process of writing is trying to take that and put it in a form that I can process.

And then if someone else connects to it, That's like the bonus. Well, Fred, thank you so much. I wish you the best. And I hope that things go well for you. And I, I hope that we see more of you in the future with more 

Fred: [00:52:29] stories. Well mean, I hope that you and I get to touch base again, too. This has been a real honor and a pleasure.

And, uh, I hope that all your listeners have gotten something out of the time that they've spent and, uh, and you know, a shameless plug by the book, uh, and find even more. Yes. Thank you very much for the opportunity. You 

Charity: [00:52:55] are more than welcome. And thank you for sharing your journey with us. I mean, that's kind of really what we're about loose-leaf is I chose that name because I wanted to be able to talk about anything and to anyone I wanted and not pigeonhole ourselves into, they were talking about science fiction writing or, or whatever, you know, but I really appreciate your journey and your willingness to share that with us and, uh, It's been great.

Thank you. Thank you for joining us for another episode of loose leaf. Make sure you check out Fred Rutter's website@hittingtheroadwithoutamap.com and practice this week, living in the moment and see if that helps you to keep writing or start writing.

Charity Bradford. 

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© 2019 by Charity Bradford.