Chapter One – “A Saved Book”

From a Dime to a Millionaire

A Memoir 

Conservative Disciplined Thinking Equals Prosperity

 

 Chapter One: A Saved Book

Location: Gallery/Studio     Bertram, Texas 1976

The asphalt parking lot was sticky hot, causing ones shoes to snap in the soft areas where tar had filled in cracks. August, three p.m. the hottest part of the day, as I rolled a week’s load of groceries to our waiting oven we called a car. In the back of our Pacer I pulled a well used Styrofoam cooler to the edge of the trunk, opened a bag of ice and dumped the contents. A handful of chunky cold on my neck cause a sigh of relief. Donna started the car. All the cold items were carefully packed and a thick blanket was thrown over the remainder of our purchases for the hour long trip home. The humidity was so intent my shirt was sticking to my skin as if a cow had licked me. Donna’s completion glowed, she complained that her bra was soaking wet. Sweat ran into my eyes forcing me to clean my glasses. Our bubble shaped vehicle slowly cooled to a bearable tolerance level and became cooler as a line of clouds rushed to cover the northern sky. Our silver orb hugged the road as the wind grew bolder josh-ling us on our otherwise smooth ride. I rolled down the window; one could feel the cool temperature and smell in the air. I said to Donna “We’re in for a storm.” She nodded in agreement pointing in the direction of our home to a distant white anvil cloud climbing to its leveling off altitude of 40 or 50 thousand feet. My fingers fiddled with the knobs wanting to get an update on the weather.  Radio reception was giving us only cursory reports of hail and lighting to our north.

We turned at Seward Junction heading west, only nine miles from home. The storm seemed to be moving away from the direction of our house. We had only moved to the area two months before and had not experienced any storms but we needed an emergency to-do list when we got home. The moment our tires hit the gravel of our drive we would unload the groceries first, grab some snacks, a gallon of water, flashlight, and put on heavy jackets, gloves and boots. The safest place would be the narrow hall of the studio not the house, too many windows. We would take our supplies, blankets/ pillows and make a safe place of the studio where all our furniture was stored during our remodel.

Only three miles to home, the sky was growing darker. Rain drops the size of fried eggs plopped on our windshield as we pulled up close next to the long porch. “You get inside I’ll bring the sacks to the kitchen.” Only a couple of steps from under the raised back of the car to the porch but the rain drops felt like being hit with water balloons. I raced to the kitchen, and then drove the car into the garage. Light hail pelted my steps back to the house. The rain ceased. We covered ourselves with a blanket carrying our emergency supplies to the studio moving like a Chinese dragon. In the hall way between the two restrooms we made our pallet with blankets, pillows and a small mattress that was in the studio. I tested the flashlight, dead batteries. Donna was intently trying to find a weather report but only static filled the air. I looked out the west window and discovered that the anvil cloud had swallowed the entire county under its canopy. Our trees that had been bending and twisting against the approaching storm when we drove up were now only gently swaying in a stiff breeze. We wanted that to be all there was to our storm, a little wind, hail and a welcomed summer shower.

A clap of distant, rolling thunder announced the summer season of tornado-making thunderstorms. We were just now getting ready for the storm. I remembered from my past when folks stood in their front yards pointing at the boiling clouds before scurrying like mice to hide. The wind had stopped suddenly, my view was obstructed by the giant tree on the west side of the studio and I couldn’t see to the north at all. I needed a look. The afternoon sky filled with even darker cloud cover creating the feeling of sundown. Walking briskly behind the studio toward the north I wanted to check on the approaching weather. Our two hundred year old guardian live oaks blocked my view until I had walked into a clearing that allowed me to see through the trees. The sky looked like globs of gray green boiling clouds hanging dangerously low, starting to swirl in a wide slow circle. I realized I was in the eye of the storm. Boom an explosion so powerful I jumped straight up clawing at the air quickly turning toward the violent sound in time to see a shower of Fourth of July sparklers descending from the transformer at the highway. The wind carried the smell of burning electrical rubber. Our lights went out. Immediately the swirling wind with millions of pieces of hay and handfuls of gravel were being thrown at me. I squinted at the ground. I was scared. I could hear the flopping sheet metal being torn from the roof of our house sounding like a continuous car crash. I headed for the back of the studio that offered some shelter.  My hands covered my eyes looking out between my fingers; I used my left elbow to feel the wall on my way around to the front. I groped for the door handle as my life depended upon finding safety instantly. The screen door whipped into the side of my head as I pushed opened the jammed wooden door. The next blast of the storm sent me head first, sprawling across the linoleum floor to the sound of breaking glass. The explosion of glass fell like tinkling wind chimes, descending with musical consistency, as the glass and I hit the floor simultaneously. I was stunned for a long minute, then yelling to my wonderful wife of 4 years. “Donna, are you alright?” She screamed, “I’m ok!”

I looked to see where the window had been. The instant cold wind from the hailstorm made me shiver like a wet cold dog. Now the hail was coming down exploding onto the metal roof like dozens of shotguns going off in the attic. The flimsy curtains were blowing almost horizontally. I was petrified with fear. Something inside of me took over. Jumping to my feet, stumbling across the maze of chairs and tables, I rushed to push a bookcase in front of the blown out window to block the wind and rain. I needed to move the heavy bookcase only four or five feet. It would give protection. I gave it a push, nothing. I put my shoulder to the end of the book case, position my leg against the wall and pushed with all of my strength. Finally the bookcase was in place. The soggy curtains hung limp as the rain ran down the back and sides of the antique bookcase, my precious books soaking up the storm. The light outside was inky blue, pierced by lightning strikes that illuminated the pitch black interior of the surrealistic scene.

My heart was beating wildly, my breath was short.  My temple was hurt and oozing. I felt my neck. Thick and sticky blood was trickling down my T-shirt. I tasted the end of my finger, blood. The next lightning burst illuminated the floor. I bent down to pick up a hand full of melting hail stones holding the ice to my throbbing temple. When the next flash came, I saw my books and reached out to pull one off the middle shelf.  Quickly it went under my shirt protectively. Donna was screaming for me. IBertram Tornado quickly answered her and slowly started moving in her direction. Working through the tangle of furniture and debris was awkward, slowly moving in the blackness toward the hall where we had made our barricade.  Donna grabbed for me in the dark she was in hysterics, screaming in my ear,  “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.” I pulled my head around so her screaming was not so violent in my ear drum. The pounding of the hail storm was deaf ting, I pulled her to the floor onto the mattress and hugged her tightly until she relaxed and quit screaming.

The grinding storm raged on above us. We prayed for our lives. After an hour the storm silently ceased and the rumble of storm moved away growing more faint. What remained was only a light rain pelting the metal roof. We felt as if we had awakened from a nightmare. We held each other and whispered like kids playing “fort” under the dining room table. We exchanged words of love and thanked God we were alive. The whispering continued until exhaustion and warmth took over. My temple had quit bleeding but I had a mountain of a headache.

The cocoon of blankets and mattress in the narrow hallway became cramped. When I turned over, Donna asked me what was sharp. I said, “It’s my book, the only one I saved last night.” I pulled it from under my T-shirt and laid it next to the dead flashlight. I heard her sleepily mumble something about, “Really, must have been special, to have saved that book….” I whispered, “That book changed my life.”

Dad: “Son, if you study this book and learn the secret, you will have a successful life.”

Napoleon Hill: “This book contains the secret, after having been put to a practical test by thousands of people, in almost every walk of life.”

Word count 1,704

Writing in a New Direction

I have a new direction concerning my blog. I spent over two years full time writing my creative non-fiction book and I thought I was ready to have the book formatted to Kindle. I hired Danielle Hartman Acee, of The Author’s Assistant to do that work. She told me the honest truth, I did not have a book, I had three books. I had to agree. So we start in a different direction.

My new mission is to write about three subjects, addressing a different audience with each book.

1st Book:  From a Dime to a Millionaire

                Conservative Disciplined Thinking to Prosperity

2nd Book: My Travel Adventures

                          A Memoir

3rd Book: My Spiritual Journey

            Inspirations from My Spirit Guide

Shaman: Meeting the Shaman

Continuation of Shaman, by Warren Cullar. Nonfiction.

A tribesman in Amazonia cooking curare, the poison used on blowguns.

A tribesman in Amazonia cooking curare, the poison used on blowguns.

Our contact with the natives was a visit to three different villages. The first village was under government control, with government housing: basic, one-room concrete structures where the natives were wearing western clothing. I was able to buy a bow with three arrows from a young man. The second village was a long drive, then a hike on a path through the tall grass into a village. When we were spotted, all the women disappeared into their square huts, some covering their breasts. With patience we were slowly recognized as calm people bringing gifts. We placed mirrors at the entrance to each hut and gave fishing line and hooks to the men. We walked through the village of thatched huts, observing the people. One man was outside of his hut, sitting in his hammock, stirring an old cast iron pot. His two young sons stood behind him. The hard packed earth was home and necessities were modest:  A hut, a hammock, a blowgun, a cooking pot and a machete. When they needed food, they went into the jungle, found it, and then relaxed until the need to find food again was apparent. The expression on the man’s face making his dart poison was peaceful, relaxed, yet he was somewhat bothered by these white strangers.

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Update: My Dad, Napoleon and Me

Jacob and Warren

Jacob (left) and Warren (right) working on My Dad, Napoleon and Me.

Jacob Pousland here, Warren’s writing coach, editor, and all-around technology assistant. Warren and I have been working hard for the last few weeks editing My Dad, Napoleon and Me.

After all our hard work today’s the day: we’re sending My Dad, Napoleon and Me out to two editors and an agent who have agreed to take a look at it. If one of them likes the book we’ll be well on our way to publication. New books are usually slotted for publication a year in advance, so even when we are published it will be a while before you’ll see us on shelves, but we’re confident that My Dad, Napoleon and Me is as polished and well-written as we can make it at this time.

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Shaman: The Expedition

The following story is an excerpt from the chapter Shaman of Warren’s book My Dad, Napoleon and Me, currently in rewrite.

Location: Venezuela’s Amazonas State, 1991

Step: DECISION

 Dad: “The quicker you make up your mind, the better you are.”

Mr. Hill: “You have a brain and mind of your own. USE IT, and reach your own decisions.”

The crack of the billiard balls on the green felt tables at Erick’s Billiards was heard over the music, clinking beer bottles and noisy crowd as I pushed open the glass door. I had attempted to play pool when I was in the corps, but there was always some guy wanting to take your money. A soft layer of blue smoke hung below the pool table lights, like artificial smoke in a bad play. I was there on an invitation from a university professor, a strange place to meet for an appointment.

One of my collectors had told me about the expedition because the word was out I went on adventures. Raising my hand to join this adventure was a decision I had made on the barest of facts. The expedition was scheduled to go to Southern Venezuela’s Amazonas State with a group of men and women of science. They were to explore the indigenous people’s encampments along the Orinoco River on the Venezuelan and Colombian border.

The pool hall meeting was called by the professor in charge of leading the expedition. My job would be as the artist: to sketch and paint in watercolor, reproducing the native art that had been painted on ceilings and walls of the sheltered caves in the region thousands of years ago.

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Sketches

"Warren Draws on Everything" JD. Moore

Warrens Doodles From Sketchbook

The following is an excerpt from Warren Cullar’s Sketchbook (ISBN 0-9747782-0-6) published in 2003.

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Several times in elementary school, I was stopped from doodling in the margins of my notebooks. Today, I draw everywhere except in the margins – ha! I draw when there is a pen and paper and there is down time. For me, happiness is creating. When I’m doodling, there is limited awareness of what’s taking place. I focus on something else like a conversation or just relaxing. There is no concern for the direction or the outcome of the drawing. The only purpose is to make marks and images and follow my creative  muse. I am just enjoying life when I am doodling.

On an expedition to the Amazonia State in Southern Venezuela with the University of Texas I had real Indiana Jones Experiences.

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From Bored to Terrified

This is an excerpt from Warren Cullar’s newly finished book My Dad, Napoleon and Me, a creative nonfiction motivational book. This is a fragment of the story “South China Sea,” in which he sails from Hong Kong to Manila in a 32′ sailboat with his friend Bill and three strangers, illustrating one of the steps from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: Decision.

From Bored to Terrified

By Warren Cullar

The sea softened, now only lapping sounds where boat meets water, and then calm with no sounds from the ocean. The sails fluttered and died. The sails hung from the force of gravity, loose, but ridged at the same time. We were adrift in a sea of glass and the water became a mirror reflecting a silver orb. The harvest moon glowed above the horizon; its intensity was blindingly strong. The interior of the cabin was dark, yet so hot and humid one chose to sit on deck and pull a hat down to block out the headlight beaming moon.  The stillness and flatness stretched in all compass directions toward a horizon that did not want to end, but continued on until morning. Sitting became uncomfortable, silence became boring and thinking was dull from the waiting. Gradually our spirit boat of dreams turned in the vastness of the dark ultramarine ocean. The “Ugly Duckling” made one revolution every hour in the unseen current and this became our keeper of time and two days passed.

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